This very rare, complete set of four hand colored mezzotints were produced in England during the early 19th century, circa 1805. The engravings were created to celebrate The Acts of Union 1800 which were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The acts came into force on 1 January 1801, and the merged Parliament of the United Kingdom had its first meeting on 22 January 1801.
Each of the prints depicts the emblems of each of the four nations.
England is represented by the emblematic figure Britannia which is the female personification of the British Isles, a symbol of Strength, Unity and Liberty. She is depicted wearing classical attire with a lion at her feet and a vignette of a sailing ship on the horizon. To her left we can see the traditional English Rose. Notice Britannia and lion standing on the fallen French flag, clearly referencing the ongoing Napoleonic Wars.
Ireland is represented with the wire strung Celtic harp. The Irish harp which is the official symbol of Ireland. At the top of the flag we can see the Irish harp and the St Georges cross along with the text reading ‘Union’.
Scotland shows Caledonia dressed in plaid. The small lad at her side also dressed in tartan is holding the flag of St Andrew and also some Thistles. A unicorn rests at their feet.
Wales is represented in the engraving as Cambria with a leek in her hair. She is holding the Prince of Wales's feathers which is the heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales. It consists of three white ostrich feathers emerging from a gold coronet.
A rare delight to have a complete set of four. Each is housed behind old glass in their original oak frames with the most wonderful natural patina. To the backing board of each picture we find the label of Michael Carleton of number 77/81 Haverstock Hill, London. Michael Carleton was a picture framer, antique furniture dealer, interior decorator who also rented his art and antiques for film and television hire.
This is the perfect set of engravings for anyone who has a passion for British history or is looking for the English country house look.
We have only found one other example of this exact set. Please see Reference: Northeast Auctions Spring Continental Auction, March 13, 2010 Lot 411.
Measuring: Frame width 11 1/8 inch (28 cm) by height 13 3/8 inch (34 cm). Aperture width 9.25 inch (23.5 cm) by height 11.75 inch (29.5 cm).
Condition: Historically trimmed to fit the frame (titles missing). Minor spot of wear to top left corner of paper of ‘England’ and minor light discoloration to the dresses of ‘England’ and ‘Scotland’. The frames are in good antique condition and have some historic bumping and the occasional shallow surface chip.
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Prior to purchase, please study all images and condition information, as these form an integral part of the description.
Antique 19th Century British Mezzotint, Complete Set, Emblem of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, Georgian Circa 1805
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