COMTE, B after Philippe Jacques LOUTHERBOURG
Fishermen Returning to Brighton
London: Published by P. J. de Loutherbourg, and Sold by V. & R. Green, No 14 Percy Street, Bedford Square, July 1, 1797. Coloured aquatint. Printed on wove paper, watermarked 1794. In excellent condition. Image size: 9 1/2 x 15 3/4 inches. Sheet size: 13 1/16 x 19 inches. Plate mark: 11 11/16 x 17 1/2 inches.
A wonderful early, separately published impression of Loutherbourg's celebrated image of fishermen on Brighton Beach.
This delicate aquatint is an early, separately published state of a print which was later included in Phillip Jacques Loutherbourg's seminal work "Picturesque Scenery of Great Britain." The print, which was re-engraved in 1801 by J. C. Stadler, was enlarged and re-titled "Brighthelmstone, Fishermen Returning." This early example of Loutherbourg's work wonderfully shows his skill as an artist. The composition and arrangement of the image provides a fluidity to the picture that is truly compelling, and demonstrates Loutherbourg's abilities as a draftsman.
The son of a court painter in Darmstadt, the versatile artist Philippe Jacques Loutherbourg was born in Fulda, Germany and was a pupil of J. H. Tischbein and Carle Vanloo and Francis Casanova the elder in Paris. His romantic landscapes, battle scenes, portraits, and biblical subjects were highly esteemed and lauded by influential colleagues such as Diderot. He frequently exhibited at the Salon and became a venerated member of the Académie Royale in 1767. In 1771, he moved to England, where he was employed as the principal scenery designer at London's Drury Lane Theatre. His creative and minutely detailed sets revolutionized the genre of scene painting, and he soon began dabbling in costume design. Loutherbourg once again astounded contemporaries in 1782 with his pioneering invention of the "Eidophusikon," a novel variety of moving panorama that was accompanied by music. His substantial and varied oeuvre also included book illustrations and a series of aquatints of British scenery that was published in 1801 and 1805. Aside from a brief trip to Switzerland in 1782, he remained in London for the duration of his life and became heavily engrossed in mysticism.