Stefano della Bella (1610–1664)
“Moorish Cavalier” (aka “Un cavalier nègre, se dirigeant vers la gauche”; “A negro horseman, heading to the left”), 1648, the first plate from a series of 11 unnumbered round plates, “Negro, Polish and Hungarian Riders” (“Cavaliers nègres, polvnais et hongrois”; De Vesme & Massar 270–280)”, signed and dated on the plate with royal privilege (French Crown).
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed close to the platemark.
Size: (sheet) 18.4 x 18.2 cm; (image borderline dia.) 17.8 cm.
Signed and dated on plate within in the image borderline: (right of centre at lower edge) “[ligature monogram of the artist] S D Bella f/ 1648”.
Interestingly, neither the De Vesme & Massar’s catalogue raisonné (1972) nor the British Museum in their descriptions of this print mention the faintly inscribed signature and date, but the scratched inscription is visible in the reproduction of the plate in the catalogue and on the impression held by the BM (see https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_X-5-69). Note also that this inscription must have worn off in later impressions (cf. http://www.theprintscollector.com/Article/Antique-Master-Print-MOOR-WARRIOR-HORSE-Della-Bella-ca-1640).
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) S. D. Bella. F.”; (right) Cum Priuil. Regis.
State ii (of ii) with the addition of the lettered text.
De Vesme & Massar 270 (Alexandre De Vesme & Phyllis Dearborn Massar 1971, “Stefano Della Bella: Catalogue Raisonné”, New York, Collectors Editions, [text vol.] pp. 86–87, cat. no. 270; [ill. vol.] p. 72); Jombert (Della Bella) 175–2 (Charles Antoine.Jombert 1772, “Essai d'un catalogue de l'oeuvre d'Etienne de la Belle, peintre et graveur florentin”, Paris, p. 170, cat. 175–2).
De Vesme & Massar (1971) offer the following description of this print:
(Transl.) “A negro horseman, heading to the left. He wears his bow and quiver behind his back and holds an arrow with his right hand, which remains hidden. In the background, to the left [are] Turks standing or seated; on the right, a negro holding a horse by the bridle. A little further, in the middle, several galloping riders. In the background, on the right, a town in which we can make out a mosque.” (pp. 86–87).
See also the description of this print offered by the Rijksmuseum:
Condition: strong and well-printed early impression showing no sign of wear to the printing plate—for example, the very fine “scratched” artist’s monogram, date and the guide lines for the lettered text are still visible—trimmed close to the platemark. There is a dot stain on the upper right of the borderline and the lower left corner has a tear, otherwise the sheet is in a good condition for its considerable age.
Note: this is the second copy of this print that I have listed. The previous impression has been sold.
I am selling this masterwork of etching by Della Bella for AU$442 (currently US$317.31/EUR270.15/GBP244.96 at the time of posting this listing) 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 bold image of a vain-glorious horseman in an almost regal poise with what I see as horse riding tournaments in the middle and far distance, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold