[FOURMENT, Helena]. [MCARDELL, James, engraver, after Peter Paul RUBENS]. ~ Reubens’s Wife. Sold by E. Fisher and Ryland & Bryer, [ 1742-1765].
Mezzotint portrait (355 × 255 mm), cut close to plate mark. Very light creasing and minor rubbing, expert old repair to two corners, one margin reinforced at verso.
The famous portrait of Helena Fourment, Rubens’s second wife, who had married him in 1630, when she was 16 years old (and he was aged 53). The original was in the collection of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford at Houghton Hall; it is now in the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon. The plate is known in several states, almost all attributing the painting to Van Dyck, while this rare state gives Rubens (agreeing with modern attributions). McArdell was one of the most succesful mezzotint engravers of the perios: ‘During the 1750s Macardell engraved several paintings by Rembrandt, and more particularly by Rubens and Van Dyck, demonstrating his virtuosity through his tonal interpretation of the luxuriant flesh and fabric of the Flemish school’ (Oxford DNB).
Goodwin, 120.v; Chaloner Smith, 69; Russell, 69.v.