Sunday, 19 August 2018

Filippo Morghen’s engraving, “Fishermen at Herculaneum Harbour”, c1757



Filippo Morghen (1730­–1807)

“Fishermen at Herculaneum Harbour” (descriptive title only), c1757, after an ancient Roman fresco excavated at Herculaneum, illustration to “Raccolta di Pitture d'Ercolano” (“Collection of paintings of Ercolano”), 1757, designed by Giovanni Elia Morghen (1721–1789).

Etching and engraving on laid paperwith full margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 44 x 31.2 cm; (plate) 34.8 x 25.1 cm; (outer image borderline) 32.5 x 23.4 cm
Numbered on plate above the image borderline: (right) “Pag. 273.”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Gio. Morg.Reg. del.”; (centre) “Palmi 4 Napoletani / e Palmi 4 Romani”; (right) “Filip. Morg. Reg. Inci.”

Condition: richly inked and faultlessly printed impression, backed on support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, foxing or significant signs of handling) but there are a few minor dot stains.

I am selling this sumptuously rich velvet-like engraving (with etching) reproducing an ancient Roman fresco buried for centuries following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, for AU$162 (currently US$118.60/EUR103.58/GBP93.04 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in acquiring this extraordinary engraving executed a the time when the great Piranesi was etching his very different prints of Roman ruins and antiquities, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print is reserved pending advice confirming its purchase


This velvety looking engraving reproduces an ancient Roman fresco that was unearthed in the early 1700s from the ancient site of Herculaneum buried since the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. Interest in the frescoes and other antiquities from Herculaneum was spiked by the initial discovery of the site—beneath the town of Ercolano—in 1710. Excitement leading to the publication of the grand scale book in which this print features, "Raccolta di Pitture d'Ercolano” (published 1757), however, was driven by the scientific (or at least systematic) excavation of Herculaneum begun in 1738 by the king of Naples, Carl von Bourbon.

Regarding the curious scale lines inscribed below the image and dividing the text, “Palmi 4 Napoletani / e Palmi 4 Romani”, I understand that this is an ancient Italian system of measurement relying on the average size of “Palmi” (transl. “Palms”) of Neapolitans and Romans. From what I can see looking at this scale, the folk from Naples have bigger hands than their mates in Rome!  Nevertheless, I must hasten to add that the hands of the portrayed fisherman are smaller than their faces and so ancient Neapolitans must have been “short changed” in this department.








Saturday, 18 August 2018

Aegidius Sadeler II’s engraving, “Allegory of the Wedding of Ferdinand II and Eleonora Gonzaga”, c1625


Aegidius Sadeler II (aka Gillis Sadeler; Egidius Sadeler; Ægedius Sadeler) (c1570–1629)
“Allegory of the Wedding of Ferdinand II and Eleonora Gonzaga”, 1622–1627

Etching and engraving on laid paper, trimmed along/close to the platemark with restored loss to the lower right corner and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 35.7 x 24.5 cm; (plate) 35.7 x 24.2 cm; (image borderline) 30.9x 24 cm
Inscribed in Latin on the tablet within the image borderline at lower left: “NON ERANT ET/ ERANT IN FATO/CONIVNCTI” ([transl.] AND WERE / ARE IN FATALLY / WE)
Lettered in Latin on plate below the image borderline: “Artificis magni quid …/ …/ .../ …// …/ …/ … (with loss of the text on the lower right including the final word, “DOMINI”); “CVM PRIVIL/ S.C.M.tis”
State i (of ii) Lifetime impression before the addition of the publisher’s details, “Marco Sadeler excudit”, of the second state.

TIB 7201. 119 SI (Isabelle de Ramaix 1997, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Aegidius Sadeler II”, vol. 72, Part 1, Supplement, p. 193); Hollstein 120.I (FWH Hollstein 1949/1980, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam, vol. 21, no. 120)

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “The portraits of Ferdinand II (r) and Eleonora Gonzaga (l) between emblematic figures. In the middle, the Roman wolf that nurses Romulus and Remus embraces the personification of the river Tiber. Above, on the clouds, a putto with the family arms of Ferdinand and Eleonora. In the left and right upper corner Mars and Venus on their floats. The print has a Latin caption.”

See also The British Museum’s description of this print:
“Allegory of the marriage of Ferdinand II of Austria and Eleonor Gonzaga. A she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus in foreground at left, a river god with a cornucopia in foreground at right, busts of the married couple being sculpted by two figures and two putti in the middle ground, a putto holding two coats of arms at top, chariots in top corners; first state before publisher's address”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression but with restored loss to the lower right corner in the text lines, backed on support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in excellent condition for its age but there are a few minor dot stains and a pin hole (restored).

I am selling this lmasterpiece of engraving (with etching) by one of the most famous of the old masters for AU$543 (currently US$397.54/EUR347.17/GBP311.86 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in acquiring this lifetime impression of a rare and historically important engraving crammed full of symbolism waiting to be deciphered, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


This is one of those images that is so full of symbolism that it is a treat to decipher.

Note for example the river god in the centre foreground personifying the Tiber emptying water from a curiously lobulated vessel to create the Tiber River (I’m uncertain if the staff lying beside him is an oar). Paralleling the flow of water symbolising the Tiber River is a beautifully rendered cornucopia that is a feat of engraving to be examined on its own. Perhaps even more interesting than the skill exhibited in depicting this spiralling organic horn is that it literally spills over the text lines. This little feature is a stunning example of early trompe-l'œil designed to engage the viewer's eye and interest.

Note also the subtle connections between each symbolic element. For instance the she-wolf feeding the children, Romulus and Remus (symbolising in mythology the founders of Rome), has her beautifully rendered paw clasping the river god, Tiber, as if to prevent him from collapsing from exertion—or whatever his ungainly lean signifies.

Beyond the symbolism there is another feature of this print that catches my attention: the angled division of tone to be seen left of centre in the sky. I have seen this device in other prints by Sadeler, and it may serve the purpose here to simply separate the two worlds of the wedded couple portrayed being literally carved by putti. From my standpoint, however, the treatment of the sky is like the faceting of a jewel in that Sadeler is adding a note of inner glow to the composition.








Friday, 17 August 2018

Hendrik Goltzius’ (workshop) engraving, “The Iron Age”, 1598


(Workshop of) Hendrik Goltzius (1558–1617)

“The Iron Age”, 1598, plate six of fifty-two plates, illustration to Ovid’s (43 BC–17/18 AD) “Metamorphoses Book I”, published by Claes Jansz. Visscher (1587–1652)

Engraving with watercolour restorations on fine laid paper, trimmed to the image borderline with text lines below the image and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (unevenly trimmed sheet) 17.4 x 25.4 cm; (image borderline) 16.5 x 25.4 cm
Lettered on plate below the image borderline in four lines of Latin in two columns by Franco Estius (fl.1580s–1594): "Ferreus hinc fremuit ... / ... Pudore Fides."
Numbered on plate below the image borderline: (partially abraded at left) “6.”

TIB 3 (3) 36 (104) (After Goltzius) (Walter L Strauss [ed.] 1980, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists: Hendrik Goltzius”, vol. 3, Abaris Books, New York, p. 315); Bartsch III.104.6; Hollstein 10-61; 508-559 (after Goltzius); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 532-551 (Hendrick Goltzius; Prints after inventions by Goltzius)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 6: The Iron Age; allegorical scene with a warrior stands at centre and brandishing a sword, at his feet lies some discarded armour, a drum and a cannon; after Hendrik Goltzius.” 

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression trimmed to the image borderline with text lines below the image and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. Important: there is a significant loss on the right edge that is restored with infilled watercolour. There is also a pin hole at the upper left corner.

I am selling this graphically strong and important allegorical print from the workshop of Goltzius for a total cost of AU$266 (currently US$193.23/EUR169.69/GBP152.06 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this rivetingly eye-catching engraving showing a mature aged figure banishing an enormous sword as the personification of the Iron Age, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


All the elements that I love about Goltzius are revealed in this engraving. For example, the key hallmarks of the latter style of Goltzius—one of the most skilful and influential of the Dutch printmakers of the 16th and early 17th centuries—are epitomised in the extreme musculature and theatrical gestures of the warrior standing “spread eagled” with his lush moustache, elaborate helmet and very little else in the way of clothing. The flamboyant  swirling rhythms and creative musculature seen here are commonly known as “Spangerisms”—a term arising from the mannered later style of Bartholomeus Spranger (1546–1611)—and in this print I can see “special” muscles on the heroic figure’s thigh that  would make anatomists shake their heads in wonder.

From a technical standpoint, there is also the rendering technique that made Goltzius' name famous: the “Dotted Lozenge.” This device is simply a dot placed in between cross-hatched lines so that the transition of tone from dark to light is facilitated. In terms of its effect in making contours appear fluid and very real, this was a major advance in the art of engraving and the delicate skill of the unidentified engraver(s) from Goltzius' workshop who employed the dotted lozenge technique in this print is stunning.









Thursday, 16 August 2018

Adriaen van der Cabel’s etching, “Landscape with Beggar”, 1660–1700


Adriaen van der Cabel (aka Adriaen van der Kabel) (1631–1705)

Two impressions of “Paysage avec mendiant” (Landscape with beggar), 1660–1700, plate 3 in the series, “Landscapes IV”, published by N Robert (fl.c.1650–1700) using a French privilege (presumably by Louis XIV the King of France). The BM proposes that the publisher might be “Nicolas Robert, the painter of vélins”. If this is true then the date of the print may be narrowed to between 1660 and 1685 as Nicholas Robert died in 1685.

UPPER IMPRESSION
Etching on fine laid buff coloured paper with thread margins around the platemark and backed with a support sheet
Size: (sheet) 15.7 x 25.3 cm; (image borderline) 14.9 x 24.5 cm
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) "Adr. Vander Cabel jnu. et fecit. Cum priuil. Regis."; (centre) “III”; (right) "N. Rob. ex. Cum. P. R."
State ii (of ii) with the addition of the plate number “III” that differentiates the second state from the first state.

LOWER IMPRESSION
The same technical details as the upper impression with the exception that this impression is printed on white laid paper (sheet size 15.4 x 24.9 cm), trimmed slightly within the platemark with narrow margins around the image borderline

TIB 5 (4).32 (247); Hollstein 34.II (F W H Hollstein, 1949 “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam. P. 82, cat. no. 34)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 3: A beggar in central foreground, sitting against a wall leading to a square tower, a woman walking by to the right, a village in the background; from a series of six prints (5ème) showing landscapes.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3063784&partId=1&people=130390&peoA=130390-2-60&page=1)

Note: TIB’s title for the series, “Landscapes IV” (i.e. four landscapes) may seem to conflict with the BM’s advice that there are six landscapes in the series (see: Walter L Strauss [ed.] 1979, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 5, Abaris Books, New York, p. 239), but the inconsistency is due to repetition of two of the plates and there are indeed six plates in total in the series, “Landscapes IV”.

See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: Both impressions are well-printed and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The lower impression is more richly inked than the upper one, but it is trimmed within the platemark close to the image borderline whereas the upper image retains the platemark and has thread thread margins. The upper image also has a restored lower-right corner and a pin hole at upper-left. The lower image is in near faultless condition.

I am selling EACH of these remarkably beautiful etchings from the late 17th century for AU$297 (currently US$215.84/EUR189.88/GBP170 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you wish to purchase either of these classical landscapes raked in glowing light, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


What I love about Adriaen van der Cabel’s work is not so much his choice of subject or even his compositions. Instead, what I love is the openness of his linework that allows the white of the paper to be the equivalent of light. Moreover, I love the way that he creates complexity in shadows with parallel hatched strokes over the top of superficial details. To my eyes, Van der Carel’s approach to rendering his landscapes is not so much about recreating observed patterns of light and shade, but rather about using light to give a touch of sublime grandeur to a scene— as if light is glowing from within the landscape as well as falling upon it.










Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Engraving (with etching) by an unidentified artist after Crispijn de Passe the Elder's, “Lady and a gentleman seated in a garden”, c1599–1617


Unidentified artist after Crispijn de Passe the Elder (aka Crispin Van de Passe; Crispin De Passe) (1564–1637)

“Lady and a gentleman seated in a garden”, c1599–1617, illustration composed originally to “Hortus Voluptatum” (Garden of Love) by De Passe (see the copy of De Passe’s print held by the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details/collection_image_gallery.aspx?assetId=126377001&objectId=1560278&partId=1), but this variant copy after De Passe, showing greater regularity in the horizontal lines describing the sky (among other details), is an illustration to “Nieuwen ieucht spieghel” (New Mirror for Youth), published in 1617 (arguably by Jan Jansz.), p. 161 (see http://emblems.let.uu.nl/nj1617033.html).

Engraving with etching on fine laid paper, backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 17 x 21 cm; (plate) 10.7 x 16 cm; (image borderline) 8.9 x 15.3 cm
Lettered on plate below the image borderline in two lines of Latin text in two columns:
"Quid nunc suauiolum? qua spe consedimus ambo?
An placet ad Satyros ire redire meos?
Si placet hac volucri sequar, ô mea sola voluptas,
Venari canibus dulcius ecquid erit?”
Franken 1881 1337 (nr.10.) [copy] (Daniel Franken 1881, “L'oeuvre gravé des van de Passe”, Paris); Hollstein 851 (nr.10.) [copy] (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam)

Condition: crisp, well-inked and well-printed impression (undoubtedly a lifetime impression based on the strength of the printed lines and the still visible guidelines for the lettered text) backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains or foxing, but there is minor age toning and a few handling marks).

I am selling this small and rare emblem print showing a man holding by leash two hunting dogs and a woman seated beside him holding a falcon with hunting scenes behind the couple appropriate to the animals they hold, for AU$192 in total (currently US$138.78/EUR122.50/GBP109.26 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in purchasing this fascinating engraving from the early 1600s, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This print has been sold


Before offering an explanation of what is signified by this emblem print I should mention that such prints were not designed to be read as simple illustrations for the subject matter addressed in the text. Instead, they are illustrations layered with symbolism intended to delight the highly educated folk of the time—those in the “know”—in decoding esoteric meanings.

Regarding the illustrations to “Nieuwen ieucht spieghel” (New Mirror for Youth) (1617) in which this print features, the addressed subject matter and projected meanings are tailored to appeal to a youthful audience as exemplified by the subject of this print: love.

From my reading of the image and the Latin verses inscribed beneath it (and I may be completely wrong in my interpretation), the portrayed lovers sitting snugly together are dealing with the question haunting all lovers: how to manage their lives metaphorically smudged together. The chap’s world is all about his two hunting dogs and the hunting of deer as shown in the distance behind him. By contrast, his lady-love’s world is all about the falcon that she holds and the falconry hunting of other birds as shown in the distance behind her. Happily, the lovers’ two different worlds of hunting appear to be resolved with a merging of interests as the distant hunting scene behind the women reveals a male and female couple on the same horse (poor horse!) enjoying the experience of hunting together.







Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Emblem illustration to Jacob Cats’ proverb, “Sensim amor sensus occupat” (Slowly sense of love takes over), 1627/59


Circle of Abraham Bloemaert (1564–1651) and Adriaen van der Venne (1589–1662)

“Sensim amor sensus occupat” (Slowly sense of love takes over), 1627/59, illustration to Jacob Cats’ (1577–1660) (known with respect and affection as “Father Cats”) “Proteus”, first published in 1618, and “Sinne- en minnebeelden” (Images of mind and memory), first published in 1627. This engraving is from the 1659 edition of “Alle de Wercken van den heere Jacob Cats …” (Complete Works of Jacob Cats), pages 11–12, with reversed image rendered with finer engraved craftsmanship than the first editions and with printed text on both sides (as published).

Engraving on fine laid paper with letterpress text recto and verso.
Size: (sheet) 35.5 x 20.9 cm; (plate) 12.3 x 12.8 cm; (image borderline) 12 x 12 cm

Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (on tree trunk) “Crescent illæ / crescetis amores” (They grow love); (on pumpkin/marrow) “Phyllida amo / ante alias.” (Phyllida I love / before alias.)
Numbered and lettered above the plate: (left) "12"; (centre) “SENSIM AMOR SENSUS OCCUPAT. / VI.”
Lettered in two columns below the plate: “’tNeemt toe, men weet niet hoe. …” ("It's important, people do not know how. …)

Condition: faultless impression in pristine condition.

I am selling this magnificent, museum-quality leaf for the total cost of AU$187 (currently US$135.82/EUR119.16/GBP106.36 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this superb engraving of the highest quality, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


                                                   This print has been sold


My interest in the emblem prints associated with Jacob Cats—affectionately called “Father Cats” by the Dutch—is a sad story. What happened is that a couple of years ago I set out on a personal mission to visit the rather small church named, Kloosterkerk, in The Hague (Belgium), where Jacob Cats is supposed to be buried. The reason that my story is sad is not that I failed to find his burial site in the church, but that when I asked a very helpful church attendant where the great writer was buried I was first asked where I was from and on replying, “Australia”, I was then quizzed as to why any Australian would have an interest in the great writer … to which I answered with eyes bulging and truly shocked that "ALL Australians know about Father Cats as his proverbs are EVERYWHERE!" Mmm … a little bit of a stretched truth but I did discover that what remains of marvellous Jacob Cats is only a commemorative plaque on a column. Now that is VERY sad!

My understanding of this illustration and the accompanying text on the page is a synthesis of commentary explanations offered by the “Emblem Project Utrecht” (http://emblems.let.uu.nl/c162706.html#tr) and from tonight’s after-dinner conversation with our family polymath. The short version is that image shows the memory of a chap (hence the clouds around his hand) cutting the name of his lover, Phyllis (Phyllida)—the Greek name for leafy foliage or green bough—into the trunk of a lime tree. Over time the lover sees that his carved lady-love’s name grows in size as the tree “heals” itself in a similar way that his love has also grown. Interestingly, the growth of such an inscription on a tree does not “grow” higher but rather grows wider following the radial expansion of the trunk.

I should mention at this point that there are significant additional meanings, such as the moral imperative to parents to ensure that their vices are not introduced to their children or the vices will grow like the proverbial marks on trees shown here.