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Saturday 15 January 2022

Richard van Orley’s etching with engraving, “Christ and St Peter Walking on the Water”, c1685

Richard van Orley (1663–1732)

“Christ and St Peter Walking on the Water” (aka “Christ walks on water”; “Christus loopt over het water”), c1685, after the design by Jan van Orley (1665–1735) from the series of twenty-eight prints made by the brothers, Richard and Jan van Orley, “Scenes from the New Testament” (aka “Scènes uit het Nieuwe Testament”). Regarding the series in which this print features, the Rijksmuseum advises that originally “the series would consist of 32 prints; therefore numbers from 1–32 may appear below the prints (see inv. no. RP-P-OB-24.326).

Etching and engraving on laid paper, trimmed with a narrow margin around the image borderline and the text lines and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 21.1 x 25.4 cm; (image borderline) 19.4 x 25 cm.

Numbered and lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) 27/ J.v. orley inventor”; “Domine Salvum me fac, et Continuo Jesus extendens Manum aprehendit eum Math: 14” [(transl.) Lord, save me, and immediately Jesus stretching out his hand takes hold of him (Mathew: 14)]; (right) R.v. orley fecit”.

Hollstein 3–30 (FWH Hollstein 1956, “Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts ca. 1450–1700: Meer–Ossenbeeck”, vol. 14, Amsterdam, Menno Hertzberger, p. 191, cat. no. 3–30); Jacobs G49 (Alain Jacobs 2003, “Richard van Orley [Brussel 1663–Brussel 1732]”, exhib. cat., Brussel, Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België, pp. 60–67, cat. no. 35 [G49]).

The Rijksmuseum and the British Museum offer the following descriptions of this print: “The apostles' boat has come into a great storm, and Christ is coming to help them. He walks with Peter on the water. Peter is afraid and clings to Christ's hand. Below the image a Latin verse from Math. 14.” (; “Christ and St Peter walking on the water; Christ at left pulls St Peter by the arm, St Peter's arms are raised, one fisherman on a boat at right, mountains and a castle in the left background
Etching and engraving” (

Note that the British Museum holds a cut fragment of this etching rather than the whole image and the Rijksmuseum holds the whole print.

Condition: a well-printed early impression (based on the scratch guidelines for the inscribed text being visible and have not worn away as would be the case with later impressions), trimmed within the platemark on the top and sides and laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper. Beyond minor age toning, the sheet is in very good condition with no tears (?), holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains or foxing.

I am selling this rare and very beautiful etching (with engraving) showing Jesus walking on the sea with the faith-challenged St Peter—note how St Peter’s left foot is slightly submerged in the water as Jesus pulls him to the surface and the very subtle suggestion of a halo around Jesus’ head—for the total cost of AU$286 (currently US$206.22/EUR180.64/GBP150.75 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 amazing etching capturing a scene of turbulent water, sparkling light and drama, 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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