Featured AQUA (Water) copper engraving by Nicolaes de Bruyn

Discussion in 'Art' started by Ex Libris, Sep 21, 2023.

  1. Ex Libris

    Ex Libris Well-Known Member

    Recently I bought a framed copper engraving, that was advertised as a 19th century print. I immediately saw this was probably quite bit older (late 16th or early 17th century).

    This is how the print looked in it's frame.


    Luckily the engraving is signed so I could quite easily figure out who the makers were:

    Maerten de Vos - inv(entor), designer
    Nicolaes de Bruyn - f(ecit), engraver
    Assuerus van Londerseel - excudit, publisher

    Screenshot 2023-09-21 203306.jpg

    This is the complete print, I really love all the details! It is the depiction of the element Water (aqua).

    Screenshot 2023-09-21 203826.jpg

    This copper engraving is a part of a series of 4 elements:

    Screenshot 2023-09-16 134403.jpg

    I did not find any of these prints for sale, but different museums have this in their collection.

    British Museum London

    Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

    Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

    Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum Braunschweig

    Albertina Museum Vienna

    None of the museums issues an exact date of the prints. They must have been printed somewhere between 1580 and 1650.

    I noticed some differences between the few examples I found in the museums and some mentioned a state. Some of the prints have a text under de engraving and the name of the publisher seem te have been erased.

    The text (not on my copy).

    Screenshot 2023-09-21 210558.jpg

    They have ceased to dwell in bright waters, the wave of ships and ships speeding through the sky, driving the kingdoms of the heavens.

    As a complete amateur in old prints I tried to reconstruct a story of the different states:

    Screenshot 2023-09-21 202219.jpg

    Is there anyone here on the forum that could confirm my thinking process on the different states? Is this logical anyway? This is the first time I tried to dig down so deep into a single print.

    Thank you for your help :).

    BTW: this print is marked a not suited for children (by Reddit for example - NSFW). If it is against the forum rules, please remove this thread.
  2. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    we here are not children, and this is pretty tame for us... so . no worries !!

    Interesting find !!:happy:
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  3. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    I like your thought process but have questions based on what I am seeing. Do you have an explantion for the white paper seen with your copy? I would expect some toning from a print this old. Is the paper laid? Any watermarks? Is the plate-mark real? Assuming the plate mark real, I am wondering if this might be a fairly contemporary reprint from an old plate. Other wise, it could be a photo-mechanial reproduction of some kind.
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  4. Ex Libris

    Ex Libris Well-Known Member

    I think my iPhone makes the colors a bit better than the actual ones. The paper is 100% from the 17th century. I think it is real.
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  5. Ex Libris

    Ex Libris Well-Known Member

    This is the print with backlight, no watermarks.

    IMG_4058 (12).jpg
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  6. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    Do you have a picture of the full sheet? Is there a plate mark?


    O.K. I'm seeing it. Not reading enough. Looks to be in line with the Rijksmuseum b example.

    I think that might not be an "F" but rather an "S" for Sculpt.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2023
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  7. Ex Libris

    Ex Libris Well-Known Member

    You are 100% right, thanks!
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  8. Ex Libris

    Ex Libris Well-Known Member

    Actually it can be both a “s” or an “f” according to this list:

    A.P.: Artist's proof
    B.A.T.:, Bon á tirer: Proof print approved by artist and ready to be handled over to the master printer
    Cael., caelavit: Engraved by
    Cum privilegio: Privilege to publish from some authority
    Del., delt., delin., delineavit: Drawn by
    Disig., designavit: Designed by
    Divulg., divulgavit: Published by
    Eng., engd.: Engraved by
    Exc., excud., excudit: Printed by or published by
    F., fac., fec., fect., fecit, faciebat: Made by
    H.C., Hors Commerce: Not for commercial sale
    Imp., Impressit: Printed by
    Inc,. incidit, incidebat: Incised or engraved by
    Inv., invenit, inventor: Designed by or originally drawn by
    Lith., litho., lithog.: Lithographed by
    Pins., pinxit: Painted by
    Scrip., scripsit: Text engraved by
    Sc., sculp., sculpt., sculpsit: Image engraved by

    source: https://www.princeton.edu/~graphicarts/2009/02/printmakers_abbreviations.html
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2023
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  9. Ex Libris

    Ex Libris Well-Known Member

    Your reply triggered me to make a scan of the engraving and compare it next to the pic I took with the iPhone. The difference is quite noticeable. Apparently the iPhone makes quite some changes.

    Screenshot 2023-09-22 114257.jpg
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  10. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Beautiful, Ex, great find. Love those water creatures.
    So now you'll be on the hunt for the other three.;)
    Just an amateur observation: The horizontal cross line (don't know the name) goes all the way from left to right, wouldn't that mean it is an F? The cross line of the S, which you see in some Fraktur fonts, is only on the left of the letter.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2023
  11. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    I love the detail on this and really appreciated reading your research on it.
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  12. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    New pics convince me the paper looks right. Can you confirm a real plate mark?
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  13. Ex Libris

    Ex Libris Well-Known Member

    Do you mean by “plate mark” the visible structure of the copper wires of the mould? Yes, I can see that, altough it is a bit more vague than most of my other old paper. I have paper from around 1430 to 1800 in my collection, but most in the form of book(pages).
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  14. Ex Libris

    Ex Libris Well-Known Member

    Thank you! I really like to share my little researches. We all can learn a lot!
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  15. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    So true. The internet is a terrible place to try and research now that every search engine and site is just an ad machine. :sorry: I love reading deep dives. The ones I do are only of interest to myself usually, but the husband is kind enough to let me tell him at least. :hilarious:
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  16. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    The plate mark is the indent to the paper seen around the edges. It is caused by the pressure of the plate as the print is being produced. Photomechanical reproductions will produce a facsimile of the plate mark without any actual indent to the paper. I have put an arrow pointing to the plate mark at the corner of your print.

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  17. Ex Libris

    Ex Libris Well-Known Member

    Yes that is the first mark I check on an old print. That is 100% correct here. The only doubt I have it could be a much later one, like this engraving from my collection. It looks 17th century , but it is actually printed in the 19th century (with the original plates) by the Louvre museum as some souvenir.

    Without this paper seal, it is almost impossible to recognize it is not the real thing.

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  18. mirana

    mirana Well-Known Member

    I have no idea how Joannes ate, but that is a simply luxurious mustache. The hatching on that is masterfully done. Makes me want to go ink.
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  19. verybrad

    verybrad Well-Known Member

    I think the paper gives it away on this one. Your print looks completely correct as far as I can tell.
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  20. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Antoon van Dyck wouldn't have picked just anyone to engrave his work.;) The way the fabric of the sleeve is expressed is stunning.
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