Claudes’s Liber Veritatis Vol. 1 / Etchings by Earlom

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Article ID B0269


Claudes’s Liber Veritatis Vol. 1 / Etchings by Earlom


Complete 3 volumes of Claudes's Liber Veritatis, London. Title page: "Liber Veritatis or A Collection of Prints after the original designs of Claude le Lorrain, in the collection of His Grace the Duke of Devonshire. Executed by Richard Earlom in the Manner and Taste of the Drawings." Volumes 1 and 2 published by Messers, Boydell and Co, Cheapside; Volume 3 Hurst, Robinson and Co, 1819. folio, red gilt calf binding (including the inside), edges untrimmed. Volume I: mezzotint portrait of Claude le Lorrain (1777), index on 14 pages, a portrait of John Boydell and then 99 numbered mezzotint plates printed in sepia follow. Volume II: index on 5 pages (including title), plates 101-200. Volume III: mezzotint portrait of Earlom (1819), 4 leaves including title and index, 1 - 100 numbered mezzotint plates printed in sepia. Boards a bit stained in places.


c. 1819


Earlom (1743-1822)

Richard Earlom was an English copper printer andmezzotinter. This is a printmaking process of the intaglio family, technically a drypoint method. It was the first tonal method to be used, enabling half-tones to be produced without using line- or dot-based techniques like hatching, cross-hatching or stipple. In 1765, Earlom was employed by Alderman Boydell, a publisher and promoter of the fine arts, to make a series of drawings from the pictures at Houghton Hall and these he engraved in mezzotint. His best works are perhaps the fruit and flower pieces after the Dutch artists Van Os and Jan van Huysum. Earlom was commissioned by John Boydell to copy all 200 drawings of Claude Lorraine's record of his paintings as prints, which were published from 1774 to 1777, when a collected edition in two volumes was published as Liber Veritatis.

Historical Description

Engraved by Earlom after the works of Claude Gellée (ca. 1600-82), better known as Claude (of) Lorraine, a painter who helped popularize landscapes. While still in his thirties, he counted Pope Urban VIII among his clients. However, his fame led to numerous works being falsely attributed to him. Therefore, in 1636, he began cataloging his works by making colored outline drawings of each painting he completed, noting the name of the buyer. Six copies of this "Liber Veritatis" or "Book of Truth" were sent throughout Europe to verify the authenticity of Claude's paintings. One set ended up in the art collection of the 2nd Duke of Devonshire, and this copy was copied and published by John Boydell, with the text listing the titles, original owners, and current owners (if known). The publication must have been a success, because the third volume of mezzotints was published over 40 years later and 15 years after Boydell's death, this time of drawings from collections other than the Duke of Devonshire's. In 1819, Earlom, the engraver of all three hundred landscapes, was 76 years old. To reproduce the drawings accurately, Boydell used mezzotint, a process not often used for landscapes, but which, printed in sepia, mimics well the pen-drawn originals. The result was described by Col. Abbey as "a landmark in the history of reproduction of master drawings." ABBEY: Scenery 200; the Duke of Devonshire's Liber Veritatis sketchbook is now in the British Museum.

Place of Publication London
Dimensions (cm)43,5 x 31 cm
ConditionBinding in calfskin with gold embossing, Corners partially bumped off
TechniqueCopper print- Aquatinta


2,175.00 €

( A reproduction can be ordered individually on request. )