Sunday, 28 August 2016

Piranesi’s etching of “Fragments of a pilaster and a column”

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–78)
“Fragment of an ornamental pilaster with detail of a column found on the Tiber Island”, 1768-78, from the series, “Vasi, candelabri, cippi, sarcofagi ...” (Vases, candelabra, grave stones, sarcophagi)
Wilton-Ely (1994) advises: “The pilaster is in the Villa Medici; the column is in the Jenkins Collection” (p. 1003).

Etching on heavy laid paper attached to a washi archival support sheet
Size: (sheet) 70.4 x 48.6 cm; (plate) 66 x 41.5 cm
Lettered above or beside each fragment with the title and details of the provenance or ownership of the object. Lettered below the fragments with the dedication “All'Illustrissimo Signor Erdmansdorff Cavaliere Sassone amatore e seguace delle belle arti in atto d'Ossequio il Cavaliere Gio. Batt[ist]a Piranesi. D.D.D.”
Focillon 1918 638; Wilton-Ely 1994 925; Ficacci 2011 770

References: Lugi Ficacci (2011) “Piranesi: The complete Etchings”, 2 vols; Henri Focillon (1918), “GBP essai de catalogue raisonné”; John Wilton-Ely (1994), “GBP, the complete etchings”, 2 vols; AM Hind (1922), “G.B.Piranesi a critical study”, (cat. of Views of Rome); Andrew Robison (1986), “Piranesi, early architectural fantasies, a catalogue raisonné of the etchings”; see also the British Museum’s description of this print:

Condition: strong, well-inked impression. There are two large tears or either side of the central fold of the sheet but these have been stabilised/mended with an archival support sheet of fine washi paper (millennium quality). Beside these “mended” tears the sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no stains, holes or foxing).

I am selling this stunning etching by GB Piranesi—one of the most famous printmakers of the 18th century—for AU$400 in total (currently US$302.36/EUR270.44/GBP230.36 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this superb, early impression, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Few printmakers match the technical ability and sustained focus on portraying architectural ruins like the great 18th century master, GB Piranesi. Not only was he able to showcase the artefacts and views of ruins that he portrayed in a way where each feature could be examined in minute detail, but Piranesi was also able to portray them as if they were more than architectural renderings. To my eyes, his images seem to have an inexplicable aura of strength and grandeur about them. Arguably, this aura stems from the formal symmetry of his compositions, the rich oily-black of the ink or the proportional balance between the amount of drawing in the print to the area of untouched white paper—and the list of driving attributes could go on and on.

Regarding this particular print, Piranesi was a consummate seller of prints and even a trader in antique artefacts as well. At the time that he executed this print, his principal client, Clement XIII, had passed away in 1769 along with his Rezzonico patronage and he needed to ensure that his finances were secure. To shore up his financial standing, Piranesi embarked on an ethically questionable path: he made the classical antiquities that he was selling more desirable to passing foreigners by reconstructing them with odd fragments (i.e. he made them “better” from his personal viewpoint). Most interesting to me, in terms of questionable practices, he also dedicated his prints to potential clients in the hope that on seeing their name festooned on a print, the line of dedication would induce them to purchase the artefact depicted and—of course—an edition of the print bearing their name. This print, for instance, is dedicated to the “Illustrious Mr. Knight Erdmannsdorff Saxon lover and follower of Fine Arts …” 

As a side note regarding my personal fascination with Piranesi, I thought I might show a photo of a sculpture (reproduced on the left face of the book) that I made for a fish tank that once graced the end of my bed. This sculpture and the series of drawings of it were directly inspired by Piranesi’s reconstruction of ancient ruins.
For those who may be interested in the brown colour of the drawings, I used lemon juice as an ink which became a honey brown once the drawing was heated.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Dupuis’s engraving after Raphael

Nicolas Gabriel Dupuis (aka Nicolas Dupuy; Dupuis junior; Dupuis le jeune) (c.1698–1771)
“Têt d'homme au turban”, 1770–20, after a painting by Raphael (1483–1520). I propose that this study is from Raphael’s “The expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple” where there is a similar figure with a turbaned head shown in reverse (see
Engraving on laid paper
Size: (sheet) 27.7 x 20.8 cm; (plate) 24 x 18 cm
Lettered in the plate: (lower left) “Raphael pinx.”; (lower right) “N. Dupuis junior Sculp.”
The British Museum offers the following description of the publication that I believe this print is from (my apologies if I am incorrect):
“Benjamin Ralph, 'The School of Raphael or the Student's Guide to expression in historical painting, illustrated by examples engraved by Duchange and others under the inspection of Sir Nicholas Dorigny from his own drawings after the most celebrated heads in the Cartoons at the King's Palace', London, printed for John Boydell, engraver, nd (but c.1800)” (
Préaud, pp.114–5; IFF
Condition: good impression with light signs of wear. The sheet is in excellent condition but with a very faint smudge line at the upper left passing through the turban.

I am selling this beautiful graphic translation of a detail in one of Raphael’ paintings for AU$75 in total (currently US$56.70/EUR50.71/GBP43.19 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this superb example of high quality engraving, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

One glance at this superb study is enough to be assured that this print is executed by a master engraver. Note, for example, the subtle tonal gradations and the technical assurance of Dupuis’ rendering of the facial features. Not only is the handling of the face beautifully executed in a delicate layering of hatched strokes, but there is also enough visual information that a sculptor could use this print to model the same head in three-dimensions. I should mention at this point that the quality of the drawing is not an incidental feature. This image was designed to be copied by amateur artists wishing to draw like Raphael and the print was once bound in a volume of similar engravings intended as drawing models.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Dujardin’s etching, “Les deux chevaux”

Karel Dujardin (aka Carel Dujardin; Carel du Jardin; Karel Du Jardin; Bokkebaart) (1626 –78)
“Les deux chevaux” (Two Horses), 1652
Size: (sheet) 15.9 x 16.2 cm
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed on the platemark with thread margins
Inscribed within the image: (upper left) "K. D. I. fe"; (lower right corner) “4”.
Bartsch 4-II (166); Hollstein VI (“Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts ca. 1450-1700”, vol. VI [Amsterdam, 1952]).

The British Museum does not have this rare print in its collection, but the BM has a copy of it in reverse by the famous French printmaker, Charles Meryon (1821–68) (see
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco has a copy of this print and offers details and description it, but the quality of their impression is comparatively poor (see The Metropolitan Museum of Art also has a copy, but again their impression has noticeable flaws (see
Condition. A superb, museum quality, impression in faultless condition (i.e. there are no stains, foxing, tears, holes or folds).

I am selling this rare, high quality impression for AU$161 in total (currently US$123.33/EUR109.21/GBP93.25 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this superb impression that really should be in a museum, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

About ten years ago when I purchased this print, I was deeply fascinated by images of cows and horses and the plight of the rural poor. If I were asked—which I never was—why I had an interest in such scenes, I would have stumbled for rational words, as my world was far removed from the images that I loved to contemplate. To be honest, the more flies that an artist portrayed and the more muck, piss and poop that was portrayed, the happier I was.

Interestingly, I asked my best pal—a wonderful lady with whom I have gone out painting every Saturday morning for the last fifteen years—for a “proper” answer as to why anyone, including artists, would be captivated by bucolic images and I had a reply that I wasn’t expecting: “Did you know that years ago, jockeys in Ireland who needed to lose weight would immerse themselves in manure?” Well … I didn’t. Then our live-in polymath Googled this practice and discovered that the joy of being thoroughly bedded down in poop was not limited to Irish jockeys. Isaac Ling, for instance, advises that when “… riders at Tijuana racetrack in the 1920s … saw the fermenting mountain of horse manure out the back of the racetrack that was ‘as big as a grandstand’ (the proceeds of year upon year of mucked-out stables being dumped in the one spot), they didn't just see a big pile of horse shit, but instead their own private sauna” ( Fascinating stuff what some artists, jockeys and viewers love!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Alexandre Calame’s lithographs

Alexandre Calame (1810–1864)
"Landscape with Pine", c.1850-60, printed and published by François Delarue (fl.1850–60s)
Lithograph on tan chine-collé washi paper on heavy wove white paper
Size: (sheet) 45.5 x 54 cm; (image) 30.1 x 40.2 cm
Lettered in the plate below the image: (lower left) “François Delarue, Ëditeur, r. J.J. Rousseau, 18, Paris.”; (lower centre) “A. Calame / 9”; (lower right) “Imp. Fois. Delarue, Paris.”
Condition: excellent impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there is no foxing, stains, tears, holes or abrasions but there are signs of handling in terms of a few superficial marks). This print is in superb condition for its age.

“Rocky Landscape”, c.1850-60, printed and published by François Delarue (fl.1850–60s)
Lithograph on tan chine-collé washi paper on heavy wove white paper
Size: (sheet) 32.1 x 22.4 cm; (image) 19.7 x 15.3 cm
Inscribed with the artist’s signature within the image (lower right).
Lettered in the plate above the image: (upper left) “OEUVRES DE A CALAME”; (upper right) “No. 58.”
Lettered in the plate below the image: (lower left) “Esquisse peinte.”; (lower centre) “Imp. Fois. Delarue, Paris.”; (lower right) “François Delarue, Edit, r. J.J. Rousseau, 18, Paris.”
Condition: excellent impression in pristine condition (i.e. there is no foxing, stains, tears, holes or abrasions). This print is in perfect condition.

I am selling this pair of lithographs (one that is very large and the other is small) for AU$169 in total (currently US$128.99/EUR114.23/GBP97.50 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this pair of lithographs by one of the major Swiss artists of the 19th century, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

In the nineteenth century the notion of the sublime seen in landscape was a current preoccupation amongst artists with a leaning towards Romanticism.

Indeed, this pair of lithographs by one of Switzerland’s the best known artists, Alexandre Calame, exemplifies an artist wish to communicate the heart-stopping awe experienced when trying to comprehend Alpine grand vistas. As is normally the case when artists present feelings of spiritual transcendence, Calame uses plunging perspectives and the juxtaposition of landscape features to connote spatial depth (e.g. a large craggy rock in the foreground may be abutted beside tiny landforms in the far distance). What I find especially appealing about Calame engagement with the sublime, however, is his use of a golden hue in these lithographs that presents the portrayed landscape as otherworldly.

Of course, Calame was not the first to use such a golden cast to colour his artwork. There was an ongoing convention of leaning artworks towards sepia or brown. In fact, the ‘miroir noir”, or Claude glass, was an optical device designed specifically to help artists to “give the object of nature a soft, mellow tinge like the colour of that Master” (viz. Claude Lorrain) (quote from Red William Gilpin cited in the marvellous book by Anthea Callen [2015], “The Work of Art: Plein-air Painting and Artistic Identity in Nineteenth-century France”, p. 61).

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

“Dwarf Halberdier with a Greyhound” after Paolo Veronese

After Paolo Veronese (also known as Paolo Caliari) (1528–88) by an unidentified printmaker
“Dwarf Halberdier with a Greyhound”, 17–18th century
Etching on paper with fragments of wood in the paper and cut within the plate marks. I would normally propose that this is wove paper as I am unable to see chain-lines within it, but I suspect that the paper may be an early imported paper. I am mindful that Rembrandt made many of his prints on what scholars term “Oriental papers” imported from India, China and Japan. Moreover, the Japanese papers are often buff coloured like this sheet and seldom show the screen pattern of the mould from which they were cast.
Inscribed within the plate (upper right) “Paolo Caliari pinx”, (sheet) 13.4 x 8.1 cm.

Condition: crisp and well-inked impression trimmed within the plate marks in excellent condition but with remnants of mounting hinges (verso). I am selling this finely executed study after Veronese for $137 AUD (currently US$104.53/GBP79.02/EUR92.68 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this remarkably beautiful etching by an oldmaster, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

I acquired this stunning print many years ago from a dealer in Holland whom I had previously purchased many prints before but this is the only one that he stated unequivocally: “This is a beautiful print” and added “my wife likes this one!” The admiration that he felt towards this very small print is easy to understand: it really is a superb image. For me the lightness of its execution and its expression of open space captures not only the spirit of Veronese but also that of Tiepolo.

Before concocting an appropriate descriptive title for this print (I have been unable to locate this etching in my research to find its “correct” title) I did a little exploratory fact finding about the custom of showing dogs and dwarf courtiers—especially ones carrying a sword—in the paintings of this time. Rather than discovering that such subjects were simply as representation of what court life was like at the time, I found that Veronese was even hauled over the coals (metaphorically speaking) for featuring them in his religious paintings—specifically “Feast in the House of Levi”. Regarding this painting, the following snippet of questions from the Inquisition and answers from Veronese are fascinating:

“Q. And who are really the persons whom you admit to have been present at this Supper?

A. I believe that there was only Christ and His Apostles; but when I have some space left over in a picture I adorn it with figures of my own invention.

Q. Did some person order you to paint Germans, buffoons, and other similar figures in this picture?

A. No, but I was commissioned to adorn it as I thought proper; now it is very large and can contain many figures.”

Monday, 22 August 2016

My painting: “View from the window of an apartment in Sydney”

Over the next few days I thought I would post a few pics of the paintings that I have been working on. This small aquarelle pencil and oil on canvas (27 x 23cm) shows a view of Sydney (towards Potts Point?) from the window of an apartment where we were staying.

For anyone interested in purchasing this painting on unstretched canvas, I am asking a mere AU$500 with free postage to anywhere in the world. To make the transaction easy, please email me at and I will send you a PayPal invoice.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Godefroy Engelmann’s lithograph after Abel de Pujol

Godefroy Engelmann I (1788–1839)
“Tête d'Ëtude d'après le Tableau de St. Etienne”, 1817 after Alexandre Denis Abel de Pujol (1785–1861)
Lithograph on wove paper
Size: (sheet) 49.4 x 34.9 cm
Lettered in the plate: (lower left) “E: Parizeau élêve de Mr, David.”; (lower centre) “Tête d'Ëtude d'après le Tableau de St. Etienne / peint, par Mr Abel de Pujol — Salon de 1817.”; (lower right) “Lith de G: Engelmann. / Chez Ostervald L’aine’ rue Pavée St. Andre ‘des Arts No.3”
Condition: crisp impression in marvellous condition (i.e. there are no holes, tears, folds or foxing). This is an exceptionally rare and very large lithograph.

I am selling this exceptionally rare and very large lithograph for AU$139 in total (currently US$105.85/EUR93.73/GBP80.95 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this neoclassical master print by the artist that patented chromolithography, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

At first I was perplexed by this beautiful neoclassical portrait, as the inscribed title seemed to suggest that this finely rendered face with its bare shoulder and cute kiss-curl was of Saint Etienne (aka Saint Stephen). My bewilderment was not so much about delicate facial features and mild eroticism in the depiction of Saint Etienne—who is famous as the first Christian martyr (presuming I have my facts right)—but rather that Saint Etienne should be a man. Of course, once I translated the French text and studied the content properly I quickly realised that this head is a study for a figure featured in Abel de Pujol’s painting: “Preafication de Saint Etienne” (1817) (see an image of the painting at:

To give a context for the significance of Abel de Pujol’s painting, Stephen Bann (2013) in “Ways Around Modernism” offers the following wonderful summary:
“Abel de Pujol's star has waned (to put it mildly), but in 1817 it could scarcely have been brighter, since the painting [“Preafication de Saint Etienne”] had tied for first prize in the category of history painting in the first (and last) major competition of the Restoration, supervised by the Académie des Beaux Arts at the request of the king himself. In other terms Abel de Pujol's work had achieved in 1817 just the measure of official acknowledgement that Ingres was looking for (though not finding) before his success with Louis Ill/ at the Salon of 1824 and his election to the Académie des Beaux-Arts in the following year.”

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Andrew Miller’s 18th century mezzotint of Veronese’s “Venus with a Mirror”

Andrew Miller (c.1690/fl.1739–63)
“Venus with a Mirror”, 1740 after a painting by Paolo Veronese (1528–88) published by John Bowles (1701?–79).
Mezzotint engraving on fine laid paper with small margins
Size: (sheet) 37.5 x 27.8 cm; (plate) 36.4 x 25.2 cm; (image borderline) 31.2 x 24.9 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (lower-left corner) “From a Capital Picture of Paulo Veronese.”; (lower-right corner) “And.w Miller Fecit.”; (lower centre) two columns of poetry in two lines, beginning: “Veil, Happy Fair One! ... / Printed for John Bowles at the Black Horse in Cornhill 1740.”
This rare print is not in the collection of The British Museum, nevertheless, the museum offers 73 other prints by Miller:
Note that the British Museum in providing biographical details about Miller advise: “His work is very rare.”
For solid biographic details about Andrew Miller, see “A Dictionary of Irish Artists” (1913):
Condition: excellent impression in marvellous condition (i.e. there are no holes, tears, folds or foxing).

I am selling this superb quality and very rare mezzotint for AU$144 in total (currently US$109.66/EUR97.10/GBP83.87 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this subtlety executed old master print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Only a top mezzotint artist could make this fine print, as the medium is so technically demanding. Miller was trained in the time-consuming craft of a mezzotint engraver by the famous and prolific specialist in this medium, John Faber, Jr. (1684–1756).

For those that may be unfamiliar with this somewhat rare medium of mezzotint, the process begins “by roughening the plate with thousands of little dots made by a metal tool with small teeth called a ‘rocker’” ( If the plate were inked and printed at this beginning stage, the resulting print would be flat black image created out of thousands/millions of dots. To add light tones to the roughened plate, a metal burnisher is employed to literally scrape away the surface pitting until the various tones of the envisaged image are achieved. When the burnished plate is then printed, the resulting image has a soft, rich luminosity that would be difficult to achieve using any other printing technique.