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Monday 13 February 2017

Frederick Bloemaert’s engraving after Abraham Bloemaert from “Het Tekenboek”

Frederick Bloemaert (1610–69) after Abraham Bloemaert (1564–1651) from “Het Tekenboek” (Artistic drawing book)
“Plate 130: Study of three heads, one wearing a turban, and a hand”, 1650–56
Engraving on fine laid paper and margins as published.
Size: (sheet)  30.6 x 19.7 cm; (plate) 20 x 14.8 cm; (image borderline) 19.1 x 14.2 cm.
Inscribed in the lower-right corner with the plate number: “130”
Roethlisberger 1993; Hollstein 186–231 (Frederik Bloemaert); Hollstein 94–213 (prints after Abraham Bloemaert).

Condition: crisp and well-inked impression with full margins and binding holes on the left (as published). There is age-toning/darkening towards the edges, light surface dustiness, a few minor spots and signs of use such as light pencil marks from the former life of the print as a teaching aid; otherwise the sheet is in good condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing).

I am selling this spectacularly beautiful engraving showing the highest order of technical skill for [deleted] at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this early plate from one of the most famous books created for artists to copy, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

This print is from one of the most famous and earliest instructional books on drawing designed for artists: “Het Tekenboek”, first published in the mid-1600s. I am uncertain which edition of the book this print is from, but clearly this is an early impression. The reason that I can arrive at such a determination is simple: the lines are crisp indicating that the printing plate is fresh (i.e. it has no sign of wear). Moreover, the paper has the tell-tale attribute of an early print: chain-lines (i.e. watermark-like lines which can be seen when laid paper is held up to a light revealing widely-spaced lines—the chain-lines—intersecting at 90 degrees with narrowly-spaced lines—the laid lines) signifying a paper created before machine-made paper (i.e. wove paper that was purportedly first manufactured in 1807).

Mindful that there are impressions in the reverse direction to the original designs, again, I am not certain if this is a mirror impression or not. What I am certain about is that this impression is engraved by the hand of a master showing exquisite use of cross-hatching, especially the famous “dotted lozenge”, in modelling light and shade in a fluid way.

Interestingly, the fluidity of this tonal treatment is a hallmark of the Utrecht Mannerists, like Hendrik Goltzius and Bartholomaus Spranger, who cast a strong influence over the Bloemaerts’ workshop. Of course, my judgement may be misguided and I look forward to comments from historians with information regarding the likely edition of this particular impression.

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