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Anamorphic print series, ca. 1750

[A series of 6 anamorphic prints].
[Holland, ca. 1750]. Oblong 4to (23.5 x 29.5 cm). A series of 6 engraved anamorphic prints, mounted on wooden panels and coloured by a contemporary hand. With a modern cylindrical mirror for viewing them.
€ 18,500
A rare series of 6 engraved anamorphic prints, mounted on wooden panels and coloured by a contemporary hand. They are designed to be viewed in a cylindrical mirror, and each has a half circle in the plate to indicate where to stand the mirror. They contain no text, series numbers or makers' names.
In the 18th century anamorphic prints became very popular and several series were available, including sets published by Elias Baeck, Hertel, Musschenbroek and Pieter Schenk, all very different from the present set.
The set includes: a bust of a bald man; a man in a black three-corner hat, holding a book in his hands; a peacock; a long-horned and long-haired goat, sitting; a greyhound; and a boy or young man in a broad-brimmed hat, playing a recorder.
Other sets with the same prints but different colouring are located in the collections of the Getty Library (2002.R.27; 7 prints) and the Dutch Museum Boerhaave (P02554-P02558; 5 prints). At least 2 of the 6 prints reappeared in the 19th century as part of a print series lithographed by A. Bökel.
In 3 of the prints, part of a watermark can be made out: a Strasbourg coat of arms and the name of Jean Villedary in Angoulême who supplied much paper used in Holland and England. The closest matches are Heawood 1829 (Holland 1743) and 1835A (England? 1762), and Churchill 411 (London 1766).
The goat with a small scuff mark in the background and the man with the book somewhat rubbed generally, but overall in very good condition, with only minor scratches not interfering with the image. Given the nature of the material, the condition is remarkably good. Cf. Baltrušaitis, Anamorphoses ou magie artificielle des effets merveilleux (1969); Buijnsters, Papertoys, pp. 31-32 and 371 (2 Dutch series, ca. 1720 and 2nd half of 18th century); Leeman, Anamorfosen (1975).
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Art & architecture  >  Drawings, Prints & Watercolours
Horses, hunting, sport & games  >  Games, Magic & Sports
Science & technology  >  Optics & Perspective