Edward Corbould. "Canterbury Pilgrims at the Tabard, Southwark, Previous to setting out on their Pilgrimage to Becket's Tomb."
British: Ca. 1840. 22 3/8 x 31 3/8. Etching by C. E. Wagstaff. Full margins. Very good condition.
A robust and lusty view of Medieval England. Charles E. Wagstaff (1808-1850) specialized in historical and genre studies after the paintings of his contemporaries. This pictorial narrative of pilgrims on their way to the most famous shrine in Christendom is a tour de force for the printmaker. Animals, Chaucer's pilgrims in elaborate costumes, and intricately designed buildings are pulled together in this richly moving scene of abandonment and revelry. At the lower right is Chaucer himself with head turned to present an interpretation of the woodcut portrait that is found in Caxton's first edition of The Canterbury Tales. The generous scale makes it even more impressive. This print is a fine example of expert printmaking, as well as an excellent instance of the historical concerns of the Victorian period.