|Method||Mezzotint with original hand colouring|
|Artist||Charles Mottram after John Martin|
|Published||Painted by John Martin, K.I. Engraved by Charles Mottram. Published Jany. 1st 1857 by Thomas McLean, 26 Haymarket, London.|
|Dimensions||Image 698 x 1052 mm, Sheet 805 x 1145 mm|
A superb hand coloured large-scale mezzotint of John Martin's painting of the Last Judgement, the first of a trilogy of paintings that were appropriately Martin's final works. The Last Judgment illustrates the central event of the Book of Revelation, and Martin compiled his scene from various passages in the narrative. The damned, on the right, include richly dressed women, notably Herodias's daughter and the whore of Babylon. They are amongst lawyers and churchmen who have sought only worldly wealth and are all shown in attitudes of despair and physical pain in an atmosphere of destruction. Martin also includes a contemporary detail -a railway train, its carriages marked 'London', 'Paris', and etc. plunges into an abyss. The saved, located on the left of God, are anonymous figures of virtuous women and innocent children, true and pure lovers, martyrs, and philanthropists, and in the foreground, portraits of the famous. An engraved keyplate was published in 1855 by Leggatt, Haward and Leggatt which identified the principal figures, among whom are Thomas More, Wesley, Canute, Colbert, Washington, Copernicus, Newton, Watt, Chaucer, Tasso, Corneille and Shakespeare.
Inscription below title reads: New York, Published by Williams, Stevens, Williams & Compy. Jany. 1st 1857, and Entered according to Act of Congress in the Clerks Office of the District Court of the United States of the Southern District of New York.
Charles Mottram (1807-1876) was a British printmaker who was equally adept at engraving in line, mezzotint, and stipple. He also worked frequently in the mixed-method style. Mottram exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1861 to 1877, but is probably best remembered for the plates that he executed after 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.
Condition: Framed in antique style black and gold frame with period gilt rounded corner slip. Two small areas of surface abrasion to sky.