WARD, William (1766-1826) after George MORLAND (1763-1804)
The Sportsman's Return
London: Published by Thomas Macklin, Poet's Gallery, Fleet Street, Dec. 20, 1792. Colour-printed mezzotint. In fair condition with the exception of being trimmed within the plate mark and remargined. Image size: 17 15/16 x 23 9/16 inches. Sheet size: 19 3/4 x 25 5/8 inches.
A nice colour printed impression of Ward's idyllic print, a fond reflection of English rural life, after a painting by George Morland.
A hunter shows off the hare he has just shot to a shoe repair man, who has a neat little adjunct to the tavern, in which he can sit but not stand up. Another man ties up his horse. It seems to be a moment chosen almost at random in the pleasant life that surrounds the country public house.
George Morland 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.