A magnificent pair of botanical mezzotints, issued by John Boydell when Robert Walpole's collection of paintings were sold from Houghton House to Catherine the Great of Russia. The oil on canvas originals, now in the Hermitage, were based on paintings by Jan Van Huysum. He was a master of the genre of floral still-life painting that developed in the Netherlands in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and one of the last of the great Dutch masters. Van Huysum was very successful in his own day-among his patrons were the King of Prussia and the King of Poland-and his popularity has last until modern times, as his images have a classical beauty and timeless quality. The images here are typical of his work, with elaborate compositions of overflowing vases sitting on marble ledges. These images were masterfully transferred to copper plates by Richard Earlom using the mezzotint process; Earlom was the master of this process and one of the very few craftsmen who was equal to rendering Van Huysum's paintings into a printed medium. Mezzotint was one of the most elaborate printmaking processes, and it gives these prints a rich texture unequaled by other botanical prints. The detail and composition are superbly rendered, well expressing the skill of both the artist and mezzotinter. Probably the most striking, rare, and desirable botanical prints ever produced. Ref: Bridson & Wendel, Printmaking In The Service of Botany, 30; Brindle & White, Flora Portrayed, 17; Dunthorne, Flower & Fruit Prints, 313. For the pair: $8,500
This wonderful market print is from a series showing paintings which belonged to Robert Walpole (1676-1745), the first Prime Minister of Britain. In 1779 a descendant sold the collection to Catherine the Great of Russia. The prominent print publisher, John Boydell, decided that the only way to save the images for Great Britain was to have the best engravers make mezzotints depicting Walpole's famous Gallery at Houghton. Due to Catherine's purchase, most of the original paintings from the Houghton Gallery are today in the Hermitage. These prints were mezzotinted by Richard Earlom, the leading craftsman of the day whose mezzotints are amongst the finest ever produced.
This print shows a bountiful larder rendered by Joseph Farington after the painting by Martin de Vos. $2,200
Joseph Farington after Angelo Campidoglio. "A Fruit Piece." London: John Boydell, 1776. Mezzotint by Richard Earlom. Repaired tear at top, extending ca. 1" into image. Minor surface wear at bottom. Otherwise, very good condition. Fine impression. Framed to museum standards.
A magnificent botanical mezzotint issued in 1776 by John Boydell. The print was based on a painting by Angelo Campidoglio, and it has an elaborate composition of an over-flowing basket filled with and surrounded by luscious fruit. This image was masterfully transferred to copper plate by Richard Earlom using the mezzotint process, one of the most elaborate of printmaking techniques. Mezzotinting gives prints a rich texture unequaled by other prints, as is well demonstrated here. The detail and composition of Campidoglio's image are superbly rendered in the print, well expressing the skill of both the artist and mezzotinter. This print is the first of three mezzotint botanical prints issued by Boydell, the other two, issued in 1778 and 1781, being after paintings by Jan Van Huysum. It is likely that the success of this wonderful print inspired Boydell to issue the later, better known pair. Those prints are very rare, but this one is even rarer, its existence not being recorded in any of the major botanical references. This is an excellent example of the superb and rare botanical image. $1,200
"Park Place including Druids Temple." From Boydell's History of the River Thames London: J. & J. Boydell, 1794-6. 8 1/8 x 12 3/8. Aquatint by Joseph Constantine Stadler. Full original hand color. Full margins. Very good condition.
John Boydell, a land surveyor in the employment of his father, was inspired by an engraving by W.H. Toms to leave his home in Shropshire about 1750 and walk to London to apprentice himself to Toms. After six years, Boydell set up his own shop and thus began his career as one of the greatest of print publishers. Boydell was much concerned with the French dominance of the European print market at mid-century, and it was mostly by his efforts that by the 1780s it was British engraved prints that were dominant. One of John's later projects, published with Josiah Boydell, was this series of views of the Thames River Valley. These prints, drawn by Joseph Farington, are excellent examples of the art of aquatinting, and they provide an intimate look at the heart of England during the late eighteenth century. $225
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"Clower-Wall the Seat of Sr. Richard Cocks." From Britannia Illustrata or Views of Several of the Queens Palaces also of the Principal Seats of the Nobility and Gentry of Great Britain. London, . Drawing and etching by Johannes Kip and Leonard Knyff. Double folio. Image size 13 3/4 x 17. Etching. Hand-coloring. Full margins. Very good condition.
Johannes Kip (1653-1722) was a draughtsman and engraver, who worked first in his native Amsterdam before moving to London at the end of the seventeenth century. He did portraits, views, and book illustrations. His most important work was this lovely and informative series of bird's-eye views of English country seats. Architectural elements are rendered with great care and detail; and the surrounding formal gardens and distant nature are illustrated with luxurious fullness. Incidental figures and horses add delight and visual interest. Charming prints that are also archeologically significant for the information they give us about this great period in British architecture and landscape design. $750
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Joseph Wright of Derby. "Children of Walter Synnot, Esq." London: J.R. Smith, 1782. 17 1/2 x 13 1/2. Mezzotint with additional original hand coloring. Framed.
A charming portrait of children by the printmaker John Raphael Smith (1752-1812). Smith was one of the most prolific and expert printmakers of his day. His expert handling of mezzotint techniques are evident in this delicately rendered portrait.
This particular image is after a painting by Joseph Wright of Derby. Wright excelled at his depictions of the British Enlightenment's ongoing fascination of science and experimentation, whilst his depictions of children are rightly counted amongst his greatest works. Both themes form a central part of his most well known work, "An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump" of 1768.
In this portrait, the eldest boy is about to set a bird free, much to the dismay of the younger girl. A sentimental interpretation of the bird's imminent flight is a representation of the fleeting innocence of childhood. $850
Sir Joshua Reynolds. "Garrick Between Tragedy and Comedy." London: J. Jones, 1784. Engraved by Edward Fisher. 16 1/2 x 20 1/2 (image). Original hand color. Minor surface wear. Glued to board. Otherwise, very good condition.
This charming mezzotint is after an oil painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds, who is considered one of the greatest English portrait painter. Born in Devonshire in 1723, Reynolds displayed his artistic talents at an early age. He was sent to London in 1740 where he studied under Thomas Hudson until 1743. He then began painting portraits in London and Plymouth before traveling to Italy. Returning to London in 1752, Reynolds was commissioned to paint portraits of the royal family and the aristocracy. This success lead King George III to appoint Reynolds as the first President of the Royal Academy in 1768, and he retained the position until his death in 1789. Reynolds' portraits represent the embodiment of poise and elegance of English portraiture of the Eighteenth Century. This particular print is of the famous Eighteenth Century actor, David Garrick. Having to choose between the serious, Tragedy and the fun-loving Comedy, Garrick makes the obvious choice. $200
"Ackerman. The Repository of Arts." London: Arthur Ackermann & Son Ltd., ca. 1983. Designed by Peter Kindred. Text by John Ford. Printed by Dobson & Crowther. 5 cut-out images and text on sheet 27 x 19 1/2. Denver.
A wonderful cut-out sheet with colorful images of Rudolph Ackermann's famous print shop, based on a print issued in Ackermann's magazine in 1809. This shop was the famous Repository of Arts, a print and picture emporium founded in 1796 by Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834). Ackermann was born in Saxony and apprenticed to his father as a coach-builder. He designed coaches and carriages, working for famous Paris carriage maker Antoine Carassi before moving to London about 1784. He continued to make designs for British coach-builders and probably in the process became interested in the making of prints. In 1795 he married and set up a print shop at 96 Strand and a year later took over a drawing school previously established by William Shipley (which lasted until 1806) at 101 Strand. Thus began the Ackermann print business which lasted over two hundred years.
In 1797, Ackermann moved his shop to the premises at 101 Strand, which he named as "The Repository of Arts" the following year. In 1827, Ackermann moved to 96 Strand, In his shop he sold not only prints and illustrated books, but also paper, art supplies (some manufactured by Ackermann himself), old master paintings, miniatures, and many other decorative items. The Repository of Art became a most fashionable place for the upper classes of London to visit. You could browse through the books and prints to learn about the latest designs for clothing or interiors, tea and lectures were offered, and you could be seen to be sophisticated in your taste. Ackermann kept his shop absolutely elegant and up-to-date (his was one of the first businesses in the country to be illuminated by gas). The shop remained as a popular spot until it closed in 1856.
Ackermann was not only a printseller, but he early on moved into publishing both separate prints and illustrated books. His caricatures by Thomas Rowlandson and color plate books such as History of the University of Oxford are among his most famous works. Ackermann is also well known for the periodical he started in 1809, The Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashion and Politics. This monthly magazine, which lasted until 1828, included articles and illustrations of all sorts, especially on fashion, social and literary news. By the end of its run, Ackermann had published almost 1,500 hand-colored plates in the Repository, and there is no better visual source as to the nature of Regency society than these wonderful prints.
Ackermann's business kept growing, by the late 1820 opening outlets in Central and South America. Ackermann's descendants stayed in the print business until the late twentieth century when the firm was finally closed. This cut out, showing his shop in 1809, was issued to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the firm. $100
Joshua Reynolds. Macbeth IV, i. 'Macbeth consulting the witches.' Pl. 48. From The American Edition of Boydell's Illustrations of Shakespeare, Restored to all the Pristine Beauty of the First Proofs. New York: Shearjashub Spooner, 106 Liberty St., 1852. Engraving by Robert Thew. Published in two volumes. Ca. 17 1/2 x 23 1/2. With wide margins.
One image from a magnificent series of British prints based on the works of William Shakespeare published by the great John Boydell. Boydell, a land surveyor in the employment of his father, was inspired by an engraving by W.H. Toms to leave his home in Shropshire about 1750 and walk to London to apprentice himself to Toms. After six years, Boydell set up his own shop and began his career as a print publisher. He was much concerned with the French dominance of the European print market at mid-century, and mostly by his efforts in the 1780's Britain became a print exporting country.
As part of his concern with making a profit and supporting British art, Boydell established the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, an establishment dedicated to British paintings depicting scenes from Shakespeare's plays. Boydell commissioned the paintings, put them on display in the gallery, and then published a folio work consisting of commissioned prints after 100 of the paintings in the gallery. Each print is expertly engraved and powerfully expresses the artistic inspiration that the subject provided. These are fascinating artistic expressions of the then current gothic interpretation of Shakespeare's works. The gallery and the prints were a boon for British artists, giving them inspiration and publicity at the same time. As almost all the paintings have since disappeared, the prints take on added interest as the surviving record of this fascinating episode in British art history. $650
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Prints by Henry Barnard Chalon. From Passions of the Horse. London: J. Dickinson, 1827. Lithograph by H. B. Chalon. Printed by Englemann Graf Coindet & Co. 14 3/4 x 19 3/4. Very good condition. Denver.
In 1827, British artist Henry Barnard Chalon (1770-1849), designed and lithographed a portfolio of six prints illustrating the "passions" of horses. Chalon had been appointed animal painter to the Duchess of York and here he dedicated this unusual series of prints to King George IV. The lithographs are vivid portrayals of horses expressing a particular "passion," demonstrating Chalon's ability both as an animal artist and as a lithographer. Rare and wonderful horse prints.
Sir William Hamilton, after amassing and publishing fine illustrations of his first "Cabinet of Etruscan, Greek and Roman antiquities," sold the renowned collection to the British Museum, and began afresh to develop a second, similar collection. The first collection remains one of the Museum's greatest treasures.
Hamilton authored and published his Collection of Engravings from Ancient Vases, based on this second collection, between 1791 and 1795. This publication and Wedgwood's works on ceramics influenced John Flaxman and Henry Fuseli as well as many other European artists. These engravings are illustrations from the first Florentine edition of Collection of Engravings from Ancient Vases. Part of this group of vases was lost during Hamilton's hasty escape from Naples upon the invasion of the French in 1798; the remainder was eventually sold en masse to Englishman, Thomas Hope. Though Hope offered Hamilton less than he planned to receive, he promised to keep the vases together, for the study of artists and students of history, as Hamilton had always intended. $725
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Here a young curate is returning from his religious duties. At first, the scene seems to display a joyous domestic scene. However, traditional symbolism may suggest that all is not quite well. The yellow chair rails mimic the birdcage hanging outside the door creating a connection between the wife and the caged bird. While the small dog, fido, a symbol of fidelity, is nipping at the young man's coat. Such symbolism was common through the nineteenth century. $650
Here a young mother and her son bring a basket filled with geese and a piglet in lieu of money. Agricultural tithing was very common in Europe at the time. The rector must have had a successful day, as bottles of wine can be seen behind his desk and his pocket is stuffed with donations. $650
In 1782, Judge Francis Buller ruled that a man was allowed to beat his wife, provided that the instrument of violence was no larger around than his thumb. Even in the eighteenth century, this ruling was controversial, provoking Gillray to produce this satirical cartoon. According to one contemporary source, the artist's rendering of Buller's face was "a very striking likeness." Indeed, it is remarkably well-rendered and is clearly the object of Gillray's joke. As the working-class man in the background beats his wife with a regulation-sized stick, they serve as foils for the judge's folly. $325
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Robert Strange after Andrea Sacchi. "Apollo rewarding Merit and punishing Arrogance." London: Robert Strange, 1755. 17 1/2 x 12 5/8. Line engraving by Robert Strange. Small tears and one small hole, as well as light soiling, mostly outside plate mark. Overall, very good condition.
In this handsome image, the classically youthful nude Apollo, with his long tresses, lyre in hand, places a laurel wreath on the head of Merit. Merit, possibly in the form of Sacchi's patron, is seen in the costume of the Renaissance, playing a harpsichord decorated with the figure of Daphne, one of Apollo's unsuccessful conquests, turns into a tree. Behind Apollo, a wild eyed satyr portrays Arrogance. He is seated with his hands bound over his head, his pipes on the ground by his side. This emphasizes the contrast between the stringed instruments favored by Apollo, and the flute or syrinx of Pan and the satyrs.
Andrea Sacchi, son of minor painter Benedetto Sacchi, was born in Nettuno near Rome in the late 16th century, studied under Raphael and Caravaggio and was a favorite of Cardinal Barberini. Sacchi's 'Saint Romuald with his Monks,' which hangs in the Vatican, is considered one of the four finest pictures in Rome. He died in 1661 in the town of his birth. Sir Robert Strange (1721-92), English engraver and publisher, favored the works of Italian painters such as Raphael, Guercino, Reni and Sacchi. He studied under Richard Cooper in Edinburgh and in the studio of Le Bas in 1749 from whom he learned the subtleties of etching. From 1750 to 1758, he worked in London, engraving the works of Italian masters hanging in English collections. Then from 1760 to 1764, he traveled in Italy for the purpose of creating drawings to be engraved for print later. In 1775 Strange wrote a particularly sanguine essay against the Royal Academy's exclusion of engravers, after which he spent much time in Paris. He was redeemed in England by his engraving of Benjamin West's 'Apotheosis of the Princes Octavius and Alfred,' impressions of which he presented to King George III in 1787, and for which image he was knighted. This was a singular honor, as no engraver had been knighted since Nicholas Dorigny in 1720. $600
Richard Corbould. "Botany." From Encyclopædia Londinensis or, Universal dictionary of arts, sciences, and literature. London: J. Wilkes, March 1, 1805. Ca. 9 x 7 1/4. Stipple engravings with some line work by J. Chapman. Hand color. With light sticker mark in bottom margin. Otherwise, very good condition.
In the era of Enlightenment, books of knowledge, like Encyclopædia Londinensis, took on a new importance and nobility in the scope of book publishing. Fine artists like Richard Corbould were employed to draw allegorical prints to embellish the volumes. Exalting the pursuit of knowledge, these allegorical prints draw on neo-Classical vocabulary to confer nobility on the studies of geography, botany, painting, and others. In classically-draped garments, female figures pose amid Roman architecture and artifact, employing the tools of investigation specific to their discipline. This wonderful image contains an allegory of the science of botany. $250
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R. R. McIan. "Shaw." From The Clans of The Scottish Highlands. London: Ackermann and Co., 1845. Folio; ca. 12 x 8. Lithograph. Original hand-color. Full margins. Excellent condition. With text by James Logan.
A print of the Shaw clan from a series of beautiful hand-colored prints of the highland clans from Scotland by R.R. McIan. Queen Victoria was the first of the English monarchs to become interested in her Scottish heritage. In response to this royal interest, R. R. McIan and James Logan made extensive research into the clans of the Scottish highlands, and then produced their sumptuous volumes. This was the first comprehensive illustrated work on the Scottish clans, presenting a descriptive history of each clan and a picture of its clan plaid. Thus, these prints represent a primary source for subsequent work on the clans and their tartans. These are fascinating and colorful pieces of Scottish history. $250
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William Nicholson. Prints from An Alphabet. New York: R.H. Russell, 1898. Ca. 9 3/4 x 7 3/4. Lithograph transfers from wood block.
Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949) was an English artist well known for his unique style of woodcut prints. Beginning in the 1890s, he created posters with his brother-in-law James Pryde, using the pseudonyms J. & W. Beggarstaff. In 1897, Nicholson produced a woodcut print of Queen Victoria that was very well received and helped establish his reputation with the British public. About that same time Nicholson cut a series of wood blocks of An Illustrated Alphabet for publisher William Heinemann. Originally issued in a very small run of hand colored woodcuts, their popularity led to the images being transferred to lithographic stones and printed in a bound volume. Nicholson's style is instantly recognizable, with the broad strokes from his original woodcuts printed with subtle variations of earth tones, harking back to earlier British chap book illustrations. After the turn of the century, Nicholson turned more to painting, though he did continue to produce illustrations for several books. The prints from his alphabet volume offer a wonderful sample of Nicholson's vision and also of British culture at the end of the nineteenth century.
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George Morland. [Set of four mezzotints telling the story of a military recruit]. Mezzotints by G[eorge] Keating. London: J.R. Smith, 1791. Each print trimmed to plate mark. Each 21 1/2 x 17 1/2. Excellent impressions. Very good condition.
Typically of Morland's art, these pictures provide a rich narrative of British life. In "Plate 1, Trepanning a Recruit," a young country fellow is enticed to join the army by two recruiters who use flattery and spirited drinks, while the country swain's wife and child look on with misgivings. In "Plate 2d, Recruit Deserted," the army officers drag him from under his bed and away from his wife and child. "Plate 3d, Deserter taking leave of his Wife" shows a sad farewell at the cabin door. "Plate 4th.," shows the "Deserter Pardon'd" by a noble officer while other recruits march away and the wife and child rejoice. Throughout the set Morland provides much detail on customs, decorative arts, and architecture while telling the sad story of the dangers to the people of Great Britain posed by the French Revolution and other threats. The set, $2,400
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Thomas Rowlandson. "Doctor Syntax Tumbling into the Water." From one of the Tours of Dr. Syntax. London, engraved between about 1812 and 1821. Ca. 4 1/2 x 7 1/2. Aquatint by Thomas Rowlandson. Original hand color. Some typical light stains, overall very good condition.
A delightful print from one of the famous "tours of Dr. Syntax." These tours chronicle the various escapades of the fictional 19th-century English clergyman, Dr. Syntax. The animated drawing and wonderful facial expressions make them excellent examples of Rowlandson's parodic work from the great age of English caricature. $65
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J. & H.S. Storer. From Views of Cambridge University. Cambridge: W. Mason. Steel engravings. ca. 3 3/4 x 5 3/8. Light foxing, otherwise good condition. Each: $45
A charming print from popular sporting artist Cecil Aldin. Known for his bright images of classic British sporting scenes, including coaching, hunting, racing, and other sports, Aldin's chromolithographs are most desirable. $550
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"The Bachelor." London: L.H. Lefevre, 1906. 10 x 13. Etching by C.O. Murray. Signed in plate. Very good condition.
A delightful example of the work of Walter Dendy Sadler (1854-1923) who produced over one hundred and seventy prints in his lifetime. This example shows a bachelor smoking a clay pipe and relaxing by the fire with a loyal dog at his feet. Other images show gentle-folk enjoying drink, food and leisure activities. Sadler's prints are famous for depicting authentic costumes, as well as furniture, stemware and other decorative arts. $250
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William Hogarth. [The March to Finchley] From The Original Works of William Hogarth. London: John & Josiah Boydell, 1790. 16 1/4 x 21 1/2. Engraving by William Hogarth. On hand laid paper. Very good impressions. Very good condition.
William Hogarth (1697-1764) is considered by many to be the greatest English caricaturist of all time. He was an perceptive observer and his illustrations of the social and political conduct of his day are fascinating historical documents and humorous depictions of human foibles, which have remained much the same over the last two centuries. This print is from a portfolio issued in 1790 by John and Josiah Boydell, printed from the original plate engraved by Hogarth. $1200
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William Hogarth. "Canvassing For Votes." London: John Stockdale, Piccadilly & John Walker and G. Robinson, Paternoster Row, 1812. Re-engraving by Thomas Cook. 15 7/8 x 21. Excellent condition.
This engraving is from an excellent collection of re-engraved Hogarth prints. This is one of his most famous images, showing the chaos and corruption surrounding electioneering in eighteenth century England, but with universal relevance to any election. Hogarth did a set of four prints showing an election and this one concerns the manner in which voters were bribed. Outside 'The Royal Oak' a candidate is buying trinkets to give to two women on the balcony, which a "undecided" voter is approached by agents for the competing candidates with offers of food and wine. In the background, a mob attacks the headquarters of the other party. Other more elaborate symbols fill the print, making it not only an attractive image, but also one well worth study. $450
After James Northcote. "Diligence & Dissipation, Plate 1." From Diligence and Dissipation. London: T. Gaugain, 1796-97. All approximately 18 1/2 x 21 1/4 (plate marks). Engraved by Gaugain & Hellyear. Some minor tears in margins, professionally repaired. Otherwise, very good condition.
One of a beautifully engraved set of prints that visually preach the virtue of living a moral life and the ramifications if one does not. This set of prints depict the lives of two servant girls, the "Good or Modest" girl and the "Wanton" girl. Both live and work in the same house. The good girl is diligent in her work and is chaste, whereas her coworker neglects her duties and is not a virtuous woman. The wanton is eventually thrown out into the street, pregnant, only to die of poverty. The good girl eventually marries her master to become the mistress of the house. Basically, the message of this set of prints presents is that good behavior and diligence in one's work will lead to great rewards. Otherwise, the only other consideration is ruin from immorality. $800
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Henry Singleton. "Gipsey's Stealing A Child." London, 1801. 16 1/2 x 22 1/4. Mezzotint by F. Green. Original hand color. With wear in margins and repaired tears in bottom margin. Otherwise, very good condition and appearance.
Henry Singleton (1766-1839) was a British artist of genre, historical, literary and biblical themed scenes. He was a precocious talent, exhibiting at the Society of Artists at age 14 and entering the Royal Academy Schools three years later. He exhibited every year from 1784 until his death at the Royal Academy and also at the British Institution beginning with its founding in 1806. Many of his paintings were made into mezzotints which became widely popular. This is a fine example of his work, beautifully mezzotinted in 1801. $750
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