BONNET, Louis Marin after Jean Baptiste LE PRINCE
The Pleasures of Solitude
London: F. Vivares in great Newport Street, 1777. Colour-printed mixed method engraving. Printed on laid paper. In excellent condition with the exception of being trimmed within the platemark. Small tear in lower left corner, and another small tear on bottom margin. Image size: 10 9/16 x 8 1/4 inches. Sheet size: 12 3/16 x 9 3/16 inches.
A lovely impression of this famous print by Louis-Marin Bonnet, one of the most celebrated masters of French colour-printing.
The son of a Parisian stocking manufacturer, Louis-Marin Bonnet (1736-1793) trained with the engravers Louis-Claude LeGrand and Jean-Charles François, the latter the inventor of the chalk-manner technique of printmaking. Throughout his career Bonnet developed Francois's printing technique producing some of the most beautiful prints of the period. Bonnet's chalk-manner prints became immensely popular with collectors seeking images that imitated the subtle effects of drawing, but he also experimented with various forms of colour printing as seen in this charming print of a young lady playing the guitar. During the late 1770s and 1780s, Bonnet's success as a color printmaker was unrivaled and hence he counted among his patrons the wealthiest Parisian collectors of the time.
This spectacular print exemplifies the single plate colour printing technique developed in England, but quickly adopted by French engravers. The effect is achieved by inking a single plate with several different colours by using a rag stump, this process is known as a la poupée. These English colour prints became very popular in Paris and threatened to affect the market for French prints. In an effort to capitalize on this vogue for English prints, a few clever French engravers printed their own colour prints with London addresses. This charming image is just such a print; Bonnet published it with F. Vivares's address in London, although it was probably published in Paris. He also uses a different variation on his name and lists himself as L. Marin instead of Louis-Marin Bonnet. This is not only an exquisite image, from one of the most renowned French engravers, but a fascinating glimpse at the practices of the print market in France.
Le Blanc, Manuel de L'Amateur D'Estampes No. 386.