This etching is from a book published in 1691 by Charlotte-Catherine Patin (younger daughter of Charles Patin, a famous numismatic). It was published in two languages, Latin and Italian, with the titles: “Pitture scelte e dichiarate” and “Tabellae Selectae ae explicatae”. These books contain about forty engravings. It is interesting that this engraving is signed by Martial Desbois (who also has engravings in the book). Illustrations from the other book copies show Joseph Juster as the engraver of the piece.
Nora Von Sulecki, an art history student at the University of Munster, Germany, is currently writing her master thesis on the Patin book. Perhaps her research will uncover the reason for the different signatures.
The engravings I looked at have the signature by JJ. Yours is the first one i see with MD in the right.(have to check the one in Cologne again!) One conclusion could be that MD somehow got the copper plate and produced copies that he sold individually to make money. But thats only one possibility. Maybe there has been an antique-dealer who sold all forty engravings as single pieces. Who knows. To be sure who engraved the piece first one would have to examine all existing copies... Yes, I'm writing my master thesis in art history about the whole book and to what extent Patins book can be seen as a "real" art book. The more i busy myself with the book the more i discover. It's really exciting. From Nora:
I have a lot of information concerning the book you can find that engraving in! First of all Charlotte-Catherine Patin (younger daughter of Charles Patin, a famous numismatic) published the book 1691 in two languages, latin and italian, with the titles: "Pitture scelte e dichiarate" and "Tabellae Selectae ac explicatae". These books contain about forty engravings of which the last one is the piece you own!! Every engraving is followed by an explanatory text. The Patin engraving has one too. I will scan it for you if you want to! There are not much copies left and the ones i looked at (7) where not all complete. Therefore it is really interesting that you have a single engraving by the Patin familiy framed. So one can conclude that other missing engravings must be taken out at a time as well and were used as single illustartions. Moreover it is very interesting that this engraving is signed by Martial Desbois as you noticed the difference. I checked the two illustrations from the other book copies and there it says indeed Joseph Juster as the engraver of the piece. Right now i have all illustrations in high quality collected by the database of the British Museum where i downloaded them for my paper.