Not currently on display at the V&A

Jacques de Falaise le Polyphage

Print
1817 (Published)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This was originally published by Pierre Joseph Antoine de la Mésangère (1761-1830), better known by the name of Le Mésangère, as plate number 93 in Le Bon Genre, in his first edition of hand-coloured engravings showing French life and fashion, published in 1817 .

The performer known as Jacques de Falaise le Polyphage is shown here about to eat a live mouse and small snake, while fashionably-dressed ladies look on. Prints of entertainers published in Le Bon Genre were images of performers who would have been well known in Paris at the time and who could be seen for an entrance fee in exhibition halls and theatres. This performer made his name by eating all sorts of things including live sparrows, watches, and roses complete with leaves and thorns. He is recorded as performing at one stage in a basement under the Hôtel des Fermes, Rue de Grenelle Saint-Honoré, where the ventriloquist and magician Louis Christian Emmanuel Comte established an exhibition space in 1814. After the Indian jugglers and sword-swallowers came to Paris. Jacques de Falaise also swallowed a sword, such as the one held by his assistant in this print. His soubriquet 'Le Polyphage' meant that he was 'polyphagous, a word that is used to refer to an animal that can eat various types of food.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Printing ink and watercolour on paper
Brief description
Hand-coloured lithograph titled Jacques de Falaise le Polyphage. Plate No. 93 from an edition of Le Bon Genre, Observations sur les Modes et les Usages de Paris published in Paris by Maison Martinet, originally published in 1817 by Pierre de la Mésangère (1761-1830)
Physical description
Hand-coloured etching showing a grey-haired man standing on a rostrum about to eat a live mouse, holding a small snake in his left hand. His assistant is holding a rapier in his left hand whilst showing some roses to three fashionably-dressed ladies who are watching the performance, two seated on a bench, one with her shawl draped across her lap, another holding her bonnet, and the third standing, her reticule suspended from her right arm. Titled in the margin below: 'Jacques de Falaise le Polyphage' and above: 'Le Bon Genre No.93'



Dimensions
  • Height: 24.5cm
  • Width: 30.7cm
Summary
This was originally published by Pierre Joseph Antoine de la Mésangère (1761-1830), better known by the name of Le Mésangère, as plate number 93 in Le Bon Genre, in his first edition of hand-coloured engravings showing French life and fashion, published in 1817 .



The performer known as Jacques de Falaise le Polyphage is shown here about to eat a live mouse and small snake, while fashionably-dressed ladies look on. Prints of entertainers published in Le Bon Genre were images of performers who would have been well known in Paris at the time and who could be seen for an entrance fee in exhibition halls and theatres. This performer made his name by eating all sorts of things including live sparrows, watches, and roses complete with leaves and thorns. He is recorded as performing at one stage in a basement under the Hôtel des Fermes, Rue de Grenelle Saint-Honoré, where the ventriloquist and magician Louis Christian Emmanuel Comte established an exhibition space in 1814. After the Indian jugglers and sword-swallowers came to Paris. Jacques de Falaise also swallowed a sword, such as the one held by his assistant in this print. His soubriquet 'Le Polyphage' meant that he was 'polyphagous, a word that is used to refer to an animal that can eat various types of food.

Associated objects
Collection
Accession number
S.250-2018

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

Record createdOctober 15, 2018
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest