Spring has arrived in personam in this pretty etching by French book illustrator and engraver François-Antoine Aveline. He was born 1718 in Paris as the son of the engraver Antoine Aveline (1691-1743) and the grandson of Pierre Aveline the Elder (1654-1722). After the death of his father, he left Paris around 1750 for London. Here he worked for Wiliam Hogarth (1697-1764), creating satirical scenes like the Election print. He seemed to have changed his name to F. Aviline, perhaps to facilitate a proper pronouncation of his French name by his English speaking buyers.
Le Printemps (Spring) presented here is the first in a series of four prints after designs by his father Pierre Aveline. The son consequently marked it with F. Aveline filius sculp. We know of a series of earlier prints by Pierre showing the same theme, then after designs by François Boucher.
William Young Ottley, in his dictionary on engravers bearing the impressing title Notice of Engravers, and Their Works: Being the Commencement of a New Dictionay, which is not Intended to Continue, Containing Some Account of Upwards of Three Hundred Masters, with More Complete Catalogues of Several of the more Eminent than Have yet Appeared, and Numerous Original Notices of the Performances of Other Artists Hitherto Little Known (1831, available online here) criticized that “the four etchings by François-Antoine Aveline are “[…] poorly executed and were perhaps some of the artist’s first works.”
Nevertheless, this didn’t stop an unkown later artist to lay a fine grid on the etching to create a copy (perhaps a drawing) after the copy.
François-Antoine Aveline (1718-1780): Le Printemps