John (1808-1897), the patriarch of the family, was born in England and apprenticed as an engraver. Seeking to establish himself as a printmaker, he emigrated in 1830 to Philadelphia, where he remained for the rest of his life. John has been called the 'father of mezzotint engraving' in the United States.
For over half a century, John Sartain engraved a large body of fine prints, including:
M.A. Root. "John Sartain." From the Nineteenth Century. Philadelphia, ca. 1880. 5 x 4" Engraving. Very good condition.
The Nineteenth Century was a British literary magazine, founded in 1877 by Sir James Knowles. In 1901, the title was changed to Nineteenth Century and After. It was also published verbatim in the U.S. This portrait print was published for inclusion in the magazine. $55
Henry Sartain (1833-1895) also became involved in the print world, but as a printer rather than a printmaker. He eventually established himself as the preeminent printer of engravings in Philadelphia.
Emily Sartain (1841-1927) was an artist of considerable skill who produced a quantity of fine prints. Emily served as principal of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women for 33 years, from 1886 until 1919.
William Sartain (1843-1924) was the youngest of John's children to be involved in printmaking. Though better known as a painter of landscapes and Oriental scenes, William also produced prints of considerable quality, especially his mezzotint series of historical scenes and portraits. William left Philadelphia to live and work in New York and Paris.
Harriet Sartain (1873-1957) was Henry's daughter and John's granddaughter. Harriet painted landscapes and flowers in watercolor and served as dean of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women from 1920 to 1946.
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©The Philadelphia Print Shop, Ltd. Last updated March 20, 2015