Jean-Philippe LE GENTIL, Comte de PAROY: Two Designs for Pedestal Tables: mosaic of La Fontaine's Fables and mosaic of archetypes from Antiquity - 1789
Etching, 440 x 440 mm (Fables) and 410 x 410 mm (Classical Subjects). Portalis and Beraldi, Les Graveurs du dix-huitième siècle, Tome 3, 1st part, page 276.
Fine impressions printed on laid paper. Generally in very good condition. Fables: Light waterstains in the plate; a few tiny tears on the edges of the folded margins. Classical Subjects: Rare very tiny skinned nicks in the image; old white coating strengthening the vertical central fold in the bottom and upper margin; a few tiny tears on the edges of the folded margins. Diameter of the cardboard mount: c. 52 cm.
Even though he had a military career, Jean-Philippe-Guy Le Gentil was very fond of the arts. He studied under Janinet and then became a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture, before becoming famous as a printmaker specialising in miniatures. The two designs for pedestal tables are two masterpieces of the genre.
According to Roger Portalis and Henri Beraldi, these etchings were to decorate the top of two pedestal tables: “Paroy […] also etched two large round pieces in the shape of pedestal table tops, one representing hundreds of antique statues, and the other all the Fables by La Fontaine; a sheet of glass, encircled in a copper border, protected the etching.” Our impressions are still mounted on the original cardboard disc; the margins are folded back onto the carboard and covered in blue paper.
Jean-Philippe-Guy Le Gentil etched similar patterns for sweet boxes, snuffboxes and buttons. The impressions of these decorative etchings have not survived and so are very rare today.