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MS Thr 644

Fäsch, Johann Ludwig Wernhard, circa 1738-1778. Johann Ludwig Wernhard Fäsch portraits of actors and actresses, circa 1760-1778: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Thr 644
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Fäsch, Johann Ludwig Wernhard, circa 1738-1778.
Title: Fäsch, Johann Ludwig Wernhard, circa 1738-1778. Johann Ludwig Wernhard Fäsch portraits of actors and actresses
Date(s): 1760-1778
Quantity: .25 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in French and English.
Abstract: Watercolor drawings on paper or vellum, of actors and actresses in Paris and London, by Swiss artist Johann Ludwig Wernhard Fäsch.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Source unknown, date unknown.
Formerly under call number Thr 410.20.5*.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Johann Ludwig Wernhard Fäsch Portraits of Actors and Actresses, circa 1760-1778 (MS Thr 644). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Fäsch was a Swiss painter, illustrator, miniaturist, and portraitist, born in Basel circa 1738 and died in Paris in 1778. Fäsch studied law but soon became a painter. He later moved to Paris and also completed portraits in London. He was known under a number of names including: Jean Louis Fesch and Johann Ludwig Wernhard Faesch, as well as de Fesch, Foech, and Foesch. Fäsch is the first artist to be said with certainty to have drawn his subjects directly from actual performance.


Arranged as originally numbered in case. A few at end were found loose in folders.

Scope and Contents

14 watercolor and graphite miniature drawings on paper or vellum. Some include additional mediums added, such as gold paint and possibly varnish. All are unsigned and have no location specified on the items, but all are from performances at theaters in Paris or London. Each drawing is pasted onto another sheet of paper. All include manuscript annotations on recto and verso in variant hands, some are on drawing itself, some on mount.
Subjects of the drawings are actors in various roles from the Comédie-Française, Comédie-Italienne (Paris, France), and others. Full name of actor is supplied. Includes portraits of: Carlo Antonio Bertinazzo, Claire Joséphe Hippolyte Legris de Latude Clairon, Francoise-Marie-Jeanne-Elisabeth Gaultier Drouin, Mlle (Marie-Francoise) Dumesnil, David Garrick, Marie-Thérèse Villette Laruette, Barthélemy Larochelle, Henri Louis Cain Lekain, François René Molé, and Pierre Louis Dubus Préville.

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