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Four engravings of French rococo scenes by E. Jackson Stodart

Four engravings of French rococo scenes by E. Jackson Stodart


Le Modèle Honnête (The Honest Model), after Pierre-Antoine Baudouin

Le couche de la mariée (The wedding night), after Pierre-Antoine Baudouin

Le billet doux (The love letter), after Nicolas Lavreince

Qu'en dit l'abbé (What did the abbot say), after Nicolas Lavreince



Colour stipple engraving on simile-parchment

Signed in pencil, lower right, ‘E. Jackson Stodart’

Inscribed in print, top, ‘Published 1929 by The Museum Galleries, 53 Shorts Gardens, London, W.C. Copyright’

Each 57.5 x 48 cm (frame)


This set of four colour stipple engravings after eighteenth century boudoir scenes captures the seduction and elegance of aristocratic life in rococo Paris.


Edward Jackson Stodart (1879-1929) was an engraver who worked for The Museum Galleries, a publisher of colour prints after old master paintings. Jackson Stodart specialised in colour stipple engravings after eighteenth century paintings. Besides this series of eighteenth-century French boudoir scenes, he also engraved many of Hogarth’s paintings, as well as Francis Wheatley’s ‘Cries of London’.

For this series, Stodart chose scenes of suggestive amorous adventures united by their sumptuous interior settings. Badouin and Lavreince offered Parisians of the 1760s and 1770s a taste of material and sensual pleasure, something that Jackson Stodart felt would also appeal to English consumers in the Roaring Twenties.  The Wall Street Crash of 1929 put an abrupt stop to such fantasies, and The Museum Galleries ceased its operations the following year.

Examples can be found in the British Museum, BM 1930,1127.10-13.

Featured in the set:

Le Modèle Honnête (The Honest Model), after a gouache drawing by Pierre-Antoine Baudouin of 1769

Pierre-Antoine Baudoin (1723-1769) was a Parisian pupil and  imitator of Boucher, whose younger daughter he  married in 1758, and through whose  influence he was elected an Academician in 1763. He favoured lightly erotic subjects, working principally in watercolours and pastels.

Baudoin’s original drawing, executed in gouache and graphite on vellum, is in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. It was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1769 (no. 68).

In Le Modèle Honnête, we see a naked artist’s model seated on a velvet couch in his studio. She swoons forward, seemingly in shock at an improper suggestion made by the artist, who throws his hands up in protest. Her chaperone discreetly drapes her naked body with the voluminous folds of her own skirt. On the unfinished canvas we see a painting of Venus and Cupid. What amorous or improper suggestion did the artist make?  

The drawing was in a collection in New York at the time that Stodart made his engraving, and it is likely he based it on an earlier engraving, since the colours do not correspond at all to Baudoin’s originals. Baudoin’s works were widely engraved after his death.


Le couche de la mariée (The wedding night), after a gouche drawing Pierre-Antoine Baudouin of 1767

Baudoin’s original gouache drawing of Le couche de la mariée was made for the Marquis de Marigny on the occasion of his marriage. It was exhibited at the Paris salon of 1767. A preparatory drawing, also in gouache, is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Canada, Ottawa.


A weeping bride is helped into bed by her attendants, while her new husband kneels imploringly beside her. Other attendants bustle around, extinguishing the candles and preparing for the night ahead. The elegant, high-ceilinged bedchamber is dominated by an enormous lit à la polonaise, the canopy of which is crowned with a magnificent eruption of ostrich feathers.


Le billet doux (The love letter), after Nicolas Lavreince and Robert De Launay, 1778

Qu'en dit l'abbé (What did the abbot say), after Nicolas Lavreince and Robert De Launay, 1778


Nicolas Lavreince (1737-1807), real name Niclas Lafrensen, was a Swedish artist who found success in Paris as a painter of elegant, intimate scenes in miniature. Between 1762 and 1769 he trained in Paris, embracing the Rococo style. Returning to Paris in 1774, he developed the ‘cabinet piece’, miniature paintings of the manners and lifestyles of elegant society.

In 1778, in partnership with engraver Robert De Launay, he published a popular series of miniatures dealing with the life of a young noblewoman after leaving a convent. Qu'en dit l'abbé and Le billet doux are both drawn from this series. In a manner similar to Hogarth’s ‘Rakes Progress’ (which Jackson Stodart also engraved), we follow the young lady’s fortunes as she is wooed and won by a young nobleman. Unlike some of Lavreince’s more risqué scenes, this series is a more decorous take on aristocratic life, but with equal attention to the material trappings: the clothes, interior architecture and furniture are all magnificently treated.

As with Le Modèle Honnête, Stobart was almost certainly working from De Launay’s engravings rather than Lavreince’s original gouaches.


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