The print is a copperplate engraving printed on laid paper in 1719.
The sheet measures 17 X 10 1/2 inches and is in good condition aside from light age toning, a very small stain in the lower right and two small repaired tears on the top edge.
The image is titled "Clefs et Clochetes."
It is inscribed under the image "Tome III. 55."
It is inscribed with a plate number in the upper right corner "LVI Pl. a la 106 page. T.III."
The print comes from Bernard de Montfaucon's "L' antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures " published in Paris in 1719.
There is nothing printed on the reverse side.
This is a rare antique print over 290 years old!
"Laid paper is distinguished from wove paper by the presence of thin, parallel lines visible when the paper is held to light. The lines are usually a few millimeters apart. Laid paper is a type of paper having a ribbed texture imparted by the manufacturing process. It use was diminished by the 1790's by the introduction of wove paper (which eliminated the ribbed lines for a smoother printing surface.)
A copperplate engraving is an intaglio process, i.e. it is the grooves, rather than the raised portions that are inked. The steps are: 1.) A drawing is cut into a copper plate using a burin, a metal tool with a sharp point, to remove the metal and create the lines of the drawing. 2.) Ink is applied to the plate with a dabber or roller, and forced into the grooves. 3.) The surface is cleaned with soft muslin. 4.) A sheet of paper is laid over the plate. 5.) The plate and paper are passed through a rolling press that applies pressure and forces the paper into the grooves to pick up the ink. Prints made with copperplate engraving process usually have a plate-mark left around the image, showing where the plate was pressed into the paper. Steel engraving replaced copperplate engraving in the early 1820's."