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Raphael Cartoons

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (published)

  • Date:

    before 1746 (engraved)
    19th century (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Du Bosc, Claude, born 1682 - died 1746 (engraver)
    Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)
    W. Tegg (published)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    etching and engraving on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 503, case E, shelf 3, box AB

This image represents the earlier of the two Miraculous Draughts of Fishes in the bible. Christ, Peter and another disciple sit in Peter's boat, which is full of fish. In a second boat are three more disciples pulling in their net. The boats are low in the lake because of the large haul of fish. The fish depicted are recognisable as deep water fish, and therefore in keeping with the biblical description of this miracle.

The townscape, though not an accurate depiction, combines buildings which would have been recognisable to people in Rome at the time, including the Leonine wall, part of the medieval Vatican, and several recently constructed churches, the Torre de' Conti and the area known as the Borgo dello fornaci with its furnace, from which smoke can be seen issuing.

The image is the same way round as the cartoon from which it is derived. The so-called Raphael Cartoons 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.

Physical description

The setting is the Sea of Galilee and the event is the earlier of the two Miraculous Draughts of Fishes.

Christ sits on the left of the image. He sits in Peter's boat with Peter and another disciple. The three disciples in the other boat are still pulling in their net. On the shore in the foreground are detailed depictions of plants and shells and three cranes. Some ravens fly over the lake and two swans are swimming in the lake. In the background to the right is a landscape with buildings and on the far shore are groups of men, women and children.

This print is in the same direction as the cartoon from which it is derived and is faithful in compositional detail.

Place of Origin

London (published)


before 1746 (engraved)
19th century (published)


Du Bosc, Claude, born 1682 - died 1746 (engraver)
Raphael, born 1483 - died 1520 (artist)
W. Tegg (published)

Materials and Techniques

etching and engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions


Lower left




Height: 48.4 cm sheet, Width: 62 cm sheet, Height: 36 cm platemark, Width: 43 cm platemark

Descriptive line

Etching and engraving by Claude du Bosc, after a cartoon by Raphael, published by W. Tegg; The Miraculous Draught of Fishes; published in London.

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

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.
Le Blanc, Charles. Manuel de l'Amateur d'Estampes. Paris, 1854-6.
Vol. II, p. 537


Printing ink; Paper


Engraving (printing process); Etching (printing process)

Subjects depicted

Fishing vessels; Raphael Cartoons; Fishermen; Palace; Fish; Crowd scenes; Shells; Clothing, Costume; Landscapes; Flowers (plants); Miracle; Birds


Prints; Religion; Christianity


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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