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1692 – Paris – 1765


No.68  Helezbett - before 1728


Etching on laid watermarked paper. Size of sheet: 26 x 17 cm. Lettered: ‘Watteau In. – Cx Sculp.’. Numbered “68” in the plate. From the Suite de figures inventées par Watteau et gravées par son ami C*** - a series of 24 plates after the figures invented by Antoine Watteau (French, 1684-1721).


IFF 4:464 (22); Rosenberg, 1997 (Vol.1, fig. 76c); Goncourt, 1896, Watteau, p.312-313.



Comte de Caylus after Watteau 'Suite de Figures': No.68  Helezbett

  • The Comte de Caylus, an aristocrat by birth (Mme de Maintenon, 2nd wife of King Louis XIV, was his aunt), was an admirable and prolific etcher and exercised an extraordinary influence over every branch of art during the early part of the 18th century in France. His outstanding contribution to the artistic endeavours of the period is the popularisation of rare drawings which were hidden away in inaccessible collections. Prints bearing his signature ‘C’ are rare (and he never signed his etchings other than “C” sometimes together with a small cross of Saint Andrew) for Caylus had the habit of polishing his plates after a few prints had been taken.

    The Suite de figures inventées par Watteau et gravées par son ami C*** contains only 25 plates (including the title-page) and numbered discontinuously: 1-6, 8-17, 53, 63, 64, 66-70. Almost all plates have a title. Edmond de Goncourt suggested that the titles were influenced by works of Moliere and Shakespeare. However, undoubtably, the main inspiration came from Commedia Dell’ Arte, the famous and extremely popular form of theatre, started in Renaissance Italy and spread all over Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Antoine Watteau drew inspiration from its characters, and Caylus created his own small showcase of Comédiens reproducing figures invented by Watteau.

  • Edmond de Goncourt, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, dessiné et gravé d'Antoine Watteau, 1822-1896;

    Lady Dilke, French Engravers and Draughtsmen of the XVIII Century, 1902;

    Emile Dacier, Caylus – Graveur de Watteau, L’Amateur D’Estampes, January 1926, p.161-169.

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