Architectural view of a classical building, apparently the Maison Carée, an ancient Roman building in Nîmes, France, originally built as a Roman temple in the 1st or 2nd century A.D. Maison Carée is widely considered the best-preserved Roman temple in existence, with all of its roof and columns intact. The surrounding buildings have changed since the print was made, and the columns, artifacts and excavation shown in the plaza have since been removed. The building itself is now a museum of Roman antiquities. As an interesting aside, Thomas Jefferson greatly admired the Maison Carée, and based his design for the Virginia State Capitol upon it.
The etcher, Octave Guillaume de Rochebrune was from an aristocratic family in the Vendée region of France – he held the title of Marquis. He went to Paris to study with Jean Louis Petit and debuted at the Salon of 1845 with a drawing of an architectural subject. In 1848, he returned to the Vendée to live in his ancestral home, the Chateau of Terre Neuve. He began his career making oil paintings, drawings, and ornamental sculpture in wood and stone. However, it was when he devoted himself to etching and engraving that he achieved wide renown, including medals in 1865 and 1868. His first major project was a large series of etchings in 1861, documenting the Vendée. He later created a notable series on France's major buildings, such as Notre-Dame de Paris, Le Louvre and Le Château de Chenonceaux. In general, this genre of prints was popular at the time as Grand Tour souvenirs and provided influential source material for European architects and designers. They also reinforced national pride in France's architectural legacy, and de Rochebrune was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1874. Today the Chateau of Terre Neuve is an historical monument, open to the public, and de Rochebrune is remembered as the "Piranesi" of his era in France, for prolifically documenting its architectural achievements in some 492 etchings – much as Piranesi did for the monuments of Rome.
Inscriptions on stones within the print:
"Nemo me lacrimis. Decoret Tributum M. Solvi/ D'acerbissum sed commune. Ossa Mic M/ Sub Ascia dedicaveruni." [Rough translation: No one weeps for me. Tribute in honor of Monsieur Solvi. Of the yet common misfortune …Dedicated under construction.]
"C.CI/ August II/ Cos LCASA/ August II/ Cos. Designatio. Principibus. Inventutis."
The print is stamped in the lower center margin with Rochebrune's seal of sale (see Bénézit).
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning and wear. Scattered minor chipping and short tears to outer margins, easily matted out.
Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 7, p. 294.
"Le Château de Terre Neuve: Monument historique." Château de Terre Neuve. http://www.chateau-terreneuve.com/terre-neuve3.htm (12 December 2005).
Williams, Priscilla. "The Capitol of Thomas Jefferson." Richmond Times-Dispatch. c. 1935. Online at Richmond Then and Now. http://richmondthenandnow.com/Newspaper-Articles/Virginia-State-Capitol-Building.html (12 December 2005).