Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Jules Jacquemart’s etching of a rock crystal cup with a scalloped rim

Jules Jacquemart (aka Jules Ferdinand Jacquemart) (1837–80)
Plate 41: “Jatt de Crystal de Roche” [EL] or “Drageoir de Cristal de Roche” [BM], 1864, from the series “Gemmes et Joyaux de la Couronne au Musée du Louvre”, printed by Auguste Delâtre (1822–1907) and published by Henry Barbet de Jouy

Etching with plate/surface tone on laid paper with full margins (as published).
Size: (sheet) 54.5 x 37 cm; (plate) 38.8 x 28 cm; (image borderline) 34 x 26.6 cm
Inscribed within the image (lower centre) “Jules Jacquemart delin. & sculp.”
Lettered above the image (upper left corner) “PL. 41”; (upper centre) “MUSÉE DU LOUVRE.”
Lettered below the image (centre) “Imp. Delȃtre, Paris.”
To see the complete series see Elizabeth Legge gallery:
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
Gonse 146.II (Gonse, Louis, “Jules Jacquemart”, Gazette des Beaux-Arts)

Condition: large, superb impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, folds or foxing, but there are a couple of small spots) with generous margins.

I am selling this remarkable illustration of a rock crystal cup from the Louvre collection for AU$118 (currently US$87.75/EUR82.62/GBP70.40 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this large etching of the highest order of technical skill, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This is the third illustration by Jacquemart that I have posted of objects in the Louvre collection. This particular image is probably the ultimate display of virtuosity that one can find. It is a standalone visual statement of the remarkable skill of the top illustrators from the 19th century.

Jacquemart is arguably the finest illustrator of still life objects in terms of using only line (i.e. without blocks of tone or colour) to render the subtle differences of surface texture, opacity and sheen separating crystal, stone and metal. Not only was Jacquemart able to convincingly represent each material, but he was also able to suggest the delicacy and the weight of each object.

To fully appreciate what makes an artist like Jacquemart a true master of his craft, one only has to examine the way that he has drawn the rim of this cup and see how he has phrased the strength of the line from strong and dark in the foreground to delicate and faint further back. Moreover, even within each scalloped curve, he has varied the strength of the line.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Jacob van Ruisdael’s etching, “The Great Beech with Two Men and a Dog”, c. 1651–55

Jacob Isaaksz van Ruisdael (also “Ruysdael”) (c.1629–82)
“The Great Beech with Two Men and a Dog”, c. 1651–55, from McCreery’s 1816 edition of “200 Etchings” pulled from the original plates
Etching on fine wove paper trimmed on or within the platemark (as published by McCreery) and lined onto a conservator’s support sheet
Size: (sheet) 19.7 x 28.3 cm
Inscribed in lower margin: "Ruisdael f.".
State II (of II)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Two farmers with their dog; landscape with the farmers on a road in lower left, walking through a forest, a mature and gnarled tree in right foreground. c.1650” (
Slive EII; Bartsch I.312.2; Hollstein 2.II

Condition: crisp, richly inked and rare impression. The upper right corner has been reattached on the conservator’s support sheet and there is a small loss to the left margin and a reattached section to the left margin; otherwise, the sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no stains, folds, foxing or signs of use).

I am selling this very beautiful impression of one of Ruisdael’s most celebrated etchings for AU$400 in total (currently US$298.38/EUR281.44/GBP239 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this very famous original etching by the almost legendary old master, Jacob van Ruisdael, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Artists’ relatives are sometimes responsible for dreadful acts to prints so let me begin …

I remember reading somewhere—and my memory could be playing tricks on me—that Ruisdael’s son thought that his dad’s original composition for this print lacked “finish” and decided to add what he believed to be necessary improvements; that is, he decided to fix up his father’s print by reworking it. 

(Note: many writers are not specific about who reworked this plate and use the broad description: “by other hands”. Their generic description of the culprit(s) may be appropriate as Weigel (1843) and Dutuit (1885) propose that there was a third state with further reworking. Notwithstanding these writers’ proposal of further reworking of the plate, Jonas Umbach [1624–93] made a reverse copy of Ruisdael’s print featuring the details of the reworked plate as shown here and this confirms that the changes were made within a few years of Ruisdael’s death. Seymour Slive’s (2001) in his catalogue raisonné on Ruisdael [pp. 604–05] discusses these issues.)

To solve what his son perceived to be a lack of pictorial information in the upper left of the sky, he added the cumulus clouds using very clumsily laid horizontal strokes in the surrounding sky to make the clouds appear fluffy white. The son also perceived that the original composition (i.e. state i) lacked tonal variety. In a sense this is true, because his father bit the printing plate with acid only twice to achieve the dark tone of the foreground tree and the light tone of the distant trees. To remedy this perceived shortfall, the foreground tree was enlivened with darker lines. Clifford S Ackley (1981) in his fabulous, “Printmaking in the Age of Rembrandt”, offers the following insight about these lines: “Heavier etched shading outline the fallen tree trunk and the rock, so that they stand out as separate entities rather than forming part of a painterly unity” p. 227).

Regarding the wriggly lines in the sky at the top right, these are not by Ruisdael’s son. Instead, they are accidents—arguably serendipitous—resulting from craquelure breaks in the etching ground. This fault is not uncommon and De Groot (1979) points out that this issue also occurs in Rembrandt’s “The Little Stink Mill”—a windmill (see Slive [2001], p. 604).

Monday, 28 November 2016

Cornelis Bloemaert’s small masterpiece of engraving, “Cat with a Mouse” (continued)

Cornelis Bloemaert II (1603–92)
“Cat with a Mouse” (Katze mit einer Maus), c.1625, after Hendrik Bloemaert (1601/02–72)
Engraving on fine laid paper unevenly trimmed to the image borderline and with some of the text line cut off.
Size: (sheet) 14.4 x 10.5 cm
Inscribed: (lower right) “C. Bloem Sculp.”; (lower margin partly trimmed) “Siet hoe de Kat nu Sit gerust,”
Provenance: Library of the late Marianne C. Gourary and previously with Christopher Mendez (his note on mount states: “probably Hollstein 320”).

The Philadelphia Museum of Art offers details about this print, see:|1 ; see also the Rijksmuseum: (and click “Objectgegevens”)
Swann Auctions offer the following description and an estimate of the value of this print (albeit the impression actioned by Swann was not, I believe, as fine a copy as this impression):
Hollstein Dutch 320 (FWH Hollstein, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts ca. 1450–1700”, p. 82); 2.; Roethlisberger H11 (Marten Jan Bok & Marcel George Roethlisberger, “Abraham Bloemaert and his sons: paintings and prints”, p. 447)

This is an exceptionally rare print that is not held in the British Museum and undoubtedly an early impression (lifetime) as the print quality is simply superb.

Condition: strong, richly inked, well-printed impression trimmed to the image borderline and with the text line cut. The sheet is in faultless/pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, stains, folds or foxing).

I am selling this rare 17th century engraving of a cat and its mouse for AU$409 in total (currently US$304.68/EUR287.69/GBP245.73 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this startlingly real depiction of a cat who has brought its owner a surprise treat in the form of a tiny mouse, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

This is one of the minor miracles of 17th century engraving. What makes it stand out from the many other remarkably well-executed engravings is how well the engraver, Cornelis Bloemaert (son of the great master, Abraham Bloemaert) expresses the form of the portrayed cat as solid but softly muscled. For example, whereas a lesser artist may have rendered the whole cat in minuscule curved strokes as a way of representing the cat’s fur, Bloemaert has not laid any strokes at all on those areas of the cat that are in full light and has refrained from using memetic curved hair-like strokes in the shadows. The only places where the artist has used marks designed to replicate the individual hairs is on the half-lights. Another indicator that this is a well-thought out drawing, is the use of white lines (i.e. “fake” lines where the line work in the background creates the effect of a white line simply by the absence of drawing a line at all) designed to represent the cat’s whiskers. In short, there is so much knowledge, insight and subtlety shown in this engraving that the end result is that this print is not a collection of lines—it is a living cat that has a cat’s ability to command attention and to be noticed!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Léonard Gaultier’s engraving of the Prophet Nahum

Léonard Gaultier (aka Léonard Gautier) (c.1561–c.1635)
“Prophet Nahum” (Le Prophete Nahum), c.1622/49, from the series of 17 engravings, “The Prophets”, published by Jean Messager (c.1572–1649)
Engraving on fine laid paper with thread margins and with printed text verso.
Size: (Sheet) 13.1 x 13 cm
Lettered on a portrayed banner at upper right. “LE PROPHETE NAHVM”.
Inscribed: (lower left) I. Messager excüdit.”; (lower right) “L, Gautier incidit.”; and with annotation letter-keys: “a”, “b” and “c”.

Condition: crisp impression with narrow margins and printed text verso. The sheet is in excellent condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, stains, folds or foxing).

I am selling this spectacularly marvellous image of the Prophet Nahum—famous for his liturgical writings around the time of the downfall of Assyria (612 BC)— for AU$89 in total (currently US$66.16/EUR62.57/GBP53.08 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world. If you are interested in purchasing this early engraving in superb condition, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

My understanding about prophets is very thin, but I do know that at the time when this print was executed that the meaning of prophecies was not limited to foretelling the future. The word "prophecy" also carried the meaning of proclaimed truth, in the sense that a prophet acted as a messenger for proclaiming God’s words.

I needed to address this meaning as it is important to the way that the Prophet Nahum—the ”comforter”—is portrayed. To illustrate Nahum's role as God's messenger who hears God's words and proclaims them to the world, Gaultier portrays God  at the upper left corner with hand gestures that I read as giving instructions to Nahum. The Prophet, shown in the foreground, mirrors the Lord’s raised right hand gesture as a symbolic way of showing the communion between God and the Prophet. 

As a messenger of God’s words, the book shown at the Prophet’s feet is no doubt symbolic of his role on earth to share, communicate and proclaim the Lord’s words. Going further, I suspect that the sailing ship shown heading out to sea on the right is not an incidental scenic feature. I perceive that its role in this image is to symbolise the spreading of the Nahum’s prophecies.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Adriaen van der Cabel’s etching, “Extensive Landscape with River, Mountains, and Village”

Adriaen van der Cabel (aka Adriaen van der Kabel) (1631–1705)
“Extensive Landscape with River, Mountains, and Village” (Le paysage au grand lointain) , 1660–1700, plate 5 in the series, “Landscapes VI” (only five of the six landscapes have been identified by Bartsch), published by N Robert (1650–1700; fl. c.) using a French privilege. (Interestingly, the BM proposes that this publisher may be “identified with Nicolas Robert, the painter of vélins”. If this is true then the date of the print may be narrowed to between 1660 and 1685 as Nicholas Robert died in 1685.)

Etching on fine laid paper with watermark, small margins around the image borderline and stamped (verso) with a collector’s mark
Size: (sheet) 23.1 x 35 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) "Adr. Vander Cabel jnu. et fecit. Cu. priuil. Regis."; (right) "N. Robert ex. Cu. P. R.".
State i (of ii) before the number '5' is added to the text line. This must be a very early impression as the fine burnishing marks left on the plate from its original polishing are clearly visible. (Note: later impressions do not have these tiny “scratch” marks as the inking and wiping process involved in printing the plate wears them away.)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Plate 5: Landscape with a draped woman conversing with a seated man in lower right corner, a fisherman seated on a river-bank beyond, trees on either side, towns and mountains in the background; on full sheet; from a series of six prints (7ème) showing landscapes.” (
Hollstein 48.I (F W H Hollstein, 1949 “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam); Bartsch 4 (5).42 (254) (Walter L Strauss, 1979, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 5 New York, , p. 253; Adam Bartsch, 1803 “Le Peintre graveur”, vol. 4, Vienna)

Condition: A richly inked and well-printed early (lifetime) impression from the first state. There is a flattened fold mark (only visible verso), a few tiny tears at the margins, mounting hinges, pencil notations and a stamp on the back of the sheet from previous collectors; otherwise the sheet is in excellent condition for its age.
I am selling this remarkably strong, museum quality, lifetime impression from the late 17th century for a total cost of AU$297 (currently US$220.78/EUR208.79/GBP177.13 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you wish to purchase this rare landscape print exemplifying the classical tradition, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

I have been collecting prints by Adriaen van der Cabel for many years and the reason for my fascination is simple: I like the way in which he composes his landscapes.
To explain what I mean about this artist’s compositions, I need to draw upon two much earlier traditions of landscape imagery dating back to Joachim Patinir (c.1480–1524) and Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525–69): the Weltlandschaft (German for “World Landscape”) and—to borrow the term coined by Max Dvořák—“Mannerist inversion.”

Regarding the Weltlandschaft/World Landscape, this tradition celebrated elevated views of landscape constructed with all that is spectacular in an ideal world: grand mountains, statuesque trees, vast stretches of water and a sprinkling of monumental buildings with folk dressed from an Olympian past engaged in symbolic acts. This print exemplifies all these attributes of the Weltlandschaft tradition and presents the key ingredients in an endless moment.

Regarding the tradition that Dvořák’ perceived as “Mannerist inversion”, what this approach to composition involves is to give maximum attention to the landscape as the key subject of the image rather than the figures portrayed within it. In the case of van der Cabel, his use of figures leans towards them being generic folk—staffage for the landscape—rather than “real” people.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Paul Edme Le Rat’s etched portrait from the Rohan Collection

Paul Edme Le Rat (aka Paul Edme Rat; Paul Edme Lerat; Paul Edmunde Le Rat) (1842/49–92
"Portrait d'Homme” from the Rothan collection, late 1800s.
Etching with remarque on chine-collé on cream laid paper with wide margins with a signed (in charcoal?) and hand-written dedication to the painter, printmaker and draughtsman, Edmond Hédouin (1820–89).
Size: (sheet) 56 x 37 cm; (plate) 23 x 17 cm; (image borderline) 16 x 12.3 cm
Inscribed in the plate below the image borderline: (left) “Le Rat sc”; (centre) “Collection be [de?] Mr Rothan”
Remarque proof before formal lettering with publication details.

Condition: superb, richly inked and well-printed impression and remarque with exceptionally wide margins. The sheet is lined onto a conservator’s support of fine washi paper. The sheet is in very good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, significant stains or foxing) but it does have traces of use (i.e. minor dustiness and a few handling marks towards the edges of the sheet). The hand-signed inscription is intact but difficult to decipher. My view that the inscription is dedicated to Edmond Hédouin may be incorrect.

I am selling this hand-signed and eye-catching etching by Le Rat, for a total cost of AU$117 (currently US$87.08/EUR82.23/GBP70 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you wish to purchase this rare print with its fascinating remarque image of a woman, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Le Rat is one of the better known of the nineteenth century reproductive printmakers (i.e. artists who were able to translate/copy other artists’ artworks into etchings and engravings ready for publication). Like many printmakers towards the end of that century, however, Le Rat was fully aware that prints with remarques (i.e. lightly incised “test” images usually seen immediately below the image borderline)—like this impression—made the prints desirable and very marketable outside of their ultimate use as book illustrations.

Originally, remarques were strictly functional in terms of being quickly drawn “test” images on the printing plate designed to assist the artist when etching and engraving. Before publication, test images were erased as they were never intended to be an integral part of the finished print..

Notwithstanding their intended function, late nineteenth-century collectors sought to acquire these proof prints with remarques because they were rare. Unsurprisingly, artists were not blind to this potential market, and created especially appealing remarque proofs to satisfy the collectors’ passion for these proof states.

What fascinates me about this remarque, featuring a back-view of the upper-half of a clothed woman, is that it bears little or no relationship to the main image.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Aegidius Sadeler’s engraving (with etching) of the stigmatization of Saint Francis, after a drawing by Jan Breughel

(upper image) Aegidius Sadeler II (aka Gillis Sadeler; Egidius Sadeler; Ægedius Saedler) (c.1570–1629)

(lower image) unidentified copyist after Aegidius Sadeler II. This print is referenced in The Illustrated Bartsch (1998, vol. 72, Part 2 [Sup.], p. 13) as a copy in reverse (see 7201.219C3).

“Rocky Landscape with the Stigmatization of Saint Francis”, c.1595–c.1620 after a drawing by Jan Breughel the Elder (1568-1625) (Note: I have altered the date “1590” offered by the British Museum to “c.1595” as Breughel’s drawing on which this print is based was executed in c.1595, consequently, the earlier date must be an oversight.)

Both impressions: etching and engraving on fine laid paper lined on a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (Sadeler sheet) 21.2 x 28 cm: (copy in reverse) 20.5 x 27.3 cm
Inscription on the Sadeler print: (lower left) “Iohan Breugel inve[nt] E.G. Sadler scalp.”; (lower right margin) “Marco Sadeler excudit”
Inscription in copy in reverse: (lower right) “Br. Inve”

Bartsch 7201.219S2 and 7201.219C3 (1998, vol. 72, Part 2 [Sup.], pp. 12–13); Nagler 1835–52, no. 221; Le Blanc, no. 197; Wurzbach, no. 103; Winner 1972, p. 125; Hollstein 1980, vol. 21, no. 212.
Note: The British Museum does not hold a copy of the Sadeler print, but it does have an impression of the copy in reverse; see

Condition: the Sadeler impression (state ii of ii) is slightly silvery compared to the copy in reverse with is a richly inked and strong impression. Both impressions are laid on conservator’s support sheets. The Sadeler is in perfect condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, holes, folds or foxing). The copy in reverse as a small restoration at the lower left corner, restoration at the upper right corner and a small loss/tear at the lower right corner.

I am selling this exceptionally rare pair of prints—the British Museum, for instance, does not have a copy of the Sadeler in its vast collection—for a total cost of AU$410 (currently US$303.08/EUR286.75/GBP243.21 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you wish to purchase this almost luminous pair of prints from the late 16th century, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

These prints have been sold

What is fascinating about this pair of prints—one by Aegidius Sadeler II and the other by an unidentified copyist after Sadeler’s print—is to see how each artist attends to the rendering of details. For me, what is especially revealing is that Aegidius Sadeler’s copy of Jan Breughel’s drawing—now in the British Museum (see 1946,0713.147)—loses in the comparison contest in terms of how contour strokes represent the form of rocks. Of course, the copyist’s print also matches the original drawing’s orientation. This is an interesting outcome, because the copyist’s print shows an image that has been mirror-reversed twice to end up with the “correct” orientation.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Lambrecht Hopfer’s etching after Albrecht Dürer, “The Flagellation”

Lambrecht Hopfer (aka Lambert Hopfer) (active c.1525–50)
“The Flagellation”, c.1530 (BM c.1520–50), after Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528) engraving from the “Small Passion” series
Etching on fine laid paper printed in a brown-black ink with small margins and stamped (verso) with the collector’s mark “Graphischen Sammlung Muchen’ (Lugt 1614)
Size: (sheet) 15 x 9.8 cm; (plate) 13.9 x 8.8 cm
Incised with the Funck number “197” (certifying that this was from the early 17th century David Funck, Nuremberg, edition) at the lower left and with the artist’s monogram on a tablet at the upper right corner.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The Flagellation; after Dürer (Meder 8); Christ tied to the column at centre, facing left; two henchmen armed with a scourge and bundle of twigs at left and r; from a series of fifteen etchings after Dürer's Small Passion.” (
Hollstein 7.I (Hollstein, F W H, “German engravings, etchings and woodcuts c.1400-1700”, Amsterdam, 1954); Bartsch VIII.527.7 (Bartsch, Adam, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna, 1803)

Condition: a superb, richly inked and crisp impression with small margins. This is a print of the utmost rarity and in near faultless condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, stains, folds or foxing). There is a collector’s stamp “Graphischen Sammlung Muchen’ (Lugt 1614) and other collectors’ notations (verso).

I am selling this remarkable print from the son of the acclaimed first printmaker to create an etching (Daniel Hopfer), for a total cost of AU$676 (currently US$501.48/EUR472.05/GBP403.57 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you wish to purchase this stunningly beautiful and rare print from the Renaissance era, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Seldom do rare prints like this one come onto the market.

Even rarer is to find an impression that is virtually faultless, in terms having no stains, abrasions, tears, losses, worm holes, folds, or foxing. Even more outstanding is that the line work in this impression is crisp with very little wear. This crispness to the line work is surprising when considering that this print is from an iron plate and that iron plates rust and this corrosion will feature in later prints.

Beyond the superbly fresh condition of this impression, what makes the print rare from a historical standpoint is that it is one of the first etchings ever made—mindful that Lambrecht is the son of Daniel Hopfer who history accredits with having made the first iron etching. What is also fascinating is that it reproduces a fellow contemporary printmaker’s engraving from the time: the grand master, Albrecht Dürer.