Sr. Richard Steele

Method Copper engraving
Artist Jacobus Houbraken after Sir Godfrey Kneller
Published Impensis J. & P. Knapton Londini, 1748.
Dimensions Image 342 x 205 mm, Plate 353 x 215 mm, Sheet 490 x 328 mm
Notes A bust length portrait of Sir Richard Steel wearing a long wig, a neckerchief, and a dark coat in an architectural oval with fabric draped over it, a putto below holding a hat on a stick and a quill pen, a sword, lyre, a mask, and a set of books all below.

This portrait of Richard Steele is from Thomas Birch's The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain. The portraits featured in the series, which were engraved by Jacob Houbraken and George Vertue, were originally issued from 1737 onwards in portfolios of four portraits. Between 1743 and 1752, the series was published by John and Paul Knapton in London in the form of Birch's The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, and contained biographies alongside the portraits. The number of plates included varied from edition to edition. Although the majority contained 108 plates, some editions contained as many as 120. Houbraken was responsible for producing a large proportion of the portraits, with Vertue only engraving around seven. The ornamental surroundings featured on the plates were engraved prior to the portraits, and were done so by Hubert-François Gravelot.

Sir Richard Steele (bap. 12 March 1672 – 1 September 1729) was an Irish writer and politician, member of the Kit-Kat Club, and remembered as co-founder, with his friend Joseph Addison, of the magazine The Spectator.

Jacob, or Jacobus, Houbraken (1698-1780) was a Dutch portrait engraver, and dealer and collector of Rembrandt's etchings. Born in Dordrecht, he was the son of the artist Arnold Houbraken. In 1707 he moved to Amsterdam, where he assisted his father on a book of the lives of the Dutch Golden Age artists, entitled De Groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche konstschilders en schilderessen (1718-1721). Between 1743 and 1752, Houbraken worked with George Vertue on Thomas Birch's Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain. He also engraved the portraits for Jan van Gool's Nieuwe schouburg der Nederlantsche kunstschilders (1750-51). Between 1752 and 1759, he worked on Jan Wagenaar's Vaderlandsche historie, which was published by Isaac Tirion.

Sir Godfrey Kneller, (1646 – 1723) was the leading portrait painter in England during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was court painter to British monarchs from Charles II to George I. His major works include The Chinese Convert (1687); a series of four portraits of Isaac Newton painted at various junctures of the latter's life; a series of ten reigning European monarchs, including King Louis XIV of France; over 40 "Kit-cat portraits" of members of the Kit-Cat Club; and ten "beauties" of the court of William III, to match a similar series of ten beauties of the court of Charles II painted by his predecessor as court painter, Sir Peter Lely.

Ver Huell 105, O'Donoghue 4

Condition: Excellent impression with full margins, some staining in margins not affecting the image.
Framing unmounted
Price £65.00
Stock ID 44816

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