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"Recueil de Desseins Ridicules", by Georges Focus

Identifier: Coll-1945

Scope and Contents

This is a bound manuscript volume containing approx. 125 pen-and-ink drawings by Georges Focus, often signed by the author and sometimes dated 1694 or 1695. This artwork was produced during his confinement at the Parisian asylum 'Les Petites Maisons', where he was sent in 1680. The illustrations represent various scenes, such as episodes of the artist’s life taking place in mainly Parisian or Roman settings, and excerpts from Virgile Travesti by the poet Pierre Scarron. Focus successively identifies himself with Christ, with the King of France, with the Emperor and with the Pope in a disjointed story, composed in more or less regular alexandrine and referring to himself sometimes in the first person, sometimes in the third person.


  • Creation: 1694-1695


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Open. Please contact the repository in advance.

Biographical / Historical

Georges Focus (1644-1708) was a renowned landscape painter and a member of the French Academy in the 17th century.

Originally from Châteaudun, it seems that Georges Focus made most of his career in Paris. The beginning of his life is still not very well known, but his presence in Rome in 1666 is recorded, among the first ‘pensionnaires du roi*’ sent to Rome by Charles Errard, director of the Académie de France in Rome from 1666 to 1683. In 1675, he presented his 'reception piece' (a work submitted to the Académie for approval as part of the requirements for admission to membership) to the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpting in Paris. Once a member, he actively participated in the debates and life of the institution until 1683.

In 1680, Focus was committed to the Parisian asylum called 'Les Petites Maisons'. During his years of confinement, he continued his artistic activity and produced hundreds of drawings of an exceptional quality and hitherto unpublished. He died in February 1708.


1 bound MS volume

Previous reference


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by the University of Edinburgh in the beginning of the 19th century.


Emmanuelle Brugerolles et al., Georges Focus : La folie d'un peintre de Louis XIV (Paris: Beaux-Arts de Paris éditions, 2018). In this volume, EUL 'Recueil de Desseins Ridicules' is quoted under the reference 'Inv. no 25768d'.
Recueil de Desseins Ridicules by Georges Focus, 1694-1695
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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