The four seasons have been a constant source of inspiration for painters through the ages. The tiny blossom of the apricot tree fragrantly heralds the coming of spring in central Europe, the Balkans and, indeed, through to the Mediterranean and Turkey. It is augmented by two little swallows, captured by our painter Christian Schöppler in the process of arriving. This delightful scene from Nature is first sketched out in sepia with a fine-nibbed pen, then the colours are applied in the manner of a watercolour, imbuing the painted decoration with an airy, gossamer quality. A hand-modelled floret on the bottle's cover adds a certain flourish to this otherwise decidedly pared-down vessel.