[Two Pencil Sketches by William Daniell, after Architect George Dance, showing the artists William Hodges and Samuel Pepys Cockerell]
[N.p., but possibly London. N.d., but possibly ca. 1809]. Each pencil sketch on a sheet 10 x 8 inches. Matted to 15½ x 13½ inches. Minor toning and soiling. Very good.
One great landscape artist portrays another.
Two pencil drawings by landscape painter and engraver William Daniell, after drawings by George Dance, possibly executed around the time of Daniell's engraving of the portraits for the work A Collection of Portraits Sketched from the Life since the year 1793 by George Dance ...(London, 1809-1814). Daniell (1769-1837) was an accomplished landscape artist, etcher and engraver. He traveled with his uncle, renowned landscape painter Thomas Daniell, to India (1786-1793), where he assisted his uncle and developed his own skills. He later produced many magnificent views of locales around the globe, particularly of India.
In addition to his well-known landscape works, he also engraved and published a series of portraits drawn by architect George Dance (1741-1825), some of which were published in a two volume work in 1809-1814. Late in his career, Dance turned his hand to other art forms, including music and chalk profile portraits of friends and acquaintances. The two subjects depicted here are fellow artists - Samuel Pepys Cockerell was a fellow architect, and William Hodges was a painter, particularly noted for being the artist on Captain James Cook's second voyage. Each volume of the work published thirty-six portraits with descriptive text about the subject. William Hodges is depicted in the second volume. The engraved portrait faces right, while this sketch faces left, making it a mirror image for printing.
The Yale Center for British Art holds not only the published work but also a volume of proof prints, each labeled in manuscript, with the manuscript title "A Series of Portraits drawn by George Dance Esq. and Engraved by Wm. Daniell." This proof volume is comprised only of portraits, with no text, and includes a further eighty-five engravings beyond the seventy-two published by Daniell in 1809-1814. This is particularly interesting in light of the fact that while the portrait of William Hodges appears in the published work, Samuel Pepys Cockerell does not - though he is among the proof prints.
Since Dance's original drawings were done in chalk, which is a much looser medium than line-engraving, it is possible that Daniell created these drawings to provide himself with a more defined and delineated image from which to create his engraving. These drawings therefore provided an interesting and important step in the engraving process.