A wonderful Mezzotint of a young family with a small girl who let her bird out to get exercise. It was a common practice for the wealthy to have exotic bird. They would tie a string to their foot to let them fly around keeping hold of this leash. This is a rare hard to find original mezzotint that is signed in pencil by the artist, 'Arthur L Cox.' Printed at bottom, 'Copyright 1924 in the United States of America by Alfred Bell & Co Ltd, Old Bond st, London England.' Printed at top, 'Published by Alfred Bell & Co Ltd, Old Bond St, London W. I., December 1st 1924 Copyright.' In the lower left corner is an embossed stamp what looks to be, “FPL.” On the verso gold foil back tag, 'Anderson Galleries Chicago.' Bottom galleries tag, 'Innocence' mezzotint printed in color by Cox after painting by Lancret. The colors are still rich and in fine detail. Measuring to the plate mark the print measures about 18-1/2 inches wide and 18-3/4 inches tall. I see no folds, tears or water damage. The original gold and blue decorated frame measures 21-1/2 inches wide and 22 inches tall. The frame does have some paint loss and dings. Has a large scratch on right side. I do see a scuff on the glass at the left edge about 1/4 inch in length but does not block the view of the print. The verso is covered with a dark brown faux leather paper. It is torn around edges but is commensurate with age of frame. I did have the original hanging wire replaced as it was unsafe due to age.
Nicolas Lancret (1690 - 1743)
Nicolas Lancret was born in Paris in 1690. He was a French genre painter whose brilliant depictions of fetes galantes or scenes of courtly amusements reflected the society of his time. He trained as an engraver before apprenticing as a painter and studied under Watteau and Gillot. He was a student at the Academie Royale, where he was expelled for "bad" behavior. Lancret then entered the workshop of Claude Gillot. By 1719 he joined the Academie Royale and began to achieve large commercial success . The number of his paintings is immense, of which over eighty have been engraved. (thursdaysantiques)
A Mezzotint is a printmaking process that was 'invented' in Germany in the mid-17th century by Ludwig von Siegen (1609–c.1680) the earliest known prints dating from 1642. It is a time-consuming and immensely demanding process, in which a plate is prepared with a hard steel and chisel-shaped tool called a rocker. A blade is fixed into the handle and rocked from side to side until the plate is completely covered in zigzag indentations in perhaps as many as 80 different directions. The polished surface is then cut away to various depths with a mezzotint scraper. The more the texture is scraped away in any area, the less ink will be held on the plate and the lighter in tone the printed result will become. For all its laboriousness, this process is capable of producing tones of immense subtlety and richness, up to a deep, velvety black. The name is derived from the Italian mezzo-tinto meaning 'half-tone' or 'half-painted.' (artbiogs)
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