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Saturday 18 July 2020

Édouard Lièvre’s etching, “Fourreaux de Poignards”, c1879, after Wenceslaus Hollar and Hans Holbein the Younger

Édouard Lièvre (1828-1886)

“Fourreaux de Poignards” (“Dagger Sheaths”), c1879, after the etching by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607–1677) after a lost drawing by Hans Holbein the Younger (c1497–1543), printed by Albert Quantin (1850–1930) as an illustration to Paul Mantz’s (1821–1895) “Hans Holbein” (Insert between pages 160 and 161), published by Société Française d'éditions d'Art in 1879 in Paris.

For those unfamiliar with this design featuring the dance macabre, according to the interesting article offered by the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire ( the theme of the macabre dance was (transl.) “introduced in Switzerland around 1440 on the wall of the cemetery of the Dominican convent in Basel” and “reached its peak at the time of the Reformation, notably through the works of Niklaus Manuel and Hans Holbein the Younger.”

Regarding the dagger which the sheath/scabbard houses, the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire advises (ibid.) that the “weapon is generally carried on the right side or— if it does not need to be immediately accessible—in the back, but always in a horizontal position.”

Etching with plate tone on laid paper with full margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 45 x 30.8 cm; (plate) 27.5 x 21.6 cm; (image borderline) 22 x 16.5 cm.
Inscribed on plate: (upper right) “1529”: (lower left) “HB” [monogram ligature].
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “ED. LIÈVRE d’après HOLBEIN”; (right) “Imp. A. Quantin”.

Condition: a superb, richly inked faultless impression in pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of use) with generously wide margins as published.

I am selling this stunning etching of Hollar’s print of Holbein’s famous dagger sheath/scabbard featuring in its design the dance macabre—for AU$207 in total (currently US$144.87/EUR126.74/GBP115.26 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 museum quality impression of this seldom seen etching on the art market showing a dagger shape that has become known as “Holbein’s dagger,” please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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