[Triumph of Britannia]
circa 1780. Engraving. Unfinished working proof. Printed on watermarked laid paper. In excellent condition with the exception of being trimmed within the platemark on all sides. Some creases in image. Image size: 15 1/8 x 20 1/2 inches. Sheet size: 15 3/4 x 20 3/4 inches.
An extremely rare working proof of James Fittler's striking engraving of Britannia.
James Fittler was a skilled etcher and engraver, who established a reputation as an exceptional marine engraver. His oeuvre included portraits and book illustrations but he was best known for his appealing marine scenes. Trained at the Royal Academy schools, Fittler became an associate in 1800. He was a regular exhibitor at the Academy and was appointed "Marine Engraver" to George III. This stunning image of Britannia is an excellent example of his skill and a fascinating glimpse of the etching process. This intriguing print shows a unique step in the printmaking process before an image is ready for publication. Before the image is completed the engraver has printed a trial impression to view this stage of the engraved plate. It is incredibly rare to find prints in this unfinished experimental stage. Impressions which were pulled as working proofs are unique and were almost never duplicated
Dictionary of National Biography; Benezit, Dictionnaire Des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs, Vol. 5, p. 492.