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Frégate Francaise de 60 Canons [War Vessel carrying 60 guns on the main deck]

Etudes de Marine Positive
Dessinées et gravées à l'Eau-Forte
par L. Morel-Fatio et Lesauvage
Janvier 1842
Première Partie




Series of 20 one tone lithographs (soft ground etchings) plus frontispiece

Each lithograph measuring 27 cm x 21.5 cm


Polak, Jean, Bibliographie maritime française des temps les plus reculés jusqu'à 1914, Grenoble – 4 seigneurs – 1976.
6826. Notice des collections de Marine exposées dans les Galeries du Musée Impérial du Louvre.

Roger, Paul, Morel Fatio,observateur incomparable de la marine du XIXe siècle, Neptunia No 234, June 2004.

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Antoine Morel-Fatio was born in Rouen on the 17th of January 1810.  He was renowned for the outstanding quality of his paintings, drawings and engravings. From an early age he devoted himself to recording marine subjects and witnessed some of the most significant events in naval warfare of the early 19th century. At the age of 20, in 1830, he participated with admiral Duperré to the Algiers expedition, which resulted in the colonization of the country. Later he navigated and joined many expeditions such as that of the Crimean War (1854-1856). From his trips he brought back numerous drawings. As a painter reporter, he knew every boat and his representations are remarkably faithful. He exhibited at the Paris Salon as early as 1833 and his work has been on display in the Louvre. The Maritime Museum in Greenwich owns an outstanding painting by him, entitled “The Naval Battle of Cape St Vincent” which is exhibited in the gallery of “great French painters”. In 1852 Leon Morel-Fatio was placed in charge of the collections of the Maritime Museum then situated in the Louvre, in the Salle Laperouse. A year later, in 1853, he was appointed official painter of the French Navy, being one of only three other marine painters. The same year he was appointed curator of the MaritimeMuseum and under his impetus new paintings joined the collection, among which some views of France’s ports painted by Joseph Vernet (1714-1789). He retained his position as curator until his death in 1871. On the 2nd of March 1871, he died of a heart attack on the roof of the Louvre Museum at the sight of the Prussians invading the building  


This particular series of engravings was, according to the artist, produced from life. The idea was to record all vessels capable of going out to sea using a rudder, oars or sails. The series includes formidable warships as well as humble fishing boats and steam boats as well as canoes and yachts. Details of rigging, artillery and equipment are also included along with interior views of ships, as well as scenes of maritime life. Morel-Fatio believed that the engravings offered picturesque and accurate details.   In stylistic terms the engravings are very similar to a series of engravings entitled Fifty plates of shipping and craft drawn and etched by E.W. Cooke and published in London in 1829. Both give a general survey of marine boats. The 20 engravings which form this first series of maritime study are executed in ink, each measuring 27 by 21.5 cm. They are numbered 1 to 20 and signed. The prints were bound as a fascicule, plus the frontispiece. They were engraved by Blaizot, a well established Parisian engraver. There is a second series of similar subjects.

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