Staal’s Witch of Endor, 1853

Pierre-Gustave-Eugene Staal produced all of the eighteen “portraits des femmes remarquables de l’Ancien et du Nouveau Testament” [portraits of the remarkable women of the Old and New Testament] in Georges Darboy’s Les femmes de la bible (Paris: H. L. Delloye éditeur, 1846) which was translated and published in 1847 as The Bible Gallery. Portraits of Women Mentioned in Scripture: Engraved by the Most Eminent Artists, from Drawings by G. Staahl [sic] (London: David Bogue, 1847).

The steel engraving of the “Pythonisse d’Endor” (above) is delightful, and typical of Gustave Staal’s style.

Basil Hunnisett states, in Steel-Engraved Book Illustration in England, that a few books with steel engraving were issued with the engravings ‘coloured by hand, some advertised at one price plain and a higher one coloured. Charles Tilt and David Bogue [the publisher of The Bible Gallery] were among the leading exponents of this trade’ (p.4). Marilyn Braiterman, who quotes Hunnisett, explains that the publisher’s hand colored examples are comparatively rare; she is offering such a copy of The Bible Gallery for US$1500 (uncoloured copies are about one tenth of this price).

If I win a fortune I will buy a copy and re-post these images in colour. Until then: you will have to enjoy them as they are!

[I love this finely-carved wand, with its serpentine twists and wooden flames. Perhaps more than anything else it shows that this ‘Pythonisse d’Endor’ is more necromantic-mage than witch.]

2 Responses to “Staal’s Witch of Endor, 1853”

  1. […] in my previous posts on the Witch of Endor (the anonymous image of 1728, Staal’s image of 1853 and Dore’s image of 1866), you will see that it is—by far—the naughtiest of the […]

  2. very cool, i appreciate the blow-up detail.

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