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Marriage Invitation Plate



July 1860


Henri Roman, Groom

Therese Bouligny, Bride

André Bienvenue Roman, Host


Cabanocey Plantation, St. James Parish, Louisiana


Copper plate


6.7 x 10.8 cm


The Collection of Oak Alley Foundation


Corrosion in upper, proper left corner


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Though the art of printmaking is composed of many different processes, here we see one of the more basic approaches, an engraving. After a copper plate was etched with a design, the artist would apply a thin layer of ink to the plate. Any excess ink was wiped away leaving ink only inside of the engraving. A sheet of paper was applied on top of the plate and the set passed through a large roller. The pressure from the roller transferred the ink to the paper and formed an image. One of the main benefits of printmaking was that one plate could make an infinite amount of duplicates. This caused the art form to be ancient in age and popular in use. As with all printmaking processes, however, any prints made from the plate are be produced as a mirror image when compared to the design on the plate. Since this image is a set of words, the words had to be engraved backwards in order to be legible. When read properly, this marriage invitation offers the date, time, and place of the wedding for Henri Roman and Therese Bouligny. As was more common during this era, the bride and groom were second cousins. The invitation is written in French, but a translation is listed out below:

Mr. & Mrs. A.B. Roman have the honor to announce the wedding of their granddaughter Thérese Bouligny with Mr. Henry J. Roman and pray you attend the bridal blessing to be held in the church of St. James Parish, Saturday, July 21 at 6 o’clock, PM