The Eric Speeckaert Fund for the Study of Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne’s Work, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, has recently acquired a remarkable work, namely an album from the collection of booklover Jean Furstenberg. The album contains 13 etchings attributed to Charles (1759-1792), the eldest son of Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne, who died from canon shot aged 33 and of whom the famous Casanova (1725-1798) would remark several years later in his Mémoires that Charles was “handsome, polite, very well-educated, a lover of the arts, amusing, agreeable in his conversation and always the same”. The illustrations, which were probably printed on the de Ligne family’s private printing press, were sometimes a little clumsy but not without delicacy or elegance and represent views and landscapes decorated here and there with picturesque characters.
One also recognises Charles de Ligne’s playfulness as he dedicates some of the engravings to his horse (Brillant), his deer (Cabri) and his dog (Tristam). It is also further testimony of the profound interest in art shown as much by Charles-Joseph de Ligne as by his son. This new acquisition by the Eric Speeckaert Fund for Prince Charles-Joseph de Ligne’s Work will shortly be digitised and put online, where it will be able to be consulted on the website of the Moretus Plantin University Library.