This charming Georgian hand colored engraving is from ‘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 abt 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.
The large hand colored engraved plates features a variety of beautiful moths and butterflies printed on laid paper. Harris's detailed 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.
Our original example is printed on a rare laid paper with a Fleur-de-lis watermark above the initials ‘L. V. G.’ - this watermark was used by an unknown paper manufacturer during the 18th century.
The plate reads ‘To Sir Nathaniel Curzon Bar. This Plate is most humbly Dedicated by His most Obliged and Humble Servant Moses Harris.’
This genuine 18th century print is housed behind glass under a decorative hand colored pale washed yellow mount set within the most decorative textured frame. The engraving is one of a set of matching four, each retailed individually. They were framed at the same gallery in 1987, only one of the frames has the label which reads:
‘Print Gallery, Sarsden Cottage, Sarsden, Oxfordshire. Hand coloured 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: PLXXI good condition with some minor foxing to the paper.
This 18th century botanical engraving epitomizes classic English country house style with its lightness of design partnered with its timeless elegance.
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