Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Netherlands (published)

  • Date:

    1580-1620 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Henri le Roy, born 1579 - died 1652 (engraver)
    Hans Liefrinck, born 1517 - died 1573 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 503, case EO, shelf 29

Henri Le Roy (1579-1652), a French engraver, produced a number of designs inspired by the natural world, incorporating birds, insects and plants into his work. Such is the case in this series of seven frieze designs, which could have been put to use as designs for architectural ornaments, textiles or other objects. Each panel shows a different selection of birds from various angles and engaging in a range of activities, including hunting, preening, eating and flying. The friezes did not present an actual space, as some of the birds are seen standing on floating islands of land or floating upside down. Rather, the images were probably intended to be somewhat informative, as well as playful and decorative. Throughout the series, some of the birds, such as the owl and heron, are presented in a number of different positions, supporting the idea that the images offered loose studies of the animals.

Physical description

Two friezes with birds and a variety of small plants; above, eleven birds including a partridge and two, possibly storks or herons, eating worms; below, eleven birds including a spoon bill.

Place of Origin

Netherlands (published)


1580-1620 (published)


Henri le Roy, born 1579 - died 1652 (engraver)
Hans Liefrinck, born 1517 - died 1573 (designer)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

Lettered in the upper left of the plate:

'H le Roy excu 1'
top left


Height: 9.4 cm To plate mark, Width: 18.7 cm To plate mark

Object history note

A similar series of frieze designs with birds, designed by Hans Collaert around 1530-1580, provided inspiration for Le Roy’s series. One example of the Collaert series can be found in the British Museum (1972, U.48.1), and more may be found in the Rijksmuseum (e.g. RP-P-1891-A-16575). A similar series made by Virgil Solis (1514-1562), a German printmaker, may have provided Le Roy with further inspiration (de Jong). Several examples of the Solis bird friezes are also in the British Museum (e.g. 1870, 0625.188). (F. Allitt)

Descriptive line

Henry Le Roy. Plate comprising two friezes of birds and insects. Plate from a suite of copies in reverse after designs by Hans Liefrinck published by Hans Collaert I. Paris, 1580-1620.

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

Hollstein, F.W.H., Ann Diels, Marjolein Leesberg, Arnout Balis, and Collaert. The new Hollstein Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts, 1450-1700 The Collaert Dynasty / comp. by Ann Diels and Marjolein Leesberg; ed. by Marjolein Leesberg and Arnout Balis. The New Hollstein Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts, 1450-1700. Ouderkerk aan den IJssel: Sound & Vision Publishers, 2005, nos. 1599-1611.
Jong, Marijnke de, and Irene M. de Groot. Ornamentprenten in het Rijksprentenkabinet I, 15de & 16de eeuw / Marijnke de Jong, Irene de Groot. Ornamentprenten in Het Rijksprentenkabinet. Amsterdam: Rijksprentenkabinet : Rijksmuseum,1988, nos.69 and 70.
(Berlin II) Berlin Staatlich Museen., Katalog der Ornamentstich-Sammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek Berlin, Berlin and Leipzig, 1936-39, 4380.


Printing ink



Subjects depicted

Heron; Birds; Worms


Ornament prints


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.