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Posted 3 October 2017

Art & architecture

October’s almanac - Republican Calendar, 1794

Debucourt originally published this highly finished calendar as a pair to another print, 'The French Republic with the Declaration of the Rights of Man'.

The pairing of prints had become fashionable during this period. In 1791, a French dictionary stated that ‘today people almost only buy prints as furnishings and no engraver can be sure of a successful sale of a plate if he does not accompany it with a pair.’

Almanac Titled: 'Republican calendar'
Philibert Louis Debucourt, Almanac Titled: ‘Republican calendar’, 1794; Waddesdon (National Trust); acc. no. 2669.3.42. Photo: Mike Fear © National Trust, Waddesdon Manor.

The figure of Philosophy is seated on a marble throne, recording the principles of the new calendar in the book of Nature. The text along the bottom describes the objects at her feet – including books and prints and the Gregorian calendar – as ‘the gothic monuments of error and superstition on which the ignorant and ridiculous division of time was founded.’

By Rachel Jacobs, curator.

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