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Air

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (printed and published)

  • Date:

    1670 (printed and published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Le Clerc, S. (engraver)
    Le Brun, Charles, born 1619 - died 1690 (artist)
    Goyton, I. (published)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving and etching mounted onto linen and nailed to wooden strainer in gilded and glazed frame

  • Museum number:

    E.263-1991

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level D, case 93, shelf 11

This is one of a pair of framed prints in the collection of the V&A. It depicts one of the four elements (Air, Fire, Earth and Water) and is from a suite of prints derived from tapestries that were made at Gobelins tapestry factory where engraver Sebastien Le Clerc was installed and later made professor. The tapestries were based on paintings by painter Charles Le Brun, who was Royal Painter and superintendent of the Gobelins factory between 1663 and 1690 and who encouraged Le Clerc to devote himself to engraving his designs. These prints by Le Clerc were first published in 1670.

This print (like its companion) is in an early eighteenth century frame. It has been laid onto a household linen. The bole used for gilding the frame is French or German in type and the possibility that the linen is unbleached and hence more likely to be French, suggests that the construction of the frame is French.

Physical description

Representation of Air, one of the four elements, showing Juno raised on a cloud and Iris seated on a rainbow accompanied by birds of all kinds. Boreas, God of the North Wind is behind the cloud. In the middle of the image Juno holds a shield showing a sun and crown emblem.

Around the image is an ornamental printed frame comprised of a decorative border comprised of musical wind and percussion instruments. Within the border in each corner are circular cartouches with images; lower left a beehive, upper left a rainbow and clouds, upper right and lower right birds. Rectangular cartouches in the centre of the sides show an image, left, of a large building, and right, a firework display. In the centre, top, is a shield with fleur-de-lis and an eagle on either side. In the centre, bottom, is a panel with inscription, surrounded by four 'winds'.

The print has been laid onto diaper household linen and nailed to wooden stainer. There is a gilded frame with cross keys on the mitres. The glass is hand blown.

Place of Origin

Paris (printed and published)

Date

1670 (printed and published)

Artist/maker

Le Clerc, S. (engraver)
Le Brun, Charles, born 1619 - died 1690 (artist)
Goyton, I. (published)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving and etching mounted onto linen and nailed to wooden strainer in gilded and glazed frame

Marks and inscriptions

C. le Brun in / IG exc

LVDOVICVS XIIII. HOSTIVM SVIQVE IPSIVS VICTOR, / FORTISSIMAM GENTEM BELLO FRACTAM GEMINO / PACIS AC CONNVBII FOEDERE SIBI DEVINXIT; IAMQVE / AER TVRBVLENTO ARMORVM STREPITU NVPER COMO / TVS, FESTIVIS PVBLICAE LAETITIAE COCENTIB PERSONABIT

SIGNAT CLEMENTIA REGEM
Lower left border cartouche

TERRAS DEVINXIT OLLMS C
Upper left border cartouche

SEMPER SVBLIMIS
Upper right border cartouche

MERVITQVE TIMERI
Lower right border cartouche

CITIVS VENTOS ET NUBILA PELLIT
In shield within image

Dimensions

Height: 43.2 cm frame, Width: 59 cm frame

Historical context note

Prints framed and used as decoration on walls. The print has been laid onto diaper household linen and nailed to wooden stainer. There is a gilded frame with cross keys on the mitres. At some time the gilding on the frame has been painted over with black which has later been scraped off. There is a loop of textile tape about 2cm wide nailed to the top of the back of the frame to act as a fixing. The glass is hand blown and contains a number of impurities. The bole used for gilding is French or German in type and the possibility that the linen is unbleached and hence more likely to be French, suggests that the construction of the frame is French.

Descriptive line

Engraving and etching by Sebastien Le Clerc, Air, reproduction of a Gobelins tapestry after Charles Le Brun; French 1670.

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

Jombert, C. A. Catalogue Raisonné de l'Oeuvre de S. Le Clerc. 2 Volumes. Paris, 1774.
Tapisseries du Roi, où sont représentés les quatre élémens & les quatres saisons. Paris, 1670
Katalog der Ornamentstich-Sammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek Berlin. Berlin, 1936-39.

Materials

Printing ink; Paper; Linen; Gilt; Wood; Glass

Techniques

Engraving; Etching; Gilding; Framing

Subjects depicted

Birds; Pipes; Drums; Panpipes; Cartouches; Tambourine; Trees; Rainbow; Horns; Conch; Frame; Mythology; Whistles; Trumpets; Mount; Clouds; Border; Bagpipes; Eagles; Elements

Categories

Prints; Frames; Allegory

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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