Jacques Firmin Beauvarlet after Drouais
The sons of Count Bethune
22 x 16 inches
A most unusual etching on copper by Drouais after Beauvarlet, published in Paris, circa 1760.
This charming, if a little bizarre, etching conjures up both premonition and pathos as it is set in the halcyon days of the French aristocracy before the guillotine literally came down on the whole jamboree. The two boys depicted are the sones of the Marquis de Bethune, one of France's oldest aristocratic families; a title based in Artois and dating back to the thirteenth century. They are elaborately dressed in buckled shoes, frock coats and lace trimmed chemise. One brother plays a mandolin whilst the other cuddles a pampered pug and sports an astonishingly elaborate headdress. A few years hence, such a scene would surely have raised the blood of even the most temperate Sans Coulotte!