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Richard Corbould

(1757–1831, London)

An Old Man with a Girl and a Dog under Old Trees. Pen lithograph, from Specimens of Polyautography.
23.6 x 33 cm. 1802. Felix H. Man “Lithography in England (1801–1810)” in Prints: Thirteen Illustrated Essays on the Art of the Print, Carl Zigrosser, New York 1962, no. 45.

Richard Corbould from London was an extremely versatile and productive artist who, having studied under the landscape draughtsman Robert Marris, initially specialised in the painting of English and Welsh landscapes in oils and watercolours. However, he soon turned his attention to portraits and history scenes and also tried his hand as a miniaturist and porcelain painter. He first displayed his works in 1776 at the Free Society and from 1777 onwards regularly exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts (1777–1811). From the early 1780s Corbould was mainly active as a book illustrator and contributed to many journals and newspapers, including The Spectator and the Guardian.

Around the turn of the century Corbould discovered another highly topical field of activity in the still very new printing technique of lithography, which had been introduced by Alois Senefelder just a few years earlier. The present pen lithograph with the idyllic depiction of an old man and a girl beneath two tall trees is one of the earliest examples of the use of this printing technique in England. It was included in the first issue of the famous Specimens of Polyauthography published in 1803. This earliest series of lithographs to be published in England incorporated works by Heinrich Füssli, James Barry, Conrad Gessner and Benjamin West and was issued by Philipp André (1800–1805) and James Heath (1757–1834). The present sheet is probably an extremely rare, individually printed impression which was published without the aquatint frame separately from the series itself. A fine impression with margins. Minor ageing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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