- Museum number
Landscape with river running into left foreground, clump of trees on the right, beyond figures walking on snaking path, and in the distance some mountains
- Production date
Height: 297 millimetres
Width: 405 millimetres
- Not on display
- Acquisition notes
- X,9.1 to 335 is a large folio Sloane album, which was extensively recast by Thomas Philipe in 1808-10 after its transfer from the Library, but has not been altered since 1810. It now contains 335 landscape and topographical prints: nos.1 to 165 are by members of the Perelle family, while 166 to 335 are by members of the Silvestre family. Its present construction is complicated and here described in four parts:
BINDING The binding is of the the late XVIIc/ early XVIIIc. It has been rebacked but the original labels on the spine reading 'Prints / French Topography / Silvestre & Perelle' have been kept and re-used.
THE PAGES The sheets are all paper of the late XVIIc, and have been foliated in the top right hand corners by Sloane's librarian Dr Scheuchzer from 1 to 170. The numbering presents some anomalies: some pages are unnumbered, and some numbers are repeated, but there seems no good reason to think that the order of the pages has been altered since Scheuchzer. A few pages have been cut out, but the continuous numbering of the prints shows that this was done before Philipe. Folios numbered 8, 14, 17, 25, 31, 35, 37 and 39 are on slightly smaller sized sheets: almost all of these have Courten's annotations on the verso, and they were clearly taken over from an earlier Courten album and included in this album which Sloane assembled after receiving Courten's bequest in 1702 (see 'Landmarks in Print Collecting' pp.22-7). Folios 1 and 170 at the front and end of the volume bear the octagonal 'Museum Britannicum' stamps in black ink that indicate a Sloane provenance for the album. Bound in at the end of the volume (after folio 170) is an index in the handwriting of Scheuchzer by artists' names and subjects. The index does not refer to anything by Silvestre or Perelle, and clearly comes from another Sloane volume and was tipped in at the end of this volume by mistake.
THE PRINTS The prints by Silvestre and Perelle were numbered from 1 to 335 in pencil above each by Ottley in 1833. This numbering corresponds that that in the listing in the 1837 inventory, and this shows that the album has not been disturbed since then. Each of the prints has Philipe’s blindstamp and the initials either HS (for Sloane) or WF (for Fawkener) in the bottom right corner. The prints were glued onto the sheets by dabs of glue in the corners and at intervals along the sides. Philipe detached the glue at the corner to stamp and initial the prints, but most have since been re-glued, leaving the initials invisible (though the outline of the blindstamp can be seen from the front).
THE PROVENANCE The prints are a complete mixture of quality and condition: the best are excellent, the worst are terrible. Most of the pages show no signs of having been lifted or of earlier arrangements disturbed, and it is reasonable to assume that these prints all belonged to Sloane. Pr.120 in his manuscript library catalogue is described as 'Landskips of Silvestre, Perelle, Montaigne, mezzotinto prints, Hollar' and this seems to be this album. If so the prints by Platte-Montaigne, Hollar and the mezzotints were removed either while the volume was in the BM Library between 1753-1806, or by Philipe in 1808-1810. Some prints still have the lower right corner detached, and some of these can be seen to have been marked by Philipe with WF. But in some cases (eg the prints X,9.43, 47, 122, 167) the WF is coupled with a Courten number in cipher, which proves that they came from Sloane. For this reason Philipe’s WF on the verso cannot be taken as reliable. However, the set of prints X,9.229 to 240 and various others are marked with WF on the recto. Since these are on pages that show gum marks of earlier arrangements, they can probably be trusted – certainly some prints must have come from Fawkener for Philipe to have become confused. Another set (X,9.247 to 252) has an octagonal 'Museum Britannicum' stamp on the verso of the first sheet. This shows that it was a separate small volume in Sloane's library, and that Philipe must have taken it apart to include in this album: these prints too are marked WF. In the individual entries a Courten annotation has been taken as proof of a Sloane provenance, and a WF annotation on the recto (NOT the verso) has been taken as proof of a Fawkener provenance. WF annotations are only found on prints by Silvestre, not by Perelle. The rest of the prints (the great majority) have been assigned no provenance, but most of them must have come from Sloane.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1975,U.729