||WHEATLEY, Francis engraved by W. ANNIS
Coming from Market Revenant du Marché Pl.[ate the] 3rd; Returned from Market De Retour du Marché Pl.[ate the] 4th
London: Morgan & Pierce and C. Josi of Amsterdam, April 1803. A pair of colour printed mezzotints with additional hand-colouring. In good condition apart from some spotting and browning in margins. Image size (including text): 21 1/4 x 17 3/4 inches approx. Sheet size: 25 3/8 x 20 5/8 inches approx.
A handsome pair of Wheatley rural scenes.
Wheatley was born and trained in London, and in 1769 was one of the first students admitted to the newly founded Royal Academy. Although he initially practiced as a landscape painter, by the mid 1770s he had become a popular painter of small-scale portraits and informal 'conversation-pieces'. From the 1780s onwards, Wheatley turned increasingly to sentimental domestic scenes that were perfectly attuned to the genteel sensibilities of the period. Today he is generally remembered for his Cries of London, which depicted street vendor such as milkmaids, and fruit sellers engaged in their trade on the street sides. This series was a great success, and inspired a myriad of different engravings and copies by celebrated artists such as Johan Zoffany and J. G. Huck. Wheatley's pretty genre paintings of rural and domestic life were a great source of inspiration for contemporary engravers who reproduced his work with industrious vigor. The popularity of these engravings greatly enhanced Wheatley's reputation, and made him one of the most celebrated painters of his day. Francis Wheatley produced four images for the '..Market' series, all of which were mezzotinted by Annis and published in April 1803.
Wheatley was perhaps the most sensitive of the genre painters to the compositional qualities of his pictures as opposed to their social significance or moral content. In both of these scenes, the enjoyment is derived purely from the balance of colours and the perfect placement of the handsome figures in space. The feelings of the participants are matters of indifference, they are only, as 20th century artists would later assert, forms and colours. And these he brings to life in a highly enjoyable way. His attachment to a purely visual aesthetic is hinted at by the horse's eye more or less in the center of "Return from Market" that looks straight at the viewer in a bold and unexpected way.
Roberts, F. Wheatley, R.A. His Life and Work p.45 (the first incorrectly titled 'Going to Market')