WARD, William after William Redmore BIGG
The Birth of an Heir, La Naissance d'un Heritier
London: Published by William Ward, 1 March 1799. Colour printed mezzotint with added hand colour. In good condition with the exception of some light creasing, and some small repaired tears one of which extends into the image. Image size (including text): 17 3/4 x 23 3/4 inches. Sheet size: 19 11/16 x 24 3/4 inches.
A fine colour printed mezzotint, by the master engraver William Ward showing the birth of the first male heir.
William Ward is remembered as one of the most accomplished engravers of his day. He produced some of the most beautiful prints of the period, and his delicate engravings epitomize the style and sentiment of the age. Ward was primarily a mezzotint engraver but he also worked in stipple, executing hauntingly delicate prints that capture the soul and character of their subject. He studied under John Raphael Smith and quickly became one of his most distinguished pupils, incorporating his masters' delicate technique into his own distinctive style. Along with his brother James, William was a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy and soon earned the privilege of becoming mezzotint engraver to the prince regent. For any print connoisseur the work of William Ward epitomizes the best of English printmaking, his fine technical skill and inspired artistic imagination combine to create enduring images that speak of the taste and beauty of the age. This happy domestic scene showcases Ward talents as an engraver and demonstrates the simple beauty of English genre painting.