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!