BLAGDON, Francis William (1778-1819) and George MORLAND (1763-1804)
Authentic Memoirs of the Late George Morland, with Remarks on his Abilities and Progress as an Artist: in which are Interspersed a Variety of Anecdotes Never Before Published; Together with a Fac-simile of His Writing, Specimens of His Hieroglyphical Sketches &c
London: Printed for Edward Orme, 1806 [watermarked 1824]. Oblong folio. (17 1/4 x 22 5/8 inches). Letterpress title, 20 hand coloured plates including frontispiece portrait. 15 pp. of text, with etched facsimile of Morland's writing printed as an illustration on p.12. Engravers include William Ward, T. Vivares, E. Bell, and R. Dodd.
Contemporary half roan and marbled paper covered boards, morocco lettering piece on upper cover
Provenance: Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (bookplate to front pastedown; his sale, Christie's London, 27 January 2006, lot 634)
The Duke of Gloucester's copy of a rare folio British colour plate book. The extremely rare first edition, in the definitive third issue, wherein all the plates are hand coloured.
This beautiful collection of prints after the work of George Morland was collected by Francis Blagdon. An unusual variety of printing processes were used in this book, published after Morland's death in 1804: aquatint, soft ground etching, stipple engraving and mezzotint, with the mezzotints printed in colour. "Blagdon's Memoirs of George Morland is an extremely scarce book and I have had great difficulty in tracing copies to compare" (Tooley). The work is often "broken up for the value of the plates. Of these, one is in aquatint, the rest are in soft ground etching, mezzotint and stipple, the colour-printed mezzotints, rarely found associated with aquatint in illustration, being specially sought for" (Prideaux). George Morland was a landscape and genre painter. "His most enduring subjects were of farmyards, cottage scenes, stables, and country alehouses. His achievement in his best work of the early 1790s was to offer the viewer a relatively unaffected representation of rural life and yet to do so in conformity with the standards of taste of the period […] He was one of the first painters to break away from the traditional arrangements between artists and patrons. He produced his own designs, not relying on commissions, and sold directly to dealers, print publishers, and prints" (Oxford DNB). There were no less than four published biographies of Morland issued after his death, with Blagdon's being by far the most compelling due to the engravings of Morland's depictions of various rustic subjects. In all, a superb example of British pastoralism, enlivened with exquisite hand colouring.
Tooley 91; Abbey Life 208.