Famous last words

Posted on 13th March 2012 by simonbeattie

    

These extraordinary engravings are the last words written by Louis XVI (his will, Christmas Day, 1792) and his wife, Marie-Antoinette (a letter to her sister-in-law, 6 October 1793), turned into silhouettes, probably in the 1830s.  I’ll admit it took me a while to find out some information on the engraver, Alphonse Pélicier, who is listed in none of the usual biographical dictionaries of artists and engravers.  The reason?  Because he was a map engraver.  Such a project as this called for particular skills: someone who was good at engraving words, not images.  Quite why they were produced, however, eludes me, unless it was some kind of celebration for Louis-Phillippe and the Bourbon dynasty.

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2 responses to “Famous last words”

  1. Miriam Kahn says:

    What interesting examples of micrography. I normally see this type of printing or even hand penned works used for Jewish texts such as “Song of Song” or various Psalms. I’ve never seen this technique used for letters.

  2. simonbeattie says:

    Yes, I hadn’t thought of it as micrography, but I suppose that’s exactly what engraved words on maps etc. are. You just never see such writing in a block such as here. Thanks for posting! S

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