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Design Art, 17th-18th Centuries, Delafosse Trophies, French Antique Prints, c. 1768


Jean-Charles Delafosse (1734-1789) (artist, engraver, editor)
Berthault, Daumont, Foin, Joly, Tardieu, Mademoiselle Thouvenin et al. (engravers)
Attributs Pastorals [Pastoral Attributes]
Attributs de Pêche [Attributes of Fishing]
from Nouvelle Iconologie Historique [New Historical Iconology]
Amsterdam and Paris: c. 1768
Hand-colored engravings
16.5 x 11 inches, overall
9.75 x 6.5 inches, plate mark, average approximate
Attributs de Pêche: $800, the pair
Attributs Pastoral: $800, the pair

Two pairs of engravings of decorative compositions, each print depicting two artful clusters of objects and tools suspended over a smaller arrangement at the bottom of the page. They are in the style of Baroque trophies of the Louis XIV period, here adapted to the transitional neoclassical style of the mid 18th Century. Attributs de Pêche depicts fishing equipment such as nets, paddles and baskets, as well as fish and crabs. Attributs Pastorals shows gardening tools entwined with sprigs of flowers. Such trophies were sometimes executed as giltwood boiserie decorations in grand French houses and palaces.

Product Description Continues Below.


These are from a large collection of architectural designs (including decorative arts designs) of furniture, upholstery and curtains, urns, clocks, chandeliers, candlesticks, sconces, trophies and goldsmith’s work. Overall, the series includes studies of objects isolated against a simple background as well as others in more complex arrangements such as various objects and paintings on a table. They were published in three series by Jean-Charles de la Fosse, an architect, ornamental designer and engraver: 1. “Nouvelle Iconologie Historique ou Attributs Hiéroglyphiques” [New Historic Iconology or Hieroglyphic Attributes], 2. “Décorations, Sculptures, Orfévreries et Ornements divers” [Decorations, Sculptures, Goldsmithing and Various Ornaments] and 3. “Ameublement” [Furniture]. The designs reflect the latest neoclassical tastes, as interpreted in decorative arts, of the Louis XVI period. The prints were collected by aristocrats interested in the latest styles and served as source material for their architects and decorative arts designers, who drew upon the prints as inspiration for designing furniture and decorative arts.

Jean-Charles Delafosse was a French decorative designer, engraver and architect. Apprenticed for a time to a sculptor, by 1767 he styled himself an “architect and professor of design.” He published the first volume of his most important work, Nouvelle Iconologie Historique in 1768, containing 110 plates of his designs for furniture, decorative arts and architectural ornaments in the Louis XVI style, most of which he also engraved himself. As the title implies, each design also has specific iconological or symbolic content. Delafosse also manipulated abstract shapes in ingenious and innovative ways to create spatial illusions and ambiguity. Long before late 20th-century Postmodernism he exhibited an allied sensibility: according to the Grove Dictionary of Art, “He divorced familiar architectural elements—the base of a column, a pediment, a single Ionic volute—from their usual functions and placed them in new and witty contexts.”

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. Some minor rough edges and small chips to outer margins, easily matted out.


“Jean-Charles Delafosse.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. (8 March 2004).

Additional information


18th Century