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Portraits, Children, Mezzotint, School Boy, Joshua Reynolds, Antique Print, London, 1806


Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) (after)
John Dean (1754-c. 1798) (engraver)
A School Boy
John Peter Thompson, London: October 6, 1806
15.5 x 11 inches platemark
18 x 13.5 inches, overall

A sensitive three-quarter-length portrait of a young boy with a pensive expression holding a closed book under one arm, his other hand resting on top. The figure is rendered with strong chiaroscuro, as if lit by strong sunlight from a nearby window, the rest of his body in deep shadow. Expertly engraved with the mezzotint technique, the print captures the fluidity of the painterly brushwork for which Reynolds was known. This is a later impression of the original 1777 mezzotint originally published as The Schoolboy by the engraver, John Dean, after a painting made that same year. The original painting was bought from Reynolds by George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick and was exhibited at the British Institution four times during the 19th century. It sold at auction in London in 2014.

Product description continues below.


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.

John Dean was a British engraver and printseller active from 1773 to 1791. Born in London, he was a student of the renowned British mezzotint artist Valentine Green. Dean made many engravings after Reynolds, Romney, Gainsborough, and other prominent British painters of his era. He exhibited at the Society of Artists (1773-1778) and the Royal Academy (1789-1791).

John Peter Thompson was a British engraver, printer and printseller active from 1792 to 1819. He was a partner with William Darling in the 1790s but also worked on his own. From 1799 to 1819 he served as engraver to the Duke and Duchess of York.

Full publication information: Sir Joshua Reynolds Pinxit. John Dean Fecit. London: Published October 6, 1806, by John P. Thompson, Gt Newport Street.

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


Hamilton, Edward. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Engraved Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds. London: P. & D. Colnaghi, 1884. pp. 156 and 194. Online at:é_of_the_Engraved_Wo/SWQGAAAAQAAJ (16 May 2022).

“Lot 44: Sir Joshua Reynolds.” Sotheby’s. 9 July 2014. (16 May 2022).

Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members.” Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History. U.K.: Devon Library and Information Services. 24 July 2001. (Dean), (Thompson). (13 May 2022)

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. p. 46.

“Sir Joshua Reynolds.” The Grove Dictionary of Art. New York: Macmillan: 2000. Online at (15 April 2002).

Additional information


18th Century