ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TULIP ENGRAVINGS EVER PUBLISHED
Six tulips and one bulb (plate 6), copper engraving made by Em(m)anuel Sweert(s) and published by Daniel Rabel in Paris 1622-1633 as part of the “Theatrum Florae”, coloured by a later hand. Size: 34,5 x 25 cm.
Daniel Rabel (1578-1637) was first employed as a portrait painter by Marie de’ Medicis, the second wife of Henry IV of France. In 1612 he became official artist to Duke of Nevers. Around 1631 he was appointed official artist to Gaston, Duke of Orléans, Henry IV’s third son.
The “Theatrum Florae” was originally published in Paris in 1622, with later editions in 1627 and 1633, and was a collection of botanical illustrations of 69 of the most decorative flowers available to 17th-century gardeners, and which Rabel had been commissioned to paint for Gaston of Orléans. It is truly (as stated in the preface to vol.I) “…une tres-jolie collection…qui ont été dessinées & gravées d’après nature” […a very nice collection…which were drawn and engraved from nature]. Other artists later added their work, notably Nicolas Robert (1614–1685). There is some doubt among scholars as to whether Rabel engraved the original 69 plates, as none of them is signed and his name only appears on the titlepage of the third edition. By the end of the 1700s they were generally assumed to have been done by Dutch artist Emanuel Sweert.