- Museum number
- Series: Paradigmata Graphices Variorum Artificum
Three allegorical figures of History (?), the Graphic Arts and Eternal Fame surrounding a portrait bust of Jan de Bisschop inside a classical building; at right a group of putti play and look inside a book
- Production date
- 1672-1689 (c.)
Height: 227 millimetres
Width: 154 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This title-page is first state, published by Visscher; the second state is published by Hendrik de Leth. It is the first plate of 157 etchings by Jan de Bisschop (1850,0810.652-810), organised in three series ('Signorum Veterum Icones' I and II and 'Paradigmata Graphices Variorum Artificum'). It is bound in a red Moroccan album with gilt-tooled frame lines on the cover, gilt-tooled title, gold edges and the artist's name on the spine. 'Icones' I (the first fifty plates) and II (the following fifty plates) comprise 101 etchings (including title-page), mainly after antique statues, based on preparatory drawings by other artists than De Bisschop. These etchings are all proofs before letters. The plates of 'Icones' I are numbered in pencil and those of 'Icones' II in pen and brown ink in the top right corner. The 'Paradigmata' (the last fifty-seven plates) contains etchings of the human body, both as a whole and in parts, mostly after drawings by Italian masters. The plates of the 'Paradigmata' are all numbered in pencil in the upper right corner, except for number 18 which contains an engraved number. The three series served as drawing-books but were originally not intended to all be published together. De Bisschop's purpose with these books of etchings had been to provide examples by a variety of different masters, in order to help artists learn from models that possessed both artistry and beauty. All fifty etchings of 'Icones' I and the first twenty-five published etchings of 'Paradigmata' are inlaid into larger sheets of paper in order to match the size of the paper onto which the letterpress and title-pages are printed. The types of paper also differ throughout the volume: all the proof impressions and the title-pages and dedications are printed on a fibrous type of paper, while the lettered etchings are on smoother paper.
The British Museum is in the possession of three different volumes with etchings by De Bisschop. One volume containing 'Icones' I and II (1901,1022.2531.1-101) counts 101 plates, including title-page. It is bound in its original seventeenth-century binding of tooled vellum in a vertical sense and the pages are sewn in thirteen or more gatherings. Originally De Bisschop's 'Icones' appeared in two separate volumes, volume I, first published in 1668, and volume II in 1669, but these parts were afterwards always issued together. Another volume comprises only the 'Paradigmata' I and counts twenty-five etchings of a second state impression (1896,0528.1-25). The 'Paradigmata' was intended to comprise the same number of plates as the 'Icones' I and II together, divided into four different volumes. However, only one volume was published during De Bisschop's lifetime, containing twenty-five lettered plates. A further thirty-two etchings (proofs before letters) were probably added by the publisher Nicolaas Visscher II in 1672, with an etched title-page by Gerard de Lairesse. In this form the last volume (1850,0810.652-810), as described earlier, is bound with 'Icones' I and II, containing all together one hundred fifty seven plates, and so comprising all the series bound together.
The British Museum volumes are preceded by Latin and Dutch title-pages and dedications in letterpress to Constantijn Huygens for the 'Icones' I and to Jan Uytenbogaerd for the 'Icones' II. These dedications are followed by a list of contents and locations, also in both languages. 'Icones' II also contains an 'Address to the Spectator' which precedes the list of contents and locations. A third dedication to Jan Six precedes the first plates of the 'Paradigmata'.
Some watermarks can be distinguished throughout the volumes.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number