Daniel Nikolaus Chodowiecki, Cabinet d'un Peintre ('A Painter's Cabinet', an etching

Germany, AD 1771

The artist with his family in his study

Chodowiecki (1726-1801) left his native Danzig (now Gdansk in Poland), at the age of 17 to work for an uncle in Berlin. Almost thirty years later, he dedicated this picture of his family to his mother, who had never seen her grandchildren. The signed and dated print is, however, making a public statement about middle-class family values.

Chodowiecki sits by the window on our right, peering over his spectacles at the child he is drawing. Seated at the table, his eldest son Wilhelm is sketching a horse, while a younger brother looks on admiringly. The hand of the infant seated in the centre is held by an elder sister, who turns towards her mother. The eldest daughter Jeanne, studies an illustrated album. The family group is lively, intimate and informal. They are illustrated as improving themselves through artistic activities. The paintings on the wall and the small Crouching Venus on the Rococo sidetable, are further works for the children to study. They also refer to Chodowiecki's other role as a dealer in paintings, prints and drawings.

This is Chodowiecki's most famous print. To satisfy the demand for it, three contemporary etched copies were made, and a mezzotint version for the English market.

Find in the collection online

More information


F. Carey and A. Griffiths, German printmaking in the age, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)


Height: 230.000 mm
Width: 179.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1863-6-13-155 (Engelmann 75)



Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore