Brochart’s Witch of Endor, 1873
The above chromo-lithograph by M. Jehenne of Charles Brochart’s ‘Witch of Endor’ appeared as Plate XIII in Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s Woman in Sacred History: A Series of Sketches Drawn from Scriptural, Historical and Legendary Sources … Illustrated with Twenty-Five Chromo-Lithographs, after Paintings by Raphael … and Others; Printed by Monrocq, from Stones executed by Jehenne, Paris (New York: Fords, Howard, & Hulbert, 1873), opposite p.165. (The complete book is available here in B&W; and here are colour pictures of the cover, decorative title and title-page).
The image is rather lifeless and angular, looking more like an icon than a portrait. If we are to judge by the other lithographs in this volume it seems unlikely that either the lithographer, Monsuier Jehenne, or the printer, Monrocq, is to blame. (By way of comparison, here is Hughes Merle’s portrait of Jephthah’s Daughter (with Jephtha seemingly modeled on the stunning Susannah at Her Bath) and Pompeo Batoni’s Mary Magdelene (original here)).
So, it seems Charles Brochart—an absolute nobody, if his representation on the net means anything—is at fault. Which is perhaps why, though six of the twenty-five portraits are by him, Brochart is not mentioned in the list of twelve artists in the title-page (“Raphael, Batoni, Horace, Vernet, Goodall, Landelle, Koehler, Portaels, Vernet-Lecomte, Baader, Merle, and Boulanger and Others”).
Despite Brochart’s lack of talent, however, it is clear that he has attempted to present the Witch of Endor as an attractive young woman. Stowe’s Woman in Sacred History was popular, being translated into Dutch in 1874 (as Vrouwen der Schrift) and reprinted under the title Bible Heroines: Being Narrative Biographies of Prominent Hebrew Women in the Patriarchal, National, and Christian eras in 1878.
Like the 1754 English version of Gerard Hoet’s 1728 artwork I have discussed in two previous posts (here and here), Brochart contributed to the dispersal of what we might call more positive images of the Witch of Endor—the focus of this blog—even if he didn’t do a very good job of it!