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Friday 8 March 2019

Engraving by an unidentified artist after Israhel van Meckenem's “Ornament with Flower and Eight Wild Folk”, c1495

(Unidentified artist after) Israhel van Meckenem (the Younger) (aka Israel van Meckenem) (c1440/45–1503)

“Ornament with Flower and Eight Wild Folk” (TIB title), c/after 1495, deceptive early engraving in the same direction as the engraving by Van Meckenem (c1495) and with Van Meckenem’s monogram.

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed along the image borderline on the sides and lower edge and slightly within the artist’s monogram at the upper edge.
Size: (sheet) 20.8 x 13.7 cm; (image borderline) 20.2 x 13.7 cm.
Inscribed on plate at upper centre with the monogram of Israhel van Mechenem (“I.M.”) and with Latin text lettered on banderols: (left) "Flore pulchro nobili apes mella colligunt"; (right) "Et hoc vermes frivoli virus forte hauriunt".

Israhel van Heckenem’s engraving: TIB 9(6).207(283) (Fritz Koneny & Jane C Hutchinson [eds.] 1981, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Early German Artists”, vol. 9, New York, Abaris Books, p.196); Lehrs IX.624 (Max Lehrs 1908, “Geschichte und kritische Katalog des deutschen, niederländischen und französischen Kupferstichs im XV Jahrhundert”, 9 vols, Vienna); Hollstein XXIV. 624

See descriptions of the original engraving by Van Meckenem:

(British Museum)


Regarding the design of this engraving, the Art Institute of Chicago offers the following insight:
 “Ornament prints with mischievous tiny figures were in such demand in late-15th- and early-16th-century Europe that engravers like Israhel van Meckenem frequently borrowed imagery and entire compositions from other artists. The flower stalk that the naked wild men and women scale comes from a print by an earlier artist, the Master E. S. This print bears an inscription that translates to ‘The noble bees draw honey from the beautiful flower; from this one however, the frivolous vermin extract a stronger potion.’ The ripe blossom thus symbolizes sexual consummation, and the print simultaneously tempts and warns the viewer about ‘the birds and bees.’”

Condition: faultless impression (i.e. richly inked and well printed with no sign of wear to the printing plate), trimmed along the image borderline and slightly within the monogram at the top edge. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, folds, holes, abrasions, foxing or signs of handling but there is pale trace of a past collector’s ink note on verso that is visible recto).

I am selling this magnificent early copy of Israhel van Meckenem’s engraving for AU$530 (currently US$372.56/EUR332.06/GBP284.95 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 masterwork of reproductive engraving after Van Meckenem’s plate, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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