Sunday, 17 December 2017

Claude Lorrain’s etching “Le port de mer a la grosse tour”, 1641




Claude Lorrain (aka Claude Gellée, Claude; Claude Le Lorrain; Claudio di Lorena) (1600–1682)

“Le port de mer a la grosse tour” [Harbour with Large Tower at the Left], 1641, related to painting on copper in the Musée du Louvre (cat. no. P9).

Etching on fine wove paper trimmed along the platemark with fragmentary image (verso) from the 1784 Paris edition of “Stirpes Novae” as is discussed by Lino Mannocci (1988) in “The Etchings of Claude Lorrain” (p. 28) and by H Diane Russell (1982) in “Claude Lorrain 1600–1682” (p. 300).
Size: (sheet) 12.9 x 19.1 cm; (image borderline) 12.6 x 16.6 cm
Numbered outside the image borderline at lower left (partially trimmed off): “9”
State vi (of vi)—based on Gustav Lorenzen’s (1956) advice, cited by Russell (1982, p. 362), that there is a sixth state datable to c1784.

Mannocci 16; Blum 16; Robert-Dumesnil 13; Knab 139; Duplessis 13; Russell 29

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Harbour with a large tower; five sailors in the foreground.”

Condition: rare crisp and virtually faultless impression (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing). Nevertheless, the back of the print shows marks from where the glue from the print having been mounted in McCreedy’s 1816 folio. The fragment of the coloured engraving from “Stirpes Novae” (1784), which is a hallmark of authenticity in the late impressions taken from the original plates by McCreedy, is arguably delightfully attractive and historically significant.

I am selling this marvellously luminous original etching by Lorrain, for a total cost of AU$383 (currently US$294.75/EUR250.80/GBP221.26 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this famous print by Lorrain, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Note: I have two impressions of this etching. One of these has the fragment image from “Stripes Novae” (as shown in this post) and the other is blank on the back.


If I were asked what “made” Claude Lorrain’s etchings so valued by late 19th century viewers that he developed a cult-like status akin to the esteem held for Rembrandt's etchings, I would argue that Lorrain’s prints exhibit three critically important visual devices.

Arguably the most important of these visual devices is his use of what is termed “contre-jour” (i.e. arranging the subject so that it is in front of—in the sense of partially obscuring—the sun). In this print, for instance, the arresting aspect of the scene is the fact that the viewer is looking into intense light with the almost silhouetted forms of the ships and figures set against this light creating the expression of sparkling luminosity.

Closely linked to the use of contre-jour is the visual device, “clair-obscur”, or what is also called, “chiaroscuro” (i.e. theatrical lighting involving extreme contrast of light and shade). Here, for example, Lorrain employs heighten tonal contrasts to draw attention to the action of figures in the middle foreground and to simplify the form of the tower on the left.

The third visual device is what is called “croquis” (i.e. loosely drawn/“sketchy” treatment of the portrayed subject). This suggestion of speed and intuitive response in the manner of execution of this print projects an aura of honesty to the portrayed subject.

Beyond these critically important visual devices, I also need to point out how carefully he arranged his compositions. Note, for instance, Lorrain's use of framing devices, such as the tower on the left and the “tall” ships on the right, and the way that he created spatial intervals/pictorial zones that act like stepping-stones inviting a viewer to explore the scene from foreground to distance.
For a very interesting examination of the impact of the above visual devices on late 19th century audiences, I thoroughly recommend reading Alison McQueen’s (2003) fab book, “The Rise of the Cult of Rembrandt: Reinventing an Old Master in Nineteenth-Century France” (Amsterdam University Press). 







Saturday, 16 December 2017

Virgil Solis’ woodcut, “David and Goliath”, 1560


Virgil Solis (15141562)

“David and Goliath”, 1560, published by Sigmund Feierabend (1528–1590) and printed by Johann Rasch (fl.1556–1562) and David Zöpfel (aka David Zephelius) (fl.c.1555–1563) as an illustration to the biblical story of David "defeating"/killing Goliath (1 Samuel 17), from the series of 220 woodcut illustrations for Veit Dietrich’s (aka Vitus Theodorus; Vitus Diterichus) (1506–1549) “Summaria vber die gantze Biblia: das Alte vnd Newe Testament …” (Summary of the whole of Bible: the Old and New Testament …). 
(For more details of this publication see: http://www.pitts.emory.edu/dia/image_details.cfm?ID=15654)

Note: regarding the publication in which this print features, the curator of the British Museum advises: “The first edition was published in 1560. [This print with its strapwork frame features in] the second, enlarged edition, with 74 new images and woodcut borders from the 1561 Bible. The New Testament part is wrongly dated 1552 on the title-page.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3139747&partId=1&searchText=virgil+solis+david&page=1)

Woodcut on early laid paper trimmed to the platemark with letterpress German text verso (as published).
Size: (sheet) 12.2 x 15.5 cm
Signed in the block with the artist’s monogram, “VS”, within the centre image at lower left.

TIB 19 (Part 1) (9) 1.50 (316) (Jane S Peters & Walter L Strauss [Eds.] 1987, “The Illustrated Bartsch: German Masters of the Sixteenth Century”, vol. 19 [Part 1], p. 308); Paisey 2002 363 (David Paisey 2002, “Catalogue of German printed books to 1900”, London, BMP); Hollstein 14.1 (device); Hollstein 19

Note that the strapwork borderline shown in this impression is the same as that used in TIB 1.39 (316) but is different to TIB 19 (Part 1) (9) 1.50 (316). I believe that the choice of woodcut frame was not consistent in each edition.

Condition: near faultless early impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing), trimmed to the strapwork borderline

I am selling this superb woodcut created in 1560 for a total cost of AU$128 (currently US$97.99/EUR83.38/GBP73.56 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small but powerful 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


Strapwork borders, such as the one framing this scene of David preparing his sling shot with a rock that is only slightly smaller than the size of his head, are interesting developmentst to the art of book illustration in the late 16th century. In one sense the decorative borders give gravitas to the meanings expressed by the images that they frame (i.e. the scene is made to appear “important”).  In another sense the ornamental borders separate the portrayed scene from the written descriptions so that an image may be “read” in a slightly independent and self-contained way from the accompanying text.






Addendum to the previous post: Claude Lorrain’s “Le Toupeau à L’abreuvoir”


Claude Lorrain (aka Claude Gellée, Claude; Claude Le Lorrain; Claudio di Lorena) (1600–1682)

“Le Toupeau à L’abreuvoir” [The Herd at the Watering Place], 1635, related to painting on copper in the Musée du Louvre (cat. no. P9).

Etching on fine wove paper trimmed close to the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 16.5 x 23 cm; (image borderline) 10 x 16.6 cm
Inscribed below the image borderline: (left) “C 4 [?] CLAV”
State iii (of iii)
Mannocci 16; Blum 11; Robert-Dumesnil 4; Knab 123; Duplessis 41; Russell 25

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “The herd at the watering-place; a man watching cows and a goat drinking at a river. 1635 Etching”

Condition: rare crisp and virtually faultless impression, nevertheless, the lower right corner is chipped and the left corner is lightly creased. Beyond these minor issues there are no tears, significant folds, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing.

I am selling this exceptionally rare original etching by Lorrain showing the usually removed large margins between the image borderline and the platemark, for a total cost of AU$400 (currently US$306.23/EUR260.57/GBP229.89 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this 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
(I had only one impression of it with the full margins)


In the previous post I shared my delight and agreement with the explanation offered by H Diane Russell (1982) for the curiously large margins of this print. After two clients expressed interest in purchasing the previously listed impression, I decided to extend the discussion about the possible reasons for the margins by showcasing a rare impression with the margins still intact and other documented ideas about Lorrain’s choice to have margins.

Before I begin, however, I need to point out that Lorrain may not have been entirely comfortable with the scratches, the “faults” (e.g. the mysterious imprint of a “break” in the ground on the left edge of the image borderline) and the inscribed marks (like those at the lower right), as there are early impressions showing that these “acts of nature” had been masked during printing so that the resulting impressions have featureless/blank margins.

One explanation for the margins is offered by the arts writer, Gustav Lorenzen, who, according to Lino Mannocci (1988) in his catalogue raisonné, “The Etchings of Claude Lorrain” (Yale University Press), proposes: “the rupture to the left of the herdsman might have been caused by the tongs used for lifting the copperplate” (p. 126). This idea seems plausible but Mannocci points out that “such an accident would occur much closer to the edge of the plate and almost always on the longer side of the rectangle” (ibid).

Another idea is that Lorrain was simple choosing the least damaged parts of an already abused plate in which to “frame” his composition. I think that one could put a line through this idea as the layout of the plate is too symmetrical for such selective positioning of the composition … and I doubt that Lorrain would have had trouble in erasing/burnishing away problematic marks if they truly worried him.

The third idea I will leave for the great Sir Francis Seymour Haden who insightfully commented “It is not a settled plate, but a sketch made at the back of another plate, probably of the “Herd of cattle in a storm”, which is just below it, and which is identical in size” (op. cit.).





Friday, 15 December 2017

Claude Lorrain’s etching “Le Toupeau à L’abreuvoir”, 1635


Claude Lorrain (aka Claude Gellée, Claude; Claude Le Lorrain; Claudio di Lorena) (1600–1682)

“Le Toupeau à L’abreuvoir” [The Herd at the Watering Place], 1635, related to painting on copper in the Musée du Louvre (cat. no. P9).

Etching on wove paper (trimmed at the time of publication by McCreery in his 1816 edition of “200 Etchings” printed from the original plate).
Size: (sheet) 10.3 x 17 cm; (image borderline) 9.9 x 16.5 cm
Inscribed below the image borderline: (left) “C 4 [?] CLAV”
State iii (of iii)

Mannocci 16; Blum 11; Robert-Dumesnil 4; Knab 123; Duplessis 41; Russell 25

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “The herd at the watering-place; a man watching cows and a goat drinking at a river. 1635 Etching”

Condition: crisp, near faultless impression in superb/museum quality condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions stains or foxing). The verso shows traces of the early glue marks (removed) when the print was mounted in McCreedy’s (1816) folio edition of “200 Etchings”. The verso also features a fragment image from “Stirpes Novae” which was used by McCreedy as the paper stock for the “200 Etchings” folio as discussed by Lino Mannocci (1988) in “The Etchings of Claude Lorrain” (p. 28) and by H. Diane Russell (1982) in “Claude Lorrain 1600–1682 “(p. 300).

I am selling this original etching from the 1816 edition by McCreery, executed by the one of the most famous of the early landscape artists, for a total cost of AU$378 (currently US$290.12/EUR245.76/GBP216 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this seemingly rapidly drawn composition by one of the major old masters, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


I have multiple copies of this print for sale


Before McCreedy trimmed this print for his 1816 publication, “200 Etchings”, this impression would have had exceptionally wide margins (approximately 3 cm on each side) between the platemark and the image borderline. I know this to be a fact as I have another impression, also pulled by McCreedy, which retains the curiously wide margins.

Tonight, when researching this print I discovered a sensible explanation offered by H Diane Russell (1982) in “Claude Lorrain 1600–1682 “ (exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington) for the large margins that were once an integral part of this print: “The answer is obviously speculative, but … the print suggests a fresco on a wall, in the manner of antique wall painting and of frescoes by Tassi and his assistants at the Villa Lante, where Claude was possibly employed as a garzone” (p. 147).  Wow! This argument sits well with me as I see the loose manner of the drawing and the composition itself as having a connection to the flat surface of a wall.

For those that are wondering about the verso side of the print which features lines from another image, McCreedy was like many of the 19th century printmakers in seeking out the “best” paper stock to use for his prints. Interestingly, McCreedy had a love affair with the paper stock on which “Stirpes Novae” was printed and he chose to use the back of these prints for some (all?) of his etchings pulled from the old master plates. Even some of Rembrandt’s prints pulled from the original plates by McCreedy feature lovely flowers printed on their backs (see my earlier blog post on Rembrandt where I list one of these).







Thursday, 14 December 2017

Jan van de Velde II’s engraving with etching, “Tobias and the Angel”, 1620–41


Jan van de Velde II (c1593–1641)

“Tobias and the Angel”, 1620–41, plate 3 from the series of four etchings, “The Story of Tobias”, after Moyses van Wtenbrouck (aka Moses van Uyttenbroeck) (1590/1600–c1647)

Etching and engraving (with significant areas of restorative retouching) on laid paper trimmed along the image borderline (with loss of the lines of text) and lined onto a conservator’s support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 15.3 x 20.8 cm
As the lines of text have been trimmed from this impression, I am unable to determine whether this is a first or second state impression (the second state has the plate number inscribed at the lower right). Nevertheless, the impression is very crisp and the tonal contrasts are strong and this suggests that the print is from the first state.

Franken & van der Kellen 1883 45.47 (D Franken & J P van der Kellen 1883, “L'oeuvre gravé de Jan van de Velde II”, Amsterdam); Hollstein 9.I (F W H Hollstein 1949, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450–1700”, Amsterdam)


Condition: crisp impression with numerous areas of significant restorative retouching, trimmed along the image borderline and laid upon a support sheet of washi paper. Evidence of the brown staining is still apparent on those areas of the print that have not been restored.

I am selling this genuine etching by Jan van de Velde II for AU$167 (currently US$127.89/EUR107.94/GBP95.25 at the time of this listing including postage to anywhere in the world) more as a document of how it might once have looked like, rather than as an original print executed entirely by the hand of the artist. This is definitely not a print that I recommend for purchase by a collector seeking a pristine/museum quality impression as the amount of restoration is significant.

If you are interested in purchasing this rapturously beautiful image despite the areas of restoration, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


Although I envisage that some collectors will be disheartened that I am showcasing a significantly restored print, my reason is simple: this is an exceptionally beautiful composition.

For those unfamiliar with the biblical story of “Tobias and the Angel” the following very abridged timeline sequence of events may be helpful:

- Tobias’ father, Tobit, becomes blind after bird droppings landed in his eyes when he slept;

- Tobit directs Tobias to embark on a trip to distant Media with the mission of collecting money that has been deposited there;

- an angel, named Raphael (shown here), chooses to accompany Tobias on his journey along with Tobias’ dog (shown barking at geese);

- Tobias almost loses his foot to a fish (shown here in Tobias’ hand) when he tries to bathe in the river;

- Raphael (the angel) advises Tobias to catch this fish, remove its heart, liver and gall bladder;

- after arriving in Media, Raphael suggests that Tobias should marry a demon-troubled lady named Sarah who has the misfortune that all her previous husbands die on their wedding night;

- on the wedding night, Tobias cooks the fish guts (the heart, liver and gall bladder) and, not surprising for some, the dreadful fumes drive the demon away;

- Tobias returns to his father after securing the requested money and decides to rub the fish guts (the gall, to be specific) into his father’s eyes to see if this would cure his blindness … it does!

(My apologies to those who know the full story of Tobias and the Angel)






(before restoration)

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Léonard Gaultier’s engraving, “The Prophet Jeremiah”, c1622/49


Léonard Gaultier (aka Léonard Gautier) (c1561–c1635)

“The Prophet Jeremiah” (Le Prophete Jeremie), c1622/49, from the series of 17 engravings, “The Prophets”, published by Jean Messager (c1572–1649).

Engraving on fine laid paper with printed text verso lined onto a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 13.7 x 13.2 cm; (image borderline) 12.3 x 12.3 cm
Lettered on banner at upper left: “LE PROPHETE IEREMIE.”
Inscribed: (lower left) “I. Messager excudit.”; (lower right) “L. GauLtier incidit.”

Condition: crisp impression with margins and printed text verso (as published) laid onto a support sheet of washi paper. The sheet is in pristine condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, stains, folds or foxing).

I am selling this spectacularly well-executed image of the Prophet Jeremiah—famous for his liturgical writings around the time of Nebuchadnezzar— for AU$89 in total (currently US$67.35/EUR57.37/GBP50.43 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/pristine condition, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print is reserved pending confirmation about its purchase


Sadly, my knowledge of the prophets at the time of Nebuchadnezzar (the famous king of Babylon) is alarmingly thin and so my explanation of Jeremiah’s role as a prophet in communicating God’s words is bound to be flawed. Nevertheless, I understand from a very brief stint of bible study this evening that he is remembered for confronting false prophets and for wearing a yoke—the type fitted to oxen—to symbolically demonstrate that God controls his people (like oxen) and those that please God by siding with Nebuchadnezzar will be blessed, whereas those that are not appropriately subservient will be sliced and diced by the sword, or die by famine or plague (see Jer. 27: 4–8).







Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Adriaen van Ostade’s etching, “Slaughter of a Pig”, c1652


Adriaen van Ostade (aka Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade) (1610–1685)

“Slaughter of a Pig” TIB title (aka “Le Charcutier” Bartsch Title), c1652

Etching on 18th century laid paper trimmed along the platemark and lined onto washi paper inlaid into archival wove paper.
Size: (re-margined sheet) 31.1 x 29.7 cm; (plate) 11.7 x 11.7 cm; (diameter of circular image borderline) 11.3 cm
Signed on plate at lower left within the circular image: “AV. ostade”
State vi (of viii) before the addition of the seven “short, horizontal strokes on the lower left of the pole on the left side of the composition”, signifying the seventh state, and the horizontal strokes covering the whole pole, signifying the eighth and final state (see Leonard J Slatkes et al., 1994, “Adriaen van Ostade: Etchings of Peasant Life in Holland’s Golden Age”, exh. cat., Georgia Museum of Art, p. 204; see also an example of the eight state at the British Museum, no. 1980,U.1680).

TIB 1.41-III (373) (Walter L Strauss & Leonard J Slatkes [eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol.1, p. 352); Hollstein 41; Bartsch I.373.41; Godefroy 41; Boon-Verbeek 41; Davidsohn 41

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“The Pigkillers. Night scene with a group of peasants standing at centre, and watching a pig being slaughtered by a man who kneels on its flank, a woman holding a pan ready to receive the entrails; in a circle.” (http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=3093835&partId=1&searchText=ostade+pig&page=1

Condition: well-inked, crisp and well-printed impression in excellent condition within the circular image borderline, but with significant abrasions and restored losses in the square margin area. The sheet has been laid upon a washi paper support sheet and re-margined with the washi paper support sheet having been laminated over a cradle of archival quality wove paper.

I am selling this crisp and luminous impression with strong tonal contrast for AU$360 (currently US$272.62/EUR231.49/GBP204.05 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this graphically strong image, 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


This image of a peasant family killing a pig in the evening may seem horribly gruesome and confronting to contemporary eyes—at least to my delicate eyes unaccustomed to seeing such a scene. Nevertheless, to early Netherlandish viewers acculturated to such an everyday rural activity, the slaughter may have been perceived not as a backyard bloodbath as I see it, but as a celebration of and/or anticipation of the annual holiday of Slachtmaand (the slaughtering month)—November. In fact, I understand from reading Leonard J Slatkes et al., 1994, “Adriaen van Ostade: Etchings of Peasant Life in Holland’s Golden Age”, exh. cat., Georgia Museum of Art (p. 205) that the subject was not simply a scene of slaughter by candlelight. Instead, it expresses the dual notions of prudentia (prudence) and vanitas (life’s brevity), as expressed by other printmakers who also depicted this scene, such as Rembrandt and Pieter Breugel the Elder.