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Richard II
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Item Details
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England, 18th century
Richard II
Work Type
etching in brown ink
medium-weight laid paper with watermark in the middle of the sheet
Sheet: 57.3 x 40.8 cm (22 9/16 x 16 1/16 in.); Image: 34.1 x 28 cm (13 7/16 x 11 in.); Platemark: 39.9 x 32.4 cm (15 11/16 x 12 3/4 in.)
John Hamilton Mortimer supported the prevailing academic doctrine which located history painting at the top of the hierarchy of subject matter. Unlike many of his contemporaries, however, he turned to the great subjects of English literature for themes. From 1775 to 1776, Mortimer produced etchings of twelve Shakespearean characters, including King Lear, Ophelia, and Caliban. In this dramatic composition, the skeletal figure of death looms over the tense King Richard II. This rare signed proof is a marvelous example of Mortimer's Romantic sensibility.
By the time he was twenty-three years old, Mortimer had won numerous prizes for his drawings and paintings and was considered one of the rising stars of English art. In 1774, he became president of the Society of Artists of Great Britain, to whose annual exhibitions he was a regular contributor. The artist's promising career was cut short by his untimely death at the age of thirty-nine.
Edition: proof impression before borderline was added for the first edition
inscribed lower right in pen and brown ink: N:161: J:M; numbered upper right corner in brown ink: 6
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Collection: PR - Etching
Department: Prints
Provenance: Charles Ryskamp
Gift of various donors to the department of Prints and Drawings
Accession Number
Image and original data from The Cleveland Museum of Art
Use of this image is in accordance with the Artstor Terms & Conditions
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