WARD, William (1766-1826)
London: Published by W. Dickinson, Bond Street, Oct. 1, 1787. Stipple with hand-colour. Printed on early wove paper. In excellent condition with the exceptioin of a small mended tear in the right margin. Small paper loss in lower left corner. Image size: 11 1/8 x 7 1/2 inches. Sheet size: 16 11/16 x 11 7/8 inches. Plate mark: 12 9/16 x 8 1/4 inches.
A wonderful print of a young woman contemplating love by the celebrated painter William Ward.
William Ward is remembered as one of the most accomplished engravers of his day. He produced some of the most beautiful prints of the period, and his delicate engravings epitomize the style and sentiment of the age. Ward was primarily a mezzotint engraver but he also worked in stipple, executing hauntingly delicate prints that capture the soul and character of their subject. He studied under John Raphael Smith and quickly became one of his most distinguished pupils, incorporating his master's delicate technique into his own distinctive style. Along with his brother James, William was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and soon earned the privilege of becoming mezzotint engraver to the prince regent. This delicate image recalls the style of Ward's master John Raphael Smith, who made a name for himself with his subtly suggestive portraits of women. Like many similar images produced by Smith, Ward's ambiguous picture depicts an ornately dressed young woman in a park setting. She sits by herself contemplating love, an emotion that is elucidated by the text underneath that makes reference to her denial of unchaste desires.