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Jean Pillement etchings, ca. 1755-1775

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Pillement (Jean) Etchings

Scope and Content of Collection

The Jean Pillement Collection was originally owned by Charles William Dyson Perrins (1864-1958), an English book collector. Perrins had a strong interest in the Royal Worcester Porcelain Company, to whom he donated his fine collection of Worcester porcelain; this collection of etchings of chinoiserie, flowers, and rustic scenes represents sources for designs on Worcester porcelain. The collection contains perhaps one-quarter of Pillement's printed designs and includes the work of the following etchers: François-Antoine Aveline (1718-1780 or 1718-1762), Peter-Paul Benazech (ca.1730-after 1783), Pierre-Charles Canot (1710-1777), Edouard Gautier Dagoty, Louis Dagoty, Jeanne Deny (b.1749), William Elliot or Elliott (1727-1766), Hess, James Mason (1710-ca.1780), Christopher Norton, Simon François Ravenet the elder (1706-1774), James Roberts the elder (1725 or 1726-1799), William Sherlock (ca.1759-1806), and Thomas Vivares (b.1735). C. Leviez and Pierre-François Basan (1723-97) are frequently listed as publishers; as part of their large collections, they seem to have reissued prints published earlier, sometimes by others. Victor Marie Picot (1744-1802) and Jean Marie Delattre (1745-1840) also issued two prints.

The subjects of the sixteen suites of small etchings include chinoiserie fountains, tents, trophies, figures in landscapes and rococo flowers and ribbons. These motifs, probably derived from works by Pillement in other media, could easily be used as decorative sources for woven or printed textiles; painted, modeled, or lacquered paneling; engraving on silver; or painted porcelain. Two suites are etched in red and black in the crayon manner, imitating chalk drawings.

The subjects of the sixteen suites of medium-sized etchings include fantastic and naturalistic flowers; chinoiserie genre scenes (some of children playing games) and large single figures; and rustic European genre scenes, always outdoors and often along the road or near tumble-down houses or bridges.

The large etchings include one suite of six Chinese genre scenes and twenty rococo genre scenes, each with its own title. The genre scenes, often in pairs, depict the countryside or small villages, some with additional allegorical meaning related to the seasons or times of day. Some represent indigenous peasants picturesquely going about their business, while some portray gentlefolk who have appropriated rural costumes and landscapes for their own pleasures.

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