Pair of Period Prints by Rev. Mathew W. Peters and Jean Paul Simon

Offered for sale is a pair of significant and extremely rare, late 18th. century, prints ( mezzo-prints ) of paintings by the The Reverend Matthew William Peters who was Chaplain to The Price Regent- who later was crowned George IV of England. I purchased these prints depicting two of his paintings from an estate two decades ago and had them put under protective glass. They were trimmed to the edge, as is often the case for such early prints. These were mounted in their present frames around 1930. I only had safety and light resistant glass added to protect these valuable works from any sun damage. As is often the situation when turning a print carefully over there was the hand written name of the artist and the printer: "Printed by Simon, Painted by Rev Peters" on the back of the print. I've put a pic of the original cardboard backing up for you to see. I spent several hundred dollars mounting these under protective glass and It was just a matter of research from there on to further garner information -match the style, character, and subject for both the artist and the printer/publisher. These are significant prints, a prided addition to any wall. I had the prints re-framed with new safety glass but kept their original Westminster frames which are IMO perfect for Fine Arts. [The Westminster frame, is a classic black with gold trim and usually a good call for serious realistic prints and watercolors. The protective glass guards against sun damage and is a wise investment. I use the Butler Galleries in Hunt Valley Md. and am very pleased with their work.


These are SIGNIFICANT, EARLY, STIPPLED MEZZOTINTS of paintings done by The Rev. Peters. I deliberately took intense closeups so you could see the stippling technique. Jean Paul Simon was one of the earliest publishers of this new lithography technique in the late 18th century. The two individual prints are illustrations created by Peters for publisher John Boydell (1719 -1804). Some of the illustrations by Peters were scenes from Shakespeare's plays and John Milton's "Paradise Lost". The illustrations may be from "Much Ado about Nothing" or perhaps "Tom Jones"]. Regarding size and condition, the frames are matching in very good to excellent condition and they measure 27.5 x 21 inches with the prints in rectangular planes measuring 19.25 x 14.5 inches, each. The prints are approx. 20" x 15.25", trimmed to abt. .75 inches all around. They are trimmed to the edge. There are very small holes to the one print of the single boy that I've shown in pictures and do not consider invasive. I had this one print backed with a color to help make these invisible. There is some foxing with minimal streaking to both. All of this can be taken out by restoration. I had them professionally framed under protective glass but chose not to have them repaired and cleaned at this time as I am partial to the condition found and the color was so good that I judged the slight fading and light streaks created by sunlight, no doubt, to not warrant putting these into commercial hands for total restoration at this time. Eventually they can be done after careful decision as to who to have do the restoration work. They have been treated for any infestation and with the protective glass should be good to go for your lifetime or beyond. The artist: The Reverend Matthew Wm. Peters was an accomplished portrait and history painter in addition to his religious vocation. He studied art at the Academy of Design in Dublin. He gained a premium from the Society of Arts in 1759. He was elected to the Royal Academy as an associate in 1771 and became an academician in 1777. Peters rendered scenes from The Merry Wives of Windsor and Much Ado About Nothing for John Boydell's Shakespeare. He also painted a full-length portrait of George IV. His works were turned into prints by prominent engravers such as Francisco Bartolozzi. Peters studied for the ministry at Exeter College, Oxford, but continued to paint after completing his degree. He first exhibited under the title "The Reverend" in 1783. For unknown reasons he resigned from the Royal Academy in 1790 and produced few paintings thereafter. One of his ecclesiastical posts was as chaplain to the Prince Regent-George The Fourth.

The Engraver :

Jean Pierre Simon [1764-1813]: Born in London, it is believed Jean Pierre studied stippling techniques under Francesco Bartolozzi. Early in his career he engraved plates for Worlidge's, Gems. By 1790, Simon had established himself as one of England's finest stipple engravers and was commissioned to create engravings after such contemporary artists as Gainsborough, Reynolds, Fuseli, and Wheatley. Simon's abilities to capture strong tonal values and contrasts placed his art in great demand and John Boydell frequently commissioned him to produce engravings for both his 'Shakespeare' And his other notable works.

The camera flash will always show some streaking that is just reflection.

Typical of early framing is the old wood backboard used which over time caused harmful acidity and what is known as back-board stains which have bleed through. On these prints, you will see an example of this. These streaks can be professionally removed as explained at sites I can direct you to should you care.

Pricing is for the pair, of course. Thank you.

Item ID: 001

Old prints, pair

$995 USD

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E.D. Ridgell , 443-823-8330, Mount Joy, PA   

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