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Wednesday 13 April 2022

Alfred Taiée’s etching with drypoint, “Marrons d'Inde”, 1869

Alfred Taiée (aka Jean Alfred Taiée) (1820–1880)

“Marrons d'Inde” (Horse Chestnuts), 1869, published in Paris in 1869 by Cadart & Luce (fl.1867–1870/1) as plate 70 to “L'Illustration Nouvelle par une Société de Peintres-Graveurs à l'Eau-Forte”, vol. 2 (2nd year) (see   and

Etching with drypoint on pale grey chine collé on laid paper with margins around the platemark.

Size: (sheet) 23.1 x 33 cm; (plate) 12.6 x 24.1 cm; (image borderline/chine collé) 10.5 x 22.4 cm.

Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (lower left) “a. taiée.”; (lower right) “Sous ta piquante carapace,/ Marron de détestable race,/ á quoi bon te cacher si bien,/ Puisqu'on sait que tu ne vaux rien!”.

Numbered and lettered in plate: (upper right corner) “70.”; (lower left) “Alfred Taiée. sc.”; (lower centre) “MARRONS D'INDE”; (lower right) “Paris,CADART & LUCE, Editeurs Imprimeurs, Rue Nve des Mathurins,58.”

Beraldi 1 (not described by title) (Henri Béraldi 1885–1892, “Les Graveurs du XIXe Siècle: Guide de l'Amateur d'Estampes Modernes”, vol. 12, Paris, Librairie L. Conquet, pp.68–69).

See the description of this print offered by the Wellcome Collection:

For those wondering about the inscribed poem at lower right ([transl.] “Under your prickly shell,/ Chestnut of a detestable race,/ what's the use of hiding yourself so well,/ Since we know you're worth nothing!”), I understand that unlike edible sweet chestnuts, the prickly skinned horse chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) portrayed in this still-life contain a poison called esculin that is toxic if eaten raw (see Accordingly, the poem is a lament for the need of horse chestnuts to protect their nuts so well seeing that no one is likely to eat or value them.

Condition: a richly inked and well-printed impression in an excellent condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, significant stains, foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this curiously wonderful still-life etching of horse chestnuts with its inscribed (tongue-in-cheek”) lament about nature’s pointless packaging of the toxic nut, for the total cost of AU$204 (currently US$152.23/EUR140.46/GBP116.99 at the time of posting this print) 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 visually arresting and unusual etching, 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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