Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gourdaine (aka Jean Pierre Norblin de la Gordaine) (1745–1830)
“The Large Bagpiper”, 1787. Note that the word “large” in the title is in reference to the plate size as there is a second etching by Norblin that is is slightly smaller featuring a bagpiper (see BM no. 1853,0312.290: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_details.aspx?objectId=1533605&partId=1&searchText=norblin+&page=1)
Etching and drypoint on ivory Japanese (wove) paper with small margins and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 9.1 x 6.3 cm; (plate) 8.1 x 5.5 cm
Inscribed on plate in reverse: (upper right) “Norblin fecit Varsovie 1787'.
State ii with added drypoint outline
Hillemacher 1848 27.II
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Standing man playing bagpipes; on white ground; second state, with right arm outlined with drypoint.”
Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression with small margins (approximately 4 mms) laid onto a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet has light staining in the upper left and lower right corners from old glue on the verso otherwise the print is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or foxing).
I am selling this seemingly simple and freely inscribed etching by one of the most important artists of the Enlightenment in Poland for AU$256 (currently US$182.30/EUR158.05/GBP139.69 at the time of posting this print) 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 small masterwork from the 1700s following in the tradition of Rembrandt, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold
To be honest, I do not know why Norblin chose to portray a chap playing bagpipes, but I doubt that the reason was simply because he liked bagpipe players. From my standpoint, mindful that Norblin’s prints often reference the old masters, I believe that this bagpipe player in his peasant dress addresses the recurrent theme in the 17th century of showing bagpipers as figures connected with bawdy reveling. If I may go further with this proposal, the fact that the piper looks backwards instead of forwards may also add to this idea of him being more than JUST a music maker. After all, the more common way of portraying folk of dubious character is to show them looking sneakily over their shoulder at the mayhem that they have caused.
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