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Monogrammist WI, Ornament print, ca. 1530.

Regular price
€1.900,00 EUR
Regular price
Sale price
€1.900,00 EUR


Early engraved ornament print 

Monogrammist WI (ca. 1500-1550).

Vignette with two winged female genii holding a warrior's laurel wreath medallion.

Germany(?), ca. 1530.

Copper engraving on laid paper. 2.5 x 9 cm (sheet). With the monogram in the plate.


This rare engraved ornament print is attributed to the Monogrammist WI, about whom little is known other than that it was an engraver active in the first half of the 16th century. Our research into the recorded oeuvre of this monogrammist has revealed that it actually consists of works by two artists: Monogrammist WI and Monogrammist W. Though closely related in style, they are distinct. The artist of our print uses the monogram WI, with the 'I' through the center of the 'W', while the other artist uses the 'W' in the same style but without the 'I'. Nagler only identifies WI, even though it is clearly visible that some prints are monogrammed with just a W. Nagler’s selection was taken over by Hollstein, who, for reasons unknown to us, included it in the Dutch school. It seems much more likely that this was a German artist because of the similarities to Beham (Bartsch 'in the style of HS Beham around 1530').

Below, we present an overview of the prints that we have seen and attributed to either WI or W. Copies of these prints are held at the Albertina, the Ashmolean, and one at the Rijksmuseum.

The copy we offer here is a former doublette from the Graphik Sammlung of the Albertina, Vienna (Lugt 5e/5h), with references in pencil on the back to the album from which this print came, and the album in which the Albertina copy is held. This print was taken from the 'Klebeband' D/I/24/48 of the Albertina's collection founder, Duke Albert Saxe-Teschen. That page also contains other prints by WI: a similar ornament vignette and three roundels, with one square print also removed. The copy in the Albertina is in volume Hofbibliothek, 49/3, p. 106. This page also contains several other prints by WI and W. As far as we know, there are no other copies of this ornament print recorded in public collections.

Condition: There are small margins around the image, and the bottom has been trimmed at the plate line. There is a tiny corner defect outside the image at the top right. Stamps and pencil marks are present on the back. Otherwise, it is in very good condition.

List of prints by Monogrammists WI and W. Names taken from Hollstein.

Prints by WI

Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (circular). Albertina album D/I/24/48.

The young couple walking and a fool (circular). Ashmolean WA1863.10524; Albertina album D/I/24/48.

Vignette with two winged women. Albertina album Hofbibliothek, 49/3, p. 106 no. 7. This print offered here.

Vignette with two winged genii (pair with the above print). Albertina album D/I/24/48.

Not in Hollstein:

A concert (circular). Ashmolean WA1863.8485; Albertina album Hofbibliothek, 49/3, p. 106 no. 1. Bartsch IX 54.2

A couple standing and another at a table (circular). Ashmolean WA1863.8463; Albertina album Hofbibliothek, 49/3, p. 106, no. 2. Bartsch IX 54.3.

Design for a dagger sheath with Cupid holding a shield at bottom. Ashmolean WA1863.10525. Passavant IV.174.18.

Nude woman with a cupid (rhombus). Albertina album Hofbibliothek, 49/3, p. 106, no. 5. Unrecorded?

Vignette with two birds on two horns of plenty. Albertina album Hofbibliothek, 49/3, p. 106, no. 4. Unrecorded?

Vignette with a putto on two horns of plenty. Albertina album Hofbibliothek, 49/3, p. 106, no. 6. Unrecorded?

Prints by W

Scabbard with a gentleman with a skull (illustrated in Hollstein) Ashmolean WA1863.10521.

Scabbard with a gentleman and a lady at top. Ashmolean WA1863.10522. Albertina album Hofbibliothek, 49/3, p. 106 no. 8.

Scabbard with a nude woman (Lucretia) at top. Ashmolean WA1863.10523.

Scabbard with a standard bearer (illustrated in Hollstein). Location unknown.

Not in Hollstein:

Design for a dagger sheath with Mercury, dated 1528. 11×2.2 cm. Rijksmuseum RP-P-OB-3108. Passavant III. 96

In Hollstein but not seen (both no location given):

Vignette with two female figures with dog’s heads.

Vignette with a vase in the centre and horns of plenty.


Hollstein mentions one print twice: Scabbard with a gentleman with a skull and Scabbard with a gentleman with a plumed baret are the same print. He mentions Oxford at Scabbard with a gentleman with a plumed baret, but they have Scabbard with a gentleman with a skull.  



WI made circular engravings and ornament vignettes, such as the one we offer here. Typical for WI seem to be large round faces. W made designs for daggers of about 12 cm. in length. WI also made one dagger design, but smaller and different in style. It seems very likely that these artists worked in the same workshop.

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