Set of rustic British country landscapes, each featuring different species of large trees by the renowned tree artist James Duffield Harding. Rural folk going about their routines provide a sense of scale, and the attention to the qualities of light link Harding to his contemporaries Constable and Turner. Harding and Charles Joseph Hullmandel, with whom he collaborated on this work, were among the earliest practitioners of lithography in England. The Park and the Forest was the first published work utilizing Hullmandel's patented lithotint process, which enabled Harding to reproduce the tonal variations of a sepia ink wash drawing very effectively. The publisher and printseller Thomas McLean issued 1,000 copies; today prints from this set are in the British Government Art Collection, the British Library, and the National Gallery of Canada, among others.
James Duffield Harding was an English painter, engraver and writer who spent his life in London. Harding received his initial instruction in painting from his artist father and proved to be something of a prodigy, exhibiting for the first time at the Royal Academy at the age of 14. He went on to study watercolor painting, engraving and lithography, and his skills in both watercolor and lithography are displayed in this particular set of prints of trees. Harding was the author of an art book called Lessons on Trees. In addition, Harding wrote other books on artistic theory and practice: The Principles and Practice of Art and Elementary Art or the Use of the Lead Pencil Advocated and Explained. He was a champion of the landscapes of Turner, whose work he praised in his writings. Harding also taught art, and was the drawing master and sketching companion of famous British art critic John Ruskin.
Charles Joseph Hullmandel, an English draftsman, lithographer and printer. He worked mainly in London, although he had trained in Paris as a painter and travelled extensively in Europe making topographical drawings. In 1817, on a visit to Munich, he was introduced to lithography by the pioneering lithographer Alois Senefelder. The following year he produced Twenty-four Views of Italy, a set of images he had drawn and lithographed. Dissatisfied with the way his work had been printed, Hullmandel set up his own lithographic press. After much experimentation, in 1840 Hullmandel patented the lithotint, a process that made the prints look like ink wash drawings. He brought out his first work with this method, J.D. Harding's The Park and the Forest, the following year. The quality of work he published by himself and other artists such as Giovanni Belzoni helped popularize the topographical lithograph among British artists.
Thomas McLean (1788-1875) owned a printing firm publishing a range of works during the mid 19th century, especially sporting, humor, satire and political caricatures, as separately issued prints and in periodicals such as the Monthly Sheet of Caricatures. McLean published and sold collections of humorous illustrations by Henry Alken, George Cruikshank and Edward Lear, as well as portraits and collections of landscape prints such as J.D. Harding's The Park and the Forest (1841). Britain’s National Portrait Gallery has at least 195 portrait prints published by McLean.
Inscriptions: Each print inscribed lower left with the title and the artist's monogram, "JDH," and inscribed lower right "Printed from C. Hullmandel's Patent."
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, wear, soiling, soft creases. Few marginal tears professionally restored.
"Charles Joseph Hullmandel." The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Online at Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/library/03/0393/T039379.asp (18 November 2010).
"J(ames) D(uffield) Harding." The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan. 2000. Online at Artnet.com. http://www.artnet.com/library/03/0366/T036627.asp (18 November 2010).
Landow, George P. "J. D. Harding and John Ruskin on Nature's Infinite Variety." The Victorian Web. Reprinted from The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 38 (1970). http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/ruskin/harding.html (18 November 2010).
"Lithography in the Victorian Age." British Library. http://www.bl.uk/collections/early/victorian/lithogra/lithog2.html (18 November 2010).
“Thomas McLean.” National Portrait Gallery. 21 April 2005. http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/person.asp?LinkID=mp62465&role=art (18 November 2010).