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Sunday 19 January 2020

Jan Luyken's etching, “Joseph is Sold to Merchants on his Way to Egypt”, 1708

Jan Luyken (aka Jan Luiken) (1649–1712)

“Joseph is Sold to Merchants on his Way to Egypt” (aka “Joseph werd door syne broeders verkoft”; “Joseph est vendu par ses Freres” [titles inscribed in Dutch and French on plate]; “Joseph was Sold by his Brothers”), 1708, originally published by Pieter Mortier I (1661–1711) in 1708 in Amsterdam as Plate 8 (illustration) to Gen: XXXVII. v. 27 in “Icones Biblicae Veteris et Novi Testamenti” (Icons of Biblical Old and New Testament). This impression was published in 1729 in Amsterdam, by Jan Covens (aka Johannes Covens) (1697– 1774) and Corneille Mortier (aka Cornelis Mortier) (fl.1688–1729).

Etching on laid paper with small margins and centre-fold as published (see the original margins shown on the copy of this print held by the Amsterdam Museum:
Size: (sheet) 35.9 x 49.3 cm; (plate) 34.4 x 44.9 cm; (image borderline) 32.9 x 43.9 cm.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Edit à J. Covens et C. Mortier.”; (left of centre) “Joseph werd door syne broeders verkoft. Gen: XXXVII. v. 27”; (right of centre) “Joseph est vendu par ses Freres. Gen: XXXVII. v. 27”; (right) “Johannes Luyken Inv: et Fecit. / 8.”

State ii (of ii) with the change of publisher from Pieter Mortier I to his son, Corneille Mortier and Corneille’s brother-in-law, Jan Covens, and the erasure of the privilege. Lifetime/early impression (based on the crisp quality of the lines showing no sign of wear to the printing plate).

Van Eeghen 3697 (Pieter van Eeghen & Johan Philip van der Kellen 1905, “Het werk van Jan en Casper Luyken”, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller & Co., vol. 2, p. 660, cat. no. 3697).

This publication is available for online viewing or free download at (note that the page numbering is challenging and the URLs below are helpful):

Van Eeghen (1905) offers the following description of this print:
(transl.) “On the left near the pit are the sons of Jacob, more backward their flocks.  On the right the Midianite merchants and their caravan.” (p. 660/287)

The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print in its first state:
(transl.) “Joseph's brothers sell him for twenty pieces of silver to passing Ishmaelite merchants who take him to Egypt”

Condition: richly inked and well-printed early impression, with small margins and flattened centre-fold in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, losses, abrasions, significant stains, foxing or signs of handling). The centre-fold verso still has flattened remnants of the glue that once held the print in the book.

I am selling this superb lifetime impression, for AU$230 (currently US$158.12/EUR142.56/GBP121.50 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 magnificent etching executed with extraordinary detail and with a grandness of vision that I envisage would have impressed even Cecil B DeMille—the almost legendary film maker known for his breathtakingly epic productions (1914–1958)—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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