SMITH of Derby, After Thomas (c. 1720 -1767). Engraved by Francis Vavares (1709-1780)
A North-West View of Haddon &c. an Ancient Seat belonging to his Grace the Duke of Rutland
25 October 1744. Engraving by Francis Vivares on laid paper, coloured by hand. (Early manuscript number '51' in upper right margin). Image size (including text): 14 1/81/2 x 20 5/8 inches. Sheet size: 17 x 23 1/4 inches.
A rare example from an artist who was the first to produce picturesque prints of English landscapes.
"Landscape prints encouraged admiration of natural scenery and native landscape painters sought British scenes to rival those found [abroad]... In stimulating an appetite for British beauty Thomas Smith of Derby... was a pivotal figure. A subscription for "eight of the most extraordinary Natural Prospects in the Mountainous Part of Derbyshire and Staffordshire, commonly called the peak" was proposed in June 1743... these landscapes... represent the first English appearance of the precipices and cascades that Burke would later call sublime.... Smith published a second set of four Derbyshire views in 1745 [from which the present image is taken]' (T. Clayton The English Print, 1997, p.157). One of the earliest and most influential landscape engravers was Francois Vivares. Vivares was born in France and raised in Geneva, but at the age of eighteen established himself in London. He exhibited regularly with the Incorporated Society of Artists and was highly regarded for his meticulous technique and bold style. Vivares is considered the father of English landscape engraving, his fine work inspiring generations of English engravers. Like Smith of Derby, Vivares was instrumental in introducing the concept of the "picturesque landscape" into English art. His magnificent engravings captured the golden age of the English countryside, before it was forever changed by the factories and mills of the Industrial Revolution. This Smith of Derby view is a good example of the artist's primary love. Though ostensibly a depiction of Haddon Hall, a 12th century castle, the manor itself is a small part of the rustic panorama: horses, sheep and cows at pasture, the rolling hills, the stone bridge over the Wye and the dramatic sky attract more attention.