Two French aquatint prints ca. 1795.
Two romantic French scenes here that depict the dining rituals of the happy few by master engraver Louis Marin Bonnet, 1736-1793. ‘Le Dejeune’ and ‘Le Gouter’, after Huet.
These prints were meant to educate people about the manors and ways of the very rich. As you can see, in both scenes we see families having fun during a casual gathering at the dinner table, whilst being served by their servants. This is an interesting scene in the light of the French revolution, that was at the doorstep at the moment of this engraving was made. The power of privileged church members and the nobility, was heavily criticized and eventually replaced by the motto: “Liberte, égalité, fraternité”.
These two prints offer a nice outlook at French history, as well as the craftsmanship Bonnet displayed in these colorful Rococo engravings. We can clearly see the typical, doll like, facial features of the characters, a hallmark for Bonnets style. Louis Bonnet was a French master engraver and publisher. In his career he engraved many prints and was able to develop several new printing techniques that where top notch in his time. This aquatint is lovely, I would even say, the best of its kind. The colors are still very nice after all this time, and it is a joy to see Bonnet’s “way of the crayon” technique in practise.