Gallery of prints for sale

Friday 19 May 2023

Jean François Millet’s etching, “La Bouillie”, 1861

Jean François Millet (1814–1875)

“La Bouillie” (aka “The Porridge”; “Gruel”; “Woman Feeding Her Child”), 1861, etched with assistance of Félix-Joseph-Auguste Bracquemond (1833–1914). Impression before lettering for publication in the Gazette des Beaux Arts. The print shows Millet’s daughter (Madame Heymann) cooling a spoonful of porridge by blowing on it to feed her child.

Etching with pale plate tone on cream laid paper with wide margins.

Size: (sheet) 27.5 x 18.9 cm; (plate) 18.6 x 15.7 cm; (image borderline) 15.3 x 12.9 cm.

Inscribed in plate (by Bracquemond) below the image borderline: (left) “J.F. Millet 1861.”

State iii (of vi [Melot]) with the addition of the artist’s name and date, but before the publication details for the Gazette des Beaux Arts and Auguste Delâtre as the printer.

Melot M 17 S3 (Michel Melot 1978, “Graphic Art of the Pre-Impressionists”, New York, Harry N. Abrams, pp. 289–90, cat. no. M 17); Delteil 17 S3 (“Le Peintre-Graveur Illustré (XIXe et XXe siècles”).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Woman seated with young child lying on lap, blowing on spoon” (  

See also the description of this print in a later state offered by Christie’s Auctions (20 Jun 2000):  

For those interested in Felix Bracquemond’s role in the execution of this plate, Melot (1978) offers the following marvellous account from Philippe Burty (1830–1890) on June 10, 1861: “The copper plate was really quite eaten. It was bitten well the first time. The ground was coated again and it was bitten once more. Finally Millet insisted on himself putting two touches of pure acid on the heads of the woman and her child. The instant the brush touched them Bracquemond quickly splashed drops of water on them. We went to Delâtre’s. A worker ran off proofs for us. At the third Millet used the drypoint to close up a large highlight on the woman’s neck, put a few lines on the shadow of the bonnet, a few points on the wrist holding the infant. We had nineteen in all printed, of which two were retouched. Bracquemond is going to add the signature. Only three have the sketch at the bottom, the printer effacing or bringing them out at will. I myself burnished them on the plate” (Melot p. 290).

Condition: a richly inked and well-printed (near faultless) impression in an almost pristine condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this stunningly beautiful etching in a superb (near pristine) condition by one of the most famous of the French artists of the nineteenth century, for AU$900 (currently US$601.56/EUR544.29/GBP479.13 at the time of posting this listing) including Express Mail 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 marvellous—arguably even iconic—image of motherhood, 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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