Charles Meryon (1821–1868)
“Pierre Nivelle, Bishop de Luçon”, 1861, after an engraving by Michel Lasne (aka Michael Asinius; Michel L'Asne; Michael Lanius) (c1590–1667), printed by Abraham Beillet (aka Beillet & Forestier) (fl.1850–1876) and published in an edition of 550 copies by L. Clouzot in Benjamin Fillon and Octave de Rochebrune’s “Poitou et Vendée, études historiques et artistique” in 1887 in Niort.
Regarding this extraordinary etching, Meryon (in translation) offers the following insights in “My observations on the article in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts” (1863):
“After the splendid engraving by Michel Lasne. I had to reproduce the original as faithfully as possible whilst reducing it to the present dimensions. The surrounding framework has been composed with the aid of various data furnished by Monsieur Benjamin Fillon, and also from my own conjecture of the personage” (see Loys Delteil & Harold J.L. Wright’s  “Catalogue Raisonné of the Etchings of Charles Meryon", San Francisco, Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, [n.p.] cat. no. 81).
Etching (on tin printing plate) with plate tone on fine laid paper with full margins as published.
Size: (sheet) 32 x 24 cm; (plate) 15.9 x 10.9 cm; (image borderline) 14.4 x 9.4 cm.
Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (around oval frame) “PIERRE NIVELLE ÉVÊQUE DE LUÇON”; (lower left) “NÉ TROYES/ EN 1584”; (lower centre) “MDCCCLXI/ [ligature monogram] CM”; (lower right) “MORT À LUÇON/ LE 10 FÉV 1660”.
Inscribed on plate below the image borderline (only partial visible): (left) “D'après M.L.”; (right) “Imp. A.Beillet Q de la Tournelle 35 Paris”.
State vi (of vii) Note that there is variation in the number of states according to the raisonné consulted and the attribution of this impression to state vi is following Delteil & Wright’s (1989 revised edition) descriptions of the states.
Loys Delteil & Harold J.L. Wright 81. 6; Schneidermann 76. 5.
The British Museum offers descriptions of two states of this print:
Condition: strong impression with full margins as published. The sheet is in excellent/near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of use) but there are intrinsic imperfections in the paper and the lower margin shows a printer’s crease (i.e. a pressure crease created during the printing process).
I am selling this rarely seen etching by Meryon showing the artist’s famous propensity for creative invention by populating the space around the Bishop’s portrait with subject matter that lends a extra dimension to a viewer’s reading of the sitter (e.g. a glass possibly filled with alcohol and a stirring rod in it on the lower left; a possibly severed hand and a cascade of jewels on the lower right—my apologies if I have misinterpreted what is depicted), for the total cost of AU$337 (currently US$237.26/EUR203.92/GBP186.45 at the time of this listing) including Express Mail (EMS) 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 curiously wonderful etching by one of the most important French printmakers of the nineteenth century, please contact me (email@example.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.
This print has been sold