Gallery of prints for sale

Sunday 9 April 2023

Sébastien Bourdon’s etching, “Mary with Child” (aka “Maria met Kind”) c1648 (BM: 1643–1652)

This etching has a fuzzy history. What is known for certain is that the artist intended the scene to be a round image featuring St John the Baptist as an infant on the right and St Joseph engaged in carpentry on the left behind the Holy Family; as shown in the lifetime impression held by the British Museum: After the artist died, however, the image was reshaped to the oval format shown here. The reason for this major alteration is unknown, but presumably the plate was damaged. Certainly, the change must have been facilitated by the publisher and this is where I see a cloud of fuzziness descend. If I were to take the catalogue entry made by Charles LeBlanc (1851) to be accurate, then there was only one publisher and that was Pierre Mariette (see vol., 1, p. 494, cat. no. 10). Unfortunately, this is not the case as the Rijksmuseum has an impression of this plate showing Thomas Lejuge as the publisher (see At first, I was happy to accept that Mariette was the first publisher and Lejuge followed in his footsteps with a later edition. Sadly, however, I am slightly uneasy about this straight forward explanation. On close examination of the print showing Lejuge as publisher I can see more of the original plate details outside of the oval borderline than the more “cleaned up” outer border space showing Mariette as the publisher. There is also a copy of this print that is inscribed with the letters, “I.S.A” (Arabic for Jesus?) above the Holy Family after the publisher’s name was somewhat forcefully erased (see, suggesting that there may be a state before (or after) one of the two known publishers, as neither of the states with the publisher’s details has these letters.

Sébastien Bourdon (1616-1671)

“Mary with Child” (aka “Maria met Kind”; “Virgin and Child”), (1643–1652), published by Pierre Mariette I (c1603–1657).

Etching on fine (Japanese?) paper, trimmed along the platemark (or slightly within) and backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 13.5 x 9.5 cm.

Lettered in plate along the lower edge: (left) “S. Bourdon, fecit.”; (centre) “Puerulus autem crescebat, et coroboratur Spiritum” (But the little boy was growing, and the Spirit was strengthening him) (right) “P. Mariette exc.”

State ii? (of iii/iv?) with the change from a round format of the first state to an oval shape and with the addition of publication details for Pierre Mariette I, but before the change of details to Thomas Lejuge (see an impression of the later state held by the Rijksmuseum: Note that the order of the publisher (and the state) may be that Mariette followed Lejuge. There is also an unrecorded state showing the letters. “I.S.A.”, inscribed above the Holy Family (see

IFF 12 (Département des Estampes 1939–, “Inventaire du Fonds Français: Graveurs du XVIIe Siècle”, vol., 2, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, p. 67, cat. no. 12); LeBlanc 10 (Charles Le Blanc 1851, “Manuel de l'amateur d'estampes: contenant le dictionnaire des graveurs de toutes les nations”, vol. 1, Paris, P Jannet, p. 494, cat. no. 10).

Condition: a well-printed impression with a closed tear at lower right and laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper providing wide margins.

I am selling this sensitively executed and very beautiful etching, for the total cost of AU$302 (currently US$201.47/EUR184.73/GBP162.20 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 purchasing this superb etching of the Holy Family—note how the artist has been able to fill the scene with light and air—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

Note that I have previously listed a portrait of the artist, “Sébastien Bourdon” (1733), engraved by Laurent Cars after Hyacinthe Rigaud that is currently still available; see

This print has been sold

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