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Saturday 18 November 2017

Lucas Vorsterman 1’s engraving, “Carolus de Mallery”, 1630–1645, after Anthony van Dyck

Lucas Vorsterman I (aka Aemilius Lucas Vorsterman) (1595–1675)
“Carolus de Mallery”, 1630–1645, from the series after Anthony Van Dyck (1599–1641), “Icones Principum Virorum” (aka “'Icones Principum Virorum Doctorum Pictorum Chalcographorum Statuariorum nec non amatorum pictoriae artis numero centum ab Antonio Van Dyck Pictore ad vivum expressae, eiusq[ue] sumptibus aeri incisae”), published in the Hendrick and Cornelis Verdussen (Antwerp) edition of 1720. 

Engraving on fine laid paper with full margins as published
Size: (sheet trimmed unevenly) 36.8 x 25.2cm; (plate) 24.2 x 15.7 cm; (image borderline) 21.9 x 15.2 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (lower left) "Ant. van Dyck pinxcit / LVorsterman Sculp”; (centre) "CAROLVS DE MALLERY / CALCOGRAPHVS ANTVERPIÆ."; (lower right) "Cum priuilegio."
 State vii (Note: the mount into which this print was once displayed has a pencil inscribed notation that this impression is from the Hendrick and Cornelis Verdussen (Antwerp) edition published in 1720.)

Hollstein 179 (Vorsterman); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 73.VII (Van Dyck); Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1991 86.VII (Marie Mauquoy-Hendrickx 1991, “L'Iconographie d'Antoine Van Dyck, Catalogue raisonné”, 2 vols, Brussels, Bibliotheque Royale Albert Ier)

Condition: rare, superbly crisp, and well-printed impression with full margins as published in excellent condition for its age (i.e. there is slight age-toning at the edges of the sheet, but there are no tears, folds, holes, abrasions, significant stains or foxing). There is a collector’s reference note in pencil (lower left recto), remnants of mounting hinges and a collector’s ink stamp (verso).

I am selling this exceptionally rare engraving by one of the most important printmakers of the 17th century for AU$198 (currently US$150.01/EUR127.19/GBP113.52 the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this key print from one of the greatest—or at least the most historically significant—series of portraits ever engraved, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print from the slightly later Arkstée & Merkus (fl.1750–1759) edition:
“Portrait of Carel van Mallery, half-length in front of a broken column base, turned slightly to left, with mid-length hair, a moustache and beard, wearing a ruff and cuffs, doublet and cloak covering the right side of his torso, his left hand grasping the cloak at the level of his chest; seventh state with initials of Gillis Hendricx burnished; after Anthony van Dyck; from a 1759 bound edition containing a series of 125 portraits, mainly of Van Dyck's Iconography (Arkstée & Merkus: Amsterdam and Leipzig)”

Note: The BM also holds another state vii impression (see BM no. 1863,0509.913) featuring the number “95” inscribed by hand in ink at the upper right corner, which most likely indicates the position of this print in the 1759 edition of 125 portraits.

The curator of the BM offers the following background information concerning this print:
“The copper-plate is kept in the Chalcographie, Musée du Louvre, The portrait is based on Van Dyck's grisaille, now kept in the collection of the Duke of Buccleuch, Boughton House,, see S. Barnes, N. de Poorter, O. Millar and H. Vey, 'Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings', Yale & London, 2004, See also Van Dyck's fully worked up portrait of the sitter, now kept in the Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo,, ibid.,, with the angle of the head adjusted, and without a ruff. A preparatory drawing is in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth,, (Vey 277). An unfinished proof by Vorsterman is in the Fondation Custodia, Paris, inv. no. 6334.” (see BM no. R,1a.175)

The curator of the British Museum offers the following insight regarding the series, “Icones Principum Virorum”, of which this print is a part:
"Following the success of his portrait paintings and in the tradition of Italian and Flemish portrait series, Van Dyck decided to organise a print publication containing portraits of the most prominent men during his lifetime, divided into three categories: princes, politicians and soldiers (16), statesmen and scholars (12), artists and art connoisseurs (52). The initial idea could have been that Van Dyck would etch the faces (a process possibly learnt from Vorsterman) while others would finish the plates in engraving. Designs were needed for the plates and several drawings and oil sketches (grisailles, sometimes in different versions) have survived. Van Dyck only etched 17 plates himself, while he commissioned others to complete the set, overseen by Lucas Vorsterman I (especially after Van Dyck settled in England in the Spring of 1632)” (

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