Gallery of prints for sale

Saturday 3 October 2020

Pierre Duflos’ etchings, “Crocodile” and “Hippopotame”, late 18th century

Pierre Duflos (1742-1816)

“Crocodile” and “Hippopotame”, late 18th century, after an inscribed, but difficult to decipher name on both plates at lower left, that I read as “Borel”—possibly Antoine Borel (1743–c1810).

Although I am unable to find where these etchings were published, I propose (and I may be very wrong) that they may be illustrations to a late 18th century edition of Pliny the Elders’ (aka Gaius Plinius Secundus) (AD 23/24– AD 79) “Naturalis Historia.” Beyond the border frames and the titles which suggests to me a natural history encyclopedia, Pliny discusses crocodiles and hippopotami in his writings. See, for example, Pliny’s account of crocodiles and hippopotami in the unillustrated volumes published by Henry G. Bohn (London 1855), vol. 1, p. 380 (; Pliny’s insight into how to treat crocodile bites with the plant, Potamogeton, mixed with wine in vol. 5, pp. 172–173 (; and, his discussion of uses of crocodile products (viz. their teeth filled with Frankincense as an aphrodisiac; stones from a crocodile’s stomach for fever relief; crocodile fat for treating general maladies; the ashes of the crocodile mixed with vinegar and the smell of its burning skin as an anaesthetic) in vol. 5, pp. 314–315 (

Etchings trimmed close to the image borderline and backed with a single support sheet.

Size: (support sheet) 31.8 x 35.5 cm; (individual sheets) 14.1 x 8.5 cm; (inner image borderline) 13 x 8 cm.

Inscribed below the image borderline with the title at centre and at left, “Borel […?] and at right “P. Duflos sc.”

Condition: strong and well-printed impressions but with very faint publication details. The two sheets are laminated onto a single support sheet that consists of several layers of archival (millennium quality) washi paper moulded to inset the prints.

I am selling these small be visually arresting illustrations of wild animals interacting with locals that (to my eyes) reveal that the artist had never seen them in life—note, for example, the size of the hippo compared to the men on horseback and the curiously formed crocodile’s neck— for AU$286 in total for the pair (currently US$204.96/EUR174.938/GBP158.42 at the time of posting this print) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 pair of fascinating scenes of life on the Nile—note that the left scene illustrates a well-documented but shocking approach to catching a crocodile involving using a live bait (viz. a goat but in this case a plump child), hiding until the crocodile attacks the bait and shoving a length of wood into its mouth—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This pair of prints has been sold

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know your thoughts, advice about inaccuracies (including typos) and additional information that you would like to add to any post.