Studio of Daniel Rabel

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Studio of Daniel Rabel
ca. 1578-1637
Costume for a Sprinkler (Aroseur)
Pen and brown ink, gray wash, and watercolor, with silver, over black chalk, on paper, mounted to an album leaf.
12 11/16 x 8 1/4 inches (322 x 209 mm)
Purchased as the gift of Mrs. Landon K. Thorne, Jr.

Inscribed at upper left with the names of the dancers in pen and brown ink; "Curby" [crossed out]/parrade/Langlois [cancelled]/filandre/francinet/langlois"; numbered at upper center in graphite, "144"; at upper right in pen and brown ink, "4 [crossed out] 151(?)"; at right, "aroseur (over an earlier inscription)/jaulne/bleu plus pasle/pensee/gris/rouge"; on verso, "0141".
Watermark: Small shield over small, illegible letters including, possibly, AN.

From an album of 188 drawings by Rabel and his workshop; private collection, West Germany, by 1985; Swiss art market; Hobhouse, Ltd., London, in association with Wheelock Whitney & Co., New York, 1986.

McGowan, Margaret. The Court Ballet of Louis XIII: A Collection of Working Designs for Costumes 1615-33, 1986, no. 129.
Ryskamp, Charles, ed. Twenty-First Report to the Fellows of the Pierpont Morgan Library, 1984-1986. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1989, p. 372.


The Library's group of eight drawings attributed to Rabel and his workshop come from a larger batch of works by the artist that were on the market in 1986. These sheets, said to be from a dismembered album or albums, emerged from a West German collection and were on the Swiss art market before being acquired by dealers Niall Hobhouse and Wheelock Whitney. Drawings from this cache, which were the subject of a catalogue by Margaret McGowan, are now in the Morgan, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Marion Koogler McNay Museum, and the New York Public Library Dance Collection. In 2020, the Louvre acquired a group of seven designs for Louis XII's court ballets by Rabel and his workshop from a second tranche of drawings.
The provenance of the album and its history before being dismembered in 1986 is unknown. While it was rumored to have been in the collection of Hippolyte Destailleur (1822-1893), there is no evidence to confirm his ownership. Macgowan noted that the contents of the album were reorganized several times and the circumstances of its original assembly are unknown, although the album pages seem to date from the 1580s based on watermark evidence.
This design is for a dancer in the "Ballet des nymphes bocagères de la forest sacreé", performed at the Louvre during Carnival, 1627. The ballet was conceived by Francois Le Metel de Boisrobert and composed by Antoine Boesset. Set in nature on the "Fortunate Isles", the costume designs are largely devoted to shepherds and shepherdesses, woodland spirits and sprites, and others forest denizens, including this character bearing a watering can and wearing a colorful costume.

Associated names: 

Destailleur, Hippolyte Alexandre Gabriel Walter, 1822-1893, former owner.
Thorne, Landon K., Jr., Mrs., donor.

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