Gavard, diagraphe et pantographe

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Charles Gavard (1794-1871), Galeries historiques de Versailles. Collection de gravures réduites d’après les dessins originaux du grand ouvrage infolio sur Versailles, publiée par Ch. Gavard, et précédée d’une notice par J. Janin (Paris: Chez l’éditeur, 1838). Graphic Arts Collection GAX Oversize 2012-0025E

On the left bank of Paris at 34 rue de Verneuil, two blocks south of the Pont du Carrousel and the Musée du Louvre, Charles Gavard had an active printshop. Besides being an accomplished engraver and lithographer, Gavard was also an engineer and inventor. He sometimes signed as “Gavard, diagraphe et pantographe” noting the two devises he developed to copy paintings.

The diagraph was a variation on the camera lucida. When attached to a pantograph, accurate reproductions of an original could be made in many sizes. The plate at the left is from Gavard’s own book describing the invention.

Beginning in 1838, Gavard dedicated himself to reproducing the French art from antiquity to 1830 at Versailles. In all, eleven volumes were completed along with an atlas and several supplements holding over 1200 plates. Gavard served as the publisher, editor, and overseer of all the engraved plates. Marquand Library holds one set of nine volumes and several individual books collected separately (SA N2052.V5 G2; SA N6851.V4 G2; SA Oversize N6851.V4 G24e). The Graphic Arts collection holds a single portfolio of plates, unfortunately separated from their original order but in very good condition.

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