Illustration for the Element of Fire, from Wenzel Jamnitzer, "Perspectiva corporum regularium"

Artist or maker:
Amman, Jost (b.1539, d.1591)
Engraved by Jost Amman (Swiss, b.1539, d.1591)
Author Wenzel Jamnitzer (b.1508, d.1585)
1568 {publication date}
Place of Production:
Nuremberg, Germany
engraving on paper
Type of Object:
Accession number:
One of a set, see others


Brief Description

An illustration from "Perspectiva corporum regularium" by Wenzel Jamnitzer (Nuremburg, 1568), designed and engraved by I. A. (Jost Amman). Annotated as the trade card of a pyrotechnist (artificier).

A representation of the element of fire in the form of a cartouche, lacking any inscription. The cartouche consists of a vigorous strapwork frame with grotesque masks, in front of which is a vase or morter that is decorated with a lion's head, thin swags of fabric and c-shaped handles, which bursts into flame. This is flanked by two dragons rampant. On the left is a female putto holding a lantern, on the right another holds a candle. The cartouche is surmounted by three putti, two hovering naked and one wearing a cuirass; the latter holds aloft a censer and a small brazier. There are trophies of morters, cannons, pistols, axes, torches, fuses, cannonballs, muskets, rifles and grenades at the shoulders of the cartouche and at the corners of the sheet.

Curatorial Commentary

A card in the British Museum, Heal Collection 133.40, has similar strapwork designs. This card is a nineteenth century card for the furnishing designer Jeannin, Paris, executed in lithograph by the Varin brothers. Such examples may have provided a visual context for 3686.1.1.1 to be collected as a trade card [COLLECTING].

The inclusion of a German print as the first example in the volume may be significant considering the large amount of Germanic prints in the fourth volume, which do not seem to have come from Destailleur's collection. By placing this print here, the arranger may have wanted to remind viewers of the unusual character of Ferdinand's collection, which included many German as well as French examples.

Phillippa Plock, 2008

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
254 x 176
Physical Details:
single sheet, image size: 254 x 174 (sheet trimmed to or within plate mark)
Signature & Date
signed in the plate, lower centre: I.A.
Translation of inscription:
Trade card of a pyrotechnist of the 16th century


Acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898) before 1897; inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); bequeathed to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1957.
Part of:
Recueil d'adresses: A collection of sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century French, German, Belgian, Swiss, Dutch, Italian and Spanish trade cards, labels, wrappers, advertisements and related commercial ephemera bound in four volumes. 3686.1-4
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957



Wenzel Jamnitzer; Perspectiva corporum regularium; Nuremberg; [n. pub.]; 1568; frontispiece
Katie Scott, The Waddesdon Manor Trade Cards: More than one history, Journal of Design History, 23, 2004, 91-104; p. 92, fig. 1
Phillippa Plock, "Le comble de la folie": Ferdinand de Rothschild, collectionneur de cartes-adresses, Le Vieux Papier, 38, October 2009, 529-537; p. 535

Related literature

Pierrette Jean-Richard; Ornemanistes de XV au XVII siècle: gravures et dessins; Louvre, Paris, 12 June - 21 September 1987; Paris; Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, Ministere de la Culture; 1987. cat. no. 52, pp. 42-3

Indexed terms

Other details