Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Salomon de Caus’ design for the etching “Cave with fountain: Ball raised by a jet of water”, 1615


Salomon de Caus (1576–1626) (designer); unidentified etcher
“Cave with fountain: Ball raised by a jet of water”, 1615, Plate 2 from Book 2 in “La raison des forces mouvantes” (The reason of the moving forces), published by John Norton (Frankfurt, 1615).

Etching with plate tone on fine laid paper with printed text and two woodcut prints verso.
From the 1624 edition (an attribution based on signs of light wear to the plate).
Size: (sheet) 32.3 x 22.9 cm; (plate) 30.8 x 21 cm; (image borderline) 29.2 x 20.3 cm

See illustrations from the 1624 edition of this book published by C Sevestre (Paris) at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b2100042f/f1.planchecontact

Condition: good impression of the etching (recto) with some wear to the plate and the woodcut prints (verso) are richly inked, crisp impressions.  The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, stains, abrasions or foxing).

I am selling this fascinating image of exceptional rarity designed by one of the most important engineers of the Baroque age who is famous for his fountains, follies and animated garden features—as seen in this amazing fountain design—for the total cost of AU$226 (currently US$168.03/EUR149.50/GBP130.45 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable design for a garden grotto exploring hydraulic principles of water jets and steam-driven pumps, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This startling image is a fountain designed by Salomon de Caus who is one of the most famous engineers of what the Met Museum describes as “automata or trick fountains and water jokes in the seventeenth-century garden” (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/49.122/). The fountain featured here is set in a grotto with a ball suspended on a single jet of water. What makes this particular fountain design very special is that it illustrates one of the first uses of steam driven pumps to create sufficient force that a ball could be shot skywards. In fact, the use of steam to drive devices such as this fountain was so novel and such an engineering feat that it earned de Caus the title of being the inventor of the steam engine. Sadly, he wasn’t the inventor as history has since proved, but at the time the hydraulic principles underpinning this jet of water and the eight water-spitting grotesque critters making merry havoc made de Caus a highly sought after designer for the French, German and English nobility.






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