Gallery of prints for sale

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Comte de Caylus & Nicolas Lesueur, “A Holy Abbot Restoring Sight to a Blind Man”, c.1729, after Giovanni Bonatti

Anne Claude Philippe de Tubières, Comte de Caylus (1692–1765) (etching component) in collaboration with Nicolas Lesueur (aka Nicolas Le Sueur) (1690–1764) (woodcut component)

“A Holy Abbot Restoring Sight to a Blind Man” (aka “Un Saint Abbé Rendant la Vûe à un Aveugle”), c.1729, plate 126 from the series, “Recueil d'estampes d'après les plus beaux tableaux et d'après les plus beaux desseins qui sont en France” (Collection of prints from the most beautiful paintings and from the most beautiful designs that are in France) (aka “Recueil Crozat”; “Cabinet Crozat”), after a drawing by Giovanni Bonatti (aka Joannes Bonatus; Giovannino del Pio) (1635–1681).

This is a rare early impression before the woodcut component was replaced with aquatint when published by François Basan (1723–97) in 1764. The British Museum holds a copy of the later state where aquatint was introduced in 1763 by Francois Philippe Charpentier (1734–1817)—a pioneer of early aquatint—with the intention of imitating Nicolas Lesueur’s woodcut component (as shown here); see

Regarding the publication of the series, “Recueil Crozat”, the Curator of the British Museum offers the following insights: “… a series of plates commissioned by Crozat [Pierre Crozat (1665–1740)] … reproducing famous paintings and drawings of the era; 140 plates were published in 1729. A second volume formed by 42 prints (instead of the 110 plates initially planned) was issued in 1740.

After Crozat's death, the plates were sold to a company of booksellers who commissioned Mariette to reorganize the 'Recueil'; Mariette divided the plates into two volumes, added some missing descriptions, and advertised the set to the public in 1742.

In 1764, Basan [François Basan] bought the plates and the text, and republished the 'Recueil', but replaced the woodcuts by intaglio prints. … where an attempt to imitate the effect of a chiaroscuro woodcut is made by using aquatint instead …” (

Etching and chiaroscuro woodcut printed in black (the etching component) and three tones of yellow-brown (the woodcut component) on heavy laid paper with wide margins.

Size: (sheet) 45.8 x 30.8 cm; (plate) 31.7 x 16 cm; (image borderline) 20.5 x 15 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (centre) “Vn St. Abbé rendant la vûe à un aveugle/ Dessein de Jean Bonnatti, qui est dans le Cabinet de Mr. Crozat/ Gravé à l’eau forte par Mr. le C… de C.., et en bois sous sa conduit par Nicolas le Sueur.”; (right) “126”.

IFF 38 (Inventaire du Fonds Français: Bibliothèque Nationale, Département des Estampes).

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression. There is age-toning, pale patches and a few spots/stains, otherwise, the sheet is in a good condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or significant stains.

I am selling this curiosity of a composite print employing etching and chiaroscuro woodcut (i.e., a woodcut involving more than one tone of a colour) for AU$319 (currently US$211.34/EUR194.64/GBP166.63 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 this early impression of a technically important print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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