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Tuesday 22 September 2020

Israel Silvestre’s etching, “Profil de la Ville de S. Denis”, c1645

Israel Silvestre (aka Israel Sylvestre) (1621–1691)

“Profil de la Ville de S. Denis”, c1645 (1636–1655), with verses inscribed on plate below the image borderline by French poet, Georges de Scudéry (1601–1667), published by Israel Silvestre in Paris with privilege by Louis XIV (King of France).

Etching on laid paper trimmed to the platemark on the sides with a margin on the upper and lower edges, backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 18.3 x 32.2 cm; (plate) 14.3 x 32.2 cm; (image borderline) 11.5 x 31.8 cm.

Inscribed on plate within the image borderline: (upper centre banderole) “Profil de la Ville de S. Denis”.

Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (centre in sixteen lines of French verse in four columns) "Vous qu'on voit soupirer,/ Quand la parque vous apelle;/ Oserez vous murmurer,/ Voyant la grandeur mortelle.// Vous plaindrez vous de ces loix/ Dont les ordres vous menacent/ Et qui font passer les Rois/ Par ou tous les hommes passent.// Ces Magnifiques Tombeaux,/ Ces superbes Mausolées/ Ne marques, quoy quils soyent beaux/ Que des pertes signallées.// Rien ne peut long temps durer,/ Dans nos egalles fortunes;/ Moures donc sans murmurer,/ Ames foibles et communes." ([Transl.] “You that we see sigh,/ When the park calls you;/ Dare to whisper,/ Seeing the mortal grandeur.// You will complain about these laws/ Whose orders threaten you/ And which make Kings pass/ By or all men pass.// These Magnificent Tombs,/ These superb Mausoleums/ Do not mark, that they are beautiful/ Only reported losses.// Nothing can last long,/ In our equal fortunes;/ So die without murmuring,/ Weak and common souls."); (lower right corner) “I. Siluestre delineauit et fe. cum priuil. Regis.”

Faucheux 290.1 (Louis Étienne Faucheux 1857, “Catalogue raisonne de toutes les oeuvres qui format l'oeuvre d'Israel Silvestre”, Paris, Veuve Jules Renouard, p. 280, cat. no. 290.1); LeBlanc 702 (Charles LeBlanc 1854, “Manuel de l'amateur d'estampes, contenant un dictionnaire des graveurs de toutes les nations: ouvrage destiné à faire suite au Manuel du libraire par J.Ch. Brunet”, vol. 3, p. 514, cat. no. 702).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“View of St Denis, with horsemen and figures in the foreground, beyond the river, the open land, and the city dominated by the cathedral in the background; a banner bearing the title in the upper section”


See also the description offered by the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: well-printed impression trimmed to the platemark on the sides and with a large margin on the upper and lower edges. There is a dot stain in the lower margin at left and the upper left corner has a pale stain; otherwise the sheet is in an excellent condition for its age and is laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this beautifully engraved panoramic view of Saint-Denis—a northern region/suburb of Paris, approximately 9.5 km from the centre of Paris—showing the tall spire of the Basilica of Saint-Denis and its north tower before the dismantling of the tower in the mid-1880s, for the total cost of AU$208 (currently US$150/EUR127.75/GBP117.04 at the time of posting this print) 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 fascinating representation of the important landmarks of Saint-Denis viewed from the north-west in the 1600s, 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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