Skip to content

Jean Baptiste Le Prince
Head of a woman à la turque or à la russe


Artist: Jean Baptiste Le Prince (1734-1781)
Title: Head of a woman à la turque or à la russe
Date: 1757-1762
School: French, French XVIIIth-century
Medium: red chalk and wash, ink border lines
Dimensions: 94 x 83mm
Watermark: none
Inscriptions/marks: signed in brown ink lower left <<le Prince>>
Condition: good condition on laid paper
Description: Head and shoulders of a woman viewed facing front, with head leaning to the right, with headdress made of cloth wrapped around her head like a turban and hanging down at the sides.

Reference: Related to plate 5 of the same artist’s Ier Suitte de coeffures dessinées d’après nature, 1768, etching and aquatint, Inventaire du fonds français, graveurs du XVIIIeme siècle, v. 14, [Le Prince: 116] see image below of an impression in the British Museum

Le Prince based his suite of six aquatints on drawings he made during his stay in Russia from 1757-1762. He is credited with perfecting the new technique of aquatint. Le Prince was apprenticed to François Boucher, himself a prolific printmaker in his early career. On his return to Paris from Russia, the drawings he made during his time there served as the basis of several suites of prints. The drawing is in the same orientation as the print, indicating that Le Prince etched the drawing with the use of a mirror or transferred the drawing in some way so as to produce a print in the same orientation as the drawing. Our drawing is also related to another drawing attributed to Le Prince in the British Museum. See image below.

It depicts the head and shoulders of a man turned to the left and wearing a turban. Like our drawing, the British Museum drawing is executed in red chalk, with border lines in ink and signed in ink <<le Prince>> and is of a similar size. The drawing was acquired from the Covent Garden antiquarian book dealer, George Willis in 1853 together with an impression of the aquatint on which our drawing was based. See image above. On Le Prince and aquatint, see Rena M. Hoisington, Aquatint. From its Origins to Goya, Washington D.C., National Gallery of Art, 2021, pp. 46-59.