WARD, William after George MORLAND
The Effects of Youthful Extravagance & Idleness; The Fruits of early Industry & Oeconomy
London: Published by T. Simpson, 1 July 1789 & 1 November 1789. Colour printed mezzotint with added hand colour. Image size: 20 x 15 3/4 inches. Sheet size: 22 3/8 x 16 3/4 inches approx.
A fine pair of colour printed stipple engravings by George Morland, the master of English genre painting.
George Morland was one of the most successful genre painters of his time, creating, during his industrious career, some of England's most cherished paintings. At an early age Morland displayed his artistic genius, he learned to paint at three and exhibited his first work at the Royal Academy at the mere age of ten. He was a prodigious painter, producing more than 4000 paintings during the entirety of his career, and sometimes painting two or three works in a day. His beautiful idealistic scenes were a favorite source of inspiration for contemporary engravers, and as many as 250 separate engravings were done of his paintings during his lifetime. His brother-in-law, William Ward, engraved a great number of his paintings reproducing in print his endearing paintings of English country life. Ward's engravings after Morland are some of the most beautiful prints of the period; they combine fine technical skill and inspired artistic imagination to create enduring images that speak of the taste and beauty of the age.
The original painting of "The Fruits of early Industry and Economy" is in the Philladelphia Museum of Art, rather appropriately as it reflects the views Benjamin Franklin broadcast in Poor Richard's Alamanac earlier in the 18th century. In fact, Franklin wrote to his grandson Benny Bache in 1780 that those who study hard "live comfortably in good houses", while those who are idle "are poor and dirty and ragged and ignorant and vicious and live in miserable cabins and garrets." (BF Letters 9/25/1780).
How views have changed! The comfortably pudgy successful businessman with his decanter of port, black servant in livery and healthy progeny came to be a popular target of contempt, and his idle counterpart as not so much sinning as sinned against by an implacable system that favored the few at the expense of the many.
Frankau 104a ii/ii; 104 g ii/ii.