Gallery of prints for sale

Saturday 24 July 2021

Jean Jacques de Boissieu’s etching, “Les Petits Charlatans”, 1773

Jean Jacques de Boissieu (aka Jean Jacques de Boissieux) (1736–1810)

“Les Petits Charlatans” (The little Charlatans), 1773

Etching on buff-coloured chine collé on white wove paper trimmed with a small margin around the platemark and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 26.3 x 30.2 cm; (plate)  20.1 x 27 cm; (chine collé) 19.6 x 26.9 cm; (image borderline) 19.6 x 25.8 cm.

Inscribed in plate with the artist’s monogram and date at lower left corner.

State v (of v) with the added asterisk beside the date (state iv) and the dot between the artist’s monogram and the date (state v). Note that there are arguments to the number of states and the issue seems to rest with subtle changes to the dot between the monogram and the date.

Perez 67 (Marie-Félicie Perez 1994, “L'Oeuvre gravé de Jean-Jacques de Boissieu”, Geneva, Éditions du Tricorne, p. 154, cat. no. 67); IFF 67 (Département des Estampes 1930, “Inventaire du Fonds, Français: graveurs du XVIIe siècle”, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale).

Perez offers the following description of this print:

(Google Transl.) “To the left of this print, on a theatre leaning against the ruins of the Arch of Titus, a charlatan, dressed as a Turk, shows the audience a pot he is holding in his right hand, at the height of his face. A young man, wearing an egret turban, carries under his arm a box and, on his left shoulder, the pole of a long flag, which hangs behind him to the ground. To the charlatan's left, three musicians call the audience; one of them, standing behind the others, is blowing the horn. Sixteen characters are grouped around the theatre. We notice, among them, a villager leaning on a stick, a woman carrying a child, and four standing on trestles. To the right of the second plan, near an open door in the fence wall of a garden, a beggar holds out his hand to a horseman; a house with a smoking chimney, a pepper-pot turret, a few trees, underbrush falling down a wall, people form the landscape in the background.” (p. 154).

I understand from Perez’s account of the development of this print that there is a drawing (in a private collection) that Boissieu made of the Arch of Titus when he was in Rome. Moreover, there is a drawing (in Frankfurt?) showing the figure on the left wearing a cap. Unsurprisingly, this scene with the Arch of Titus behind the performers is a pictorial concoction, as Perez advises: (transl.) “The result is quite heterogeneous and is not located in Rome, Lyon or Holland” (op. cit.). Interestingly, Perez adds the insight that Boissieu’s “process of assimilation” is in a way a pastiche of K. Dujardin.

See also the description of this print offered by the British Museum:

Condition: a well-printed chine collé impression showing some signs of wear to the printing plate with small margins laid upon a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet must once have been folded, but it is now flattened and is in excellent condition with no tears, holes, abrasions, stains or foxing.

I am selling this sensitively executed etching for AU$310 in total (currently US$228.39/EUR194.04/GBP166.06 at the time of posting this print) 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 18th century scene of a theatrical performance, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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