||DECKER, Paul (1685-1742, artist). - Martin ENGELBRECHT (1684-1756, engraver)
[The Twelve Months in allegory. Beautiful fashionably-dressed young women representing the months of the year, set within an appropriate interior or landscape and accompanied by the relevant signs of the Zodiac]
Augsburg: Jeremias Wolff, [no date but circa 1740]. . Copper-engraving by Engelbrecht after Decker, contemporary hand-colouring. Excellent condition with some expert restoration to margins. Sheet size: 14 x 9 inches approx. Framed. Black and gold Hogarth style.
A rare and very beautiful complete series with spectacular contemporary hand-colouring.
Individual prints from this series are sometimes encountered, generally uncoloured, but to find a complete set, in excellent condition with stylish contemporary hand-colouring, is extraordinary: this is the first such set we have encountered in over 35 years.
Each image features a beautiful and fashionable young woman engaged in a pursuit that is appropriate for the month represented: March finds her in the orangery pruning fruit trees ready for the spring; in April she is outside broadcasting seed; the heat of August finds her resting in the shade, her clothes loosened, taking a cooling drink; in September, she enjoys the fruits of the early harvest; October and she toasts the wine harvest, in November, she pauses during a day spent hunting.
In addition to personifying each month, each image includes a reference to the applicable sign of the zodiac: sometimes these are straight-forward as, for instance, in December where the image includes a discarded piece of paper with a sea-goat (for Capricorn) on it. At other times the symbolism is less overt: Sagittarius, the archer centaur is implied by the entire hunting scene; the twin figures holding aloft a basket of flowers represent Gemini (the twins) in the image for May.
Overall this series offers the unusual combination of real rarity, excellent condition and a strong series of images that can be enjoyed on many levels and are suitable for many different locations.
Cf. OCLC 13788184 (a 'sammelband' in the Boston Athenaeum, probably including this series).