|Robert Thew after Henry Fuseli, R.A.
|Pubd. Decr. 1. 1798, by J. & J. Boydell, at the Shakespeare Gallery, Pall Mall & No. 90, Cheapside.
|Image 441 x 594 mm, Sheet 507 x 663 mm
This print is one in a series published by the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, a project founded by the engraver, print-maker, and publisher, John Boydell. Boydell brought together many of Britain's most famous artists to work on the project, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, Henry Fuseli, and George Romney. The resurgent interest in Shakespeare during the late 18th century eventually inspired Boydell to publish a 'magnificent and accurate' illustrated edition of Shakespeare's works.
Henry V, standing with one hand resting on the back of his chair, points left to three standing figures; Cambridge, Grey and Scroop. The trio read with horror the news that their conspiracy has been revealed, and plead for mercy. To the right, three lords look upon the event, with the nearest beginning to draw his sword.
John Boydell (1719 - 1804) was an English engraver, and one of the most influential printsellers 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.
Robert Thew (1758 - 1802) was a British line and stipple engraver, and a one time basis, acted as historical engraver to the Prince of Wales.
Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) was an Anglo-Swiss painter, draughtsman, writer and collector of Old Master prints. He was classicallly educated and held a particular interest for literature which often extended into the themes of his work. Fuseli was encouraged by Sir Joshua Reynolds to paint, but was never academically, nor technically trained. He settled in England in 1779, and became the Professor of Painting at the Royal Academy twenty years later.
He made several contributions to Boydell's Shakespeare Gallery and opened a gallery dedicated to Milton in 1799.
Condition: Trimmed close to plate mark, and within plate mark along bottom. Some discolouration along margins.