REYNOLDS, Sir Joshua (1723-1792) engraved by Francesco BARTOLOZZI
Hon. Mr. Leicester Stanhope
London: Published by F. Bartolozzi & Co. No. 81 Great Titchfield Street, June 1789. Colour-printed stipple. In excellent condition with the exception of being trimmed on the lower margin with loss to imprint. Image size (including text): 8 x 6 5/8 inches. Sheet size: 11 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches.
A charming image of childhood by one of the greatest engravers of his day, after an original by the first president of the Royal Academy.
Francesco Bartolozzi is undoubtedly England's most famous eighteenth century stipple engraver. An Italian by birth, Bartolozzi was trained in the Florentine Academy and apprenticed to the Venetian engraver Joseph Wagner. He was an accomplished painter and engraver and he began his career engraving plates after the Italian masters. With an invitation from George III Bartolozzi traveled to England where he undertook the massive task of engraving the drawings of Guercino, Tibaldi and other Italian artists housed in the Royal Collection at Windsor. During this period a new French printmaking technique came to the fore in England, and examples of it delicate results could be seen in every print shop window. According to Clayton, colour printing fuelled the vogue for stipple or dotted manner engraving, which dominated print production in France and England. Bartolozzi earned a reputation for himself by mastering this subtle medium, and his name will forever be linked with the introduction and popularization of stipple engraving in England. Bartolozzi's renown was so great that he earned the privilege of being the first engraver to gain full membership to the Royal Academy. His delicate work lives on as a testimony to his skill and innovation, and he remains one of the most sought after eighteenth century engravers. This charming image of Leicester Stanhope is a wonderful example of Bartolozzi's refined style of engraving. Leicester Fitzgerald Charles Stanhope is depicted here as a young child but he would later inherit the title of the fifth Earl of Harrington. Reynold's portrait was painted when Stanhope was under five and was known by the alternative title 'Sprightliness'. Stanhope went on to a distinguished military career in South America and India. He later supported the movements for the independence of Greece and Poland and the introduction of temperance laws in England.
Vesme & Calabi, Francesco Bartolozzi 909; O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits... in the British Museum 1; Le Blanc, Manuel de L'Amateur D'Estampes VoI I, p.173, no. 609.