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    Sale 7744

    Old Masters & 19th Century Art Day Sale

    8 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 101

    Melchior Lorch (Flensburg 1527-c. 1588)

    A Nigerian woman holding reeds

    Price Realised  


    Melchior Lorch (Flensburg 1527-c. 1588)
    A Nigerian woman holding reeds
    signed, dated and inscribed 'Eschfarben Morin, so an den fluss Niger wohnent, MLF Antilis, .1583.'
    black chalk, pen and brown ink, pen and brown ink framing lines
    8¾ x 4¾ in. (22 x 12 cm.)

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    A poet, an explorer, an author of ethnographical descriptions, a cartographer, a painter, a draughtsman, an engraver, an architect and a goldsmith, Lorch was a man of multiple talents. Along with one representing a Gambian woman (Sotheby's, London, 15 March 1966, lot 17), also dated 1583, the present drawing is Lorch's last known work. It seems that after having been dismissed as court painter to the King of Denmark in 1582, the artist joined an expedition to the African Gold Coast. His date of death is unknown although a vague entry in the Imperial archives, Vienna, mention him benefitting from an Imperial pension in Silesia in 1588.
    Signed with the artist's distinctive monogram, this drawing is characteristic of his graphic work with its stiffly posed figure, its bold regular hatching and emphatic penwork. It perfectly illustrates Lorch's fascination for ethnographic and historical matters as well as his lively invention.
    This drawing and the following lot were part of a remarkable group of drawings by and after Lorch which belonged to the diarist John Evelyn (1620-1706), and which was sold at Sotheby's, London, 15 March 1966, lots 1-30.

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    John Evelyn (1620-1706), Wooton, and by descent to
    J.H.C. Evelyn; Sotheby's, London, 15 March 1966, lot 18.


    P. Ward-Jackson,'Some Rare Drawings by Melchior Lorichs in the Collection of Mr. John Evelyn of Wotton, and now at Stonor Park, Oxfordshire', The Connoisseur, March 1955, no. 4.
    E. Fischer, in The Dictionary of Art, London and New York, 1996 (ed. 1998), vol. 19, p. 662.


    Copenhagen, The Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Melchior Lorck. Drawings from the Evelyn Collection at Stonor Park, England and from the Department of Prints and Drawings the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Copenhagen, 1962, no. 80 (cat. by E. Fischer).