MERYON, Charles

Charles Meryon ‘ L’Abside de Notre-Dame’ Fifth State of Nine



Charles Meryon ‘ L’Abside de Notre-Dame’ etching with engraving and drypoint made in 1854. The 6th state of nine, printed in black on laid paper watermarked HALLINES or HUDELIST and with a emblem. Printed on a Colle de Chine. The sheet has discoloured due to the framer not protecting the sheet with an acid free card, but the image is still rich and sharp. Hinged onto a mount window, with a light crease backing sheet in lower left, else good.

Plate size  165 x 299mm

sheet size  275 x 423mm

Item details

Reference: Schneiderman  45  vi/ix; Delteil 38  v/viii

Provenance:  Robin Garton. Catalogue 37, 1987, No.16.I have upload the photograph from the Robin Garton catatogue. It is the same print.


L’Abside de Notre-Dame de Paris is the plate no.12 from Eaux-fortes sur Paris published by Meryon in three issues between 1852 and 1854.

Campbell Dodgson, who was the keeper of the prints and drawings at the British Museum in 1921, judged L’Abside de Notre-Dame de Paris to be a ‘’justly famous masterpiece’’ and described it with enthusiasm: ‘’The design of the whole plate, the lighting of the sky and of the side of the majestic cathedral, the proportion of the towers and high-pitched roofs of Notre-Dame to the massive but comparatively insignificant buildings along the line of the Seine combine to produce a total effect of unrivalled dignity and charm. How eloquent, too, is the contrast of all that splendid architecture across the river with the squalid foreground, where heaps of sand are being shovelled into carts, and barges of the humblest kind are moored along the shore.’’ (Campbell Dodgson, The Etchings of Charles Meryon, Geoffrey Holme, London, 1921, p. 18). He forgot the washerwomen at the river’s edge and the couple talking on the dock, with the woman holding a child in her arms.

Loys Delteil also said that L’Abside de Notre-Dame de Paris was regarded as Meryon’masterpiece: ‘’Among Meryon’s etchings, l’Abside de Notre-Dame de Paris, or simply l’Abside for those familiar with the work of Meryon, is the most famous in the world of the amateurs of prints, in America as well as in England or France. This piece is prized in relation to its amiable appearance and for the harmony of all its parts, although the sky is, as in the other etchings by Meryon, engraved with a solidity which, by the way, does not jar with the whole, because of the will that it encloses, and leaves the work perfectly homogeneous. » (L. Delteil, 1927, p. 21).

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