Figures in landscape with sun breaking from clouded sky
CAT 146. Drawn and engraved by Pérelle. Figures in landscape with sun breaking from clouded sky, no. 5. Paris: P. Drevet, rue St. Jacques. E. Barton Chapin Jr. Family Collection.
This is a very pure example of the Paysages avec figures (Landscape with figures) type. Its most striking feature is created by the rays of the sun that bathe the distant landscape in white light, rendering the tiny figures there more distinct than the cattle gathered at the stream in the foreground to the left.
Each of these five Pérelles has a paper frame pasted around the edge (see figure 1 below). Perhaps these were applied by Melville or maybe even by his merchant father, who imported dry goods from France and may well have been attracted to engravings in this style. The annotation in the lower margin of this print (“51.52”) is matched by similar annotations on several companion prints. One wonders if these indicate some ordering system by Melville himself. The full print, with borders and any annotations, can be seen on the catalog level of each entry.
Figure 1. Example of the paper frame pasted around this and the other four Pérelle prints in Melville's collection.