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Description: The English Print: 1688–1802
~MEASUREMENTS CITED IN THE TEXT ARE in feet and inches in order to reflect contemporary usage. In the captions they are in millimetres in accordance with standard modern practice.
PublisherPaul Mellon Centre
Author’s Note
MEASUREMENTS CITED IN THE TEXT ARE in feet and inches in order to reflect contemporary usage. In the captions they are in millimetres in accordance with standard modern practice.
It will be noticed that I have often preferred ‘English’ to ‘British’. This is primarily the consequence of a viewpoint centred on London where nearly all British print publishing took place. It also reflects eighteenth-century practice. Foreign commentators almost invariably spoke of ‘peintres anglois’ and, late in the century, ‘l’école anglois’. I have used British intentionally where it seemed appropriate to convey a wider ‘imperial’ accumulation of Germans, Scots, Americans and Irishmen. The idea of national ‘schools’ was institutionalized, chiefly by Germans, during the second half of the century. For similar reasons, I have used anglicized forms of name for those individuals who settled in England. In some cases it has become conventional to use different forms of a name in different national contexts and it has been difficult to determine which to use here. It is hoped that readers will tolerate a degree of inconsistency.
In this book works of art will usually be found to be attributed according to the belief current in the eighteenth century even when this has subsequently been discredited. I have occasionally acknowledged developments in connoissseurship but have usually deemed it more important to emphasize the existing view of what was being achieved.
Most people who are not specialists in prints are confused by ‘states’. The term is used to distinguish impressions pulled before and after changes were made to the plate. These may have been alterations made by the artist during the creation of the image (‘progress proofs’), impressions taken before or during the process of adding lettering to the completed image (‘finished proofs’), or impressions taken after later repairs or alterations to the image or lettering. I have referred to all impressions in states before the completion of the lettering for the standard published state as proofs. Museums have tended to preserve proofs rather than lettered impressions and so a disproportionate number have been illustrated. Occasionally I have been obliged to illustrate prints in the worn condition in which they were reissued some years after their original publication. I have done this unwillingly where I could not locate (or afford to reproduce) an earlier example.
I consider all material, including lettering, within the plate to be part of an intaglio print. Wherever possible illustrations extend to just beyond the platemark – a style of presentation that matches eighteenth-century exhibition framing policy. Where prints have been trimmed within the platemark, as much of the sheet as possible will have been shown.
Author’s Note
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