WHEATLEY, Francis engraved by Joseph BARNEY
The Fisherman's Return
London: Published by Thomas Macklin, 14 March, 1793. Stipple engraving. Image size (including text): 17 1/2 x 21 5/8 inches. Sheet size: 21 3/8 x 26 7/8 inches.
A fine copy of this beautiful print after Francis Wheatley, one of the most celebrated genre painters of his day.
Wheatley was born and trained in London, and in 1769 was one of the first students admitted to the newly founded Royal Academy. Although he initially practiced as a landscape painter, by the mid 1770s he had become a popular painter of small-scale portraits and informal 'conversation-pieces'. From the 1780s onwards, Wheatley turned increasingly to sentimental domestic scenes that were perfectly attuned to the genteel sensibilities of the period. Today he is generally remembered for his Cries of London, which depicted street vendor such as milkmaids, and fruit sellers engaged in their trade on the street sides. This series was a great success, and inspired a myriad of different engravings and copies by celebrated artists such as Johan Zoffany and J. G. Huck. Wheatley's pretty genre paintings of rural and domestic life were a great source of inspiration for contemporary engravers who reproduced his work with industrious vigor. The popularity of these engravings greatly enhanced Wheatley's reputation, and made him one of the most celebrated painters of his day.
Roberts F. Wheatley, R.A. His Life and Works p.46 (undated issue).