Le Defile a Pied (Parade on Foot)


Jacques Callot (1592-1635), Le Defile a Pied (Parade on Foot), etching, 1627, from the Combat a la Barriere (Combat at the Barriere). Lieure 583, probably first state of 2. In very good condition, trimmed on or just outside of the plate mark, 6 x 9 1/2 inches, archival mounting. On old laid paper with the Countermark 4 Lorrain (Lieure’s watermark 36).

A very fine strong and early impression.  An impression, printed before the (also lifetime) presentation book which included Callot’s prints and a narrative on the event by the poet Henry Humbert.

Provenance: Helmut H. Rumbler (noted print dealer, with his stamp on mat verso)

The prints in the Combat series (10 prints in all) were created to commemorate a tournament sponsored by Duke Charles IV of Lorraine, in his palace at Nancy, in honor of his beautiful cousin the Duchess of Chevreuse who was in exile at Lorraine after the discovery of her role in the plot against Richelieu.

Lieure notes that the watermark 4 Lorrain is one of those associated with the very first impressions pulled of this print, before the edition (“Le filigrane de ce tout premier tirage”).  Other watermarks, including the Cross of Lorraine, are found on the impressions which were included in the Hubert book (these too are fine lifetime impressions). (There were also later posthumous impressions, with other marks.)

Lieure notes rather vaguely that in the first state of this print the area of the curtain at the right was not bitten properly; and that this was later corrected in the second state. Our impression does show a small area of inadequate biting, and this, in addition to the very early watermark, inclines us to believe  (contrary to a graphite mark verso) this is a first state impression. The printing is far clearer and stronger than the Hubert edition impressions we have seen, although in those too the curtain is not printed perfectly. Most of the prints in the Combat were one state only, and one suspects that may be the case with Le Defile.

The print depicts the entry of the parade into the vast celebration hall. At the left we can see a balcony filled with women, including the honoree the Duchess. All quite spectacular.

A complete set of Callot’s Combat a la Barriere is also available.