|Method||Mezzotint and etching|
|Artist||Alfred Martin after John Martin|
|Published||John Martin delt. Alfred Martin sculpt. London, Published by J. Martin, 30 Allsop Terrace, New Road and Ackermann & Co. Strand. October 1st 1835|
|Dimensions||Image 275 x 400 mm, Plate 380 x 490 mm, Sheet 480 x 670 mm|
An impressive mezzotint of the Angel of Death, visiting the tenth and final plague on the people of Egypt, based on the painting by John Martin and engraved by his son Alfred. The print is the earlier of two almost identical engravings after the painting, the second being engraved by John himself the year after the publication of the current plate. The scene shows the land of Egypt swathed in darkness, with two of the pyramids visible in the distance as stark shadows. The Angel, obscured by cloud, looms large over the city, stretching forth an ominous hand in preparation to hurl the fatal lightning bolt that will rob Egypt of her firstborn children. The bolt illuminates a composite scene featuring some of Egypt's best known landmarks, including the towers and columns of Karnak, as well as the mourning populace writhing with sorrow in the foreground around a large harbour.
Text below title reads: To the Revd. Dr. Croly &c. &c. &c. This plate is inscribed as a testimony of the esteem in which his Genius and Character are held, by his sincere friend, John Martin.'
John Martin (1789-1854) was an English painter, illustrator and mezzotint engraver. He achieved huge popular acclaim with his historical landscape paintings which featured melodramatic scenes of apocalyptic events taken from the Bible and other mythological sources. Influenced by the work of J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) as well as Theodore Gericault (1791–1824), Eugene Delacroix (1798–1863) and Paul Delaroche (1797–1856), his paintings are characterised by dramatic lighting and vast architectural settings. Most of his pictures were reproduced in the form of engravings, and book engravings, from which he derived his fortune. Despite his popularity, Martin's work was spurned by the critics, notably John Ruskin, and he was not elected to the Royal Academy. His fame declined rapidly after his death, although three of his best known works of religious art toured Britain and America in the 1870s: The Great Day of his Wrath (1853, Tate, London), The Last Judgment (1853, Tate) and The Plains of Heaven (1851-3, Tate). A great contributor to English landscape painting, Martin was a key influence on Thomas Cole (1801-48), one of the founding members of the Hudson River School.
Alfred Martin (1814-1872) was the fourth son of the English painter and mezzotint engraver John Martin. Although recorded as an engineer by trade, Alfred also engraved and published plates after his father's paintings.
Condition: Some surface rubbing to plate. Time toning to margins, not affecting plate. Some creasing to margins, one on right margin into the plate.