|Copper engraving with original hand colouring
|London, Printed for Robt. Sayer Map & Printseller, at the Golden Buck near Serjeants Inn Fleet Street. c.1775
|Each image 230 x 335 mm
A set of six decorative allegorical prints representing the arts. The six scenes are set within idealised classical ruins with figures partaking in each of the six arts.
'Poetry' is represented by six figures either reading or writing. A figure of a young man in the foreground is writing in a ledger, with copies of Virgil, Homer and Paradise Lost surrounding him.
'Painting' is presented by six figures in a classical setting. A woman in the centre of the image is painting the portrait of another woman who is sitting on a seat with a small dog curled at her feet.
'Astronomy' is represented by eight figures with various astronomical equipment such as armillary spheres, celestial spheres and telescopes.
'Architecture' is represented by six figures in a more elaborate classical architectural setting. The building in the background is still under construction, with it partially under scaffolding. Two of the figures are handling a ladder and are in the process of construction. Two other men are more finely dressed and are appraising the architectural plans.
'Sculpture' is represented by five figures in a sculptural workshop setting, with two of the figures working on a pair of large classical style sculptures, whilst a third man as at a stone wheel, sharpening tools.
'Music' is represented by seven figures relaxing in a garden setting. One of the men is playing a flute whilst two couples sit on the ground loving looking at each other.
Robert Sayer (1725-1794) was one of the most prolific and successful British publishers, cartographers, and print-sellers of the Georgian era. Following his brother's marriage to the daughter in law of the publisher John Overton, Sayer continued the business, branching out into sea charts, maritime atlases, and general maps. In addition to his cartographic achievements, Sayer was also instrumental in growing the public taste for prints after paintings, particularly those by Johan Zoffany, with whom he developed a lifelong friendship as well as a lucrative business partnership. Following his death, the business was continued by Laurie and Whittle.
Condition: Time toning to sheets, some creasing, minor tear and hole repairs, repaired top margin to 'Painting' 'Architecture' and 'Music' sheets.