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Architecture, Gardens, Fountains, Grotto, Versailles, Jean Lepautre, Antique Prints, Paris, 17th Century


Jean Lepautre et al. (1618-1682) (artist and engraver)
[Fountains at the Gardens of Versailles]
Paris: 1673-79
Copperplate engravings
16 x 11.25 inches, average plate mark
23 x 18 inches, average overall
$700 each

Various engravings depicting details of the some of the numerous fountains and sculptures executed for Louis XIV’s gardens at Versailles made by prominent French sculptors of the 17th century. They show some of the highest achievements of this form of the Baroque era. The fountains feature figures of classical mythology, predominantly cherubs, and are often decorated in the “grotto” taste with sea life and encrusted shells.

Product description continues below.


Jean Lepautre (or Le Paultre) was a prolific French designer and engraver based in his native Pairs, and elected a member of the Academy in 1667. While he produced plates of portraits and religious subjects, he excelled at architectural subjects, producing some 1,500 etchings and engravings of architectural decorations, friezes, ceilings, vases and all types of ornaments. Most of them were executed after his own drawings which exhibited a personal flair and imagination. His depictions of the gardens and ornaments of Versailles helped popularize the Louis XIV style in Europe.

We offer 7 engravings as follows:

Deux amours de bronze, qui se joüent avec une Escrevisse de mer, laquelle fait un Jet d’eau. Dans les Jardins de Versailles. Par Jacques Houseau de Bar-sur-aube
Two cupids in bronze, at play with a lobster, which emits a jet of water, by the sculptor Jacques Houseau of Bar-sur-aube.

Deux amours de bronze qui se joüent avec un Gryphon, qui fait un jet d’eau. Dans les Jardins de Versailles. Par Benoist Massou de Richelieu
[Two cupids in bronze at play with a griffin, which emits a jet of water, by the French sculptor Benôit Massou (1627-1684).]
Massou became a member of the French Academy in 1665 and a professor in 1683. He executed a number of works for the palace of Versailles, including statues, fountains, vases and ornaments. This is a counter proof, a reverse print made to allow the engraver to inspect the state of the plate.

Statue de bronze d’une Venus elevée sure un basin de marbre blanc, faisant un des ornemens de la Fontaine appellée, la Gallerie d’eau. Dans les Jardins de Versailles.
[Bronze statue of a Venus elevated on a white marble basin, among the ornaments of the fountain now known as the Allée d’Eau.]

Bassin de 10 pieds en quarré, d’une seule Pierre: et au milieu trois petits Enfans de metail doré, aui Soûtiennent un basin de bronze. A Versailles. Par Loüis Lerambert de Paris.
The title describes this as a basin by Louis Lerambert of Paris, measuring 10 square feet, made from a single stone, and in the middle three little children of gilded metal, supporting a bronze basin. Lerambert (1620-1670), the godson of Louis XIII, was received into the Academy in 1663. He created numerous works for Versailles including statues and fountains.

Un Amour de bronze, qui tire une fleche d’eau. Dans les Jardins de Versailles. Par Louis Lerambert, de Paris.
[A bronze Cupid who draws an arrow of water by Louis Lerambert.]
See Louis Lerambert biographical note above.

Enfant de bronze representant le Genie de la Puissance royalle, assis sur un Aigle, qui pousse en l’air un gros jet d’eau. Dans les Jardins de Versailles. Par Pierre le Gros de Chartres.
[Bronze child representing the angel of royal power, seated on an eagle, who shoots a great jet of water into the air, sculpted by Pierre Legros the elder (1629-1714).]
Legros was born in Chartres and died in Paris. He was received into the Academy in 1666 and completed many commissions for Versailles including statues in bronze and marble, bas reliefs and fountains. He also completed a work for the Chartres Cathedral. His sculptures today are in museums including the Louvre.

Statue d’Acis, de marbre blanc, haute de 5 pieds et demy.  Dans la grotte de Versailles.  Par Baptiste Tubi Romain.  H. Watele delin.  Ioan Edelink Sculp.
[Statue of Acis, a character from Greek mythology, which the caption says is of white marble and 5 1/2 feet high, from the grotto of Versailles by Baptiste Tubi Romain.]
Though Lepature designed and engraved most of his prints, for this particular engraving the drawing is credited to French painter Henri Watele (1640-1677) and the engraving to the Flemish-born engraver and art merchant Jan Edelinck (1643-1680).  Edelinck came to Paris around 1665 and became engraver to the king of France.

Condition: Generally very good with usual light overall toning, light scattered soiling, and wear to edges. Few stray printers marks and minor abrasions. Some scattered creases in margins. Deux amours de bronze qui sejoüent avec un Gryphon executed as a counter proof, hence text and image are in mirror image reverse.


Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. (Legros, Vol. 5, p. 486; Lepautre, Vol. 5, p. 523; Lerambert, Vol. 5, p. 531; Massou, Vol. 5, p. 830.)

Additional information


17th Century