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WETZEL, Johann Jakob.

Voyage pittoresque au Lac de Garda ou Benaco.

Zurich: Orell, Fussli et Compagnie, 1824 Stock Code: 111172
£30,000.00
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Superbly coloured aquatints of Swiss scenery

First edition of this rare suite of plates with superb contemporary hand-colouring, executed with enormous subtlety and exhibiting a beautiful gradation of tone. Wetzel (1781-1834) was one of the leading Swiss landscape painters of the Romantic era, the popularity of whose work meant that a "whole staff of aquatint engravers was employed in imitating his watercolour drawings" (The Print Collector's Quarterly, volume 13, 1926).

Wetzel trained under fellow Swiss artists, Johann Heinrich Bleuler, Johann Walser and Gabriel Lory, and during his career garnered some distinguished patronage: his "transparent painting" of the Rhine Falls was purchased by the Austrian emperor Franz II in 1814. He began a series of works on the Swiss and Italian lakes in 1819, designed the plates for an illustrated edition of Byron's Prisoner of Chillon (1818) and was keenly aware of the European-wide appetite for the "sublime" and "picturesque" aspects of Swiss and Italian scenery, producing a series of small, affordable views of well-known tourist spots as well as the more expensive "high end" productions such as the current work. The aquatinter, Conrad Casper Rordorf (b. 1800), was also Swiss and ended his life in Texas, shot dead over a land dispute.

Not in Library Hub, WorldCat and KVK locate only the copies at Zurich and the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek. Only two copies have appeared at public auction: 1994 (the present copy) and 2002. A superb survival in the original wrappers and portfolio, as it would have been issued to discerning collectors.

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Description

Folio (485 x 320 mm). Original off-white plain wrappers loose in the original drab pale brown portfolio, paper label on front cover (printed advertisement on inside back cover), green cloth ties.

Illustrations

15 superb aquatint views by Rordorf after Wetzel with contemporary hand-colouring, all but two plates watermarked 1824 (the exceptions dated 1822 and 1825).

Condition

A little wear to spine of portfolio, a few marks in margins of the view of Desenzano. A particularly fine copy: tall, clean and uncut.

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