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Henri Le Roy, Le Jardin de Sauterelles et Papillons, Plate 13, an engraving

 

Height: 120.000 mm
Width: 74.000 mm

Sloane Collection

PD Z.1-20

Prints and Drawings

    Henri Le Roy, Le Jardin de Sauterelles et Papillons, Plate 13, an engraving

    France, about AD 1650

    Engraving of insects against decorative foliage

    The full title of this set of fifteen prints may be translated, 'The garden of grasshoppers and butterflies, together with flies of all kinds, gathered for the use of everyone'. The print comes from the collection of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), whose huge collection of books, natural history materials, and objects of scientific interest formed the basis of The British Museum at its foundation in 1753. Sloane's collection included 5,447 insects.

    Le Roy's etched insects however, are subordinate to the pattern of his foliage, which curls carefully around the page to fill every space on the paper. The depiction of the creatures is too unreliable to be of use to the natural historian. The sheet is more likely to have been intended to serve as a pattern for craftsmen working in the decorative arts such as embroidery or metalwork.

    Le Roy (1579-1652) was a Parisian engraver. He also copied a set of etched butterflies by Wenceslaus Hollar, whose meticulously observed etchings were of service to naturalists, and were much admired by Sloane.

    A. Griffiths (ed.), Landmarks in print collecting (London, The British Museum Press)

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