Gallery of prints for sale

Tuesday 2 July 2019

Pierre Bulliard's Le Blon-Gauthier process coloured engraving, “La Savonaire Officinale”, 1780

Pierre Bulliard (aka Jean Baptiste François Pierre Bulliard) (c1742–1793)

“La Savonaire Officinale” (aka Common Soapwart), 1780, plate 257 illustration to “Plante Médicinale de la France” (aka “Herbier de la France ou collection complète des plantes indigènes de ce royaume ; avec leurs détails anatomiques, leurs propriétés, et leurs usages en médecine”), vol. III, engraved, printed and published by Pierre Bulliard in Paris. (Note that this is one of the earliest books botanical books printed in colour—without hand–colouring in watercolour.)

Engraving coloured by the painstaking and rare Le Blon-Gauthier process (i.e. these impressions are not coloured by watercolour or retouched by hand, but rather the prints were created through the superimposition of up to four plates inked separately by the technique called "à la poupée" for each colour) with full margins and binding hoes (as published) and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 33 x 24 cm; (plate) 23 x 17.1 cm; (image borderline) 17.5 x 15.5 cm.
Lettered on plate above the image borderline: (centre) “PLANTE MEDICINALE DE LA FRANCE.”; (right) “PL. 257.”
Indexed on plate within the image borderline with letters from “A” to “H”.
Lettered on plate below the image borderline with nine lines of text: (centre) “LA SAVONAIRE OFFICINALE. FI. FR. … d’usage en Medecine.”

See description of this print at Medic@ (Banque d'images et de portraits):

Condition: Near faultless impression of this rare print with fine colouring by the Le Blon-Gauthier method in excellent/museum quality condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing). The sheet is laid on a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this beautifully executed engraving coloured by the remarkable Le Blon-Gauthier method for the total cost of AU$198 (currently US$138.22/EUR122.35/GBP109.53 at the time of 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 rare engraving of great historical importance in the development of colour prints, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

This rare print should make printmakers sit up straight—or at least do a small nod of appreciation for Bulliard’s skill and perseverance to personally ink and print all the plates (this is plate 257) in his publication AND in an edition. What make Bulliard’s enterprise so amazing is that the technique he used to create each print involves at least three engraved plates—perhaps four—each inked with different colours and printed so that they are superimposed upon each other to create the full-colour print.

According to Wikipedia, this plant, the Saponaria Officinalis has a variety of uses: “… depurative, diuretic, choleretic and worming. It is used against the rheumatism and gout, against certain skin diseases and as an expectorant for the affections of the oral cavity (tonsillitis, mouth ulcers, etc.). Decoction Saponaire applied to the face effectively fights against skin diseases such as the acne. The Romans put in the bath to cure itching. Leper colonies used it to clean the wounds of lepers. … As the timber Panama, flowering tops or rhizomes could replace soap to wash delicate clothing susceptible to fading. It is also used to clean black aprons. This is because it contains saponin, a substance that has the property of lather like soap, that officinale Saponaire also bears the name ‘soap grass’, ‘soap ditch’, ‘soap dish’, ‘laurel bloomed’, ‘grass woman.’ When dried and cleaned, the roots can be used in the manufacture of a once qu'utilisaient powder residents to wash their hands. Mixed with soda, it could also scouring and bleaching wool and lace pale, hence its other name ‘grass fuller.’” (

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know your thoughts, advice about inaccuracies (including typos) and additional information that you would like to add to any post.