Detail from Le Berger Content (The Content Shepherd), probably by John Ingram, after a painting by David Teniers, 18th century. Dayton C. Miller Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.
after a painting by David Teniers, the younger, painter and engraver, 1610-1690
In this beautiful etching, a shepherd sits at the base of a plateau with his flock of sheep, a ram and a cow. His crook rests on his right shoulder and he plays a recorder or other type of duct flute. On the plateau at the upper right is a building, overgrown with vegetation, where two shepherds tend another flock. Clouds fill the sky in the left distance and the upper part of the composition.
A translation of the inscription beneath this image reads: "Although my welfare depends on my flageolet alone / I am not subject to bouts of sorrow; / And if through a sincere love, / I could possess the heart of my Shepherdess, / I would not think that the most powerful King / Might have more riches than I. / Moraine. / Drawn from the cabinet of Monsieur le Marquis de Lassé and engraved in the same size as the Original. / In Paris at the premises of Basset, Dealer in Prints, rue St. Jacques No. 64." There is a plate number "23" at the upper left corner, so this etching must have been produced as part of a series of prints, or as a plate in a book. The original painting by Teniers, Le Berger Content (The Content Shepherd) once had a companion painting, Le Berger rêveur (The dreaming shepherd). Both paintings were once in the collection of the Marquis de Lassé (as of 1741), and both were engraved by another artist, Le Bas, probably Jacques-Philippe Le Bas, a draughtsman, etcher, and engraver (1707-1783).
On the verso of this etching there are two stamps from the Ministry of the Police, one in blue and one in red. They are not fully legible and their inscriptions need to be confirmed. The red stamp appears to read: "Haute-Garonne," a region in southwest France. The blue stamp may read: "Genevais," which may refer to Geneva, Switzerland. Possibly these are customs stamps.
About the Artists
John Ingram, engraver, 1721-?
The engraver of this work was probably John Ingram, a British engraver, born in London in 1721, where he received his early training, but who worked in Paris after 1755. His death date is not known. Ingram was distinguished as an engraver of vignettes for book dealers in Paris, and he made engravings after the work of Boucher. He collaborated with Charles-Nicolas Cochin II (1715-1790), Nicolas-Henry Tardieu (1674-1749), and Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789). He also may have worked closely with the elder Huquier, Gabriel Huquier (1695-1772), a painter, engraver, and print dealer, originally from Orléans, but who worked in Paris. Ingram was noted especially for his work with Liotard on Sujets de la vie champêtre.
David Teniers, the younger, painter and engraver, 1610-1690
David Teniers, the younger, was a well known 17th-century Flemish artist who was a genre painter and engraver. He was born in Antwerp in 1610 and died in Brussels in 1690. He was the eldest of four sons of David Teniers, the elder (1582-1649), a painter and engraver, with whom he first studied. Very little is known about the younger Teniers' early life. He was received as a master in the Antwerp guild of St. Luke in 1632-1633. In 1637, he married Anna Brueghel, daughter of Jan Brueghel of Velours, who brought wealth and, above all, a close friendship with Rubens, whose second wife, Hélène Fourment, was the godmother of their eldest son, David Teniers III. In 1644, David Teniers, the younger, was named dean of the guild of St. Luke. Teniers was known above all for his genre paintings, at first smokey tavern scenes in the1630s which closely resembled the work of Adriaen Brouwer (1605/06-1638). By the 1640s, he painted more open-air scenes of country life with peasants reveling at fairs, often with an inn in the background.
Archduke Leopold Wilhelm was named governor of the Low Countries in 1646 and he was a powerful protector to Teniers, who began working for the archduke in 1647. By 1651, the archduke appointed Teniers painter to the court, chamberlain, and curator of his painting gallery, which housed a magnificent collection. Teniers purchased Italian paintings from the collection of Charles I for the archduke's collection, and he painted at least eight different views of the archduke's galleries. Most importantly, Teniers produced a catalogue of the archduke's paintings which were copied by various engravers. He himself painted copies of many of the Italian paintings which were used as models for the engravers. The illustrated catalogue was published in 1660 under the title Theatrum Pictorium.
The archduke often sent the work of Teniers to other sovereigns and recommended his work to them. King Philip IV of Spain commissioned many paintings by Teniers, and Prince William II of Orange and Christina of Sweden were also great collectors of his paintings. Don Juan of Austria, the natural son of King Philip IV, succeeded Archduke Leopold Wilhelm as governor of the Low Countries from 1656 to 1659. Also an enthusiast of the work of Teniers, Don Juan confirmed all of his court positions and commissions and even became his student.
After 1650, Teniers left Antwerp for Brussels. In 1656, his wife Anna died but, in the same year, he married Isabelle de Fren, daughter of André de Fren, secretary to the Council of Brabant. In 1662, he bought from Jan-Baptist Broekoven and Hélène Fourment the chateau of Drij Toren (Three Towers), at Perk, near Vilvoorde, which he made his summer residence. In 1663, Teniers was ennobled and, in the same year he took an active part in the foundation of an art academy in Antwerp to which he was named its first director. Teniers, who died at age 80 in 1690, was a prolific painter. He produced perhaps over a thousand works, his late paintings being more pastoral and idyllic in nature. His second wife died in 1683, and the end of his life was troubled by illness and legal disputes within the family, which were not settled until after his death.
- See John Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters.... 9 vols. London: Smith and Son, 1829-1842. General Collections. LC call number: ND40.S6. The original painting by Teniers, Le Berger Content (The Content Shepherd), is described in vol. 3, no. 42, p. 272. It had a companion painting, no. 43, Le Berger rêveur (The dreaming shepherd).[back to article]
- The source on the life of John Ingram described here is based on his entry in Bénézit. [back to article]
- Bénézit was a source for the life and work of Teniers but further information on Teniers, which includes a bibliography, is available in an article, "David Teniers II," by Hans Vlieghe in Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online (subscription only). [back to article]