Numbers, numbers

The other day I posted on a “page” of this blog the concordance between the numbers of Focus’ drawings s in the collections which host them and their edition number in the beautiful catalog of the exhibition of 2018 (Brugerolles). With the exception of one sheet that is now lost1, all of Focus’ drawings currently known to us belong to two sets: one part is kept at the University of Edinburgh (95 drawings that were bound together in the 19th c.), and the other part is a series of isolated sheets belonging since 1780 to the same French family (30 sheets of drawings, Focus is not the author of 4 or 5 of them, accompanied by separate commentary sheets, probably written in the 18th c. to make Focus’s drawings more palatable).

Title page of Focus’ Recueil de desseins ridicules, © The University of Edinburgh

Focus’s drawings were presented in the 2018 exhibition and edited in its Catalog following a thematic logic, which broke their original archive order. As the two current sets of drawings probably come from a single ensemble, which was separated in the 18th century, and as the original organization of the drawings, if it ever existed, was probably disturbed at the same time, the thematic arrangement and the ensuing Catalog numbering are as good as any other, but it seemed to me that, as a preliminary to an electronic edition of Focus’s texts, it is worth keeping in mind the old organization of the drawings. Maybe it will make it possible to propose new groupings of drawings and new interpretative hypotheses.

The numbers comparison also offers an opportunity to draw attention to the fact that a small number of Focus drawings are precisely dated documents:

Brugerolles Collection Date
111 Edinburgh 32 1692 ?
45 Edinburgh 2 (2) July 24, 1693
68 Paris 9 September 8, 1693
96 Paris 23 November 8, 1693
69 Paris 1 March 18, 1694
70 recto Paris 17 May 26, 1694
85 Edinburgh 15 June 16, 1694

It looks like neither the Edinburgh collection nor the Paris series have been organized or divided chronologically.


E. Brugerolles, Les “mille extravagances” de Georges Focus, in Georges Focus. La folie d’un peintre de Louis XIV (E.B. ed.) (Paris, 2018), p. 81-88, p. 81-83.

(As I am not a native English speaker, any English language correction or clarification is welcome. The French original entry is available here)

Citer ce billet
Alexis D'Hautcourt (2019, 31 août). Numbers, numbers. Georges Focus, peintre et fou. Consulté le 26 mai 2024, à l’adresse

  1. Brugerolles 92, ” Ancienne collection Emil Wolf “. []

Auteur/autrice : Alexis D'Hautcourt

Professeur, Université des Langues Étrangères du Kansai (関西外国語大学, Kansai Gaidai University)

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