The Marquis de Lafayette Collections
The Print Collection, ca. 1776 -
The Marquis de Lafayette Print Collection contains 18th and 19th-century images (6 linear feet -- 24 boxes, 4 extra-oversize folders) is arranged in 24 series:
For the most part, the printed portraits represented in this collection are copies of paintings or other engravings, although in some instances they are designed solely from the artist's imagination. This helps explain the great variety in the hundreds of prints in this collection. The work of many noteworthy 18th and 19th-century engravers and artists is represented in the colection and their influence on one another is apparent throughout their designs.
When Lafayette's participation in the American Revolution won him world-wide renown and admiration, engravers throughout Europe became extremely interested in portraying his likeness. The collection contains the work of engravers and artists from several countries, including France, England, America, and Germany. The bulk of the Lafayette portraiture in prints corresponds to the high points in his popularity during his lifetime. Major groups of prints date from his involvement in the American and French Revolutions up to 1792 and after 1817 when he returned to the political scene in France.
The earlier portrait prints depict a youthful Lafayette in the splendor
of his military costume in a classic and aristocratic 18th-century world.
The later portraiture in prints reveals an elderly Lafayette, burdened
with years of political involvement and responsibility as well as many
layers of heavy woolen clothing. Such mature portraits of Lafayette reflect
a more bourgeois, 19th-century world.
Prints from Series I - XVII are arranged as much as possible in chronological
order, reflecting the age of Lafayette in the portrait more than the actual
date the likeness was printed. The prints are grouped into series
according to the artist on whose original painting the print was or appears
to have been based. In many cases, the prints dating prior to 1800
defy accurate classifications by artist, and in these cases the print is
filed with the type to which it most closely relates or in miscellaneous
Series VII. With few exceptions, all of the prints in the later series
appear to be based on variations of the noted Ary Scheffer portrait of
|SERIES I. PORTRAITS: BEFORE 1789
Series I (Box 1) contains portrait engravings of Lafayette which date prior to 1789. These prints are based on portraits or engravings by artists Michel Honore Bounieu (1740-1814), American Charles Willson Peale (1741-1827), Jean-Baptiste Le Paon (1738-?), and L. Barre (?-?). Characteristics of this youthful rendering of Lafayette include a full, oval face, plain hair-dressing, and a simple military uniform usually without any military decoration.
|SERIES II. PORTRAITS: QUENEDEY
The prints of Series II (Box 1-2) are based on the Edme Quenedey (1756-1830) portrait of Lafayette executed in September of 1789. Common characteristics of prints grouped here as Quenedey types include a full or three-quarter bust view, military uniform with a lace jabot, bare head, and a wig with a queue.
|SERIES III. PORTRAITS: LEVACHEY
Portraits of Series III (Box 2-3) are based upon a Charles Frances Gabriel Levachey (ca. 1760-1820) painting executed during the late 18th to early 19th-century. It is possible that Levachey used the Quenedey profile for his model, as the prints filed in this series exhibit some of the same common characteristics as the Quenedey type with several unique identifying details or differences. These include a plain white neck-band in place of the lace jabot, a profile always to the left, a posture more emphatically erect, and a face slightly more mature.
|SERIES IV. PORTRAITS: BUCOURT
Series IV (Box 3-4) includes portraits based on the P. L. de Bucourt (1755-1832) painting of February, 1790. In many ways this type is also similar to the Quenedey type. A marked difference which makes the de Bucourt prints unique is the turned-up nose in profile. Also, these prints usually show the bust in a three-quarter turn to the right or left with the head in full profile.
|SERIES V. PORTRAITS: WEYLER
The prints of Series V (Box 4-5) are based upon a pastel portrait executed by Jean Baptist Weyler (1747-1791) in October of 1790. This type shows Lafayette in the uniform of the National Guard, bust and head to the right, eyes looking directly at the viewer. He is bare-headed and only the ends of the ribbon to his queue show. He wears a white neck-cloth and lace jabot with his coat open and the upper portion of the waistcoat unbuttoned. Three medals are worn on the left lapel. Throughout this series, prints classed here exhibit a great deal of variation. Most portraits are to the left, and the uniform can be quite different. Several prints display Lafayette in a coat with a high double collar, broad lapels, a black neck-cloth, and without medals. This series is one of the largest of the artist-type categories, containing approximately 60 individual prints.
|SERIES VI. PORTRAITS: JACOBI (BOLT)
Prints in Series VI (Box 5-6) are derived from a portrait of Lafayette engraved ca. 1790 by the German artist Christian Gottfried Jacobi (1764-1845). Of the thirteen portraits in this series, none actually carry any printed reference to Jacobi. These Jacobi-type prints are mainly of German origin and often carry the name of another German artist, J. F. Bolt (1769-1836). Often these prints are dated 1792 and display the following characteristics: Lafayette is shown in bust to the left, with his head in profile to the left, in a uniform and queue, and wearing a hat carrying a plume and the cockade of the Paris National Guard.
Inventory and Index
A detailed card inventory and index are available at the repository to simplify the use of this extensive collection. Individual cards have been created for every print in the collection and are filed according to the physical arrangement of the prints in storage. Cards in the inventory are organized first by artist under series and then by an approximate chronological order within each group. This inventory, originally created in the 1940's, was extensively updated in 1989-90. Many prints received from the estate of Stuart Wells Jackson in 1958 were added to the inventory at that time. If the additions were duplicates, they were filed with the originals. In instances where the additions were unique, the new prints were filed at the end of each series. Hence, the arrangement does not follow strict chronological order because of these additions.
Inventory cards provide detailed information on each print located in the collection. The main entry card reproduces the title (if any) of the print and any other printed text describing the portrait or scene. This is followed by a listing of the engraver, designer, artist, publisher, etc. associated with the print. Next a short paragraph with a physical description of the print, including measurements and print process, is placed at the bottom of the card. The top left corner of the cards holds the print numbering system (i.e., I.1.a-c) which indicates the physical location of the print in the collection. The first Roman numeral of this number indicates the series. The following digit is the individual number of the print. This is followed by lower case letters, indicating how many copies of the print exist within the collection. Donor information is provided in the left margin of the card.
A card index to the print collection has been created as well. Arranged alphabetically, this index provides access to many details about individual prints, including engraver, designer, artist, publisher, title, and subject.
In cases where prints were too large to be stored in the standard print
collection boxes, they were placed at the end of the print collection in
oversize boxes and extra-oversize folders. An oversize print is indicated
within the normal arrangement by a separation sheet which records the number
of the print and directs the researcher to oversize storage. Once
placed within oversize boxes and folders, these prints follow the same
numerical order as those in standard size storage.
The Process Print Collection
The Marquis de Lafayette process print collection (Box 20-24, extra-oversize folder #4) is stored at the end of the 18th and 19th-century print collection and follows a similar series arrangement, but is not indexed.
Series I. Portraits (Box 20)
Series II. Scenes from the Life (Box 20-21)
Series III. Members of Family (Box 21)
Series IV. Homes - Chavaniac and LaGrange (Box 21)
Series V. Statues and Sculpture (Box 22)
Series VI. Memorabilia (Box 22)
Series VII. Postcards (Box 22)
Series VIII. Correspondence: 1932-42 (Box 23)
Series IX. Posters (Extra-oversize folder #4)
The materials in this collection include prints of lesser quality than those in the 18th and 19th-century collection, images clipped from publications, photographs, glass plate negatives, postcards, and posters. All of these images are related to Lafayette in some way. Many are photographic reproductions of art works depicting Lafayette, such as paintings, prints, and sculpture. Series I - V deal mainly with such art works and are arranged alphabetically by artist. Series VI contains images of Lafayette-related memorabilia pieces, similar to those in the Memorabilia Collection, but mainly in the collections of owners other than Lafayette College. In many cases, the postcards of Series VII represent locations Lafayette visited during his lifetime. Finally, the posters of Series IX advertise Lafayette-related commemorative events and locations in France.
The process print collection also includes correspondence dating 1932-1942 (Series VIII - Box 23) which deals with Lafayette College's acquisition of many of the photographic reproductions of Lafayette art works. These records discuss many of the original art works and provide insight into the value of the collection as a visual record of Lafayette portraiture throughout the world.