Odor; Quinque Sensum descriptio

1646 (made)

Clein, Francis

Height: 8.8 cm, Width: 19.5 cm

E.709-1927 PDP

Odor' (Smell) from 'Quinque Sensum descriptio

1 of six etchings showing the five senses (and a frontispiece)

Object Type This is a type of print called an etching. An etching is produced by biting lines in a metal plate with acid to hold ink which is then printed onto paper. This is a page from a set of five prints representing the Five Senses - Smell, Taste, Hearing, Touch and Sight. As here the Five Senses are generally represented as female figures engaged in some activity relating to the sense they portray. They are often accompanied by an appropriate animal and cherubs playing with objects associated with the senses. This print shows 'Odor' (Smell). The woman in the centre is seated in a niche surrounded by roses. She has a tray of flowers on her lap and is smelling a rose. A dog, known for its powers of smell, is sniffing the ground at her feet. One cherub is showering petals on a cherub below whilst two others hold up a large vase full of flowers. People Francis Cleyn, who etched these prints, worked mainly for the Mortlake Tapestry Factory, where he was appointed chief designer in 1626. He probably later reused the central female figures in a set of tapestries at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire. Ownership & Use These prints served a dual function. Collectors bought them as prints to be collected in their own right, while craftsmen bought them as sources for the decoration of objects they were making.

Designed and etched by Francis Cleyn (born in Rostock, Germany, 1582, died in London, 1658); published in London by Thomas Rowlett (active 1645-1649)

Location: British Galleries, room 56d, case 17

View this object on the V&A website