The Games and Pleasures of Childhood (1657)

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A selection of plates from Les Jeux et Plaisirs de l’Enfance (1657) – translating as “The games and pleasures of childhood” – a series of fifty engravings depicting children playing various games. Many of the games depicted are familiar to us today, such as tennis, darts, and “blind man’s buff”, but many are more unusual. One titled “Le jeu de pet en gueule” (literally translating as “The game of fart in the face”) seems to involve just what it says on the tin, in addition to some secondary racing element. Another simply titled “Bataille” (battle) seems to be akin to one massive free-for-all punch-up.

The images were made by the French female engraver Claudine Bouzonnet-Stella (1636-1697) after initial studies by her uncle Jacques Stella (1596-1657), whom she studied under and whose workshop she came to work for along with her two sisters and her brother. After the death of her uncle in 1657, Claudine took charge of the workshop at the age of twenty-one, receiving exclusive rights to publish prints based on her uncle’s designs. The same year saw the publication of Les Jeux et Plaisirs de l’Enfance.

Housed at: Wikimedia Commons | From: Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon
Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: PD Wikimedia
Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions


Children_playing_Tennis,_17th_century

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_07_-_Le_Traineau,_F17BOU005385

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_08_-_Bouteilles_de_savon,_F17BOU005386 (1)

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_10_-_La_Course_du_pot,_F17BOU005388

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_11_-_Les_Petits_feux,_F17BOU005389

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_12_-_Colin-Maillard,_F17BOU005390

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_13_-_Le_volant,_F17BOU005391

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_14_-_La_Fossette,_F17BOU005392

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_24_-_La_Culbute,_F17BOU005402

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_25_-_Les_Petits_canons,_F17BOU005403

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_26_-_La_Guerre,_F17BOU005405

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_29_-_L'assaut_du_château,_F17BOU005407

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_32_-_Le_Bain,_F17BOU005410

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_34_-_Le_jeu_du_Pet_en_gueule,_F17BOU005412

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_38_-_La_Poste,_F17BOU005416

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_39_-_Le_Cercle_et_le_bilboquet,_F17BOU005417

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_41_-_La_Crosse_-_F17BOU005419

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_44_-_Les_Dards,_F17BOU005422

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_45_-_L'Arbaleste,_F17BOU005423

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_46_-_Le_Pape-guay,_F17BOU005424

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_47_-_Le_Ballon,_F17BOU005425

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_50_-_La_Bataille,_F17BOU005428

Stella_-_Jeux_d'enfants_35_-_La_Joute,_F17BOU005413






  • Sherlene Mats

    That’s just nutty! (No pun intended.)