Gallery of prints for sale

Friday 31 August 2018

Philips Galle’s engraving, “Duck Hunt with Shotgun”, 1578

Philips Galle (aka Philippe Galle; Philippus Gallaeus) (1537–1612)

“Duck Hunt with Shotgun” (TIB title), 1578, from the series of 43 plates, “Hunting Parties” (aka “Venationes Ferarum, Avium, Piscium” (transl. “With wild beasts, birds, fish”), after Jan van der Straet (aka Joannes Stradanus; Ioannes Stradanus) (1523–1605). This impression is presumably from the first edition of 1578 published in Antwerp before the number “72” is added in the later expanded edition of plates.

Engraving on laid paper with small margins, backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 22.5 x 32.5 cm; (plate) 21.3 x 30.2 cm; (image borderline) 20.5 x 30.2 cm
Inscribed on plate within image borderline at lower left: “Iohan/ Stra. inuen.”
Lettered in Latin on plate below the image borderline: “Sic per fecta repens venator consita dumis, Torquet et undosos Anates, Fulicasq[ue] palustres.” (Unmodified transl. “Thus the ingredients recent hunter planted with bushes, twists and rolling ducks, Fulicasque marsh."
State: i (of iii) before numbering in state ii.

TIB 5601.104:29 (Walter L Strauss & Arno Dolders [eds.] 1987, “The Illustrated Bartsch”, vol. 56, Supplement, p. 429); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 449.I (Johannes Stradanus); New Hollstein (Dutch & Flemish) 547.I (Philips Galle); Baroni Vannucci 1997 693.72 (Alessandra Baroni Vannucci 1997, “Jan van der Straet, detto Giovanni Stradano, flandrus pictor et inventor”, Milan, Jandi Sapi Editori).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print from the later numbered state/edition:
“Plate numbered 72, Duck Hunt with Shotguns; in the left foreground, four hunstman, armed with shotguns, accompanied by two dogs, approach a river to the right, in which ducks are seen swimming; in the midground, far left, two men pull ropes, closing a net over a flock of ducks, centre; several towns visible in the distance”

See also the description of this print at the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: crisp lifetime impression (before numbering of later editions), but not as richly inked as some impressions. There is a dot stain at the upper left edge of the image borderline and a closed tear at the lower edge to the right of the word “repens”, otherwise the impression is in excellent condition and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this exceptionally rare, engraving from 1578 for a total cost of AU$256 (currently US$185.10/EUR158.80/GBP142.48 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this important print foreshadowing Ruben's "The Lion Hunt" (1621), please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

After closely examining the impression of this print held by the British Museum ( and comparing the BM impression with the print in “The Illustrated Bartsch” catalogue raisonné for Galle and the impression held by the Rijksmuseum (, I have come to the conclusion that the BM’s impression is not by Galle. Compare, for example, the cross-hatching surrounding the dog portrayed near the centre of the composition and the rather sloppy drawing of the figure loading his gun in the BM’s copy with this impression. Note also that the lettered text shown in the BM’s impression is not the same as Galle’s original. The good news is that the impression that I am showcasing matches perfectly the image and text reproduced in TIB and held by the Rijksmuseum. (Thank Goodness!)

Leaving aside the issue of attribution, I wish to draw attention to what I see as the very curious composition of this print. For instance, my eye is drawn to the very strange arrangement of the dog at the centre of the scene which is so perfectly placed between the two musket toting huntsmen that the dog seems like a cut-out. Note also the same perfectly centred arrangement of the distant circular hedged bird trap seemingly fitted between the two large trees on each side of the trap. For me this striving for perfect symmetry seems unsettlingly curious but there is one other extra strange arrangement in this composition: the strong “V”-shape created by the muskets held by the chaps.

I may be very incorrect in my assessment of what this means but I wonder if the dynamic downward plunge of this “V”-shape is a analogue for the artist’s depressed mindset when he made this engraving. If this is the case, the broken—perhaps torn—arrangement of river rocks on the lower right makes sense in terms of signifying a trouble spirit.

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