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Saturday 8 April 2023

Jacques Callot’s etching, “Frontispiece ‘Gloriosissimæ’”, c1625

Sometimes when looking at the collectors’ stamps on the back of prints one’s mind takes a metaphorical leap back in time to enter into the mindset and experiences of a print’s previous owners. In the case of today’s etching—the frontispiece to “Gloriosisimæ Virginis Dei Paræ Elogivm” (Praise the Most Glorious Virgin of God) by one of the most famous of all printmakers, Jacques Callot—this tiny print was once owned by a Hungarian nobleman with the name, Görgey, as the back show his estate-stamp featuring his family’s coat-of-arms with the words below: “GÖRGEY/ HAGYATEK [i.e., his estate]”. Certainly, this is undoubtedly the stamp signifying nobility as the “y” on the end of the name signifies this even beyond the arms shown above it. Perhaps even more interestingly, however, is that the “y” at the end of the name clarifies that the stamp was placed on this print before the Hungarian revolution of 1848–49, as this date is when those of noble birth were prudent to change the last letter of their name from “y” to “i”, hence this collector's stamp is earlier than 1848. Although I do not have a strong grip on possible collectors of Hungarian noble descent, I would like to believe (and I may well be very wrong) that the stamp belongs to one of the greatest generals of the Hungarian Revolutionary Army, Artúr Görgei or Artúr Görgey (1818–1916)—the latter being his name at birth.

The reason I mention all this detail is because my head is at the moment reeling from the knowledge that next week I’ll be walking in the streets of Budapest where this general earned his fame. In short, I’m going back to the hometown of where this print rested for some of its life … wacko! See you in another week, Budapest!

Also on the back of this print is the delicately fine collector’s stamp of the Austrian writer, Count Franz Jozef von Enzenberg (1802–1879) (Lugt 845). From reading the account about this collector in Frits Lugt’s (2002) “Les Marques de Collections de Dessins & d’Estampes” (p. 151) I understand that this collector amassed pieces of what Lugt describes (in transl.) as “the greatest rarity” and owned the Castle of Tratzberg in Tirol. He must have been a very focused and interesting chap and I'm honoured to be briefly in his head!


Jacques Callot (1592–1635)

“Frontispiece ‘Gloriosissimæ’” (Lieure title) (aka “Frontispiece ‘Gloriosisimæ Virginis Dei Paræ Elogivm’” [Praise the Most Glorious Virgin of God]), c1625 (BM: 1621–1633), published by Israël Henriet (c1590–1661) with Royal privilege and designed for a publication written by Alphonse de Rambervillers (1552–1633) (as inscribed in plate), with a dedication to Henri de Bourbon, Duc de Verneuil (1601–1682).

The Curator of the British Museum advises: “The production and publication line [were] probably added by Henriet after Callot's death” (

Etching on fine laid paper, trimmed close to the image borderline. Stamped verso with the collector marks of Count Franz Jozef von Enzenberg (1802–1879) (Lugt 845) and the estate stamp of the Hungarian Nobleman, “[coat-of-arms]/ GÖRGEY/ HAGYATEK”—possibly Artúr Görgei/Görgey (1818–1916).

Size: (sheet) 9.8 x 7.2 cm.

Lettered in plate: (oval) “GLORIOSISIMÆ/ VIRGINIS DEI PARÆ ELOGIVM/ Omnia lœtitiœ, doloris, & gloriœ mis-/ teria artificiola breuitate complectes./ …/ Ad Illustrissimum & / Reuerendissimum Principem, Henricvm/ BORBONIVM, Episcopum Metensem,/ Sac. Rom. Imp. P. etc./ Al. de Ramb. IC ’cecinit./ Callot fecit. Israël ex. cum/ priuil. Reg.”; each one of the small oval scenes is captioned and numbered.

State iii (of iii) with the addition of the text lines “Callot fecit. Israël ex. cum/ priuil. Reg.”

Lieure 512 iii (Jules Lieure 1989, “Jacques Callot: Catalogue Raisonné de l’Œuvre Gravé, San Francisco, Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, pp. 47–48, cat. no. 509 3e); Meaume 90.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Large oval cartouche with engraved inscription, surrounded by six putti and five oval medallions illustrated with scenes from the life of the Virgin: anti-clockwise, birth of Christ. Virgin and St Joseph worshipping Christ Child, Christ on Cross, Christ appearing to Virgin, and triumph of Virgin; with production and publication detail. 1621/33 Etching” (

Condition: a richly inked and well-printed (near faultless) impressions with no tears, holes, abrasions, significant stains or foxing. Verso has ink stamps of two collectors and remnants of previous mounting along with pencil and ink notations by previous collectors.

I am selling this superb impression of a small and rare etching for AU$322 in total (currently US$214.81/EUR196.94/GBP172.97 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 tiny frontispiece by one of the major old master printmakers, 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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