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Thursday 13 October 2022

Crispin de Passe’s engraving, “December”, c1608, after Maarten de Vos

Crispin de Passe the Elder (aka Crispijn van de Passe) (1564–1637)

“December” (Décembre), c1608 (1590–1626 [BM dates]), the final plate in the series of twelve plates representing the months of the year, “The Twelve Months” (aka “Les Mois” [the months]) (Franken [1881] 1174–1185), published by Crispin de Passe (as inscribed in plate), after Maarten de Vos (aka Maarten de Vos; Maerten de Vos) (1532–1603).

Note that the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a pen and ink drawing of the same composition by Crispin de Passe; see:

Engraving on laid paper trimmed around the image borderline and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (support sheet) 22 x 18.5 cm: (sheet dia.) 12.1 cm.

Inscribed in plate within the image borderline: (lower centre) “C. de Pas exc.”

Lettered in plate following the round borderline: “MACTO SVES: BOREÆ NIL FRIGORA CVRO December. DVM MODO LIGNA, FOCVS, TOGA. SVNT ET AROMATA PRÆSTO.”

Franken 1881 (D Franken 1881, “L'œuvre gravé des van de Passe”, Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, p. 211, cat. no. 1185 [see]); Hollstein 588.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “December; old man seated before his fire; a boy tending the fire; plate from a set of twelve circular plates with a titlepage; zodiacal signs in the sky; each with Latin text and caption in circles (

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression (possibly a lifetime impression based on the quality of line showing no sign of wear to the printing plate), trimmed around the image borderline and laid upon a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. Beyond a restored tear at lower centre and minor marks, the sheet is in a very good condition with no significant stains.

I am selling this fascinating emblem print showing the zodiac sign and activities associated with the month of December—note the expression of wintery cold signified by a warming fire being attended to by an old man and child with a contented and well-filled cat perched where a bird possibly once rested—for the total cost of AU$278 (currently US$174.26/EUR179.75/GBP157.56 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 this very beautiful engraving from the beginning of the 1600s, 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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