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Friday 4 June 2021

Aegidius Sadeler II’s engraving, “Husain Ali Beg”, 1601

Aegidius Sadeler II (aka Ægedius Sadeler; Egidius Sadeler; Gillis Sadeler; Gillis Sadler) (c1570–1629)

“Husain Ali Beg” (TIB title) (aka “Husein Ali Beg”; “Husayn `Ali Beg”;Portret van Hussein-Ali Bey”), 1601, after a lost drawing by Aegidius Sadeler II (proposed by TIB 7201.323) or possibly after Esaye le Gillon (aka Esaye Legillon) (fl.1604–1605)—painter at the imperial court of Rudolf II in Prague (proposed by the BM [inv. no. O,2.107]). From a personal standpoint, the dates of activity of Esay le Gillon in the court of Rudolf II do not coincide with earlier date that this print was executed (“1601”as inscribed in the plate) and the inscription on the plate that the portrait was executed from life (“ad viuum”) suggests that the engraving was made by Sadeler’s direct observation of the ambassador.

My understanding of the background behind this extraordinary portrait of Husein Ali Beg—the Persian ambassador/legate representing Safavid Shah `Abbas I (1571–1629) in Prague in 1601—with its even more extraordinary inscribed line of Persian(?), “بینی کی کالجز فرستادن ها و حضرت میرزاده” (I apologise if this transcription of the text has inaccuracies and note that the Rijksmuseum advises that the text is Arabic [inv. no. RP-P-1941-285]), is that the engraving was executed from life (“ad viuum”) while Sadeler was in Prague after fleeing his home city of Antwerp because of religious conflicts. Interestingly, this and another two portraits by Sadeler of other legates (viz. Mechti Kuli Beg [] and Synal Chaen []) were given by Emperor Rudolph II’s legation to the Shah’s court (see Waldemar Deluga’s journal article [2008], “The Oriental Portraits of Aegidius Sadeler” in “Print Quarterly”, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 424–426]).

Etching and engraving on laid paper trimmed around the platemark and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 19.5 x 13.4 cm.

Lettered in plate: (around oval borderline) “CVCHEIN OLLIBEAG INCLYTVS DOMINVS PERSA SOCIVS LEGATIONIS MAGNI SOPHI REGIS PERSARVM.” (Cuchein Ollibeag Illustrious Governor Persian Joint Delegation Great Sophos King.); (within the oval borderline) “cum priuil. S. Cæ. M.tis”; (below the image borderline) “بینی کی کالجز فرستادن ها و حضرت میرزاده [?]/ S: Cæs. M.tis Sculptor Ægidius Sadeler ad viuum delinauit Pragæ 1601”.

State ii (of v) with the addition of the line of text “cum priuil. S. Cæ. M.tis” and before the later states with the details of Marco Sadeler and finally Dancker Danckerts as the publisher.

TIB 7201.323 S2 (Isabelle de Ramaix 1998, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Ægidius Sadeler II”, vol. 72, Part 2 [Supplement], New York, Abaris Books, p, 163, cat. no. [7201].323 S2); Hollstein Dutch 314-1(3) (Dieuwke de Hoop Scheffer [comp.] 1980, “Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: Aegidius Sadeler to Raphael Sadeler II: Text”, Amsterdam, Van Gendt & Co, p. 67, cat. no. 314).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “Portrait of Hossein Ali Beg Bayat, half-length to right, in turban and fur-trimmed coat, in oval. 1601 Engraving” (

See also the descriptions of this print offered by the Victoria and Albert Museum and Rijksmuseum:;

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression showing no sign of wear to the printing plate. The sheet is trimmed around the platemark and is laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. Beyond a chip to the upper left corner and a noticeable stain (possibly from the printing process) on the lower margin, the sheet is in a good condition for its considerable age with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or foxing.

I am selling this amazingly fine engraved portrait of a Persian ambassador with its surprising line of Persian text inscribed by one of the most famous of the Dutch old master printmakers, for the total cost of AU$398 (currently US$305.19/EUR251.81/GBP216.07 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 lifetime impression of a technically outstanding old master engraving, 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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