Serena

Method Mezzotint
Artist John Raphael Smith after George Romney
Published London Publish'd Septr. 28 1782 by J.R. Smith No. 83 opposite the Pantheon, Oxford Street.
Dimensions Image 475 x 350 mm, Plate 505 x 350 mm, Sheet 530 x 395 mm
Notes Text below image:
'Sweet Evelina's fascinating power,
Had first beguil'd of sleep her midnight hour,
Possest by Sympathy's enchanting sway,
She read, unconscious of the dawning day.'

A full-length portrait of Honora Edgeworth as the character of Serena from William Hayley's poem 'The Triumph's of Temper'. Framed with an oval, Honora is seen in the corner of a small candle lit room. She is seated on a small, low chair next to a ledge on which a small candle burns. Honora is cradling a copy of Miss Burney's 'Evelina' between her two hands, on her lap. She is wearing a simple gown, tied at the waist with a plain sash. She has a bonnet on with a large ribbon, tied into a bow at the front. In the background the break of dawn and the sunrise can be seen through an open window.

Honora Edgeworth (née Sneyd) (1753-1780) was an English writer most known for her personal connections to literary figures of the time and her children's education work. Born in Bath in 1751, Honora was raised by family friends Canon Thomas Seward and his wife Elizabeth in Lichfield after the death of her mother in 1756. Whilst living with the Seward family she developed a close friendship with their daughter Anna, a poet, who wrote many poems about Honora. Honora and Anna lived together for thirteen years and formed a close friendship which has given rise to much speculation as to it's exact nature. Honora eventually married Richard Edgeworth, after turning down a proposal of marriage from Thomas Day. She is known for her stance on women's rights, one of the factors stated when declining Day's proposal was her strong stance of equality within marriage. Honora and her husband developed some concepts of childhood education together, writing books such as 'Practical Education', which works on the premise that a child's early experiences are formative and that the associations they form early in life are long-lasting. Honora is often listed amongst the associates of the 'Bluestockings', a group of educated upper class literary women who disdained traditional female accomplishments and often formed close female friendships. Honora had two children through her marriage.

John Raphael Smith (1751 - 1812) was an English painter, printmaker and publisher. After abandoning a career in linen drapery, Smith became one of the leading printmakers of the day. He excelled in mezzotint, and produced numerous plates after portraits by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Romney. In addition to his reproductive work, he was also a highly successful publisher and seller of prints, and exported a large number of material to France. However, the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803 destoyed this market, and Smith announced his retirement from printmaking in order to produce pastel portraits of his own up until his death in 1812.

George Romney (1734 - 1802) was a British portrait painter, and was the most fashionable artist of his day, painting a variety of society's leading figures. In 1762, he moved from Lancashire to London, where he remained until 1799. Confident in painting portraits as well as history paintings, Romney was a rival of Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Chaloner Smith 190, i/i, O'Donoghue 2, ii/ii

Condition: Some creasing and wear to sheet edges, scratch to dress area of image. Repaired puncture to bottom of image.
Framing unmounted
Price £400.00
Stock ID 46832

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