Thursday, 2 May 2019
John Skippe's chiaroscuro woodcut, “A Group of Monks and a Woman”, c1781–83, after Rubens
John Skippe (1742–1812)
“A Group of Monks and a Woman”, c1781–83, after Peter Paul Rubens’ (1577–1640) drawing in the collection of Mrs A C Rayner-Wood, published in the brown variant by Torre & Co (fl.1760–1799) in London in a series described as lettered on the title-page to the published folio: "Part the first: / containing [probably meaning 'including'] / ten prints / engraved in / chiaro oscuro, [sic] / after / original drawings / of the following masters: / in the collection of / John Skippe, Esq; / Parmegiano, / Rafael, / Andrea Mantegna, / M. Angelo, / Rubens, / Pierino del Vega." Regarding the number of prints in the series, the exact number seems a little cloudy, nevertheless, the Curator of the British Museum advises “[Rudolph] Weigel  incompletely lists 34 prints … and dates the series to 1781” (see BM nos. 1972,U.417.16 & 1972,U.417.1). The Curator also notes that there is a copy of Rubens’ drawing in black and white chalk in the Albertina (Vienna), inv.no.8240 (described under Rooses 1494).
Chiaroscuro woodcut printed from four blocks in tones of brown on laid paper, trimmed along image borderline and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 38.3 x 23.5 cm.
Inscribed on plate at upper right: “P: P: Rubens inv. / Joan: Skippe scul."
Schneevoogt 1873 70.46 (C G Voorhelm Schneevoogt 1873, “Catalogue des estampes gravées d'après P.P.Rubens", Haarlem); Weigel 1865 7803 (Rudolph Weigel 1865, “Die Werke der Maler in ihren Handzeichnungen; Beschreibendes Verzeichnis der in Kupfer gestochenen, lithographierten und photographierten Facsimiles von Originalzeichnungen grosser Meister”, Leipzig); Nagler 13.
See variants of this woodcut printed in green, olive, grey-brown, and brown at:
The National Gallery of Art
The British Museum (https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1637084&partId=1&searchText=john+skippe+Rubens&page=1).
The British Museum also holds a copy printed in four tones of green
Condition: crisp impression trimmed along the image borderline and laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper. The upper left and lower right corners are replenished along with a nick on the left edge and there is a flattened centre-fold, otherwise the sheet is in a clean state (i.e. there are no significant stains, foxing or signs of use) for its considerable age.
I am selling this rare woodcut involving four colour blocks of different tones of brown for the total cost of AU$330 (currently US$231.68/EUR206.82/GBP177.58 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).
If you are interested in purchasing this English version of the Italian approach to chiaroscuro woodcut prints—note for example how Skippe has not relied upon an outline (key block) as is often the case in German chiaroscuro woodcuts (see Durer’s “Rhinoceros”) and avoided the German abutment of colour-tones (see the prints of Erasmus Loy) favouring instead the Italian preference for superimposed colour-tones (see Ugo da Carpi’s “Diogenes”) —please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold