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Tuesday 17 July 2018

Crayon-manner stipple engraving (early 1800s?) by an unidentified printmaker after Raphael

Unidentified engraver with the initial letters “Ruifs …” (as inscribed on plate)

“Head of boy facing to the right while holding a casket” (descriptive title only), early 1800s (?), after a drawing by Raphael.

Crayon-manner stipple engraving on watermarked laid paper, backed on a support sheet and trimmed within the image borderline with the lower text line truncated.
Sheet: (unevenly trimmed) 33.2 x 25.1 cm
Lettered on plate below the image: (trimmed/truncated text) “… [D]ef[s?]sine d’après les Cartons de Raphael, par [F?]. Ruif[s?]s …’

Condition: trimmed well within the image borderline and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in a heavily restored condition, but the spots of restoration (holes and stains) are not very evident.

I am selling this supremely beautiful but significantly trimmed engraving after a drawing by Raphael, for AU$113 (currently US$83.72/EUR71.47/GBP63.40 at the time of posting this listing) including 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 portrait of a young boy that seems to glow with youthful innocence and joy, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This beautiful engraving is a mystery to me. The critical information giving the name of the printmaker who executed it has been trimmed leaving only the initial letters of the name: “Rui …” or perhaps “Ruifs …”. One piece of background that I can speak with certainty is that the composition is based on a drawing by Raphael—or more precisely, what is termed a “cartoon”, in the sense that the original drawing was designed as a preliminary image for transferring to another artwork such as a fresco or tapestry.

Regarding the date of the print, again I can offer some degree of certainty in that the method of stipple engraving, termed the “crayon-manner”, was arguably first pioneered by Gilles Demarteau in around 1756. Consequently, this print must have been executed after that date. The date of the first crayon manner stipple engravings is also significant in another way: it marked the approximate beginning of the manufacture of wove paper (i.e. paper that does not show chain lines when held to the light). As this print is on laid paper rather than wove paper this suggests that the impression is likely to be taken around the early 1800s.

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