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Saturday 4 May 2024

Jacobus Savry III, plates “LXXIX” & “CXXXI”, 1719

Jacobus Savry III (1617–1666)

Two engravings, plates “LXXIX” & “CXXXI”, showing the torture of martyrs from “Korte Schets van het Leeven en Sterven der Martelaaren, getrokken uit de geschiedenissen van den heere Joannes Gysius” ([transl.] “Short Sketch of the Lives and Deaths of the Martyrs, drawn from the histories of Mr. Joannes Gysius”), published in Amsterdam in 1719 by Jan Blom (1621–1685) with letterpress text by the poet and writer, Claas Bruin (1671–1732). offers an online view of these prints in the context of the publication in which they feature:

Engravings on laid paper with letterpress text (recto and verso) on full sheets as published.

Size of both sheets: 21.8 x 15.9 cm; (platemark) 11 x 14.9/14.4 cm.

“LXXIX: De Verbranding van drie doode Lichaamen” (Plate 79: The Burning of Three Dead Bodies), illustration to page 157 with the accompanying caption: (transl.) “Who is alive who does not stand for these abominations? Where was such hatred found among Pagans and Jews, other than in the bosom of hypocritical Christianity, which here dares to rage upon the senseless dead? Devout souls whom you always rejoice in God, your corpses are, alas! not free from torture.” (“Wie leeft 'er die niet staat voor deeze gruw'len stom?/ Waar vond men zulk een' haat by Heidenen en Jooden/ Dan in den boezem van 't schynheilig Christendom,/ 't Geen hier durft woeden op gevoelenlooze dooden?/ Godvruchte zielen die u steeds verheugt by God,/ Uw lyken zyn, helaas! niet vry van 't martellot.”)

The accompanying explanatory text to plate “LXXIX” offers an idea of the descriptive flavour of Claas Bruin’s accounts of the martyrs’ deaths:

(transl.) “No hatred is fiercer than the spiritual one, when it once starts to rage, it consumes like an unquenchable fiery flame everything that meets it, it spares neither kings nor subjects, neither old age nor youth, learning nor piety, it is without compassion, it tramples on all laws , she is irreconcilable; yes, her cruelty exceeds that of Phalaris and Nero, her insatiable lust for murder has invented the most gruesome method of torture to suppress stupidity, and if she cannot vomit her poison enough on the living, then the dead must pay the price. All this, and in particular the latter to which we have an eye here, became apparent under the reign of Mary Queen of England, who was vehemently opposed to the confession of reformed religion, through the advice of Cardinal Polus, the Bishop of Winchester and other cruel persecutors of Christian truth, have had the dead bodies of Martinus Bucerus, Paulus Fagius, and the Housewife of Peter Martyr, who shone like glittering stars of virtue and learning in the Heaven of the Church of the Cross, exhumed at Cambridge and Oxford, and publicly burned to death: A cruelty that I have never read in the histories of the wildest barbarians” (p. 156).

(right) “CXXXI: De Marteldood van de la Faje” (Plate 131: The Martyrdom of La Faje), illustration to page 261 with the accompanying caption: (transl.) “Happy is he who wisely instructs the youth in the school of godliness, and by faithful counsel guides the soul upward so that it may never go astray. So praiseworthy you, LA FAJE [the name of the matyr], indulged in hatred and tyranny with their inhuman plagues, you made you endure a death full of shame for the faith of the Cross.” (“Gelukkig is hy die de jeugd in Godsvruchts schoole/ Verstandig onderwyst, en door getrouwen raad/ De ziel naar boven voert op dat ze nimmer doole./ Dus lof'lyk kweet gy u, LA FAJE, tot de haat/ En tiranny met hunne onmenschelyke plaagen,/ U deed een dood vol smert voor 't Kruisgeloof verdraagen.”)

Condition: both sheets are strong impressions in an excellent condition for their considerable age with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or significant stains.

I am selling this pair of pictorially ghastly engravings for AU $276 in total for the pair (currently/approximately US $182.48/ EUR 169.51/ GBP 145.44 at the time of posting this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries. Note that payment is in Australian dollars (AU $276) as this is my currency.

If you are interested in acquiring these nightmarish prints, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This pair of prints has been sold

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