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sketch-book / frontispiece / drawing

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1957,1214.6

  • Description

    Portrait of Claude, possibly a self-portrait, used as a frontispiece to the Liber Veritatis; almost half-length, turned to front and slightly to right, and looking to front Pen and brown ink and brown wash, heightened with white, strengthened with gum, over black chalk, on blue paper; on an 18thc mount

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  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1635-1682
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 265 millimetres
    • Width: 323 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    See M. Kitson, Claude Lorrain Liber Veritatis, pp.44-5, for a discussion of the authorship of this drawing, and for comprehensive information on the Liber, of which the following gives a brief account.

    The sketch-book of the Liber Veritatis, containing 195 drawings which Claude made as a record of his paintings from around 1635 onwards, passed to his niece Agnese on his death, possibly with the frontispiece portrait, and an index of patrons written in Italian, based on Claude's inscriptions on the versos of the drawings (the first index). It is possible that it was rebound for the first time at this stage. It was then sold by Claude's nephew Joseph and is next recorded in Paris, now with an index in French recording the names of the then owners of the paintings (the second index), which can be dated to c. 1717. After this the book passed to the 2nd Duke of Devonshire, in whose collection it is recorded as being in 1728. While in the Devonshire collection, or possibly before, the drawings were trimmed almost to Claude's frame-line, mounted on grey paper, leaving the versos exposed, and rebound, with the frontispiece and indices, and five other drawings unconnected to the Liber (chiefly finished preparatory studies), bringing the total number of Claude's drawings contained in the album to 200. In 1774 the Liber was dismantled to enable Earlom to engrave his series of prints after the drawings, and each was clearly numbered on the verso (for the third time). Two pairs of drawings were switched around and incorrectly numbered, a mistake which persisted when the drawings were returned to their binding.
    This album was accepted in lieu of Estate Duty after the death of the 9th Duke of Devonshire, and allocated to the British Museum in 1957, registration numbers 1957,1214.6-206. It was dismantled in the interests of conservation and the drawings were mounted separately on stiff boards leaving the versos exposed.
    For information on the prints by Earlom after the Liber, see 1872,1012.4663.

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  • Bibliography

    • Roethlisberger 1968 179 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (French Roy XVIIc)

  • Exhibition history

    1977 BM, Claude Lorrain: Liber Veritatis 1978/9 Oct-Jan, Paris, Musée du Louvre, 'Claude Lorrain', no. 70 1998 Oct-Dec, London, Sir John Soane's Museum, 'William Kent'
    2012 March-June, London, National Gallery, Turner Inspired...

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1957

  • Acquisition notes

    Accepted by H M Government in lieu of tax on the estate of the 9th Duke of Devonshire. See M. Kitson's 'Claude Lorrain: Liber Veritatis', pp. 28-9, for a full account of the provenance of the sketch-book.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number

    1957,1214.6

Portrait of Claude, possibly a self-portrait, used as a frontispiece to the Liber Veritatis; almost HL, turned to front and slightly to r, and looking to front Pen and brown ink and brown wash, heightened with white, strengthened with gum, over black chal

Portrait of Claude, possibly a self-portrait, used as a frontispiece to the Liber Veritatis; almost HL, turned to front and slightly to r, and looking to front Pen and brown ink and brown wash, heightened with white, strengthened with gum, over black chal

Image description

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Object reference number: PDO1163

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