Monday, 9 October 2017

Philips Galle’s engraving, “Quail Hunt with Quail Pipe and net”, 1578


Philips Galle (aka Philippe Galle; Philippus Gallaeus) (1537–1612)

“Quail Hunt with Quail Pipe and net”, 1578, from the series, “Hunting Parties” (aka “Venationes Ferarum, Avium, Piscium” (transl. “With wild beasts, birds, fish”), after Jan van der Straet (aka Joannes Stradanus; Ioannes Stradanus) (1523–1605).

Note: according to the curator of the British Museum’s explanation about the series, this impression is from the first edition of 43 unnumbered plates that were all engraved by Philips Galle with a dedication page to Cosimo de Medici. After this edition the series was expanded to 104 plates engraved by A. Collaert, J. Collaert, C. Galle I and C. de Mallery with a dedication page to the jurist Henricus van Osthoorn en Sonnevelt (see http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1619537&partId=1&people=93957&peoA=93957-2-70&page=1 and A. Baroni and M. Sellink, “Stradanus 1523-1605: Court artist of the Medici”, exh.cat. Groeningemuseum Brugge 2008-2009, Turnhout, 2012, pp.245–58, cat.nos.32–49.). In the later expanded edition of 104 plates, this plate was numbered “78” at the lower left.

Engraving on laid paper with margins as published in the first edition of 1578 (?) at the top and sides but trimmed unevenly and slightly within the platemark at lower edge.
Size: (sheet trimmed unevenly) 23.7 x 37cm; (image borderline) 20.2 x 29.5 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “Sic Autumnali capitur peregrina Coturnix”; (right) “Tempore, et excipulis effundit sibila linguis.”
State: ii (of iii?) before the addition of the plate number, “78”, as shown in the state iii copy held by the BM (no. 1957,0413.116)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print from the later edition when the plate was numbered:
“Plate numbered 78, Quail Hunt with Quail Pipe and Net; in the foreground, to left, a couple, holding quail pipes, and a child are seated behind a tree, beside a basket of quails; beyond, to the right, quails are caught under nets placed over the fields, where figures gather them into baskets; to far left, two classical villas and a domed building are seen; another domed building is visible in the distance to the right”

TIB 5601.104:35 (Walter L Strauss & Arno Dolders [Eds.] 1987, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 56, Supplement, p. 435); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 455.II (Johannes Stradanus) (Johannes Stradanus); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 455.II (Philips Galle); Baroni Vannucci 1997 693.78 (Alessandra Baroni Vannucci 1997, “Jan van der Straet, detto Giovanni Stradano, flandrus pictor et inventor”, Milan, Jandi Sapi Editori)

Condition: excellent lifetime impression (see explanation above). There is a tear (3.5 cm) in the lower margin right of centre which has been addressed and is now virtually invisible as the print is laid onto a support sheet of conservator’s fine archival/millennium quality washi paper.

I am selling this exceptionally rare, engraving from 1578 for a total cost of AU$244 (currently US$189.28/EUR161.36/GBP144.33 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this fascinating print showing early techniques for catching quail, 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


Following a query about my use of support sheets for early prints such as the one supporting this particular print, I thought I would share a few insights about the process and need for using such a sheet.

The photos on the left show the original state of the print with a tear that had been “fixed” with adhesive tape (“sticky tape”). Sadly, as is usually the case with tapes like this, the tape had deteriorated and no longer held the tear together. More disastrous, however, is that the adhesive had changed colour with time and had become an eye-catching honey yellow.

To remove the old tape, I used ethanol/alcohol with lots of swabbing with tissue paper to draw the adhesive out of the paper. The advantage of using alcohol for this purpose is that it evaporates out of the paper without leaving trace elements. Of course, the alcohol must be diluted to precise proportions (certainly no solution stronger that 75% ethanol) or the paper fibres will be embrittled.

After extracting the tape, the paper was soaked thoroughly in demineralised water to remove evidence of its past history of neglect. This is a part of the cleaning process that needs to be executed in the tropics as the paper is exposed to intense sunlight that ensures that everything organic (especially mould spores) rolls over and dies with its feet up. Essentially the UV of the sun lightly bleaches the paper without the need for any paper-damaging chemicals and without changing the colour of pigments like the carbon black used in printing ink.

In the next stage the thoroughly soaked and well-rinsed paper is laid onto a glued support sheet of fine (tissue thin) archival quality paper—I use the finest paper available that is supposed to last a millennium (hopefully two)—and rice powder glue designed for the archival purposes.

My interest in restoring this print and laying it onto a support sheet was prompted by two issues: the sheet had a tear that would inevitably become a larger tear without physical support, and the sheet had touches of foxing and surface grime that were distracting to the image and with no preventative action would become worse.







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