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Saturday 4 June 2016

Eustache-Hyacinthe Langlois (1777–1837)
“La Tyrannie”, 1816

Etching on fine wove paper attached to a support sheet
Size: (sheet) 5.3 x 25.8 cm
Signed and dated on plate: 'E. Hyacinthe Langlois du Pont de l'Arche, Inv. del. & sculp. 1816', and captions identifying the main figures.

IFF 18 (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, Paris, 1930)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “A busy frieze inhabited by many allegorical figures interacting with each other; at far left is Death; at centre, Tyranny; at far right, Time. 1816 Etching” (

Condition: crisp impression trimmed to the image borderline and professionally attached with archival glue to a support sheet of fine washi paper. There is a 2 cm tear that is virtually invisible on the left side of the image.

I am selling this historically significant and beautifully etched frieze by Langlois for AU$162 (currently US$119.33/EUR104.99/GBP82.21 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this very rare print that is rich with allegorical references to France in the Neo-Classical period, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Sometimes a great print has to be seen in its historical context for its meaning to be fully appreciated. This is certainly the case with Eustache-Hyacinthe Langlois’ amazing frieze of figures in turmoil.

I suspect that if I were to mention that the artist was imprisoned during the French Revolution and that he was pardoned from military service by none other than Napoleon's wife—Joséphine de Beauharnais—then these potent morsels of information might help to explain why the words like “justice” and “tyranny” are inscribed at the upper edge of the image. Going further, if I were then to mention that the artist’s early training was under the tutelage of Jacques Louis David, I suspect that the hallmarks of Neo-Classicism underpinning the stylistic approach would then become very apparent.

Beyond the historical context framing this wonderful print, there is one other aspect to the artist that may be interesting when examining it: Eustache-Hyacinthe Langlois is known in artistic circles as the "Norman Callot"—because of his amazing skills as a printmaker-illustrator and for his devotion to preserving his Norman heritage. To my eyes this frieze of figures has all the hallmarks of an artist searching for a way to crystallise his heritage and the important issues of his time in a small image with monumental scale.

Eustache-Hyacinthe Langlois fought hard to establish his personal identity and the following short account by Louis Gabriel Michaud (1859) in "Langlois (Eustache-Hyacinthe)" illustrates his strong character and pride very clearly:

“During a period of hardship Langlois made a sketch of a piece of furniture for a manufacturer who promised to pay 500 francs for a detailed drawing. After much effort Langlois presented the finished work, but the manufacturer now offered just 300 francs. Langlois tossed the drawing into the fire and walked out, his pride intact and his pocket empty” (p. 191).

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