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Set Five Antique English Engravings of Shakespeare's Plays, England 1803

This set of antique English engravings from England circa 1800 were taken from the original paintings created by the great artists of the day in celebration of the most powerful English dramatist in history of his dramatic works. Originally these engravings were published in a large book known as a folio (the first folio page is included as a sixth image here along with the five actual scenes) and dedicated to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales who eventually succeeded his father and became George IV. Each print depicts a pivotal scene from the play whose title is to be found in the centre directly beneath the image. Each of these engravings benefits from close visual inspection because of their extraordinary detail. The visible emotion and superb skill in rendering each scene is enchanting to behold. The use of foreground and background in relation to each other, the sense of scale, the close attention paid to costume and the manner in which each scene is lighted testifies to the brilliance of the artists chosen for this undertaking. The set of five are offered as a complete ensemble and make a visually graphic impact when hung together as well as telling a timeless story about the human condition. Each engraving has a shaped profile to the rectangular frame with a gilded wood fillet adjacent to the actual image. This sympathetic framing directs the eye to the power of the scene by using the flat black colour of the painted wood frame along with the gleam of the golden fillet to keep the image contained within the central visual space. This series was published by John and Josiah Boydell who originally offered the set at the Shakespeare Gallery, Pall-Mall, and No. 90, Cheapside. The actual engraving was performed by W. Bummer and Co., Cleveland-Row, St. James. We include this detail to illustrate the division of labour and yet partnering that was necessary to create such an offering. The idea has to be thought about, then the artists secured to paint, then copies of the paintings had to be produced in a manner suitable to be worthwhile to engrave. Then a properly skilled publishing house was needed to ensure an excellent level of product before the finished volume could then be offered to the Prince of Wales as a gift and then on for sale to the educated public. As any literate person was quite familiar with the works of Shakespeare there was a ready market for such a collection. And even the lower working classes would have seen performances and been exposed to Shakespeare's particular genius.

# PM3B

DIMENSIONS

23.00" w x 1.00" d x 30.00" h

58.42cm w x 2.54cm d x 76.20cm h

Set Five Engravings of Shakespeare's Plays, England 1803 (MDCCCIII). This set of engravings were taken from the original paintings created by the great artists of the day in celebration of the most powerful English dramatist in history of his dramatic works. Originally these engravings were published in a large book known as a folio (the first folio page is included as a sixth image here along with the five actual scenes) and dedicated to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales who eventually succeeded his father and became George IV. Each print depicts a pivotal scene from the play whose title is to be found in the centre directly beneath the image. Each of these engravings benefits from close visual inspection because of their extraordinary detail. The visible emotion and superb skill in rendering each scene is enchanting to behold. The use of foreground and background in relation to each other, the sense of scale, the close attention paid to costume and the manner in which each scene is lighted testifies to the brilliance of the artists chosen for this undertaking. The set of five are offered as a complete ensemble and make a visually graphic impact when hung together as well as telling a timeless story about the human condition. Each engraving has a shaped profile to the rectangular frame with a gilded wood fillet adjacent to the actual image. This sympathetic framing directs the eye to the power of the scene by using the flat black colour of the painted wood frame along with the gleam of the golden fillet to keep the image contained within the central visual space. This series was published by John and Josiah Boydell who originally offered the set at the Shakespeare Gallery, Pall-Mall, and No. 90, Cheapside. The actual engraving was performed by W. Bummer and Co., Cleveland-Row, St. James. We include this detail to illustrate the division of labour and yet partnering that was necessary to create such an offering. The idea has to be thought about, then the artists secured to paint, then copies of the paintings had to be produced in a manner suitable to be worthwhile to engrave. Then a properly skilled publishing house was needed to ensure an excellent level of product before the finished volume could then be offered to the Prince of Wales as a gift and then on for sale to the educated public. As any literate person was quite familiar with the works of Shakespeare there was a ready market for such a collection. And even the lower working classes would have seen performances and been exposed to Shakespeare's particular genius.