Decorative Mezzotints, Stipple Engravings &c.

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Richard Earlom after Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

(Susanna and the Elders)

London, J. Boydell June 12th 1769

Mezzotint, scratch proof before titles


Trimmed to image, misc marginal repairs, faint traces of old creases


A strong, proof impression. A scene from the Apocryphal Book of Susanna written during the Babylonian exile of the Jews in about the second century BCE. It was later attached to the Book of Daniel as Chapter 13. Susanna was the beautiful young wife of Joachim, a wealthy respected Babylonian Jew, and their home became a meeting place for the leaders of the community. Two Elders or Judges became enamoured of Susanna and planned to spy on her as she took her bath in the pool in the gardens of her home. They waylaid her and attempted to rape her, but Susanna managed to flee and call for help. In court they falsely accused Susanna of adultery, saying they had seen her in Joachim's garden with a young lover who had subsequently escaped. The court could not doubt the evidence of two such eminent citizens and Susanna was condemned to death. However, the young Prophet Daniel came forward and masterfully cross examining the two accusers separately, discovered discrepancies in their story. Susanna was restored to her rejoicing family and the Elders condemned in her place. This mezzotint shows the anguished scantily clad figure of Susanna surprised while entering her pool; one old man tries to pull her drapery away, while the other hastens out of the shadows with an anticipatory leer on his face. In the background is Joachim's mansion and the monumental outlines of the city of Babylon. Rembrandt executed the majority of his Jewish and biblical subjects in the 1650's-60's.



Smugglers Defeated Earlom Bourgeois.JPG (69081 bytes)Richard Earlom after Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois

Smugglers Defeated. From the original Picture in the Collection of Noel Desenfans Esqr. &c.

London, B. B. Evans May 1st 1798. Mezzotint. 520x690mm. Trimmed just without platemark, neatly repaired tear, slight marginal dust staining, slightly rubbed on old creases, neat marginal repairs. 

Price: £180

A bloody scene. Smugglers, their contraband piled on the beach, have been intercepted by Excisemen. In the centre prisoners sit glumly against their barrels, a dead pony lies beside them, and on the left a mounted smuggler is cut down by a soldier. In the background boats are visible in the bay. In 1811 the artist Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois RA died, leaving a collection of 371 pictures to Dulwich College, with £10,000 to provide for the maintenance of the collection, and £2,000 to repair and beautify the west wing and gallery of the College. The paintings had been assembled by himself and the art dealer Noel Desenfans for the collection of Stanislaus King of Poland. However, the abdication of the King ended the commission. The members of the College, however, determined to erect a new gallery, and they and Mrs. Desenfans contributed £6,000 apiece for this purpose, and employed Sir John Soane as the architect of the present buildings, which were to include a mausoleum for Bourgeois’ remains and those of Mr. and Mrs. Desenfans in the Chapel. The Gallery opened to the public in 1817. 


Henry Hudson after Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

King Belshazzar beholding the Hand Writing on the Wall.

(London, c. 1790)



Trimmed to image and within publication line, traces of old fold


A loose interpretation by Hudson of Rembrandt’s famous painting (now in the National Gallery, London) of Belshazzar’s Feast. In the centre of the design Belshazzar, as an oriental monarch in cloak and turban, starts back in horror as the finger of God traces Hebrew letters (not written correctly by Hudson here) on the wall in the background. A richly dressed man and woman sit on the left and fruit and wine are on the table. A scene from Chapter Five of the biblical Book of Daniel. Belshazzar King of Babylon, son of Nebuchadnezzar had been feasting and praising his gods, when he was startled and terrified to behold the hand of God writing the words Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin on the wall. His mother, entering the hall, suggested that he send for the Prophet Daniel, who had been trusted by his father, to interpret the phenomena. The bible goes on to relate Daniel’s interpretation thus:


5:23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

5:24 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

5:25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

5:26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

5:27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

5:28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

5:29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

5:30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

5:31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.


Rembrandt Absalom.JPG (40780 bytes)Johann Jacob Haid after Hans (Jan) Boll

Absalom’s Submission to his Father King David, for pardon of the Assassination of his Brother Amnon, in Revenge of his having forced his Sister Tamar.

London, J. Boydell August 20th 1766. Mezzotint. 520x370mm. Traces of old crease, laid onto card, slight rubbing. 

Price: £150

A delicately executed, biblical subject. Absalom, King David’s favourite son, kneels before his father, hands clasped. David, in the dress and turban of an oriental potentate, raises his hand to bless his son, and on the ground is Absalom’s discarded bow and quiver of arrows. Absalom, David’s third son, is first mentioned as murdering his half brother Amnon, David's eldest son, in revenge for the rape of his full sister Tamar. For this he was driven into banishment, but he was eventually restored to  favour through the good offices of his cousin Joab. Later, when some uncertainty  seems to have arisen as to the succession, Absalom organized a revolt. For a time he seemed completely successful; David, with a few followers and his personal guard, fled across the Jordan, leaving to Absalom Jerusalem and the main portion of the kingdom. The usurper pursued the fugitives with his forces but was completely defeated in the forest of Ephraim (apparently west of Jordan) and killed by Joab, who found him caught by the hair in an oak tree.


Death of Maj.JPG (45868 bytes)A. Kessler after John Singleton Copley. 

The Death of Major Pierson, And the Defeat of the French Troops in the Market Place of Saint Helier in the Island of Jersey, Jany. 6th 1781.  

(London, c. 1785). Copper engraving. 470x610mm. Trimmed within platemark & publication line, misc repairs affecting engraved surface, slight surface abrasion in margins and title area.

Price:  £280

A large, rare, dramatic engraving showing the heroic death at the moment of victory of Major Francis Peirson (1757-81). Peirson is shown in the centre of the design, falling back into the arms of his soldiers, beneath the british Standard, while on the right women and children flee the fighting in terror. Peirson entered the army at an early age, rising to the rank of major in April 1780, when he was appointed to the 95th regiment, which was shortly afterwards stationed in Jersey. At this period the Channel Islands were subjected to the constant danger of attacks from the French, who made several futile attempts to gain possession. By far the most important of these raids was that of 6th  Jan. 1781, known as the ‘Battle of Jersey,’ when the French, under the Baron de Rullecour, a desperate adventurer, landed under cover of night and took possession of the town of St. Helier, making the lieutenant-governor, Major Moses Corbet, a prisoner in his bed. Under these circumstances the command of the troops devolved upon the youthful Peirson. Rullecour succeeded in inducing Corbet to sign a capitulation, and Elizabeth Castle was summoned to surrender, but the officer in command boldly refused to obey the order. Meanwhile the regular troops and the island militia, under the command of Major Peirson, advanced in two divisions towards the Royal Square, then the market-place, where a vigorous engagement took place, resulting in great loss to the French, who, though fighting with great obstinacy, became disordered and were compelled to retire. The victory was complete, but had been gained at the heavy price of the life of a promising young officer, for in the very moment of victory the gallant Peirson was shot through the heart, and fell dead in the arms of his grenadiers. Rullecour himself was mortally wounded, and most of the French soldiers were taken prisoners. Peirson, was interred in the parish church of St. Helier with all the honours of war, and in the presence of the States of the island, who caused a magnificent monument to be erected to his memory. Copley’s famous painting is  now in the National Gallery.


Vespasian.JPG (49749 bytes)Johann Peter Pichler after Philip Friedrich von Hetsch

Vespasianus und Julius Sabinus. 

Nuremberg, J. F. Frauenholz 1801. Mezzotint. 550x640mm. Narrow margins. 

Price: £180

A rare, large, German mezzotint. This view shows the Emperor Vespasian sitting on his throne, gesturing angrily at the bound Sabinus and the kneeling figures of Sabinus’ wife Empona and her two weeping children. During 69AD and the Year of the Four Emperors, two Gallic noblemen Julius Classicus and Julius Sabinus, seeing that Rome was seriously weakened, decided to rebel and set up an Empire of their own in Gaul. Defeated in 70 AD by Petillius Cerealis, Sabinus and his wife, who had defended and hidden him, were brought to Rome and executed. The successful history painter Philip Friedrich von Hetsch (1758-1838), was born in Stuttgart. At the age of 13, against the wishes of his parents who intended him to become a court musician like his father, Hetsch entered the Ducal Military Academy to train as an artist. 


Charles V.JPG (44577 bytes)Thomas Ryder after Richard Westall

The Emperor Charles Vth Resigning the Crown of Spain & Flanders to Phillip IId.

London, S. Watts & T. Ryder Jan. 1st 1783. Stipple engraving, partially printed in colours and finished by hand. Misc marginal repairs, some just affecting engraved surface. 

Price: £250

Particularly, fresh, bright printed colours. The improbably youthful and handsome figure of Philip of Spain, kneels before his father the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who holds out his hand in blessing, to receive the Spanish and Flemish throne. An archbishop holds up his hands, and the throne is surrounded by enthusiatic grandees.  


Villot Delacroix Old Woman.JPG (110329 bytes)Francois Villot after Eugène Delacroix

(A Old Woman)

(Paris, c. 1850). Etching, on continental laid paper attached to old backing card; minor spotting. 170x130mm. 

Price: £200

A small, head and shoulders study, by Delacroix’s friend and contemporary Villot, of an elderly woman, wearing a lace cap and with a heavy black shawl over her head. A white fichu is crossed over her chest and a crucifix is prominently displayed around her neck.   


Centurion Cornelius Mezzo.JPG (45749 bytes)James Ward after Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn

The Centurion Cornelius. From an Original Picture brought to this Country by M. Bryan Esqr. 

London, Messrs. Ward April 10th 1800. Mezzotint. 590x660mm. Misc neat marginal repairs, some affecting edges of engraved surface. 

Price: £280

A strangely orientally dressed Roman centurion Cornelius, supposedly the first gentile convert to Christianity, instructing his servants to travel to Joppa, in accordance with his instructions from the angel, to invite St. Peter to his home in Caesarea so that he and his family might be baptised. The stern, bearded figure of Cornelius stands on the left, hand outstretched, while his three servants bow before him, hats in hand.  The art connoisseur and picture dealer Michael Bryan (1757-1821), is best known today for his monumental, still useful and constantly revised Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers first published in 1816.


c BoucherWatteau Comedian 1.JPG (43498 bytes)  c BoucherWatteau Comedian 2.JPG (41854 bytes) 


Etchings after Jean-Antoine Watteau

Born at Valenciennes, Watteau (1684–1721), who early displayed an interest in drawing, left for Paris to study art in 1702. After a harsh struggle to survive, he won recognition in 1709, when he won second prize in a student competition at the Academy. Three years later he was invited to join the Academy, and success followed swiftly. His patrons, who came from diverse levels of society, included dealers, antiquaries, and such connoisseurs as the great collector Pierre Crozat. In frail health, Watteau died from tuberculosis at the young age of 37, soon after a visit to London, where he had travelled in the hope of being cured by the eminent physician Dr. Richard Meade. All the etchings listed below are fine, strong impressions with wide margins. 

Francois Boucher after Jean-Antoine Watteau

(Two studies of a comedian)

Paris, Gabriel Huquier c. 1735. Etchings. 330x240mm. 

Price: The pair £200


Two studies of a actor possibly in the role of a provincial comedy cleric. In one plate he is seated full face, wearing clerical bands and a wide brimmed hat, with very long, flowing, straight hair, and holding a cane. In the second study, he wears a priest’s skullcap and is seated slightly in profile, but is wearing the same clerical dress and holding his cane. Parisian by birth, Boucher (1703-70), was the son of a painter. He entered the studio of Francois Le Moyne about 1720, where he executed drawings for the engraver Jean-Francois Cars. By exhibiting at the Exposition de la Jeunesse, he met the connoisseur Jean de Jullienne, who invited him to make engravings after many of Watteau's drawings. Although Boucher won the Prix de Rome in 1723, it was not until 1727 that he went to Italy to study at his own expense. There he was influenced in particular by the Venetians Veronese and Tiepolo, and Roman painting. He went back to Paris in 1731, became a member of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture in 1734, and, upon the death of Carle Vanloo, was named both director of the Academy and First Painter to the King in 1765. His most steadfast and influential patron was the Marquise de Pompadour, mistress to Louis XV, but he was inundated with commissions throughout his official career. Boucher continued his prolific output until his death, despite changing taste, the criticism of Diderot, and his own failing eyesight. 


Balthazar Sigismund Setlezky after Jean-Antoine Watteau

(La Fileuse)

(Augsburg, c. 1730. Etching. 320x210mm. 

Price: £100

A charming study of a young peasant girl spinning. She is depicted wearing a voluminous headdress, with an apron over her dress, standing and holding a spindle under her arm from which she twists the thread.  


Balthazar Sigismund Setlezky after Jean-Antoine Watteau


(Augsburg, c. 1730. Etching. 220x320mm. 

Price: £120

A study of the seated figure of the Commedia dell’Arte character ‘Mezzetin’, the amorous valet, frequently engaged in the pursuit of unrequited love. He sits in profile, wearing a large floppy hat, cape, and baggy breeches trimmed with tassels.  


Balthazar Sigismund Setlezky after Jean-Antoine Watteau

(Study of a Negro boy and wine cooler)

(Augsburg, c. 1730. Etching. 220x320mm. 

Price: £120

An interesting study of a negro boy, wearing a striped shirt and trousers, taking a bottle of wine from a large wine cooler.  


Balthazar Sigismund Setlezky after Jean-Antoine Watteau

(two studies of a Persian diplomat)

(Augsburg, c. 1730. Etchings. 320x240mm. 

Price: The pair £200

Two studies of a young man in oriental dress. One shows him full length, wearing a striped djellaba, a fur lined pelisse over one shoulder and a fur trimmed cap with two peaks at the crown. The other is closer study, showing the same man seated, wearing the same, strange peaked hat, with his hands in his lap, hidden in the folds of his gown.   


S. Trémollière after Jean-Antoine Watteau

(Study of a young woman from ‘Les Plaisirs du Bal’)

(Augsburg, c. 1730. Etching. 250x180mm. 

Price: £100

A fine, sharp study for the figure of the young woman in a black dress dancing on the left in Watteau’s painting Les Plaisirs du Bal, now in Dulwich Picture Gallery. She curtseys, one hand holding her skirts, the other outflung, glancing alluringly over her shoulder. The full painting is a scene of wish-fulfilment, a warm dusk in the marble-vaulted summer-house of an Italian garden. There is a rustic band, dancers in fancy-dress, romance, flirtation and conversation. After the stuffy protocol of the Court at Versailles, this scene would have conveyed a daring informality.  


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