Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Stefano della Bella’s frontispiece etching for “Ornamenti o Grottesche”, c1653


Stefano della Bella (1610–1664)

“Ornamenti o Grottesche”, c1653, title/frontispiece plate from the series of 12 plates (including this title plate), “Ornamenti o grottesche” (Ornaments and grotesques).


Etching on fine laid paper trimmed to thread margins around the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 17 x 6.6 cm
Inscribed on plate within the round cartouche: “ORNAMANTI/ O/ GROTTESCHE/ di Stef. Della Bella" (Note: there is a tiny “I” inscribed above the “T” creating the first word, “ORNAMANTI”.)
Early impression (based on the lack of wear to the plate) of the only state (?)

De Vesme/Massar 1971 1003 (A.de Vesme 1971, revised by Phyllis D.Massar, “Stefano della Bella”, New York)
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Frontispiece to series; ornament panel with two lion heads at base, their bodies forming looping branches around two eagles, surmounted by a circle containing title lettering. c.1653”


Condition: crisp impression in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or foxing, but there is a dot stain at the centre of the right edge) trimmed to thread margins around the platemark and backed with an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper.

I am selling this small vertical ornamental panel featuring two eagles with spread wings framed by entwined palm leaves and banderoles that merge into lion heads at the bottom of the design for AU$156 in total (currently US$111.14/EUR95.99/GBP84.29 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 graphically strong ornamental design, 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







Monday, 15 October 2018

Jan van de Velde II’s etching, “Four gentlemen on a path near a castle”, c1620


Jan van de Velde II (c1593–1641)

“Four gentlemen on a path near a castle”, c1620 (but no later than the last definitively dated etching by this artist in 1633), second plate in the series of eight etchings, “Landscapes of Oblong Format”, published by Robert de Baudous (1574/5–1659).

Etching on laid paper trimmed around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (backing sheet) 14.8 x 40.8 cm; (image borderline) 14.3 x 40.3 cm
Numbered on plate within the image borderline: (lower right) “2”.
Hollstein Dutch 293 (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450–1700”, Amsterdam, p. 96, cat.no. 293); Franken & van der Kellen 332 (D Franken & J P van der Kellen 1883, “L'oeuvre gravé de Jan van de Velde II”, Amsterdam, p. 129, cat.nr. 332).

See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.333653

Condition: a crisp and well-printed impression, trimmed around the image borderline and backed with an early support sheet. The sheet is lightly age-toned (yellowed) with a flattened centre-fold, otherwise it is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions or stains). The support/backing sheet is slightly mottled with signs of age.

I am selling this exceptionally rare and long panoramic etching by one of the most celebrated Dutch artists of the early 1600s for AU$435 (currently US$234.84/EUR203/GBP178.60 at the time of posting this print) 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 major print executed at the dawn of the Dutch Golden 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


Trying to look at this print through the eyes of Van de Velde’s contemporaries is difficult, but there are a few features in the composition that held very special significance in the 17th century. For example, the two leafless trees at left and the leafless tree towards the centre of the composition are unlikely to be viewed as simply dead trees. Instead, I suspect that these trees would be perceived in the 17th century as vanitas symbols (i.e. signifiers that life is brief). Similarly, the Christian cross at far right is more than a landmark curiosity as it might be seen today. Instead, the cross often signified a moral cross-road for weary travellers such as those shown resting below it.







Sunday, 14 October 2018

Jan Sadeler I’s engraving “The Seventh Day: God Blesses Adam, Eve, and the Animals”, c1585


Jan Sadeler I (aka Johannes Sadeler; Johann Sadeler) (1550–1600)

“The Seventh Day: God Blesses Adam, Eve, and the Animals” (TIB title), c1585, plate 7 from the series, “Creation of the World”, after a lost drawing by Maarten de Vos (aka Marten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603), published by Jan Sadeler I as an illustration to “Thesaurus sacrarum historiarum veteris testament …”, Antwerp (1585). Note that there is a copy of this print published by Claes Jan Visscher without Sadeler’s name and God the Father has been replaced by a Tetragrammaton.

Engraving on laid paper trimmed close to the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 19.4 x 25 cm; (image borderline) 18.3 x 24.9 cm.
Numbered on plate within the image borderline: (top centre edge) “VII”.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (lower left) “Genes. Cap: 2”; (lower right) “D/ figuravit.”; (lower right corner) “Joă sadeler/ aut: et scalpt:/ exc.”
Lettered in two columns of two lines on plate below the image borderline: "Ornamenta novo, iam onstant omnia Mŭdo./ .../ …// …/ …/ Constituens, dextra, Sabbatha dia, sacrat."
State i (of i)

TIB 7001.016 (Isabelle de Ramaix 1999, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 70, Part 1 [Supplement], Abaris Books, p. 34); Le Blanc, no. 20; Wurzbach, no. 6; Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 16; Hollstein 1995–96, vol. 44, no. 18; Edquist, p. 4, no. 6a.

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “God the Father in the clouds. He blesses Adam, Eve and the animals in the Earthly Paradise. The print has a Latin caption.”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed (near faultless) impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, abrasions, significant stains or foxing). The sheet is trimmed close to the platemark.

I am selling this marvellous engraving—no doubt a lifetime impression based on the crisp quality of the lines showing no wear to the printing plate—portraying an earthly paradise filled “to the brim” with a plethora of animals for AU$330 (currently US$234.84/EUR203/GBP178.60 at the time of posting this print) 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 masterwork of engraving by one of the most famous of the Flemish old master printmakers, 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


Like most early illustrations of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden before their fall from grace, this scene of earthly paradise shows the first couple with their modesty intact from the viewer’s gaze. Interestingly, the spiky thistle that shields Adam’s manhood hints at the sin of disobedience about to unravel as the verse in Genesis 3:18 advises that the cursed ground “… will produce thorns and thistles”.

What I find interesting about this portrayal of paradise is how the viewer is made to feel at ease. Note for instance that the immediate foreground is bathed in an inviting warm light and that the viewpoint is elevated above any potential trouble on earth.







Saturday, 13 October 2018

Jacob Matham’s engraving, “Hope”, 1597, after Hendrik Goltzius


Jacob Matham (1571–1631)

“Hope” (aka “L’espérance” [Bartsch title]; “Spes”), 1597, after Hendrik Goltzius (aka Hendrick Goltzius) (1558–1617), plate 2 from the series of seven engravings, “The Virtues” (half-length), with a verse by Cornelis Schonaeus (1541–1611), published Hendrik Goltzius in Haarlem.

Note: the Curator of the British Museum advises that the series “was first published by Goltzius in Haarlem in 1597; later by Robert de Baudous around 1615; by Johannes Janssonius in Amsterdam (before 1664); by Pieter de Reyger (before 1677); and finally by Gerard Valck (before 1729)” (see BM no. 1857,0613.494).

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 15.1 x 10.6 cm; (image borderline) 13.4 x 10.4 cm
Numbered on the plate within the image (on anchor): "2”
Lettered below the image borderline in two lines of Latin text (composed by Cornelis Schonaeus): “Mærentes recreo, vite ne tedeat egre, / Adverse prebens solati dulcia sortis.”
State i (of ii) before the addition of the publisher’s address.

TIB 4 (3). 118 (163) (Walter L Strauss [ed.] 1980, "The Illustrated Bartsch 4: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 4. Abaris Books, New York, p. 108); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 139.I (Jacob Matham); Hollstein 257.I; New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 505-511 (Hendrick Goltzius; Prints after inventions by Goltzius); Bartsch III.163.118.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 2: Hope. A female figure, half-length looking up to right, with an upturned anchor, in a grotto with the sea in the distance and a ship; first state before publisher's address; after Goltzius. 1597”

See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: crisp, first state (lifetime) impression trimmed to the platemark and laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper. The lower-left corner is fractured and there is a pale area of discolouration on the boat portrayed in the distance otherwise the sheet is in very good condition.

I am selling this sensitively executed and elegant engraving exemplifying the period style of Mannerism of the late 16th century, for AU$357 in total (currently US$254.06/EUR219.61/GBP193.21 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this rare first state engraving personifying the virtue of hope, 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


For those who may be wondering why the personification of the virtue of hope—shown here—is carrying an anchor and the significance of the boat in the far distance, the explanation is simple: an anchor symbolises a sailor’s last resort (i.e. hope) to survive storms. Hence the mythological goddess representing hope holds an anchor with a boat behind her. Interestingly, Goltzius in his design for this particular goddess has gone a step further in symbolising a sailor’s hope. From my reading of this image, Golzius’ choice to turn the anchor “upside down” and to add a spiritually transcendent facial expression to the goddess brings together a sailor’s hope with Christian symbolism. What I mean by this is that the upturned anchor references the Christian cross and the goddess’ somewhat theatrical expression with upcast eyes references the early images of Christ’s spiritual transcendence in accordance with the verse from Hebrews 6:19 (NIV translation): "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul …”







Friday, 12 October 2018

Alfred-Alexandre Delauney’s huge etching, “View of the Cologne Cathedral”, 1886


Alfred-Alexandre Delauney (1830-1895)

“View of the Cologne Cathedral” (aka “View of the Dom Church in Cologne” [Rijksmuseum title]), 1886 (as inscribed on plate), proof before titling, hand­-signed by Delauney, printed by A Clément (fl. c. 1887–92), published by Valadon & Cie. Kunsthandel Boussod (aka Goupil) (1827–1919) and Michael Knoedler & Co (fl.1846 –87) in London, Paris and New York (as inscribed on plate).

Etching on heavy laid paper (3.5 cm chain lines) with full margins as published, signed in pencil by the artist and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 93 x 65.5 cm; (plate) 76.8 x 52.5 cm; (image borderline) 72 x 49 cm
Hand-signed in pencil by Alfred-Alexandre Delauney below the image borderline at lower right.
Inscribed on plate above the image borderline: (right of centre) “April ts London Published by Boussod, Valadon & Co. successors to Goupil & Co. 116 & 117 New Bond Street W.and 9 Rue Chaptal Paris. Copyright registered”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “'Berlin, Verlag von Boussod, Valadon & Co.”; (centre) “'Publié par BOUSSOD, VALADON & Co. Successeurs de GOUPIL & Cie 1er Avril 1885_ PARIS_LONDRES_LA HAYE”; (right) “New York_Published by M. Knoedler.”

Proof before the addition the title.

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “In the foreground a block of houses in a bird's-eye view. On the second ground, the towers of the church rise and cover the entire height of the print.” (http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.103096)

Condition: proof state richly inked and faultless impression but with a closed tear in the lower left margin and a few minor spots and signs of handling in the margins. The sheet is backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this visually arresting and technically breathtaking hand-signed proof state 19th century masterpiece of etching for AU$424 (currently US$301.84/EUR260.49/GBP228.48 at the time of posting this print) 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 awe inspiring, crowd stopping print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This is such a large print that when I hold it from its upper edges the sheet is waist high from the ground... a huge etching! Beyond its jaw-dropping and eye-popping size, the etching is a technical masterwork of the printmaker’s drawing skill and the printer’s dedication to the task of subtly capturing in this proof-state impression the finely rendered detail.

One feature of this amazing print that catches my eye is the perspective that Delauney employs in portraying the steeply rising towers of the cathedral. At first glance, the rules of perspective seem to be in place with the towers gently converging skywards to a far distant point in the zenith. On closer examination, however, Delauney’s manipulation of perspective becomes clearer. For example, the viewpoint for this scene is an elevated one—a high flying drone’s viewpoint almost midway up the towers—and yet we see the portico arches of the church as if from the viewpoint of a worm on the ground.







Thursday, 11 October 2018

Jan Collaert II’s set of four engravings (c1600) after Maarten de Vos


Jan Collaert II (aka Hans Collaert; Jan Baptist I Collaert) (c1561– c1620)

Four engravings from the series (smaller plates), “Vita, Passio, et Resurrectio Iesu Christi” (The life, passion and resurrection of Christ), c1600 (1598?), after the designs by Maarten de Vos (aka Marten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603).

Engravings on laid paper trimmed with thread margins along the image borderlines and with printed text and images verso.
Size: (each sheet with slight size variations) 10 x 6.1 cm
All the prints are inscribed on plate within the image borderline at the lower edge with the engraver’s name (either “Ioan Collaert Sculp.” or “I. Collaert Sculp.”), and all plates, apart from the engraving showing Christ at the foot of the cross, are inscribed with the designer’s name, “M. de Vos inuent.”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed impressions with crisp lines showing no wear to the printing plate. Each sheet is trimmed close to the image borderline with printed text from the original publication verso (two of the sheets have additional engravings verso) and all the prints are in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this set of four exquisite engravings by one of the major Flemish old master printmakers at the cusp of the 16th and 17th centuries for AU$216 (currently US$153.30/EUR132.41/GBP115.87 at the time of posting this print) 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 suite of near faultless engravings, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This set of prints has been sold


These are very small prints measuring no more than the palm of one’s hand … or at least my hand! Despite their small size, the portrayed scenes are easy to read even at a distance. This legibility of the images testifies to the original designer’s (Maarten de Vos) understanding of how to arrange the pattern of lights and darks in the compositions to ensure that only critically important details are highlighted. It also, of course, testifies to the amazing skill and dexterity of the engraver, Jan Collaert II, to miniaturise his strokes in rendering the details.

Like many early biblical illustrations, the composition of each panel shows more than a single event in Christ’s final days. For example the left panel invites the viewer to correlate the vision of sleeping apostles in the foreground with Christ praying in the middle distance and Judas’ betrayal of Christ’s location in the far distance. (My apologies if I’m wrong about the interaction of the distant figures.) See also the composite timeline captured in the second panel from the left wherein Christ is being tortured in the foreground by having his crown of thorns pressed onto his head while, simultaneously, Christ is being presented to Pontius Pilate in a further away room.







Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Jan Sadeler’s engraving “Noah Building the Ark”, 1586


Jan Sadeler I (aka Johannes Sadeler; Johann Sadeler) (1550–1600)

“Noah Building the Ark” (TIB title) (aka “Construction of the Ark”), 1586, plate 12 from the series, “The Story of the Family of Seth” (aka “Bonorum et Malorum Consensio: The Knowledge of Good and Evil”), after a lost drawing by Maarten de Vos (aka Marten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603), published by Jan Sadeler I in Antwerp.

Engraving on laid paper trimmed along the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 20.6 x 27.7 cm; (image borderline) 19.4 x 27.6 cm.

Numbered on plate within the image borderline: (partially erased at top centre edge) “XII”.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (on anvil at lower left) “Sadelerus/ auct; scal”; (centre of lower edge) ‘Genes; cap: 6”; (lower right) “M. de vos figure:”
Lettered in two columns of two lines on plate below the image borderline: "Nec mora continuo .../ …// …/ …/ … ullis."
State ii (of ii) with the addition of the plate number (XII) at the top edge.

TIB 70. 040 S2 (Isabelle de Ramaix 1999, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 70, Part 1 [Supplement], Abaris Books, p. 61); Nagler 1835 1835–52m bi, 20; Le Blanc, no. 40; Wurzbach, no. 9.12; Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 40; Edquist, p. 14, no. 18b; Ramaix 1992, no. 29.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Construction of the Ark. Noah and another man saws a log before the skeletal superstructure of the Ark; a youth inside the boat hammers nails into the planks”
See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: richly inked and well-printed (near faultless) impression in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, abrasions, significant stains or foxing). The sheet is.trimmed along the platemark and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this graphically strong and beautifully executed engraving by one of the most famous of the Flemish old masters for AU$288 (currently US$204.26/EUR177.72/GBP155.30 at the time of posting this print) 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 masterwork of engraving displaying technical excellence and a solid knowledge of perspective and rendering forms, 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


Years ago I remember seeing in a remote village in the Solomon Islands the construction of a contemporary version of Noah’s Ark crafted without power tools and heaps of loving care. What impressed me when looking at this monstrous ship that the Islanders were making was the exposed skeleton of the wooden craft’s inner ribs as shown here. Even now, I still picture in my mind’s eye very clearly the cocoon-like arrangement of the wooden framework receding into darkness.

The reason that I mention this memory is that Sadeler has not simply drawn a partly constructed ship as an illustration to the biblical event of Noah and his sons building the Ark. Instead, Sadeler—and the intermediary draughtsman, Maarten de Vos—have visually “carved” the skeleton frame of the vessel into the illusion of believable space where light and air move freely through the gaps.

From my past life as a teacher of drawing, the idea of creating the illusion of space that seems real is not simply a case of employing the principles of perspective in a perfunctory way. Instead, achieving a meaningful illusion of space is more about “feeling”—sensing—and laying out the features of a scene from personal experience in a subconscious/intuitive manner. What I mean by this is that Sadeler has not drawn this ship by calculated reasoning. Rather, he has allowed his creative invention to enter into the skeleton framework of the ship and to arrange the ship’s features where he knew from experience they should be.