The Seven Famous Cartons [sic] of Raphael Urbin

Print
1720 (published)
The Seven Famous Cartons [sic] of Raphael Urbin thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The so-called Raphael Cartoons, from which this print is taken, are seven full size designs for tapestries by the great Italian Renaissance artist Raphael (1483-1520). They illustrate passages from the Bible concerning the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. None of them is smaller than ten feet high by thirteen feet wide. They belong to Her Majesty the Queen and have been on loan to this museum since 1865. The earliest print relating to the Raphael Cartoons dates from 1516, the year in which Raphael received final payment for the commission. It inaugurates an extraordinary case study in the history of printmaking, stretching over more than four hundred and fifty years and across a wide range of printmaking techniques.

Simon Gribelin was the first printmaker to issue a complete set of prints of the Cartoons. When they came out in 1707 they carried a letterpress titlepage dedicating them to Queen Anne. Although they met with success it was nothing compared to that which greeted the set produced by Nicholas Dorigny in 1719. This frontispiece accompanied a reissue of the Gribelin set in 1719, by which time Queen Anne was dead and George I was on the throne. The tone of the lettering seems to be a slightly petulant response to Dorigny's set of prints, asserting Gribelin's prior claim to having engraved the Cartoons.

Gribelin was born in France but came to England around 1680. He was the most important silver engraver in London at the beginning of the eighteenth century. This meant engraving on the surfaces of watches, tea caddies, salvers etc. He was also a printmaker. In the 1690s he published two prints after history paintings by Charles Le Brun, then in 1706 he engraved an altar dish with a scene of the Deposition based on a picture by Annibale Carracci. These may have led to the idea of engraving the Cartoons.

The antiquarian George Vertue wrote in his notebooks "in London about 1700, the state of Print Engraving on Copper was at a low ebb… til about 1707. Mr Griblins cartons in print from the pictures of Raphael were well received, and vast numbers of them [sold]."

As well as visual information each print delivers written information in the form of a caption in English and Latin giving the title, the biblical reference, the names of the artist and the engraver, and stating the location of the Cartoons.

Horace Walpole, writing in 1763, said of these prints "their success was very great having never been completely engraved before; but they were too small a volume, nor had Gribelin anything of greatness in his manner or capacity: His works have no merit than finicalness, and that not in perfection, can give them." Dr. Johnson defined finicialness as "superfluous nicety or foppery".

Each of the individual engravings shows the Cartoon in reverse while the view of the Cartoon gallery shows them the right way round.

In March 1735 Gribelin's son was selling sets of his late father's prints of the Cartoons for 15 shillings. By 1753 they had dropped to half a guinea (ten shillings and sixpence) in the price list of the print-publisher John Bowles. The following year in the catalogue of the print-publisher Henry Overton II, they were listed under "Cheap Sets of Prints".
alt tag here
read The story of the Raphael Cartoons The Raphael Cartoons are considered one of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance in the UK. These huge, full-scale designs for tapestries were created by Raphael – one of the most important masters of the Renaissance period. Commissioned by Pope Leo X, shortly after his election in 151...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleRaphael Cartoons (generic title)
Materials and Techniques
engraving on paper
Brief Description
Frontispiece to engravings of the Raphael Cartoons by Simon Gribelin; engraving; by Simon Gribelin (II); French School; published 1720.
Physical Description
Frontispiece to engravings of the Raphael Cartoons showing the whole series as displayed in the Cartoon Gallery, designed by Christopher Wren, at Hampton Court (1707). Above is the portrait of Raphael in an oval medallion with drapery supported by cupids, and underneath a bust of Queen Anne, between Latin and English inscriptions.

Dimensions
  • Sheet height: 22cm
  • Sheet width: 25.4cm
  • Platemark height: 18.6cm
  • Platemark width: 21.8cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
  • 'The Seven Famous Cartons of Raphael Urbin, Drawn / at the Command of Pope Leo the 10th as Patterns for Tapestry; / They were bought by K.Charles the first (at the Persuasion of / Sr. P.P.Rubens (and brought from Flanders into England; / afterwards K.William fix’d them in his Palace of Hampton- / Court in the Gallery here Represented. / In 1707. they were drawn and Engraven by Sim : Gribelin / and by him most humbly Dedicated to Her Late Majesty -' (Inscribed on the left-hand side of the print. On the right-hand side the text is repeated in Latin.)
  • 'S. G. invt. et sculpt. et excudit, 1720.' (Inscribed lower-left corner, below text.)
  • SEMPER FADEM / ANNA REGINA. (Surrounding portrait bust lower centre)
  • RAPHAEL URBINAS. (Sorrounding portrait bust top centre)
Gallery Label
Simon Gribelin was the first printmaker to issue a complete set of prints of the Cartoons. When they came out in 1707 they carried a letterpress titlepage dedicating them to Queen Anne. Although they met with success it was nothing compared to that which greeted the set produced by Nicholas Dorigny in 1719. This frontispiece accompanied a reissue of the Gribelin set in 1719, by which time Queen Anne was dead and George I was on the throne. The tone of the lettering seems to be a slightly petulant response to Dorigny's set of prints, asserting Gribelin's prior claim to having engraved the Cartoons.(1995)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Rev. Alexander Dyce
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
The so-called Raphael Cartoons, from which this print is taken, are seven full size designs for tapestries by the great Italian Renaissance artist Raphael (1483-1520). They illustrate passages from the Bible concerning the lives of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. None of them is smaller than ten feet high by thirteen feet wide. They belong to Her Majesty the Queen and have been on loan to this museum since 1865. The earliest print relating to the Raphael Cartoons dates from 1516, the year in which Raphael received final payment for the commission. It inaugurates an extraordinary case study in the history of printmaking, stretching over more than four hundred and fifty years and across a wide range of printmaking techniques.



Simon Gribelin was the first printmaker to issue a complete set of prints of the Cartoons. When they came out in 1707 they carried a letterpress titlepage dedicating them to Queen Anne. Although they met with success it was nothing compared to that which greeted the set produced by Nicholas Dorigny in 1719. This frontispiece accompanied a reissue of the Gribelin set in 1719, by which time Queen Anne was dead and George I was on the throne. The tone of the lettering seems to be a slightly petulant response to Dorigny's set of prints, asserting Gribelin's prior claim to having engraved the Cartoons.



Gribelin was born in France but came to England around 1680. He was the most important silver engraver in London at the beginning of the eighteenth century. This meant engraving on the surfaces of watches, tea caddies, salvers etc. He was also a printmaker. In the 1690s he published two prints after history paintings by Charles Le Brun, then in 1706 he engraved an altar dish with a scene of the Deposition based on a picture by Annibale Carracci. These may have led to the idea of engraving the Cartoons.



The antiquarian George Vertue wrote in his notebooks "in London about 1700, the state of Print Engraving on Copper was at a low ebb… til about 1707. Mr Griblins cartons in print from the pictures of Raphael were well received, and vast numbers of them [sold]."



As well as visual information each print delivers written information in the form of a caption in English and Latin giving the title, the biblical reference, the names of the artist and the engraver, and stating the location of the Cartoons.



Horace Walpole, writing in 1763, said of these prints "their success was very great having never been completely engraved before; but they were too small a volume, nor had Gribelin anything of greatness in his manner or capacity: His works have no merit than finicalness, and that not in perfection, can give them." Dr. Johnson defined finicialness as "superfluous nicety or foppery".



Each of the individual engravings shows the Cartoon in reverse while the view of the Cartoon gallery shows them the right way round.



In March 1735 Gribelin's son was selling sets of his late father's prints of the Cartoons for 15 shillings. By 1753 they had dropped to half a guinea (ten shillings and sixpence) in the price list of the print-publisher John Bowles. The following year in the catalogue of the print-publisher Henry Overton II, they were listed under "Cheap Sets of Prints".
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • DYCE COLLECTION. A Catalogue of the Paintings, Miniatures, Drawings, Engravings, Rings and Miscellaneous Objects Bequeathed by The Reverend Alexander Dyce. London : South Kensington Museum : Printed by G.E. Eyre and W. Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1874.
  • Gilpin, William. An Essay Upon Prints, 1768, p. 80-81.
  • Vol. II, p. 321.Le Blanc, Charles. Manuel de l'Amateur d'Estampes. Paris, 1854-6.
  • Miller, Liz. 'From Marcantonio Raimondi to the Postcard: Prints of the Raphael Cartoons'. Display leaflet, 1995.
  • O'Connell, Sheila. 'Simon Gribelin (1661-1733): Printmaker and Metal-Engraver', in Print Quarterly. Vol. II, 1985, p. 27-37.
  • Gribelin, Simon. The Seven Famous Cartons[sic] of Raphael Urbin. 1720
  • Shearman, John. Raphael's Cartoons in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen and the tapestries for the Sistine Chapel. London, Phaidon, 1972.
  • Fermor, Sharon. The Raphael Tapestry Cartoons: Narrative, Decoration, Design. London, Scala Books in association with the Victoria and Albery Museum.
Other Number
8 - <u>Manuel de l'Amateur d'Estampes par Ch. Le Blanc</u>. Paris, 1854-6.
Collection
Accession Number
DYCE.2504

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record createdJune 8, 2009
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