Twelfth Night, II, iv Olivia, Maria & Malvolio BYD33 $325
Each print measures approximately 28
inches by 22 inches with the plate mark size measuring
approximately 23 1/2 inches by 17 1/2 inches
John Boydell (1719-1804), visionary publisher & Lord
Mayor of London, made his large fortune publishing
engravings, including views of England & Wales. With a
group of influential citizens, he embarked on a massive
project utilizing the best English artists to capture
the memorable scenes in Shakespeare’s works in a series
of large paintings.
Those artists included J. M. W. Turner, William Blake, Sir Joshua
Reynolds, Will Hamilton, Henry Fuseli, Josiah Boydell,
Francis Wheatley, Angelica Kauffmann, and Benjamin West.
In 1789, these paintings were showcased in a gallery on
the most fashionable avenue in London, England, the Pall
Engravings from these paintings were first published in
1802, then working with the original plates, republished
in 1852. This project marked a dramatic shift in the art
world. Artists who had previously worked principally
from the commissions of wealthy patrons and royalty now
saw the possibility of earning a living in a less
restrictive manner. Other entrepreneurs followed
Boydell’s lead resulting in the development of a School
of Historical Painters.
Sadly, the French Revolution intervened, closing off
the mainland European market to Boydell who was forced
to shutter his gallery. Almost bankrupted, Boydell’s
estate sold the collection of 167 paintings in 1804, a
few months after his death. Most have been lost to
posterity, but Richard Westall's painting, from Henry
VIII, remains in the collection of the Folger
Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.
The lasting impact of Boydell’s project was to
forever popularize Shakespeare’s works in the eyes of
the general public and to change the course of English
art, greatly broadening the artist’s ability to earn a
living beyond portraiture and views.
Shearjashub Spooner (1809-1859) restored and published a two-volume set of Boydell’s plates
in 1852 under the title The American edition of Boydell's Illustrations of the dramatic works of Shakespeare, by the most eminent artists of Great Britain.
Spooner was a successful dentist in New York who acquired Boydell’s plates and sold
the restored version for $100 for 100 plates. The edition
is notable by its strong impressions and many of the
rich details were enhanced by re-engraving the worn areas. Essentially, these are later states of the earlier prints,
and include the plate numbers in the title area. The prints we are offering here are from this American edition.
Each print measures approximately 28 inches by 22 inches
on heavy wove paper, with the image area at
approximately 23 1/2 by 17
1/2 inches. The border is not fully shown in the images
we have published.
On some, this border may have minor imperfections which
will easily mat out. These fabulous, high quality
engravings rarely appear on the market, so we are
delighted to offer them. Please email us if you do not
see your favorite, as we do have the entire set.
We accept credit cards & PayPal. Washington state residents pay Washington state sales tax. Shipping for this item is $15.00
due to the large size of flat shipping. Items can be combined to save on postage. International shipping
starts at $30 and buyers are responsible for all customs duties
and fees. Our environment is smoke free. We pack professionally using only new materials. All items are beautifully wrapped and suitable for sending directly as gifts. You may return any item within 7 days if not satisfied. To order, you may call us at 1-888-PANTEEK, fax or email.