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Print - Pourtraicture ingenieuse de plusieurs facons de Masques
  • Pourtraicture ingenieuse de plusieurs facons de Masques
    Huys, Frans
  • Enlarge image

Pourtraicture ingenieuse de plusieurs facons de Masques

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Antwerp (published)

  • Date:

    1555 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Huys, Frans (engraver)
    Floris, Cornelis II (artist)
    Hans Liefrinck, born 1517 - died 1573 (published)
    Huys, Frans (Engraver)
    Hans Liefrinck, born 1517 - died 1573 (Publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 503, case EO, shelf 65

This print, from a set of 18, shows a mask composed of forms of sea creature. It is in the 'grotesque' style derived from ancient Roman prototypes, which took inspiration from fish and animal forms or from vegetation.

Frans Huys based his prints on original designs by Cornelis Floris (1514-1575), who is credited with inventing a Flemish version of the grotesque style in about 1541. Floris was a sculptor who studied in Rome in about 1538, where the Emperor Nero’s palace, called the Domus Aurea (Golden Palace), had recently been rediscovered below ground level.

This plate comes from a set published in 1555 by Hans Liefrinck (about 1518-1573), an important Antwerp publisher and print-seller.

Physical description

A mask composed of vegetation with leaf crown stretching across the forehead and wavy hair framing the face.

Place of Origin

Antwerp (published)


1555 (published)


Huys, Frans (engraver)
Floris, Cornelis II (artist)
Hans Liefrinck, born 1517 - died 1573 (published)
Huys, Frans (Engraver)
Hans Liefrinck, born 1517 - died 1573 (Publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Signed with the monogram 'F H' in the lower centre of the plate.
engraver's monogram

[title and publisher's name]


Height: 15.9 cm Cut to, Width: 14.6 cm Cut to

Object history note

In the dripping fishy style originally developed for grotto decoration in the 1500s, which later came to be known as auricular. From a set of at least 18.

[The following taken from old card catalogue]
Guilmard records 20 plates. Hedicke suggests that they are from original drawings by Cornelis Floris, an attribution which is accepted by Hollstein and mentioned by Berlin. However there exists a set of reversed copies bearing the monogram of the master called Jesus Christ and also signed 'Renatus B.L. Fecit' and dated 1560, eg E.57-1896. A similar set of reversed copies exists without the lined background, E.301-8-1928. The set was copied in the 18th century. Two impressions printed in sepia from this set are in the V&A, E.943-4-1886. The designs were freely used by Aloisio Giovannoli (c. 1550-1618) in the composition of his book of masks. Five impressions of these are in the V&A, E.1237-1241-1923. It is these to which Destailleur mistakenly refers as the original of Huys' designs and as by Angelo Veientano. There is a second state with the name of a second publisher added, 'Iac. Honoruogt excudit'. This state is reproduced by Hedicke.

Descriptive line

Frans Huys after Cornelis Floris. Plate from a suite of 18 designs for masks entitled 'Pourtraicture ingenieuse de plusieurs facons de Masques'. Flemish, 1555.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Guilmard, D. Les Maitres Ornemanistes. Paris, 1880-81, p. 478 no. 8 under Liefrinck
Illustrierter Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung des K.K. Osterr. Museums fur Kunst und Industrie, Wien. Vienna, 1889
Berard. [Sale catalogue]. Paris, Feb. 1891
Destailleur. [Sale catalogue]. Paris, May 1895
Hedicke, R. Cornelis Floris und die Florisdekoration. Berlin, 1913.
Collijn, I. Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung des Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie. Stockholm, 1933
Delen. Histoire de la Gravure dans les Anciens Pays-Bas et dans les Provinces Belges des origines jusqu'a la Fin du XVIIIe Siecle, II. 1935
Berlin Staatliche Museen: Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung. Berlin and Leipzig, 1936-9, no. 214
Hollstein, F.W.H. Dutch and Flemish Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts c.1450-1700. Amsterdam, 1949 ff.
Pourtraicture ingenieuse de plusieurs facons de Masques, fort untile aulx painctres, orfevres, taillieurs de pierres, voirriers, & tailleurs dimages. Antwerp, Hans Liefrinck, 1555.

Production Note

From a set of 18


Paper; Ink



Subjects depicted

Fish; Auricular; Masks (design elements)


Prints; Ornament prints


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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