Casting of Equestrian Statues.
DIDEROT, Denis. Sculpture Fonte des Statues Équestres (Casting on Equestrian Statues) Encyclopédie, ou dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers. Plates vol. 8 Paris (1771)
Folio, 253 x 393mm. 3 pages of descriptive text & 5 loose plates with their accompanying text sheet. Slight browning to margins, a little spotting otherwise very good.
The 5 plates and descriptive text for the entry of Sculpture Fonte des Statues Équestres from volume VIII of plates. Plates are numbered 1-5. Plate 3 is continued on a second sheet, Plate 4 is a double plate, and plate 5 is a triple plate.
1 page (822) from volume XIV of the Encyclopédie (1765) including Observations sur les chevaux des statues équestres
2 pages (497 & 502) from volume XV of the Encyclopédie (1765) including information on Équestre Statue
With some browning to a few leaves.
This suite of plates is noteworthy as a record of the practises of sculptors of this period. The illustrations and their explanations are influenced heavily by the writing and descriptions of Germain Boffrand. Boffrand had served as the first architect of numerous 18th-century noblemen, and had been a witness to the casting of Louis XIV's statue by Giradon and Jean-Balthazar Keller. The statue was melted during the revolution, and only a smaller model remains, which can be found in the Musée du Louvre. On hearing of the troubles Lemoyne was having casting a similar statue of Louis XV, Boffrand sought to assist Lemoyne, recognising that he was the only remaining assistant who had taken notes at the earlier casting. Boffrand wrote his Description de ce qui a été Practiqué pour Fondre en Bronze d'un Seul Jet la Figure Équestre de Louis XIV, enabling Lemoyne to complete his work, although this statue was also later destroyed in the Revolution. Diderot's plates, here presented, are an almost exact copy of Boffrand's originals, only shrunk and simplified to suit the Encylopédie's format.
Included with these plates is the relevant entry for equestrian statues written by Jaucourt, the 18th-century aristocrat who wrote around one quarter of the Encyclopédie voluntarily.