Sotheby's Asian Art Auction in Paris June 14th On June 14 Sotheby’s will stage their first-ever sale in Paris devoted exclusively to Asian art, featuring 182 lots from (mainly European) private collections
engravings, produced in sets of 100 from 1767-74, were made from drawings and paintings by Europeans living in Peking: Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766), Jean-Denis Attiret (1702-68), Jean Damascene (?-1781) and Ignace Sickelpart (1708-80).
The commission was of great importance to France in its attempts to steal a march on the Dutch, British and Portuguese. Special precautions were taken after the printing to protect the emperor’s exclusive rights, with no copies allowed to remain in the hands of the engravers or printers in France. The ‘100 printed copies were sent to China, with only a handful reserved for the Royal Family and King’s Library, making the suite of the greatest rarity.’
After the success of the first edition, Helman produced a reduced version with extra plates, tapping into contemporary enthusiasm for China among Europeans by offering several pictures adapted from Chinese originals. Public awareness of China was considerably boosted as a result.
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