Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–5

The Happy Accident of the Swing

A work made of engraving in black ink on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of engraving in black ink on ivory laid paper.




Nicolas Delaunay (French, 1739-1792)
after Jean Honoré Fragonard (French, 1732-1806)

About this artwork

Fragonard painted his masterpiece, The Swing after another artist had refused the risqué commission offered by a gentleman of the English court who wanted a portrait of himself surreptitiously observing his mistress on a swing. The result epitomized the themes and unapologetically decorative flounces of the Rococo style. In this print the airy textures of the painting have been transformed into elegantly engraved patterns befitting the motion, outdoor setting, and eroticism of the scene.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Nicolas Delaunay


The Happy Accident of the Swing


France (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1792


Engraving in black ink on ivory laid paper


Image/plate: 58.2 × 42.5 cm (22 15/16 × 16 3/4 in.); Sheet: 60.2 × 44.5 cm (23 3/4 × 17 9/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Print and Drawing Club

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions