Exotic Figure Engravings - Original mid-19th-century engraving print




An original mid-19th-century engraving print, Exotic Figure Engravings.

An engaging trio of engraved prints of various exotic figures. The first is a lithograph, mounted on light pink coloured paper, of a female figure in gypsy dress holding a knife in order to protect her child from approaching soldiers.  The second is an engraved print, mounted on cream coloured paper, of a man with a beard in a turbaned headdress, likely copied from an Old Master painting. The third is an engraved illustration of Don Juan by Lord Byron, cut directly from the book 'The Byron Gallery', published in 1833. Mounted on light blue coloured paper with a punched decorative border as shown. Mounting paper stamped 'Lariviere' on the right centre.   

Unsigned. Larger image engraved below: 'Drawn by H. Richter, Engraved by E. Finden'; 'They Gazed Upon the Glittering Sea Below, Whence the Broad Moon Rose Circling into Sight; They Heard the Waves Splash, and the Wind So Low, And Saw Each Other's Dark Eyes Darting Light Into Each Other - Don Juan'; 'Published by Smith, Elder & Co, Cornhill, London.'
Overall good condition for all three images. Don Juan: foxing and age toning to the borders on both print and mounting paper as shown; crease to the lower right and left corner of the engraving.
Largest sheet approx.: 20cm x 15cm.
Smallest sheet: 12.4 x 10.5 cm. Unframed.

This image is one of a collection we have for sale, by a number of hands, of drawings and prints taken from the popular visual culture prevalent in the 1830s. With a wealth of subjects ranging from the moody melancholy of the Gothic, to the picturesque ruins of Romantic landscapes, it reaches across genres of contemporary poetry, literature and art history, and is a result of the eye of a veritable Victorian magpie.

The works have a unique dual purpose – they combine the depth and range evident in new emerging processes of printmaking, such as lithography and mezzotint, with shifting standards of aesthetics in both the literary and visual arts. Present are more typical notions of Victorian beauty- such as landscapes, fair maids and noble animals- taken from popular prints and book illustrations. And yet in contrast, this was also an age of finding allure within the darkness, and the popularity of the Gothic and the Romantic meant that the exquisite was being sought in the deepest corners of the Victorian imagination. The sublime in the decay reigned supreme, and is evident in the period’s proliferation of tales exploring horror, the supernatural and suicidal sacrifice, many of which are also represented in this collection.

These works are lovingly attended; some painted by hand and others copied with an expert eye, and are a unique representation of the increasingly complex threads woven between the artistic, the literary and the industrial as the century marched forward towards Victoria’s reign.

Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JG-336


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