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Saturday 11 February 2017

Albert Flamen’s etching, “Querquedula. Cercelle” (The Teal)

Albert Flamen (aka Albert Flamand; Albert Flaman; Aellert Flamen; Bartolet) (1620-1692)
“Querquedula. Cercelle” (The Teal), 17th century (Note: The British Museum dates this print between1635–69 and the Rijksmuseum dates it between 1648–92), from the series of 12 plates, “Livre d'Oiseaux” (A Book of Birds)

Etching (with engraving and drypoint?) on laid paper with margins.
Size: (sheet) 15.1 x 25.1 cm: (plate) 10 x 20.5 cm
Inscribed within the image: (lower left) “AB Flamen Sc.”
Lettered below the image borderline: (centre) “Querquedula. Cercette.”

Bartsch (1980) 6 (5). 83 (183) (p. 296); Robert-Dumesnil 1835-71 V.201.404 (Le peintre-graveur français, ou catalogue raisonné des estampes gravées par les peintres et les dessinateurs de l'école française : ouvrage faisant suite au peintre-graveur de Bartsch, Georges Duplessis, A.P.F. Robert-Dumesnil, p. 201, 404)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Four teals on a large river, another one plunging and a sixth one flying off, reed-mace in the lower left corner, some houses in the background to the left, a tower in the background to the right; from a series of twelve prints showing birds. Etching” ( see also the description offered by the Rijksmuseum (  

Condition: crisp impression in near pristine condition.

I am selling this rare etching by Flamen for AU$134 (currently US$102.86/EUR96.77/GBP82.41 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable 17th century study of ducks print by an artist famed for emblem prints with unforgettable titles (see a sample of titles in the discussion of this print), please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

I can easily understand why collectors are passionate about Flamen’s prints, especially his emblem prints, as some of their titles are so inviting to contemplate. For example:

- “Man attacked by ball-shaped animal” (TiB 0608.415);
- “Man surprised by cone-shaped meteor” (TiB 0608.417);
- “Two figures asleep in moonlight with swarming bees” (TiB 0608.426);
- “Birds resting on the heads of three men at a banquet” (TiB 0608.229);
- “Caterpillars dropping on man under tree” (TiB 0608.418);
- “Nude counting drops of blood” (TiB 0608.270);
- “Monstrous fish on tree branch in moonlight” ((TiB 0608.465);
(Note: For those wishing to see the relevant prints, the bracketed references show the catalogue raisonné numbers in “The Illustrated Bartsch” [1986] vol. 6 [commentary])

After reading these title I can imagine that Flamen's wit must have made him popular at parties. Sadly, his personal life is a bit of a mystery as there is no documentary evidence to pin point the date or his place of birth. Nevertheless, his surname is Flemish and I understand that a few of his early drawings substantiate this idea. Interestingly, CJ Nagler in “Küstler-Lexicon” proposes that Flamen (or at least “a certain A. Flamand”) was “a draughtsman and painter of landscapes who worked … [in the manufacture] of goblins c. 1650” (vol. 5, p. 25). This information about his possible day-job makes the vision of the world captured in his prints completely feasible. I love the idea of Flamen constructing goblins!

When I was looking through Flamen’s prints I came across his vision of the New Guinea’s most famous bird that I have previously discussed in relation to Ridinger’s “Paradise” suite of etchings. Although he did more than one print of it (viz. “Bird of Paradise” [TIB 0608.324] and “Two Birds of Paradise” [TIB 0608.206]) the verses inscribed on the plates reveal the fascinating misconception of the time that these birds never landed on earth—“Unaware of contamination on earth”—but flew forever in the heavenly realm and even raised their chicks on their backs—“My nest is the body of the one I love” (see TIB pp. 266 & 326). In short, there is a storehouse of 17th century beliefs, customs and ways of thinking waiting to be explored in Flamen’s prints. He is an amazing artist!

Regarding Flamen’s approach to making prints, according to Nagler: “Flamen first etched his sheets and then finished them lightly and delicately with the burin and in drypoint, in the manner of Hollar” (ibid).

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