|Method||Mezzotint with stipple and etching|
|Artist||Richard Earlom after Jan van Huysum|
|Published||Published by Jonathan Boydell, June 25th, 1778 / Published Sepr 1st 1781|
|Dimensions||Image 397 x 520 mm, Plate 416 x 554 mm|
Richard Earlom's remarkable mezzotints are based upon Jan van Huysum's 'A Fruit Piece,' and 'A Flower Piece' which are housed in the Hermitage, St Petersburg.
Earlom's works show rich bouquets of fruit and flora as they appear in Baroque vases, adorned with reliefs. Various other motifs flank the flowers in both prints. Ladybirds and flies interact with the buds whilst dew forms on the petals. A butterfly hovers, and a small nest with three bird's eggs appears in the foreground. In the distance, a classical sculpture stands on a plinth, whilst a wide vase sits atop of a pedestal on the left.
Inscriptions on "Flower Piece": lettered within image of the first plate, 'Jan Van Huysum fecit 1722', and below image with 'J. Van Huysum pinx.t / I Boydell Excudit Publish'd June 25. 1778 / Richd Earlom sculps.t / 1778.'
Inscriptions on "Fruit Piece": lettered within image of the second plate, 'Jan Van Huysum / fecit 1723', and below image with 'J. Van Huysum pinx.t / Rich.d Earlom sculps.t / 1781/ Published Sepr 1st 1781 by John Boydell [coat of arms] Engraver in Cheapside London.'
Richard Earlom (1743 - 1822) was a British painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He was born in London, and was apprenticed to Giovanni Battista Cipriani after he was discovered making sketches of the Lord Mayor's coach. This natural faculty for art manifested throughout Earlom's career, and he is believed to have taught himself the technique of mezzotint. In 1765, Earlom went to work for Johnathan Boydell, who commissioned the artist to produce a large series of works from Sir Robert Walpole's collection at Houghton Hall. This pair of mezzotints constituted part of this series. His works after van Huysum, as well as the still-life painter Jan van Os, are widely recognised as his most striking.
Jan van Huysum (1682 - 1749) was a Dutch painter best known for his virtuosic still lifes of flowers and fruits. Jan van Huysum was born in Amsterdam, and studied under his artistic father Justus, though he soon surpassed him in skill. He specialised in exquisitely detailed, dramatically composed paintings of lavish flower arrangements. The precision and delicacy of his work were widely esteemed during his lifetime, and he enjoyed the notable patronage of the Elector of Saxony, Prince William of Hesse, the Dukes of Orleans and Mecklenburg, and Sir Robert Walpole amongst others.
John Boydell (1719 - 1804) was an English engraver, and one of the most influential print sellers of the Georgian period. At the age of twenty one, Boydell was apprenticed to the engraver William Henry Toms, and enrolled himself in the St. Martin's Lane Academy in order to study drawing. Given the funds raised by the sales of Boydell's Collection of One Hundred Views in England and Wales, 1755, he turned to the importation of foreign prints. Despite great success in this market his legacy is largely defined by The Shakespeare Gallery; a project that he initiated in 1786. In addition to the gallery, which was located in Pall Mall, Boydell released folios which illustrated the works of the Bard of Avon and were comprised of engravings after artists such as Henry Fuseli, Richard Westall, John Opie and Sir Joshua Reynolds. He is credited with changing the course of English painting by creating a market for historical and literary works. In honour of this, and his longstanding dedication to civil duties, Boydell became the Mayor of London in 1790.
Flower Piece: Lennox-Boyd state vi/viii, Hollstein (after Huysum) 6, Le Blanc 55, Wessely 144
Fruit Piece: Lennox Boyd state v/v, Hollstein (after Huysum) 7, Le Blanc 56, Wessely 145
Condition: Scratched letter proofs. Strong impressions with slight time toning. Trimmed just within plate marks. Small scratch to surface on lower right of "Flower Piece" and laid to album sheet. Small tear to top centre of "Fruit Piece", as well as areas of dust build-up to right side of image at top and bottom.