Article Joly, dans La Belle au Bois Dormant (Joly, in Sleeping Beauty) probably by Jean-Baptiste Muffat Jolly, called Adrien Joly, draughtsman, engraver, lithographer, and actor, 1776-1839

This is an illustration of a scene from La Belle au bois dormant (Sleeping Beauty), probably from a theatrical performance, with music, which opened at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris on 20 February 1811. In this adaptation by Jean Nicolas Bouilly and Théophile Marion, called Dumersan, from the fairy tale by Charles Perrault, the setting is a forest near the château of the Gasseras family in Provence in the year 1452 during the reign of Charles VII. This is the family estate of Blanche, Sleeping Beauty.

The protagonist is Bertrand, a goat herder, a simple young man of about 19 or 20 years old, who guards his flocks near the château. He is particularly mindful of a small white goat belonging to the aged peasant woman, Aline, to whom he is devoted. Bertrand is unaware that Aline is in fact a good fairy, the godmother of Sleeping Beauty. One day, the châtelain de Gasseras, his niece, Amélie, a troubadour, Gérard, and hunters arrive. Bertrand is worried that they will frighten his goats. They all enter the forest together where they discover Blanche, who has been asleep for the last hundred years having been put under a spell by the evil fairy, Nabote. Gérard is the first to discover her, having been led to her by the white goat of Aline. In his shyness, Gérard does not awaken Blanche. Instead, she is awakened by Bertrand who kisses her hand. Nabote tells Bertrand that he is in fact a prince, the grandson of the Roi de Mataquin, a kingdom in the Far East.

Confusion reigns as to whether Gérard or Bertrand is to marry Blanche. Gérard was the first to see her, but Bertrand awakened her with a kiss. An astrologer, consulting his astrolabe, misreads the signs and believes Bertrand is the man meant to marry Blanche. The astrologer realizes he has been tricked by Nabote and he then consults a large book on the destiny of the family of Gasseras which is brought to him on a table covered with a tapestry. There he reads that Blanche must choose between two suitors and that a child, born before her marriage, will appear before the eyes of everyone and will direct her choice. Though everyone is stunned by this mysterious prediction, it transpires that there is a child. Through a trap door in the table, suddenly a child appears. The child is L'Amour, or Love. L'Amour explains that Gérard and Blanche were joined while she slept, that it was really Gérard who broke the spell, and it was Gérard who was meant to be her husband. L'Amour then convinces Bertrand to propose to Aline and, when he does, Aline becomes young and beautiful again. Aline predicts that her new husband will be rich and powerful. Bertrand requests only that they never leave this village where he was born and where he wished to die, but perhaps he will have someone else watch over his goats.[1]

In the opening performance of La Belle au bois dormant in 1811, the French actor, Joly (1776-1839), played the role of Bertrand. In this etching, Bertrand stands before a tree. In his right hand, he grasps a shepherd's crook and, in his left, he holds a tabor pipe to his lips. (In the play of 1811, it was called a galoubet.) He wears a short tunic, a belted fur vest, and tights. On his head is a round, close-fitting hat with three long feathers and, at his waist is a gourd-shaped object, perhaps a vessel for water or wine. Short, leafy foliage sprouts from the top of the truncated tree and fills the landscape just behind the shepherd. A goat emerges from the bushes at the lower right.

The title of this work is derived from the invoice of Paul Ritti, an antique book dealer in Paris, from whom Miller purchased this etching in 1926. In his card file index and ledger, Miller identified the artist of this work as "Joly" and he titled it Role de Bertand [Bertrand] dans la Belle au Bois Dormant. Joly was an artist as well as an actor and this may be a self-portrait since Joly did a series of portrait drawings for Martinet's Galerie théâtrale, and he did indeed play the role of Bertrand in La Belle au bois dormant.[2]

About the Artist

Jean-Baptiste Muffat Jolly, called Adrien Joly, draughtsman, engraver, lithographer, and actor, 1776-1839
Jean-Baptiste Muffat Jolly, called Adrien Joly, was born in 1776 at the château du Raincy near Paris, where his father resided as the contrôleur for the Duc d'Orléans, according to Lyonnet. He was well educated and studied drawing. He joined the cavalry but left the military after being seriously wounded. He returned to Paris and took a position with an engraver. He began his theatrical career in 1802. Considered a superficial actor, but amusing, he often took roles of "types," such as market porters or watermen. Joly was a fine draughtsman and made numerous portrait drawings of actors for the Martinet collection. His health and finances went into decline in the 1820s and he retired from the stage in 1829. In the latter part of his life, he lived in Nevers, and died in Lormes in 1839.[3]


  1. The story of the 1811 performance of Sleeping Beauty as it is summarized here comes from La Belle au Bois Dormant, Féerie-Vaudeville, en deux Actes, par MM. [Jean Nicolas] Bouilly et [Théophile Marion, called] Dumersan [and, with music composed by M. Joseph Denis Doche, Chef d'Orchestre, Théâtre du Vaudeville]; Représentée, pour la première fois, sur le Théâtre du Vaudeville, le 20 Février 1811. Paris: Chez Barba, Libraire, Palais Royal, derrière le Théâtre Français, 1811. Library of Congress. Music Division. LC call number: ML50.D628B4. [back to article]
  2. An image of Joly in this role is supposedly no. 268 in the Martinet collection. The full citation is Galerie théâtrale. Plates no. 1-1637. Paris: Martinet, n. d. 16 vols. A set is in the Yale University Library, Seeley G. Mudd Library, Zeta Collection. Call number: Nkq35 F6 + 844d. However, a reference librarian at the Mudd Library checked plate 268 in Martinet and it is not the Miller image of Joly (1/5/05). It is an image of Mlle Dimmier as "Paquita." A search through the index in the Martinet edition at the Mudd Library mentions only one image of Joly as "The Demon." Also, the images throughout the Martinet volumes are of a different type than the Miller etching. All the images are in color and have blank backgrounds. Thus, further research is necessary to discover the source from which the Miller etching was derived. [back to article]
  3. For the full biography of Joly, see Henry Lyonnet, Dictionnaire des Comédiens Français. 2 vols. Paris: Librairie de l'Art du Théâtre, [1910-1912?], vol. 2, pp. 228-229, which includes a portrait of Joly by Vigneron, an image of Joly in one of his roles, and a list of other portraits of Joly and the roles he played. Library of Congress. General Collection. LC call number: PN2637.L8. Also, see reprint edition: Geneva: Slatkin, 1969, same call number, same pages. Bénézit has a short entry on Joly, stating that he was a lithographer and an actor, who did some drawings for the Galerie théâtrale by Martinet. An Internet search for "Joly" resulted in further biographical information through Dramatis Personae Booksellers of Sheffield, Massachusetts. Joly was a Parisian actor, dramatist and stage designer, who had once been a military officer. From 1802 onward, he devoted himself to the stage and, for the next 30 years, created numerous costume and stage designs and sketches of scenes from theatrical life. An example of Joly's work, a pencil and watercolor drawing of an actor in Renaissance dress dating to 1830, is described online at Dramatis Personae Booksellers External Link (click on Inventory, then look under "J" for Joly). [back to article]

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  • Joly, dans La Belle au Bois Dormant (Joly, in Sleeping Beauty) probably by Jean-Baptiste Muffat Jolly, called Adrien Joly, draughtsman, engraver, lithographer, and actor, 1776-1839

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Joly, dans La Belle au Bois Dormant Joly, in Sleeping Beauty probably by Jean-Baptiste Muffat Jolly, called Adrien Joly, draughtsman, engraver, lithographer, and actor, -1839. Web..

APA citation style:

Joly, dans La Belle au Bois Dormant Joly, in Sleeping Beauty probably by Jean-Baptiste Muffat Jolly, called Adrien Joly, draughtsman, engraver, lithographer, and actor, -1839. [Web.] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

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Joly, dans La Belle au Bois Dormant Joly, in Sleeping Beauty probably by Jean-Baptiste Muffat Jolly, called Adrien Joly, draughtsman, engraver, lithographer, and actor, -1839. Web.. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.