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Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Alfred Taiée’s etching with drypoint, “Marrons d'Inde”, 1869


Alfred Taiée (aka Jean Alfred Taiée) (1820–1880)

“Marrons d'Inde” (Horse Chestnuts), 1869, published in Paris in 1869 by Cadart & Luce (fl.1867–1870/1) as plate 70 to “L'Illustration Nouvelle par une Société de Peintres-Graveurs à l'Eau-Forte”, vol. 2 (2nd year) (see https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b85275972/f37.item   and https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1873-0510-3023-3070).

Etching with drypoint on pale grey chine collé on laid paper with margins around the platemark.

Size: (sheet) 23.1 x 33 cm; (plate) 12.6 x 24.1 cm; (image borderline/chine collé) 10.5 x 22.4 cm.

Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (lower left) “a. taiée.”; (lower right) “Sous ta piquante carapace,/ Marron de détestable race,/ á quoi bon te cacher si bien,/ Puisqu'on sait que tu ne vaux rien!”.

Numbered and lettered in plate: (upper right corner) “70.”; (lower left) “Alfred Taiée. sc.”; (lower centre) “MARRONS D'INDE”; (lower right) “Paris,CADART & LUCE, Editeurs Imprimeurs, Rue Nve des Mathurins,58.”

Beraldi 1 (not described by title) (Henri Béraldi 1885–1892, “Les Graveurs du XIXe Siècle: Guide de l'Amateur d'Estampes Modernes”, vol. 12, Paris, Librairie L. Conquet, pp.68–69).

See the description of this print offered by the Wellcome Collection: https://wellcomecollection.org/works/hnjp4zxk.

For those wondering about the inscribed poem at lower right ([transl.] “Under your prickly shell,/ Chestnut of a detestable race,/ what's the use of hiding yourself so well,/ Since we know you're worth nothing!”), I understand that unlike edible sweet chestnuts, the prickly skinned horse chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) portrayed in this still-life contain a poison called esculin that is toxic if eaten raw (see https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1055/horse-chestnut). Accordingly, the poem is a lament for the need of horse chestnuts to protect their nuts so well seeing that no one is likely to eat or value them.

Condition: a richly inked and well-printed impression in an excellent condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this curiously wonderful still-life etching of horse chestnuts with its inscribed (tongue-in-cheek”) lament about nature’s pointless packaging of the toxic nut, for the total cost of AU$204 (currently US$152.23/EUR140.46/GBP116.99 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 visually arresting and unusual etching, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.









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