The Wreck of the Prussian Dogre «Le Frédéric»

Saint-Malo, An Historic Engraving

Since July 20 and until October 6, the Halleau Blé in Saint-Malo is proposing a rare and beautiful engraving exhibition. “An Historic Engraving” (Une estampe une histoire) allows to study the details of an engraving through its history and its creation technique.
Louis Garneray still maintains 18th century tradition through his series of French port paintings. Around 1823, he painted a small size canvas representing the city fortified by its ramparts and its port seen from the Talards, by stormy weather and troubled sea giving a particularly gripping and almost dramatic view of Saint Malo at that time. During those same years, Norman, Charles-Louis Mozin executed the largest aquatint technique etching with Saint-Malo as its subject. It is the wreck of the Prussian drogue (fishing and coastal boat) “le Frédéric” on the rocks of Fort Royal outside the Fort national on March 15, 1829. This wreck theme so dear to romantics and again used, around 1840 by Ferdinand Perrot who, moreover, executed a large coloured lithography representing the access to the city by the “route deDol”, that is by the Sillon.

This very touching work is one of the most recent acquisitions by the city museum.
The wreck of the “Frédéric” is an aquatint technique etching, that is the plate is covered with resin on which the artist executes his drawingby removing the metal; the plate is then submerged into an acid bath which eats into the grooves made: this is the most common engraving technique; it allows a freer and more spontaneous drawing, and allows to produce flat dyes and wash-drawing effects.

Étude historique : Philippe Petout
Conservateur et conseils techniques: J. B. Le Blanc.