Louis-Sébastien Mercier

Louis-Sébastien Mercier. Ane comme il y en a peu," BN Estampes, N2, vol. 1235. The BN catalogue dates this image to "1798 [?]" though all the references are to early Mercier writings, suggesting it was at least drawn if not engraved in the early 1770s. In addition to the references to Du Théâtre and his early plays, the title refers to Mercier's Contes moraux, ou les hommes comme il'y en a peu (Paris: 1768). In the background, a windmill alludes to Holland where many of Mercier's early tracts and plays had been printed by Harrevelt. The legend reads "Masterpieces mean little to me, so long as I can trample and raise up, and that I have enough thistle [Peu m'importent les chef-d'oeuvres de tous les arts, pourvu que j'écrase, que je m'élève et que le chardon ne me manque pas]." Beneath that, it reads: "Oh, men of taste, recognize the beast! [Ô! Gens de goût, reconnaissez la bête!]"