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Prints after George Morland

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George Morland (1763-1804) was a well known British painter of rustic genre and narrative subjects. His appeal to his English contemporaries resided in the accessible content and the sensitivity to decorative detail in his often very picturesque works. His images often had an interesting narrative element and they often pictured gentle scenes of country life involving man and animals set into rich English landscapes.

Morland's paintings were a popular source for prints by his fellow artists, such as J.R. Smith and William Ward. John Raphael Smith (1752-1812) was a successful artist in his own right, variously a portrait painter, print publisher, and miniaturist. However, Smith is best thought of as a talented mezzotint engraver and in fact was honored as Mezzotint Engraver to the Prince of Wales in 1784. William Ward (1766-1826), who began as an apprentice and later principal assistant to Smith, is regarded as one of the greatest mezzotint engravers of the early nineteenth century. Much of this reputation comes from his work after paintings by Morland, his brother-in-law. Ward went on to become the engraver to King William IV.

Morland's prints were made using mezzotint. This flexible medium allows full attention to be given to the soft light and rich textures that pervade his scenes. These are examples of English printmaking at its best and most sophisticated.


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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated July 2, 2013