Caricature of a man with four flying letters thumbnail 1
Caricature of a man with four flying letters thumbnail 2
+1
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C , Shelf 221, Case GG

Caricature of a man with four flying letters

Drawing
ca. 1647-1657 (drawn)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

When C.A. Ionides purchased this drawing it was thought to be a contemporary work by Honoré Daumier, one of his favourite French artists. However, it was later noticed that the flying letters in this drawing are inscribed 'Mola', referring to a seventeenth century Roman artist well-known for his witty caricatures. Here, a letter-writer reacts in alarm as his correspondence sprouts wings and flutters away like a flock of birds.


object details
Category
Object Type
Additional TitleAllegory on the press
Materials and Techniques
Pen and ink
Brief Description
Pen and ink drawing by Pier Francesco Mola showing a man with four flying letters
Physical Description
Pen and ink drawing showing a man sitting behind a desk, throwing up both hands in startled response to winged letters which appear in the top right hand corner.
Dimensions
  • Height: 17.6cm
  • Width: 17.5cm
Style
Credit line
Bequeathed by Constantine Alexander Ionides
Object history
Bequeathed by C.A. Ionides, 1900
Summary
When C.A. Ionides purchased this drawing it was thought to be a contemporary work by Honoré Daumier, one of his favourite French artists. However, it was later noticed that the flying letters in this drawing are inscribed 'Mola', referring to a seventeenth century Roman artist well-known for his witty caricatures. Here, a letter-writer reacts in alarm as his correspondence sprouts wings and flutters away like a flock of birds.
Bibliographic Reference
Ward-Jackson, Peter, Italian Drawings, Volume Two: 17th-18th Century , London, 1979, p. 70, cat. n. 773, illus. The following is the full text of the entry: MOLA, PIER FRANCESCO (1612-66) 773 Caricature of a man, probably the artist, seated at a desk, watching with astonishment four winged letters flying through the air Pen and ink and wash 6 7/8 x 6 5/8 (174 x I68) CAI.264 PROVENANCE Ionides Bequest 1901 (Lugt 488) LITERATURE Ionides Catalogue, p. 24 (as by Daumier); The Studio, special number on Daumier and Gavarni, 1904, pI. D.53; E. Fuchs, Der Maler Daumier, Munich, I927, p. 57, no. 240A and pl. 240 The drawing was attributed to Daumier in the works cited. Mr James Byam Shaw first noticed that the flying letters appear to be inscribed 'Mola', and he proposed the present attribution, which is convincing on grounds of style. A similar caricature by Mola is in the Janos Scholz Collection, New York (Exhibition Catalogue, Italian Drawings from the collection of Janos Scholz, Arts Council, London, I968, no. 60; fig. I3b).
Collection
Accession Number
CAI.264

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 createdMarch 26, 2008
Record URL