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Perelle’s Veües des plus beaux endroits de Versailles : How the Engravings contribute

William Roberts

Roberts, William, "Perelle’s Veües des plus beaux endroits de Versailles : How the Engravings contribute", dans Cahiers du XVIIe siècle, 2004, vol. IX, 1.

Extrait de l’article

Reproductions of Perelle engravings are found in many books about Versailles, yet there is no general monograph on the artist, and very few articles excepting in art and biographical dictionaries. Among these latter, contradictions, repetitions and misquotings abound. The only authoritative source is a section of the 18th c. manuscript Abecedario, by P.-J. Mariette, which is held at the Cabinet de Estampes.
In fact there were three artists bearing (and signing) the same family name : Gabriel the father (1604 ?-77) and his two sons, Adam (1640-) and Nicolas (1631-), both of whom died in the same year 1695. Since they often worked together on the same copper plate but usually signed their work with the last name only, one of the problems with their engravings is attribution. A number of authorities point out the quasi-impossibility of distinguishing between them in this latter case ; even Mariette does not specify individual authorship of the Versailles prints. Yet the Perelles have been credited with producing more than 795 landscape plates. An art dealer has put their situation succinctly : "The history of their plates given by Le Blanc is so incomplete and inaccurate as to be useless" (Craddock & Bernard, 1977).

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