avid Deuchar (1743-1808) had his dance of death published first time in London 1788 (the frontispiece says 1786).
Deuchar shamelessly copied the frontispiece
from Mechel by simply replacing Mechel's name with his own.
He also copied the French letter-press for each image and added an English translation.
On the copied frontispiece Deuchar kept the claim
that the work was based on the original drawings by Holbein:
»Gravé d'apres les Dessins originaux de Jean Holbein«.
This claim was suspect already when Mechel made it,
since the so-called original Holbein-drawings have later been shown
to the work of the young Peter Rubens.
But in Deuchar's case the claim becomes absurd,
since nothing indicates that Deuchar has ever looked at anything
The dance from Holbein's dagger scabbard
Deuchar also copied the French descriptions of
each plate and added an English translation.
Mechel's book had contained 46 plates (excluding the frontispiece, and including the scabbard),
and this figure was repeated in Deuchar's title:
»The dances of death, through the various stages of human life: wherein the capriciousness of that tyrant is exhibited: in the forty-six copper-plates«;
So bottom line is that Deuchar was very dependent on Mechel: He could only bring the same 46 dancers
that Mechel had published — and in the same sequence and with the same comments.
In some editions Deuchar has added Death's Escutcheon
and his very own version of The Creation, but these plates are featured outside the dance
and without letter-press.
Deuchar also copied
Holbein's dagger scabbard,
which isn't included in neither Holbein's Simulaches
or by any other artist than Mechel
(although it's hard to see that it's a scabbard, picture to the right).
Give this dependency, one would assume that
the plates for the dance of death were copied from Mechel as well, but this is not the case.
Apart from the frontispiece and the dagger Deuchar hasn't copied
anything from neither Mechel nor Holbein.
Deuchar, Hollar and Birckmann
The castle behind the Empress is far more decorated with Hollar and Deuchar.
Hollar's plates were much inspired by
Arnold Birckmann's interpretation of Holbein's work.
How can one determine then, whether Deuchar has copied Hollar's copies of Holbein and Birckmann —
instead of copying Holbein and Birckmann directly?
The easiest way of proving this, is to note that Deuchar has chosen the exact same variants that Hollar had chosen.
In 20 of the 30 pictures, Hollar choses to follow Birckmann instead of Holbein, in 9 cases
Hollar prefers Holbein to Birckmann and in a single case he combines elements from them both
(see the page about Hollar for details).
Every time without fail, Deuchar chooses to follow Hollar.
The only exceptions are those where Deuchar follows neither Holbein nor Hollar,
but adds some details of his own, for instance when he gives Death behind the preacher
a little bone in his hand.
Deuchar misses the hourglass in front of the preacher because Hollar's hourglass was indistinct.
Two more examples will show, how Deuchar copies Hollar instead of copying Holbein and Birckmann.
Hollar designs a very decorated renaissance-castle behind the empress.
Deuchar copies Hollar's decorated castle instead of Holbein and Birckmann's simpler medieval buildings.
On Hollar's picture of the preacher the hourglass is very indistinct. Deuchar
doesn't draw an hourglass at all, which indicates that Deuchar has copied Hollar without even
looking at Birckmann or Holbein.
But what is really strange, is that Deuchar has 17 copperplates more than Hollar has,
and when one looks at these 17 plates (which couldn't be copied from Hollar), then
it looks as if Deuchar is even more Birckmann-o-phile than Hollar was:
There's not in any of Deuchar's 17 additions
any hint that he has as much as looked at Holbein. Deuchar has copied 30 pictures from Hollar
and 17 pictures from Birckmann. There is no indication that Deuchar has ever seen any of Holbein's original woodcuts.
Deuchar has copied Hollar's copies of Birckmann's copies of Holbein.
This is deeply ironic, since Holbein is the only artist mentioned anywhere in Deuchar's book.
Neither Mechel, Hollar, Diepenbeeck nor Birckmann are being credited anywhere.
"HB i DD f"
"David Deuchar fecit"
Deuchar's plates are signed HB i for "Holbein invenit" and DD f
for "David Deuchar fecit" (i.e.: Holbein has invented the design, Deuchar has executed it).
At the bottom of the frames it says "David Deuchar fecit".
All in all, Deuchar has 47 of Holbein's woodcuts —
only 4 images are lacking: All men's bones,
The Last Judgment, Young Woman and
After going through countless reprints, Deuchar's copperplates were published as
lithographic reproductions where all details were lost.