bound volume (54.5 x 39.5 x 7.5 cm) inscr. in plate b. r. "Nanteuil Sculp. 1653"; inscr. in plate b.l. "Champaigne pinx."; inscr. hand-written on plate in black discoloured ink b. c. "Pompone de Bellievre Premier President"; inscr. in brown ink on supporting sheet b. c. "11- / Pompone de Bellievre / premier President."; inscr. hand-written in brown ink on supporting sheet t.c. "No. 11. [underlined]" CRE NANTEUIL, Robert; (French; 1623-1678) DES CHAMPAIGNE, Philippe de; (French; 1602-1674) Part of William Hunter's original bequest, this is one of two volumes containing 216 engraved portraits by or after Robert Nanteuil. Head of the great school of 17th century French portrait engraving, his skill and reputation were unequalled. His sitters were distinguished figures of Louis XIV's court, mainly royalty, statesmen, military and church leaders.
Celebrated for its faithfulness to Nature and the simplicity of his designs , Nanteuil's work appealed equally to art lovers and to those fascinated by the achievements of 17th century France. Hunter's volumes are a rare surviving example of a comprehensive early 18th century collection of Nanteuil's work. Occasionally Nanteuil worked after other portraitists, here after leading French painter Philippe de Champaigne with whom he worked closely with in his youth. Pomponne de Bellievre was an influential French magistrate, ambassador to England, statesman and president of Parliament in Paris from 1653 to 1657. He is placed in the volume alongside other such figures. The portrait was engraved the year its sitter was nominated President of the Parliament to decorate a thesis. A print after a later portrait of Bellievre by another leading French painter Charles Le Brun, is also included in the volume.