Saturday 31 December 2016
Pantograph reproductive engraving of Ignaz Graf von Hardegg
Unidentified 19th century engraver
“Ignaz Graf von Hardegg”, 1830
Engraving on wove paper
Size: (sheet) 24.9 x 16.8 cm; (image borderline) 14.7 x 12.7 cm
Inscribed below the image borderline in two lines: “IGNAZ / GRAF VON HARDEGG,”
Condition: crisp impression in pristine condition.
This print may be of a low monitory value, but it is of great value to those interested in rarely seen technical processes. This print has been executed using a pantograph (a mechanical device usually employed to copy images) to trace the contours of a low relief sculpture in a matrix of vertical lines. If anyone is interested in acquiring this extraordinary print, I am offering it for AU$25 (currently US$18/EUR17.13/GBP14.58 at the time of this listing) in combination with the sale of other print(s).
This print has been sold
This is far from being an important engraving even though the subject portrayed, Ignaz Graf von Hardegg (1772–1848), is a famous Austrian cavalry general and a skilled commander during the Napoleonic Wars. The attribute that sets it apart from the plethora of other engraved portraits from the 19th century is the technique used to reproduce the low relief sculpture of the general.
At first glance from a distance, the engraved line work of the print merges beautifully together to reveal the subtle modelling of the sculpture. Closer examination—close enough to use a jeweller’s loupe—the detail of the line work reveals the extraordinary technique used. Essentially the whole image consists of finely laid vertical lines where slight curves within each line captures the contours of the original sculpture.
The technique is simple enough, in that the vertical lines are scored mechanically by a pantograph. The real skill, however, lies in setting up the mechanism so that it only inscribes vertical lines that almost “touch” each other and the angle adjustment of the tracing stylus that moves over the sculpture to create the degree of contouring within the lines. (My apologies to users of a pantograph for reproductive engraving if my descriptions are not accurate.)