19th Century Prints, Americana, Engraving, Portraits, Prints, Stipple

Rare Jefferson Portrait Added to Inventory

Thomas Jefferson, Esq. President of the United States. After a painting by Rembrandt Peale. Engraved by Enoch G. Gridley, State St. Boston.  Undated, circa 1801. Stipple engraving. Image size 11 1/4 x 9 inches (28.5 x 22.9 cm) plus margins. LINK.

Thomas Jefferson, Esq. President of the United States. After a painting by Rembrandt Peale. Engraved by Enoch G. Gridley, State St. Boston.  Undated, circa 1801. Stipple engraving. Image size 11 1/4 x 9 inches (28.5 x 22.9 cm) plus margins. LINK.

We recently added to the OPG inventory a rare, early American engraving of a key figure in our nation’s history, Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson (1743- 1826) was the Vice President under Madison and the third president of the U.S. ( from 1801–1809). Jefferson was one of the founding fathers of the Revolution. He was also the chief architect of the Declaration of Independence.

This particular print is extremely rare with only a few examples known.  The print is based on Rembrandt Peale’s portrait painted in 1800. It is a very close copy of a portrait that was engraved by David Edwin and published by John Savage in 1800 (while Jefferson was Vice President) and again in 1803 (while Jefferson was President) . Little is known about the engraver of this portrait, Enoch G. Gridley. Most references list him working in New York, then on to Philadelphia. This is the only known engraving by him that notes Boston as a location. This is also one of the larger plates that he produced. Most of the works that he produced were small, book plate sized.

REF: Stauffer – Fielding, American Engravers, supplement #531.

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18th Century Prints, Americana, Mezzotint, Naval, New Additions, Portraits, Prints

New Additions: Hancock and Hopkins Portraits

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NEW ADDITIONSToday we are sharing two portraits, recently added to our collection. Published only a year apart, these mezzotint engravings of John Hancock and Commodore Esek Hopkins depict key figures in the Revolutionary War. Information for each print is listed below. For more portraits or Revolutionary War prints and maps, visit our website or stop by our Georgetown gallery. We hope you enjoy these striking pieces of Americana.

The Hon.ble John Hancock. of Boston in New-England; President of the American Congress. By Littleford. London, Published as the Act directs 25 Octo.r 1775 by C. Shepherd. Mezzotint engraving, 1775. Image size 12 1/2 x 9 7/8" (318 x 251 mm). Overall is good condition, lower "C. Shepherd." publication line trimmed off. LINK.

The Hon.ble John Hancock. of Boston in New-England; President of the American Congress. By Littleford. London, Published as the Act directs 25 Octo.r 1775 by C. Shepherd. Mezzotint engraving, 1775. Image size 12 1/2 x 9 7/8″ (318 x 251 mm). Overall is good condition, lower “C. Shepherd.” publication line trimmed off. LINK.

John Hancock became involved in the Revolution as a result of his disagreements with English custom officials regarding his mercantile business in Boston. At the time of the Stamp Act and the Boston Massacre, he was an outspoken leader among patriots and held elected offices in both the Massachusetts Provincial Congress and the Continental Congress. His militant beliefs, as well as his position as president of the Continental Congress, made him newsworthy in both England and the colonies.

Numerous portraits were published on both sides of the ocean depicting this important Revolutionary figure. In his anxiety to distribute the first print depicting Hancock, the London print-seller Charles Shepherd issued a porthole portrait (the above print) of the great patriot after a painting by Littleford. The image bears a passable resemblance to Copley’s portrait of Hancock, but it is unlikely that Shepherd ever saw the painting in person, therefore it is more reasonable to assume that it was based on a verbal description. Shepherd published another portrait of Hancock on the same day, which depicts him as a double-chinned gentleman holding a letter. This portraits bears even less resemblance to Copley’s portrait, therefore it is safe to conclude that Shepherd published both works without ever seeing a likeness of Hancock. This early print is one of the most important portraits of Hancock, and one of the rarest pieces of early Americana.

Commodore Hopkins, : Commander in Chief of the American Fleet. Publish'd as the Act directs 22, Augt. 1776, by Thos. Hart, London. Mezzotint, 1776. Image size 12 9/16 x 9 1/8" (319 x 232 mm). German edition. Good condition. 1/4 to 3/4" margins, which is unusual for mezzotints of this period. LINK.

Commodore Hopkins, : Commander in Chief of the American Fleet. Publish’d as the Act directs 22, Augt. 1776, by Thos. Hart, London. Mezzotint, 1776. Image size 12 9/16 x 9 1/8″ (319 x 232 mm). German edition. Good condition. 1/4 to 3/4″ margins, which is unusual for mezzotints of this period. LINK.

An attractive portrait of Commodore Hopkins, with two Continental ships shown in the background. The first Navy Jack, a flag with a rattlesnake on it bearing the motto “Don’t Tread on Me” (or in the case of this print, “Don’t tread upon me”), is shown at left and may have flown aboard the Alfred, flagship of the newly commissioned Continental fleet. At right flies the Pine Tree Flag, here titled “Liberty Tree An Appeal to God”.

Esek Hopkins was born in Rhode Island on April 26, 1718. As a young man he began a career at sea, captaining merchant vessels and, during the French and Indian War, acting as a successful privateer. After the American Revolution broke out in 1775, Rhode Island appointed Hopkins as commander of its military forces. Later that year he became Commander in Chief of the very small Continental Navy. In mid-February 1776, Commodore Hopkins sailed from Philadelphia under orders from the Continental Congress to attack British maritime forces in Virginia. Facing a British fleet much larger in numbers and better outfitted, Hopkins instead elected to continue sailing south to Nassau and protect his fledgling Navy of just eight merchant ships. On March 3rd, he seized Fort Montagu and then advanced to the poorly-defended town, executing the first amphibious warfare operation. His fleet seized all gunpowder and munitions- supplies desperately needed by the Continental Army. On April 4, 1776, while returning home, his Continental ships encountered and captured two small British warships, but then failed to capture the HMS Glasgow two days later. Hopkins’ conduct of his operations produced considerable controversy and he was dismissed by Congress in 1778. He served in the Rhode Island legislature until his death in 1802.

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Contemporary, Monoprint, Monotype, Portraits, Prints

Explaining Monoprints and Monotypes

As we prepare for the opening of our new gallery exhibit, Monotypes, we thought it useful to delve into the difference between a monotype and a monoprint for our blog readers and collectors. As their names imply, monotypes and monoprints are prints that have an edition of one. Often referred to interchangeably, these planographic techniques are actually quite different.

A monotype is made by drawing or painting a design in printing ink onto any smooth surface, then covering this matrix with paper and passing it through a press. The result, an exact reverse of the original drawing, is an original and unique monotype.

A monoprint is made by taking an already inked etched plate or carved woodblock and adding additional ink to the surface of the matrix. The matrix and paper are run through the press, creating a monoprint. This additional ink produces an impression different in appearance to a conventionally-printed impression from the same plate. Since it is virtually impossible to manipulate this extra ink twice the same way, every monoprint impression will be different.

To explain this further, take a look at the two portraits shown below. Elie Nadelman by Leonard Baskin is a monotype. The composition is created of solely ink manipulation on the plate- there are no etched or engraved lines delineating the profile. In contrast, the print Elizabethan by Irving Amen is a monoprint. Etched lines add contours to the face, eyes, and beard, while printing ink (applied not in the grooves of the etched plate lines but on the surface of the plate) adds color to areas like the cheeks, forehead, and background. If Irving Amen tried to create another impression of this print, he would not be able to mimic exactly the placement, intensity, or saturation of each color- which is what makes this print an monoprint and not a colored etching. There can only be one impression like this one.

Elie Nadelman. Leonard Baskin. Monotype, 1989. Image size  5 x 4 inches. Signed and titled in pencil. LINK.

Elie Nadelman. Leonard Baskin. Monotype, 1989. Image size 5 x 4 inches. Signed and titled in pencil, . LINK.

Elizabethan. Irving Amen. Monoprint, 1964. Image size 17 9/16 x 13 13/16 inches.  Signed, titled and dated in pencil, inscribed "1/1" and "unique color." LINK.

Elizabethan. Irving Amen. Monoprint, 1964. Image size 17 9/16 x 13 13/16 inches. Signed, titled and dated in pencil, inscribed “1/1” and “unique color.” LINK.

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16th Century Maps, 19th Century Maps, Engraving, Maps, Portraits, Prints, World Maps

Happy 503rd Birthday to Gerardus Mercator

Gerardus Mercator

Gerardus Mercator

Happy 503rd Birthday to Gerardus Mercator. A cartographer, mathematician, philosopher, inventor, engraver, and teacher, Mercator was a man whose eponymous cartographic projection forever changed how mariners navigate their ships and how we see the world. He was also the first person to call a collection of maps an atlas. Cheers to a great man and an even greater mind.

VIA LINK.

Image via LINK.

Below are world maps based on Mercator’s Projection. All the meridians intersect with lines of latitude at 90 degree angles. Alone, this would still skew a line of bearing. To combat this, Mercator proportionally increased the distance between the parallels, so he could match the rate of angular distortion. This projection was widely used for navigation charts during the age of exploration, as any straight line on a Mercator-projection map is a line of constant true bearing that enables a navigator to plot a straight-line course, without having to continuously recalculate his course.

A New Chart of the World on Mercator's Projection with the Tracts of the Most Celebrated & Recent Navigators. By Henry Teesdale.  Handcolored engraving,1844.

A New Chart of the World on Mercator’s Projection with the Tracts of the Most Celebrated & Recent Navigators. By Henry Teesdale. Handcolored engraving,1844.

Colton's Illustrated & Embellished Steel Plate Map of the World on Mercator's Projection, compiled from the latest & most authentic sources.  By D. Griffing Johnson. Steel plate engraving, 1848-53.

Colton’s Illustrated & Embellished Steel Plate Map of the World on Mercator’s Projection, compiled from the latest & most authentic sources. By D. Griffing Johnson. Steel plate engraving, 1848-53.

Mappemonde Physique sur la Projection de Mercator. By Adrien Hubert Brue.  Engraving, 1821.

Mappemonde Physique sur la Projection de Mercator. By Adrien Hubert Brue. Engraving, 1821.

Map of the World on Mercators Projection. By John Atwood. Engraving, 1841-45.

Map of the World on Mercator’s Projection. By John Atwood. Engraving, 1841-45.

Gilbert's Map of the World, on Mercator's Projection. By James Gilbert. Segmented case map, engraving, 1841.

Gilbert’s Map of the World, on Mercator’s Projection. By James Gilbert. Segmented case map, engraving, 1841.

 

 

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18th Century Prints, Engraving, Past/Present, Portraits, Prints

Past/Present: Benjamin Franklin Portraits

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From 1776 to 1785, Benjamin Franklin served as the first American ambassador to France. The French were very taken with Franklin and his New World “charm”; the enthused populace sustained a healthy market of printed and painted versions of his visage. Today, we share two small portraits of Franklin that circulated throughout France. This earlier print was one of the first available French images of Franklin. Publication of this print was first announced in the “Journal de Paris” of June 16, 1777. In this bust-length portrait, Franklin is depicted facing right, with Canadian fur-trapper hat, a simple cloth suit, and round spectacles.  Written accounts of Franklin’s time in Paris comment on Franklin’s plain manner of dressing, and the favorable impression it made on the French.

The second image, published circa 1780, is also a bust portrait of Benjamin Franklin, set in an oval frame. This is a variation of the Cochin portrait, altered to accord with the subject’s new ambassadorial dignity. Franklin is now depicted without spectacles, in a fur-lined satin dressing gown and a lace frilled shirt. The fur-trapper hat has been replaced with a more dignified and stylish cap, lightly trimmed with fur.

Image on Top:  Benjamin Franklin. Ne a Boston, dans la nouvelle Angleterre le 17 Janvier 1706. By Charles-Nicolas Cochin. Engraving, 1777. Engraved by Augustin de Saint Aubin. Image size 7 1/2 x 5 1/4″. LINK.

Image on Bottom: Benjamin Franklin. Ne a Boston dans la Nouvelle Angleterre, le 17 Janvier 1706. By Claude Louis Desrais. Engraving, c. 1780. Engraved by Pierre Adrien Le Beau. Image size 6 3/8 x 4 1/4″. LINK.

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