[The Confidants/ Le Billet-Doux]

Method Mezzotint
Artist Thomas Watson after Elias Martin
Published London. Publish'd May 20th 1780, for Watson & Dickinson No. 158, New B
Dimensions Image 222 x 193 mm, Plate 256 x 195 mm, Sheet 312 x 240 mm
Notes A fine proof impression of this mezzotint, depicting an intimate scene of two women taking tea around a small label, both wearing large elaborate hats and loose dresses, the lady on the left holding a letter and possibly reading or presenting it to her friend. The scene is framed in an oval, creating a vignette, almost as if the ladies are secretly being watched from a keyhole.

Elias Martin (1739-1818) was a painter and printmaker, specialising in portraits and landscape scenes. He was born in Stockholm, moved to Paris in 1766 to study under Carl Vernet, and to England were he was an associate at the Royal Academy and worked in Middlesex and London, moving back to Sweden for eight years between 1780-1788, returning to London between 1788-1791 and eventually settling in Sweden for the rest of his life.

Thomas Watson (1743 - 1781) was a mezzotinter, who died at the young age of 38. His father of the same name was a printseller at 33 Strand, and survived his son. From 1771-1779 the son was in partnership with Walter Shropshire and he then took over the business in partnership with William Dickinson. In 1786 Strutt stated that the father had his son's copper plates and sold the greater part of his son's work through sales in 1784 (Christie's 29 March and 7 May 1784) and 1792 (25 January, of the copper plates).

Chaloner Smith 1883 41.ii, Goodwin 61.ii

Condition: Rare state before title. Good impression with wide margins. Minor discolouration to lower centre, and to the elbow of the lady on the right. Light printers crease to centre right of sheet.
Framing unmounted
Price £300.00
Stock ID 47043