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.

This print has been sold


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)

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