Delightful early 19th-century color-printed and hand-colored copperplate engraving showing a scene from the ever-popular book Paul et Virginie by Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, published on the eve of the French Revolution. This book continues to be widely read and appreciated for its critique of the artificial class divisions found in eighteenth-century France.
The image shows a lunch scene on the island of Mauritius, in which Paul and Virginie eat with the governor. A slave is tasked with making silk in the background, and the jungle springs up around the family. Text at the bottom of the image recaps the story.
This image was published as part of a set of six scenes drawn by Michele Lambart and engraved by Duthe. These images continue to be popular to the modern-day, with surrealist editions having been issued.