top of page


1716 Marseilles – 1785 Paris


Portrait of Charles Emanuel III King of Sardinia - 1772


Colour mezzotint printed with four plates inked in red, blue, yellow and black. Lettering printed from a separate plate. After the painting by D’Agoty himself, that he made in Turin in 1760. Size of sheet: 31.7 x 23.3 cm. Lettered: Galerie Univeselle/Peint `a Turin en 1760 – Aoust 1772, `a Paris – Gravé par G. Dagoty Pere/ avec Privilege du Roy.” Published by Philippe-Denis Pierre in Paris.


IFF X:226; Portalis-Beraldi 2; Singer 239; Delteil p.74.


Fine impression of this extremely rare print with margins on laid paper.


Comparative Impressions: Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris)   - FRBNF44559900. 



Jacques-Fabien Gautier D'Agoty: Portrait of Charles Emanuel III King of Sardinia

  • The sitter of this portrait is Charles Emmanuel III, Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia (1701-1773). The Duke’s portrait is half-length, wearing a purple mantle with small silver crosses, sky-blue sash at the waist, at the neck the collar of the Order of the Annunciation – the premier dynastic order of chivalry of the Royal House of Savoy.

    From a series of eight portraits of famous contemporary people for the Galerie Universelle contenant les portraits de personnes célèbres de tout pays, actuellement vivantes [Universal Gallery containing the portraits of famous people from all countries, currently living]. Jacques-Fabien made four portraits and his son Jean-Baptiste did other four. The Gallerie was only published once, which makes the prints from the set extremely rare.

    The series was advertised in the Mercure de France, September 1772: “Galerie universelle… gravé en couleurs… avec des notices historiques relatives a chaque portrait, par une sociéte de gens de lettres: ouvrage in-folio, proposé par souscription…. Ce genre de gravure & d’impression doit beaucoup a M.Gautier Dagoty pere, qui l’a perfectionné & l’a rendu precedemment utile dans plusieur objets interessas d’anatomie & d’histoire naturelle.” [Universal Gallery… engraved in color… with historical notices relating to each portrait, by a society of men of letters: folio work, offered by subscription…. This kind of engraving & printing owes a lot to M.Gautier Dagoty senior, who perfected it & made it useful previously in several interesting objects of anatomy & natural history].

    The Gautier-D'Agoty were a French family of engravers made of the father Jacques-Fabien and his five sons who became influential members of the print and artist communities in Paris in the middle decades of the eighteenth century.

    In 1738 Jacques-Fabien joined the colour-printing workshop of Jacob Christoph Le Blon (French, 1670-1741), but he quitted six weeks later, complaining about the low salary. He soon became a rival for the title of the invention of a colour-printing method and after Le Blon died, Gautier managed to obtain a thirty-year royal privilège for the colour printing process that Le Blon had invented. However, Le Blon’s students complained about it and Gautier had to defend his rights to this award and continued so for the rest of his life. The basis of Gautier's claim to the title of inventor of colour-printed pictures was that Le Blon's production technique involved only three separately coloured plates (red, yellow, and blue) where his own technique added a fourth black plate.


  • Loys Delteil, Manuel de l’amateur d’estampes du XVIIIe siècle, 1900;

    Margaret Morgan Grasselli, Colorful Impressions: The Printing Revolution in Eighteenth-Century France, 2003;

    Sarah Lowengard, The Creation of Color in 18th-Century Europe, 2008.

bottom of page