One of the mystery prints that our letter writer Bob Horlock is trying to identify.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

I have two prints which are undoubtedly French. Both are titled in English, The Sump and The Balance with text underneath in Latin and English. Beneath the painting it reads ‘Teuh Pinx’ bottom left and “Tennob direxit’ bottom right. Then at the bottom it reads: ‘London Publ 30 Jany 1787. Sold at Tobe and Mrs Vivares Widow’.

After a brainwave I realised that Tueh is Huet backwards and Tennob is Bonnet, both famous French artists. Can anybody explain?

Bob Horlock

ATG adds: pinx might be short for pinxit meaning here ‘painted’ or ‘retouched’; direxit ‘arranged’ or ‘directed’. From the photo supplied we’re not able to make out all the letters in the rest of the text but it appears as follows in Latin: ‘Quid video? quid et ipse canis? Quid cauta puella? Libramen nimium Sie (or Su?) male cavit (or cauit?) amor.’

The English text (not a translation of the Latin) appears to read: ‘Incautious Love the Balance mounts in air, And shews below the Secrets of the fair’. The word play would presumably refer to the somewhat compromising position of the young lady at the bottom of the balance.