18th Century English Engraving From Shakespeare's "Two Gentlemen of Verona"
An engraving from Shakespeare's "Two Gentlemen Of Verona", Act V, Scene III. Framed in a black wood frame with a ...
moreAn engraving from Shakespeare's "Two Gentlemen Of Verona", Act V, Scene III. Framed in a black wood frame with a gold border. Engraved by Luigi Schiavonetti after a painting by Angelica Kauffman, a noted patroness of the arts. Published in 1792 by John and Josiah Boydell in London. This piece is from the first volume of works, published as a library portfolio. The artwork is 17 inches high by 23.5 inches in width.
A magnificent series of British prints based on the works of William Shakespeare published by the great John Boydell. Boydell, a land surveyor in the employment of his father, was inspired by an engraving by W.H. Toms to leave his home in Shropshire about 1750 and walk to London to apprentice himself to Toms. After six years, Boydell set up his own shop and began his career as a print publisher. He was much concerned with the French dominance of the European print market at mid-century, and mostly by his efforts in the 1780's Britain became a print exporting country.
As part of his concern with making a profit and supporting British art, Boydell established the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, an establishment dedicated to British paintings depicting scenes from Shakespeare's plays. Boydell commissioned the paintings, put them on display in the gallery, and then published a folio work consisting of commissioned prints after 100 of the paintings in the gallery. Each print is expertly engraved and powerfully expresses the artistic inspiration that the subject provided. These are fascinating artistic expressions of the then current gothic interpretation of Shakespeare's works. The gallery and the prints were a boon for British artists, giving them inspiration and publicity at the same time. As almost all the paintings have since disappeared, the prints take on added interest as the surviving record of this fascinating episode in British art history.
The "magnificent and accurate" Shakespeare edition which Boydell began in 1786 was to be the focus of his enterprise: he viewed the print folio and the gallery as offshoots of the main project. ["Prospectus", "Collection of Prints".] In an advertisement prefacing the first volume of the edition, Nicol wrote that "splendor and magnificence, united with correctness of text were the great objects of this Edition". ["Advertisement", "Dramatic Works of Shakespeare".] The volumes themselves were handsome, with gilded pages that, unlike those in previous scholarly editions, were unencumbered by footnotes. Each play had its own title page followed by a list of "Persons in the Drama". Boydell spared no expense. He hired the typography experts William Bulmer and William Martin to develop and cut a new typeface specifically for the edition. Nicol explains in the preface that they "established a printing-house. .. [and] a foundry to cast the types; and even a manufactory to make the ink". ["Preface", "Collection of Prints"; see also Bruntjen, 102–03 and Merchant, 69.] Boydell also chose to use high-quality wove Whatman paper. [Bruntjen, 102–03.] The illustrations were printed independently and could be inserted and removed as the purchaser desired. The first volumes of the "Dramatic Works" were published in 1791 and the last in 1805. [Merchant, 70–75.] less
- 31.5ʺW × 1.5ʺD × 26.5ʺH
- Art Subjects
- Late 18th Century
- Place of Origin
- Item Type
- Vintage, Antique or Pre-owned
- Good Condition, Original Condition Unaltered, Some Imperfections
- Condition Notes
- Antique engraving with discoloration, primarily on the border around the artwork. Antique engraving with discoloration, primarily on the border around the artwork. less
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