Ah Sy tu Savois le Blazon!

(Ah, if you knew the coat of arms!)

Artist or maker:
Saint-Aubin, Charles-Germain de (b.1721, d.1786)
c 1740-c 1775 {nd}
Place of Production:
Paris, France
watercolour, ink and graphite on paper
Accession number:
One of a set, see others


Brief Description:

A man, his body cut off at the neck, plays a racket game using his head as a ball. He holds the racket in his right hand while his left is extended upwards, as if having just released his head, which is suspended in the air towards the upper right corner of the page. The head has brown hair, rolled at the bottom, and wears a biretta topped with a yellow pennant. The man leans forward, standing on his left foot and swinging his right out behind him. He is dressed in a light purple ecclesiastical robe belted with a long ribbon with a yellow fringe, purple stockings and black shoes.

The man is shown being butted in the groin by a horned grey goat with pale pink udders that approaches him from the right. The goat wears a mop cap trimmed with a blue ribbon. With its front hooves, it steps on a heraldic shield in a golden frame with a scrolled top and base. The shield is pale blue and is decorated with white band drawn between the dexter chief and sinister base. Two motifs, which are too small to be identifiable, appear on either side of the band.

Curatorial Commentary

If only! Efforts to unlock the puzzle have so far proved fruitless. The heraldic shield which tantalisingly offers a clue is sketched in such a cursory manner by Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin that it is difficult, or indeed impossible, to identify. The same problem is encountered in drawings at 675.194 and 675.307.

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
187 x 132
Ah Sy tu Savois le Blazon!
Inscribed by Charles-Germain de Saint-Aubin, below image, in ink

Top right corner, in brackets, in ink
Translation of inscription
Ah, if only you knew the coat of arms!


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



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. 361n

Related literature

Eugène Olivier, Georges Hermal, R de Roton; Manuel de l'Amateur de Reliures Armoriées Françaises; Paris; C.H. Bosse Libraire; 1924-1938. see pl. 22 and 35 for similar, but not exact, heraldic shields

Indexed terms