PEEPSHOW ON PRINTED WASTE

[Vier Jahreszeiten. Serie 89.]

[Augsburg, Martin Engelbrecht, c. 1750.]

Six copper-engraved views (75 x 91 mm), trimmed closely and with progressively smaller cut-outs in the centre, each sheet lined with printed waste (forming three adjacent pairs, one including the date ‘[M]. DCCC. VI’), contemporary hand-colouring, the fifth view lettered ‘N. 89.’ in the plate; old manuscript numbering to versos.

£1750

Approximately:
US $2224€2048

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An attractive hand-coloured engraved peepshow showing the four seasons, with summer in the foreground retreating into winter behind, lined with printed waste from an illustrated Dutch religious broadside.

In the first two scenes brightly costumed figures harvest wheat and hay, followed in the fourth by men and women gathering crops from a field and plucking fruit from a tree, gathered in half-barrels below; the third, rather incongruous among its agricultural neighbours, shows a well-dressed pair in an idyllic sylvan setting, with a large golden sculpture, a balustrade, a potted tree, and a scattering of red and orange flowers. The final two scenes show winter, with bare trees and pale light around figures slipping on ice.

The engraver and publisher Martin Engelbrecht (1684–1756) is known principally for his peepshow engravings, for which he obtained an imperial privilege in 1719 (subsequently renewed in 1729 and 1739). In addition to the ‘Four Seasons’ he published also separate peepshows showing the seasons individually, and the plates for the ‘Four Seasons’ peepshow appear to be taken from the others and can be found in mixed states: here the second and fourth are the same as those in ‘Autumn’ and the fifth and sixth as those in ‘Winter’; our set differs from Milano’s only in the last two plates.

Milano, Martin Engelbrecht: Perspektivtheater – Dioramen 117 (‘Vier Jahreszeiten, Serie 89’); see also 80 (‘Herbst, Serie 61’) and 81 (‘Winter, Serie 62’).

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