Jean-Louis Anselin

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Madame Pompadour as "La Belle Jardiniere" (after Charles-André van Loo)
Frontispiece from "La Pitié" (engraving after Monsiau)

Jean-Louis Anselin (26 May 1754 - 15 March 1823) was a French engraver. Amongst his best work is an engraved portrait of Madame Pompadour as "La Belle Jardinière" (pictured).[1]

Life and work[edit]

Anselin was born in Paris. His name was originally "Enslyn", and his grandfather, who came to France after the reign of James II of England, was of Scottish origin. Jean-Louis studied engraving under Augustin de Saint-Aubin and became one of his best pupils. He started off by engraving subjects then in fashion, finding a ready market both in France and abroad at the end of the reign of Louis XV and his successor. "Le Satyre impatient" (after Jacques-Philippe Caresme) was engraved under the direction of his teacher, Saint-Aubin.

Amongst his early, independent, works were two erotic compositions after Antoine Borel - "Vous avez la clef, mais il a trouvé la serrure" and "La faute est faite, permettez quil la répare" - and "The pleasures of Anacréon", after Jean-Bernard Restout.[1][2]

Not long after the death of King Louis XV's chief mistress, Madame Pompadour, he engraved a portrait of her as a shepherdess after Charles-André van Loo. He also engraved portraits of Cardinal de Bouillon; Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux; Jean-Baptiste Rousseau (the last for an edition of his works published in 1795), plus a smaller portrait of Rousseau; a small profile of Cicero after Moreau; and both drew and engraved a portrait of Hue de Miroménil (keeper of the seal and deputy to the Chancellor of France (Minister of Justice) from 1774 to 1787).[1]

Amongst other large works, he engraved "The Siege of Calais", after Jean-Simon Berthélemy. He dedicated the engraving to the National Assembly, who accepted the honour officially in a session of 16 September 1789. The citizens of Calais also showed their appreciation by making him a "Burgher of Calais" on 21 January 1790. He also engraved, after Nicolas-André Monsiau, "Molière lisant son Tartuffe chez Ninon de Lenclos.[1][1][3]

Anselin engraved the frontispiece, after Charles Monnet (1732-1808), for an edition of "The works of Bertin" (1791);[4] a frontispiece after the sculptor Boizot, representing time surrounded by allegorical figures; four illustrations, after Monnet, for the "Works of Évariste Parny";[5] and the illustrations, after Monsiau, for "La Pitié", a poem by Jacques Delille (1803), which he completed with three other engravers working under his supervision (Courbe, Berthaud and Duparc).[6]

Anselin was nominated, with Bervic, to the "education committee" for "La société populaire des arts" serving during one of the most violent times of the revolutionary era.[1]

Jena-Louis Anselin died in Paris on 15 March 1823.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Portalis, Roger & Béraldi, Henri. Les graveurs du dix-huitième siècle (Paris D. Morgand et C. Fatout, 1880) pp. 29-34.
  2. ^ The pleasures of Anacreon.
  3. ^ Molière Lisant son Tartufe chez Ninon de L'Enclos (Donald A. Heald).
  4. ^ Bertin, Antoine de Oeuvres de M. le chevalier de Bertin, Volume 1 (Chez Gattey, 1791).
  5. ^ Parny, Évariste. Oeuvres completes, Volume 1 (Hardouin, 1788).
  6. ^ Delille, Jacque La Pitié (Paris : Giguet et Michaud, 1805).