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A Failed Attempt To Draw and Quarter Jean de Poltrot

Rare early double page woodcut scene, illustrating the execution of Jean de Poltrot, sentenced to death by being drawn and quartered for the murder of the Duke of Guise.

The image shows the public execution of Jean de Potrot (1537-1563), a French Huguenot nobleman of Angoumois, in the streets of Paris, for assassinating the Duke of Guise.  The event is a significant historical moment in the civil war between Catholics and Huguenots that would envelope France, beginning in 1563.  The Duke of Guise had started the trouble with the notorious massacre of Huguenots the previous March. During the ensuing months, Guise stood at the fore of Catholic forces, opposite the Huguenot commander Conde.  In February 1563, Guise was besieging the Huguenot-held city of Orleans when Poltrot ambushed and shot the Duke dead.

Guise’s death and Poltrot’s confession that it was the Huguenot Admiral Coligny who directed his hand, would help to set the scene for the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre by Catholics on the Huguenots nine years later.  And heavily Catholic Paris was even before the Guise murder violently agitated against Huguenots.  

Poltrot’s sentence was to be publicly ripped apart by horses straining his limbs to the four points of the compass. The attempt failed, but Poltrot was immediately put to the sword.

This is a German text edition, with a French language edition entitled "Lexecution du St. Jean Poltrot dict du Meray, fairte a Paris le XVIII Mars. M.D. L.XIII 

Condition Description
Discoloration at centerfold, with loss at bottom center
Jean Perrissin Biography

Jean Perrissin was a French or Swiss painter, architect, engraver, printmaker and etcher.

He was first active in Lyon in 1561, but briefly fled to Geneva in 1568 and 1569, during the third religious war (1568-70), where he worked with the painter and engraver Jacques Tortorel.