On Display
Object type

Le Cabinet de M. Le Clerc

Sebastien Le

c. 1700

Drawing of ‘Le Cabinet de M. Le Clerc’ by Sebastien Le Clerc (the elder), around 1700. Pen and ink, wash, graphite and red chalk on paper. This is likely the final design for the unfinished print of the same name (also in the Science Museum collection, see 1948-325). The drawing shows a large room filled with scientific instruments, with windows on the right, and a large vestibule visible between two columns on the left. A group of men stand or sit around a table, seemingly in conversation. Two other drawings of similar composition, but with variations, exist in the collections of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (EBA 1168) and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. The title is taken from the cataloguing and study of those two drawings. The drawing was bequeathed to the Science Museum in 1948 by George Hugh Gabb, with the title ‘The Physical Laboratory of the Académie des Sciences’ and accompanied by the unfinished engraving (1948-325). It was exhibited at a Royal Society soirée at Burlington House on 18 May 1938, and published with a detailed key to the instruments shown in the Illustrated London News 21 May 1938. The print was likely intended as a pendant to Le Clerc’s most famous print ‘L’Académie des Sciences et des Beaux-Arts’ (1698-1706), which shows an idealised view of the two academies at the Louvre palace (see for example British Museum R,8.85). Marks on the back of the drawing show that it was previously in the collections of an unknown collector (dated January 1822), Alfred Ritter von FRANCK (sold 1889) and Rudolf Philip Goldschmidt (sold 1917).