This is one of a pair of allegorical mezzotint engravings in my Iconic Edinburgh online store which represents the Seasons.
They are both published by P. Barnaskine, London in 1799.
This lovely and rare mezzotint represents Spring and Summer.
It well presented and is being sold with a new fresh (and clean) window mount - ready to be framed.
The print is in very good condition given its age - with only little touches of very light age spotting in the sky area - but apart from that a most attractive print.
The print would have originally been printed in just black tones - and the colouring has been added to make it look more painterly. The hand-colouring dates to the time of publication and has not been added at a later date.
The image shows Spring to the left: We can see people in a garden. A little boy has found a little bird's nest full of chicks - and shows it to his mother. Behind is his sister picking roses.
To the right, we have Summer (separated by a tree trunk) we can see a scene of hay gathering - a man and lady rest from raking up hay. In the background, you can see haystacks being built.
A fine Georgian original print - and a highly collectable mezzotint,
Dimensions: Image size is 24.5 x 35 cm. The mount size is 38.5 x 51 cm
Impressions of this fine mezzotint and its pendant print showing Autumn and Winter are in the Print Room at the British Museum, London
Well presented with new matching mounts - fabulous decorator's pieces for a period interior.
Priced quoted (£10) is for Royal Mail Next Day Special Delivery - it would cost the same price to send the pair to you.
THE TECHNICAL STUFF:
Mezzotint engravings were popular prints produced in the 18th century and were intricate and rather time-consuming to produce. The printmaking process starts by roughening a copper printing plate with a rocker (a tool with varying numbers of teeth) to give it a rough burr all over the plate. This plate will print a rich, velvety black when completely roughened.
To achieve the greys and lights up to white tones, the burr is removed with a scraper or flattened with a burnisher until the required tone is achieved. It is a lengthy process but the tonal range that can be achieved is what gives mezzotint its softness and it is particularly suited to dramatic effects of light and dark (chiaroscuro).
Very high pressures are required to print mezzotint properly and this means that plates wear quickly. Editions of prints are therefore small as the quality of the blacks and greys diminishes quite quickly due to press wear.
I’m delighted with the prints that I purchased from Iconic Edinburgh. They were interesting items, in good condition and fairly priced. Valerie provided friendly and attentive service throughout the transaction and the prints arrived promptly and very carefully packaged. Highly recommended - thank you, Valerie!