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Francesco Londonio

(1723–1783, Milan)

Suite of 12 Pastorals for Lord Exeter. Twelve etchings with white heightening on greyish-green laid paper, each measuring approx. 21.5 x 28.5 cm. 1763–64. Nagler 35–46, Scola 53–54, I each (of III), 55 I (of II), 56 I (of III), 57 I (of II), 58 II (of IV), 59–64, I (of II).

The complete cycle, created in Naples in 1764 – and aptly described by Nagler as a “major suite” – vividly exemplifies Francesco Londonio’s skills as an etcher. Man and beast are subtly characterized with a particular eye for their very specific properties. Londonio is a master at rendering lovingly observed everyday situations – his sheep, goats and cattle are incomparably lifelike and smell of the farmyard. No human detail escapes his attention either, which enables Londonio to achieve a perfect evocation of pastoral life. In this respect the extremely likable artist was deeply influenced by the etchings of the 17th century Dutch Italianates, while the printed oeuvre of Johann Heinrich Roos must have had an effect on his style as well. The subtly applied white heightening and coloured paper lend the scenes – which are treated in a fine, delicate etching technique – a very special lustre.

Born in Milan in 1723, the artist discovered his gift for painting animals at an early age and soon gained recognition in this field. Introduced to the art of etching by none other than Benigno Bossi, he acquired a considerable mastery of this medium too, as this appealing and lyrical pastoral cycle shows. Very fine, differentiated impressions of the first edition, with wide margins. Before the edition of Antonio Franchetti. Minor isolated traces of ageing and handling, otherwise in impeccable condition.

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