Joseph Farington (1747-1821) after Martin de Vos (1532-1603). “The Larder.”
London: John Boydell, 1775. Mezzotint by Richard Earlom. 16 3/4 x 22 3/4. On laid paper. Very good condition.
This magnificent 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. This print shows a bountiful larder rendered by Joseph Farington after the painting by Martin de Vos. This elaborate image was masterfully transferred to a copper plate by Richard Earlom, one of the best of all British printmakers. Earlom used the mezzotint process, one of the most elaborate of printmaking techniques, which gives the print a rich texture unequaled in other types of prints. The detail and composition are superbly rendered, well expressing the skill of both the artists and mezzotinter. In the time of Walpole, the British emulated Dutch art and would have collected the best. Due to Catherine’s purchase, most of the original paintings from the Houghton Gallery are today in the Hermitage.