Siamese Ambassador

by Captain William Baillie; Peter Paul Rube

This engraving, produced by the amateur printmaker William Baillie in June 1774, is a nearly exact copy in reverse of the Getty Museum's drawing by Peter Paul Rubens. As the inscription along the base states, the drawing was made to commemorate a 1636 visit of the "Siamese Ambassador who attended The Court of K[ing] Charles the 1st." In the 1700s, copies of important works were engraved and distributed among a wide audience. A print such as this one promoted the collection of the drawing's owner, Mr. Willet. It also educated the public on the rare visit of an exotic individual more than one hundred and fifty years earlier. Prints were a vital form of propaganda, information, and portraiture in the era before photography.

Crayon manner etching (June 17, 1774)

by Captain William Baillie (British, 1723-1792); After Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish, 1577-1640)

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