Raymond Lafage

Download image: 
Raymond Lafage
Alexander the Great's Triumphal Entry into Babylon
ca. 1675
Pen and black ink and wash, on parchment.
7 3/8 x 11 3/4 inches (185 x 300mm)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
III, 87a

Inscribed in pen and brown ink on support, "347/C 19".

George Knapton (1698-1778), London; bequeathed by him to General Morrison (1704?-1799), London; Knapton-Morrison sale, London, T. Philipe, 25 May 1807, part of lot 347, sold to “Mrs. Peters”; Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919), London and Florence; from whom purchased through Galerie Alexandre Imbert, Rome, in 1909 by Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), New York (no mark; see Lugt 1509); his son, J. P. Morgan, Jr. (1867-1943), New York.

La Fage is a curious character: obsessed with drawing, he never learned to paint. The two battle scenes in the Morgan's collection, executed on costly and precious vellum, reflect his engagement with Parisian classicism and pagan subjects. Proficiently composed and carefully refined, these compositions were conceived to please Parisian collectors and antiquarians. The present sheet and inv. III, 87 were described in the 1807 Knapton-Morrison sale as “a pair--the wounded Porus brought to Alexander; and Alexander's triumphal entry into Babylon--fine spirited pen, and Ind. Ink, on vellum, highly finished, and most capital of the master.” The subjects stem from tales of Alexander the Great's conquest of India and defeat of King Porus at the Battle of Hydaspes in 326 BCE. As Alain Combres notes, La Fage explored Alexander's adventures in a number of fine drawings, likely inspired by Gerard Audran's prints published in 1672-78, which reproduced Charles Le Brun's monumental cycle of four paintings devoted to Alexander, executed in 1665-1673.

Associated names: 

Morrison, Knopton, former owner.
Peters, Mrs., former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.

Artist page: