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MS Thr 645

Fäsch, Johann Ludwig Wernhard, circa 1738-1778. Johann Ludwig Wernhard Fäsch volumes of portrait drawings, 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 645
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 volumes of portrait drawings
Date(s): 1760-1778
Quantity: .5 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in French and English.
Abstract: Watercolor drawings on 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.

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 Volumes of Portrait Drawings, circa 1760-1778 (MS Thr 645). 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 by bound volume into the following series:

Scope and Contents

38 miniature drawings in graphite and watercolor. Some include additional mediums added, such as gold paint, gouache, and possibly varnish. All images are drawn on vellum, and mounted on board. Many drawings have an attached title page and tissue paper barrier. Some are signed, most are not. Locations are not specified on drawings but all are are from performances at theaters in Paris or London. Most items have manuscript annotations on image itself and/or on title page. Drawings were found already removed from bindings at time of cataloging; empty leather bindings have been retained and are listed at end of finding aid.
Subjects of the drawings are actors and actresses in various roles from the Comédie-Française, Comédie-Italienne (Paris, France), and the Drury Lane Theatre (London). Full name of actor is supplied when known. Collection includes portraits of: François Augé, Bellecour, Carlo Antonio Bertinazzo, Brizard, Joseph Caillot, Mlle. Doligny, David Garrick, Marie-Thérèse Villette Laruette, Henri Louis Cain Lekain, François René Molé, and others.

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