Print, Design with Steps and Terrace Guarded by Two Sphinxes, 1740
This is a print. It was designed by Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier and engraved by Gabriel Huquier and published by Gabriel Huquier. It is dated 1740 and we acquired it in 1920. Its medium is engraving on white laid paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.
This print serves as the front page for an ornamental pattern book of candle holders designed by the French architect and designer Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier and etched by the printmaker and prolific publisher Gabriel Huquier. The print is in two-parts that do not stylistically relate to each other. Below is a smaller scene showing a fantasy terrace flanked by two sphinxes with the landscape framed by a cartouche composed of oversized volutes. It is reminiscent of architectural fantasies by the French rococo artist Jacques de Lajoüe who derived inspiration from shells and grottos. Above is a candle stick design with a twisting stem and three foliate buds serving as candle holders. This design was used for the surtout de table (a long table centerpiece) executed in silver for Evelyn Pierrepont, Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull in 1734-5 by the silversmith Claude Duvivier (Musee des arts decoratifs, Inv. No. 32632). The Duke of Kingston likely commissioned the candlesticks with large centerpiece after his interest in the new French rococo style was sparked following his continental Grand Tour. The Duke’s attention would have been drawn particularly to Meissonnier who was considered one of the progenitors of this opulent style.
This object was
It is credited
Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council.
Its dimensions are
Platemark: 12.5 x 22.1 cm (4 15/16 x 8 11/16 in.)
It is inscribed
Inscribed on plate, upper left: E; upper right: 30; lower left: J.A. Meissonnier inv.; lower right: Huquier Sculp. et ex. rue St. Jacque C.P.R.
Cite this object as
Print, Design with Steps and Terrace Guarded by Two Sphinxes, 1740; Designed by Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier (French, b. Italy, 1695–1750); France; engraving on white laid paper; Platemark: 12.5 x 22.1 cm (4 15/16 x 8 11/16 in.); Purchased for the Museum by the Advisory Council; 1921-6-212-31-b