Minerals by Swebach

François Louis Desfontaines Swebach (fl 1769)
[Drawing from the prospectus: Histoire naturelle : ou, Exposition des Morceaux, les Mieux Choisis Pour Servir á L'etude de la Mineralogie et de la Cristallographie], c.1789.
Watercolour on paper, 365 x 298 mm.

Drawing minerals on paper presents the artist with particular challenges. Scientific representations of a mineral specimen require that the subtle colours, complex shape and texture are accurately captured on paper.

Francois Louis Desfontaines Swebach, a French artist developed such an ability. He contributed artwork to a famous eighteenth century mineralogy book and planned to publish his own lavishly illustrated mineral work. Unfortunately, the turmoil of the French revolution halted the project. A mystery remains whether or not Swebach became a victim of the revolutionary executions.

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