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Portrait Art, Mezzotint, Master Bunbury, Joshua Reynolds, Antique Print, London, 1781

$375

Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) (after)
Francis Haward (1759 – 1797) (engraver)
Master Bunbury
Francis Haward, London: November 12, 1781 or later state
Mezzotint
$375

An affectionate portrait of Henry Edward Bunbury (1778-1860) at age three, after a famous painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds that is now displayed in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Reynolds was the godfather of the boy, who was the son of the famous caricaturist Henry William Bunbury (1750-1811). The painter kept the young child entertained during the sittings by telling him fairy tales. Expertly engraved with the mezzotint technique, the print captures the feel of the painterly brushwork for which Reynolds was known. A popular image, the print was reissued a few times after its original 1781 publication.

Henry Edward Bunbury eventually became an artist himself, and succeeded his uncle as 7th baronet in 1821.

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Description

Sir Joshua Reynolds was the foremost portrait painter in England in the 18th century, and was extremely influential on later generations of artists. His poses were intended to invoke classical values and to enhance the dignity of his sitters, as is evident in his portrayal of this boy.  His style incorporated strong lighting, rich color and bravura paint handling. He also made history and “fancy pictures.” As first president of the Royal Academy in London, he significantly raised the profile of art and artists in Britain. Reynolds is also known for his eloquent Discourses on Art, delivered to the students and members of the Academy between 1769 and 1790.

Francis Haward was a British engraver, known especially for his engravings after Sir Joshua Reynolds and Angelica Kauffmann. He was trained at the Royal Academy and first exhibited there in 1783. His early works were in the pure mezzotint manner, but he later adopted the hybrid style popularized by Francesco Bartolozzi. Among his outstanding works are Mrs. Siddons as the Tragic Muse, Cymon and Iphigenia, and Infant Academy.

Full publication information: Painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. Engraved by Francis Haward. London, Publish’d Nov’r 12; 1781; by Fra’s Haward, Lambeth Marth near the Turnpike.

Condition:  Generally very good with the usual overall light toning, wear, handling.

References:

“Portrait of Master Bunbury.” Philadelphia Museum of Art. https://www.philamuseum.org/collections/permanent/103817.html (27 March 2019).

Redgrave, Samuel. A Dictionary of Artists of the English School: Painters, Sculptors, Architects, Engravers and Ornamentists. London: Longmans, Green, and Col., 1874. p. 194.

Russell, Charles E. English Mezzotint Portraits and Their States: Catalogue of Corrections of and Additions to Chaloner Smith’s ‘British Mezzotinto Portraits.’ Vol 2. London: Halton & Truscott Smith, Ltd. New York: Minto, Balch & Co., 1926. 623.

“Sir Henry Edward Bunbury (Biographical details).” British Museum. https://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=130664 (28 March 2019).

“Sir Joshua Reynolds.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan: 2000. Online at Artnet.com: http://www.artnet.com/library/07/0717/T071710.asp (15 April 2002).

Additional information

Century

18th Century