Bérain, Jean Louis
Saint-Mihiel 1637 – 1711 Paris
Ornemens Inuentez par J. Berain Et se vendant Chez Monsieur Thuret Aux Galleries du Louvre Avec Priuilege du Roy.
Paris, Jacques Thuret, [circa 1711]
folio (535 × 370 mm), (135) ff. displaying altogether 141 engravings (twelve prints are printed on six folios), comprising: title with address of Thuret (as given above, Weigert’s second state), portrait of Bérain signed J. Vivien pinx. Suzanna Silvestre effigies Sculp. an. 1711. Cl. Duflos Sculp. 1709 (Weigert’s third state), then sixty-eight plates disposed in thirteen series lettered A–I, L, O, P, X (five plates in each series, except six in B and seven in L), five plates in a series designed 8, twenty-five plates in five numbered series of five plates each (designs for fireplaces, ironwork, capitals, and two kinds of garden parterres), twenty-four plates of funeral architecture or decorations, and seventeen miscellaneous plates (the prints mostly in second state, bearing letters or numbers added by Thuret to clarify their organisation).
paper two sizes of a chaplet watermark with td countermark1 and a star and crescent watermark with initials br (like Heawood nos. 2289, 3873).
provenance Sir David Lionel Goldsmid-Stern-Salomons (1851–1925), exlibris — L.A. Mayer Memorial Institute for Islamic Art, Jerusalem — Christie’s, ‘Valuable printed books, Medieval and illuminated manuscripts; sold by order of The L.A. Mayer Memorial Foundation from the library of Sir David Salomons’, London, 25 June 1985, lot 12 — E.P. Goldschmidt, Catalogue 167, London circa 1987, item 23 – Private collection, Dublin
A washed copy, some margins still lightly discoloured, light creases in two folding plates.
binding red levant morocco, covers decorated by a gilt frame, morocco chasses and green silk doublures, edges gilt, signed Rivière & Son (executed circa 1920)
A collection of engraved designs for artists and craftsmen, showing clocks, candlesticks, commodes, consoles, fireplaces, guéridons, marquetry bureaux, torchères, walls and ceilings, tapestries, and much other furniture, objects and interior decoration, also garden parterres and temporary architecture, all designed by Jean Bérain, appointed court designer for theatre and festivals in 1674 and for gardens in 1677, who after Le Brun’s death in 1690 was chief designer of all royal decorations, with a residence in the Louvre.
Only the title-print and two others, depicting a ‘Scene de comédie’ and a ‘Scene de ballet’ with figures of Zerbino and Fracasse, were engraved by Bérain himself. At least a dozen printmakers, of whom J.L. Baujan, Jean-François Benard, Marguerin Daigremont, Jean Dolivar (1641–1692), Pierre Giffart, Jacques (died 1684), Jean (1618–1682) and Pierre Lepautre (1660–1744), Jean Mariette (1660–1742), Daniel Marot (circa 1663–1752), and Gérard-Jean-Baptiste Scotin (1671–1716) are named on the plates, collaborated to reproduce his designs. Nearly all the prints were published during Bérain’s lifetime, at first by Nicolas Langlois and other publishers, with some appearing in the periodical Mercure gallant in the 1670s and 1680s, then by Bérain himself, and sold at his Galleries du Louvre.2
Jacques Thuret (1682–1738), Bérain’s son-in-law and clockmaker to Louis xiv, began to issue the Oeuvres in different combinations of plates about 1711, adding his address, and altering the inscriptions on some, arranging them in cahiers designated by letters or in numbered series. The identity and number of the plates contained in Thuret’s early issues of the Oeuvres are uncertain, owing to a habit of collectors of adding to, then rebinding, their copies, however documents published by Roger-Armand Weigert indicate that Thuret was in possession of 135 copperplates.
A copy once owned by Thuret himself, later in Hippolyte Destailleur’s collection, then in the Ornamentstichsammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek Berlin, now lost, contained (according to Weigert) 144 prints on 135 folios, including an extra impression of the title (Ornemens Inuentez par J. Berain) before its lettering, and another title (Recueil de divers Mausolées) placed before the prints of pompes funèbres, neither of which is present in our copy.3
A copy of a Thuret issue once in the Edmond Foulc collection and described as ‘un des plus complets connus’ contains 136 prints;4 another in the Metropolitan Museum of Art apparently has 126 plates.5 There are 105 plates in George iii’s copy in the British Library; the copy in the Rosenwald Collection of the Library of Congress has 102 plates; and the copy in the Millard Collection of the National Gallery of Art has 134 plates (on 128 folios).6 It seems certain that the huge copies made-up in the eighteenth century, such as by Quentin de Lorangère (179 plates), Dezallier d’Argenville (157 plates), and the prince de Soubise (155 plates), are adulterated by superfluous prints, from L’architecture à la mode, and similar sources.
Among Bérain’s projects for festivals represented in this volume are decorations for the pompes funèbres of Henri de La Tour d’Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne (in Notre-Dame, 1675, engraved by Jean Lepautre), of Marie-Thérèse d’Autriche (in Notre-Dame and Saint-Denis, September 1683 and July 1684, engraved by Daniel Marot and Jean Dolivar), of Louis de Bourbon, prince de Condé (in Notre-Dame and the Jesuit church Faubourg Saint-Antoine, November 1686 and March 1687, engraved by Dolivar and Pierre Lepautre), of Marie-Louise d’Orléans (in Notre-Dame, April 1689, engraved by Dolivar), of Marie-Anne-Christine-Victoire de Bavière (in Notre-Dame, June 1690, by an anonymous engraver), of Chancelier Louis Boucherat (in Saint-Gervais, December 1699, engraved by Jean Mariette), of the duc d’Orléans (in Saint-Denis, July 1701, engraved by Gérard-Jean-Baptiste Scotin), of François-Louis de Bourbon, prince de Conty (in Saint-André-des-Arts, June 1709, engraved by Scotin), of Marie-Louise-Gabrielle de Savoye (in Notre-Dame, May 1714, designed by Jean ii Bérain and engraved by Scotin), and of Louis de Bourbon, duc de Bourgogne (in Notre-Dame, February 1712, also engraved by Scotin after Jean ii Bérain).
A list of contents in accordance with Weigert’s catalogue follows:
Portrait (pp.27–28), then nos. 22–23, 44, 48–94, 101–104, 106, 108–124, 132, 134, 139, 141–147, 149–150, 152, 186–188, 190–192, 197–198, 213–214, 228, 234, 244–246, 254–256, 259–276, 278–292, and two plates by Jean Bérain listed by Weigert as nos. 3–4
bound in this sequence
Plate ■ 1: title (Weigert 44) ■ 2: portrait, dated 1709/1711 (W pp.27–28) ■ 3–7: cahier A (W 48, 109–112) ■ 8–13: cahier B (W 49–50, 84, 149, 186, 192) ■ 14–18: cahier C (W 51–55) ■ 19–23: cahier D (W 108, 116–119) ■ 24: single print by Benard (W 101) ■ 25–29: cahier E (W 56–60) ■ 30: stray plate from cahier X (W 81) ■ 31: stray plate from an unnumbered suite of fireplace designs (W 268) ■ 32–36: cahier F (W 61–65) ■ 37–41: cahier G (W 115, 120–121, 190–191) ■ 42–46: cahier H (W 272–276) ■ 47–51: cahier I (W 104, 187, 259–261) ■ 52–58: seven prints on five folios, cahier L (W 66–70 plus two bis numbers) ■ 59–63: cahier O (W 71–75) ■ 64–68: cahier P (W 76–78, 114, 188) ■ 69–72: cahier X, one of its plates misbound above (W 79–80, 82, 278) ■ 73–76: numbered series of fireplaces, its plate 2 misbound above (W 267, 269–271) ■ 77–81: suite 8 (W 262–266) ■ 82–86: numbered suite of serrurerie (W 280–284) ■ 87–91: numbered suite of capitals (W 288–292) ■ 92: single print by Scotin (W 279) ■ 93: unsigned print (W 103) ■ 94: single print by Benard (W 102) ■ 95–96: two prints of guéridons (W 123–124) ■ 97: single print by Dolivar (W 122) ■ 98: unsigned print (W 83) ■ 99–100: two prints on one folio (W 113, 197) ■ 101–105: numbered suite (W 85–89) ■ 106–110: numbered suite (W 90–94) ■ 111–113: pompe funèbre (W 254–256) ■ 114: pompe funèbre (W 234) ■ 115: pompe funèbre (W 147) ■ 116: pompe funèbre (W 144) ■ 117: pompe funèbre (W 139) ■ 118: pompe funèbre (W 143) ■ 119: pompe funèbre (not certainly identified, probably W 146) ■ 120: pompe funèbre (W 141) ■ 121: pompe funèbre (W 142) ■ 122: devices (W 145) ■ 123: pompe funèbre (W 152) ■ 124: pompe funèbre (W 106) ■ 125: pompe funèbre (W 285) ■ 126–127: pompe funèbre (W 286–287) ■ 128: pompe funèbre, designed by Jean ii Bérain in 1712 (W p.259 no. 3) ■ 129: pompe funèbre (W 213) ■ 130: pompe funèbre (W 214) ■ 131: pompe funèbre, designed by Jean ii Bérain in 1714 (W pp.260–261 no. 4) ■ 132–134: pompe funèbre (W 244–246) ■ 135: ‘Boutique de Galanterie’, an unsigned print of Jean Lepautre (W 228) ■ 136–137: two prints on one folio, ‘Le Grand Vizier Cara Mustapha’ circa 1685 (W 132) and ‘Bal costumé donné à la Cour par M. le duc… pendant le carnaval de 1683’ (W 198) ■ 138: picnic scene at Chantilly in 1688 (W 150) ■ 139: ‘Collation offerte au Roi par M. de Seignelay’ in 1685 (W 134) ■ 140–141: two prints on one folio, ‘Scene de comédie’ (W 23) and ‘Scene de ballet’ (W 22).
references Désiré Guilmard, Les Maîtres ornemanistes (Paris 1880), pp.89–92; Roger-Armand Weigert, Jean i Berain. Dessinateur de la Chambre et du Cabinet du Roi 1640–1711 (Paris 1937), ii, pp.6–7, 13–14 (census of copies); Bibliothèque nationale, Inventaire du fonds français: Graveurs du xviie siècle, i (Paris 1939), p.309, no. 3 (Baujan) and pp.252–253, nos. 22–23, 44 (Berain), iii (1954), pp.240–241, nos. 11–17 (Daigremont) and pp.437–471, passim (Dolivar), iv (1961), pp.591–592, nos. 358–360 (Giffart), xi (1993), p.37, no. 10, p.52, nos. 51–52, pp.139–140, nos. 244–245, p.213, no. 455 (J. & J. Lepautre); Jérôme de La Gorce, Berain Dessinateur du Roi Soleil (Paris 1986), pp.132–137 (designs for funerals) and pp.141–154 (designs for craftsmen); Peter Fuhring, Ornament prints in the Rijksmuseum, ii. The Seventeenth century (Rotterdam 2004), iii, p.369
1. Like Edward Heawood, Watermarks mainly of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Hilversum 1950), pls. 38–39.
2. A copy assembled circa 1708 for Jean-Baptiste Colbert, marquis de Torcy (1665–1746), nephew of Louis xiv’s Minister of Finance, contains 95 plates on 90 leaves, ‘in brilliant impressions, many of them before letters. This collection was probably the best that Berain could supply about 1700’ (Waddesdon Manor, The National Trust, The James A. De Rothschild Bequest, Acc. no. 3170; see Giles Barber, Printed books and bookbindings: the James A. De Rothschild bequest at Waddesdon Manor, the National Trust, Aylesbury 2013, pp.566–568 no. 56.
3. Staatliche Kunstbibliothek (Berlin, Germany), Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung der Staatlichen Kunstbibliothek, Berlin (Berlin 1939), no. 343.
4. Sale conducted by Albert Besombes and André Desvouges, ‘Catalogue d’une très importante collection de livres d’architecture, Recueils d’ornements’, Paris, 3–6 June 1914, lot 94; offered for sale by B. Weinreb Architectural Books Ltd, ‘Architecture of the continent of Europe’, London 1981, item 36, and now in the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (87–B5224).
5. New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Drawings and Prints, Rogers Fund, 1915, transferred from the Library, 1921 (21.36.141)
6. National Gallery of Art, The Mark J. Millard Architectural Collection, i: French books (Washington, dc 1993), no. 19. The Millard copy apparently lacks these ten plates present in ours: W 83, 122, 186, 267–271, 286–287 (unless the repetition of W 187 in cahiers B and I are errors, and the two plates unidentified in section 3 are W 83 and W 122). The Millard copy contains two later prints by Claude Bérain (1640–1729) which are not present in our copy.