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Lodewyck Joseph Fruytiers

(1713 Mechelen – 1782 Antwerp)

Le Chevalier de Pancey / “J’ai le Coeur haut, et la fortune basse; / En Droiture, en Sincerité, Nul me Surpasse”. Engraving and etching. 34.6 x 23.4 cm. 1752. Unrecorded. Watermark: Lily with coat of arms (similar to Heawood 70).

This idiosyncratic, caricaturizing portrait was made by the Flemish engraver, Lodewyck Joseph Fruytiers, after a design by the Irish painter and engraver, Charles Exshaw. Fruytiers ran an engraving business in Antwerp and was dean of the city’s Guild of St. Luke from 1753/54. The engravings he made comprise portraits, vedute, coats of arms and ex libris as well as a series of illustrations after designs. The Chevalier de Pancey portrayed here is described in handwriting on another impression of the print in the Austrian National Library as the governor at the fortress of Austruweel (Oosterweel). The portrait has an element of the ridiculous. The ornately lacedecorated, tight-fitting three-cornered hat perched on top of a sumptuous curly wig sits so low on the Chevalier’s head that his brow is invisible. The impression given – which is reinforced by the rich finery of his attire – is that the governor is artless, puffed-up and vain. The caption, which says Pancey is more generous of heart than blessed by fortune and makes fun of his profound conviction that he is a model of uprightness, merely serves to underline the caricature. A very fine impression with thread margins.

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