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Cette clef ou fontaine de bronze est parfaitment belle dans l'Original que possede mr le comte de Caylus en 1754

(This bronze keystone or fountain is perfectly beautiful in the original, which Monsieur the comte de Caylus possesses in 1754)

Artist or maker:
Saint-Aubin, Charles-Germain de (b.1721, d.1786)
Date:
1754
The inscription states 1754
Place of Production:
Paris, France
Medium:
graphite and ink on paper
Accession number:
675.205
One of a set, see others

Commentary

Brief Description:

A rectangular block, its left end decorated with the sculpted head of a lion seen in profile, is drawn in the upper half of the page. Beneath it, the same block is viewed head-on so that the lion’s head is visible in full. It appears to cast its eyes towards the right.

Curatorial Commentary

The source for these drawings was the “Recueil d’antiquités” by the celebrated connoisseur and collector, the comte de Caylus (i, 1752, pl. XVII, figs. I and II), who suggested that the lion's head, catalogued as Egyptian (pp. 52-53), was probably a stopper or plug used to stem the flow of water into a bath or wine from a wine press.

Volume i of this pioneering work of antiquarian scholarship was also a source for the drawings on 675.126, 675.127, 675.186, 675.187, 675.189 and 675.207. In these, Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin satirised the practices of collectors through false or ridiculous provenances and other associations (Guichard, 2012; Stein, 2012). This drawing, in contrast, is a purely virtuoso piece.

Caylus was known personally to the Saint-Aubin brothers. He stood witness at the marriage in 1764 of Augustin de Saint-Aubin to Louis-Nicole Godeau, whose family were his tenants. Connoisseurship also brought them together.

The quizzically impassive expression of the animal and its general solidity serve to act as a buffer to the forward motion of Lord Powerscourt on the opposing page (675.204) (De Beaumont, 2012).

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
187 x 132
Inscriptions:
Cette clef ou fontaine de bronze est parfaitment belle / dans l'Original que possede mr le comte de Caylus en / 1754
Inscription
Inscribed by Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin, below image, in graphite; the 'r' of 'mr' is in superscript.

20
Pagination
Top right corner, in ink; last digit truncated by page's edge.

205
Pagination
Top right in ink
Translation of inscription
This bronze keystone or fountain is perfectly beautiful in the original, which Monsieur the comte de Caylus possesses in 1754
Language:
French

History

Part of:
Livre de Caricatures tant bonnes que mauvaises. 675.1-389
Collection:
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957

Bibliography

Bibliography:

Kim de Beaumont; The Saint-Aubins sketching for fun and profit; Colin Jones, Juliet Carey, Emily Richardson, The Saint-Aubin Livre de caricatures: drawing satire in eighteenth-century Paris, Oxford, SVEC, 2012; 67-92; pp. 83-84, fig. 3.7
Charlotte Guichard; Connoisseurship: art and antiquities; Colin Jones, Juliet Carey, Emily Richardson, The Saint-Aubin Livre de caricatures: drawing satire in eighteenth-century Paris, Oxford, SVEC, 2012; 283-300; p. 285
Katie Scott; Saint-Aubin's jokes and their relation to...; Colin Jones, Juliet Carey, Emily Richardson, The Saint-Aubin Livre de caricatures: drawing satire in eighteenth-century Paris, Oxford, SVEC, 2012; 349-403; p. 397

Related literature

Anne-Claude-Philippe de Tubières-Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, comte de Caylus; Recueil d'antiquités égyptiennes, étrusques, grecques, romaines, et gauloises; Paris; Desaint et Saillant; 1752-1767. i (1752), pl. xvii, figs. i-ii, pp. 52-3
Victor Advielle; Renseignements intimes sur les Saint-Aubin, dessinateurs et graveurs, d'après les papiers de leur famille; Paris; L Soulié; 1896
Ronald Ridley, A pioneer art-historian and archaeologist of the eighteenth century: the comte de Caylus and his Recueil, Storia dell'arte, lxxvi, 1992, 362-75
Julie Boch; L'Archéologie comme projet ésthétique: Le "Recueil d'antiquités" du comte de Caylus; Nicholas Cronk, Kris Peeters, Le Comte de Caylus: les arts et les lettres; actes du colloque internationale, Université d'Anvers (UFSIA) et Voltaire Foundation, Oxford, 26-27 mai 2000, Amsterdam, Rodopi, 2004; 79-94

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