WARD, William after George MORLAND
The Hard Bargain
London: Published by H. Macklin, 1 January 1803. Mezzotint. In good condition. Image size (including text): 18 x 23 3/4 inches. Sheet size: 26 1/4 x 21 3/8 inches.
A fine impression of this beautiful print by Ward after George Morland, the master of genre painting.
"The Hard Bargain" was one of the most successful of William Ward's mezzotints of a Morland painting. Morland's extraordinary ability to convey in posture and expression is perfectly transmitted in Ward's print, in which we see the seller of a heifer making conciliatory gestures toward the prospective buyer, who is already half turned to leave and practically snarls at the seller. The atmosphere is tense, and we have the unpleasant sense that the seller is going to accept the minimal offer.
George Morland (1763-1804) 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.
Le Blanc IV, p.177, no.118.