This wonderful, sought after original hand colored copper plate engraving is from the book ‘The Aurelian or natural history of English insects, namely Moths and Butterflies’ by Moses Harris and was published in 1766. Moses Harris (born 15 April 1730 – died about 1788) was an English entomologist and engraver. Our editions are from either the 1st edition published in 1766 or the 2nd edition published in 1778. His amazing engravings showed the insect through varying stages of its life cycle including egg, pupa, chrysalis, caterpillar and adult, he also showed the plants on which they fed and laid eggs upon.
Such 18th century botanical engravings epitomize classic English country house style with their lightness and openness of design partnered with their timeless elegance and tranquil feel. The large hand colored engraved plates features a variety of beautiful moths and butterflies printed on Whatman laid paper. This all original 18th century print is housed behind glass under a pleasing hand colored pale lemon stepped mount set within the most decorative hand textured frame.
The plate reads ‘To Lady Ecklin. This plate is humbly dedicated by her Lady’s most obedient serv’t Mofes Harris.’
The engraving is one of a set of matching four, each sold individually. They were framed, all with margins at the same gallery in 1987, the label to the verso of one reads:
‘Print Gallery, Sarsden Cottage, Sarsden, Oxfordshire. Hand colored engravings from the collection of H. R. Sykes, Swinbrook, Oxfordshire. Mounted and Framed Summer 1987 as designed by Mr. Sykes.’
Measuring: Frame width 19 7/8 inch (51 cm) by height 23 3/8 inch (59.5 cm). Frame depth 1 1/8 inch (3 cm). Aperture width 9.75 inch (25 cm) by height 12.75 inch (32 cm). Sheet size: Width 30 cm by height 46 cm. Plate size width 23.5 cm by height 31 cm.
Condition: Good, ready to hang and admire condition. Crisp, bright coloring after two centuries with some small spot of staining to the bottom of the paper, some discoloration to the bottom section of the mount below the print.
This is a beautiful hand colored engraving that will display excellently in any home. It is the perfect interior design antique that is still on trend 252 years later.
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