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Friday 23 July 2021

Stefano della Bella’s etching, “Pole in Court Dress Leaning on a War Hammer”, c1645

Stefano della Bella (1610–1664)

“Pole in Court Dress Leaning on a War Hammer” (aka “Polish man seen from behind, other man in background” [Rijksmuseum title]), c1645, plate 19 from the series of 24 plates (including the title plate), “Diversi Capricci”, published in Paris by Nicolas I Langlois (1640–1703).

Etching on fine laid paper with a small margin on the top and sides and a larger margin below, backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 14.3 x 12 cm; (plate) 8.1 x 10 cm.

Inscribed in plate along the lower edge: (left): “19 Stef della Bella fecit”; (centre) “Cum priuil.”; (right) “N Langlois ex”.

State ii (of iii), lifetime impression before the change of publisher to Pierre Mariette I in state iii (see BM inv. no. X,5.182), or state iii (of iv) as catalogued by De Vesme/Massar (p. 44 [illust.]).

 De Vesme/Massar 146 (Alexandre de Vesme & Phyllis D. Massar, 1971, “Stefano della Bella. Catalogue Raisonné”, New York, Collectors Editions, [text] p. 72, cat. no. 146, [illust.] p. 44, cat. no. 146); Jombert (Della Bella)  139-19 (Charles Antoine Jombert 1772, “Essai d'un catalogue de l'oeuvre d'Etienne de la Belle, peintre et graveur florentin”, Paris, p. 141, cat. no. 139-19).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“Plate 19; a Pole in court dress, standing in centre turned towards left leaning on a war hammer, with another Pole behind to right. c.1647 Etching” ( See also the description offered by the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: a well-printed impression  with a small margin around the platemark on the top and sides and a generous margin below, laid onto a sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. There is a collector’s stamp verso.

I am selling this sensitively executed lifetime impression that may be small in physical size but is very grand in its projection of scale in the sense of wide open space—no doubt resulting at least in part from the “David and Goliath” difference of size between the two figures portrayed—for AU$233 (currently US$171.71/EUR145.83/GBP124.89 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 this superb etching by one of the most famous of the old master printmakers, 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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