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Etienne Delaune

French, 1518/1519 - 1583

Delaulne, Etienne

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Delaune was a goldsmith who developed into the most accomplished designer and engraver of the period in France. He also engraved puncheons and dies in association with Aubin Olivier, and was appointed an engraver at the newly established Paris mint (Monnaie du Moulin) on 31 January 1552. The office was to be shared with Jean Erondelle, but both were replaced by Jacques Beguin on 25 June of the same year.

From about 1556 Delaune was designing armor for King Henri II,[1] but with his death in 1559 Delaune lost his work and turned to engraving and print making. The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew in August 1572 prompted Delaune, a Huguenot, to flee to Strasbourg, and in 1576 to seek refuge in Augsburg, Germany. He returned to Strasbourg in 1580.

Three groups of medals are ascribed to Delaune; one group of three medals of Henri II, reputedly signed S L;[2] another of five large medals of Henri II and Catherine de Medicis,[3] and finally a group of four medals of Antoine de Bourbon, king of Navarre.[4] The designs for over 200 jettons are also ascribed to Delaune and his studio.[5]

[1] Thomas 1960, 24-25, figs. 19-27 are designs for medals, allegories of King Henry II and the year 1556.

[2] Mazerolle 1902, 2: nos. 95-98. Jones 1982, 1: no. 61 suggested that the letters S[tephanus] L[aunius] are misread, that the L is in fact and E, which is clear on a specimen of the medal of Henri II (Jones 1982, 1: no. 61) in Munich and on the reverse of 1957.14.1136. The E might then be the signature of Jean Erondelle. Why Delaune and Erondelle should both sign the reverse type of the medal is not known, although the partner may have completed a die left unfinished by Delaune.

[3] Mazerolle 1902, 2: nos. 99-103.

[4] Mazerolle 1902, 2: nos. 104-107.

[5] Mazerolle 1902, 2: nos. 108-111; Josèphe Jacquiot, “Homage à Etienne Delaune, célèbre graveur et médailleur français au XVIe siècle pour le 4e centenaire de sa mort,” Bulletin. Club français de la médaille 80 (1983), 56-73, 77; Jon Whiteley, “Designs for Jettons by Etienne Delaune,” in Designs on Posterity. Drawings for medals, ed. Mark Jones, London, 1994, 89-96.

[Published in: John Graham Pollard. Renaissance Medals. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. 2 vols. Washington, 2007]

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