SMITH, John Raphael after Sir Joshua REYNOLDS (1723-1792)
London: Published by John Boydell, Cheapside, Jan. 20, 1777. Mezzotint. State iii/iii, with the engraved inscription in thick and thin cursive letters. In good condition apart from some overall light surface soiling and foxing. Occasional rubbed creases throughout image. Laid down onto cream wove backing paper. Image size: 13 1/16 x 10 15/16 inches. Sheet size: 17 1/8 x 13 1/8 inches. Plate mark: 15 x 11 inches.
This charming portrait of the fashionable Catherine Schindlerin expertly illustrates Smith's superior technique and artistic ingenuity.
Catherine Schinderlin was a German singer and actress, who began her career in London in 1775, the year Reynolds did this portrait for the Duke and Duchess of Dorset. It shows the actress in the role of the "Coquette" from an as yet unidentified play or opera. A highly influential figure in the late eighteenth-century British art world, John Raphael Smith was the most robust and prolific printmaker of his time. During his prodigious career, Smith produced nearly 400 prints, 130 of which were of his own design. The remainder were reproduced paintings by such noted British artists as Joshua Reynolds, George Romney, and Joseph Wright of Derby. Smith was an incredibly astute businessman and soon became an impresario of the print-publishing trade. At the 1783 exhibition of the Society of Artists, Smith exhibited his print of the Prince of Wales. This clever bit of marketing precipitated his appointment as the Prince of Wales' mezzotint engraver, immediately making him even more desirable to an art market hungry for quality prints. (D'Oench)
D'Oench, Copper into Gold, Prints by John Raphael Smith 88; Frankau, An Eighteenth Century Artist and Engraver, John Raphael Smith 306, iii/iii; Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits 147, iii/iii; Russell, English Mezzotint Portraits, and their States 147; O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits...in the British Museum 1; Lennox-Boyd & Stogdon, state iii/iii.