|Artist||Louis Cheron and Gerard van der Gucht|
|Published||c. 1725-1732 [c. 1814 impression]|
|Dimensions||Image 278 x 230 mm, Plate 305 x 240 mm, Sheet 398 x 288 mm|
Hercules fighting the hydra of Lerna, as part of his twelve labours. He is wearing the skin of the Nemean Lion, defeating which had been his first task given by King Eurystheus, as penance for killing his own family while driven mad by Hera. Hercules' nephew and charioteer, Iolaus, assisted Hercules in defeating the seven-headed hydra, and is shown here with a torch in hand.
The design for this plate was made by Louis Chéron, who also started engraving the heads of Hercules and Iolaus into the plate, but died before finishing the work. His colleague and once pupil Gerard van der Gucht, finished the plate.
Gerard van der Gucht (c.1696-1776) was an English engraver and art dealer. Born in London, he was the son of the Flemish engraver Michael van der Gucht. He, and his younger brother Jan van der Gucht (c.1699-c.1730), were both taught engraving by their father. Van der Gucht was also taught drawing by Louis Chéron, and studied at Godfrey Kneller's Great Queen Street Academy. By adopting the French method of combining etching and engraving, he became one of the leading engravers in London at that time. Van der Gucht worked for various printsellers and booksellers until his father's death in 1725, when he took over his business at the Golden Head in Queen Street, Bloomsbury. In the same year he married Mary Liney; their children included the painter and art dealer Benjamin van der Gucht (1753-1794).
In 1735, he took a leading role in the demand for an extension to the Engraving Copyright Act of 1734, to include all prints. A member of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, van der Gucht worked for the rest of his life as an art dealer, and engraver and publisher of an assortment of subjects.
Louis Chéron (1660-1725) was a French history painter and book illustrator. Born in Paris, he was the younger brother of the artist Elizabeth Sophie Chéron. He won the Prix de Rome at the Academy in 1676 and 1678. A Protestant, he moved to London in the 1690s. Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu was one of his patrons. He became a denizen in 1703, and a British citizen in 1710. Chéron taught at Kneller's Academy from 1711, and from 1720 at the St Martin's Lane Academy, of which he was a founder member.
Ex. Col.: Hon. Christopher Lennox-Boyd
Condition: Scratched number "2" at bottom centre. Watermark '1814' to bottom margin.