Saturday, 29 April 2017

Francesco Bartolozzi’s stipple etching, “Thomas Earl of Surry”, after Hans Holbein, 1795


Francesco Bartolozzi (1728–1815)
“Thomas Earl of Surry”, 1795, after Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8–1543), from the famous series of 86 plates, “Persons of the Court of Henry VII”, published by John Chamberlaine (1745–1812) and printed by William Bulmer (1757–1830).

For details about the book from which this print was extracted, see the description of the copy held by Heritage Book Shop: http://www.heritagebookshop.com/details.php?id=65216

Original colour (a la poupée) stipple etching on light pink wove paper, trimmed within the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 28.4 x 22.4 cm; (image borderline) 25.3 x 20.1 cm
Lettered within the image: (upper left) “Thomas Earl of Surry”
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) "From the Original Drawing by Hans Holbien [sic]”; (centre) "IN HIS MAJESTY’S COLLECTION. / Published as the Act directs. April 1. 1795 by I. Chamberlaine”; (right) "Engrav’d by F. Bartolozzi, R.A. Historical Engraver to his Majesty.”


Condition: extraordinarily delicate and beautifully printed impression trimmed within the platemark. The sheet is in excellent condition but with a small stain on the lower image borderline.

I am selling this superb example of colour stipple etching for the total cost of AU$252 (currently US$188.66/EUR173.35/GBP145.76 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkably fine print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


According to Gordon Norton Ray (1976) in “The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790 to 1914”, this print (and the others in the series, “Persons of the Court of Henry VII”) represents a milestone in colour printing and Ray advises that it "is surely the finest early example of English color printing” (p. 20). The technique is intaglio in the sense that the stippled dots on the printing plate are etched but the fascinating part of the process is that the colours are applied with balls of rag (a la poupée—trans. "with a doll") directly onto the printing plate before it is rolled through the press (i.e. the colour is not the result of watercolour washes applied to the print AFTER printing).

Ray (1976) also points out that Holbein's portraits were "drawn with chalk, upon paper stained of a flesh colour” (ibid).  To simulate Holbein’s flesh-coloured paper, Bartolozzi has matched the colour of Holbein’s paper with the colour of the paper chosen for this print. Small details like this reveal Bartolozzo’s dedication to his role as a reproductive printmaker of the highest order.






Friday, 28 April 2017

Francesco Bartolozzi’s stipple etching, “The Lady of Richmond”, after Hans Holbein, 1795


Francesco Bartolozzi (1728–1815)

“The Lady of Richmond”, 1795, after Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8–1543), from the famous series, “Persons of the Court of Henry VII”, published by John Chamberlaine (1745–1812) and printed by William Bulmer (1757–1830).

Original colour (a la poupée—a printing technique using small wads of fabric [a la poupée means "with a doll"] to add colour to the printing plate before it is rolled through the press) stipple etching on light pink wove paper (the same colour that Holbein had used for his original drawing), trimmed along the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 31.4 x 22.5 cm; (image borderline) 25.7 x 19.3 cm
Lettered within the image: (upper left) “The Lady of Richmond.”
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) "From the Original Drawing by Hans Holbien [sic]”; (centre) "IN HIS MAJESTYS COLLECTION. / Published as the Act Directs. Jan […] 1. 1795, by I. Chamberlaine.”; (right) Engraved by F. Bartolozzi, R.A. Historical Engraver to his Majesty.”

Calabi & De Vesme 1928 (Calabi, Augusto; De Vesme, Alexandre, “Francesco Bartolozzi. Catalogue des estampes et notice biographique d'après les manuscrits de A. De Vesme entièrement réformés et complétés d'une étude critique par A. Calabi”, Milan, Guido Modiano, 1928); O'Donoghue 1908-25 (O'Donoghue, Freeman; Hake, Henry M, “Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum”, 6 vols, London, 1908)

Condition: extraordinarily delicate and beautifully printed impression trimmed along the platemark. The sheet is in near faultless condition but I can see the lightest of abrasions (almost invisible) above the left breast.

I am selling this superb example of colour stipple etching for the total cost of AU$296 (currently US$221.38/EUR202.38/GBP171.21 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkably fine print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


I suppose every family has a monster in its closet. Even the sweet face of young Mary shown here, who is known formally as The Lady of Richmond—the only daughter of Thomas Howard, third Duke of Norfolk, by his second Duchess, Elizabeth, daughter of Edward Stafford Duke of Buckingham—is only a thin disguise for a dreadful monster who brought a raft of evidence against her brother, Henry Earl of Surrey, in his iniquitous trial in 1546.

For those with a taste for history, Mary was married at a very early age to Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond, who was a natural son to King Henry VIII, by the wife of Lord Talboys. I understand that her title, “The Lady”, was meant to denote her husband’s indirect relation to royalty. Mary’s husband, Henry Fitzroy, was a close friend of Mary’s brother. Sadly, Henry died when Mary was barely seventeen and only ten years before Mary brought a damning body of evidence against her brother in his trial. There must have been extraordinary circumstances driving Mary to denounce her brother in court.

(Note: the above discussion is based on published documentation from 1795 accompanying this print and there may be factual inaccuracies.)






Thursday, 27 April 2017

Luigi Fabri’s huge etching of Michelangelo’s “Libyan Sibyl”


Luigi Fabri (aka Aloysius Fabri) (1775/78–1835)
“Libyan Sibyl” (La Sibilla Libica), 1831-34, from the series of 37 plates, “Volta Della Cappella Sistina” (of which Fabri etched 13 plates), published by Calcografia Camerale (Rome), after the drawing by Francesco Giangiacomo (1782–1864) of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s (1475–1564) fresco in the Sistine Chapel.

Etching on heavy wove paper with margins (as published?).
Size: (sheet) 96.5 x 67.5 cm; (plate) 88.7 x 59.5 cm; (image borderline) 82.5 x 55 cm
Inscribed within the image: (upper left) “MICHAEL ANGELUS / BONAROTIUS / PINXIT”; (upper right) “IN SIXTINO / VATICANO / SACELLO”
Lettered in the plate below the image borderline: (left) “Franc. Giangiacomo del.”; (centre) “GREGORIO DECIMO SEXTO PONT. MAX. / Rome ex Calcographia R.C.A.”; (right) “Al. Fabri scul.”

National Institute for Graphics / Istituto Centrale per la Graficaoffers offers a description of this print:

Condition: richly inked, excellent impression with generous margins. This is an exceptionally large print. The image area is in near faultless condition but the margins show signs of handling with kinks, small dents and tears, folds and light soiling.

I am selling this immense (absolutely huge!) etching of Michelangelo’s very famous “Libyan Sibyl” for the total cost of AU$360 (currently US$268.75/EUR246.85/GBP208.33 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this visually stunning print, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


I was leafing through Bernadine Barnes’ (2010) scholarly book, “Michelangelo in Print: Reproductions as Response in the Sixteenth Century”, and stumbled upon a proposed reason why reproductive printmakers tended to focus on Michelangelo’s paintings of sibyls and prophets more than other images in the Sistine Chapel. Sadly, I’ve lost the place in the book where this idea was proposed, but it makes sense to me: these figures were the easiest for draughtsmen to examine looking up to the ceiling without craning their heads too uncomfortably (my apologies to Barnes if my memory of the proposal isn’t quite right). I like answers like this that are rooted in fundamental creature comfort as I too would be a tad lazy as an artist if I were to choose a section of the ceiling to spend hours upon hours to draw.

After reading this idea I had a look at photographs of the ceiling to see where the biblical luminaries were positioned and then the thought hit me: I now know why Michelangelo shows some architectural features as if one is looking upwards—which of course one does when looking up to the ceiling—and yet he shows an eye-level view of the sibyl’s head. In fact Michelangelo shows even a slightly higher than eye-level view of this head. The answer is simple: the pendentive (i.e. the curved triangle of vaulting) upon which the sibyl is painted, is vertically curved around the sibyl’s feet but “flattens” out to a vertical-eye-level view towards the head. For me this is fascinating … I had forgotten about anamorphic projection!






Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Luca Ciamberlano’s engravings after Polifilo Giancarli, 1628


Luca Ciamberlano (aka Ludovico Ciamberlano; Lucas de Urbino) (fl.1599–1641)
Three ornamental panels, 1628, after Odoardo Fialetti (1573–1626/1627), after the designs by Polifilo Giancarli (fl.c.1620–57), published by Giuseppe de' Rossi (1560–1639) in a series of twelve friezes (cited by Gori) of foliage with figures and monsters, “Des rinceaux dórnements et des frises …”. (See the title page for this set of friezes at the V & A:   http://m.vam.ac.uk/collections/item/O111153/title-page-for-a-set-print-giancarli-polifilo/)
(Note: Odoardo Fialetti’s set of prints, “Verscheyden Aerdige Morissen van Polifilo Zancarli geordineert”, are reduced in size, in reverse and published by Claes Jansz. Visscher (1587– 1652) in 1636; see, for example, the Fialetti’s copy of the lower panel held by the British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1449920&partId=1&searchText=Giancarli&page=1)

Upper panel:
“Ornamental Frieze with Winged Nudes, Putti, and Foliage”, 1628, engraving with light plate tone on fine laid paper with margins lined upon conservator’s support sheet. Size: (sheet) 20.4 x 53.5 cm; (plate) 11.7 x 45.8 cm. TIB 44 (20). 3–[6] (56) (Walter L Strauss [Ed.] 1983, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 44, p. 195)

Middle panel:
“Ornamental Frieze with Old Female Satyr on a Dolphin, and Foliage”, 1628, engraving with light plate tone on fine laid paper with margins lined upon conservator’s support sheet. Size: (sheet) 20.4 x 53.6 cm; (plate) 11.6 x 45.2 cm. TIB 44 (20). 3–[8] (56) (Walter L Strauss [Ed.] 1983, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 44, p. 197)

Lower panel:
“Ornamental Frieze with Fantastic Creatures and Foliage”, 1628, engraving with light plate tone on fine laid paper with margins lined upon conservator’s support sheet. Size: (sheet) 20.5 x 54 cm; (plate) 12.2 x 44.6 cm. TIB 44 (20). 3–[9] (56) (Walter L Strauss [Ed.] 1983, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 44, p. 198)

Condition: crisp, excellent impressions with generous margins in good condition for the age of the prints, laid onto a conservator’s support sheet of fine washi paper. There are worm holes, a centre fold as published (professionally flattened) and signs of handling. Each sheet has the plate number inscribed by an ancient hand in ink within the image borderline at the upper right corner.

I am selling this set of three extraordinary and very rare engravings for the total cost of AU$540 (currently US$403.71/EUR370.49/GBP314.77 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing these designs epitomising the spirit of the Italian Baroque age, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

These prints have been sold


Regarding the designs for this set of panels, the V & A Museum offers the following insights: “This type of ornament recalls the XVIth century mannerism style, with its anthropomorphic and metamorphic figures and animals shown amongst foliated [sic.]. Here the richness and strong rhythm of the friezes, creating lively movement, reflect Baroque tendencies of the seventeenth century.” (http://m.vam.ac.uk/collections/item/O111153/title-page-for-a-set-print-giancarli-polifilo/)

Leaving aside my personal fascination about the type of mind that concocted this entwined mixture of plant and figures, I decided to focus this discussion on two very different lines of enquiry concerning these prints: How long would they have taken Ciamberlano to engrave? How much did they cost at the time (i.e. the early 17th century) to buy one?

Regarding the commitment of time necessary to engrave plates like these—and being mindful that some printmakers in the 17th century were prone to exaggerate (e.g. Baglione’s estimate that Philippe Thomassin engraved at a rate of 6163 sq. mm per day)—my understanding is that the time is close to 5000 sq. mm per day. Presuming that this rate is fairly accurate, then each of these panels would take around eleven days to engrave. Of course, the engraving process is far slower than etching, in the sense that an engraved design would take about three times as long to execute than an etching, and so an etching of the same panel might be completed in around three to four days. (For riveting insights into the time taken to create printing plates in the 17th century, see Michael Bury’s [2001], “The Print in Italy 1550–1620”, pp. 44–5.)

Regarding the cost of prints, Bury advises that Ciamberlano was paid (wholesale costs) 7 scudi per plate from 1609 to 1614. I had a bit of trouble converting the value of the scudi coin to today’s values but I did discover that a Cardinal who is second to the Pope earned 4000 scudi a year. Moreover, the cost of a permit to marry your cousin was 700 scudi. (So expensive!!!!) If one takes a loaf of bread as a point of comparison, then a loaf cost two baiocchi in the 17th century and as there are one hundred baiocchi in a scudi then a scudi is worth fifty loaves of bread (i.e. AU$250). This means that if I wanted Ciamberlano to make an engraving for me, I should expect to pay AU$1750 (currently US$1306.94/EUR1200.85/GBP1019.55). In terms of how much an individual print would cost, I understand that 1000 impressions was not uncommon from an engraved plate at the time (with ongoing refinements) and so I guess that this would make each print worth AU$1.75 before any profits were added.










Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Daniel Hopfer’s etching, “Ornament with Acanthus”, c.1505–36


Daniel Hopfer (1471–1536)
“Ornament with Acanthus” (Une plante d’acchante), c.1505–36, from the C. Wilhelm Silberberg (1802) edition

Etching on heavy wove paper (C. Wilhelm Silberberg [1802] edition) with margins laid on a conservator’s support sheet
Size: (sheet) 29.1 x 20.4 cm; (plate) 23.5 x 15.8 cm; (image borderline) 22.5 x 15.1 cm
Signed with monogram at lower centre: “D H”

TIB 17.93 (496) (Walter L Strauss & Robert A Koch [Eds.] 1981, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 17, p. 168); Bartsch VIII.496.93; Hollstein 104.I; Funck 137; Eyssen 97

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Ornament panel with thistle motifs; against cross-hatched background; two large birds in upper corners, another, smaller bird at lower left. Etching” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1520829&partId=1&searchText=hopfer&page=2)

Condition: richly inked, crisp impression with generous margins in excellent condition, laid onto a conservator’s sheet of fine washi paper.

I am selling this iron etching by the legendary Daniel Hopfer—the first artist to use etching for prints on paper—for the total cost of AU$184 (currently US$138.68/EUR127.42/GBP108.16 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkably complex and very beautiful design from the Renaissance era, 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


When I first saw the British Museum’s description of this print and read that the interwoven plant in the design was a thistle I was happy to have the plant identified. After all European plants are often different to those found in Australia. After consulting the catalogue raisonné volume on Hopfer in “The Illustrated Bartsch”, however, my joy dissipated as the title in this august reference showed that it was an acanthus. Mmm … this was a problem for me as my conception of the shape of an acanthus leaf was the rather broad leaf plant gracing Corinthian capitals on columns. After a quick Googling, I discovered the Acanthus Montanus (aka Bear's Breech or Mountain Thistle) that has the same fine shaped leaf as shown in this print. Conundrum solved!

Regarding the reprinting of Hopfer’s plates—mindful that this impression is a late one from the 19th century—TIB offers the following information:
“Many of the etched iron plates of the Hopfers survived their lifetimes and were reprinted much later. In the 17th century a Nuremberg publisher named David Funck numbered 230 of these plates and issued a volume entitled ‘Opera Hopferiana.’ In 1802 a publisher named C. Wilhelm Silberberg in Frankfurt-am-Main reissued 92 plates with the Funck numbers in a volume with he also entitled ‘Opera Hopferiana.’ The plates were printed on unnumbered pages of a heavy wove paper.” (Robert A Koch 1981, “Editor’s Note” in “The Illustrated Bartsch” vol. 17, [n.p. 7])





Monday, 24 April 2017

Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gourdaine’s etching “Bust of a Cossack”, 1787


Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gourdaine (aka Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gordaine) (1745–1830)
“Buste d’un Cosaque” (Bust of a Cossack), 1787

Etching on cream wove paper (early 19th century impression) with narrow margins and the collector’s stamp of A Thomassin (Lugt 184) recto. (Note: the dealer from whom I purchased this print advised that it was printed on vellum but I doubt that this is true and so I have described it as wove paper instead.)
Size: (sheet) 7.8 x 6.8 cm; (plate) 7 x 6.1 cm
Inscribed in the plate very lightly (almost indecipherably) at top left: “N f 1787”

Hillemacher 1848 66.II (Hillemacher 1848, “Catalogue des estampes qui composent l'oeuvre de Jean-Pierre Norblin”, Paris)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Cossack, bust-length, facing front, with head leaning to left, on white ground; second state, with long lock of hair falling over right shoulder. 1787 Etching” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1533930&partId=1&searchText=Norblin+&page=2); see also the description at https://collections.artsmia.org/art/105163/bust-of-a-cossack-jean-pierre-norblin-de-la-gourdaine

Condition: crisp and faultless early 19th century impression with small margins in near pristine condition. There is a red collector’s stamp (A Thomassin [Lugt 184]) recto.

I am selling this extremely small and etching composed and executed in the tradition of Rembrandt for AU$106 (currently US$80.20/EUR73.91/GBP62.70 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this minature masterpiece, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This is a tiny print but it fits into a large tradition of making small portraits dating back to Rembrandt.

What makes this print interesting for me with regard to this tradition is the understanding shown by Norblin in his use of the figure’s silhouette edge. What I mean by this, is that he has chosen not to show any details in the background so that the silhouette shape of the head with the tilt of the head and the subtle bumps in the figure’s clothes become “special.” Note, for instance, the figure’s right shoulder (i.e. the shoulder on the left side of the image) and how the undulations in the chap’s jacket help to visually explain the loose “fit” of the jacket. Going further, note also how Norblin reveals though his layered adjustments/corrections (pentimenti) his commitment to ensure that the figure’s silhouette shape “talks to” the figure’s three-dimensional form.






Sunday, 23 April 2017

Étienne Delaune’s engraving of “The Virtues: Hope”, 1576


Étienne Delaune (aka Stephanus) (c.1518–83)
“The virtues: Hope”, 1576, from a series described by The Metropolitan Museum of Art as “oval prints with two theological virtues and the four cardinal virtues, represented by women standing on landscapes …” (http://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/751439)

Engraving on laid paper trimmed to the oval image borderline.
Size: (oval sheet) 7.3 x 5.2 cm
Inscribed: (upper left) "SPES"; (left) "STEPHANVS / IN. F"; (lower left) "S F". (Note: Étienne Delaune signs his prints either as “Stephanus”—as shown here—or as “S. Goldsmith”)

Pollet 1995, 371 (Christophe Pollet 1995, “Les gravures d'ED”, 2 vols); Robert-Dumesnil 157a (A P F Robert-Dumesnil 1835, “Le Peintre-Graveur Français”, 11 vols.)

Condition: crisp and faultless impression trimmed to the image borderline. The back of the sheet shows a closed small tear (not visible recto), thin spots and a mounting hinge.

I am selling this small and very beautiful engraving executed in exceptionally fine detail for AU$162 (currently US$122.14/EUR114.03/GBP95.40 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this small masterpiece, 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


The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers the following description of this print:
“This print represents Hope, wearing a draped dress, one hand on her chest and the other lifted at her side, her eyes looking to the sky, and a halo around her head. Behind her is a medieval town, its people and a group of soldiers gathered around a fire on which naked women are burning, an angel among them.” (http://metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/751439

This description is fine in terms of what can be seen in this tiny engraving, but as an explanation of what is portrayed it is a tad wrong and the following account may be closer to the truth.

The scene depicted has a biblical origin dating to the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. The folk being burned in a furnace are not “naked women” as the Met proposes, but rather the three Jewish men—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who refused to worship a golden idol when ordered by Nebuchadnezzar and were cast into “a fiery furnace” as punishment. Fortunately for the men, an angel protected them during their ghastly ordeal and they later emerged unscathed from the flames “without even the smell of smoke” (see chapter 3, “Book of Daniel”). Interestingly, Nebuchadnezzar was impressed with their faith and “promoted them to high office, decreeing that anyone who spoke against their God should be torn limb from limb” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadrach,_Meshach,_and_Abednego).