Gallery of prints for sale

Tuesday 23 November 2021

Étienne Delaune’s engraving, “Building the Tower of Babel”, c1560

Étienne Delaune (aka Stephanus) (c1518–83)

“Building the Tower of Babel”, c1560 (1550–1572), plate 14 from the series of 36 engravings, “The Genesis” (aka “Histoire de la Genèse”).

Engraving on fine laid paper trimmed close to the platemark with a thread margin around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 8 x 10.7 cm; (image borderline) 7.1 x 10.6 cm.

Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (lower left) “S[tephanus]. F[ecit].  CVM PRI REGIS”.

Lettered in plate in two lines of Latin below the image borderline: (centre) “GENSIS 10./ EXTRVITVR TVRRIS BABLONICA QVA MOBREM/ CONFVNDIT DEVS LABIVM VNIVERSE TERRE.” ([Transl.] “The Tower of Babel is built, that is why God mixes the languages ​​of the whole earth.” [see]).

State i (of ii)

Robert-Dumesnil 37 (A P F Robert-Dumesnil 1835, “Le Peintre-Graveur Français”, Paris, G Warée, vol. 9, p. 30, cat. no. 37); IFF 37 (André Linzeler 1932, “Inventaire du Fonds Français. Graveurs du XVIe Siècle”, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes, vol. I, p. 225, cat. no. 37); Le Blanc 1–36 (Ch. Le Blanc 1856, “Manuel de l'amateur d'estampes, contenant un dictionnaire des graveurs de toutes les nations”, Paris, vol. 2, p. 503, cat. no. 1–36).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“Plate 14: men building the Babel tower; in the left foreground a kneeling architect addresses Nemrod, who points to the tower standing in the distance; nearby men carve stone blocks”


See other prints by Delaune along with excellent explanations offered by Spaightwood Galleries:

See also the insights about Delaune offered by the Victoria and Albert Museum:

Condition: a very delicate lifetime impression trimmed close to the platemark with a thread margin around the image borderline. There are notations by a previous collector at the lower edge of the sheet, otherwise the sheet is in very good condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing and it has been laid onto a sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper.

I am selling this lifetime impression of a small and finely crafted engraving—executed when Michelangelo was sculpting his “Rondanini Pietà” (1552–1564)—for the total cost of AU$298 (currently US$215.24/EUR191.50/GBP160.67 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 sensitively rendered masterpiece of engraving showing an episode from Genesis (Old Testament) in which the Tower of Babel is constructed—interestingly, the portrayed construction may not be quite right as the builders were supposed to perform the construction using brick with tar as the mortar rather than stone (see Genesis 11.3), but be mindful that I’m often wrong in my reading of biblical texts—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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