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Monday 29 November 2021

Gérard de Lairesse’s etching, “Cain Killing Abel with the Jawbone of an Ass”, c1680

Gérard de Lairesse (aka Gerardi de Lairesse; Gerardum de Lairesse) (1640–1711)

“Cain Killing Abel with the Jawbone of an Ass”, c1680, plate 5 from a series of etchings illustrating the Old Testament (Timmers 1 to 7), published by Nicolaes Visscher II (aka Nicolai Vischer; Claes Claesz Visscher) (1649–1702) in c1675 as an illustration to “Opus Elegantissimum” (see folios 65v-66r in the online scroll of this publication offered by the Yale Center for British Art: The etching was later published by Gerard Valck (aka Gerard Valk) (1651/1652–1726) in Valck’s edition (c1702) of “Opus Elegantissimum” with the publication details, “nunc apud Ger.Valk” and “49”. This is a lifetime impression before the Valck edition.

The Curator of the British Museum offers the following insight regarding the publication of this print: “Timmers (p.83) records four editions of the plates: 1. with Visscher's address, 2. with Valck's added, 3. with the plates numbered, 4. with Schenk's address. He also notes that almost all copies show differences in content and order” (

Etching on laid paper trimmed around the platemark and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 22.1 x 25.3 cm; (image borderline) 20.5 x 24.3 cm.

Numbered and lettered in plate below the image borderline: (centre) “Fratrum quoque gratia rara./ Per Gerardum de Lairesse inv: et sculp: et per Nicolaum Visscher edit: cum Privil: Ord: Gen: Belgii Fæderati.”; (right) “5”.

State i (of iv) (?) before the three alterations with publication details (see Timmers, p. 83).

Timmers 5 (J.J.M. Timmers 1942, “Gérard Lairesse”, Amsterdam, H J Paris, pp. 83 & 127, cat. no. 5).

Condition: a strong and well-printed lifetime impression showing no sign of wear to the printing plate, trimmed irregularly around the platemark and laid onto a sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. Beyond a pale mark in the sky at upper left, the sheet is in a very good condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing.

I am selling this superb etching showing the two sons of Adam and Eve fighting—note the crook that the shepherd, Abel, has dropped as the farmer, Cain, is about to kill him in a jealous rage with the jawbone of an ass after discovering that God favoured his brother—for the total cost of AU$368 (currently US$261.51/EUR231.10/GBP196.36 at the time of posting 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 rare lifetime impression (based on the publication details), 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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