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  • Wisdom. by (REVERSE GLASS COLOURED PRINT). (REVERSE GLASS COLOURED PRINT). ~ Wisdom. London: J. Hinton, 44 Wells Street, Oxford Street, Feb 14, 1802.
    A wonderful allegorical female representation of Wisdom as a woman—full-length standing holding a spear and looking down to left at a cherub holding open 'The… (more)

    A wonderful allegorical female representation of Wisdom as a woman—full-length standing holding a spear and looking down to left at a cherub holding open 'The Holy Bible'; an owl on a plinth to right and cockerel perched on a shield in front of it; in an oval. The print is a good example of the relatively short lived fashion for the ‘back painted’ or reverse glass coloured mezzotint

    The reverse glass technique involves the print being transferred to a sheet of glass, varnished and hand coloured to resemble an oil painting. The mezzotint is moistened and laid face down on a varnished sheet of glass and allowed to dry; once the paper is firmly fused with the varnish and glass, most of it is scraped away from the verso leaving a minutely thin layer of printed paper within the varnish. This is then varnished again on the verso to give a rich and distinctive translucency. Colours, usually in oil, are then added, again to verso. Over time the varnishes invariably darken, resulting in the rather subdued but still translucent hues found here.

    ‘Wisdom’ was probably part of a sequence of the Vitrues published by Hinton, shortly after 1800. The British museum catalogue includes a further print representing ‘Innocence’.

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  • Portrait autobiographique de S.M. Invasion III. by (NAPOLEON III.) (NAPOLEON III.) ~ Portrait autobiographique de S.M. Invasion III. [Paris], sold by Dessendier, [ 1871].
    A satirical lithograph, issued in the aftermath of the Paris siege, unfavourably comparing Napoleon III with his uncle Napoleon, who had been the subject of… (more)

    A satirical lithograph, issued in the aftermath of the Paris siege, unfavourably comparing Napoleon III with his uncle Napoleon, who had been the subject of a similar anthropomorphic satire at the beginning of the century. The original Napoleon print had depicted the victims of his successful ambitions in Europe and the territories he had conquered; this one shows his nephew, ‘Invasion III’, with the corpses of those who died for his ambitions. He wears a cloak made from a map of his principal defeats (Strasbourg, Sedan, Boulogne, Mexico) and a sash bearing names Cayenne, Lambessa and La Rocamarie (the first two being French penal colonies the last being the site of the miner’s revolt immortalised in Zola’s Germinal). His hat is the Napoleonic eagle with a beak full of lard.

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  • Reubens’s Wife. by [FOURMENT, Helena]. [MCARDELL, James, engraver, after Peter Paul RUBENS]. [FOURMENT, Helena]. [MCARDELL, James, engraver, after Peter Paul RUBENS]. ~ Reubens’s Wife. Sold by E. Fisher and Ryland & Bryer, [ 1742-1765].
    The famous portrait of Helena Fourment, Rubens’s second wife. The couple married in 1630, when she was 16 years old (and he was 53). The… (more)

    The famous portrait of Helena Fourment, Rubens’s second wife. The couple married in 1630, when she was 16 years old (and he was 53). The original painting was in the collection of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford at Houghton Hall, from which several engraved versions were made; it was sold in 1779 to Catherine the Great and is now in the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon. The plate is known in several states, almost all attributing the painting not to Rubens, but to Van Dyck, while this rare state correctly gives Rubens (agreeing with modern attributions). McArdell was one of the most successful mezzotint engravers of the period: ‘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.

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  • Kane O’Hara Esqr. Author of Midas &c. by O’HARA, Kane. [Edmund DORRELL, engraver]. O’HARA, Kane. [Edmund DORRELL, engraver]. ~ Kane O’Hara Esqr. Author of Midas &c. [London] William Richardson, Nov. 1st, 1802.
    Kane O’Hara, Irish playwright (1711/12–1782), born at Templehouse in Connaught. ‘O’Hara’s first professional play was Midas, an English Burletta, which had its première production at… (more)

    Kane O’Hara, Irish playwright (1711/12–1782), born at Templehouse in Connaught. ‘O’Hara’s first professional play was Midas, an English Burletta, which had its première production at the Crow Street Theatre, Dublin, on 22 January 1762. Midas was a clever, chauvinistic response to the success of a touring Italian troupe, the D'Amici family, which had brought a lively production of an Italian burletta to the Smock Alley Theatre on 19 December 1761. The Italian burletta, a slight comic opera already modish on the continent, captivated Dubliners with its simple domestic plot and brisk galante music’ (Oxford DNB). It transferred to London, became a hit and was performed there over 200 times by 1800. O’Hara was seriously shortsighted (he is seen here in spectacles) and lost his sight in 1778.

    The etching by Edmund Dorrell (1778-1857) is comparatively rare, the plate apparently having been destroyed soon after it was first printed. This is a splendid example on a full sheet. O’Donoghue 25-II, 1802.

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