Sir Sidney Smith. 1802. Mezzotint. 25 1/4 x 17 (plate). Text: 'Robert Ker Porter pinx.t. W.Say sculp.t. London Published as the Act directs, June 19 1802, by John P. Thompson, Printseller to his Majesty and their Royal Highness's the Duke and Duchess of York; Great Newport Street, and No 51, Dean Street, Soho.' Signed, dated and titled in the plate. Vertical stain under the 'S' in Smith; otherwise apparently fine condition. $550.00
Sir William Sidney Smith KCB (1764-1840), was a British admiral who aided the Turks in their resistance to Napoleon in Egypt and the Levant. Napoleon Bonaparte said of him, 'That man made me miss my destiny'.
In his early twenties, William Say learned mezzotint from James Ward and began to sign plates in 1795, soon becoming recognized as one of the most competent engravers of his generation. Most of his prints are portraits after such contemporary painters as Lawrence, but he also engraved subject pictures after Henry Thompson (1773-1843), among others, and Old Masters, including Rembrandt's painting Young Girl at a Window (1645; London, Dulwich Pict. Gal.). He also added mezzotint to plates for Turner's Liber Studiorum (1807-19). His Queen Caroline after Arthur Devis (O'Donoghue, 11), engraved in 1820, was the first mezzotint engraved on steel rather than copper, and it printed 1200 impressions. In 30 years Say engraved over 330 plates
Robert Ker Porter (1777-1842), noted artist, author, diplomat and traveler. Known today for his accounts of his travels in Spain, Portugal and Russia, he also served as the British consul in Venezuela. Porter visited Spain in 1808 and was invited by Sir John Moore whom he had met previously in Sweden, to accompany the British forces, and the artist witnessed the actions at Benavente, Sahagun and Corunna. He was also one of the earliest panorama painters in Britain producing several significant pieces including the Storming of Seringapatam, the Siege of Acre, The Battle of Lodi, Defeat of the French at the Devil's Bridge, Mont St. Gothard, by Suwarrow, and the Battle of Alexandria. He was knighted for his services to the diplomatic corps. He also exhibited several pictures at the Royal Academy including Death of Sir Philip Sydney in 1792, The Defeat of King Stephen at the Battle of Lincoln in 1793, and the Battle of Northampton in 1796.
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