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Science, Art, Astronomy, Physics, Allegory, Antique Prints, Paris, 18th Century


Jacques de Lajoue (1687-1761) (after)
Nicolas Henri Tardieu (1674-1749) (engraver)
Les Forces Mouvantes [Shifting Forces]
L’Astronomie [Astronomy]
François Chereau, graveur du Roy [printer to the King]
Paris: 2nd Quarter 18th Century
Hand-colored engravings
16 x 22.5 inches, overall
12.25 x 14.75 inches, plate mark
$750 each

Two prints celebrating scientific subjects.

Les Forces Mouvantes:

A turbaned man oversees three young workers tending to equipment harnessing the power of flowing water within an arched stone structure. From the man’s dress, the scene appears to take place in Greece, Turkey or the Near East . A small dog looks on in the lower right corner.


Allegorical scene of Hermes, cupid and three students among the instruments of astronomy: an armillary sphere, a geometrical drawing, a telescope, and numerous other instruments. Hermes, the Greek god whose role was that of intermediary between the heavens and the earth, sits beside a winged cupid atop a stone observatory, gesturing at a grand, partially draped armillary. The skies are dramatically lit by a rainbow.

Product Description Continues Below


Both prints feature the caption, “Tiré du Cabinet de Monseigneur le Duc de Picquigni.” [Taken from the cabinet of Monsignor the Duke of Picquigny.]

Michel Ferdinand d’Albert d’Ailly Chaulnes, the Duke of Picquigny (1712-1777), was a wealthy French nobleman and friend of Madame de Pompadour. His cabinet of physics was very famous, and he is known to have commissioned a fine microscope containing features of his own design, such as a micrometer with point . As early as 1743, he was received into the academy of science where he exchanged ideas on physics, the microscope, and other topics in the “Journal des savants” and the “Histoire de l’académie des sciences.”

Jacques de Lajoue was a French painter, draftsman and designer, primarily known for depictions of architectural caprices in a landscape setting. Born in Paris, he remained there for the rest of his life. He became a member of the French Royal Academy in 1721. In addition to easel paintings, he produced decorative canvases for insertion in paneling, screens and firescreens, as well as designing banners, picture frames, harpsichord cases and decorations for carriages. Etchings after his works were made by Cochin , Tardieu and others.

Nicolas Henri Tardieu was an eminent French engraver, engaged in some of the most important publications of his time. Born in Paris , he spent his life there, and was received as a member of the Academy in 1720. He engraved prints after the works of master painters of the Renaissance and his own era. His son Jacques Nicolas Tardieu and grandson Jean Charles Tardieu, both sometimes called Cochin, were also artists.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning and scattered edge wear.


“Chaulnes, Michel Ferdinand d’Albert d’Ailly, the Duke of Picquigny.” Le Patrimoine de L’Ecole Polytechnique. (22 December 2003).

“Jacques de Lajoüe.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. (22 December 2003).

“Microscope de Magny.” Le Patrimoine de L’Ecole Polytechnique. (22 December 2003).

Williamson, George C., ed. Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers. London: G. Bell and Sons: 1930. Vol. 2, p. 40 (de Lajoüe) and Vol. 5, p. 152 (Tardieu).

Additional information


18th Century