Print 239, “Development of the Curves of Seat (Back) Twisted and Flared” is one of those bittersweet, paradoxical entities in my inventory of original First Edition L’art du Menuisier prints I will have for sale at Handworks. On one hand it is a magnificent composition worthy of Edward Tufte, whose book on visual presentation of information sits well-used on my shelf. Roubo crammed so much information on the page it is almost mind boggling. It is in my mind nearly the equal of Minard’s famed print demonstrating Napolean’s March of 1812.
Typically Roubo would create a plate such that it left a margin of an inch or so all around the page. Not so with Plate 239; he composed it all the way to the very edge of the page, making it utterly unique among the book’s illustrations.
Which brings me to an economist’s best friend, “the other hand.” This idiosyncratic feature was lost on the barbarian who defaced the original First Edition from which my inventory derives. The knuckledragger chopped a quarter inch off the top and bottom, alas rendering it a badly defaced artwork, although none of the visual presentation in the field is compromised. That which remains is in excellent condition, but the key phrase is “that which remains.” It is probably un-Christian of me to want to dig him up so I could whack him with the shovel. May he rest in peace (and the entire artifact world said, “Amen. At least he cannot damage any more.”)
The mutilation Print 239 suffered forces me to make it the lowest price of any Roubo print I will be offering. Had that not occurred, it would have been among the highest priced.
This print was drawn and engraved by Roubo. But our unknown malefactor chopped that information off the bottom of the page.