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 find 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.







Monday, 13 August 2018

Raphael Sadeler I’s engraving (with etching), “Landscape with a Rowboat”, c1598


Raphael Sadeler I (1560/61–1628/32)

“Landscape with a Rowboat” (TIB title) or “Landscape with the Emblem of the Donkey Laden with Delicacies” (Rijksmuseum title), 1598–99, from the series, “Emblems in a Landscape”, after a lost drawing by Matthias Bril the younger (1550–1583), published as an illustration in Giovanni Andrea Alciato’s (aka Alciati) (1492–1550) “Emblemata” (1599), in Venice, with privilege from Pope Clemens VIII (1536–1605).

Etching and engraving on fine laid paper with small margins and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 23 x 29.2 cm; (plate) 21.4 x 27.8 cm; (image borderline) 20.2 x 27.5 cm
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline at lower edge: (centre) “Matth: Bril inuen: Raph: Sadeler scal. Cum priu. Pontif.”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline:  “Septitius populous …/ …// …/ …// …/ …// …/ …pauper alit.”
Lifetime impression (based on the crisp lines showing no sign of wear) of the only state

TIB 2006, 7101.198 (Isabelle de Ramaix [ed.] 2006, ‘The Illustrated Bartsch: Raphael Sadeler I”, vol. 71, Part 1 [Supplement], Abaris Books, p. 283); Nagler 1835–52, no. 141; Le Blanc, no. 124; Wurzbach, no. 128; Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 216; Sénéchal 1987, no. 57; Edquist, p. 311, no 39a

The Rijksmuseum offers a description of this print:

Condition: a superb, crisp, richly inked and well-printed impression with small margins (approx. 1 cm), backed on a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. There is a minor printer’s crease (i.e. a crease occurring during the printing process) at left otherwise the print is in a near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, significant stains or foxing).

I am selling this superb and exceedingly rare lifetime impression that not even the British Museum online repository appears to hold for the total cost of AU$330 (currently US$240.54/EUR210.59/GBP85.68 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing important print, 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


At first glance this very beautiful landscape executed in the late 1500s may seem to be as conceptually unchallenging as are the activities of the people portrayed in it (viz. a traveller resting while his goods-laden donkey munches on thistles; men in a rowboat revealing their awkward efforts to traverse a stream). Of course, after careful study of what is shown, images from this time were seldom simple in terms of the meanings that they project. Certainly, this image meets this description as what is depicted is loaded with symbolism. Note for instance, the enormous nesting stork—symbolic of maternal vigilance, good fortune and a long life—crowning the top of the tower on the left while the stork's mates fly overhead. More critically important in this scene, however, is the moral imperative that would have been clear to 16th century viewers regarding the chap with his donkey as the Rijksmuseum explains: “This is the representation of an emblem in which the moral of the story shows that rich people always find a reason to complain despite their wealth.”











Sunday, 12 August 2018

John Hamilton Mortimer’s etching, “Richard II”, 1775




John Hamilton Mortimer (1740–1779)

“Richard II”, 1775, from the series, “Twelve Characters from Shakespeare” (1775–76), etched and published by John Hamilton Mortimer in London.

Etching on laid paper, trimmed around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (oval sheet trimmed at the image borderline) 34.4 x 28.3 cm

The text lettered on the plate but trimmed off in this impression is offered by the Metropolitan Museum of Art: (titled above the image borderline): "Richard II"; (below the image borderline) "For within the hollow crown, / That rounds the mortal temples of a King, / Keeps Death his court, & there the antick sits / Scoffing his State & grinning at his pomp, / Allowing him a breath, a little scene / To monarchize, be feard & kill with looks / Infusing him with self & vain conceit, / As if this flesh which walls about our life / Were brass impregnable & humoured thus / Comes at last & with a little pin / Bores thro' his castle walls & farewell King / Richard II. Act 3, Scene 2 / Published May 20, 1775 by J. Mortimer, Norfolk Street, Strand"

Sunderland 1986.96.2 (John Sunderland 1986, “John Hamilton Mortimer, His Life and Works”, The Walpole Society, vol. 52, cat. no. 96.2”)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The character from Shakespeare's 'Richard II', head and shoulders in an oval, directed to right with head turned to left, looking over right shoulder, eyes wide with fear, wearing crown surmounted by small figure of death; thin border at edge of plate.”

See also: Benedict Nicholson, 1968, “John Hamilton Mortimer ARA, 1740-1779”, exh. cat., Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, cat. no. 79 iv; Tim Clayton 1997, “The English Print 1688”–1802. Yale, p. 237; Marcia Allentuck 1993, "New John Hamilton Mortimer Drawings of Shakespearean Characters" Burlington Magazine. vol. 115, no. 845, August 1973, pp. 530 ff.

Condition: crisp, well-inked and well-printed impression trimmed around the image borderline (with loss of the lettered text beyond this borderline), backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. There is a small spot of darkening at the top of the sheet, otherwise it is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or foxing).

I am selling this exceptionally rare and highly sought after etching or AU$420 in total (currently US$306.82/EUR268.77/GBP240.23 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this large and famous masterpiece showing the skeletal figure of Death wearing a feather crown about to dispatch the vain and arrogant Richard II with a pin, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


I don’t imagine that many folk would have difficulty in reading this remarkable image as a comment on the folly of kingly power. After all, Richard II is shown with the tiny feather-crowned skeletal figure of Death lolling within Richard’s crown and about to dispatch him with a VERY long pin. Certainly, this image of Richard as a vain man—what the Met describes as “an arrogant potentate, gorgeously dressed in a turban and jewels” (https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/62.602.162/) —fits well with Mortimer’s aim for his series of twelve Shakespearean characters (in which this etching features) as proposed by Constance C. McPhee (2016):  to “explore a subtle range of tragic emotions and use quotes from the plays to point out the instability of royal power and social position.” (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/shaa/hd_shaa.htm)


Regarding Mortimer’s motivation to explore “tragic emotions”, the following passage is inscribed below the image borderline (sadly trimmed off in this impression):

"For within the hollow crown,
That rounds the mortal temples of a King,
Keeps Death his court, & there the antick sits
Scoffing his State & grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene
To monarchize, be feard & kill with looks
Infusing him with self & vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life
Were brass impregnable & humoured thus
Comes at last & with a little pin
Bores thro' his castle walls & farewell King."
(Richard II, act 3, scene 2)









Saturday, 11 August 2018

Raphael Morghen’s engraving, “La Poesia”, 1827


Raphael Morghen (aka Raffaello Morghen) (1758–1833)

“La Poesia” (aka “Allegory of Poetry”), 1827, after the intermediary design by Pietro Ermini (1774–1850), after the painting in the Palazzo Corsini (Florence) by Carlo Dolci (1616–1686), printed by Luigi Bardi (fl.1814–1843).

Engraving with etching on heavy wove paper with wide margins as published in the final closed letter state.
Size: (sheet) 52.2 x 37.5 cm; (plate) 32.4 x 22.7 cm; (image borderline) 22.4 x 16.3 cm
Lettered on plate below the image borderline with title and dedication to Principe Tommaso Corsini by the engraver followed by two lines of Latin verse; with producer names “Carlo Dolci dipinse / Pietro Ermini dis. / Raffaello Morghen inc. 1827 / Luigi Bardi impresse”.
State v (of v [Halsey 1885]) or xi (of xi [Rijksmuseum])

Halsey 1885 147-5(5) (Frederic Robert Halsey 1885, “Raphael Morghen's engraved works being a descriptive catalogue, ... accompanied by biographical and other notes with a life of the engraver”, New York, p. 132, cat. nr. 147); Palmerini 1824 undescribed (Niccolo Palmerini 1824, “Opere d'intaglio del Cav. Raffaello Morghen”, Florence, Niccolo Pagni)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Half-length woman crowned with a laurel wreath, representing Poetry, after Carlo Dolci; final closed letter state. 1827 Engraving”
See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: crisp, well-inked and well-printed impression with wide margins (as published). The sheet is in near pristine condition with only light signs of handling and a faint stain in the margin at the lower-right corner.

I am selling this delicately beautiful neoclassical engraving of the allegorical figure, Poetry, wearing her usual wreath of laurel leaves and holding a book, for AU$147 in total (currently US$107.39/EUR94.07/GBP84.08 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 masterpiece of engraving displaying extraordinary sensitivity in rendering transitions of tone, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.



Thank goodness that the British Museum has nearly all of the early states for this masterpiece of neo-classical engraving (see the BM online collection: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=La+Poesia+morghen). After all, what the progressive stages reveal is that the engraver, Raphael Morghen, was as mythodical and as sensitive in “bulding” this image so that it glows sublimely as the original great Florentine master, Carlo Dolci, was in capturing the jewel like radiance of his paintings. Indeed, I have just read the introductory notes to the exhibition showcasing Doci’s painting at the Nasher Museum (August 24, 2017– January 14, 2018), “The Medici’s Painter: Carlo Dolci and 17th-Century Florence”, and discovered that “Dolci would recite the litany ‘Ora pro nobis (pray for us)’ between each brush stroke …” (https://nasher.duke.edu/exhibitions/the-medicis-painter-2/). Interestingly, the close-up detail of a painting shown on the cover of the catalogue for the Nasher Museum exhibition is the painting that this engraving reproduces.







Friday, 10 August 2018

Adriaen van Ostade’s etching, “The Gossips”, c1650


Adriaen van Ostade (1610–1685)

“The Gossips” (TIB title) (aka “Two old women in conversation”; “The two housewives” [Rijksmusuem titles]), c1648–1654

Etching with light plate tone on laid paper with small margins, backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 12.3 x 10.9 cm; (plate) 10.4 x 9.1 cm; (image borderline) 10.2 x 8.9 cm
Inscribed on plate: (lower left) "A.v. ostade"
State v (Note: my attribution of this impression to the fifth state is because it matches the fifth state impression held by the BM [S.1508] “with smudge erased”.)

TIB 40 [v] (373) (Leonard J Slatkes [ed.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 1, Abaris Books, New York, p. 352); Hollstein Dutch 40.V(5); Bartsch I.373.40

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Two elderly women gossiping in a village street, a trader in left background, and weighing goods for sale to a group of peasants.”
See also the description offered by the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.38957
See also: Peter van der Coelen 1998, “Everyday life in Holland's Golden Age: The Complete Etchings of Adriaen van Ostade”, ex. cat. Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, p. 144, cat .no. 40.

Condition: crisp, well-inked and well-printed impression with small margins (approx. 1 cm), 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, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this almost iconic image of two elderly women gossiping on the street for AU$242 in total (currently US$176.98/EUR154.38/GBP138.62 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small graphically strong etching from one of the truly great masters of the 17th century, 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


There is so much to examine regarding the body language of these two elderly women gossiping in the street. For instance, I see the lady on the left as chuckling about some event with lightly clasped hands holding her dress while her friend on the right smiles knowingly with fingers tightly intertwined and raised as if thinking inwardly. Going further—and I may be going too far with this next personal reading of these figures—I see the left lady’s bundling of her dress and her outspread shoe angled beyond the lady on the right as character attributes expressing her forceful character while her friend with her slightly hunched posture as projecting a somewhat passive and introverted demeanour.

Beyond the body language of these women, I am also fascinated with how the background supports expressed meanings. For instance, note how the form of the foliage mass behind the ladies is like a visual analogue for a wave of spirited conversation from the lady on the left “landing” on the lady on the right. There may also be meanings to a gleaned by correlating the hive of activity behind the left lady with the serenity of the scene punctuated with a silhouetted cross behind the right lady.







(2nd Copy) Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietricy’s etching, “The Small Waterfalls at Tivoli”, 1744


NOTE THAT THIS IS A SECOND COPY OF THE SAME PRINT THAT HAS BEEN LISTED BEFORE (the previous impression has been sold)

Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietricy (aka Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich) (1712–74)
“The Small Waterfalls at Tivoli” (“Die kleinen Wasserfälle bei Tivoli”, Link title); “Arcadian landscape with waterfall” (“Arcadisch landschap met waterval”, Rijksmuseum title), 1744, published by Johann Friedrich Frauenholz (aka Jean Frederic Frauenholz) (1758–1822)  in Nuremberg.

Etching on laid paper with small margins around the plate mark, backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 10.1 x 15.9 cm; (plate) 9.1 x 15 cm
Signed and dated in the plate at upper right: “Dietricy 1744”.
State iii (of iii) with the Zingg number, “45”, erased from the upper-left corner.

Linck 153-III (III) (JF Linck 1846, “'Monographie der von C. W. E. Dietrich radierten, geschabten und in Holz geschnittenen malerischen Vorstellungen”, Berlin, pp. 251–52, cat.nr. 153); see also the description of this print held by the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.105713.

Condition: richly inked impression with small margins and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The upper left corner margin is restored otherwise the sheet is in a good condition with minor signs of age toning and handling.

I am selling this small but exquisitely rendered etching of the waterfalls and cascades at Tivoli (Italy) for the total cost of AU$160 (currently US$117.09/EUR101.98/GBP91.58 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable nature study showing the effect of raking light on foliage, rocks and water, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Dietricy was a bit of an artistic chameleon in the sense that he had the gift to mimic other artists’ styles. This ability, however, did not mean that his approach to image making was rinsed clean of showing personal stylistic traits. For example, this very beautiful nature study of the waterfalls and cascades at Tivoli is a fine example of his very insightful and somewhat unique approach to portraying spatial depth.

In one sense, Dietricy uses the traditional approach for showing spatial depth by making the foreground waterfalls slightly darker than those further away and employs an increasing amount of white space around each line to suggest an even greater lightening of tone into the far distance. There is, however, another device that Dietricy employs to portray depth and this, I see, as being his personal stylistic hallmark: Dietricy uses a transition from comparatively small, multi-directional cross-hatched strokes to render forms in the foreground to parallel aligned strokes in the middle distance and finally to almost horizontal strokes designed to portray distant mountains and sky.