Friday, July 14, 2017

Arty Farty Friday ~ Wenceslaus Hollar & His Etchings

 Portrait of Wenceslaus Hollar by Jan Meyssens
Wenceslaus Hollar, (1607-1677) Bohemian etcher whose works are a rich source of information about the 17th century. His work is still much appreciated by connoisseurs. He illustrated a number of books and produced the celebrated Views of London after the Great Fire of 1666. Some 3,000 plates are credited to him. He died in extreme poverty.

By the 17th century it had become established practice to issue books with engraved title pages and portraits. The process required a different printing process and led to an increase in the use of the copper plate press. The popularity of etching in Britain was predominantly due to one man, Wenceslaus Hollar, who was born in Prague. He arrived in Britain as a member of the household of the Earl of Arundel, one of Charles I’s Ministers of State who was a great patron of the arts. Less than 10 years later both the Earl and Hollar had to flee due to the Royalist defeat in the Civil War.

More at:

Hollar was a contemporary of famous astrologer William Lilly. His portrait, from Hollar's etching:

As for Hollar's astrology, there's a question mark over the exact date of his birth, according to our modern calendar:


I've taken a quick look at both dates, Sun remained in Cancer, Moon could have been in Cancer too on 23 July. I like 23 July chart for Venus in Virgo - that Virgo practicality and meticulous attention to detail would be needed in etching on copper plates, and Saturn in Capricorn (whichever date is correct) also echoes the kind of solid practical application etching on copper would require.

As well as illustrations of London and portraits of the so-called Great and Good, Hollar produced several etchings relating to traditional fables, which are referenced, still, in the 21st century:

The Fox and the Sick Lion is one of Aesop's Fables: "fable against trust in kings" - SEE HERE

"The implications of accepting the State’s desired monopoly of violence are perhaps best illustrated by one of Aesop’s fables "The sheep and the Wolves" " - See HERE:

The Belly and the Members is another of Aesop's Fables and is numbered 130 in the Perry Index. It has been interpreted in varying political contexts over the centuries. Wenceslas Hollar's illustration from John Ogilby's version of the fables, 1668. (Wikipedia)

There's a nice explanation of this fable at a blog called Rock Your Paper SEE HERE.

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