LEBAS, Jacques-Philippe

Two festival prints of the illuminations and fireworks in the city of Strasbourg on October 5, 1744, celebrating the convalescence of Louis XV, designed by Johan Martin  Weis -

Représentation de l’Edifice de l’Hôtel de Ville de Strasbourg..et des Fêtes de Réjouissance, and Représentation des Edifices et Décorations élevés, et du Feu d’Artifice …sur la Rivière d’Ill

Engravings, published 1745. Portalis and Béraldi XX, 23; K. Salatino, Incendiary Art: The Representation of Fireworks in Early Modern Europe, 1997, pp. 25-27, fig. 19 Watermark: Large double-headed eagle with countermark Auvergne

Very good to fine impressions with wide margins. Each with a vertical centre crease and remains of an old guard, some pale discolouration in the margins and one with this along the guard, a couple of minor flaws, otherwise in remarkably good condition for such large sheets. 444-9 x 766-7mm.
Full sheets 630 x 900mm. Rare.
The pair $8,000



These spectacular engravings are remarkable not only for the lavish events they depict, but also for their size and for the fact that, unlike J.F. Blondel’s famous prints for the 1739 marriage of Don Felipe of Spain to which Salatino compares them, they are printed from single large copper plates and single sheets of paper. The River Ill flowing past the Episcopal Palace on Grande Ile where the King was staying afforded less space for pyrotechnics than the Seine did on many such occasions. To protect the houses on the opposite quai a long temporary façade was constructed, from which the fireworks erupted. Curious faces may be seen at the upper story windows of the houses behind this screen, while the whole foreground is animated by gesticulating spectators and officers attempting crowd control. Musicians float on a barge under the bridge, and the usual marine allegorical characters figure prominently in mid-river.