rococo

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Dedication page for an album of metalwork, shows text surrounded by a rococo frame
A Royal Visit
Dedication pages are as old as the history of publishing—if not older. However, it is rare that we see a dedication page featuring a scene such as the one illustrated here. This print is a dedication page from Recueil des ouvrages en serrurerie (1767), an album of engraving featuring metalwork designs by the French ironmonger,...
Shows a painter sitting and painting in a studio in a shape of a cartouche
Designing a Painter
The image of the painter in his studio is a popular and common visual theme from the early modern period to the present. This particular cartouche, designed by Jacques de Lajoüe, shows a painter with the tools of his trade arranged in the form of a cartouche (a type of an ornamental frame). With the...
Two designs epitomizing the fantastical asymmetric rococo spirit, possibly to be produced in gold or silver. At left, a vase-like form decorated with shell motifs, acanthus leaves and c- and s-scrolls. At right, an ewer form decorated with shell, leave and c- and s-scrolls. Two auricular fragments are placed between the two objects.
Over the Top
How wild can you go with design! These dazzling images of ewer-shaped ornaments by the German rococo designer Franz Xaver Habermann prove that German rococo can be pretty flamboyant. This sheet comes from an album of ornament prints of designs for mirrors, candelabra, wall sconces, console tables and other furniture. While Habermann was trained as...
View of a man wearing a turban
Heads up!
This study by the prolific French artist, François Boucher, offers a rich insight into the practice of collecting drawings in eighteenth-century France. The head of the turbaned man is sketched with black and red chalk, with the white of the paper used as a third shade. The sheet features the annotation, “Boucher” in the lower right...
Design for a folding screen panel with putti and a herm
Screening the Rococo
This is a design for a panel for a folding screen by the prolific French painter, designer and academician François Boucher. Titled, “The Triumph of Priapus,” it was etched and engraved as part of a suite of folding screen designs. This publication, which was titled Nouveaux Morceaux pour des paravents, included four other designs titled,...
Drawing of a fantasy landscape with flying boats
When Ships Fly
Ships, precariously tethered to mountain tops by garlands, hover over a landscape of pure fantasy in this graphite drawing by the French artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement (1728-1808).  Pillement was known for his imaginative prints featuring chinoiserie designs that were in essence European variants of Japanese and Chinese motifs. Pillement was a prolific artist who operated in...
Drawing showing female personification of Truth and Fame on a spandrel
Between Fame and Truth
This drawing is a design for a spandrel, the roughly triangular space between the left or right exterior curve of an arch, by the French academician and painter François Boucher.  The drawing is executed with black chalk, pen, brown ink and wash and represents the personification of truth and fame honoring Louis XV. In the...
Print showing two elaborate tureens on either side of a rococo centerpiece
Surf & Turf: A Silver Tureen for a Duke
Eighteenth-century meal services were elaborate affairs, as exemplified in this print showing tureens and a table center piece designed by Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier for Evelyn Pierrepont, Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull in the 1730s. Meissonnier worked for Louis XV, becoming  orfèvre du roi (goldsmith to the king) in 1724. This engraving is plate 115 in folio 72 of...
Cartouche with a papal crown and emblems of death
A Papal Graveyard
This is a design for a cartouche by the French académician, ornemaniste, and painter Jacques de Lajoüe (1687- 1761). It was etched by Gabriel Huquier as plate 4 in his Second book of Cartouches (Deuxième livre de Cartouches), which was published in 1734 (as established by Roland Michel). The ascribed date locates this at a...