Nicolas de Launay (Delaunay), printmaker, part of a French family of printmakers. He trained with Louis-Simon Lempereur. His oeuvre includes portraits and also landscapes, for example two engravings of Roman ruins (1768) after Christian Wilhelm Ernst Dietrich,
made for Jean-Georges Wille. As a book illustrator, de Launay contributed to some of the most famous books of the period, including the Mtamorphoses d Ovide (Paris, 1767-71); but he was best known for the amorous scenes that he engraved after such artists as Pierre-Antoine Baudouin, Niclas Lafrensen, Sigmund Freudenberger, Jean-Baptiste Le Prince
and, most particularly, Jean-Honor Fragonard.
A number of de Launay s engravings of amorous scenes were framed in ovals, a format that almost became his signature. As well as imposing uniformity on series of loosely connected prints, it probably also reduced engraving time and cost. Six of de Launay s eight engravings after Fragonard are bordered in this manner; a notable exception is the Happy Hazards of the Swing, after The Swing (London, Wallace). His technique, which combined etching with engraving, produced a lightness that was especially suited to his subject-matter.
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