30 July 2009

The long lost sketchbook of Jeanne Magnin

In true ornamentalist fashion, Jeanne Magnin collected borders and motifs from her travels, and documented them in beautifully drawn and composed pages.

Egyptian border, from Jeanne Magnin's Documente de Style 1916 - 1917
Tara Bradford, the creative force behind one of my favorite blogs, Paris Parfait, found a little plain brown paper bundle at a brocante, which turned out to be a sketchbook full of gorgeous designs of Egyptian, Roman, and Greek styles, collected in 1916-1917 by the French painter, collector, and art critic Jeanne Magnin.

Egyptian ornament, from Jeanne Magnin's Documente de Style 1916 - 1917


Tara was generous enough to photograph each page of her amazing find and post them to her blog, at very high resolution. With her permission I have re-posted some of them here.

Roman-style rinceau and bucrane borders, sketches by Jeanne Magnin

In true ornamentalist fashion, Magnin collected borders and motifs from her travels, and documented them in beautifully drawn and composed pages.

Greek ornament: a page of palmettes
Greek borders

 Each page is like traveling to another time and place.
Greek motifs, Jeanne Magnin's Documente de Style 1916 - 1917

Magnin was the author of Le paysage français, published in 1928 and Un cabinet d'amateur parisien en 1922. You can learn more about Jeanne Magnin by visiting Le Musee Magnin in Dijon, France.
All photos in this post by Tara Bradford- click on images to view larger.



  1. Lynne,
    Hadn't caught this yet,,,,thanks for posting this. Just amazing work.

  2. Thank you so much for the nod. I still can't believe my luck in finding Magnin's sketchbook! I am going to keep it a while longer, before ultimately giving it to the museum. Merci!

  3. How does she do it? When we were last in Paris we were at Tara and David's for dinner and she got this book out. No words to describe it really it was so beautiful. Thanks for stopping by this morning - the hangover is but a memory now :)

  4. sophie.harent@gmail.comMarch 16, 2021 at 7:42 AM

    I contact you after reading your blog. I discovered these ornamental drawings that you present as works by Jeanne Magnin, coming from a sketchbook that belonged to her.
    I’d really like to know why you think these drawings were made by Jeanne Magnin. As director of the Magnin museum in Dijon, you can easily imagine that it would be important for us to know this! Especially because we have very little information about Jeanne Magnin.
    Thank you very much in advance for your answer !
    Best Regards,

    Sophie Harent
    Conservateur en chef / Directeur
    Musée national Magnin
    4 rue des Bons Enfants
    21000 Dijon, France

    1. Dear Sophie, as I recall the sketchbook has a cover with the author's name, and many of the drawings inside are signed with her initials. This book is still in the possession of Tara Bradford, who bought it at a brocante and whose name appears on each of the photos. Her original blog post of over 12 years ago had far more information, but as it has since been deleted, I will myself forward your inquiry to her. I believe it was her intention to contact the Musée Magnin years ago.

  5. I have a painting signed Jeanne magnin. Trees over river #117 dated 1961. Jeanne was my grandfathers aunt I believe. I’d love to get some feedback on it my email is chasejones1301@gmail.com. I can’t seem to figure out how to upload a photo on here

    1. The designer Jeanne Magnin died in 1937 , so this must be a different artist. In fact we are now wondering if these sketchbook in this post is also a different Jeanne Magnin. It may be a popular name for artists!

    2. My grandfather’s aunt was Jeanne Jones magnin. Married to Grover magnin. My grandfathers name is Grover a Jones he was named after Grover magnin . He went and visited them several times at the st Francis hotel. I just stumbled across the painting and was curious.


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