IU, unbound volume inscr. b.l. "Berghem pinx."; inscr. b. r. "T. Major Sculp. 1748"; inscr. b.c. "LES VOYAGEURS. / Dedie a Messire Marc Rene de Voyer Marquis d'Argenson, / Brigadier des Armees du Roy, Lieutenant General de la Haute et Basse Alsace, Gouverneur de Romorentin. / Tire de son Cabinet det grave de la meme grandeur que l'Original Person tres humble et tres Obeissant Serviteiur T. Major. / A Paris dex l'Auteur rue S. Jacques vis a vis le Charniers de S. Benoist" CRE MAJOR, Thomas; (English; c.1714-1799) AFTER BERCHEM, Nicolaes; (Dutch; 1620-1683) PUB MAJOR, Thomas; (English; c.1714-1799) Part of William Hunter's original bequest, this volume contains 44 prints after paintings primarily by Dutch and Flemish 17th century masters. The majority of the prints were etched by English engraver Thomas Major between 1744 and 1754. During this time Major studied in Paris under Jacques-Philippe Le Bas (1707-83), tutor to many of the century's best engravers, and on his return to England developed a reputation as one of the best engravers of his day. Hunter commissioned Major to engrave an anatomical drawing for him.
This is one of three prints after Berchem in the volume (Glaha 16911 and 16916). A keen interest in this Dutch painter was growing amongst collectors, particularly in France and he was regarded as one of the most important painters ever to come from Holland.
Major engraved and published this print in France and dedicated it to the owner of the painting, Marc Rene de Voyer D'Argenson with whom he had become acquainted through a traumatic incident shortly after his arrival in Paris, in which Major had been imprisoned in the Bastille without explanation. René-Louis de Voyer de Paulmy, 2nd Marquis d' Argenson, father of Marc Rene, had helped to secure his release and future protection.