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Title: Engraving: Its Origin, Processes, and History
Author: Delaborde, Henri
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Engraving: Its Origin, Processes, and History" ***

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    THE FINE-ART LIBRARY.

    EDITED BY JOHN C. L. SPARKES,

    _Principal of the National Art Training School, South Kensington
    Museum_.



    ENGRAVING:
    _ITS ORIGIN, PROCESSES, AND HISTORY._

    BY
    LE VICOMTE HENRI DELABORDE.

    TRANSLATED BY
    R. A. M. STEVENSON.

    _With an Additional Chapter on English Engraving_,

    BY
    WILLIAM WALKER.

    CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED:
    _LONDON, PARIS, NEW YORK & MELBOURNE._
    1886.

    [ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.]



EDITORIAL NOTE.


The author of "La Gravure," of which work the present volume is a
translation, has devoted so little attention to English Engraving, that
it has been thought advisable to supplement his somewhat inadequate
remarks by a special chapter dealing with this subject.

In accordance with this view, Mr. William Walker has contributed an
account of the rise and progress of the British School of Engraving,
which, together with his Chronological Table of the better-known
English Engravers, will, we feel sure, add much to the value of the
Work in the eyes of English readers.



CONTENTS.


  CHAP.                                                        PAGE

     I. THE PROCESSES OF EARLY ENGRAVING. THE BEGINNINGS OF
        ENGRAVING IN RELIEF. XYLOGRAPHY AND PRINTING WITH
        MOVABLE TYPE                                              1


    II. PLAYING CARDS. THE DOT MANNER                            30

   III. FIRST ATTEMPTS AT INTAGLIO ENGRAVING. THE NIELLI OF
        THE FLORENTINE GOLDSMITHS. PRINTS BY THE ITALIAN AND
        GERMAN PAINTER-ENGRAVERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY        49

    IV. LINE ENGRAVING AND WOOD ENGRAVING IN GERMANY AND
        ITALY IN THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY                           86

     V. LINE ENGRAVING AND ETCHING IN THE LOW COUNTRIES, TO
        THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY              118

    VI. THE BEGINNING OF LINE ENGRAVING AND ETCHING IN
        FRANCE AND ENGLAND. FIRST ATTEMPTS AT MEZZOTINT. A
        GLANCE AT ENGRAVING IN EUROPE BEFORE 1660               150

   VII. FRENCH ENGRAVERS IN THE REIGN OF LOUIS XIV              178

  VIII. ENGRAVING IN FRANCE AND IN OTHER EUROPEAN
        COUNTRIES IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. NEW
        PROCESSES: STIPPLE, CRAYON, COLOUR, AND AQUATINT        211

    IX. ENGRAVING IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY                     248

  A CHAPTER ON ENGLISH ENGRAVING                                287

  CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE OF ENGLISH ENGRAVERS                      331

  INDEX                                                         343



ENGRAVING.



CHAPTER I.

    THE PROCESSES OF EARLY ENGRAVING. THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGRAVING
    IN RELIEF. XYLOGRAPHY AND PRINTING WITH MOVABLE TYPE.


The nations of antiquity understood and practised engraving, that is
to say, the art of representing things by incised outlines on metal,
stone, or any other rigid substance. Setting aside even those relics of
antiquity in bone or flint which still retain traces of figures drawn
with a sharp-pointed tool, there may yet be found in the Bible and in
Homer accounts of several works executed by the aid of similar methods;
and the characters outlined on the precious stones adorning the
breastplate of the high-priest Aaron, or the scenes represented on the
armour of Achilles, might be quoted amongst the most ancient examples
of the art of engraving. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Etruscans have left
us specimens of goldsmith's work and fragments of all kinds, which, at
any rate, attest the practice of engraving in their countries. Finally,
every one is aware that metal seals and dies of engraved stone were in
common use amongst the Romans.

Engraving, therefore, in the strict sense of the word, is no invention
due to modern civilisation. But many centuries elapsed before man
acquired the art of multiplying printed copies from a single original,
to which art the name of engraving has been extended, so that nowadays
the word signifies the operation of producing a print.

Of engraving thus understood there are two important processes
or methods. By the one, strokes are drawn on a flat surface, and
afterwards laboriously converted by the engraver into ridges,
which, when coated with ink, are printed on the paper in virtue of
their projection. By the other, outlines, shadows, and half-tints
are represented by incisions intended to contain the colouring
matter; while those parts meant to come out white on paper are left
untouched. Wood-cutting, or engraving in relief, is an example of the
first method; while to the second belongs metal-work or copperplate
engraving, which we now call engraving with the burin, or line
engraving.

In order to engrave in relief, a block, not less than an inch thick,
of hard, smooth wood, such as box or pear, is used. On this block
every detail of the design to be engraved is drawn with pen or pencil.
Then such places as are meant to come out white in the print are cut
away with a sharp tool. Thus, only those places that have been covered
beforehand by the pencil or the pen remain at the level of the surface
of the block; they only will be inked by the action of the roller; and
when the block is subjected to the action of the press, they only will
transfer the printing ink to the proof.

This method, earlier than that of the incised line, led to engraving
"in camaïeu," which was skilfully practised in Italy and Germany during
the sixteenth century. As in camaïeu engraving those lines which define
the contours are left as ridges by the cutting away of the surrounding
surface, we may say that in this method (which the Italians call
"chiaroscuro") the usual processes of engraving in relief are employed.
But it is a further object of camaïeu to produce on the paper flat
tints of various depths: that is to say, a scale of tones somewhat
similar to the effect of drawings washed in with Indian ink or sepia,
and touched up with white. Now such a chromatic progression can only
be arrived at by the co-operation of distinct processes. Therefore,
instead of printing from a single surface, separate blocks are employed
for the outlines, shadows, and lights, and a proof is taken by the
successive application of the paper to all these blocks, which are made
to correspond exactly by means of guiding marks.

A third style of engraving in relief, the "early dot manner," was
practised for some time during the period of the Incunabuli, when the
art was, as the root of this Latin word shows, still "in its cradle."
By this method the work was no longer carried out on wood, but on
metal; and the engraver, instead of completely hollowing out those
parts destined to print light, merely pitted them with minute holes,
leaving their bulk in relief. He was content that these masses should
appear upon the paper black, relieved only by the sprinkling of white
dots resulting from the hollows.

We just mention by way of note the process which produced those rare
specimens called "_empreintes en pâte_." All specimens of this work are
anterior in date to the sixteenth century, and belong less strictly to
art than to industry, as the process only consisted in producing on
paper embossed designs strongly suggesting the appearance of ornaments
in embroidery or tapestry. To produce these inevitably coarse figures
a sort of half-liquid, blackish gum or paste was introduced into
the hollow portions of the block before printing. On the block thus
prepared was placed a sheet of paper, previously stained orange, red,
or light yellow, and the paste contained in the hollow places, when
lodged on the paper, became a kind of drawing in relief, something like
an impasto of dark colour. This was sometimes powdered with a fluffy or
metallic dust before the paste had time to harden.

Though simple enough as regards the mere process, in practice line
engraving demands a peculiar dexterity. When the outlines of the
drawing that is to be copied have been traced and transferred to a
plate usually made of copper,[1] the metal is attacked with a sharp
tool, called the dry-point. Then the trenches thus marked out are
deepened, or fresh ones are made with the graver, which, owing to its
shape, produces an angular incision. The appearance of every object
represented in the original must be reproduced solely by these incised
lines: at different distances apart, or tending in various directions:
or by dots and cross-hatchings.

Line engraving possesses no other resources. Moreover, in addition
to the difficulties resulting from the use of a refractory tool, we
must mention the unavoidable slowness of the work, and the frequent
impossibility of correcting faults without having recourse to such
drastic remedies as obtaining a fresh surface by re-levelling the plate
where the mistakes have been made.

Etching by means of aquafortis, originally used by armourers in their
damascene work, is said to have been first applied to the execution
of plates in Germany towards the close of the fifteenth century.
Since then it has attracted a great many draughtsmen and painters,
as it requires only a short apprenticeship, and is the quickest kind
of engraving. Line engravers have not only frequently used etching
in beginning their plates, but have often employed it, not merely to
sketch in their subject, but actually in conjunction with the burin.
Many important works owe their existence to the mixture of the two
processes, among others the fine portraits of Jean Morin, and the
admirable "Batailles d'Alexandre," engraved by Gérard Audran, after
Lebrun. But at present we are only occupied with etching as practised
separately and within the limits of its own resources.

The artist who makes use of this method has to scoop no laborious
furrows. He draws with the needle, on a copper plate covered with a
coating of varnish, suggestions of form as free as the strokes of pen
or pencil. At first these strokes only affect the surface of the copper
where the needle has freed the plate from varnish. But they become of
the necessary depth as soon as a certain quantity of corrosive fluid
has been poured on to the plate, which is surrounded by a sort of wax
rampart. For a length of time proportioned to the effect intended, the
acid is allowed to bite the exposed parts of the metal, and when the
plate is cleaned proofs can be struck off from it.

With the exception of such few modifications as characterise prints in
the scraped or scratched manner, called "sgraffio," and in the stippled
manner, the methods of engraving just mentioned are all that have been
used in Europe from the end of the Middle Ages up to about the second
half of the seventeenth century. We need not, therefore, at present
mention more recent processes, such as mezzotint, aquatint, &c., each
of which we shall touch upon at its proper place in the history of the
art. Before proceeding with this history, let us try to recollect
the facts with which we have prefaced it; and, as chronological order
proscribes, to differentiate and classify the first productions of
relief engraving.

However formal their differences of opinion on matters of detail,
technical writers hold as certain one general fact. They all agree in
recognising that the methods of relief engraving were practised with a
view to printing earlier than the method of intaglio. What interval,
however, separates the two discoveries? At what epoch are we to place
the invention of wood engraving? or if the process, as has been often
alleged, is of Asiatic origin, when was it brought into Europe? To
pretend to give a decisive answer to these questions would be, at
least, imprudent. Conjectures of every sort, and even the most dogmatic
assertions, are not wanting. But the learned have in vain evoked
testimony, interpreted passages, and drawn conclusions. They have gone
back to first causes, and questioned the most remote antiquity; they
have sometimes strangely forced the meaning of traditions, and have
too often confounded simple material accidents with the evidences
of conscious art properly so called. Yet the problem is as far from
solution as ever, and, indeed, the number and diversity of opinions
have up till now done little but render conviction more difficult and
doubt more excusable.

Our authorities, for instance, are not justified in connecting the
succession of modern engravers with those men who, "even before the
Deluge, engraved on trees the history of their times, their sciences,
and their religion."[2] Nor is the mention by Plutarch of a certain
almost typographical trick of Agesilaus, King of Sparta, excuse enough
for those who have counted him among the precursors of Gutenberg. It is
by no means impossible that Agesilaus, in a sacrifice to the gods on
the eve of a decisive battle may have been clever enough to deceive his
soldiers, by imprinting on the liver of the victim the word "Victory,"
already written in reverse on the palm of his hand. But in truth such
trickery only distantly concerns art; and if we are to consider the
Greek hero as the inventor of printing, we must also allow that it has
taken us as long as eighteen centuries to profit by his discovery.

We shall therefore consider ourselves entitled to abandon all
speculations on the first cause of this discovery in favour of an
exclusive attention to such facts as mark an advance from the dim
foreshadowing of its future capabilities to the intelligent and
persevering practice of the perfected processes of the art. We shall
be content to inquire towards what epoch this new method, the heir of
popular favour, supplemented the old resources of the graphic arts
by the multiplication of engravings in the printing press. And we
may therefore spare ourselves the trouble of going back to doubtful
or remote information, to archæological speculations, more or less
excused by certain passages in Cicero, Quintilian, and Petronius, or
by a frequently quoted phrase of Pliny on the books, ornamented with
figures, that belonged to Marcus Varro.[3]

Moreover in examining the historical question from a comparatively
modern epoch only, we are not certain to find for ourselves, still
less to provide for others, perfectly satisfactory answers. Reduced
even to these terms, such a question is complicated enough to excuse
controversy, and vast enough to make room for a legendary as well as
a critical view of the case. Xylography, or block printing, which may
be called the art of stamping on paper designs and immovable letters
cut out on wood, preceded without doubt the invention of printing in
movable metal characters. Some specimens authentically dated, such as
the "St. Christopher" of 1423, and certain prints published in the
course of the following years, prove with undeniable authority the
priority of block printing. It remains to be seen if these specimens
are absolutely the first engraved in Europe; whether they illustrate
the beginning of the art, or only a step in its progress; whether, in
one word, they are types without precedent, or only chance survivals of
other and more ancient styles of wood engraving.

Papillon, in support of the opinion that the earliest attempts took
place at Ravenna before the end of the thirteenth century, brings into
court a somewhat doubtful story. Two children of sixteen, the Cavaliere
Alberico Cunio and his twin sister Isabella, took it into their heads
in 1284 to carve on wood "with a little knife," and to print by some
process seemingly as simple a series of compositions on "the chivalrous
deeds of Alexander the Great." The relations and friends of the two
young engravers, Pope Honorius IV. amongst others, each received a
copy of their work. After this no more was heard of the discovery till
the day when Papillon miraculously came across evidences of it in
the library of "a Swiss officer in retirement at Bagneux." Papillon
unfortunately was satisfied with merely recording his discovery. It
never occurred to him to ensure more conclusive publicity, nor even
to inquire into the ultimate fate of the prints he only had seen. The
collection of "The Chivalrous Deeds of Alexander the Great" again
vanished, and this time not to reappear. It is more prudent, in default
of any means of verification, to withhold our belief in the precocious
ability of the Ravenna twins, their xylographic attempts, and the
assertions of their admirers, although competent judges, such as the
Abbé Zani,[4] and after him Emeric David, have not hesitated to admit
the authenticity of the whole story.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--THE ST. CHRISTOPHER OF 1423.]

The learned Zani had, in truth, his own reasons for taking Papillon
at his word. Had the story tended to establish the pre-existence of
engraving in Germany, he would probably have investigated the matter
more closely, and with a less ready faith. But the glory of Italy was
directly at issue, and Zani, honest though he was, did not feel
inclined to receive with coldness, still less to reject, testimony
which, for lack of better, might console his national self-respect,
and somewhat help to avenge what the Italians called "German vanity."
Pride would have been a better word, for the pretensions of Germany
with regard to wood engraving are based on more serious titles and
far more explicit documents than the one discovered by Papillon, and
recklessly passed on by Zani. Heinecken and the other German writers on
the subject doubtless criticise in a slightly disdainful manner, and
with some excess of patriotic feeling. For all that, they defend their
opinions by documents, and not by mere traditions; and if all their
examples are not quite evidently German, those which are not should in
justice be attributed to Flanders, or to Holland, and by no means to
Italy.

In this struggle of rival national claims the schools of the Low
Countries are entitled to their share of glory. It is quite possible
that their claims, so generally ignored towards the end of the last
century, should in the present day be accounted the most valid of all;
and that, in this obscure question of priority, the presumption may be
in favour of the country which supplied an art closely connected with
engraving with its first elements and its first examples. It would
be unbecoming in every way to pretend to enter here on a detailed
history of the origin of printing. The number of exhaustive works
on the subject, the explanations of M. Léon de Laborde, M. Auguste
Bernard, and more recently of M. Paeile, would render it a mere lesson
in repetition or a too easy parade of borrowed learning. Anyhow, the
discovery of printing with type is so intimately connected with the
printing of engravings, and the practical methods in both are so much
alike, that it is necessary to mention a few facts, and to compare a
few dates. We shall therefore, under correction, reduce to the limits
of a sketch the complete picture drawn by other hands.

If printing be strictly understood to mean typography, or the art of
transferring written matter to paper by means of movable and raised
metal types, there can be no doubt that its discovery must date from
the day on which there was invented at Mayence the process of casting
characters in a mould previously stamped in the bottom by a steel die
bearing the type to be reproduced.

Gutenberg, with whom the idea of this decisive improvement originated,
is in this sense the earliest printer. His "Letters of Indulgence" of
1454 and his "Bible" are the oldest examples of the art with which he
is for ever associated. In a general sense, however, and in a wider
meaning of the word, it may be said that printing was known before
Gutenberg's time, or at least before he published his typographical
masterpieces. People previously knew both how to print broadsides from
characters cut on a single block, and how to vary the arrangement of
the text by using, in place of an immovable row of letters, characters
existing as separate types, and capable of various combinations. On
this point we must trust to the testimony of one of Gutenberg's
workmen, Ulrich Zell, the first printer established in Cologne. Far
from attributing to his master the absolute invention of movable type,
he merely contrasts with the process known and practised in the Low
Countries before the second half of the fifteenth century "the far more
delicate process" of cast type "that was discovered later." And Ulrich
Zell adds, "the first step towards this invention was taken in 1440 in
the printing of the copies of Donatus,[5] which were printed before
this time in Holland (_ab illis atque ex illis_)."

Now if these copies of Donatus were not printed by means of movable
type, why should they be mentioned rather than the many other works
equally fitted to give a hint to Gutenberg? Why, in going back to
the origin of the discovery, should his pupil say nothing of those
illustrated legends which were xylographically cut and sold in all
the Rhenish towns, and which the future inventor of printing must
have seen hundreds of times? For the attention of Gutenberg to have
been thus concentrated on a single object, there must have been some
peculiar merit and some stamp of real progress in the mode of execution
to distinguish the copies of Donatus printed at Haarlem from other
contemporary work. Laurence Coster--the name attributed to the inventor
of the process which Gutenberg improved--must have already made use of
a method more closely allied than any other to the improvements about
to follow, and destined to put a term to mere experiments.

To suppose the contrary is to misunderstand the words of Ulrich Zell
and the influence which he attributes to the Dutch edition of Donatus,
from which Gutenberg derived "the first idea of his invention." It
is still more difficult to understand how, if the Donatuses are
block-printed, reversed letters are sometimes found in the fragmentary
specimens which survive. There is nothing the least extraordinary
in such a mistake when it can be explained by the carelessness of
a compositor of movable type, but such a mistake would really be
incredible on the part of a xylographic workman. What possible caprice
could have tempted him to engrave occasional letters upside down? One
could only suppose he erred, not from inadvertence, but with voluntary
infidelity and in calculated defiance of common sense.

The discovery which has immortalised the name of Gutenberg should be
recognised and admired as the conclusion and crown of a series of
earlier attempts in printed type. Taking into account the inadequacy
of the movable type, whether of wood or of any other substance, first
employed by the Dutch, and the perfection of the earliest specimens
of German printing, it can and should be admitted that, before the
publication of the "Letters of Indulgence," the "Bible," and other
productions from the workshop of Gutenberg and his fellow-labourers,
attempts at genuine typography had been already pursued, and to a
certain extent rewarded with success.

From the very confession of Ulrich Zell, a confession repeated by the
anonymous author of the "Chronicle of Cologne" printed in 1499,[6] the
first rude essay in the art (_prefiguratio_) was seen in the town of
Haarlem. We may, in short, conclude that the idea of combining designs
cut on wood with a separate letterpress in movable types, belongs in
all probability to Holland.

One of the oldest collections of engravings with subject matter printed
by this process is the "Speculum Humanæ Salvationis," mentioned by
Adrian Junius in his "Batavia"--written, it would seem, between the
years 1560 and 1570, but not published till 1588, many years after his
death. Therein it is expressly stated that the "Speculum" was printed
before 1442 by Lourens Janszoon Coster. It is true that Junius is
speaking of events which occurred more than a century before the time
to which he ascribes them: "on the testimony," as he says, "of very
aged men, who had received this tradition, as a burning torch passed
from hand to hand." And this belated narrative has appeared, and may
still appear, somewhat doubtful. We ourselves consider the doubt to be
exaggerated, but we shall not insist on that. The specimens survive
which gave rise to such legends and commentaries; and it is fitting
they should be questioned.

Four editions of the "Speculum" are known, two in Dutch and two in
Latin. It must be understood that we only speak of the editions which
have no publishers' names, no dates, nor any sign of the place where
they were published: the "Speculum," a sort of Christian handbook,
much used in the Low Countries, having been frequently reprinted, with
due indication of names and places, during and after the last twenty
years of the fifteenth century. The oldest Dutch edition that is
dated, the one of 1483, printed by John Veldenaer, reproduces certain
engravings which had already embellished the four anonymous editions,
with the difference that the plates have been sawn in two to suit the
dimensions of a smaller volume. Hence, whatever conjectures may exist
as to the date of the first publication, we have, at least, a positive
fact: as the original plates only appear in a mutilated state in the
copies printed in 1483, it is evident that the four editions where they
appear entire are of earlier date. These questions remain:--first,
whether they are earlier, too, than the second half of the fifteenth
century--earlier, that is, than the time when Gutenberg gave to the
world the results of his labour? and second, whether they originated,
like the edition of Donatus, in a Dutch workshop?

Doubt seems impossible on the last point. These four editions are all
printed with the same cuts, on the same paper made in Brabant, and
under the same typographical conditions, with the exception of some
slight differences in the characters of the two Dutch editions, and the
insertion of twenty leaves xylographically printed in one of the two
Latin editions. Is it, then, likely, or even possible, that these books
belong, as has been supposed, to Germany?

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--THE HOLY VIRGIN AND THE INFANT JESUS.

German Wood Engraving. (Fifteenth Century.)]

The thing might, indeed, be possible, were it merely a question of
the copies in Latin; but the Dutch ones cannot be supposed to have
been published anywhere but in Holland; and the origin of the latter
once established, how are we to explain the typographical imperfection
of the work if not by ignorance of the process which Gutenberg was
to popularise? According to M. Paeile, a competent judge in such a
matter,[7] the letterpress of the Dutch "Speculum" is written in the
pure dialect of North Holland, as it was spoken in those parts towards
the end of the fourteenth century and the beginning of the fifteenth.
Armed, therefore, with but a few particulars as to printing and idiom,
it will not be too bold in us to fix the date of publication between
the first and second quarters of the fifteenth century. It may be added
that the costume of the figures is of the time of Philip the Good;
that the taste and style of the drawing suggests the influence of the
brothers Van Eyck; and that there is a decided contrast between the
typographical imperfection of the text and the excellent quality of the
plates. Art, and art already well on its way and confident of its
powers, is thus seen side by side with an industrial process still in
its infancy: a remarkable proof of the advances already accomplished in
wood engraving before printing had got beyond the rudimentary period.
For our present purpose, this is the chief point, the essential fact to
verify.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--ST. VERONICA.

German Wood Engraving. (Fifteenth Century.)]

[Illustration: FIG. 4.--ST. JOHN.

Flemish Wood Engraving. (Fifteenth Century.)]

The discovery of printing, therefore, is doubtless a result of the
example of relief engraving, and there is no doubt either that the
first attempts at printing with type originated in Holland. Whilst
Coster, or the predecessor of Gutenberg, whoever he was, was somewhat
feebly preparing the way for typographical industry, painting and the
arts of design generally had in the Low Countries attained a degree
of development which they had not before reached, except in Italy.
Amongst the German contemporaries of Hubert and John van Eyck, what
rival was there to compare with these two masters?--what teacher with
so notable an influence, or so fertile a teaching? Whilst, on the banks
of the Rhine, artists unworthy of the name and painters destitute of
talent were continuing the Gothic traditions and the formulæ of their
predecessors, the school of Bruges was renewing, or rather founding, a
national art. By the beginning of the fifteenth century the revolution
was accomplished in this school, which was already distinguished by
the Van Eycks, and to which Memling was about to add fresh lustre.
Germany, too, in a few years was to glory in a like success; but the
movement did not set in till after the second half of the century.
Till then everything remained dead, everything betrayed an extreme
poverty of method and doctrine. If we judge the German art of the time
by such work, for instance, as the "St. Christopher," engraved in
1423, a single glance is sufficient to reveal the marked superiority
of the contemporary Flemings. It is, then, far from unnatural that,
at a time when painters, goldsmiths, and all other artists in Flanders
were so plainly superior in skill to their co-workers in Germany, the
Flemish engravers should likewise have led the van of progress, and
taken their places as the first in the history of their art.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.--THE INFANT JESUS.

Flemish Wood Engraving. (Fifteenth Century.)]

[Illustration: FIG. 6.--JESUS, SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD.

German Wood Engraving. (Fifteenth Century.)]

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--THE CRUCIFIXION.

German Wood Engraving. (Fifteenth Century.)]

It may be said that the proofs are insufficient. Be it so. We shall
not look for them in the "Virgin" on wood, belonging to the Brussels
Library, and bearing the date 1418, as the authenticity of this date,
to our thinking perfectly genuine, has been disputed; nor shall we seek
for them in the anonymous examples which it seems to us but just to
ascribe to the old school of the Low Countries.[8]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN.

Dutch Wood Engraving. (Fifteenth Century.)]

Up to now we are willing to admit that only Germany is in a position
to produce a piece of evidence beyond suspicion. With its imposing
date of 1423, its time-honoured rights, and official renown, the "St.
Christopher," now in the library of Lord Spencer, has privileges which
cannot be disputed or questioned. But it does not follow that the
wood-cuts of the "Speculum," of the "Biblia Pauperum," of the "Ars
Moriendi," and of similar undated publications, must be more recent.
Nor, because a dated German print has survived, must it therefore be
concluded that nothing was produced at that time except in Germany. It
should be particularly observed that the plates of the "Speculum" seem
well-nigh prodigies of pictorial skill and knowledge in comparison
with the "St. Christopher;" that their author must have served a long
apprenticeship in a good school; that, in short, no art begins with
such a piece of work, and that, even supposing these cuts did not
appear till after the German print, some time had doubtless elapsed
during which the progress they involve had been prepared and pursued.

It is therefore reasonable to suppose that, from the first years of
the fifteenth century, the engravers of the Low Countries began, under
the influence of the Van Eycks, to be initiated into the conditions
of art, and that, like their countrymen the printers, they showed
the path which others were to clear and level. It must be remarked,
however, that in the beginning printing and wood engraving do not
always march on parallel lines--that they do not meet in like order
their successive periods of trial and advance. In Germany, up till
the time when Gutenberg attained the final stage, and popularised
the last secrets of the printing process, painters, draughtsmen, and
engravers were all helpless in a rut: from the author of the "St.
Christopher" to the engravers of thirty years later, they boast but the
roughest and coarsest of ideas and methods. Heinecken, the exaggerated
champion of the German cause as against the partisans of Coster, whom
he contemptuously calls "the beadle"[9]--Heinecken himself, speaking
of the first German books engraved on wooden tablets, is obliged to
admit that "when the drawing is examined with a connoisseur's eye, a
heavy and barbarous taste appears to reign throughout."[10] In Germany
the artistic part was to wait upon and follow the example of the
industrial: was to lag behind and to plod on in barbarism long after
the industrial revolution was accomplished at its side. And it was long
before the "wood-cutting" engravers acquired anything like the skill of
the printers employed by Gutenberg and by Füst.

In the Low Countries, on the other hand, the regeneration of art
preceded mechanical improvement. Even when the latter was in full
progress, nay, even when a grand discovery had revealed all the
capabilities and fixed the limits of printing, engraving was by no
means subordinated, as in Germany, to the advance of the new process,
but, on the contrary, had long since acquired a clearness and certainty
of execution which was still lacking in the works of the printers. The
"Speculum," as we have said, bears testimony to that sort of anomaly
between the mechanical imperfection of the Dutch printed texts of
the fifteenth century and the merit of the plates by which they were
accompanied. Other examples might be mentioned, but it is useless to
multiply evidence, and to insist on details. We shall have accomplished
enough if we have succeeded in accentuating some of the principal
features, and in summing up the essential characteristics of engraving,
at the time of the Incunabuli.



CHAPTER II.

PLAYING CARDS. THE DOT MANNER.


In our endeavour to prove the relative antiquity of wood engraving
in the Low Countries, we have intentionally rather deferred the
purely archæological question, and have sought the first signs of
talent instead of the bold beginnings of the art. The origin of wood
engraving, materially considered, cannot be said to be confined to the
time and country of the pupils of Van Eyck. It was certainly in their
hands that it first began to show signs of being a real art, and give
promise for the future; but we have still to inquire how many years
it had been practised in Europe, through what phases it had already
passed, and to what uses it had been applied, before it took this start
and received this consecration.

We treat this question of origin with some reserve, and must repeat
as our excuse that _savants_ have pushed their researches so far,
and unhappily with such conflicting results, and have found, or have
thought they found, in the accounts of travellers, or in ancient
official or historical documents, so many proofs and arguments in
support of different systems, that it becomes equally difficult to
accept or to finally reject their various conclusions. The prevailing
opinion, however, attributes to the makers of playing cards, if not the
discovery of wood engraving, at least its first practical application
in Europe. Many writers agree on the general principle, but agreement
ends when it comes to be question of the date and place of the earliest
attempts. Some pronounce in favour of the fourteenth century and
Germany; others plead for France, where they say cards were in use
from the beginning of the reign of Philip of Valois. Others again,
to support the claims of Italy, arm themselves with a passage quoted
by Tiraboschi from the "Trattato del Governo della Famiglia," a work
written, according to them, in 1299; and they suppose, besides, that
the commercial relations of Japan and China with Venice would have
introduced into that town before any other the use of cards and the art
of making them.

Emeric David, one of the most recent authorities, carries things
with a still higher hand. He begins by setting aside all the
claimants--Germany with the Low Countries, France as well as Italy.[11]
Where playing cards were first used, or whether any particular
xylographic collection belongs or not to the first years of the
fifteenth century, are matters of extremely small importance in his
eyes. In the documents brought forward by competent experts as the most
ancient remains of wood engraving, he finds instead a testimony to
the uninterrupted practice of the art in Europe. For the real origin
the author of the "Discours sur la Gravure" does not hesitate to go
boldly back beyond the Christian era. Nor does he stop there; but sees
in the practice of the Greeks under the successors of Alexander a
mere continuance of the traditions of those Asiatic peoples who were
accustomed from time immemorial to print on textile fabrics by means of
wooden moulds.

It would be too troublesome to discuss his facts or his conclusions;
so many examples borrowed from the poets, from the historians of
antiquity, and the Fathers of the Church, appear to sustain his perhaps
too comprehensive theory. The best and the shortest plan will be to
take it upon trust, and to admit on the authority of Homer, Herodotus,
Ezekiel, and St. Clement of Alexandria, that from the heroic ages till
the early days of Christianity, there has been no break in the practice
of printing upon various materials from wooden blocks. Still less need
we grudge the Middle Ages the possession of a secret already the common
property of so many centuries.

But the printing of textiles does not imply the knowledge and practice
of engraving properly so called; and many centuries may have passed
without any attempt to use this merely industrial process for finer
ends, or to apply it to the purposes of art. Seals with letters cut in
relief were smeared with colour and impressed on vellum or paper long
before the invention of printing. The small stamps or patterns with
which the scribes and illuminators transferred the outlines of capital
letters to their manuscripts, might well have suggested the last
advance. And yet how many years and experiments were required to bring
it to perfection! Why may we not suppose that the art of engraving,
like the art of printing, in spite of early, partial, and analogous
discoveries, may have waited long for its hour of birth? And when
block printing was once brought from Asia into Europe, why may it not
have suffered the same fate as other inventions equally ingenious in
principle and equally limited in their earlier applications? Glass, for
instance, was well known by the nations of antiquity; but how long a
time elapsed before it was applied to windows?

We have said that according to a generally received opinion we must
look upon playing cards as the oldest remains of xylography. But the
evidence on which this opinion is based has only a negative authority.
Because the old books in which cards are mentioned say nothing of
any other productions of wood engraving, it has been inferred that
such productions did not yet exist; but is it not allowable to ask
if the silence of writers in such a case absolutely establishes such
a negative? Might not this silence be explained by the nature of the
work, and of the subject treated, which was generally literary or
philosophical, and quite independent of questions of art? When speaking
of cards, whether to formally forbid or only to restrain their use,
the chroniclers and the moralists of the fourteenth century, or of the
beginning of the fifteenth, probably thought but little of the way
they were made. Their intention was to denounce a vice rather than to
describe an industrial process. Why, then, should they have troubled
about other works in which this process was employed, not only without
danger to religion and morality, but with a view of honouring both?
Pious pictures cut in wood by the hands of monks or artisans might
have been well known at this time, although contemporary authors may
have chosen to mention only cards; and, without pushing conjecture too
far, we may take the liberty of supposing that engravers first drew
their inspiration from the same source as illuminators, painters on
glass, and sculptors. Besides, we know well that art was then only the
naïve expression of religion and the emblem of Christian thought. Why
should the cutters of xylographic figures have been an exception to the
general rule? and what strange freak would have led them to choose as
the subject of their first efforts a species of work so contrary to the
manners and traditions of all the schools?

Setting aside written testimony, and consulting the engravings
themselves which have been handed down to us from former centuries,
we are entitled to say that the very oldest playing cards are, at the
most, contemporaneous with the "St. Christopher" of 1423 and the oldest
known wood-cuts, inasmuch as the engraving of these cards certainly
does not date back beyond the reign of Charles VII. That the Italian,
German, or French _tarocchi_ (ornamented chequers or cards) were in use
before that time is possible; but as none of these early _tarocchi_
have survived, it cannot be known to what extent they represent the
progress of the art, and how far they may have served as models for
other xylographic works: even though it be true that relief engraving,
and not merely drawing with the pen, was the means first employed for
the making of the _tarocchi_ mentioned here and there in the chronicles.

Such French cards as have come down to us would lead us to believe,
in any case, that the progress was slow enough, for they still reveal
an extraordinary want of experience both as to shape and effect, and
have all the timidity of an art still in its infancy. This must also
be said of works of the same kind executed in Germany in the fifteenth
century; except the cards, attributed to a contemporary of the Master
of 1466, and these are engraved on metal. In Italy alone, cards, or
rather the symbolical pieces known rightly or wrongly by the name of
_tarocchi_, possessed, from an artistic point of view, real importance
from the time when engraving on metal had begun to take the place of
wood-cutting. The artists initiated by Finiguerra into the secrets of
the new method displayed good taste, knowledge, and skill; and in such
less important work, as well as in that of a higher order, their talent
at last inaugurated an era of real progress and of fruitful enterprise.

It is of no consequence, for the matter of that, whether wood engraving
was first applied to the making of pious pictures or to the manufacture
of cards. In any case the process is generally looked upon as the
oldest method of engraving, and as the first to give types to be
multiplied in proofs by printing.

M. Léon de Laborde, one of the clearest and best informed writers
on the origins of engraving and typography, considers, on the other
hand, that engraving in relief on metal, rather than the xylographic
process, was the proximate cause of the discovery of printing. In a
work published in 1839, which unfortunately has yet to receive the
amplifications promised by the author,[12] M. de Laborde declares
that the first printed engravings must have been dotted ones: that
is, prints produced in the peculiar mode already touched upon, and in
which the black parts come out sprinkled with white dots. According to
him, engraving, or, to speak more exactly, the printing of engraved
work, must have been invented by goldsmiths rather than by draughtsmen
or illuminators. The former, by the nature of their craft, possessed
the tools and the necessary materials, and were therefore in a better
position than any one else to stumble upon the discovery of the
process, if not deliberately to invent it. As matter of fact, many of
those who worked in the Low Countries, or in the Rhenish provinces,
during the first years of the fifteenth century, printed works in
the early dot manner: in other words, engraved in relief on metal.
And those xylographic specimens which are usually looked upon as the
oldest examples of engraving, are in reality only the outcome of a
reformation, and the product of an art already modified.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--JESUS CHRIST CARRYING THE CROSS.

Engraving in the Dot Manner (1406).]

The opinion expressed some time ago by M. Léon de Laborde has recently
been supported by the discovery of two engravings, in the early dot
manner, belonging, we think, to the year 1406, and on which we have
ourselves published some remarks.[13] But our argument being only
founded on the similarity of certain external facts, so to speak, and
on the probability of certain calculations, it is not really possible
to attribute to these documents so secure a standing as to those whose
age is established by dates, and set practically beyond question.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--THE HOLY FACE.

Engraving in the Dot Manner (1406).]

Now, the oldest of the dated engravings in relief on metal is the "St.
Bernardino of Siena," wrongly called the "St. Bernard," belonging to
the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. This engraving in the dot manner
bears the date 1454. It is, therefore, later than the "St. Christopher"
engraved on wood, and later even, as we shall presently see, than the
first engraving in incised line, the "Pax," by Finiguerra, whose date
of printing is certain. Remembering these facts, the separation of the
oldest dotted prints from the first specimens of true engraving is only
permissible on the ground that they are works executed by a special
process. Considered from a purely artistic point of view, they offer
little interest. Their drawing, still ruder than that of the German
wood-cuts, exhibits an almost hieroglyphic unreality. Their general
effect is purely conventional; and, owing to the uniform depth of the
blacks, their insignificant modelling expresses neither the relief nor
the comparative depression of the forms.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--ST. BERNARDINO.

Engraving in the Dot Manner (1454).]

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--ST. CHRISTOPHER.

Engraving in the Dot Manner. (Fifteenth Century.)]

In short, we find in these early dotted prints nothing but perfect
falseness to nature, and all the mendacity inherent in feebleness of
taste and slavish conformity to system.

How comes it that this sorry child's-play has appeared to deserve in
our day attention which is not always conceded to more serious work?
This might be better excused had these prints been investigated in
order to demonstrate the principles of the method followed afterwards
by the engravers of illustrations for books. The charming borders, for
instance, which adorn the "Books of Hours," printed in France at the
end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth centuries,
would naturally suggest comparisons between the way in which many parts
are stippled, and the process of the early dotted engraving. But we
may surely term excessive the efforts of certain scholars to fix on
these defective attempts in a particular method of work the attention
of a public naturally attracted elsewhere. The fact is, however, that
in this matter, as well as in questions relating to the origin of wood
engraving and printing, national self-respect was at stake, and writers
sought in the narrow field of archæology a victory over rival claims
which they might less easily have achieved on other grounds.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--JESUS ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES.

Engraving in the Dot Manner. (Fifteenth Century.)]

Between the authors of the Low Countries and of Germany, long
accustomed to skirmishes of the kind, this new conflict might have
begun and continued without awaking much interest in other nations;
but, contrary to custom, these counterclaims originated neither in
Germany nor in the Low Countries. For the first time the name of France
was heard of in a dispute as to the origin of engraving; and though
there was but scant honour to be gained, the unforeseen rivalry did not
fail to give additional interest to the struggle, and, in France at
least, to meet with a measure of favour.

The words "Bernhardinus Milnet," deciphered, or supposed to be
deciphered, at the bottom of an old dotted engraving, representing
"The Virgin and the Infant Jesus," were taken for the signature of a
French engraver, and the discovery was turned to further profit by the
assumption that the said "Bernard or Bernardin Milnet" engraved all
the prints of this particular class; although, even supposing these
to belong to a single school, they manifestly could not all belong
to a single epoch. The invention and monopoly of dotted engraving
once attributed to a single country, or rather to a single man, these
assertions continued to gain ground for some time, and were even
repeated in literary and historical works. A day, however, came when
they began to lose credit; and as doubts entered even the minds of his
countrymen, the supposed Bernard Milnet is now deprived of his name and
title, and is very properly regarded as an imaginary being.

Does it follow from this, as M. Passavant[14] would have it, that
all these prints, naturalised for a little while in France, ought to
be restored to Germany? Their contradictory character with regard to
workmanship and style might cause one, with the most honest intentions,
to hesitate, though their intrinsic value is not such as to cause the
former country any great loss.

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--ST. GEORGE.

Engraving in the Dot Manner. (Fifteenth Century.)]

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--ST. DOMINIC.

Engraving in the Dot Manner. (Fifteenth Century.)]

Indeed, it is difficult to conceive of anything less interesting,
except with regard to the particular nature of the process. The
outlines of the figures have none of that drawing, firm even to
stiffness, nor has the flow of the draperies that taste for abrupt
forms, which distinguished the productions of the German school from
its beginnings. The least feeble of these specimens, such as the "Saint
Barbara," in the Brussels Library, or the "St. George on Horseback,"
preserved in the Print Department of the Bibliothèque Nationale in
Paris, do indeed occasionally suggest some similarity of origin or
manner with the school of Van Eyck. But it is unnecessary to debate
the point at greater length. Whether produced in France, in the Low
Countries, or in Germany, the dotted engravings of the fifteenth
century add so little lustre to the land which gave them birth, that no
scepticism as to their origin need lie very heavily on the conscience.
In the general history of the documents on the origin of engraving,
the dotted prints form a series distinguished by the method of their
execution from any other earlier or contemporary specimens of work;
the date mark 1454, borne by one among the number, gives us authentic
information as to the time of these strange experiments, these
curiosities of handicraft rather than of art. This is as much as we
need to bear in mind upon the subject, and quite enough to complete the
history of the elementary attempts which preceded or which co-existed
for a few years with the beginning of engraving by incised line in
Italy.

We have now arrived at that decisive moment when engraving, endowed
with fresh resources, was practised for the first time by real masters.
Up to the present, the trifling ability and skill possessed by certain
wood-cutters and the peculiar methods of dotted engraving have been
the only means by which we could measure the efforts expended in the
search for new technical methods, or in their use when discovered. We
have now done with such hesitating and halting progress. The art of
printing from plates cut in intaglio had no sooner been discovered by,
or at least dignified by the practice of, a Florentine goldsmith, than
upon every side fresh talent was evoked. In Italy and Germany it was
a question of who should profit most and quickest by the advance. A
spirit of rivalry at once arose between the two schools; and fifteen
years had not elapsed since Italian art had given its note in the works
of the goldsmith engravers of the school of Finiguerra, before German
art had found an equally definite expression in the works of the Master
of 1466. But, before examining this simultaneous progress, we shall
have to say a few words on the historical part of the question, and to
return to the origin of the process of intaglio engraving, as we have
already done with the origin of engraving in relief. This part of our
subject must be briefly and finally disposed of; we may then altogether
abandon the uncertain ground of archæological hypothesis.



CHAPTER III.

    FIRST ATTEMPTS AT INTAGLIO ENGRAVING. THE NIELLI OF THE
    FLORENTINE GOLDSMITHS. PRINTS BY THE ITALIAN AND GERMAN
    PAINTER-ENGRAVERS OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY


We have seen that Gutenberg's permanent improvements in the method of
printing resulted in the substitution, so far as written speech was
concerned, of a mode of reproduction almost infinitely fruitful, and
even rapid when compared to the slowness and the limited resources of
the xylographic method. Typography was destined to abolish the use of
block printing, and more particularly of caligraphy, which, till then,
had occupied so many pious and patient hands both in monasteries and in
schools. The art of printing from engravings worked similar mischief
to the illuminator's craft. Such were, before long, the natural
consequences of the progress made; and, we may add, such had been from
the first the chief object of these innovations.

Perhaps this double revolution, so potent in its general effect and
in its influence on modern civilisation, may have appeared to those
engaged in it no more important than a purely industrial improvement.
Surely, for instance, we do no injustice to Gutenberg if we accept
with some reserve the vast political and philosophical ideas, and the
purposes of universal enfranchisement, with which he has been sometimes
credited? Probably the views of the inventor of printing reached
neither so far nor so high. He did not intend to figure as an apostle,
nor did he regard himself as devoted to a philanthropic mission, as we
should put it in the present day. He considered himself no more than a
workman with a happy thought, when he proposed to replace the lengthy
and costly labours of the copyist by a process so much cheaper and so
much more expeditious.

A somewhat similar idea had already occurred to the xylographic
printers. Even the title of one of the first books published by them,
the "Biblia Pauperum," or "Bible for the Poor," proved their wish to
place within the reach of the masses an equivalent to those illuminated
manuscript copies which were only obtainable by the rich. One glance at
the ancient xylographic collections is enough to disclose the spirit
in which such work was undertaken, and the design with which it was
conceived. The new industry imitated in every particular the appearance
of those earlier works due to the pen of the scribe or to the brush of
the illuminator; and, perhaps, the printers themselves, speculating
on the want of discernment in the purchasing public, thought less of
exposing the secret of their method than of maintaining an illusion.

In most of the xylographic books, indeed, the first page is quite
without ornamentation. There are neither chapter-headings nor
ornamental capitals; the blank space seems to await the hand of the
illuminator, who should step in to finish the work of the printer, and
complete the resemblance between the printed books and the manuscript.
Gutenberg followed; and even he, although less closely an imitator of
caligraphy, did not himself disdain at first to practise some deception
as to the nature of his method. It is said that the Bible he printed
at Mayence was sold as manuscript; and the letterpress is certainly
not accompanied by any technical explanation, or by any note of the
printer's name or the mode of fabrication. Not till somewhat later,
when he published the "Catholicon," did Gutenberg avow that he had
printed this book "without the help of reed, quill, or stylus, but
by means of a marvellous array of moulds and punches." Even in this
specimen of a process already settled and finally disclosed to the
public, the capital letters were left blank in the printing, and were
afterwards filled in with brush or pen. It was a farewell salutation
to the past, and the latest appearance of that old art which was now
doomed to pass away before the new, and to leave the field to the
products of the press.

Did the inventor of the art of printing from plates cut in intaglio,
like the inventor of the art of typography, only wish at first to
extend to a larger public what had hitherto been reserved for the
favoured few? Was early engraving but a weapon turned against the
monopoly of the miniature painter? We might be tempted to think so,
from the number of manuscripts belonging to the second half of the
fifteenth century, in which coloured prints, surrounded by borders
also coloured, are set opposite a printed text, apparently in order to
imitate as nearly as possible the familiar aspect of illuminated books.
Next in turn came printed books with illustrations, and loose sheets
published separately for every-day use. The Italian engravers, even
before they began to adorn with the burin those works which have been
the most frequently illustrated--such, for instance, as the religious
handbooks and the poem of Dante--employed the new process from as early
as 1465, to assure their calendars a wider publicity. But let us return
to the time when engraving was yet in its early stages, and when--by
chance, by force of original genius, or by the mere completion of
what had been begun by other hands--a Florentine goldsmith, one Maso
Finiguerra, succeeded in fixing on paper the impression of a silver
plate on which lines had been engraved in intaglio and filled with
black.

Finiguerra's great glory does not, however, lie in the solution of
the practical difficulty. Amongst the Italians none before him had
ever thought of trying to print from a work engraved in incised
line or intaglio on metal; and therefore, at least, in his own
country, he deserved the honours of priority. But the invention of
the process--that is, in the absolute and literal sense of its name,
the notion of reproducing burin work by printing--was certainly not
peculiar to Finiguerra. Unconscious of what was passing elsewhere,
he may have been the first in Florence to attempt this revolution in
art; but, beyond the frontiers of Italy, many had already employed
for the necessities of trade that method which it was his to turn
into a powerful instrument of art. His true glory consists in the
unexpected authority with which he inaugurated the movement. Although
it may be true that there are prints a few years older than any
Florentine niello--the German specimens of 1446, discovered but the
other day by M. Renouvier,[15] or the "Virgin" of 1451 described by
M. Passavant[16]--it cannot change the real date of the invention of
engraving; that date has been written by the hand of a man of talent,
the first engraver worthy of the name of artist.

That Finiguerra was really the inventor of engraving, because he
dignified the new process by the striking ability with which he used
it, and proved his power where his contemporaries had only exhibited
their weakness, must be distinctly laid down, even at the risk of
scandalising some of the learned. He has the same right to celebrity
as Gutenberg, who, like him, was but the discoverer of a decisive
advance; the same right also as Nicolò Pisano and Giotto, the real
founders of the race of the Great Masters, and, truly speaking, the
first painter and the first sculptor who appeared in Italy, although
neither sculpture nor painting were even novelties at the moment of
their birth. As a mere question of date, the "Pax" of Florence may
not be the earliest example of engraving; be it so. But in which of
these earlier attempts, now so much acclaimed as arguments against
the accepted tradition, can we glean even the faintest promise of the
merits which distinguish that illustrious engraving? He who wrought it
is no usurper; his fame is a legitimate conquest.

It is a singular coincidence that the discovery of printing and that of
the art of taking proofs on paper from a plate engraved in intaglio,
or, to speak more exactly, that the final improvements of both these
processes, should have sprung up almost simultaneously, one in Italy
and the other in Germany. There is only an interval of two years
between the time when Finiguerra printed his first engraving in 1452,
and the time when Gutenberg exhibited his first attempts at printing
in 1454. Till then, copies drawn, painted, or written by hand had been
the only efficient means of reproduction. None, even amongst those
most capable of original thought or action, considered it beneath them
to set forth the thought of others. Boccaccio and Petrarch exchanged
whole books of Livy or of Cicero which they had patiently transcribed,
and monkish or professional artists copied on the vellum of missals
the paintings which covered the walls or adorned the altars of their
churches. Such subjects as were engraved on wood were only designed
to stimulate the devotion of the pious. Both by their inadequate
execution, and the special use for which they were intended, they must
rank as industrial products rather than as works of art.

Besides illumination and wood engraving, there was a process sometimes
used to copy certain originals, portraits or fancy subjects, but more
frequently employed by goldsmiths in the decoration of chalices,
reliquaries, and altar canons. This process was nothing but a special
application and combination of the resources belonging to the long
known arts of enamelling and chalcography, which last simply means
engraving on metal. The incised lines made by the graver in a plate
of silver, or of silver and gold combined, were filled with a mixture
of lead, silver, and copper, made more easily fusible by the addition
of a certain quantity of borax and sulphur. This blackish-coloured
mixture (_nigellum_, whence _niello_, _niellare_) left the unengraved
parts exposed, and, in cooling, became encrusted in the furrows where
it had been introduced. After this, the plate, when carefully polished,
presented to the eye the contrast of a design in dull black enamel
traced upon a field of shining metal.

Towards the middle of the fifteenth century this kind of engraving
was much practised in Italy, especially in Florence, where the best
niellatori were to be found. One of them, Tomaso, or for short, Maso
Finiguerra, was, like many goldsmiths of his time, at once an engraver,
a designer, and a sculptor. The drawings attributed to him, his nielli,
and the bas-reliefs partly by him and partly by Antonio Pollajuolo,
would not, perhaps, have been enough to have preserved his memory: it
is his invention--in the degree we mentioned--of the art of printing
intaglio engravings, or rather of the art of engraving itself, that has
made him immortal.

What, however, can seem more simple than this discovery? It is even
difficult to understand why it was not made before, when we remember
not only that the printing of blocks engraved in relief had been
practised since the beginning of the fifteenth century, but that the
niellatori themselves were in the habit of taking, first in clay and
then in sulphur, an impression and a counter-impression of their work
before applying the enamel. What should seem more simple than to have
taken a direct proof on a thin elastic body such as paper? But it is
always easy to criticise after the event, and to point out the road of
progress when the end has been attained. Who knows if to-day there is
not lying at our very hand some discovery which yet we never think of
grasping, and if our present blindness will not be the cause of similar
wonder to our successors?

At any rate, Finiguerra had found the solution of the problem by 1452.
This was put beyond doubt on the day towards the close of the last
century (1797), when Zani discovered, in the Print-Room of the Paris
Library, a niello by Finiguerra printed on paper of indisputable date.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.--FINIGUERRA.

The "Pax" of the Baptistery of St. John at Florence.]

This little print, or rather proof, taken before the plate was put in
niello, of a "Pax"[17] engraved by the Florentine goldsmith for the
Baptistery of St. John, represents the Coronation of the Virgin. It
measures only 130 millimetres by 87. As regards its size, therefore,
the "Coronation" is really only a vignette; but it is a vignette
handled with such knowledge and style, and informed with so deep a
feeling for beauty, that it would bear with perfect impunity the
ordeal of being enlarged a hundred times and transferred to a canvas
or a wall. Its claims as an archæological specimen, and the value that
four centuries have added to this small piece of perishable paper,
must assuredly neither be forgotten nor misunderstood by any one. Yet
he would be ill-advised, on the other hand, who should regard this
masterpiece of art as a mere historical curiosity.

[Illustration: FIG. 17.--ITALIAN NIELLO.

(Fifteenth Century.)]

[Illustration: FIG. 18.

ITALIAN NIELLO. (Fifteenth Century.)]

The rare merits which distinguish Finiguerra's "Coronation" are to be
seen, though much less conspicuously, in a certain number of works
attributed to the same origin. Other pieces engraved at the same time,
and printed under the same conditions by unknown Florentine workmen,
prove that the example given in 1452 had at once created imitators. It
must be remarked, however, that amongst such works, whether attributed
to Finiguerra or to other goldsmiths of the same time and country,
none belong to the class of engravings properly so called. In other
words they are only what we have agreed to call nielli: that is,
proofs on paper of plates designed to be afterwards enamelled, and
not impressions of plates specially and finally intended to be used
for printing. It would almost appear that the master and his first
followers failed to foresee all the results and benefits of this
discovery; that they looked upon it only as a surer test of work than
clay or sulphur casts, as a test process suitable to certain stages of
the labours of the goldsmith. In one word, from the time when he made
his first success till the end of his life, Finiguerra probably only
used the new process to forward his work as a niellatore, without its
ever occurring to him to employ it for its own sake, and in the spirit
of a real engraver.

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--ITALIAN NIELLO.

(Fifteenth Century.)]

Florentine engravings of the fifteenth century, other than in niello,
or those at least whose origin and date are certain, are not only
later than Finiguerra's working days, but are even later than the
year of his death (1470). In Germany, from the very beginning, so
to speak, of the period of initiation, the Master of 1466 and his
disciples were multiplying impressions of their works, and profiting by
the full resources of the new process. In Florence, on the contrary,
there passed about twenty years during which the art seems to have
remained stationary and confined to the same narrow field of practice
as at first. You may visit the richest public or private collections
without meeting (with the exception of works in niello) any authentic
and official specimen of Florentine engraving of the time of which we
speak.[18] You may open books and catalogues, and find no mention of
any engraved subject that can be called a print earlier than those
attributed to Baccio Baldini, or to Botticelli, which only appeared
in the last quarter of the century. Yet it is impossible to find any
explanation of this sterility--of this extraordinary absence of a
school of engravers, in the exact acceptation of the word, outside of
the group of the niellatori.

[Illustration: FIG 20.--BACCIO BALDINI.

Illustration from the "Divina Commedia" of 1481.]

Some years later, however, progress had led to emancipation. The art
of engraving, henceforth free, broke from its industrial servitude,
deserted the traditions of enamelling and chasing, and took
possession of its own domain. There are still to be remarked, of
course, a certain timidity and a certain lack of experience in the
handling of the tool, an execution at once summary and strangely
careful, a mixture of naïve intentions and conventional modes of
expression. But the burin, though only able as yet imperfectly to treat
lines in mass and vary the values of shadows, has mastered the secret
of representing life with precision and elegance of outline, and can
render the facial expression of the most different types. Sacred and
mythological personages, sybils and prophets, madonnas and the gods
of Olympus, the men and women of the fifteenth century, all not only
reveal at the first glance their close pictorial relationship to the
general inclinations and habits of Florentine art of the fourteenth
century, but show us these tendencies continued and confirmed in a
fresh form. The delicacy which charms us in the bas-reliefs and the
pictures of the time; the aspiration, common to contemporary painters
and sculptors, of idealising and heightening the expression of external
facts; the love of rare, exquisite, and somewhat subtle expression, are
to be found in the works left by the painter-engravers who were the
immediate followers of Finiguerra, no less clearly than in the painted
and sculptured subjects on the walls of contemporary churches and
palaces.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--BACCIO BALDINI.

Theseus and Ariadne.]

Whatever we may suppose to have been the part due to Baccio Baldini, to
Botticelli, to Pollajuolo, or to anybody else; with whatever acuteness
we may discern, or think we discern, the inequalities of style and
the tricks of touch in different men; all their works display a
vigorous unity, which must be carefully taken into account, inasmuch as
it gives its character to the school. Though we should even succeed in
separately labelling with a proper name each one of the works which are
all really dependent on one another, the gain would be small.

[Illustration: FIG. 22.--BACCIO BALDINI.

The Prophet Baruch.]

Provided that neither the qualities nor the meaning of the whole
movement be understood, we may, as regards the distribution of minor
parts, resign ourselves to doubt, and even ignorance, and console
ourselves for the mystery which enshrouds these nameless talents: and
this the more readily that we can with greater impartiality appreciate
their merits in the absence of biographical hypothesis and the
commentaries of the scholar.

[Illustration: FIG. 23.--BACCIO BALDINI.

The Sibyl of Cumæ.]

The prints due to the Florentine painter-engravers who followed
Finiguerra mark a transitional epoch between the first stage of Italian
engraving and the time when the art, having entered upon its period of
virility, used its powers with confidence, and showed itself equal to
any feat. The privileges of fruitfulness and success in this second
phase no longer, it is true, belong wholly to Florence. It would seem
that, after having again and again given birth to so much talent,
Florentine art, exhausted by rapid production, reposed and voluntarily
allowed the neighbouring schools to take her place. Even before the
appearance of Marc Antonio, the most important proofs of skill were
given outside of Tuscany; and if towards the beginning, or at the
beginning, of the sixteenth century, the numerous plates engraved by
Robetta still continued to sustain the reputation of the Florentine
school, such a result was owing far less to the individual talent of
the engraver, than to the charm and intrinsic value of his models.

[Illustration: FIG. 24.--PRINT BELONGING TO THE SET ENTITLED "THE GAME
OF CARDS."]

[Illustration: FIG. 25.--MANTEGNA.

The Virgin and the Infant Jesus.]

Of all the Italian engravers who, towards the end of the fifteenth
century, completed the popularisation in their country of the art whose
first secrets and examples were revealed and supplied by Florence, the
one most powerfully inspired and most skilful was certainly Andrea
Mantegna. We need not here recall the true position of this great
artist in the history of painting. Such of his pictures and decorative
paintings as still exist possess a world-wide fame; and, though his
engravings are less generally known, they deserve equal celebrity, and
would justify equal admiration.

[Illustration: FIG. 26.--MANTEGNA.

From the Print Representing a Battle of Sea-Gods.]

The engraved work of Mantegna consists of only twenty plates, about
half of which are religious, and the remainder mythological or
historical. Though none of these engravings bears the signature or
initials of the Paduan master, their authenticity cannot be doubted.
It is abundantly manifest in certain marked characteristics of style
and workmanship; in the delicate yet strong precision of the drawing;
and in that somewhat rude elegance which was at the command of none of
his contemporaries in the same degree. Every part of them, even where
they savour of imperfection or of extravagance, bears witness to the
indomitable will and independent genius of a master. His touch imparts
a passionate and thrilling aspect even to the details of architectural
decoration and the smallest inanimate objects. One would suppose that,
after having studied each part of his subject with the eye of a man of
culture and a thinker, Mantegna, when he came to represent it on the
metal, forgot all but the burning impatience of his hand and the fever
of the struggle with his material.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--MANTEGNA.

The Entombment.]

[Illustration: FIG. 28.--MANTEGNA.

Jesus Christ, St. Andrew, and St. Longinus.]

And yet the handling alone of such works as the "Entombment" and the
"Triumph of Cæsar" bears witness to the talent of an engraver already
more experienced than any of his Italian predecessors and more alive to
the real resources of his art. The burin in Mantegna's hand displays a
firmness that can no longer be called stiffness; and, while it hardly
as yet can be said to imitate painting, competes in boldness and
rapidity at least with the effect of chalk or the pen. Unlike the
Florentine engravers, with their timid sparse strokes which scarcely
served to mark the outlines, Mantegna works with masses of shadow
produced by means of closer graining, and seeks to express, or at any
rate to suggest, internal modelling, instead of contenting himself
with the mere outlines of the body. In a word, Mantegna as an engraver
never forgot his knowledge as a painter; and it is this, combined with
the rare vigour of his imagination, which assures him the first place
amongst the Italian masters before the time of Marc Antonio.

[Illustration: FIG. 29.--MANTEGNA.

From the Triumph of Julius Cæsar.]

Mantegna had soon many imitators. Some of them, as Mocetto, Jacopo
Francia, Nicoletto da Modena, and Jacopo de' Barbari, known as the
Master of the Caduceus, though profiting by his example, did not push
their docility so far as to sacrifice their own tastes and individual
sentiment. Others, as Zoan Andrea and Giovanni Antonio da Brescia,
whose work has been sometimes mistaken for that of Mantegna himself,
set themselves not only to make his manner their own, but to imitate
his engravings line for line.

However strongly Mantegna's influence may have acted on the Italian
engravers of the fifteenth century, or the early years of the
sixteenth, it hardly seems to have extended beyond Lombardy, Venice,
and the small neighbouring states. It was neither in Florence nor
in Rome that the Paduan example principally excited the spirit of
imitation. The works it gave rise to belong nearly all of them to
artists formed under the master's very eyes, or in close proximity to
his teachings, whether the manner of the leader of the school appeared
in the efforts of pure copyists and imitators more or less adroit, or
whether it appeared in a much modified condition in the works of more
independent disciples.

[Illustration: FIG. 30.--MOCETTO.

Bacchus.]

It was in Verona, Venice, Modena, and Bologna that the movement which
Mantegna started in art found its most brilliant continuation. As the
engravers, emboldened by experience, gradually tended to reconcile
something of their own inspirations and personal desires with the
doctrines transmitted to them, assuredly a certain amount of progress
was manifested and some improvements were introduced into the use or
the combination of means; but in spite of such partial divergences,
the general appearance of the works proves their common origin, and
testifies to the imprudence of the efforts sometimes made to split
into small isolated groups and infinite subdivisions what, in reality,
forms a complete whole, a genuine school.

The same spirit of unity is again found to predominate in all the works
of the German engravers belonging to the second half of the fifteenth
century. With respect to purpose and style, there is certainly a great
difference between the early Italian engravings and those which mark
the beginning of the art in the towns of High and Low Germany. But
both have this in common: that certain fixed traditions once founded
remain for a time almost unchangeable; that certain fixed methods of
execution are held like articles of faith, and only modified with
an extreme respect for the time-honoured principles of early days.
The Master of 1466, and shortly after him, Martin Schongauer, had
scarcely shown themselves, before their example was followed, and
their teaching obediently practised, by a greater number of disciples
than had followed, or were destined to follow, in Italy the lead of
the contemporaries of Finiguerra or Mantegna. The influence exerted
by the latter had at least an equivalent in the ascendancy of Martin
Schongauer; while the Master of 1466, in the character of a founder,
which belongs to him, has almost the same importance in the history
of German engraving as the Florentine goldsmith in that of Italian
engraving.

[Illustration: FIG. 31.--BATTISTA DEL PORTO, CALLED THE "MASTER OF THE
BIRD."

St. Sebastian.]

[Illustration: FIG. 32.--MARTIN SCHONGAUER.

The Virgin and the Infant Jesus.]

[Illustration: FIG. 33.--MARTIN SCHONGAUER.

St. John the Evangelist.]

The Master of 1466 may, indeed, be regarded as the Finiguerra of
Germany, because he was the first in his own country to raise to the
dignity of an art what had been only an industrial process in the
hands of talentless workmen. Like wood engraving, intaglio engraving,
such as we see it in German prints some years before the works of
the Master of 1466, had only succeeded in spreading abroad, in the
towns on the banks of the Rhine, productions of a rude or grotesque
symbolism, in which, notwithstanding recent attempts to exaggerate
their value, a want of technical experience was as evident as extreme
poverty of conception. These archæological curiosities can have no
legitimate place amongst works of art, and we may without injustice
take still less account of them, as the rapid progress made by the
Master of 1466 throws their inferiority into greater relief. If the
anonymous artist called the Master of 1466 be the true founder of the
German school of engraving; if he show himself cleverer than any of
the Italian engravers of the period--from the point of view only of
practical execution, and the right handling of the tool--it does not
necessarily follow that he holds the same priority in talent as he
certainly holds in order of time before all other engravers of the
same age and country. One of these, Martin Schongauer, called also
"handsome Martin," or for short, "Martin Schon," may have a better
right to the highest place. Endowed with more imagination than the
Master of 1466, with a deeper feeling for truth and a clearer instinct
for beauty, he displays at least equal dexterity in the conduct of the
work and in the handling of the graver. Assuredly, if we compare Martin
Schongauer's prints with the beautiful Flemish or French engravings of
the seventeenth century, the combinations of lines which satisfied the
German engraver cannot fail to appear insufficient, or even archaically
simple; but if we compare them with the engraved work of all countries
in the fifteenth century, it will be acknowledged that, even as a
technical worker, the master of Colmar[19] exhibited a striking
superiority over all his contemporaries. Such plates as the "Flight
into Egypt," the "Death of the Virgin," the "Wise Virgins," and the
"Foolish Virgins," are distinguished above all by power and by grace
of expression; but to these ideal qualities there is added so much
firmness of drawing, and so much decision of handling, that, in spite
of all subsequent progress, they deserve to be numbered with those
which most honour the art of engraving.

[Illustration: FIG. 34.--MARTIN SCHONGAUER.

Jesus Betrayed by Judas.]

[Illustration: FIG. 35.--MARTIN SCHONGAUER.

The Entombment.]

[Illustration: FIG. 36.--MARTIN SCHONGAUER.

Figure from the set entitled "The Foolish Virgins."]

Martin Schongauer, like the Master of 1466, at once raised up both
imitators and rivals in Munich, in Mecheln in Westphalia, in Nuremberg,
and in many other towns in the German States. His influence and
reputation extended even beyond the borders of Germany; and it was not
the artists of the Low Countries alone who sought to profit by his
example. In Florence young Michelangelo did not disdain to study, nor
even to copy him, for he painted a "Temptation of St. Anthony," after
Schongauer's engraving. Italian miniature painters and engravers,
Gherardo and Nicoletto da Modena, amongst others, reproduced many
of his prints. The very figures and ornamentation which decorate
the "Books of Hours," published by Simon Vostre and Hardouin at the
beginning of the sixteenth century, show that in the France of that
period a zeal for imitation of the master's manner was not always
restrained by the fear of actual plagiarism. But the influence of
Martin Schongauer on the progress of art and the talent of artists
was more extended and decided in Germany itself. Amongst those who
most obediently submitted to, and who best knew how to profit by,
that example, we need only mention Bartholomew Schön, Franz von
Bocholt, Wenceslas of Olmütz, Israel van Mechenen, Glockenton, and
lastly, the engraver with the monogram "B M," whose most important
work, the "Judgment of Solomon," was perhaps engraved from a picture
by Martin Schongauer, who like Mantegna, like Pollajuolo, and indeed
like the majority of early engravers, was not only a painter, but a
singularly good one. His painted pictures still belonging to the town
of Colmar, and, setting aside his rare talent as an engraver, even
the little "Death of the Virgin," which has been the property of the
London National Gallery since 1860, would be enough to establish his
reputation.[20]

[Illustration: FIG. 37.--MARTIN SCHONGAUER.

St. Anthony.]

The importance of such an artist is in every respect that of the leader
of a school and a master in the strictest acceptation of the word.
Martin Schongauer in his own person, and through the talent he helped
to foster, did so much, and so greatly honoured his country, that it
is only just to regard him as one of the most glorious representatives
of national art, and to place his name beside those of Albert Dürer
and Holbein, as the three men in whom the essential qualities and
characteristics of the German genius have been most typically
represented.



CHAPTER IV.

LINE ENGRAVING AND WOOD ENGRAVING IN GERMANY AND ITALY IN THE SIXTEENTH
CENTURY.


Thanks to the Master of 1466 and to Martin Schongauer, line engraving
in Germany was marked by brilliant and unexpected advances, whilst wood
engraving merely followed the humble traditions of early days. It is
true that the latter process was no longer exclusively applied to the
production of occasional unbound prints, or cheap religious pictures on
loose leaves, of which we have a specimen in the "Saint Christopher"
of 1423. In Germany, towards the end of the fifteenth century, the
custom had spread of "illustrating" (as we now call it) type-printed
books with wood engravings. To mention a few amongst many examples, we
have the "Casket of the True Riches of Salvation" ("Schatzbehalter"),
published at Nuremberg in 1491, and the "Chronicorum Liber" called the
"Nuremberg Chronicle," printed in the same town in 1493, both of which
contain numerous wood-cuts interpolated in the text.

These cuts are not so bad as the earlier German work in the same
process, yet they are far from good. They scarcely hold out a
promise of the advance in skill made some years later by wood-cutters
under the influence of Albert Dürer, and if they are compared with
the illustrations which adorn Italian books of the same period--the
"Decameron" of 1492, for instance, and especially the "Hypnerotomachia
Poliphili" of 1499--they appear still worse. Though they are not of
much value in themselves, the prints which accompany the writings in
the "Casket" and the "Nuremberg Chronicle" deserve attention. They were
done from designs supplied by Albert Dürer's master, Michael Wolgemut;
and the gulf between the rather feeble talent of the older man, and the
profound knowledge and powerful originality of his illustrious pupil,
can thus be easily measured.

Albert Dürer was the son of a Hungarian goldsmith established at
Nuremberg. He tells us himself how, at the age of fifteen, he left his
father's shop for Wolgemut's studio: not that he wished to free himself
from parental authority, but simply to hasten the time when he might
do his share towards satisfying the wants of a numerous family. "My
father," says Albert Dürer, in his autobiographical notes, "could only
supply himself, his wife, and children[21] with the strict necessaries
of life; and spent his life in great hardship and severe hard work. He
suffered in addition many adversities and troubles. Every one who knew
him spoke well of him, for he led a worthy Christian life, was patient
and gentle, at peace with every one, and always thankful to God. He
did not seek worldly pleasures, was a man of few words, kept little
company, and feared God. My dear father was very earnest about bringing
up his children in the fear of God, for it was his greatest desire
to lead them aright, so that they might be pleasing to God and man.
And his daily injunction to us was that we should love God, and deal
uprightly with our neighbour.... I felt at length more like an artist
than a goldsmith, and I begged my father to let me paint; but he was
displeased with the request, for he regretted the time I had lost in
learning his trade. However, he gave in to me, and on St. Andrew's Day,
1486, he apprenticed me to Master Michael."

Albert Dürer's progress was indeed rapid, at least his progress in
engraving, for he drew with remarkable talent before he entered
Wolgemut's studio. The charming portrait of himself at the age of
thirteen, still preserved at Vienna in the Albertine Collection,
sufficiently proves that he required no lessons from his new master in
the skilful handling of a pencil: the teaching of his own mind had been
enough. But it was otherwise with engraving, where he had to advance
by way of experiment, and gain capacity from practice. And it was not
till about 1496, after many years of apprenticeship, that he ventured
to publish his first engraved work. His early works, moreover, are very
probably only copies from Wolgemut,[22] whereas the original works
which followed, though retaining something of the traditional manner,
bear nevertheless a stamp of independent feeling. Thus too, and at
nearly the same time, the genius of Perugino's gifted pupil began to
show itself under the borrowed forms of the only style permitted in the
school; and the obedient hand which portrayed the "Sposalizio" in the
manner and under the eyes of his master, in secret already obeyed the
mind of Raphael.

Meanwhile Albert Dürer, whose fame had begun to spread beyond the
walls of Nuremberg, undertook a tour through Germany, and was absent
for four years; and when he returned to settle in his native town, he
married Agnes Frey, the daughter of a respectable and wealthy merchant
in Nuremberg. If we may believe report, the union was unhappy, and
darkened and shortened by cruel domestic troubles the life of the noble
artist. The story has often been told how his imperious and greedy
wife kept him continually at work, and how, as prints paid better
than pictures, she would not allow him to sacrifice the burin to the
brush. Dreading the reproaches and accusations of idleness to which
she gave vent on the smallest provocation, Dürer bent beneath the yoke
and rarely left his studio. One day, for instance, they relate that he
was discovered in the street by his wife, whom he believed to be at
the other end of the town, and was forced to return and to expiate
his momentary idleness by working far beyond his usual time. The poor
artist died at last of overwork and misery; and his hateful widow only
regretted his death because it set a term to his earnings.

Such is the account in all the books that deal with Dürer, from the
work of the German Sandrart, in the seventeenth century, down to the
biographical dictionaries published in our own time by French writers;
such is the story which has served as text to so many denunciations
of this new Xantippe, and to so many elegies upon her victim. But the
facts of the case were not carefully examined. The result of Herr
Thausing's scrupulous investigation of the subject, and the authentic
testimony he has adduced, show, on the contrary, that Albert Dürer
and his wife lived on pretty good terms till his death; so that we
may banish as idle fables the torments which he was supposed to have
suffered, and the sorrows that were said to have shortened his life.

The story so frequently repeated after Vasari, of Dürer's quarrels with
a certain forger of his works at Venice, where copies signed with his
monogram were publicly sold as originals, rests on a surer basis. The
said forger was a young man of no reputation who had conceived this
idea of commanding a sale for his works, and of thus quickly realising
a profit on the renown of Dürer and the simplicity of his customers.
It was not long, however, before the fraud was discovered, when he
tried, it is said, to turn it into a joke; but the German artist could
not be brought to see it in that light. It was a case in which his wife
was not concerned, and he could take his own part openly. He applied
at once to the Senate, denounced the fraud, and obtained a decree
condemning the offender thenceforth to affix to his plates no other
name than his own. This name, destined to become celebrated, was no
other than that of Marc Antonio Raimondi.

In our own days the truth of this story has been more than once
doubted, at least in so far as the legal consequences are concerned,
for the forgery itself cannot be denied. The plates of the "Life of
the Virgin," engraved by Marc Antonio from Albert Dürer, and bearing
the monogram of the latter, are known to every one; but it has been
objected as an argument against the sentence that, in the state of
morals and legislation in the sixteenth century, to affix another
person's signature to these plates did not constitute a misdemeanour;
and that Marc Antonio, by appropriating the name and the works of
Albert Dürer, did no worse than many imitators of Martin Schongauer had
done before him, no worse, indeed, than was presently to be done with
regard to his own works by imitators as unscrupulous as himself. This
is quite true; but it is no less so that Albert Dürer's signature, so
deliberately added by Marc Antonio to the copies he engraved of the
"Life of the Virgin," is not to be found on the plates of the "History
of the Passion," engraved later on by Marc Antonio in imitation of the
German master. It is impossible not to suppose that in the meantime a
judgment of some sort was passed, obliging the copyist to appear under
his true colours.

The just satisfaction accorded to the demands of Albert Dürer was
not, however, to preserve him from the injury afterwards done him by
imitators of another kind. Some Venetian painters followed the example
of Marc Antonio, and, adding insult to injury, energetically abused the
very man whose works they impudently copied. "If you saw these men,"
wrote Dürer to his friend Pirkheimer, "you would take them for the best
people in the world. For my part, I can never help laughing at them
when they speak to me. They are quite aware that one knows all about
their knavery; but they don't care. You may be sure I was warned in
time not to eat and drink with them. There are painters in Venice who
copy my works, clamouring loudly the while that I am ruining art by
departing from the antique."

[Illustration: FIG. 38.-HANS SEBALD BEHAM.

The Jester and the Lovers.]

Albert Dürer, however, found in the welcome he received from the most
celebrated Italian artists a compensation for the bad conduct to
which he was a victim. Old Giovanni Bellini himself overwhelmed his
young rival with praise, and begged for one of his works, for which
he declared himself "eager to pay well." Lastly, when Dürer was once
more in his own country, and might have considered himself forgotten
by the Italian painters, Raphael, the greatest of all, sent him as a
token of his admiration some proofs of plates that Marc Antonio had
just engraved under his own eye. What happened at Venice was nearly
happening at Nuremberg. The German engraver did not dream of copying
the works of his old imitator as a sort of _quid pro quo_; but, as he
really appreciated them at their true value, he did not hesitate to
show them to his pupils, and to recommend them to their imitation.
Aldegrever, Hans Schaüflein, Baldung Grün, Hans Sebald Beham, indeed,
the greater part of the so-called "Little Masters," who were destined
all their lives to remain faithful to tradition, were content to admire
without any thought of imitation; but those who were younger and
less fixed simply took Albert Dürer at his word. Perhaps he scarcely
welcomed such excessive docility. But their master having thus almost
acknowledged a superior, these young men hurriedly left him to put
themselves under the guidance of the conqueror. The deserters were
numerous. Georg Pencz, Bartholomew Beham, and Jacob Binck, who had been
the first to cross the Alps, succeeded in copying Marc Antonio well
enough to cause several of the subjects they engraved to be mistaken
for his own. When in their turn, and in Rome itself, they had educated
German pupils, these latter returned to their own country to finish
the revolution already begun, by spreading still further the taste for
the Italian manner; so that the school of Dürer, the only one known in
Germany some years before, was, after the second generation, almost
entirely absorbed in that of the Italians.

[Illustration: FIG 39.

HANS SEBALD BEHAM.

The Three Soldiers.]

The engravings of Albert Dürer, even those produced in the full force
of his talents, for a long time obtained but little favour in France
and England. They now possess zealous admirers, and modern painting
now and then shows signs of being affected by this enthusiasm; it
is in the new German school, of which Cornelius and Kaulbach were
the chiefs, that the Nuremberg master seems to have exerted the most
important influence, and one which is, even in some respects, to be
regretted. It would, however, be unjust to Dürer to saddle him with the
burden of errors of which he was but the involuntary cause. However
exaggerated may have been the reaction produced by his followers three
centuries after his death, considered separately and apart from them,
he remains, nevertheless, an eminent artist and the greatest of all
his countrymen. Vasari considers that, as a painter and sculptor, "he
would have equalled the great masters of Italy, if he had been born
in Tuscany, and if the study of the antique had helped him to impart
to his figures as much beauty and elegance as they have truth and
delicacy;" as a mathematician he ranked among the first of his time in
Germany; as an engraver--and it is as such only that we can look upon
him here--he enormously advanced the progress of the art. No one before
him ever handled the burin with the same skill and vigour; no one ever
cut outlines on the metal with such absolute certainty, or so carefully
reproduced every detail of modelling.

[Illustration: FIG. 40.--ALBERT DÜRER.

Willibald Pirkheimer.]

[Illustration: FIG. 41.--ALBERT DÜRER.

The Holy Face.]

[Illustration: FIG. 42.--ALBERT DÜRER.

The Standard Bearer.]

[Illustration: FIG. 43.--ALBERT DÜRER.

The Ride.]

[Illustration: FIG. 44.--ALBERT DÜRER.

The Pommel of Maximilian's Sword.]

The qualities which distinguished his talent and manner are found
to nearly the same extent in all his work. As examples, however,
peculiarly expressive of his delicate yet powerful talent, we
may mention the hunting "St. Hubert"--or, more probably, St.
Eustace--kneeling before a stag with a miraculous crucifix on its head,
the "St. Jerome in his Cell," the print called the "Knight and Death,"
and lastly the subject known as "Melancholia," which should rather
be called "Reflection," but reflection in its gravest, darkest, one
might almost say its most despairing, attitude. This piece, which even
Vasari allows to be "incomparable," represents a woman seated, her head
resting on one hand, whilst she holds in the other a compass with which
she is trifling mechanically. As though to suggest the limitations and
nothingness of human knowledge, an hour-glass and various scientific
instruments are scattered about; whilst in the middle distance a child,
doubtless an image of youthful illusions, is attentively writing, and
contrasts in its serenity with the troubled countenance and despairing
attitude of the principal figure. Had Dürer only engraved this one
extraordinary plate, had he only produced this one work, as strikingly
original in execution as in intention, it would be enough to mark
his position for ever in the history of art, and to commend him to
everlasting honour. But there are many other works from the same
hand which might be also mentioned to confirm or to increase our
admiration. There are many, besides the "Melancholia," where the almost
savage energy of the style is allied to an extraordinary manipulative
delicacy in the expression of details. Sometimes, indeed, his energy
degenerates into violence and his precision into dryness; sometimes--as
a rule, in fact--the general effect is impaired by a too detailed
insistence on subordinate forms, while the beauty of these forms is at
least affected by the minute care with which they have been separately
studied and expressed. But these imperfections, or, if you like, these
faults, may be attributed in part to the tendencies and prejudices of
the period, and in part to that national taste for excessive analysis
which has been a characteristic of the German mind in every age. That
Dürer's merits, on the other hand, are entirely his own, may easily be
seen by comparing his works not only with those of former engravers,
but with those of foreign contemporary masters. Neither in Italy, nor
anywhere else, is it possible to find in the sixteenth century an
engraver of such original inspiration and possessing so much knowledge
and technical skill. Even Marc Antonio, superior though he may be in
sentiment and majesty of style, cannot dispossess Dürer of his lawful
renown, nor take from his art its peculiar virtue and authority.

[Illustration: FIG. 45.--MARC ANTONIO.

Lucretia. After Raphael.]

Marc Antonio Raimondi was born at Bologna, where he studied in the
school of the painter-goldsmith Francesco Francia, and was still only
an unknown worker in niello, and the author of some rather indifferent
plates engraved from his own or his master's designs,[23] when a
journey to Venice and the careful study of Albert Dürer's engravings
showed him the inmost possibilities of an art of which he had till then
known little more than the mere mechanical processes. Unfortunately, as
we have seen, the young engraver was not content with copying these,
the best models of the day, for his own improvement, but, to secure
a double profit, pushed his imitation a step further, and copied the
signature with as much care as the style.

Some years later he went to Rome, where Raphael, on the recommendation
of Giulio Romano, allowed him to engrave one of his own designs, the
"Lucretia." Other originals from Raphael's pencil were afterwards
reproduced by Marc Antonio with so much success that these fac-similes
of the ideas of the "divine Master" were soon in everybody's hands, and
the best judges, even Raphael himself, were fully satisfied.

[Illustration: FIG. 46.--MARC ANTONIO.

Poetry. After Raphael.]

The nobility of feeling, and the purity of taste and execution, which
shine in these now classic plates have never been surpassed. These
are the qualities, and these only, which we must look for and admire
unreservedly; to seek for more, as to regret its absence, would be
superfluous. To complain of the absence of colour and of aërial
perspective would be as unjust as to expect from Rembrandt the style
and types of the Italian school. Rembrandt's prints are impregnated
with poetry in their tone and in the harmony of their effects; those
of Marc Antonio are models of beauty, as regards line and dignity of
form. The two great masters of Bologna and of Leyden, so opposed to
each other in the nature of their aspirations and the choice of their
methods, have yet, each in his own way, proved their case and carried
their point; and to each must be allotted his own peculiar share of
glory.

It would be idle to point out with regret, as some have done, what is
lacking in the masterpieces of Marc Antonio, or to say that greater
freedom in rendering colour or in managing light and shade would have
lent them an additional charm.[24] Such qualities should be looked for
elsewhere than in subjects engraved--not, it must be remembered, from
pictures--but from pen or chalk drawings. In sixteenth century Italy
they could scarcely come from the burin of one of Raphael's pupils:
an epic burin, so to speak, and one contemptuous of qualities then
considered of secondary importance. Moreover, the hand of him who held
it was bold rather than skilful, vigorous rather than patient. To model
a body in shadow, he employed unevenly crossed or almost parallel
hatchings, drawn at different widths apart, and in subordination to
the larger feeling of the form and movement he wished to express. Then
lighter strokes led up to the half-light, and a few dots at unequal
distances bordered on the light.

[Illustration: FIG. 47.--MARC ANTONIO.

Apollo. After Raphael.]

What could be simpler than such a method? Yet what more exact in its
results, and what more expressive in drawing? The exact crossing of
lines mattered little to Marc Antonio. What he was taken up with
and wanted to make visible was neither the manner nor the choice of
workmanship: that might be simple indeed, and he was satisfied if only
the beauty of a head or the general aspect of a figure were striking
at a first glance, if only the appearance of the whole was largely
rendered and well defined. Sometimes one outline is corrected by a
second, and these alterations, all the more interesting as we may
suspect that they were ordered by Raphael himself, prove both the
engraver's passion for correct drawing and his small regard for mere
niceties of craftsmanship. The time was yet distant when, in this same
Italy, the trifling search after common technicalities should take the
place of such wise views; when men should set to work to reproduce
the shadows of a face or a piece of drapery by lozenges containing
a semicircle, a little cross, or even something resembling a young
serpent; when engravers like Morghen and his followers should see, in
the reproduction of masterpieces of the brush, only an opportunity for
assembling groups of more or less complicated lines and parading their
dexterity, and should gain by these tricks the applause of all men and
the name of artists.

[Illustration: FIG. 48.--MARC ANTONIO.

Portrait of Raphael.]

The school founded by Marc Antonio soon became the most numerous and
active of all. We have seen that the Germans themselves crowded to
Rome, and surrounded the master who had caused them to forget Albert
Dürer. Engravers came to learn or to perfect their knowledge in the
same school from every part of Italy. There were Marco da Ravenna,
Agostino Veniziano, Giovanni Caraglio da Verona, Il Vecchio da Parma,
and Bonasone da Bologna. Some years later came the family of the
Mantovani, a member of which, Diana Scultori, more often called Diana
Ghisi, presented perhaps the first example, so common afterwards, of a
female engraver. Many others, whose names and works have remained more
or less celebrated, descend from Marc Antonio, whether they received
his teaching directly or through his pupils.

He, whilst so much talent was being developed under his influence,
continued the kind of work in which he had excelled from the beginning
of his stay in Rome, confining himself to the engraving of Raphael's
compositions: that is, as we have already said, of his drawings. It is
this which explains the difference, at first sight incomprehensible,
between certain prints by Marc Antonio and the same subjects as
painted by Raphael. The painter often submitted to the engraver pen
or pencil sketches of subjects which he afterwards altered with his
brush when transferring them to walls or panels: the "St. Cecilia,"
the "Parnassus," the "Poetry," for instance, which are so unlike
in the copy and in what wrongly appears to have been the original.
Raphael often drew specially for engraving: as in the "Massacre of the
Innocents," the "Judgment of Paris" the "Plague of Phrygia," &c.; but
in either case Marc Antonio had but to find the means of faithfully
rendering given forms with the graver, without troubling himself about
those difficulties which the luminous or delicate qualities of colour
would certainly have introduced.

Raphael's death, however, deprived the engraver of an influence which,
to the great advantage of his talent, he had obeyed submissively for
ten years. Marc Antonio would not continue to work from the drawings of
the master who could no longer superintend him; but he still continued
to honour him in the person of his favourite pupil, Giulio Romano,
to whom he attached himself, and whose works he reproduced almost
exclusively.

[Illustration: FIG. 49.--MARC ANTONIO.

The Three Doctors.]

The connection of the two artists resulted in the publication of some
fine engravings, amongst others the "Hercules and Antæus," but it
unfortunately terminated in a disgraceful business. Giulio Romano,
following the dissolute manners of the day, rather than the example
and traditions of the noble leader of the school, stooped to design
a series of boldly licentious subjects. Marc Antonio consented to
engrave them, and Pietro Aretino helped still further to degrade the
undertaking by composing an explanatory sonnet to be printed opposite
to each plate. The result was a book whose title is still infamous.
In publishing it the two artists took care not to sign their names.
They were, however, discovered by the boldness of the style and the
firmness of the line; for, surprising as it may seem, neither took
the trouble to alter his usual manner: they merely profaned it. Here,
assuredly, their wonted dignity of form and energy of workmanship
appear somewhat incongruous qualities.[25] The culprits were soon
discovered; and Clement VII. issued a warrant to pursue them, ordering,
at the same time, that every copy of the work should be destroyed.
Aretino fled to Venice, Giulio Romano to Mantua, and the only sufferer
was the engraver. He was imprisoned for several months, and only set
at liberty, thanks to frequent requests made by Giulio de' Medici and
the sculptor Baccio Bandinelli, from whose original, to prove his
gratitude, he executed the beautiful "Martyrdom of St. Lawrence," one
of the masterpieces of Italian engraving.

The rest of Marc Antonio's life is only imperfectly known. It is said
that he was wounded and left for dead in the streets when Rome was
sacked by the Spanish under the Constable de Bourbon; that he was then
taken prisoner, and only recovered his liberty at the cost of a ransom
large enough to ruin him; and that he then took refuge at Bologna,
where it would appear he soon afterwards died: not, as has been
alleged, murdered by the lawful possessor of one of his plates, which
he had himself forged, but, so says Vasari, "nearly reduced to beggary"
("poco meno che mendico"), and at any rate completely forgotten.

Marc Antonio's death did not bring with it the ruin of line engraving
in Italy. The numerous pupils he had educated, and in turn the pupils
of these, handed down to the beginning of the seventeenth century
the master's manner, and propagated his doctrines in neighbouring
countries. We have spoken of the revolution which their works produced
in German art; we shall presently see French art submitting in its turn
to Italian influences. Meanwhile, and even during Marc Antonio's life,
a particular sort of engraving was making rapid progress in Italy.
It consisted in the employment of a process, popularised by Ugo da
Carpi, for obtaining from several wooden blocks proofs of engravings in
camaïeu: that is, as we explained at the beginning of this book, proofs
in two, three, or four tones, offering almost the same appearance as
drawings washed in with water-colour: a process which Ugo did not
really invent, but only improved from the first attempts made at
Augsburg in 1510 by Jobst Necker, which were destined to be still
further improved by Nicolò Vicentino, Andrea Andreani, Antonio da
Trento, and many others.

A great number of pieces, executed in the same manner from Raphael and
Parmigiano, prove the skill of Ugo da Carpi, who unfortunately took
it into his head to introduce into painting even more radical changes
than those he had first promoted in engraving. He conceived the strange
idea of painting a whole picture with his finger, without once having
recourse to a brush, and, the proceeding appearing to him praiseworthy,
he perpetuated the recollection of it in a few proud words at the
bottom of the canvas. Michelangelo, to whom the picture was shown as a
remarkable curiosity, merely said that "the only remarkable thing about
it was the folly of the author." What would he have thought of Luca
Cambiaso, the Genoese, whose talent consisted in painting with both
hands at once?

The practice of engraving in camaïeu was not continued in Italy and
Germany beyond the last years of the sixteenth century. Even before
then wood engraving, properly so called, had reached a stage of
considerable importance in both countries; and it had distinguished
itself by decided enough progress to cause engraving in camaïeu to lose
much of the favour with which at first it was welcomed.

We said at the beginning of this chapter that a real regeneration in
wood engraving took place in Germany under the influence of Albert
Dürer. We have plates from the drawings of the master, engraved, if
not entirely by himself, at any rate to a certain extent with his
practical co-operation; we have others--for instance, the "Life of
the Virgin" and the "Passion," to which we have referred in speaking
of Marc Antonio's copies of them with the burin. But, in addition to
these, we have a number of wood engravings, earlier than the second
half of the sixteenth century, which prove the progress made in
the art at this time in Germany, and the ability with which it was
practised by the successors of Wolgemut. Wood engraving was no longer,
as in the time of Wolgemut, a mere mode of linear imitation, and only
fit to represent form by outlines; it was now capable of suggesting
modelling and effect, not of course with that finished delicacy and
freedom which can only be produced in true line engraving, but with an
energetic exactness quite, in accordance with the special conditions
and resources of the process. The "Triumphal Arch of the Emperor
Maximilian," by Hans Burgkmair and to some extent by Albert Dürer;
the "Theuerdannck," an allegorical history of the same prince by
Hans Schaüfflein; the "Passion of Jesus Christ;" and the "Illustrium
Ducum Saxoniæ Effigies," by Lucas Cranach, as well as many other
collections published at Nuremberg, Augsburg, Weimar, or Wittenberg,
deserve mention as remarkable examples of the peculiar skill of the
German artists of the time. Indeed, when, a little later, the "Dance
of Death," by Lützelburger, from Holbein, made its appearance, this
masterpiece in wood engraving closed the period of progress which had
gone on in Germany from the beginning of the sixteenth century, and
marked in its general history the time when the art itself had told its
last secret, and attained perfection.

[Illustration: FIG. 50.--LÜTZELBURGER.

The Miser. After Holbein.]

Whilst this regeneration in wood engraving was being accomplished in
Germany, the art continued to be practised in Italy, and especially in
Venice, with a feeling for composition, and that delicate reticence
of handling, of which the cuts in the "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,"
published before the end of the fifteenth century (1499), and in
other books printed some years later, are such striking examples. The
Italian wood engravers of the sixteenth century, however, did not
limit themselves so entirely to the national traditions as to stifle
altogether any attempt at innovation. They had already tried to
enliven even the execution of the illustrations intended to accompany
letterpress by more decided suggestions of light and shade and general
effect. This is the reason of the successful first appearance, and
the present value, of so many beautiful volumes from the printing
presses of Marcolini da Forli, Giolito da Ferrari and other printers
established at Venice.

[Illustration: PROVER. XXI.

FIG. 51.--LÜTZELBURGER.

The Rich Sinner. After Holbein.]

Little by little, however, the domain of wood engraving widened, or
rather the object which wood engravers set themselves to attain was
changed. Instead of confining themselves, as in the past, to the part
of commentators of authors and illustrators of books, they set to work,
like the line engravers, to publish, in larger dimensions than the size
of a book, prints reproducing separate drawings and sometimes even
pictures. The works of Titian specially served as models to skilful
wood engravers, some of whom, Domenico delle Greche and Nicolò Boldrini
amongst others, are said to have worked in the studio, even under the
master's own eye. According to the careful testimony of Ridolphi,
confirmed by Mariette, Titian gave more than mere advice. He seems,
more than once, to have sketched with his own hand on the wood the
designs to be reproduced by the wood engravers; and amongst the prints
thus begun by him, several "Virgins" in landscapes and a "Triumph of
Christ" may be mentioned: the last "a work," says Mariette, "drawn with
fine taste, in which the hatchings forming the outlines and shadows ...
produce a softness and mellowness understood by Titian alone."

However brief the preceding observations on the progress of engraving
in the sixteenth century in Germany and Italy may appear, they will
perhaps be sufficient to indicate the reciprocal influence then
exercised by the engravers of both countries. Without ceasing to be
Italian in their real preferences, their tastes, and their innate love
of majesty of style, Marc Antonio and his disciples understood how to
improve their practical execution by Albert Dürer's example, exactly
as Dürer's pupils and their followers, while continuing to be German
as it were in spite of themselves, tried to become Italianised as best
they might.

But it is time to speak of the school of the Low Countries, which
appeared to stand aloof, as much from the progress in Germany initiated
by Martin Schongauer and Albert Dürer, as from the more recent advance
in Italy. Apparently unaffected by external influences, it was content
to rely on its own powers, and to make use of its own resources, whilst
awaiting the time, now close at hand, when it should in its turn supply
example and teaching to those who had till then believed themselves to
be the teachers.



CHAPTER V.

LINE ENGRAVING AND ETCHING IN THE LOW COUNTRIES, TO THE SECOND HALF OF
THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.


The history of engraving in the Low Countries really dates but from the
early years of the sixteenth century: that is, from the appearance of
the prints of Lucas van Leyden (1494-1533). Before that time certain
line engravers, such as the so-called _Maître aux Banderoles_, the
"Master of the Streamers," and those other anonymous artists of the
fifteenth century who composed the group called "the Dutch primitives,"
had attempted to widen the domain of the art, till then confined to
the wood-cutters who were the contemporaries or successors of the
xylographists of the "Speculum Salvationis" and the "Biblia Pauperum."
But, whilst the German and Italian engravers were distinguishing
themselves by the brilliancy of their achievement, their contemporaries
in the Low Countries were producing works little fitted to compete with
those of the foreign masters. They only succeeded in showing themselves
more or less able artisans. Lucas van Leyden was the first to use
the burin artistically, or at least to handle it with a boldness and
knowledge never foreshadowed in the timid essays of his predecessors.

[Illustration: FIG. 52.--ANONYMOUS ARTIST OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.

Hercules and Omphale.]

While still a child Lucas van Leyden had already attracted the
attention of his countrymen by his talent as a painter, and his sketch
in distemper, the "Story of St. Hubert"--done, it is alleged, at the
age of twelve--placed him at once amongst artists of repute. Some
years later the publication of his prints brought him to the first
rank. He maintained his place till the end of his life; and if, after
his death, the Dutch and Flemish engravers still further perfected the
art he had practised, they did but follow in his footsteps and draw
more abundantly from the source he had discovered.

The principal feature of the works of Lucas van Leyden, and in general
of all those belonging to his school, is a keen feeling for the
phenomena of light. Albert Dürer, and even Marc Antonio, despised or
misunderstood this essential quality of art. In their works there is
hardly any gradation of tone to suggest atmospheric distance, and we
might mention engravings of theirs where objects consigned to the
background are almost as distinct as those in the foreground. It was
Lucas van Leyden who conceived the idea of perceptibly diminishing the
values according to their distance, of giving to the shadows more or
less of transparency or depth, as the case might be, and of endowing
the lights and half-lights with relatively greater force or delicacy.
Reasoning so valid--based as it was on the real appearances of
nature--was the principal cause of the young Dutch master's success. In
his numerous engravings, however, qualities of another order are added
to the merit of this innovation. The variety of facial expression,
the truth of attitude and gesture, are no less remarkable than the
harmony of effect, and the attempts at what we may venture to call
_naturalistic_ colour.

[Illustration: FIG. 53.--LUCAS VAN LEYDEN.

Adam and Eve driven from Paradise.]

Considered only from the point of view of execution, the pieces
engraved by Lucas van Leyden are far from possessing the same largeness
of design and modelling, and the same simplicity of handling, which
the works of Marc Antonio exhibit, and, in a word, have none of that
masterly ease in the rendering of form which characterises the Italian
engraver. Nor do they exhibit the determination to pursue the truth
even in minute details, and to sternly insist on the portrayal of
such truth when recognised, which distinguishes the work of Albert
Dürer. They are to be specially praised for delicacy of handling,
and for the skilful application of the processes of engraving to the
picturesque representation of reality. Thus, instead of surrounding
with an invariably firm outline objects or bodies at a distance from
one another, instead of treating alike the contour of a figure in the
foreground, and that of a tree, or group of trees, in the background,
Lucas van Leyden altered his work to suit the degree of relative
clearness or uncertainty presented in nature by the forms of objects at
different distances from the eye. An unbroken line is his method for
giving the required boldness to such contours as, from the place they
occupy, must be strongly defined and dominate the rest. When, on the
contrary, he wishes to reproduce the half-veiled lines of a distant
landscape, and to imitate that tremulous and floating aspect assumed by
an object in proportion to its remoteness and the amount of intervening
atmosphere, he changes his touch; and, instead of bounding by a single
continuous line the object reproduced, employs a series of small broken
lines, superimposed in a horizontal or oblique direction; and thus,
instead of a dry definition of outline, he renders with deliberate
hesitation that floating quality which is to be observed in nature.

[Illustration: FIG. 54.--LUCAS VAN LEYDEN.

The Visitation.]

Lucas van Leyden was the first amongst engravers who took into account
with any measure of success the assumed distances of his models, in
order to organise in their representation a varying value of tones and
a general gradation of force. This important change he introduced from
the beginning: that is to say, from 1508, the year of his first dated
print, "The Monk Sergius Killed by Mahomet" (which, by the way, might
be more appropriately entitled "Mahomet before the Body of a Hermit
Murdered by One of his Servants").[26] Here, as in the master's other
prints, the backgrounds are treated with so light a touch that their
distance can be felt; the handling becomes less energetic, the burin
ploughs the copper less heavily, as the objects recede from the front
of the composition. Moreover, every subordinate form is observed and
rendered with singular delicacy; every face and every detail of drapery
bear testimony, by the way they are engraved, to the clear insight of
the artist and his extraordinary skill of hand. His work is strictly
realistic, his style precise and clear rather than loftily inspired;
and we look almost in vain to him for taste, properly so called, the
feeling for the beautiful, in fact, the understanding of the ideal
conditions of art.

[Illustration: FIG. 55.--LUCAS VAN LEYDEN.

Pyramus and Thisbe.]

This it is which constitutes the principal difference, and clearly
marks the distance, between the talent of Lucas van Leyden and that of
Mantegna, of Marc Antonio, or of any other Italian engraver of the
fifteenth or sixteenth centuries. Besides, neither the defects nor the
merits of the master are entirely the result of his inclinations or
his personal habits. The very spirit of Dutch art and the instinctive
preferences of the future school of the seventeenth century are to
be found in embryo in his works, which tend less to initiate us into
the mysteries of the invisible, than to place before us the faithful
image of what really exists. "It was the fate of Holland," as Eugène
Fromentin has well said,[27] "to like _ce qui ressemble_, to return
to it one day or other, to outlive all besides, and to survive and
be saved itself by portraiture." Taking the word in its widest
acceptation, Lucas van Leyden is already engraving "portraits." It is
by the careful imitation of living nature or still-life that he means
to interest us: even when his models are in themselves of little worth,
or, as is sometimes the case, are the reverse of beautiful.

[Illustration: FIG. 56.--LUCAS VAN LEYDEN.

Portrait of the Emperor Maximilian I.]

In representing, for example, "David Calming the Fury of Saul,"
with what simple good faith he makes use of the first type he comes
across--a stout clodhopper whom he has picked up in the street or
at the tavern! No more is wanted save a harp under his arm and a
slashed doublet on his body; just as in picturing the most tragical
scenes of the "Passion"--the "Ecce Homo," or the "Crucifixion"--he
thinks it enough to surround his Christ with the Jew peddlers or the
home-keeping citizens of his native town, without altering in any way
their appearance or their dress. What could be more contrary to the
traditions of Italian art and the principles which have governed it,
from Giotto down to Raphael? What less unusual in the history of Dutch
art? Later on Rembrandt himself was to work in the same way; but with
what mighty powers of invention! What a startling expression of the
inner meaning, the philosophy of a subject, is united in his fashion of
treatment with the realistic ideals of the national genius! In truth,
it is not merely the peculiar characteristic of an individual--the
indifference to, or aversion from, conventional beauty of form which
is apparent in this great master, so far-reaching in moral vision, so
pre-eminently sagacious and profound among painters of the soul; it
sums up and reveals the innate disposition and æsthetic temperament of
a whole race.

In his brief career Lucas van Leyden had the happiness to see his
efforts rewarded and his credit universally established, and of this
authority and influence he ever made the noblest use. Looked upon as
a leader by the painters of his country; in friendly relations with
the German engravers, who, like Albert Dürer, sent him their works, or
came themselves to ask advice; possessing greater wealth than usually
fell to the share of the artists of his time; he never employed his
riches or his influence except in the interest of art, or of the men
who practised it. He refused no solicitant of merit, however slight.
The worthy master was careful to disguise his aid under pretext of
some advantage to himself: he was always requiring drawings of some
building or some artistic object, and thus he spared the self-respect
of the person whom he wished to help, and whom he entrusted with
the commission. More than once he went journeying through the Low
Countries to visit engravers and painters far inferior to himself, whom
he yet modestly called his rivals. He complimented them with words of
praise and encouragement; gave entertainments in their honour; and did
not leave them without exchanging his works for theirs, which were thus
paid for a hundred times over.

It was in one of these journeys, that to Flushing, that Lucas van
Leyden was attacked with the disease which was destined to carry him to
the grave. Some people have attributed to poison the suddenness of the
attack; but of this there is no proof. Once back in his native town, he
lingered on some time, worn out and sinking, yet refusing to condemn
himself to idleness. Too feeble to rise, he yet continued to draw and
engrave in bed, remaining faithful till the end to the noble passion
of his life, to the art he had dignified, and to that nature which he
had questioned more closely, and, in certain respects, perhaps better
understood than any of his predecessors. It is said that a few hours
before his death he desired to be taken up to a terrace of his house,
that he might once more admire the setting sun; and there, absorbed
in silent contemplation, surrounded by friends and pupils, he for the
last time gazed on the place of his birth, and on that heaven from
which the light was fading, even as life was ebbing from his bosom. It
was a proper conclusion to so pure a life--to one, indeed, of the most
irreproachable careers in the history of art. Lucas van Leyden died at
thirty-eight, an age fatal to more than one great artist, and which
was scarcely attained by three men with whom he seems linked by a
similarity of genius, at least as regards early fertility and sincerity
of inspiration: Raphael, Lesueur, and Mozart.

The impetus given by Lucas van Leyden to the art of engraving was
seconded, even during his life, by several Dutch artists who imitated
his method more or less successfully. Amongst others, Alart Claessen,
an anonymous engraver called the "Maître à l'Écrevisse," and Dirck
Star, or Van Staren, generally called the "Maître à l'Étoile." The
movement did not slacken after the death of the leader of the school.
The engravers of the Low Countries, accentuating more and more the
qualities aimed at from the beginning, soon surpassed their German
rivals, and seemed alone to be gifted with the knack of dealing with
light. Cornelius Cort, who engraved several of Titian's works in Venice
in the great painter's studio, and the pupils he educated on his return
to Holland, began to exhibit a boldness of touch not to be so clearly
discovered in their predecessors; but this progress, real in some
respects, was not accomplished without injury to truthful study and the
exact interpretation of form, and certainly not without a deplorable
exaggeration in the use of means.

The workmanship of Hendrik Goltzius, for instance, and still more
that of his pupil, Jan Müller, is strained and feeble owing to their
affectation of ease. The constant use of bent and parallel lines
unreasonably prolonged imparts to the plates of these two engravers
an appearance at once dull and florid; they present something of the
same aspect as those caligraphical specimens of the present day, in
which the faces of Henri IV. or of Napoleon are drawn entirely with the
curves of a single stroke. Still, in spite of this extremely affected
workmanship, the prints of Goltzius, of Müller, and even of Saenredam,
are characterised by a comparative intensity of tone, as well as by
singular skill in cutting the copper. This abuse of method, however,
had not yet become general in the schools of the Low Countries. Side
by side with the intemperate or daring craftsmen we have mentioned,
there were certain Flemish and Dutch engravers who imparted to their
work a delicacy and a reticence of expression better suited to the
traditions and the models bequeathed by Lucas van Leyden. These were
Nicolas van Bruyn at Antwerp, the brothers Wierix at Amsterdam, and
some few others, all of them disciples more or less faithful to the
old teaching, and apparently more or less hostile to the effort at
emancipation going on around them. When, however, Rubens took the
reins, individual resistance and impulse ceased, and all controversy
was at an end. Principles, method, and aim became the same for every
one. Both Dutch and Flemish engravers openly set themselves to
represent with the graver the infinite gradations of a painted canvas,
the delicacy and the daring, the nicest punctilio and the most summary
smearing, of the painter's brush.

Never was the influence of a painter on engraving so direct or so
potent as that of Rubens. The great master had shown by his drawings
that it was possible to be as rich a colourist with black and white
alone as with all the resources of the palette. He made choice amongst
his pupils of those whom he believed to be capable of following his
example in this matter; he obliged them to lay aside the brush, almost
ordered them to become engravers, and so penetrated them with the
secret of his method, that he seems to have animated them with his own
inspiration. He assembled them in the vast house which he had built at
Antwerp, and which he turned into a college of artists of all sorts.
He made them sometimes labour beneath his eye; he carefully corrected
their work;[28] and in this way he taught them that comprehension of
effect which was specially his, and his own incomparable knowledge of
the right tones with which to lay in, or to support, a mass of light or
shadow.

To recall the success of these efforts is to recall the names of
Vorsterman, Bolswert, Paul Pontius, and Soutman: men boldly scientific
in their art, who, at the first rush, carried to perfection that style
of engraving which renders before all the relative richness and varied
value of tones in a picture, and whose effects are identical in some
sort with those of the painting itself. It is obvious that, in spite
of its prodigious merits, this painting is not of so elevated a nature
as that of Leonardo da Vinci or Raphael; but is it therefore less true
that it is completely summed up, and its living image reflected,
in contemporary engraving? Actuated by an idea of colour and effect
analogous to that of Marc Antonio with regard to drawing, the Flemish
engravers resolutely subordinated accessories to the importance and
splendour of essentials; and in this way they succeeded in dissembling,
by means of the breadth of the whole, the execution of details and even
the laboriousness of the process. It would seem from the sparkling look
and brilliant handiwork of these plates, that the engravers had thrown
them off in a few hours of inspiration, so completely does their dash
banish all idea of the time spent upon them, all sense of patience
and toil. And yet these lights and shades, the sweep of the flesh,
the sheen and shimmer of the fabrics, are all the result of lines
laboriously ploughed; perhaps a thousand strokes have been needed to
imitate an effect due to a single glaze, or given by two touches of the
brush.

The engravings of the Flemish school in Rubens' time are still
widely distributed. There are few people who have not had the
opportunity of admiring the "Thomiris," the "St. Roch Praying for the
Plague-Stricken," or the "Portrait of Rubens," by Pontius; the "Descent
from the Cross," by Vorsterman; the "Fall of the Damned," by Soutman;
and a hundred other pieces as beautiful, all engraved from the master
by his pupils. And who does not know that marvellous masterpiece, the
"Crown of Thorns," engraved by Bolswert from Van Dyck? and those other
masterpieces of Van Dyck himself--the etched portraits of artists or
amateurs, the painter's friends, from the two Breughels to Cornelis,
from Franz Snyders to Philip Le Roy?

[Illustration: FIG. 57.--VAN DYCK.

Etched by Himself.]

The progress, however, by which the Flemish school of engraving had
distinguished itself, soon had an equivalent in the movement of reform
in Holland. Towards the end of the sixteenth century, and on from
the beginning of the seventeenth, the Dutch engravers, by dint of
insisting too strongly on the innovations of Lucas van Leyden, had
almost succeeded in causing scientific ease of handling to degenerate
into mere trickery, and spirit of design into inflation and turbulence.
Amongst the first, and with greater authority than any, Cornelius
Visscher set himself to stay the art of line engraving on its downward
course.

[Illustration: FIG. 58.--CORNELIUS VISSCHER.

The Seller of Ratsbane.]

Most of the scenes represented by Visscher are assuredly not of a
nature greatly to interest the imagination, still less to touch the
heart. It would be somewhat difficult to be moved to any philosophical
or poetic thought by the contemplation of such work as the
"Frying-Pan," or the "Seller of Ratsbane;" but these, though the ideas
by which they are suggested are trivial or commonplace, are treated
with a deep feeling for truth, with admirable craftsmanship, and with
an amount of sincerity and boldness which makes up for the absence of
beauty, whether in thought or type. Considered only from the point of
view of execution, the plates of Visscher are masterpieces; are such
marvels, indeed, that they cannot be too carefully studied by all
engravers, whatever the style of their work.

[Illustration: FIG. 59.--CORNELIUS VISSCHER.

Giles Boutma.]

[Illustration: FIG. 60.--PAUL POTTER.

The Cow.]

The same may be said in another order of art for those fine
portraits--of "Boccaccio," of "Pietro Aretino," and of
"Giorgione"--engraved by Cornelius Van Dalen, the best of Visscher's
pupils. It is also on the same ground, that, in spite of most notable
differences in handling, the plates engraved by Jonas Suyderhoef, after
Terburg and Theodore de Keyse, command the attention of artists and
amateurs. Finally, side by side with these works, in the execution
of which etching was only resorted to as a preparatory process, or
sometimes was not even used at all, a number of subjects entirely
engraved with the needle--etchings, to speak strictly--make up a
whole which is the more creditable to the Dutch school, inasmuch as
it would be impossible at any time to find the like in the schools of
other countries. French engraving had doubtless reason to be proud of
the masterpieces of Claude Lorraine, or the clever and witty etchings
of Callot and Israel Silvestre. In Italy after Parmigiano, Agostino
Carracci, and certain other contemporary Bolognese, in Spain, Ribera,
and afterwards Goya, acquired a legitimate renown as etchers. But
whatever may be the merit of their individual work, these artists are
unconnected in either of their native countries with any group wholly
devoted to work of the same kind: with any artistic family of common
origin, inclination, and belief.

[Illustration: FIG. 61.--J. RUYSDAEL.

The Little Cornfield.]

Now the skilful Dutch etchers do not come singly, nor at long
intervals. They work in a body. It is within a few years, in fact
almost simultaneously, that Adrian Brauwer and Adrian van Ostade
publish their tavern scenes; Ruysdael and Jan Both their landscapes;
Paul Potter and Berghem, Adrian van de Velde, Marc de Bye, Karel du
Jardin, such a multitude of charming little subjects, their village
scenes and village people, their flocks in the fields, or their single
animals. Whilst emulating each other's talent, all are agreed to pursue
one and the same object, all are agreed as to the necessity of devotion
to the study of surrounding nature and everyday truth.

Although the Dutch etchers display in the totality of their achievement
the same ideal and the same tendency, each keeps, if only in the matter
of workmanship, a certain distinction and character of his own. One,
however, stands out from the group with matchless splendour, with all
the superiority of genius over talent: that one is Rembrandt.

[Illustration: FIG. 62.--REMBRANDT.

Portrait of Himself: _Rembrandt Appuye_.]

[Illustration: FIG. 63.--REMBRANDT.

Faust.]

[Illustration: FIG. 64.--REMBRANDT.

Joseph's Coat brought to Jacob.]

Pains and patience have been wasted on the secret of Rembrandt's method
of etching and printing; in trying to discover his tools and his manner
of using them, so as to achieve with him those contrasts of soft shadow
and radiant light. Vain quest of technical tricks where, really, there
is no more than a style born of imagination, and, like it, inspired
from above! It may be said that with Rembrandt, as with great musical
composers, the harmonic system is so closely allied to the melodic
idea, that analysis, if not impossible, is at least superfluous. It
sometimes happens--before a Correggio, for instance--that the charm
of the painting affects one in a manner abstract enough to produce
a sort of musical sensation. Though it does not appear that the art
of engraving could be endowed with a similar expansive force, yet
Rembrandt's etchings may almost be said to possess it. They give the
feeling of undefined aspirations rather than the limited likeness
of things; the spectator is touched by the mysterious meaning of
these passionate visions, rather than by the form in which they
are conveyed. The impression received is so keen that it stifles
any trivial wish to criticise, and certain details which would be
painful elsewhere are here not even displeasing, inasmuch as no one
would dream of requiring a mathematical explanation of the special
conditions of the subject, or of the skill of workmanship which the
artist has displayed Before the "Sacrifice of Abraham," the "Tobit,"
the "Lazarus," and all the other soul-speaking masterpieces, who would
pause to consider the strangeness or the vulgarity of the personages
and their apparel? Only the critic, who, unwitting of the rest,
would begin by examining with a magnifying glass the _workmanship_
of the ray of light which illumines the "Hundred Guilder Piece," the
"Annunciation," or the "Pilgrimage to Emmaus."

[Illustration: FIG. 65.--REMBRANDT.

Tobit's Blindness.]

[Illustration: FIG. 66.--REMBRANDT.

Jan Lutma.]

Rembrandt's method is, so to speak, supersensuous. At times he lightly
touches his plate, and at times he attacks as at a venture; at others
he skims the surface and caresses it with an exquisite refinement, a
magical dexterity. In his lights he breaks the line of the contour, but
only to resume and boldly accentuate it in his shadows; or he reverses
the method, and in the one, as in the other case, succeeds infallibly
in fixing, satisfying, and convincing the attention. He uses engraver's
tools and methods as Bossuet uses words, subduing them to the needs
of his thought, and constraining them to express it, careless of fine
finish as of trivial subtlety. Like Bossuet, too, he composes out of
the most incongruous elements, out of the trivial and the lofty, the
commonplace and the heroic, a style invariably eloquent; and from the
mingling of these heterogeneous elements there springs an admirable
harmony of result.

[Illustration: FIG. 67.--REMBRANDT.

The Beggars.]

The Flemish engravers formed by Rubens, and their Dutch contemporaries,
had no worthy successors. The revolution they accomplished in the
art was brief, and did not extend beyond the Low Countries. In
Italy, Dutch and Flemish engravings were naturally despised. It is
said--and it is easy to believe--that those accustomed to commune
with Raphael and Marc Antonio esteemed them fitting decorations "for
the walls of pothouses." In France and Germany, where Italian ideas
in art had reigned since the sixteenth century, they experienced at
first no better reception. When at length the consideration they
really deserved was accorded them, the superiority of France was
established, and her engravers could no longer be expected to descend
to imitation. The movement in the schools of the Low Countries, before
the second half of the seventeenth century, is thus, to speak truth,
a mere episode in the history of the art, and its masterpieces had
no lasting influence on engraving in general. For it to have been
otherwise, the engravers of other countries must have renounced, not
only the national traditions, but even the models they had at hand. The
method of Bolswert or of Pontius could only be usefully employed to
reproduce the works of Rubens and Van Dyck. The handling of Visscher
and of Suyderhoef was only suitable to such pictures as were painted in
Amsterdam and Leyden.

[Illustration: FIG. 68.--REMBRANDT.

The Pancake-maker.]

And meanwhile, when the schools of the Low Countries were shining with
a lustre so brilliant and so transitory, what was doing in France? and
how in France was the great age of engraving inaugurated?



CHAPTER VI.

    THE BEGINNING OF LINE ENGRAVING AND ETCHING IN FRANCE AND
    ENGLAND. FIRST ATTEMPTS AT MEZZOTINT. A GLANCE AT ENGRAVING IN
    EUROPE BEFORE 1660.


The French were unable to distinguish themselves early in the art of
engraving, as the conditions under which they laboured were different
from those which obtained in Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries:
the homes, all three of them, of schools of painting. From the
thirteenth century onwards, the architects and sculptors of France had
produced an unbroken succession of good things; but the origin of her
school of painting is not nearly so remote, nor has it such sustained
importance. Save for the unknown glass-painters of her cathedrals, for
the miniaturists who preceded and succeeded Jean Fouquet, and for the
artists in chalks whose work is touched with so peculiar a charm and so
delicate an originality, she can boast of no great painter before Jean
Cousin. And the art of engraving could scarcely have flourished when,
as yet, the art of painting had scarcely existed.

[Illustration: FIG. 69.--NOEL GARNIER.

Grotesques.]

[Illustration: FIG. 70.--JEAN DUVET.

The Power of Royalty.]

Wood-cutting, it is true, was practised in France with a certain
success, as early as the beginning of the sixteenth century, and even
a little before that. The "Danses macabres"--those aids to morality
so popular in mediæval times--the illustrated "Books of Hours," and
other compilations besides, printed with figures and tail-pieces, in
Lyons or Paris, give earnest of the unborn masterpieces of Geofroy
Tory, of Jean Cousin himself, and of sundry other draughtsmen and
wood-cutters of the reigns of François I. and Henri II. But, as
practised by goldsmiths, such as Jean Duvet and Étienne Delaune, and
by painters of the Fontainebleau school like René Boyvin and Geofroy
Dumonstier, line engraving and etching were still no more than a means
of popularising extravagant imitations of Italian work. The prints of
Nicolas Beatrizet, who had been the pupil of Agostino Musi at Rome, and
those of another engraver of Lorraine, whose name has been Italianised
into Niccolò della Casa, appear to have been produced with the one
object of deifying the spirit of sham, and converting French engravers
to that religion to which French painters had apostatised with so much
ill-fortune under the influence of the Italians brought in by Francis I.

[Illustration: FIG. 71.--ÉTIENNE DELAUNE.

Adam and Eve driven from Paradise.]

[Illustration: FIG. 72.--ÉTIENNE DELAUNE.

Mirror.]

[Illustration: FIG. 73.--ANDROUET DU CERCEAU.

Ornamented Vase.]

During the whole of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth
centuries the French school of engraving had neither method nor bent of
its own; but meanwhile it was a whim of fashion that every one should
handle the burin or the point. From the days of Henri II. to those of
Louis XIII., craftsman or layman, everybody practised engraving. There
were goldsmiths like Pierre Woeiriot, painters like Claude Corneille
and Jean de Gourmont, architects like Androuet du Cerceau; there
were noblemen; there were even ladies--as, for instance, Georgette
de Montenay, who dedicated to Jeanne d'Albret a collection of mottoes
and emblems, partly, it was said, of her own engraving. All the world
and his wife, in fact, were gouging wood and scraping copper. It
must be repeated that the prints of this time are for the most part
borrowed--are copies feeble or stilted, or both, of foreign originals.
Not until after some years of thraldom could the French engravers shake
off the yoke of Italian art, create a special style, and constitute
themselves a school. The revolution was prepared by Thomas de Leu and
Léonard Gaultier, engravers of portraits and of historical subjects;
but the hero of the French school is Jacques Callot.

There are certain names in the history of the arts which retain an
eternal odour of popularity; we remember them as those of men of
talent, who were also in some sort heroes of romance, and our interest
remains perennial. Jacques Callot is one of these. He is probably the
only French engraver[29] whose name is yet familiar to the general
public. That this is so is hardly the effect of his work, however
excellent: it is rather the result of his adventures; of his flight
from home in childhood; his wanderings with the gipsies; and the luck
he had--his good looks aiding--with the ladies of Rome, and even (it is
whispered) with the wife of Thomassin his master.

[Illustration: FIG. 74.--THOMAS DE LEU.

Henri IV.]

We have said it is Callot's merit to have lifted the French school of
engraving out of the rut in which it dragged, and to have opened for
it a new path. He did not, however, accomplish the work with an entire
independence, nor without some leanings towards that Italy in which
he had been trained. After working in Florence under Canta-Gallina,
whose freedom of style and fantastic taste could not but prove
irresistible to the future artist of Franca Trippa and Fritellino, he
had been obliged to return to Nancy. Thence he escaped a second time,
and thither was a second time brought back by his eldest brother, who
had been despatched in pursuit. A third journey took him to Rome; and
there, whether glad to be rid of him or weary of debate, his family let
him remain.

It is probable that during his expatriation,[30] Callot never so much
as dreamed of learning from the Old Masters; but he did not fail to
make a close study of certain contemporaries who were masters so
called. Paul V. was Pope; and the age of Raphael and Marc Antonio,
of Julius II. and Leo X., was for ever at an end. The enfeebling
eclecticism of the Carracci, and the profitless fecundity of Guido, had
given currency to all sorts of second-rate qualities, and in painting
had substituted prettiness for beauty. The result was an invasion of
frivolity, alike in manners and beliefs, which was destined to find its
least dubious expression in the works of Le Josépin, and later on in
those of an artist of kindred tastes with the Lorraine engraver--the
fantastical Salvator Rosa. When Callot settled in Rome in 1609, Le
Josépin had already reached the climax of fame and fortune; Salvator,
at an interval of nearly thirty years, was on the heels of his first
success. Coming, as he did, to take a place among the dexterous and the
eccentric, it seems that Callot could not have chosen a better time. It
was not long before he attracted attention; for when he left Rome for
Florence, where he produced some of his liveliest work, his name and
his capacity were already in repute.

[Illustration: FIG. 75.--CALLOT.

From the Set entitled "Balli di Sfessania."]

At Florence his capacity was perfected under the influence of Giulio
Parigi; and, thanks to the favour of Duke Cosmo II., which he easily
obtained, his name soon became famous in the world of fashion as
among connoisseurs. Unlike his countrymen, Claude Lorraine and the
noble Poussin, who, some years later, were in this same Italy to live
laborious and thoughtful lives, Callot freely followed his peculiar
vein, and saw in art no more than a means of amusement, in the people
about him only subjects for caricature, and in imaginative and even
religious subjects but a pretext for grotesque invention. Like another
French satirist, Mathurin Regnier, who had preceded him in Rome, he
was addicted to vulgar types, to rags and deformities, even to the
stigmata of debauchery. Thus, the works of both these two men, whom we
may compare together, too often breathe a most dishonourable atmosphere
of vice. With a frankness which goes the length of impudence, they give
full play to their taste for degradation and vile reality; and yet
their vigour of expression does not always degenerate into cynicism,
nor is the truth of their pictures always shameless. The fact is, both
had the secret of saying exactly enough to express their thoughts,
even when these were bred by the most capricious fancy. They may be
reproached with not caring to raise the standard of their work; but
it is impossible to deny them the merit of having painted ugliness
of every kind firmly and with elegant precision, nor that of having
given, each in his own language, a definite and truly national form to
that art of satire which had been hardly so much as rough-hewn in the
caricatures and pamphlets of the League.

[Illustration: FIG. 76.--J. CALLOT.

From the Set entitled "Les Gentilshommes".]

Etching, but little practised in Germany after the death of Dürer,
had found scarcely greater favour in Italy. As to the Dutch Little
Masters, spoken of in the preceding chapters, the time was not yet
come for most of their charming works. Claude Lorraine's etchings, now
so justly celebrated, were themselves of later date than Callot's.
The latter was, therefore, the real author of this class of work. In
his hand the needle acquired a lightness and boldness not presaged
in previous essays, which were at once coarse and careless. In his
suggestions of life in motion, he imitated the swift and lively gait
of the pencil, whilst his contours are touched with the severity of
the pen, if not of the burin itself. In a word, he gave his plates an
appearance of accuracy without destroying that look of improvisation
which is so necessary to work of the kind; in this way he decided the
nature and special conditions of etching. It was owing to his influence
that French art first attracted the attention of the Italians: Stefano
della Bella, Cantarini and even Canta-Gallina (who did not disdain to
copy the etchings of his old pupil), Castiglione the Genoese, and many
others, essayed, with more or less success, to appropriate the style
of the master of Nancy; and when he returned to establish himself in
France, where his reputation had preceded him, he found admirers, and
before long a still greater following of imitators.

[Illustration: FIG. 77.--J. CALLOT.

From the Set entitled "Les Gueux."]

He was presented to Louis XIII., who at once commissioned him to
engrave the "Siege of La Rochelle," and received at Court with
remarkable favour, which was, however, withdrawn some years later,
when he was bold enough to oppose the will of Richelieu. After the
taking of Nancy (1633) from the Duke of Lorraine, Callot's sovereign,
the great Cardinal, to immortalise the event, ordered the engraver to
make it the subject of a companion print to that of the "Siege of La
Rochelle," which he had just finished; but he was revolted by the idea
of using his talents for the humiliation of his prince, and replied to
Richelieu's messenger, "that he would rather cut off his thumb than
obey." The reply was not of a kind to maintain him in the good graces
of the Cardinal, and Callot felt it. He took leave of the king, and
soon after retired to his native town, where he died at the age of
forty-three.

Really introduced into France by Callot, etching had become the fashion
there. Abraham Bosse and Israel Silvestre helped to popularise it,
the latter by applying it to topography and architecture, the former
by using it for the illustration of religious and scientific books,
and the embellishment of the fans and other elegant knick-knacks then
selling in that "Galerie Dauphine du Palays" which is figured in one of
his prints, and from which a play of Corneille's derives its name. He
published besides an infinite number of subjects of all sorts: domestic
scenes, portraits, costumes, architectural ornaments, almost always
engraved from his own designs, and sometimes from those of the Norman
painter, Saint-Ygny.

[Illustration: FIG. 78.--CLAUDE LORRAINE.

"Le Bouvier."]

Abraham Bosse is doubtless a second-rate man, but he is far from having
no merit at all. He is an intelligent, if not a very delicate observer,
who knows how to impart to his figures and to the general aspect of a
scene an appearance of reality which is not altogether the truth, but
which comes very near to having its charm. He certainly possesses the
instinct of correct drawing, in default of refined taste and feeling;
and finally, to take him simply as an engraver, he has much of the bold
and firm handling of Callot, with something already of that cheerful
and thoroughly French cleverness which was destined to be more and more
developed in the national school of engraving, and to reach perfection
in the second half of the seventeenth century.

To Abraham Bosse are owing decided improvements in the construction of
printing-presses, the composition of varnishes, and all the practical
parts of the art; to him some technical studies are also due, the most
interesting of which, the "Traité des Manières de Graver sur l'Airain
par le Moyen des Eaux-fortes," is, if not the first, at least one of
the first books on engraving published in France. We may add that the
works of Abraham Bosse, like those of all other etchers of his time,
show a continual tendency to imitate with the needle the work of the
graver: a tendency worth remarking, though blamable in some respects,
as its result is to deprive each class of work of its peculiar
character, and from etching in particular to remove its appearance of
freedom and ease.

We have reached the moment when the French school of engraving entered
the path of progress, no more to depart from it, and when, after having
followed in the rear of foreign engravers, the French masters at
length began to make up with and almost to outdistance them. Before
proceeding, we must glance at the movement of those schools whose
beginnings we have already traced.

[Illustration: FIG. 79.--CLAUDE LORRAINE.

"Le Chevrier."]

The line of really great Italian painters went out with the sixteenth
century. Domenichino, indeed, Annibale Carracci, and a few others,
glorified the century that followed; but their works, although full
of sentiment, skill, and ability, are quite as much affected by the
pernicious eclecticism of the period and by the general decline in
taste. After them all the arts declined. Sculpture and architecture
became more and more degraded under the influence of Bernini and
Borromini. Athirst for novelty of any kind, people had gradually come
to think the most extravagant fancies clever. To bring the straight
line into greater disrepute, statues and bas-reliefs were tortured as
by a hurricane; attitudes, draperies, and even immovable accessories
were all perturbed and wavering. The engravers were no better than
the painters, sculptors, and architects. By dint of exaggerating the
idealistic creed, they had fallen into mere insanity; and in the midst
of this degradation of art, they aimed at nothing save excitement
and novelty, so that their invention was only shown in irregular
or overlengthy lines, and their impetuosity in bad drawing. Daily
wandering further from the paths of the masters, the Italian engravers
at last attained, through the abuse of method, a complete oblivion of
the essential conditions of their art; so that with few exceptions,
till the end of the eighteenth century, nothing is to be found save
barren sleight-of-hand in the works of that very school, which, in the
days of Marc Antonio and his pupils, had been universally triumphant.

[Illustration: FIG. 80.--ABRAHAM BOSSE.

From the Set entitled "Le Jardin de la Noblesse Française."]

After the Little Masters, inheritors of some of the genius, skill, and
renown of Albert Dürer, Germany had given birth to a fair number of
clever engravers, the majority of whom had left their country. Some
of them, indistinguishable to-day from the second generation of Marc
Antonio's disciples, had, as we said, abandoned the national style for
the Italian; others had settled in France or in the Low Countries. The
Thirty Years' War accomplished the ruin of German art, which before
long was represented only in Frankfort, where Matthew Mérian of Basle,
and his pupils, with certain engravers from neighbouring countries, had
taken refuge.

Whilst engraving was declining in Italy and Germany, the English school
was springing into being. Though at first of small importance, the
beginnings and early essays of the school are such as may hardly pass
without remark.

For some time England had seemed to take little part in the progress of
the fine arts in Europe, except commercially, or as the hostess of many
famous artists, from Holbein to Van Dyck. There were a certain number
of picture-dealers and print-sellers in London, but under Charles I.
her only painters and engravers of merit were foreigners.[31] The
famous portrait painter, Sir Peter Lely, whom the English are proud
to own, was a German, as was Kneller, who inherited his reputation,
and, as was Hollar, an engraver of unrivalled talent.[32] And while
a few pupils of this last artist were doing their best to imitate his
example, the taste for line engraving and etching, which processes were
being slowly and painfully popularised by their efforts, was suddenly
changed into a passion for another method, in which the principal
success of the English school has since been won.

Prince Rupert, so renowned for his courage and his romantic adventures,
had the fortunate chance to introduce to London the process of
engraving which is called mezzotint. In spite, however, of what has
been alleged, the honour of the invention is not his. Ludwig von
Siegen, a lieutenant-colonel in the service of the Landgrave of
Hesse-Cassel, had certainly discovered mezzotint before the end of
1642, for in the course of that year he published a print in this
style--the portrait of the Princess Amelia Elizabeth of Hesse--the
very first ever given to the public. Von Siegen for awhile refused to
divulge his secret. "There is not," he wrote to the Landgrave of Hesse
concerning this same portrait, "a single engraver, nor a single artist,
who knows how this work was done."

And, indeed, no one succeeded in finding out, and it was only after
a silence of twelve years that Von Siegen consented to reveal his
mystery. Prince Rupert, then at Brussels, was the first initiated. He,
in his turn, chose for confidant the painter Wallerant Vaillant, who
apparently did not think himself bound to strict silence, for, soon
afterwards, a number of Flemish engravers attempted the process. Once
made public, no one troubled about the man who had invented it. He was,
in fact, so quickly and completely forgotten, that even in 1656 Von
Siegen was obliged to claim the title, which no one any longer dreamed
of giving him, and to sign his works: "Von Siegen, the first and true
inventor of this kind of engraving." It was still worse in London
when the plates engraved by Prince Rupert were exhibited, and when
the English artists had learnt how they could produce the like. They
set themselves to work without looking out for any other models, and
were much more taken up with their own results than the history of the
discovery, the whole honour of which was attributed to Rupert, the man
who in reality had only made it public.

[Illustration: FIG. 81.--PRINCE RUPERT.

Head of a Young Man (engraved in Mezzotint).]

The talent of Rupert's first imitators, like that of the originator
himself, did not rise above mediocrity. Amongst their direct
successors, and the successors of these, there are few of much account;
but in the eighteenth century, when Sir Joshua Reynolds undertook,
like Rubens at Antwerp, to himself direct the work of engraving, the
number of good English mezzotint engravers became considerable. Earlom,
Ardell, Smith, Dickinson, Green, Watson, and many others deserving of
mention, greatly increased the resources of the process, by applying
it to the reproduction of the master's works. Mezzotint, at first
reserved for portraits, was used for subjects of every sort: flower
pieces, genre, even history; and step by step it attained to practical
perfection, of which, at the beginning of the present century, the
English still had the monopoly.

The methods of mezzotint differ completely from those of line engraving
and etching. With the graver and the needle the shadows and half-tones
are made out on copper by means of incised lines and touches; with the
mezzotint tool, on the contrary, the lights are produced by scraping,
the shadows by leaving intact the corresponding portions of the plate.
Instead of offering a flat, smooth surface, like the plates in line
engraving, a mezzotint copper must be first grained by a steel tool
(called the "rocker"), shaped like a chisel, with a semicircular blade
which is bevelled and toothed. Sometimes (and this is generally the
case in the present day) the "rocking" of the surface, on which the
engraver is to work, is produced, not by a tool, but by a special
machine.

When the drawing has been traced in the usual way on the prepared
plate, the grain produced by the rocker is rubbed down with the
burnisher wherever pure white or light tints are required. The parts
that are not flattened by the burnisher print as darks; and these darks
are all the deeper and more velvety as they result from the grain
itself--that is to say, from a general preparation specially adapted to
catch the ink--and are by no means composed, as in line engraving, of
furrows more or less crowded or cross-hatched.

Mezzotint engraving has, in this respect, the advantage of other
processes; in all others it is decidedly inferior. The rough grain
produced on a plate by the rocker, and the mere scraping by which
it is obliterated or modified, are technical hindrances to decided
drawing: only with graver or point is it possible to make outlines of
perfect accuracy. Again, precision, delicacy of modelling, and perfect
finish in detail are impossible to the scraper. Mezzotint, in fine,
is suitable for the translation of pictures where the light is scarce
and concentrated, but is powerless to render work quiet in aspect and
smooth in effect.

English engravers, then, had begun to rank as artists. Callot, and,
after him, other French engravers already remarkably skilful, had
succeeded in founding a school which was soon to be honoured by
the presence of true masters; Italy and Germany were deteriorating
steadily. Meanwhile, what was going on elsewhere? In Spain there
was a brilliant galaxy of painters, some of whom, like Ribera, have
left etchings; but there were few or no professional engravers. In
Switzerland, Jost Amman of Zurich (1539-1591) was succeeded by a
certain number of illustrator-engravers, heirs of his superficial
cleverness and of his commercial rather than artistic ideas: engravers,
by the way, who are commonly confounded with the German masters of the
same epoch. Lastly, the few Swedes or Poles who studied art, whether in
Flanders or Germany, never succeeded in popularising the taste for it
in their own countries; only for form's sake need they be mentioned.

The first of the two great phases of the history of engraving ends
about the middle of the seventeenth century. We have seen that the
influence of Marc Antonio, though combated at first by the influence
of Albert Dürer, easily conquered, and prevailed without a rival in
Italy, Germany, and even France, until the appearance of Callot and
his contemporaries. Meanwhile, in the Low Countries the art presented
a physiognomy of its own, developed slowly, and ended by undergoing
a thorough, but brief, transformation under the authority of Rubens.
The Flemish school was soon to be absorbed in that of France, and the
second period, which may be termed the French, to begin in the history
of engraving.

Were it permissible, on the authority of examples given elsewhere,
to compare a multitude of men separated by differences of epoch and
endowment, we might arrange the old engravers in the order adopted for
a group of much greater artists by the painters of the "Apotheosis of
Homer" and the "Hemicycle of the Palais des Beaux-Arts." Let us regard
them in our mind's eye as a master might figure them. In the centre is
Finiguerra, the father of the race; next to him, on the one side, are
the Master of 1466, Martin Schongauer, and Albert Dürer; on the other,
Mantegna and Marc Antonio, surrounded, like the three German masters,
by their disciples, amongst whom they maintain an attitude of command.
Between the two groups, but rather on the German side, is Lucas van
Leyden, first in place, as by right, among the Dutchmen. Below these
early masters, who wear upon their brows that expression of severity
which distinguishes their work, comes the excited crowd of daring
innovators, whose merit is in the spirit of their style--Bolswert,
Vorsterman, Pontius, Cornelius Visscher, Van Dalen, and their rivals.
Rembrandt muses apart, sombre, and as though shrouded in mystery.
Lastly, in the middle distance, are seen the merely clever engravers:
the Dutch Little Masters, Callot, Hollar, and Israel Silvestre.

If, on the other hand, we must abandon this realm of fancy for the
regions of fact, we might sum up the results of past progress by
instancing a few prints of perfect beauty. Our own selection would be
Mantegna's "Entombment;" Marc Antonio's "Massacre of the Innocents;"
the "Death of the Virgin," by Martin Schongauer; Dürer's "Melancholia;"
the "Calvary" of Lucas van Leyden; Rembrandt's "Christ Healing the
Sick;" Bolswert's "Crown of Thorns;" the "Portrait of Rubens," by Paul
Pontius, or the "Gellius de Bouma" of Cornelius Visscher; and finally,
Callot's "Florentine Fair," or "Garden at Nancy," and the "Bouvier,"
or, better still, the "Soleil Levant" of Claude Lorraine. Happy the
owner of this selection of masterpieces: the man who, better inspired
than the majority of his kind, has preferred a few gems to an overgrown
and unwieldy collection.



CHAPTER VII.

FRENCH ENGRAVERS IN THE REIGN OF LOUIS XIV.


We have followed through all its stages the progress of the art of
engraving, from the time of its earliest more or less successful
attempts, to the time when a really important advance was accomplished.
However brilliant these early phases may have been, properly speaking
they include but the beginnings of the art. The epoch we are now to
traverse is that of its complete development and fullest perfection.

We have seen that the schools of Italy and the Low Countries had, each
in its own direction, largely increased the resources of engraving,
without exhausting them. The quality of drawing would seem to have
been carried to an inimitable perfection in the works of Marc Antonio,
had not examples of a keener sense of form and an exactness even more
irreproachable been discovered in those of the French masters of the
seventeenth century. The engravings produced under the direct influence
of Rubens only remained the finest specimens of the science of colour
and effect until the appearance of the plates engraved in Paris by
Gérard Audran. Finally, though the older engravers had set themselves
the task of accentuating a certain kind of beauty, suitable to the
peculiar tastes and capacities of the schools to which they belonged,
none of them had sought, at least with any success, to present in one
whole all the different species of beauty inherent in the art. It was
reserved for the French engravers of the age of Louis XIV. to unite
in one supreme effort qualities which till then had seemed to exclude
each other. While they proved themselves draughtsmen as skilful and
colourists as good as the best of their predecessors, they excelled
them in their harmonious fusion of whatever qualities are appropriate
to engraving, as also in the elasticity of their theory and the
all-round capacity of their method.

The works of the Louis XIII. engravers heralded this new departure,
and prepared the way for the real masters. As soon as, with a view
to securing a certain measure of independence, the French school
of painting had begun to free itself from the spirit of systematic
imitation, the art of line engraving proceeded resolutely along an open
path, and marked its course by still more significant improvements. To
say nothing of Thomas de Leu--who for that matter was not, perhaps,
born in France[33]--and nothing of Léonard Gaultier, who, like De Leu,
principally worked in the reign of Henri IV., Jean Morin, whose method,
at once so picturesque and so firm, was the result of a peculiar
combination of acid, dry-point, and the graver, Michel Lasne, Claud
Mellan--in spite of the somewhat pretentious ease and rather affected
skill of his handling--and other line engravers, variously capable,
each after his kind, are found to owe nothing to foreign example.
Their works already do more than hint at the new departure; but we are
approaching the period when distinguished engravers become so common in
the French school, that in this place we need only mention those whose
names are still of special importance.

Robert Nanteuil, one of the most eminently distinguished, and, taking
them chronologically, one of the first, was destined for the bar, and
in his youthful tastes showed none of that irresistible tendency to
the arts which is the common symptom of great talent. Whilst studying
literature and science at Rheims, where he was born in 1626, he also
took up drawing and engraving, but with no idea of devoting himself
steadily to either. It seems, however, that after having merely dallied
in odd moments with the art which was one day to make him famous, he
very soon concluded that he had served a sufficient apprenticeship;
for at nineteen he set about engraving the frontispiece to his own
philosophical thesis.

[Illustration: FIG. 82.--JEAN MORIN.

Antoine Vitré. After Philippe de Champagne.]

It was in those days the custom to ornament such writings with
figures and symbols appropriate to the candidate's position, or to
the subject of his argument. The most distinguished painters did not
disdain to design originals, and the frontispieces engraved from
Philippe de Champagne, Lesueur, and Lebrun, are not unworthy of the
talent and reputation of those great men. Nanteuil, in emulation,
was anxious not only to produce a masterpiece, but to invest it with
an appearance of grandeur as little fitted to his position as to his
slender acquaintance with the art. However that may have been, he
sustained his thesis to the satisfaction of the judges; and, albeit an
exceedingly bad one, his engraving was admired in the society which
he frequented.[34] Some verses addressed to ladies[35] still further
increased his reputation as a universal genius. Unfortunately, to all
these public successes were added others of a more purely personal
nature, which were soon noised abroad; and it would appear that, fresh
adventures having led to a vexatious scandal, Nanteuil, who shortly
before had married the sister of the engraver Regnesson, was compelled
to leave, almost in secrecy, a place where once he had none save
admirers and friends. By a fatal coincidence the fugitive's family was
ruined at the same time: it became imperative for him to live by his
own work, and to seek his fortune in the practice of draughtsmanship.

Abandoning the law, he therefore set out for Paris, where he arrived
poor and unknown, but determined to succeed. The question was,
how without introductions to gain patrons? how to make profitable
acquaintances in the great city? After losing some days in quest of a
good opening, it is said that he hit upon a somewhat strange device. He
had brought with him from Rheims some crayon portraits, as specimens
of his ability; he chose one of these, and waited at the door of
the Sorbonne till the young divinity students came out of class. He
followed them into a neighbouring wine shop, where they were wont
to take their meals, and pretended to be looking for some one whose
portrait he had taken (he said) the week before. He knew neither the
name nor address of his sitter, but thought that if his fellow-students
would look at the drawing, they might be able and willing to help
him. It is superfluous to say that the original of the portrait was
not recognised; but the picture passed from hand to hand, and was
admired; the price was asked, the artist was careful to be moderate in
his demands, and some of the young men were so taken by the smallness
of the sum, that they offered to sit for their portraits. The first
finished and approved, other students in their turn wanted their
portraits for their families and friends. This gave the young artist
more remunerative work. His connection rapidly increased, and before
long he was entrusted with the reproduction, on copper, of drawings
commissioned by distinguished parliament men and persons of standing
at the Court. At last the king, whose portrait he afterwards engraved
in different sizes--as often as eleven times--gave him a number of
sittings, after which Nanteuil received a pension and the title of
Dessinateur du Cabinet.[36]

Louis XIV. was not satisfied with thus rewarding a talent already
recognised as superior; he was also desirous of stimulating by general
measures the development of what he had himself declared a "liberal
art."[37] Engravers were privileged to exercise it without being
subjected to "any apprenticeship, or controlled by other laws than
those of their own genius;" and seven years later (1667) the royal
establishment at the Gobelins became virtually a school of engraving.
Whilst Lebrun, its first director-in-chief, assembled therein an army
of painters, draughtsmen, and even sculptors, and wrought from his own
designs the tapestries of the "Éléments" and the "Saisons," Sebastien
Leclerc superintended the labours of a large body of native and foreign
engravers, entertained at the king's expense.

One of these, Edelinck, had been summoned to France by Colbert. Born at
Antwerp in 1640, and a contemporary of the engravers trained by the
disciples of Rubens himself, he was distinguished, like them, by his
vigour of handling and knowledge of effect. Once settled in Paris, he
supplemented these Flemish characteristics with qualities distinctively
French, and was soon a foremost engraver of his time. Endowed with
singular insight and elasticity of mind, he readily assimilated, and
sometimes even improved upon, the style of those painters whom he
reproduced, and adopted a new sentiment with every new original. He
began, in France, with an engraving of Raphael's "Holy Family," the
so-called "Vierge de François I.," which is severe in aspect, and
altogether Italian in drawing; and he followed this up with plates of
the "Madeleine" of Lebrun, his "Christ aux Anges," and his "Famille de
Darius," all of them admirable reproductions, in which the defects of
the originals are modified, while their beauties are increased by the
use of methods which make their peculiar and essential characteristics
none the less conspicuous. In interpreting Lebrun, Edelinck altered
neither his significance nor his style; he only touched his work with
fresh truth and nature: as, when dealing with Rigaud, he converted that
artist's pomposity and flourish into a certain opulence and vigour.
When, on the contrary, he had to interpret a work stamped with calm and
reflective genius, his own bold and brilliant talent became impregnated
with serenity, and he could execute with a marvellous reticence such a
translation as that from Philippe de Champagne--the painter's portrait
of himself--a favourite, it is said, with the engraver, and one of the
masterpieces of the art.

When Edelinck arrived in Paris, Nanteuil, his senior by some fifteen
years, had a studio at the Gobelins, close to the one where he himself
was installed. This seeming equality in the favour accorded to two men,
then so unequal in reputation and achievement, would be astonishing
unless we remember the object which brought them together, and the very
spirit of the institution.

Things went on in the Gobelins almost as they did in Florence, in
the gardens of San Marco, under Lorenzo de' Medici. Artists of
repute worked side by side with beginners: not indeed together, but
near enough for the master continually to help the student, and for
the spirit of rivalry, the excitement of example, to keep alive a
universal continuity of effort. French art had been lately honoured
by three painters of the highest order--Poussin, Claude,[38] and
Lesueur; but the first two lived in retirement, and far from France;
whilst the third had died leaving no pupils, and, consequently, no
tradition. It seemed urgent, therefore, in order to perpetuate the
glory of the school, to gather together both men of mature talent
and men whose talent was yet young and unformed, and to impel them
all towards a common object on a common line of work. Colbert it was
who conceived and executed the plan, who assembled all the great
masters in painting, sculpture, and engraving, whose services he could
command, without omitting any younger men who might seem worthy of
encouragement. He quartered them all at the Gobelins, and put over them
the man best fitted to play the part of their organiser and supreme
director. "There was a pre-established harmony between Louis XIV. and
Lebrun," says M. Vitet,[39] "and when the painter died (1690), neither
he nor his master had as yet permitted any encroachment upon their
territory." Lebrun might have appropriated a famous saying of the king,
applied it to his own absolute supremacy, and said, with truth, that
he alone was French art. Everything connected with the art of design,
whether directly or indirectly, from statues and pictures for public
buildings down to furniture and gold plate, were all subject to his
authority, and were all moulded by his influence. It was an unfortunate
influence in some respects, for it made the painting and sculpture
of the epoch monotonously bombastic; but to engraving, under whose
auspices contemporary pictures were sometimes transformed into real
masterpieces, it cannot be said to have been unfavourable.

[Illustration: FIG. 83.--JEAN PESNE.

The Entombment. After Poussin.]

When Lebrun was called to the government of the arts, the number of
practical engravers in France was already considerable. Jean Pesne, the
special interpreter of Poussin, had published several of those vigorous
prints which even now shed honour on the name of the engraver of the
"Évanouissement d'Esther," of the "Testament d'Eudamidas," and of the
"Sept Sacrements." Claudine Bouzonnet, surnamed Claudia Stella, who
by the force of her extraordinary gift has won her way to the highest
rank among female engravers, Étienne Baudet, and Gantrel--all these,
like Jean Pesne, applied themselves almost exclusively to the task of
reproducing the compositions of the noble painter of Les Andelys. On
the other hand, François de Poilly, Roullet, and Masson (the last so
celebrated for his portrait of Count d'Harcourt, and his "Pilgrims
of Emmaus," after Titian), and many others equally well known, had
won their spurs before they devoted themselves to the reproduction
of Lebrun. Finally, Nanteuil, who only engraved a few portraits from
originals by the director, was already widely known when Colbert
requested him to join, among the first, the brotherhood which he had
founded at the Gobelins. As soon as in his turn Edelinck was admitted,
he hastened to profit by the advice of the master whom it was his
privilege to be associated with; and, aided by Nanteuil's example,
and under Nanteuil's eye, he soon tried his hand in the production of
engraved portraits.

No one indeed could be better fitted than Nanteuil to teach this
special art, in which he has had few rivals and no superior. Even now,
when we consider these admirable portraits of his, we are as certain
of the likeness as if we had known the sitters. Everybody's expression
is so clearly defined, the character of his physiognomy so accurately
portrayed, that it is impossible to doubt the absolute truth of the
representation. There is no touch of picturesque affectation in the
details; no exaggerated nicety of means; no trick, nor mannerism
of any sort; but always clear and limpid workmanship, and style
so reticent, so measured, that at first glance there is a certain
indescribable appearance of coldness, no hindrance to persons of taste,
but a pitfall to such eager and hasty judgments as, to be conquered,
must be carried by storm. Nanteuil's portraits come before us in all
the outward calm of nature; possibly they seem almost inartistic
because they make no parade of artifice; but, once examined with
attention, they discover that highest and rarest form of merit which is
concealed under an appearance of simplicity.

If the "Turenne," the "Président de Bellièvre," the "Van Steenberghen"
(called the "Avocat de Hollande"), the "Pierre de Maridat," the
"Lamothe Le Vayer," the "Loret," and others, are masterpieces of
refinement in expression and drawing, they also prove, as regards
execution, the exquisite taste and the marvellous dexterity of the
engraver. But to discern the variety of method they display, and to
perceive that the handling is as sure and fertile as it is learned and
unpretentious, they must be closely studied.

As a rule, Nanteuil employs in his half-lights dots arranged at varying
distances, according to the force of colouring required, in combination
with short strokes of exceeding fineness. Sometimes--as, for instance,
in the "Christine de Suède," altogether engraved in this manner--the
process suffices him not only to model such parts as verge upon his
lights, but even to construct the masses of his shadows. The "Edouard
Molé" is, on the contrary, in pure line. The soft silkiness of hair
he often expresses by free and flowing lines, some of which, breaking
away from the principal mass, are relieved against the background,
breaking the monotony of the workmanship, and suggesting movement
by their vagueness of contour. Often, too, certain loose lines,
either broken or continued without crossing in different directions,
admirably distinguish the natures of certain substances, and imitate
to perfection the soft richness of furs or the sheen of satin. Yet it
sometimes happens that in the master's hand the same method results in
the most opposite effects: a print, for instance, may exemplify in its
treatment of the textures of flesh a method applied elsewhere, and with
equal success, to the rendering of draperies. In a word, Nanteuil does
not appropriate any particular process to any predetermined purpose.
While judiciously subordinating each to propriety, he can, when he
pleases, make the most of all; and whatever path he follows, it always
appears that he has taken the best to reach his end.

It was not only to the teaching of Nanteuil that Edelinck had recourse;
he still further improved his style by studying his countryman, Nicolas
Pitau (whom Colbert had also summoned from Antwerp to the Gobelins),
and afterwards by acquiring the secret of brilliant handling from
François de Poilly. To which of these engravers he was most indebted
is a point which cannot be exactly determined. After investing himself
with qualities from each, he did not imitate one more than another; he
found his inspiration in the examples of all three.

Nanteuil and Edelinck, first united by their work, were soon fast
friends, in spite of the difference of their ages, and the still
greater difference of their tastes. The French engraver sent for his
wife from Rheims as soon as he found himself in a fair way to success
and fortune; but he had also in some degree returned to the habits
of his youth. A shining light in society, and as intimate with the
cultured set at Mlle. de Scudéry's as with the devotees of pleasures
less strictly intellectual, his career of dissipation in the salons
and fashionable taverns of the day contrasts strangely with the sober
quality of his talent, and increases our surprise at the number of
works which he produced. Even his declining health did not change his
habits. Till the end he continued to divide his time between his work
and the world; and at his death, in 1678, at the age of fifty-two, he
left nothing, or almost nothing, to his wife, in spite of the large
sums he had made since he came to Paris.

[Illustration: FIG. 84.--JEAN PESNE.

Nicolas Poussin.]

Edelinck's fate was very different. He lived in seclusion, given
over to his art and to the one ambition of becoming churchwarden
(_marguillier_) of his parish: a position refused him, it is said,
as reserved for tradesmen and official personages, and with which
he was only at length invested by the condescending interference of
the king. It was probably the only favour personally solicited by
Edelinck, but it was by no means the first he owed to the protection of
Louis XIV. Before the churchwardenship he held the title of "Premier
Dessinateur du Cabinet." Like Lebrun, like Mansart and Le Nôtre, he
was a Knight of St. Michael, and the Academy of Painting elected him
as one of its council. His old age, like the rest of his days, was
quiet and laborious; and when he died (1707) his two brothers and his
son Nicolas, who had all three been his pupils, inherited a fortune as
wisely husbanded as it had been honourably acquired.

Edelinck survived the principal engravers of the reign of Louis XIV.
François de Poilly, Roullet, Masson, and Jean Pesne, had more or less
closely followed Nanteuil to the grave. At the Gobelins, once so rich
in ability of the first order, students had taken the place of masters,
and clever craftsmen succeeded to artists of genuine inspiration.
Van Schuppen had followed Nanteuil, as Mignard had Lebrun, from
necessity rather than right. And last of all, Gérard Audran, the most
distinguished engraver of the time--whom, for the sake of clearness in
our narrative, we have not yet mentioned--had died in 1703; and though
members of his family did honour to the name he had distinguished, none
of them were able to sustain the full weight of its glory.

[Illustration: FIG. 85.--GÉRARD AUDRAN.

"La Noblesse." After Raphael.]

One would hardly venture to say that Gérard Audran was an engraver
of genius, because it does not seem permissible to apply the term to
one whose business it is to interpret the creations of others, and
subordinate himself to models he has not himself designed; yet how else
can one characterise a talent so full of life, so startling a capacity
for feeling, and a method at once so large, so unstudied, and so
original? Do not the plates of Gérard Audran bear witness to something
more than mere superficial skill? Do they not rather reveal qualities
more subtle--a something personal and living, which raises them to the
rank of imaginative work? Their real fault, perhaps--at least the fault
of those after Lebrun or Mignard--is that they are not reproductions
of a purer type of beauty. And even these masters are so far dignified
by the creative touch of their translator as almost to seem worthy of
unreserved admiration. We can understand the mistake of the Italians,
who thought, when they saw the "Batailles d'Alexandre," in black and
white, that France, too, had her Raphael, when, in reality, allowing
for difference of manner, she could only glory in another Marc Antonio.

[Illustration: FIG. 86.--GÉRARD AUDRAN.

"Navigation." After Raphael.]

Gérard Audran was born in Lyons in 1640, and there obtained from his
father his first lessons in art. Afterwards he went to Paris, and
placed himself under the most famous masters of the day, by whose
aid he was soon introduced to Lebrun, and at once commissioned to
engrave one of Raphael's compositions. When Audran undertook the work,
he had not the picture before him, as Edelinck had when he engraved
the "Vierge de François I." His original was only a pencil copy
which Lebrun had brought back from Italy; hence no doubt the modern
character and the French style which are stamped on the engraving.
Feeling dissatisfied with his work, the young artist did not publish
it, but determined to study the Italians in Italy, to educate himself
directly from their works, and thenceforth to engrave only those
pictures of which he could judge at first-hand without the danger
of an intermediary. He set off therefore for Rome, and remained there
for three years, during which time he produced several copies painted
at the Vatican, many drawings from the antique, several plates after
Raphael, Domenichino, and the Carraccis, and the engraving of a ceiling
by Pietro da Cortona, which last he dedicated to Colbert.

By this act of homage he acquitted himself of a debt of gratitude to
the minister who had favoured him ever since his arrival in Paris, and
who, at Lebrun's request, had supplied the means of his sojourn in
Italy. On Colbert's part it was only an act of justice to recall Audran
to France, and to entrust him with the engraving of the lately finished
series of the "Batailles d'Alexandre," for the great publication called
the "Cabinet du Roi." To the engraver, then twenty-seven years old, a
pension was granted, with a studio at the Gobelins, then the customary
reward of talents brilliantly displayed. It may be added that six years
(1672-1678) sufficed him to finish the stupendous task.

Treated as a friend, and almost on an equal footing, by Lebrun, who for
no one else departed from the routine of his official supremacy, Audran
exerted over the king's chief painter a considerable, if a secret,
influence. In spite of all that has been said,[40] Lebrun was not the
kind of man to openly question his own infallibility, nor to advertise
his deference to the advice of an artist so much younger than himself,
his pupil, so to speak, and consequently without the authority of any
higher degree; yet he frequently consulted him, and took his advice,
in private. Also (and this is significant) when the engravings of
the "Batailles" appeared--engravings to a certain extent unfaithful,
inasmuch as they differed decidedly from the originals--the fact that
the painter made no complaint points to his recognition in Audran
of the right to correct, and to his implicit submission to Audran's
corrections.

In this respect Lebrun conducted himself as a man of the world, and
one well able to understand the true interests of his reputation.
He had everything to gain by giving full liberty to an engraver by
whose perfect taste the blunders of his own were corrected, and who
harmonised his frequently harsh and heavy colouring, and strengthened
in modelling and design his often undecided expression of form. Thus
the plates of the "Batailles," in addition to the high quality of
the composition of the originals, present, alike in general aspect
and in detail, a decision which belongs to Audran alone. Force and
transparency of tone, largeness of effect, and, above all, a distinctly
marked feeling for characteristic truths, are conspicuous in them.
Not a single condition of art is imperfectly fulfilled. Marc Antonio
himself drew with no more certainty; the Flemings themselves had no
deeper knowledge of chiaroscuro; the French engravers, not excepting
even Edelinck,[41] have never treated historical engraving with such
ease and _mäestria_. In a word, none of the most famous engravers of
Europe have been, we believe, so richly endowed with all artistic
instincts, nor have better understood their use.

The "Batailles d'Alexandre" finished, Audran engraved Lesueur's
"Martyre de Saint Protais;" several Poussins, amongst others the
"Pyrrhus Sauvé," the "Femme Adultère," and the radiant "Triomphe de
la Vérité," one of the most beautiful (if not the most beautiful)
historical engravings ever published; and, after Mignard, the "Peste
d'Égine," and the paintings in the cupola at Val-de-Grâce.

These several works, where elevation of taste and sentiment are no less
triumphantly manifest than in the "Batailles" themselves, are also
finished examples of engraving in the literal sense of the word. Audran
disdained to flaunt his skill, and to surprise the eye by technical
display, but he understood to the utmost all the secrets and resources
of the craft, and employed them with more ability than any competitor.
Associating engraving with etching, he deepened with powerful touches
of the burin those strokes of the needle which had merely served to
suggest outlines, masses of shadow, and half-tints. On occasion, short
strokes, free as a pencil's, and seemingly drawn at random, with dots
of different sizes, distributed with apparent carelessness, sufficed
for the modelling of his forms; at others, he proceeded by a consistent
system of cross-hatching. Here rough etching work is tumbled about
(so to speak) in wild disorder; there a contrary effect is produced
by nearly parallel furrows scooped in the metal with methodical
exactness; but everywhere the choice and progress of the tools are
based on conditions inherent in the nature of the several objects, and
their relative positions and distances. Audran did not try to attract
attention to any of the methods he employed; he made each heighten the
effect of the other, and combined them all without parade of ease, and
yet without confusion.

So many admirable works secured for Audran a fame such as Edelinck, as
Nanteuil himself, had never obtained. The Academy of Painting, which
had welcomed him after the publication of his first plates, elected him
as one of its council in 1681. The school of engraving which he opened
grew larger than any other, and many of his pupils became notable even
in his company, and helped to increase the renown of the master who had
trained them.[42]

Towards the close of his life Audran laid by the burin for the pen.
Following Albert Dürer's example, he proposed to put together, in the
form of treatises, his life-long observations on the art he had so
successfully practised. Unfortunately, this task was interrupted by
his death; and, excepting a "Recueil des Proportions du Corps Humain,"
nothing is left us of those teachings which the greatest engraver, not
only of France, but perhaps of any school, had desired to hand on to
posterity.

By their works, Nanteuil, Audran, and the other masters of the reign
of Louis XIV., had popularised historical and portrait engraving
in France. The taste for prints spread more and more, and amateurs
began to make collections. At first they confined themselves to real
masterpieces; after which they began to covet the complete achievement
of peculiar engravers. The mania for rare prints became fashionable;
and we learn from La Bruyère that, before the end of the century,
some amateurs had already come to prefer engravings "presque pas
tirées"--engravings "fitter to decorate the Petit-Pont or the Rue Neuve
on a holiday than to be hoarded in a collection"--to the most perfect
specimens of the art. Others were chiefly occupied with the bulk of
their collections, and treasured up confused heaps of all sorts of
plates, good, bad, and indifferent. Others there were who only cared
about such as did not exceed a certain size; and it is told of one
devotee of this faith that, inasmuch as he would harbour nothing in his
portfolios but round engravings of exactly the same circumference, he
was used to cut ruthlessly to his pattern whatever came into his hands.
We must add that, side by side with such maniacs, intelligent men
like the Abbé de Marolles and the Marquis de Béringhen increased their
collections to good purpose, and were content to bring together the
most important specimens of ancient engraving and such as best served
to illustrate the more modern progress of the art.

In France, however, it was not only the best expressions of engraving
that were considered. On the heels of the great engravers there
followed a crowd of second-rate workmen. Besides history and portrait,
every variety of print was published: domestic scenes, architecture and
topography, costumes, fêtes, and public celebrations. The engraving
of maps greatly improved under the direction of Adrian and Guillaume
Sanson, sons of the famous Geographer in Ordinary to Louis XIII.

Jacques Gomboust, the king's Engineer in Ordinary for the "drawing
up of plans of towns," published, as early as 1652, a map of Paris
and its suburbs in nine sheets, much more exact and more carefully
engraved than those of former reigns. Fashion plates were multiplied
_ad infinitum_; and a periodical called _Le Mercure Galant_ steadily
produced new modes in apparel and personal ornaments. Certain
collections also, destined to perpetuate the remembrance of the events
of the reign, or the personal actions of the king, were published "by
order, and at the expense of His Majesty," with a luxury justified at
any rate by the importance of the artists participating in the work.
The very almanacs bear the stamp of talent, and are not unfrequently
inscribed with the names of celebrated engravers, such as Lepautre,
François Spierre, Chauveau, Sébastien Leclerc, and De Poilly.

In the days of Henri IV. and Louis XIII. almanacs were printed on a
single sheet, with a border sometimes of allegorical figures, but,
more often, composed simply of the attributes of the seasons. It was
under Louis XIV. that they at first appeared on larger paper, and then
in several sheets, wherein were represented the most important events
of the year, or, it might be, some ceremony or court fête. In one is
pictured the Battle of Senef, or the signing of the Treaty of Nimeguen;
in another, perhaps, the king is represented dancing the Strasbourg
minuet, or offering a collation to ladies. Of course the majority of
these prints are valueless in point of execution, and are, moreover,
of an almost purely commercial character; but those which are poorest
from an artistic point of view are still worthy of interest, since they
afford indisputable information concerning the people and the habits
and manners of the time.

Whilst many French artists were devoting themselves to the engraving of
subjects of manners or domestic scenes, or to the illustration of books
and almanacs, others were making satirical sketches of current events
and popular persons. The engraving of caricatures, though it only dates
from the middle of the seventeenth century, had been practised long
before in France and other countries.

To say nothing of the "Danses macabres," a sort of religious, or at
any rate philosophical, satire, we might mention certain caricatures
published even before the Carracci in Italy; in the Low Countries
in the time of Jerome Bosch and Breughel; in Germany in the reign of
Maximilian II.; and finally in France, in the reign of Charles IX. But
all these are either as stupidly licentious as those afterwards made
upon Henri III. and his courtiers, or as heavily grotesque as those of
the time of the League, towards the end of the reign of Henri IV.

When Louis XIII. came to the throne, the wit of the caricaturists
was little keener, if we may judge by the coarse pictorial _lazzi_
inspired by the disgrace and death of the Maréchal d'Ancre, and the
Dutch and Spanish prints designed in ridicule of the French; but some
years later, when Callot had introduced into the treatment of burlesque
a keenness and delicacy which it could hardly have been expected to
attain, the comic prints assumed under the burin of certain engravers
an appearance of greater ingenuity and less brutality.

It is needless to remark that at the beginning of the reign of Louis
XIV.--indeed, during the whole time of the Fronde and the foreign
occupation of a part of French territory--it was Mazarin and the
Spaniards who came in for all the epigrams. In the caricatures of the
day the Spaniards were invariably represented with enormous ruffs, in
tatters superbly worn, and, to complete the allusion to their poverty,
with bunches of beetroot and onions at their belts. There is nothing
particularly comic, nor especially refined, in the execution of the
prints. In piquancy and truth, these jokes about Spanish manners and
Spanish food recall those presently to be made in England about
Frenchmen, who are there invariably represented as frog-eaters and
dancing-masters. Yet comparing the _facetiæ_ of that period with the
exaggerated or obscene humours which preceded them, it seems as though
the domain of caricature were even then being opened up to worthy
precursors of the lively draughtsmen of the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries: in fact, as though some Attic salt were already penetrating
to Bœotia.

This advance is visible in the satires published towards the end of the
reign of Louis XIV. The "Procession Monacale," a set of twenty-four
engravings which appeared in Holland (where many Protestants had taken
refuge), attacked with considerable vigour the revocation of the Edict
of Nantes, and the principal persons who had participated in that
measure. Louvois, Mme. de Maintenon, and all the privy councillors
of Louis XIV., are represented under the cowl, and with significant
attributes. Even the king figures in this series of heroes of the New
League; he is in a monk's frock like the others, but a sun, in allusion
to his lofty device, serves for his face, and this hooded Phœbus bears
in his hand a torch to light himself through the surrounding darkness.
The prints that make up this set, as well as many more in the same
style, are designed and engraved with a certain amount of spirit. They
serve to prove that in the frivolous arts, as well as in the comic
literature of the day, the object was to make "decent folk" laugh, and
to keep joking within bounds. In a word, in comparison with former
caricatures, they are as the vaudevilles of the Italian comedy to the
farces once played on the boards of strolling theatres.

Every sort of engraving being cultivated in France with more success
than anywhere else, under Louis XIV. the trade in prints became one of
the most flourishing branches of French industry. The great historical
plates, it is true--those at any rate which, like the "Batailles
d'Alexandre," were published at the king's cost--were chiefly sold in
France, and were not often exported, save as presents to sovereigns and
ambassadors. But portraits, domestic scenes, and fashion plates, were
shipped off in thousands, and flooded all parts of Europe. Before the
second half of the seventeenth century, the chief printsellers (for
the most part engravers themselves and publishers of their own works)
were established in Paris on the Quai de l'Horloge, or, like Abraham
Bosse, in the interior of the Palace. Rather later than this, the most
popular shops were to be found in the neighbourhood of the Church of
St. Sèverin. If we examine the prints then published in Paris, we may
count as many as thirty publishers living in the Rue St. Jacques alone,
and amongst the number are many famous names: as Gérard Audran, "at the
sign of the Two Golden Pillars;" François de Poilly, "at the sign of
St. Benedict," and so forth.

Hence, we may mention, in passing, the mistake which attributes to
engravers of the greatest talent the production of bad plates, to
which they would never have put finger except to take proofs. For
instance, the words "_Gérard Audran excudit_," to be found at the
bottom of many such, do not mean that they were engraved by the master,
but only published by him. Often, too, pseudonyms--not always in the
best possible taste--concealed the name of the publisher and the place
of publication: a precaution easily understood, as it was generally
applied to obscenities, and particularly to those called "pièces à
surprise," which were then becoming common, and continued to increase
indefinitely during the following century. True art, however, is
but little concerned with such curiosities; and it is best to look
elsewhere for its manifestations.

The superior merit of the engraving of the masters of the French
school had attracted numbers of foreign artists to Paris. Many took
root there, amongst them Van Schuppen and the Flemings commissioned
to engrave the "Victoires du Roi," painted by Van der Meulen; others,
having finished their course of study, returned to their own countries,
the missionaries of French doctrine and of French manner. The result
of this united influence was an almost exact similarity in all the
line engravings produced, by men of whatever nationality or from
whatever originals. Thus, the portraits engraved by the German Johann
Hainzelmann from Ulrich Mayer and Joachim Sandrart, scarcely differ
from those he had formerly engraved from French artists: the "Michel
Le Tellier," for instance, and the "Président Dufour." The historical
plates published about the same time in Germany prove the same lively
zeal in imitation. In them art appears as, so to speak, a French
subject; and Gustave Ambling, Bartholomew Kilian,[43] and many more of
their countrymen--pupils, like these two, of François de Poilly--might
be classed amongst the engravers of the French school, if the style of
their work were the only thing to be considered.

An examination of the prints published by Flemish and Dutch artists
later than the school of Rubens and Van Dalen, would justify a like
observation. We may fairly regard Van Schuppen only as a clever pupil
of Nanteuil, and Cornelius Vermeulen as an imitator, less successful,
but no less subservient. And when we turn to the Italian engravers of
the seventeenth century, we find that, as a rule, their work is marked
by so impersonal a physiognomy, is so much the outcome of certain
preconceived and rigid conventions, that one could almost believe them
inspired by the same mind, and done by the same hand.

Whilst French influence reigned almost supreme in Germany and the Low
Countries, and Italian art became more and more the slave of routine,
English engraving had not yet begun to feel the influence of the
progress elsewhere achieved since the beginning of the century. The
time was, however, at hand when, in the reign of Louis XV., London
engravers who came to study in Paris should return to their own
country to practise successfully the lessons they had learned. We
must, therefore, presently turn to them; but, before speaking of the
pupils, we must briefly mention the achievements of the masters, and
narrate the story of French engraving in France after the death of the
excellent artists of the age of Louis XIV.



CHAPTER VIII.

    ENGRAVING IN FRANCE AND IN OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES IN THE
    EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. NEW PROCESSES: STIPPLE, CRAYON, COLOUR, AND
    AQUATINT.


Morin, Nanteuil, Masson, and the other portrait engravers of the
period, in spite of the variety of their talent, left their immediate
successors a similar body of doctrine and a common tradition. Now
the works of the painter Rigaud, whose importance had considerably
increased towards the end of the reign of Louis XIV., made certain
modifications of this severe tradition necessary on the part of the
artists employed to engrave them. Portraits, for the most part bust
portraits, relieved against an almost naked background, were no longer
in fashion. To render a crowd of accessories which, while enriching
the composition, frequently encumbered it beyond measure, became the
problem in engraving. It was successfully solved by Pierre Drevet, his
son Pierre Imbert, and his nephew Claude Drevet, this last the author,
amongst other plates now much prized, of a "Guillaume de Vintimille"
and a "Count Zinzendorff."

The first of these three engravers--at Lyons the pupil of Germain
Audran, and at Paris of Antoine Masson--engraved, with some few
exceptions, only portraits, the best known of which are a full-length
"Louis XIV.," "Louis XV. as a Child," "Cardinal Fleury," and "Count
Toulouse;" they attest an extreme skill of hand, and a keen perception
of the special characteristics of the originals. The second, the
similarity of whose Christian name has often caused him to be mistaken
for his father, showed himself from the first still more skilful and
more certain of his own powers. He was only twenty-six when he finished
his full-length "Bossuet," in which the precision of the handling,
the exactness and brilliancy of the burin work, seem to indicate a
talent already arrived at maturity. In this plate, indeed, and in some
others by the same engraver--as the "Cardinal Dubois," the "Adrienne
Lecouvreur," and others--there are parts, perhaps, that seem almost
worthy of Nanteuil himself. It is impossible to imitate with greater
nicety the richness of ermine, the delicacy of lace, and the polish
and brilliancy of gilding; but the subtle delicacy of physiognomy, the
elasticity of living flesh which animated the portraits of the earlier
masters, will here be looked for in vain. Such work is the outcome of
an art no longer supreme, albeit of a very high order still.

As much may be said of the best historical plates engraved in France
under the Regency, and in the first years of Louis XV. The older
manner, it is true, was still perceptible, but it was beginning to
change, and was soon to be concealed more and more under a parade of
craftsmanship amusingly self-conscious, and an elegance refined to the
point of affectation.

[Illustration: FIG. 87.--LAURENT CARS.

"L'Avare." From Boucher's "Molière."]

The French engravers of the time of Louis XV. may be divided into two
distinct groups: the one submitting to the authority of Rigaud, and
partially preserving the tradition of the last century; the other, of
greater numerical importance, and in some respects of greater ability,
but, in imitation of Watteau and his followers, seeking success in
attractiveness of subject, grace of handling, and the expression of a
general prettiness, rather than in the faithful rendering of truth.

As we know, the manners of the time were not calculated to discourage
a like tendency, which, indeed, grew more and more general amongst
artists during the whole course of the eighteenth century, until it
ended in a revolution, as radical in its way as the great political
one: namely, the exclusive worship of a somewhat barren simplicity and
of the antique narrowly understood.

In 1750 (that is to say, almost at the very time of the birth of David,
the future reformer of the school) the public asked nothing more of
art than a passing amusement. The immediate successors of Lebrun
had brought the historical style into great disrepute. People had
wearied of the pompous parade of allegory, the tyranny of splendour,
the monotony of luxury; they took refuge in another extreme--in the
exaggeration of grace and all the coquetries of sentiment. Pastorals,
or would-be pastorals, and subjects for the most part mythological,
took the place of heroic actions and academical apotheoses. They had
not a whit more nature than these others, but they had at any rate
more interest for the mind, and greater charm for the eye.

[Illustration: FIG. 88.--LAURENT CARS.

"Le Dépit Amoureux." From Boucher's "Molière."]

From the point of view of engraving alone, the prints published
in France at this time are for the most part models of spirit and
delicacy, as those of the Louis XIV. masters are of learned execution
and vigorous conception. Moreover, under the frivolous forms affected
by French engraving in the eighteenth century, something not
unfrequently survives of the masterly skill and science of the older
men. It is to be supposed that Laurent Cars remembered the example
of Gérard Audran, and, in his own way, succeeded in perpetuating it
when he engraved Lemoyne's "Hercule et Omphale," and "Délivrance
d'Andromède." Even when he was reproducing such fantasies as the "Fête
vénitienne" of Watteau, or scenes of plain family life, like Chardin's
"Amusements de la Vie privée," and "La Serinette," he had the art of
supplementing from his own taste whatever strength and dignity his
originals might lack. Was it not, too, by appropriating the doctrine,
or at least the method, of Audran--his free alliance of the burin with
the needle--that Nicolas de Larmessin, Lebas, Lépicié, Aveline, Duflos,
Dupuis, and others, produced their charming transcripts of Pater,
Lancret, Boucher himself--in spite of his impertinences of manner and
his unpleasant falseness of colour--and, above all, Watteau, of all
the masters of the eighteenth century the best understood and the most
brilliantly interpretated by the engravers? A while later, Greuze had
the honour to occupy them most; and some among them, as Levasseur
and Flipart, did not fail to acquit themselves with ability of a task
rendered peculiarly difficult by the flaccid and laboured execution of
the originals.

[Illustration: FIG. 89.--CHEDEL.

"Arlequin Jaloux." After Watteau.]

However summary our description of the progress of French engraving
during the whole of the reign of Louis XV., or the early years of
Louis XVI., it is scarcely possible not to mention, side by side
with historical and genre engraving, the countless illustrations--of
novels, fables, songs, and publications of every description--the
general aspect of which so strongly bears witness to the fertility and
grace of French art at that time. It is difficult to omit the names of
those agreeable engravers of dainty subjects, not seldom of their own
design: those _poetæ minores_, the vaudevillists of the burin, who,
from the interpreters of Gravelot, Eisen, and Gabriel de St. Aubin to
Choffard, from Cochin to Moreau, have left us so much work steeped in
the richest, the most varied imagination, or informed by an exquisite
natural perception. Ready and ingenious above all others, delicate even
in their most capricious flights, witty before everything, they are
artists whose accomplishment, in spite of its appearance of frivolity,
is not to be matched for delicacy and science in the work of any other
epoch, or the school of any other country.

[Illustration: FIG. 90.--COCHIN.

"La Main Chaude." After De Troy.]

Placed, in some sort, at an equal distance from the contemporary
historical engravers and the engravers of illustrations, and divided,
as it were, between the recollections of the past and the examples of
the present, Ficquet, and some years later, Augustin de St. Aubin,
produced the little portraits which are as popular now as then. The
portraits of Ficquet are prized above all; though those of St. Aubin,
in spite of their small size, exhibit a largeness and firmness of
modelling not to be found in work that is sometimes preferred to
them. What is more, Ficquet's plates are generally only reductions of
prints already published by other engravers, Nanteuil, Edelinck, and
the rest; whilst the portraits of St. Aubin have the merit of being
directly taken from original pictures or drawings. As a rule, however,
these portraits are relieved on a dead black ground, without gradation
or variety of effect; and it is probably to the somewhat harsh and
monotonous aspect thus produced that we must attribute the comparative
disfavour with which they are regarded.

It is also permissible to suppose that Ficquet's almost microscopic
prints, like those of his imitators, Savart and Grateloup, owe much
of their popularity to their extreme finish. When the mind is not
exercised in discerning the essential parts of an art, the eye is apt
to look upon excessive neatness of workmanship as the certain evidence
of perfection. As people insensible to the charm of painting fall
confidingly into raptures over the pictures of Carlo Dolci, Gerard
Dow, and Denner, so, it maybe, certain admirers of Ficquet esteem his
talent in proportion to the exaggerated cleanness and carefulness of
his plates. Yet his real merit does not entirely rest on such secondary
considerations. Many of his small portraits, most of them intended as
illustrations, are remarkable for firm drawing and delicate facial
expression; and if the work were generally simpler and less crowded
with half-tints, it might be classed, as miniature in line, with
Petitot's enamels.

[Illustration: FIG. 91.--AUGUSTIN DE ST. AUBIN.

Rameau. After Caffieri.]

The analogy, however, can only be supported with regard to their
talent; their dispositions differ in every point. The painter Petitot,
a fervent Calvinist, whose life presents a curious contrast with
the worldly character of his work, had the honour to attract the
attention of Bossuet, who, it is said, attempted to convert him. He was
imprisoned at For-l'Evêque after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes,
and only quitted it to devote himself to solitude and study. Ficquet,
for his part, took no interest whatever in religious questions, and
gave up every spare moment to the pursuit of pleasure; he was, besides,
for ever short of money, and was perpetually hunted by his creditors,
who, weary of struggling, usually ended by installing him in their own
houses to finish a plate for them.

It was in this way that he came to spend nearly two months at St.
Cyr, in the very heart of which community he engraved his "Mme. de
Maintenon," after Mignard. This portrait, paid for long previously to
the last farthing, made no progress whatever; and the Mother Superior,
having exhausted prayers and reproaches, and despairing of seeing it
finished, addressed herself to the metropolitan. From him she obtained
permission to introduce the artist into the convent, and to keep him
there till the accomplishment of his task. But things went on no
better. Ficquet, bored to death in his seclusion, simply slept out the
time, and never touched his graver. One day he sent for the Superior,
and told her that if he stayed at St. Cyr to all eternity, he could
not work in the solitude they had made for him; amusement he must and
would have, and in default of better, it must be the conversation of
the nuns; he added, in a word, that he refused to finish the portrait
unless some of them came every day to keep him company. His conditions
were accepted; and to encourage him still further, some of the pupils
accompanied the nuns, and played and sang to him in his room. At
length the long-expected plate was ready; but Ficquet, disgusted
with the work, destroyed it, and would only consent to begin again
on the promise of instant liberty and a still larger sum. By these
means the nuns of St. Cyr at last became possessed of the likeness of
their foundress, and the little "Mme. de Maintenon"--which is perhaps
Ficquet's masterpiece--made up to them for the strange exactions with
which they had had to comply.

As the habit of employing etching in the execution of their works had
gained ground among artists, the temptation to have recourse to this
speedy process had vanquished one person after another, even those
who seemed least likely to yield, whether from their position in
society, or their former methods. There were soon as many amateur as
professional engravers; and learning the use of the needle well enough
to sketch a pastoral was soon as fashionable as turning a madrigal.
Among the first to set the example was the Regent; he engraved a set of
illustrations for an edition of "Daphnis et Chloe," and his initiative
was followed by crowds of all ranks: great lords like the Duc de
Chevreuse and the Marquis de Coigny; gentlemen of the gown, like the
Président de Gravelle; financiers, scholars, and men of letters, like
Watelet, Count Caylus, and D'Argenville.[44] Court ladies and the wives
of plain citizens joined the throng; from the Duchesse de Luynes and
the Queen herself, to Mme. de Pompadour and Mme. Reboul (who afterwards
married the painter Vien), there were scores of women who amused
themselves by engraving, to say nothing of the many who made it a
profession.

The drawback of such pastimes, innocent enough in themselves, was
that they degraded art into a frivolous amusement, and promulgated
a false view of its capabilities and real object. This is what very
generally happens when, on the strength of a certain degree of taste,
mistaken for talent, people aspire to compass, without reflection or
study, results only to be attained by knowledge and experience. The
authors of such hasty work think art easy, because they are ignorant
of its essentials; and the public, in its turn mistaken as to these,
accepts appearances for reality, becomes accustomed to the pretence of
merit, and loses all taste for true superiority. Every art may be thus
perverted; and in our own days, amateur water colours, statuettes, and
waltzes are as injurious to painting, sculpture, and music, as, in
former days, the amusement of print-making was to engraving.

Moreover, it was not art only that these prints began to injure.
Prompted by gallantry, as understood by the younger Crébillon and
Voisenon when they wrote their experiences, they often presented to
the eyes of women scenes to the description of which they would not
have listened: as a certain lady is reported to have asked Baron de
Besenval, during the relation of an embarrassing adventure, to "draw
a picture-puzzle of what he couldn't tell her." Often, however,
engraving, as practised in the salons, appealed to quite another
order of passions and ideas. In support of the great cause of the
day--philosophy--all weapons seemed fair, and the needle was used to
disseminate the new evangel. When Mme. de Pompadour, in her little
engraving, the proofs of which were fought for by her courtiers,
attempted to show "The Genius of the Arts Protecting France," she set
no very dangerous example, and only proved one thing--that the said
Genius did not so carefully protect the kingdom as to exclude the
possibility of platitude. But when the _habitués_ of Mme. d'Épinay
and D'Holbach set themselves in their little prints to attack certain
so-called mental superstitions, they unconsciously opened the door to
people of a more radical turn of mind. Before the end of the century
prints a good deal more crudely energetic appeared on the same subject;
and the pothouse engravers, in their turn, illustrated the _Père
Duchêne_, as the drawing-room engravers had illustrated the "Essai sur
les Mœurs" and the "Encyclopédie."

Although the engraving of illustrations, or at least "light" subjects,
was, in the eighteenth century, almost the only sort practised in
France, even by the most eminent artists, some of these imparted to
their productions a severer significance, and an appearance more in
harmony with that of former work. Several--pupils of Nicolas Henri
Tardieu, or of Dupuis--resisted with much constancy the encroachment of
the fashionable style, and passed on to their scholars of all nations
those teachings they had received in their youth. The Germans, Joseph
Wagner, Martin Preisler, Schmidt, John George Wille; the Italian,
Porporati; the Spaniards, Carmona and Pascal Molés; the Englishmen,
Strange, Ingram, Ryland, and others, came, at close intervals, for
instruction or improvement in this school. In Paris they published
plates of various degrees of excellence; but, in the greater part of
these, the nationality and personal sentiment of their authors are
obliterated in acquired habits of taste and handling.

Wille's prints, for instance--those even which have most contributed
to his fame, "Paternal Instruction," after Terburg, or the "Dutchwoman
Knitting," after Mieris--might just as well, for anything one sees
to the contrary, have been the work of a French engraver of the same
period. They only differ from plates bearing the name of Beauvarlet or
of Daullé in a certain Teutonic excess of coldness in the handling; in
a somewhat staid, and, as it were, metallic stiffness of arrangement.
Carmona's "François Boucher," and his "Colin de Vermont," after Roslin,
and Porporati's "Tancrède et Clorinde," after Carle Vanloo, have
still less of the stamp of originality.

[Illustration: FIG. 92.--PORPORATI.

Susannah. After Santerre.]

Finally, with the exception of Ryland, by reason of the particular
process he employed, and of which we shall presently have to
speak--and especially of Strange, who has his own peculiar mode of
feeling, and a sort of merit peculiar to himself--none of the English
engravers trained in the French school fail to show the signs of close
relationship. Engravers of more original talent must be looked for
neither amongst historical nor portrait engravers, nor even amongst
engravers of genre. For information as to the state of the art outside
of France, and apart from the French school, we must rather turn to
the illustrations of books and almanacs engraved by Chodowiecki at
Dantzic or Berlin, or to the vast plates from ancient Roman monuments
etched--not without a certain rhetorical emphasis--by Piranesi.

As for other second or third rate foreign engravers of the period,
as for those _ragionevoli_ (as Vasari would have called them) whose
work, if undeserving of oblivion, is likewise undeserving of attentive
examination, we shall have done our part if we mention certain amongst
them: as J. Houbraken, who worked at Dordrecht; Domenichino Cunego, of
Rome; Weirotter, of Vienna; and Fernando Selma, of Madrid.

Meanwhile, in France and other countries, by royal command, or at
the expense of rich amateurs, important series of prints were being
published in commemoration of public events, or in illustration of
famous collections of painting and sculpture. The first of the latter
order was the "Galerie de Versailles," begun by Charles Simoneau,
continued by Massé, and only finished in 1752 after twenty-eight
consecutive years of labour. It was speedily succeeded by the "Cabinet
de Crozat" and the "Peintures de l'Hôtel Lambert;" and a little later
the example of France was followed by other countries, and one after
the other there appeared, in Italy, Germany, and England, the "Museo
Pio Clementino," the "Dresden Gallery," the catalogue of the Bruhl
collection, and the publications of Boydell--all such magnificent works
as do honour to the second half of the eighteenth century. Finally,
thanks to Vivarès and Balechou, the engraving of landscape began to
rival historical engraving, to which it had before been considered
as merely accessory. The honour of having created it belongs to the
French. It is too often forgotten that they were the first to excel
in it, and that but for the practice of Vivarès, England to whom the
merit of initiative is usually attributed might never have boasted of
Woollett and his pupils.

Since Claude Lorraine and Gaspard Dughet, the French school had
produced few painters of pure landscape--none of first-rate ability.
The first to restore to the neglected art a something of its pristine
brilliance was Joseph Vernet. An observer, but one rather clever than
sincere, he is certainly wanting in the strength and gravity which
are characteristics of the great masters. In his work there is more
intelligence than deep feeling, and more elegance than true beauty.
Like the descriptive poetry of the time, it shows us Nature a trifle
too sleek and shiny, and a little over-emphasised; she is rather a
theme for discourse than a model to be lovingly studied as a source
of inspiration. Yet even where the truth is thus arbitrarily treated,
it retains under Vernet's brush sufficient charm, if not to move, at
least to interest and to please; so that the success of this brilliant
artist, and the influence he exerted on the French school and on public
taste, are easily understood.

In the lofty position which his talent had won him, Joseph Vernet was
more capable than any other painter of giving a happy impulse to the
art of engraving; and, indeed, the landscape engravers formed by him
were masters of the genre. We have mentioned Balechou and Vivarès. The
former, at first a pupil of Lépicié, began by engraving portraits, the
best known of which, a full-length of Augustus III., King of Poland,
brought upon its author the shame of a fitting punishment. Convicted
of having detained a certain number of the first proofs for his own
profit; Balechou was struck off the list of the Académie, and obliged
to retire to Arles, his native town, and thence to Avignon, where
he took to landscape engraving. There it was that he executed after
Joseph Vernet his "Baigneuses," his "Calme," and his "La Tempête."
In his latter years he returned to history, and executed after Carle
Vanloo his tiresome "Sainte Geneviève," which was once so loudly
vaunted, which even now is not unadmired, and which really might be a
masterpiece, if technical skill and excessive ease of handling were
all the art. Though, unlike Vivarès, he did not teach the practice of
landscape in England, Balechou contributed enormously by his works
to the education of the English engravers; and the best of them,
Woollett, confessed that he produced his "Fishing" with a proof of the
Frenchman's "La Tempête" always before his eyes.

As for Vivarès, he engraved in Paris a number of plates after Joseph
Vernet and the Old Masters, and then, preceding De Loutherbourg and
many others of his nation, he migrated to London. He took with him a
new art, as Hollar had done a century before, and founded that school
of landscape engravers whose talents were destined to constitute, even
to our own time, the chief glory of English engraving.

But before his pupils and imitators could take possession after him of
this vast domain, engraving in England had developed considerably, in
another direction, under the influence of two distinguished artists,
Hogarth and Reynolds, born at an interval of twenty-five years from
one another. The son of a printer's reader, who apprenticed him to a
goldsmith, William Hogarth spent almost all his youth in obscurity
and poverty. At twenty he was engraving business cards for London
tradesmen; some years later he was sign-painting, and was wearing
himself out in work entirely unworthy of him, when he forced the
attention of the public by the publication of a satirical print, the
heroes of which were well known and easily recognised. His success
being presently confirmed by other compositions of the same sort, he
profited by the fact to apply his talent to more serious work. He soon
acquired a reputation, enriched himself by marrying the daughter of Sir
James Thornhill, the king's painter, and remained till his death (1764)
one of the most eminent men of his country.

Both as painter and engraver Hogarth was a deep student of art, on
which he has left some commendable writings; but he never succeeded
in fulfilling all its conditions. Extravagantly pre-occupied with the
philosophical significance with which he purposes to endow his work,
he does not always see when he has gone far enough in the exposition
of his idea: he darkens it with commentary; he becomes unintelligible
by sheer insistence on intelligibility. There are allegories of his in
which, still striving after ingenuity, he has piled detail upon detail
till the result is confusion worse confounded.

But when no excess of analysis has decomposed his primary idea to
nothingness, by directing the attention elsewhere, Hogarth strikes
home, and compasses most powerful effects. His series of prints, in
which are storied the actions of one or more persons--his "Marriage à
la Mode," his "Rake's Progress," his "Harlot's Progress," his "Industry
and Idleness"--the last a sort of double biography representing the
different lives of two apprentices, one of whom becomes Lord Mayor of
London, whilst the other dies at Tyburn--all these engraved by himself,
partly in etching and partly in line, are, as regards the execution, by
no means irreproachable; are frequently, indeed, not even good: but in
expression and gesture they are nearly always of startling truth, while
the moral meaning, the innermost spirit of every scene, is felt and
rendered with the keenest sagacity. At the very time when the genius of
Richardson was working a like revolution in literature, Hogarth--and
herein lies his chief merit--was introducing domestic drama into
art. In England and elsewhere the painter-engraver and the novelist,
both creators of the style in which they worked, have had a crowd of
imitators; but they cannot be said to have met with rivals anywhere.

The genius of Sir Joshua Reynolds is of a totally different order. In
the sense of consisting in the sentiment of effect and the masterly
arrangement of tones it is essentially _picturesque_, and presents
such a boldness of character as engravers could easily appreciate and
reproduce. There is no far-fetched significance, no accessories tending
to destroy the unity of the whole. On the contrary, the work proceeds
by synthesis; it is all largely schemed, and built up in masses where
the details are scarcely indicated. The expression lies not so much in
niceties of physiognomy as in the whole attitude of the sitters and the
characteristic pose and contour of the faces represented. The painter's
imagination is brilliant rather than delicate; sometimes, indeed, it
degenerates into bad taste and eccentricity. But far more frequently
it gives his attitudes an air of ease and originality, and the general
aspect of his portraits breathes a perfect dignity. The vigorous
contrasts, the freedom and wealth of colour which are their primary
characteristics, as they are those of Gainsborough's work likewise,
are qualities to whose translation the free and flowing stroke of the
graver is hardly fitted, but which mezzotint would naturally render
with ease and success. And, as we have said before, it is to the
influence of the famous painter that must be attributed the immense
extension of the latter process in England during the latter part of
the eighteenth century.

The landscape and mezzotint engravers began, therefore, to vitalise
the English school: the former especially lent it real importance
by their talent. From 1760 or thereabouts Woollett published, after
Richard Wilson or after Claude, those admirable works which, on account
of their suave harmony of effect, their transparency of atmosphere,
and their variableness of colour, are less like engravings than
pictures.[45] Shortly afterwards he completed his fame by work of
another sort: the reproduction, first, of West's "Death of Wolfe," and
then of his "Battle of La Hogue," the American's best picture, and
the finest historical plate ever engraved in England. Lastly about
the same time, Robert Strange, a pupil of Philippe Le Bas, engraved
in line, after Correggio and Van Dyck, the "Saint Jerome" and the
"Charles I.;" as well as other prints after these masters, which are
quite as charming, and should, indeed, be unreservedly admired if the
correctness of their drawing were only equal to their elegance of
modelling and flexibility of tone.

[Illustration: FIG. 93.--WOOLLETT.

Landscape. After G. Smith.]

So much progress accomplished in so few years attracted the attention
of statesmen and of the English Government. They saw it was time to
cease from paying tribute to the superiority of French engravers, and
to allow those talents to develop in London which had till then been
sent to school in Paris. George III. had just founded the Royal Academy
(Jan., 1769), with Reynolds for its first President. He determined
still further to strengthen the impulse of art by countenancing great
undertakings in engraving; and as he wished the country to reap as much
commercial benefit as honour in the matter, he granted bounties on the
exportation of English engravings, while the importation of French work
was taxed with enormous duties.

In this way the progress of national art became a political question,
and every one hastened to second the king's views. Woollett's plates
had been largely subscribed for before publication, and the illustrated
editions of the travels of Cook and Sir Joseph Banks were taken up in
a few days. Finally, when it was proposed to engrave Copley's "Death
of Chatham," the subscription at once ran up to £3,600; and when, the
first proofs having been taken, the plate was returned to the engraver,
he made almost as much more in less than two years. Nor did the fever
of protection in any wise abate for that. On the contrary, it called
a number of talents into being, and attracted to London a crowd of
foreigners, all sure of the encouragement which began to fail them
elsewhere. Cipriani, Angelica Kauffmann, Catherine Prestel, the Swiss
Moser and his daughter, and a hundred other painters or engravers, came
in one after another to contribute to the success of the school and the
spread of English trade.[46]

Amongst these adventurers there was one--the Florentine
Bartolozzi--whose works at once became the fashion, less, perhaps,
for any intrinsic merit than because of the novelty of his method.
The process called "stipple engraving" excluded the use of lines and
cross hatchings, and consisted in the arrangement of masses of dots
more or less delicate in themselves, and more or less close in order,
and designed in proportion to their relative distance or nearness, to
render nice gradations of tone, depth of shadow, and even completeness
of outline.

Speaking exactly, this was but an application to the general execution
of a work of a process adopted long before by etchers and line
engravers as a means of partial execution. Jean Morin, Boulanger,
Gérard Audran himself, and many others, had habitually made use of
dots to supplement the work of the burin or the needle, or to effect
transitions between their lights and shadows, or the larger of their
outlines and subtler details of their modelling. Moreover, before their
time, Jan Lutma, a Dutch goldsmith, invented a method of "engraving in
dots," which, produced by means of his etching needle and aquafortis,
were deepened and enlarged with chisel and hammer: whence the name of
_opus mallei_ bestowed on his results. Bartolozzi, therefore, and the
English engravers who, like Ryland, made use of stippling, did but
revive and extend in their own way the boundaries of a method already
known. They displayed remarkable skill, it is true, but their work,
like the rest of its kind, displays a feebleness of form that is almost
inevitable, and is touched with a coldness inherent in the very nature
of the process.

In stipple engraving, the burin and the dry point are used alternately,
according to the degree of vigour or delicacy required. The parts that
are to come light in proof are done with the dry-point; while those to
come dark are covered with dots ploughed deeper with the burin. Round
the edge of these, by the mere act of ploughing, there is raised a rim,
or rampart--technically called a "burr"--which the engraver, to regain
the ground thus lost, has to rub down with the burnisher. In this way
he goes on dotting and burnishing till he gets a close enough grain.

Immensely successful during the last years of the eighteenth century,
stipple engraving soon went out of fashion, not only in France, where
it scarce survived the first attempts of Copia, but even in England,
where the example of Bartolozzi and Ryland had been followed with such
eager diligence. Such, too, somewhat later, was the fate of a somewhat
similar process--the "crayon engraving," of which Gilles Demarteau,
born in Liège, but bred and trained in Paris, may be considered, if
not the inventor, at least the most active, skilful, and popular
practitioner.[47]

The object of crayon engraving is to imitate the effect of red or black
chalk on a coarse-grained paper, which, by the very roughness of its
surface, retains no more than an uneven, and as it were a disconnected,
impression of the strokes or hatchings laid upon it. In common with
stipple engraving, it renders the loose and broken lines of the
originals by substituting a mass of dots for the ordinary work of the
burin or the needle. It differs, however, from stipple engraving in
the method of working, and even in the nature of the tools employed.
The outlines are traced on the varnished copper with a toothed or
multi-pointed needle, while the inner hatchings are made either with
the needle in question, or with what is called a roulette, which is
a steel cylinder bristling with small, jagged teeth, and running on
a fixed axis. The roulette, which is provided with a handle, is so
directed that the teeth are brought to bear directly, and with more
or less effect, on the varnished copper. Then the plate is bitten in;
and when the aquafortis has done its part, the work, if necessary, is
resumed with the same tools on the bare metal.

The first specimens of crayon engraving were presented in 1757 to
the Académie Royale de Peinture, which, an official document informs
us,[48] "highly approved of the method, as being well fitted to
perpetuate the designs of good masters, and multiply copies of the best
styles of drawings." For the reproduction of drawings, the new process
was certainly better than etching, at least as practised to that end
by the Count de Caylus and the Abbé de Saint-Non. The misfortune was,
that in the eighteenth century as in the first years of the nineteenth,
the crayon engravers appear to have thought far less of "perpetuating
the designs of good masters" than of suiting their choice of originals
to the prevailing fashion. As a matter of fact, however skilful they
were in execution, the only cause served by Demarteau's innumerable
fac-similes was that of the Bouchers and Fragonards, and of kindred
experts in "the most distinguished school of drawing." Reproduced by
engraving, the crayon studies of these persons became the ordinary
means of instruction in academies and public schools; and from the
first the popularity of these wretched models was such that, even after
the revolution effected in art by David, on through the Empire, and as
late as the Restoration, art students generally remained subject to the
regimen adopted for their predecessors in the days of Louis XV. and XVI.

Then lithography made its appearance, and in no great while was
applied to the production of drawing-copies, once the monopoly of
crayon engraving. Nor was this the only quarter from which the method
of François and Demarteau was assailed. By degrees it fell out of use
for the production not only of drawing-copies, but of fac-similes of
drawings by the masters for artists and amateurs; or, if occasionally
practised, it was--as in the subjects engraved some thirty years
back from drawings in the Louvre and the Musée de Lille--with so
many modifications, and in combination with such a number of other
processes, as reduced it from supremacy to the rank, till worse should
befall, of a mere auxiliary. In our own time it has had its death-blow
in the advance of photography; and as, after all, its one object was
the presentation of an exact likeness, the absolute effigy, of its
original, the preference of a purely mechanical process of reproduction
is, if we consider the certainty of the results, no more than natural.
In proportion as, by its very nature, photography is powerless to take
the place of engraving, when the work to be reproduced, be it picture
or mural decoration, presupposes in the interpreter, in whatsoever
degree, the power of translating what is before him, just so far is it
capable of fulfilling the one condition imposed upon the copyist of a
drawing or an engraving--that of perfect fidelity in imitation.

The object attempted by François, Demarteau, Bonnet, and others--the
production by engraving of a sort of optical illusion, the exact
fac-simile of a drawing--had been started before them by Jean
Christophe Leblond, an artist born of French parents at Frankfort,
who, moreover, had sought to extend to the imitation of colour
what his successors were content to restrict to the imitation of
monochrome. Very early in the eighteenth century, Leblond succeeded
in producing prints in several tints, by a method which he called
"pastel engraving," and to which custom has given the more general
name of "colour engraving." For the second half of this title, it
might, perhaps, have been better to use the word "printing." What is
called "colour engraving" is not really a special engraving process.
Its whole originality consists in the production of a single proof
from several plates (generally four), in the preparation of which the
rocker, the roulette, and sometimes even the burin, have been used.
From these plates, each inked with a single colour, the effect of which
is relieved or modified by the subsequent addition of those tints with
which the other three are covered, there results in the proof, by the
use of points of correspondence, an _ensemble_ in colour which is
similar in appearance to that of painting in pastel, in water-colour,
or in gouache. This was pretty much the process, and the results were
in some sort comparable with those obtained by chromo-lithography. The
older method had, however, the advantage of the other in that, by the
very variety of the preparation to which the plate was subjected, its
results were not so liable to present the appearance, either coarse or
dull, of common hand-tinted work.

Some of Leblond's engravings, particularly a large, half-length
"Louis XV.," enable us to estimate to the full the capacities of his
invention. Leblond, indeed, must be counted an inventor, inasmuch as
it was his to discover a secret which, before him, had been only dimly
foreseen, or at most half-guessed. Still, the essays in the first years
of the seventeenth century of the Dutchman Lastmann, and a little later
of Seghers the Fleming, should not be completely overlooked; nor would
it be just to refuse recognition to the practical improvements made
in colour engraving, after Leblond, by Gautier Dagoty, in Paris, and
by Taylor, in London. In proportion to the relative importance of the
two discoveries, Leblond played the same part in the history of the
colour process as Daguerre in the history of heliography. They each
effected so great an advance as to close the period of groping and
darkness, and to some extent determine the course of progress. But it
does not follow, therefore, that they owed nothing to the attempts of
their predecessors; and if their claim to inventors' honours is fairly
established, it is because they solved a problem they were by no means
the first to attack.

Leblond, indeed, got nothing from his discovery but the honour of
making it. He sought in vain to turn it to account in London, and
succeeded no better in Paris. In the latter city he lived for some
years in great distress, and in 1741 he died there, in the hospital.

Some years after the invention of colour engraving, another sort of
engraving, or rather another sort of pictorial reproduction, the method
called "au lavis," was invented, and very skilfully used from the
outset, by Jean Baptiste Leprince; and in no great while the series of
innovations in the practice of the art, from the end of the seventeenth
century, was completed by the invention of aquatint.

The first of these two processes is apparently of extreme simplicity.
The line once engraved and bitten in, as in ordinary etching, it
only consisted in brushing the plate with acid, as a draughtsman
washes in on paper with sepia or Indian ink. The preliminary work,
however, required a great deal of care and skill, and even a certain
amount of scientific knowledge. The particular quality of the
copper, the composition of the varnishes and acids, and many other
conditions impossible to discuss in detail, made the new process
somewhat difficult of employment; and before long the ardour of those
practitioners who had essayed to imitate Leprince's results was very
sensibly diminished.

In spite of the value of these results, and the personal skill of the
inventor; in spite, too, of the technical explanations contained in
the "Plan du Traité de la Gravure au Lavis" presented by him (1750) to
the Académie Royale, it was evident that the French engravers thought
lightly of Leprince's discovery, and did not care to investigate
its capabilities. It only got a fresh start in France when, notably
modified and improved by the initiative of foreign engravers, it had
been transformed in London into what is known as aquatint engraving.
Then, however, in the hands of Debucourt,[49] and of Jazet later on,
it acquired a popularity all the greater that its productions, by
their very nature and quality, were more intimately in harmony with
the inspiration and style of fashionable art. Jazet, for instance,
contributed greatly to the triumph of aquatint in France, by applying
it, from the first years of the Restoration, to the interpretation
of the works of Horace Vernet. Such plates as "Le Bivouac du Colonel
Moncey," the "Barrière de Clichy," the "Soldat Laboureur," and many
others, were tolerated among Frenchmen for the sake of the associations
they awakened at least as much as for their artistic merit.

It is possible that since then the engraver has reckoned a little too
much on the world-wide reputation of his painter; or it may be that he
has been somewhat too conscious of the advantages of a rapid and facile
method, and has sacrificed the ideal of delicacy and correctness to the
enhancement of a reputation for fertility. Certain it is that Jazet,
as is proved by his early engravings, and especially the "Barrière de
Clichy," was more capable than any one else of raising work in aquatint
to the level of art; and it is much to be regretted that his somewhat
careless ease should have hindered the full development of his talent.
It is still more to be regretted that, in spite of the laudable efforts
of Messrs. Prévost, Girard, and others to maintain the process in the
better way, it should have been dishonoured and deprived of all but a
purely commercial importance by the production of multitudes of plates,
whose only merit is their cheapness. If we consider the so-called
Biblical scenes done in aquatint for exportation, the heroines of
romance, the half-naked women described (by way of commentary) as
"Love," "Souvenir," "Pleasure," "Desire," and all the terms of the
erotic vocabulary, it is hard to say whether the intention or the
execution is the more unpleasant. What is certain is that such things
have nothing to do with art except as examples of its degradation and
destruction. That section of the public sensible of their charm is
certainly not that which is impressed by beauty, and it is useless to
care about winning its approbation; but when ugliness is everywhere
it is to be feared that everybody may grow used to the sight, and
forget to look elsewhere. The danger to which pure line engraving is
thus exposed by the deplorable exigencies of competition is not the
only one which threatens the art. A glance at its several phases since
1800 and at its present state is enough to show that the line of
talents has never once been interrupted; that those of to-day are every
whit as vigorous and accomplished as those of the past; but that for
opportunities of displaying their full power, and being appreciated at
their true worth they have not seldom to wait in vain.



CHAPTER IX.

ENGRAVING IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.


At the beginning of the nineteenth century some of the most celebrated
artists of the French school of painting belonged, by the nature
of their talent as well as by the date of their chief successes,
to the ante-revolutionary period. Greuze, Fragonard, Moreau, Mme.
Vigée-Lebrun, Vien even, notwithstanding his intentions of reform,
Regnault and Vincent, in spite of their influence as professors on the
new generation--all seemed rather to recall the past than to herald the
future. One man, Louis David, personified the progress of the epoch.
His pictures, "Les Horaces," and the "Brutus," had appeared some years
before, and the approaching exhibition of "Les Sabines" was impatiently
expected. At this time the younger artists and the public unanimously
regarded David as the regenerator of national art and a master justly
supreme. Architecture, painting, furniture, even fashion in dress, were
all subjected to his absolute sway; everything was done in imitation of
the antique, as understood and interpreted by him. Under the pretexts
of pure beauty and a chaste style, nothing but a soulless body, a sort
of coloured statue, was represented on canvas; while sculpture became
no more than an imitation of Greek or Roman statuary. Since Lebrun,
indeed, no single influence had so completely tyrannised over French
taste.

Engraving, though fated like the other arts to accept the dictatorship
of David, was at any rate the first to throw off his yoke. Before
the Restoration, whilst the painter of Marat, then painter to the
Emperor, was still in the fulness of his power, the great Italians,
whose pictures crowded the Louvre, had already been interpreted with
more respect for the memory of the old manner than submission to the
requirements of the newer style.

The most talented of these new artists, Boucher-Desnoyers, when working
at his "Belle Jardinière," after Raphael, or his "Vierge aux Rochers,"
after Leonardo, probably thought much less of contemporary work than of
the French engravers of the seventeenth century; while on their part
Bervic and Tardieu, who had long before given proof of their power,
faithfully maintained the great traditions: the one in an austerity of
execution and a firmness of touch hereditary in his family, the other
in his scientific ease of handling. These three were of the race of
the older masters, and their work, unjustly forgotten some years later
during the rage for the English manner, deserves a better fate than to
be confounded with the cold and formal prints published in the France
of the First Empire. The engravings after David, by popularising his
work, obtained some success in their day, but have failed to secure a
lasting reputation. The fault, however, is not altogether with the
engravers: in spite of the apparent conscientiousness of the painter,
his real indecision of method must count for something in the mediocre
achievements of his interpreters.

Free to impose his own system on all other artists, David might have
enforced his artistic authority on his contemporaries; and even if
it were beyond his power to restore the French school of engraving,
he might at least have regenerated its principles, and, combining
separate efforts under the synthesis of his own personal conception,
have breathed into it a fresh spirit of unity. This he never attempted;
and it is even hard to guess at what he expected from his engravers.
It might be supposed that his own fondness for precision of form would
have led him to require from them insistence as to the drawing, and not
much attention to colour and effect; yet most of the prints after his
pictures--amongst others those by Morel and Massard--are heavy in tone
and feeble in drawing. There is in them no trace either of the precise
manner of David, or of the large method of the old school; it is
therefore not in these commonplace works, and still less in the barren
engravings composing the great "Commission d'Égypte," that we must look
for signs of such talent as then existed in France.

[Illustration: FIG. 94.--ALEXANDER TARDIEU.

The Earl of Arundel. After Van Dyck.]

The few painters who, like Regnault, were more or less independent
of David's influence, or, like Prud'hon, had ventured to create an
entirely original method, were admired by so small a public that their
pictures were not generally reproduced in engraving, and thus could
do little for the progress of the art. Some, however, of Prud'hon's
drawings and pictures met, under the Directory and the Empire, with
excellent interpreters in Copia and in Barthélemy Roger; while in the
last years of the eighteenth century Bervic's engraving of Regnault's
"Éducation d'Achille" had obtained at least as much success as the
original had won in the Salon of 1783. To give a companion to this
justly celebrated piece, Bervic soon after published his "Enlèvement de
Déjanire," after Guido. This work, to which the judges of the Decennial
Competition awarded the prize in preference to any engraving published
in France from 1800 to 1810, by confirming the engraver's reputation,
caused his fellow-craftsmen to return once more to the old path of
progress.

It must not, however, be supposed that Bervic did not himself diverge
somewhat from the way of the masters: it may even be said that he was
always more inclined to skirt it than to follow it resolutely. At the
outset he was not sufficiently alive to the perils of facility; and
later on he was apt to attach too much importance to certain quite
material qualities. Yet it must be added that he never went so far as
to entirely sacrifice essentials to accessories, and that more than
once--in his fine full-length of Louis XVI. for instance--he displayed
an ability all the more laudable as the original was by no means
inspiring.

[Illustration: FIG. 95.--BERVIC.

"L'Éducation d'Achille." After Regnault.]

From the engraving it is hard to suspect the mediocrity of Callet's
picture. This, now at Versailles, is insipidly coloured and loosely
and clumsily drawn; the print, on the contrary, is to be admired for
its solid appearance, and its easy yet unostentatious handling. Lace,
satin, velvet, all accessories, indeed, are treated with a largeness
of touch by no means at variance with delicacy, and the general tone
is harmoniously luminous. Here and there, however, is already visible
a certain artifice of manner which threatens to degenerate into an
unwise cultivation of fine line, and end in an abuse of skill. This,
indeed, is what happened. Bervic, henceforth, thought of little else
but dexterity, and ended in his "Laocoon," perhaps the best known of
all his works, by a display of common technical fireworks, to a certain
extent surprising, but by no means to be unreservedly admired. The care
with which he set himself to imitate the grain of marble by minute
workmanship is only trifling with his subject; and though a group
of statues cannot be treated in the same way as figures painted on
canvas, it was more important, and more desirable in every respect, to
reproduce the character and style of the original than to imitate the
substance in which it was wrought.

Moreover, in the attempt so to interpret his model, Bervic has defeated
his own purpose. By a multitude of details, and an abuse of half-lights
intended to bring out the slightest accidents of form and modelling, he
has only succeeded in depriving the general aspect of brilliancy and
unity.

Far removed, indeed, was such a method from that of the Old Masters,
and Bervic lived long enough to change his mind. "I have missed
the truth," he declared in his old age, "and if I could begin life
again, I should do nothing I have done." There he wronged himself.
As happens often in tardy repentances, he remembered past errors only
to exaggerate them; but we must be juster to the engraver of the
"Louis XVI." and "L'Éducation d'Achille" than he was to himself, and
not forget that much of his work should be excluded from the sweeping
condemnation which he launched upon the whole.

Whilst Bervic was counted the greatest French engraver, Italy boasted
of a man, his inferior in reality, but whom, in the existing dearth
of talent, his countrymen agreed to thrust into the glorious eminence
of a master. Like Canova, his senior by a few years only, Raphael
Morghen had the good fortune to be born at the right time. Both
second-rate artists, they would have passed almost unnoticed in a more
favoured century; as it was, in the absence of contemporary rivals,
their compatriots accepted their accidental superiority as a proof of
absolute merit. Moreover, by merely submitting in some sort to the
dictates of opinion and of public taste, their popularity and success
were easily assured. The writings of Winckelmann and Raphael Mengs had
brought antique statues and Italian pictures of the sixteenth century
once more into favour; so that Canova, by imitating the former more or
less cleverly, and Morghen by engraving the latter, could neither of
them fail to please, and it is especially to their choice of subjects
that we must attribute the great reputation they both enjoyed.

Morghen, the pupil and son-in-law of Volpato, whose weak engravings
from the "Stanze," in the Vatican, are known to every one, shared with
that feeble artist, and with Longhi, the privilege of reproducing
admirable paintings, which had either never been engraved, or not
since the time of the masters. This alone gives a certain value to his
plates, faulty as they are. Assuredly, for instance, the engraving of
Leonardo's "Last Supper" reproduces no more than the general lines of
the composition and the attitude of the figures. We look at it as we
might listen to an inferior actor reading verses from "Polyeucte" or
"Athalie," because the inspiration of the master is still to be felt,
in spite of the intermediary of expression; only the sort of beauty
inherent in the conception and arrangement of the original remains in
this piece of Morghen's. What can be said of the head of the Saviour,
like those of the Apostles, _restored_ by the engraver, and unillumined
by the faintest glimmer of sentiment? How is it possible, examining the
work in detail, not to be offended by the arrogance of the technique
and the display of mere mechanical facility, when one remembers the
incomparable accuracy of Leonardo and his perfection of style?

But in thus substituting his own manner, and the caprices of his
individual taste, for the manner and the taste of the painter of
"The Last Supper," Morghen only treated this great master as he was
in the habit of treating others. Whether it was his lot to interpret
Raphael or Poussin, Andrea del Sarto or Correggio, he had but one
uniform method for the most conflicting types; and to his tricks of
hand he subjected, without remorse, the inspired grace or the noble
energy of whatever he copied. Once, however, it was given him to
entertain higher aspirations, and to study more conscientiously the
particular characteristics of the work he was to reproduce. It would be
impossible without deliberate injustice to avoid recognising merit in
his plate from Van Dyck's "Francesco de Moncada," as much on the score
of intelligent fidelity as of skilful execution. But, for his other
works, could one, without equal injustice, condone the inadequacy of
expression and drawing, the systematic contempt of all effort, the many
evidences of vain and self-confident ease which refuses to be humbled
even in the presence of genius?

Morghen preserved till the end the brilliant reputation which his
extreme fertility and the complacent patriotism of the Italians had won
for him at the outset. Born in Naples, he settled in Florence, whither
he had been allured by the Grand Duke Ferdinand III., and where he
remained during the French occupation, and, much less resentful than
Alfieri, repulsed neither the homage nor the favour of the foreigner.
On the return of the Grand Duke, his old protector, he was still less
ready to yield to the Neapolitans, who coveted the honour of recalling
the renowned artist to his native country. When at length he died in
1833, all Italy was stirred at the news, and innumerable sonnets, the
usual expression of public regret or enthusiasm, celebrated "the
undying glory of the illustrious engraver of 'The Last Supper.'"

Johann Godard Müller, who early in life had had nearly as widespread
a recognition in Germany as Morghen in Italy, departed this world in
lonely misery three years before the Neapolitan. Beyond the walls
of Stuttgart, scarce any one remembered the existence or the brief
renown of the engraver of the "Madonna della Sedia" and the "Battle of
Bunker's Hill." For he had long ceased to trouble about his work or
his reputation, and lived only to mourn a son, who in 1816 died at the
very time when, in his turn, he was about to become one of the most
distinguished engravers of his country.

From childhood this son, Christian Frederick Müller, had been devoted
to his father's art. His first attempts were successful enough to
warrant his early admittance to the school of engraving recently
founded at Stuttgart by Duke Charles of Wurtemberg. We have seen that
during the second half of the eighteenth century many German engravers
came to Paris for training, and that many remained there. Expelled from
France, their adopted country, by the Revolution, they returned to
Germany, and the institution of a school of engraving in Stuttgart was
one result of their expulsion. But by 1802 many of the fugitives were
already back in Paris, and the studios, closed for ten years, once more
opened their doors to numerous pupils. Frederick Müller, then barely
twenty, followed his father's example, and in his turn went to perfect
himself under French masters.

Commended to the good offices of Wille, then past eighty, who felt it
an honour to have taught Johann Godard Müller, and introduced by him,
the young man was soon in relation with Bervic, Tardieu, and Desnoyers;
and without constituting himself a thorough-going imitator of these
fine craftsmen, he yet borrowed enough from them to be considered,
if not their rival, at least one of their most faithful disciples.
The plates he engraved for the "Musée Français," published by Laurent
and Robillard,[50] show laudable submission to the principles of the
masters and an already sound experience of art; but it is in the
"Madonna di San Sisto," in which he seems to have arrived at maturity,
that his talent may be fully measured. Before undertaking this plate,
the young engraver went to Italy to study other work by the "Divine
Painter," and to prepare himself for the interpretation of the picture
in the Dresden Gallery by drawing from the Vatican frescoes. On his
return to Germany, he at once applied himself to the task, and pursued
it with such ardour that, towards the end of 1815, that is in three
years, he had brought it to an end. The "Madonna di San Sisto" deserves
to rank with the finest line engravings of the beginning of the
century. It has long been popular; but renown came too slowly for the
engraver, and unhappily he lacked the patience to await its coming.

When Müller had finished his work, he determined to publish it himself,
hoping to gain not only honour but legitimate profit. He was exhausted
by hard work, but he trusted to meet with the reward which he felt to
be due to such continual effort, and to meet with it at once. Time
passed, however, and the young engraver, a prey to feverish anxiety,
began to rail at the indifference of his contemporaries. He had soon to
make arrangements with a publisher, that the fruit of his labours might
not be altogether lost. Several amateurs then bought proofs, but there
was as yet no general popularity for a print the appearance of which,
in the expectation of its author, should have had all the importance
of a public event. So many disappointments completed the ruin of his
health, and at last affected his reason. In a paroxysm of excitement,
Müller stabbed himself with a burnisher. Shortly after his "Sistine
Madonna" obtained that great success which the poor artist had fondly
anticipated. The publisher grew rich upon the proofs; and the name of
the young engraver who had made too great haste to sell them was with
justice acclaimed throughout Europe.

The works of Bervic, of Desnoyers, of Morghen and of Müller, may be
said to represent the state of engraving in France, in Italy, and in
Germany during the early years of the nineteenth century. They show
that at that time the three schools professed the same doctrines,
or, at least, followed the same masters; but this seeming conformity
was not destined to be of long duration. The principles of art were
soon modified by the influence of new ideas, and the German engravers
(taking the lead in this change of aim) entered the path which they are
still following.

At the time of Müller's death, the influence of Goethe and Schiller
on German literature had begun to extend to the pictorial arts.
Passionate study of the Middle Ages took the place of the worship of
antiquity, and whilst the classical dictionary was still the only
gospel for French painters, those beyond the Rhine were already
drinking inspiration from Christian tradition and national legend. This
was a happy reaction in so far as it reinvested art with that ethereal
character which is indispensable to its higher developments; but, on
the other hand, rapidly degenerating into mere archæology, the movement
ended by oppressing and imprisoning talent under invariable formulas.
A few years sufficed to reduce German art to such a condition that
asceticism became the established rule. Since then Overbeck, Cornelius,
and Kaulbach have added the weight of their authority and example,
and continued and perfected the tradition of their forerunners; and
this reformation has been as thorough in Germany as the far different
revolution accomplished by David in France.

The German painters having thus laid aside a part of their material
resources, the German engravers have been obliged to confine themselves
to a translation of the ideal sentiment of their originals. In this
task it must be allowed they have perfectly succeeded. They reproduce
with singular completeness that generative thought, and religious,
philosophical, or literary imagination, which, far more than any
pictorial idea, inspires the German painter.

Strictly speaking, they do not produce engravings: that is, they do
not produce works in which the burin has sought to render the value
of tone, colour, chiaroscuro, or any constituent of a picture save
composition and drawing; they are satisfied to cut in the copper, with
a precision frequently approaching dryness, the outlines of simple
forms; while, by way of concession to the true pictorial spirit,
they think it enough to throw in here and there a few suggestions of
modelling and light masses of shadow. Among the numerous specimens of
this extreme reticence of execution, it is sufficient to mention the
"Apostolical Scenes" engraved, after Overbeck, by Franz Keller, Ludy,
and Steinfensand; the plates after Cornelius, published at Carlsruhe
and Munich, by Schäffer, Merz, and others; and lastly, Thaeter's big
"Battle of the Huns," after Kaulbach.

Although subdivided into smaller classes, the modern German school is
composed--at least, in so far as historical painting and engraving
are concerned--of a group of kindred talents, inspired by abstract
reflection rather than the study of reality. Nevertheless this main
idea has not everywhere been carried out with the same logical rigour.
The Düsseldorf engravers, for instance, have not always confined
themselves, like those of Munich, to the representation of figures and
their accessories, as mere silhouettes, strengthened, if at all, by
the palest of shadows. Even more elastic principles have prevailed
elsewhere. Felsing of Darmstadt, Mendel of Berlin, and Steinla of
Dresden, have proved by their engravings after Fra Bartolommeo,
Raphael, and Holbein, that they have no notion of denying themselves
any of the methods used by the masters of engraving for imitating
in the highest perfection the relief and life of objects figured on
canvas. But these and other efforts must be considered exceptional. As
we have said, the dominant tendency of German art since the reform is
rather towards deliberate, even systematic, conception than spontaneous
expression of sentiment: it is, in fact, the mortification of the eye
for the intelligence. In a word, German engravers trust too much to
logic and analysis, and too little to their senses. It is only natural
that they should. The qualities lacking in their works are also lacking
in the pictures and drawings from which these are engraved. Still,
their main principle once admitted, we must allow that it could not
well be pushed to a more logical conclusion. In Germany, separate and
independent talents do not exist, as in Belgium, Austria, Switzerland,
and Russia. The end is the same for all, and is obtained by all in
nearly the same degree. In England, also, engraving, considered as a
whole, presents an incontestable unity; nevertheless, the difference
between the schools is great. A trifle hypochondriacal by dint of
privations and penance, German art is sustained by a feverish faith
which lends to it the animation of life; while in spite of its
flourishing looks, English art is really decayed in constitution.
Its health is only apparent, and the least study of its vital sources
compels the recognition of its frailty.

It has frequently been said that the arts are the expression of
the moral tendency of a people. This is doubtless true; at all
events, it is true of those people for whom the arts have always
been a necessity--of Greece and Italy, for example, where they have
been as it were endemic. Where, however, art has been diffused by
contagion--as an epidemic--it may remain quite distinct from national
tendencies, or only represent a part of them, or even suggest the
presence of quite antagonistic influences. Strictly speaking, a
school of painting has only existed in England since the eighteenth
century; surely its characteristics, past and present, are in nowise a
spontaneous expression of national feeling? Are all its most important
achievements--the portraits of Reynolds, Gainsborough, Lawrence, and
the landscapes of Turner--inspired by that practical wisdom, that
spirit of order and love of exactness in everything, which characterise
the English equally in private and in public life? On the contrary,
the quest of spurious brilliancy and effect, exaggerated at the
expense of accurate form and precision of style, is the one tradition
of the English school of painting; and in spite of the inventive and
tasteful work produced in the first half of the century by artists like
Wilkie, Smirke, and Mulready, as of the more recent efforts of the
Pre-Raphaelites, it would seem as if the school were neither able nor
willing to change.

The æsthetic formula accepted and used, from one generation to another,
by the English painters has influenced--and, perhaps naturally, with
still more authority--their compatriots the engravers. Just now English
engraving seems careless of further effort. It is as though its
innumerable products had nothing whatever to reveal to those who buy
them, and were bought from habit, and not from taste.

It has been seen that George III. did his utmost to encourage line
engraving, and that the exportation of prints soon became a source of
revenue. How could the country neglect those wares which abroad were
made so heartily welcome? The aristocracy set the example. Men of
high social position thought it their duty to subscribe to important
publications. In imitation, or from patriotism, the middle class in
their turn sought to favour the growth of engraving; and when, some
years later, it became the fashion to illustrate "Keepsakes" and "Books
of Beauty" with steel engravings, their cheapness put them within
everybody's reach. People gradually took to having prints in their
houses, just as they harboured superfluities of other kinds; and,
the custom becoming more and more general, engravers could be almost
certain of the sale of any sort of work. This is still the case. In
London, every new print may reckon on a certain number of subscribers.
Hence the facility of production, and the constant mechanical
improvements tending to shorten the work; hence, too, unfortunately,
the family likeness and purely conventional charm of the English prints
of the last half-century.

A glance at any recent aquatints and mezzotints or into a new book of
etchings, discovers nothing one does not seem to have seen a hundred
times before. There are the eternal conflicts of light and darkness,
the eternal contrasts between velvety and pearly textures. In its
needless formality, this trickery resembles that of uninspired and
styleless singers. A brief _piano_ passage is followed by a crashing
_forte_; the whole thing consists in abruptness of contrast, and
depends for success entirely upon surprise. In both cases this element
is soon exhausted by too frequent use. The novelty of their appearance
might at first impart a certain charm to English engravings; but the
unending repetition of the same effect has destroyed their principal
merit, and it is difficult to regard them with attention or interest.

It would be unjust, however, to confine ourselves to the consideration
of the abuse of general methods, and to say nothing of individual
talents. England has produced some remarkable engravers since those
in mezzotint formed by Reynolds and the landscape artists who were
Woollett's pupils. Abraham Raimbach, for instance, was a fine workman,
and a better draughtsman than most of his compatriots; his plates
after Wilkie's "Blind Man's Buff," "The Rent-Day," and "The Village
Politicians," deserve to be classed amongst the most agreeable works
of modern engraving. Samuel William Reynolds, in his portraits
after many English painters, and his plates from Géricault, Horace
Vernet, and Paul Delaroche, and Samuel Cousins, in his engravings of
Lawrence's "Master Lambton," "Pius VII.," and "Lady Gower and her Son,"
have succeeded in getting a good deal more from mezzotint than the
eighteenth century masters.

In spite of the dissimilarity of their talents, Raimbach and Cousins
may yet be compared as the last English engravers who attempted to
invest their work with a character in conformity with the strict
conditions of the art. Since them the London craftsmen have practised
more or less skilfully an almost mechanical profession. They have
only produced either the thousands of engravings, which every year
proceed from the same source, or the prints that deal with still less
ambitious subjects--animals, attributes of the chase, and so forth--on
an absurdly large scale. They have, indeed, gone so far as to represent
life-size dogs, cats, and game. There is even a certain plate, after
Landseer, whose sole interest is a parrot on its perch, and which is
much larger than the plates that used to be engraved from the largest
compositions of the masters. To say the least, here are errors of taste
not to be redeemed by improvements in the manufacture of tools, nor
even by ingenious combinations of the different processes of engraving.
However skilful contemporary English engravers may be in some respects,
they cannot properly be said to produce works of art; because they
insist on technique to an inordinate degree, and in like measure reduce
almost to nothing the proportions of true art and sentiment.

One might, with still greater reason, thus explain the mediocrity
of American prints in the present day. Few as they are, they do not
rivet attention as the manifestations of an art which, young and
inexperienced, is yet vital in its artlessness; on the contrary, they
are depressing as the products of an art fallen into the sluggishness
of old age. It is as though engraving in the United States had begun in
decay--or rather, it may be, negatively, with no tendency to change,
and no impulse to progress. Mostly mezzotints or aquatints, the prints
sold in New York and New Orleans suggest that their authors only wished
to appropriate as best they could the present fashions and methods of
English engraving. As for work in line, it is almost entirely confined
to the embellishment of bank notes and tradesmen's cards. Some of its
professors are not without technical knowledge and a sort of skill; and
if it were absolutely necessary to find a characteristic specimen of
American art it should, perhaps, be sought amongst works of this sort.
In any case, it is best to reserve a definitive opinion, and simply to
state what American engraving is, and must be, till a master arise by
whose influence and example it may be animated and renewed.

If, after considering the condition of engraving at the beginning of
the present century, one should wish to become acquainted with its
subsequent phases, assuredly one has to admit the pre-eminence of
French talent. It may even be advanced that French engravers have
maintained, and do still maintain, almost unaided the art of engraving
within those limits from which it cannot deviate without the risk of
becoming, as in Germany, a language of pure conventionality, or, as in
England, the hackneyed expression of mere technical dexterity.

Without doubt, evidences of broader and more serious talent were not
lacking even in that school which some years earlier seemed to have
gone to decay. After Volpato and Morghen, and in opposition to their
example, there were Italian engravers who worked to such purpose as to
redeem the honour of the school. The plates by Toschi and his pupils,
from pictures and frescoes by Correggio at Parma; Calamatta's "Vœu de
Louis Treize," after Ingres; Mercuri's "Moissonneurs," after Léopold
Robert, and many prints besides, either by the same artists or others
of their race, assuredly deserve to rank with the most important
achievements of French engraving in the first half of the nineteenth
century. But the years that have lapsed since their publication,
while barren for Italy, have brought a continued harvest to France.
After the engravers who made their appearance in the last years of
the Restoration their pupils became masters in turn; and, in spite of
adverse circumstances, the indifference of a section of the public,
and the increasing popularity of photography, their zeal seems no more
likely to diminish than the value of their work.

Once, it is true, at the most brilliant period of English engraving,
the French school was not without a moment of hesitation on the part
of some, of disloyalty on that of others. During the First Empire,
the existence of the art movement in London in the last years of
the active rule of George III. and the beginning of the Regency was
unsuspected in France. The cessation of commercial relations between
the two countries left the French in such complete ignorance that,
until 1816, the only English prints they knew were those by Strange,
Ryland, and Woollett: those, in fact, published before the end of the
eighteenth century. And when, after the Restoration, English work first
came under the eyes of French engravers, the fascination of its novelty
dazzled them more than the splendour of its merit.

Those who, like Tardieu and Desnoyers, were especially concerned
with loftiness of style and masculine vigour of execution, were but
little moved by such innovations, if we may judge by the nature of
their subsequent publications. The "Ruth and Boaz," engraved by the
former after Hersent, the divers "Madonnas" and the "Transfiguration,"
engraved by the latter after Raphael, do not testify that their belief
in the excellence of the old French method was at all shaken. But
others, either younger or less stable of conviction, were soon seduced.
Like the English engravers, they attempted to unite all the different
processes of engraving in their plates; and they sought, to the
exclusion of all besides, the easiest way of work, piquancy of result,
and prettiness everywhere, even in history. These imitations became
more numerous by reason of their first success, till they threatened
the independence of French engraving, which had not been encroached
upon since the seventeenth century.

The fever, however, soon cooled. A happy reaction set in soon after
1830, and continued during the following years; and infatuation having
everywhere been succeeded by reflection, the misleading qualities of
the English manner were finally recognised. The French school takes
counsel with none save itself, its past, and its traditions. To this
just confidence in its own resources are owing its present superiority
to, and independence of, other schools, and, what is more important
still, its place apart from that mechanical industry which, with its
spurious successes, its raids upon a territory not its own, and its
pretentious efforts to occupy the place of art, would seize upon those
privileges, which, do all it may, it can never hope to confiscate.

Of all the engravers who have honoured our epoch not in France
alone, but also in other countries, the first in genius, as in the
general influence he has exerted for nearly half a century, is
certainly Henriquel--as he called himself in the early part of his
career--Henriquel-Dupont in the second half. But he too, it would seem,
had his hours of indecision. Perhaps, in some of his early works,
certain traces may be discovered of a leaning towards the English
manner, certain tendencies of doubtful orthodoxy; but, at any rate,
they have never developed into manifest errors: they have, at the most,
resulted in venial sins, which themselves have been abundantly atoned.

[Illustration: FIG. 96.--HENRIQUEL.

Cromwell (Etching). After Paul Delaroche.]

Henriquel is a master in the widest acceptation of the word: a master,
too, of the stamp of those in the past of whom the French have the
greatest right to be proud. The masters of the seventeenth century have
scarcely left us plates at once so largely and so delicately treated,
as his "Hémicycle du Palais des Beaux-Arts," his "Moïse Exposé sur
le Nil," and his "Strafford," after Paul Delaroche; his admirable
sketch in etching of the "Pilgrims of Emmaus," after Veronese; and
the portrait of M. Bertin, after Ingres; and these are but a few. We
have, besides the Van Dyck, "Une Dame et sa Fille," engraved some
years before the "Abdication de Gustave Wasa," after Hersent, and the
"Marquis de Pastoret," after Paul Delaroche; the "Christ Consolateur,"
engraved rather later, after Scheffer; and, among less important,
though certainly not less meritorious works, the portraits engraved
now with the scientific ease of the burin, now with the light and
delicate touch of the needle: the "Pasta," the botanist "Desfontaines,"
"Desenne" the draughtsman, the "Brongniart," the "Tardieu," the "Carle
Vernet," the "Sauvageot," the "Scheffer," the "Mansard et Perrault,"
the "Mirabeau à la Tribune," the "Rathier," and, latest of all, the
charming little "Père Petétot."

[Illustration: FIG. 97.--HENRIQUEL.

The Marquis de Pastoret. After Paul Delaroche.]

[Illustration: FIG. 98.--HENRIQUEL.

Alexander Brongniart. After a Drawing by the Engraver.]

In these--and in how many besides? for the work of the master does
not fall short of ninety pieces, besides lithographs and a great deal
in pastel and crayon--Henriquel proves himself not only a trained
draughtsman and finished executant, but, as it were, still more a
painter than any of his immediate predecessors. Bervic--whose pupil
he became, after some years in the studio of Pierre Guérin--was able
to teach him to overcome the practical difficulties of the art, but
the influence of the engraver of the "Laocoon" and the "Déjanire" went
no further than technical initiation. Even the example of Desnoyers,
however instructive in some respects, was not so obediently followed by
Henriquel as to cause any sacrifice of taste and natural sentiment. By
the clearness of his views, as much as by the elevation of his talent,
the engraver of the "Hemicycle" is connected with the past French
school and the masters who are its chief honour; but by the particular
form of expression he employs, by a something extremely unexpected
in his manner and extremely personal in his acceptance of tradition,
he stands to a certain extent apart from his predecessors, and may
be called an innovator, though he by no means advertises any such
pretension. As we have just remarked, his use of means is so versatile
that he paints with the graver or the needle, where just before him
others, even the most skilful--men like Laugier and Richomme--could
only engrave; and the influence he has exerted--whether by direct
teaching, or by his signed work--has had the effect of rejuvenating
engraving in France in more than one particular, and of awakening
talents, some of which, though plainly betraying their origin, have
none the less a weight and an importance of their own, and deserve an
honourable place in the history of contemporary art.

[Illustration: FIG. 99.--HENRIQUEL.

Alexander Tardieu. After a Drawing by Ingres.]

Several of his most distinguished pupils are dead: Aristide Louis,
whose "Mignon," after Scheffer, won instant popularity; Jules François,
who is to be credited, among other fine plates, with a real masterpiece
in the "Militaire Offrant des Pièces d'Or à une Femme," after the
Terburg in the Louvre; and Rousseaux, perhaps the most gifted engraver
of his generation, whose works, few as they are, are yet enough to
immortalise him. Who knows, indeed, if some day the "Portrait d'Homme"
from the picture in the Louvre attributed to Francia, and the "Madame
de Sévigné" from Nanteuil's pastel, may not be sought for with the
eagerness now expended on the search for the old masters of engraving?

The premature death of these accomplished craftsmen has certainly been
a loss to the French school. Fortunately, however, there remain many
others whose work is of a nature to uphold the ancient renown of French
art, and to defy comparison with the achievement of other countries.
Where, save in France could equivalents be found, for instance, of
the "Coronation of the Virgin," after Giovanni da Fiesole, and the
"Marriage of Saint Catherine," after Memling, by Alphonse François;
of the "Antiope," by Blanchard, after Correggio; of the "Vierge de la
Consolation," after Hébert, by Huot; of Danguin's "Titian's Mistress,"
or Bertinot's "Portement de Croix," after Lesueur; of several other
plates, remarkable in different ways, and bearing the same or other
names? What rivalry need Gaillard fear, in the sort of engraving of
which he is really the inventor, and which he practises with such
extraordinary skill? Whether he produces after Van Eyck, Ingres, or
Rembrandt, such plates as the "Homme à l'Œillet," the "Œdipus," and the
"Pilgrims of Emmaus," or gives us, from his own drawings or paintings,
such portraits as his "Pius IX." and his "Dom Guéranger," he, in
every case, arrests the mind as well as surprises the eye, by the
inconceivable subtlety of his work. Even when translating the works of
others he shows himself boldly original. His methods are entirely his
own, and render imitation impossible because they are prompted by the
exceptional delicacy of his perceptions; but, with all the goodwill in
the world, it would be no less difficult to appropriate his keenness of
sentiment or to gain an equal degree of mental insight.

In France, then, line engraving has representatives numerous enough,
and above all meritorious enough, to put to rout the apprehensions
of those who believe, or affect to believe, the art irretrievably
injured by the success of heliography. We have only to glance at the
feats accomplished in our own day in engraving of another kind, and
to examine those produced in France by contemporary French etchers,
to be reassured on this question also. Might we not, even, without
exaggeration, apply the term renaissance to the series of advances
effected in the branch of engraving formerly distinguished by Callot
and by Claude Lorraine? When, since the seventeenth century, has the
needle ever been handled in France by so many skilful artists, and
with so keen a feeling for effect and colour? But let none mistake the
drift of our praise. Of course, we do not allude here to the thousands
of careless sketches scrawled on the varnish, with a freedom to be
attributed to simple ignorance, far more than to real dash and spirit;
nor to those would-be "works of art," for which the skill of the
printer and the tricks of printing have done the most. To the dupes of
such blatant trickeries they shall be left. Still, it is only just to
acknowledge, in the etchings of the day, a singular familiarity with
the true conditions of the process, and generally a good knowledge
of pictorial effect, solid enough and sufficiently under control to
maintain a mean between pedantry and exaggerated ease.

Many names would deserve mention, were we not confined to general
indications of the progress and the movement they represent. It is,
however, impossible to omit that of Jacquemart, the young master
recently deceased, who, in a kind of engraving he was the first to
attempt, gave proof of much ingenuity of taste and of original ability.
The plates of which his "Gemmes et Joyaux de la Couronne" is composed,
and his etchings of similar models--sculpture and goldsmith's work,
vases and bindings, enamels and cameos--all deserve to rank with
historical pieces of the highest order; even as the still-life painted
by Chardin a century ago still excites the same interest, and has a
right to the same attention, as the best pictures by contemporary
allegorical or portrait painters.

The superiority of the French school, in whatever style, has, moreover,
been recently recognised and proclaimed in public. It has not been
forgotten that the jury entrusted with the awards at the International
Exhibition of 1878 unanimously decreed a principal share to the
engravers of France. Without injustice this share might perhaps have
been even greater if the jury, chiefly composed of Frenchmen, had
not thought right to take full account of the special conditions of
the competition, and the readiness with which the artists of other
countries had responded.

[Illustration: FIG. 100.--JULES JACQUEMART.

Henri III. After a Sixteenth Century Bronze.]

Since then the position of art in Europe, and the relative importance
of talents in different countries of Europe, have not changed. If,
to understand the state of contemporary engraving, it be thought
desirable to confine our attention to the present moment, there can
be no doubt whatever that the most cursory examination of the works
representing the different processes of engraving must justify the
above observations. These we should wish briefly to recapitulate.

We have said that etching has, within the last few years, returned so
much into favour, that probably at no other time have its products
been more numerous, or in more general demand. This is but fair; and
it is not in France only that the public taste for etched work, large
and small, is justified by the talent of the artists who publish it.
To quote a few names only among those to be commended, in different
degrees, for their many proofs of sentiment and skill, we have Unger in
Austria; Redlich and Massaloff in Russia; Gilli in Italy; and Seymour
Haden in England. By their talents they assist in the reform which
the French engravers began, and which they now pursue with increasing
authority and exceptional technical knowledge.

[Illustration: FIG. 101.--JULES JACQUEMART.

Tripod, by Gouthière.]

Mezzotint and aquatint have been not nearly so fortunate. The former
appears to have fallen, almost everywhere, into disuse. Even in
England, where, as soon as Von Siegen's invention was imported, a
school was founded to cultivate its resources--in England, where, from
Earlom to S. W. Reynolds and Cousins, mezzotint engravers so long
excelled--it is a mere chance if a few are still to be found supporting
the tradition. In other countries, France, Belgium, Germany, and Italy,
mezzotint is, to speak strictly, scarcely practised at all. It has
been replaced by aquatint, which itself, as we mentioned in a former
chapter, is only used for purely commercial requirements, except by
engravers of real talent in combination with the needle and the graver.

Wood engraving has made, in certain respects, considerable progress
in the course of the last few years. In France and England it is
producing results that not only confirm its advances, but are as the
prophecy of still better things. Amongst recent prints, those of
Robert, for instance, do more than promise; they realise the hopes
which others only hold out. All the same, it is commonly the case with
wood engravers that, clever though they be, they are apt to deceive
themselves as to the special conditions of their art, and too often
to forget that it is not their province to imitate the appearance of
line engraving. Instead of attempting to copy the complicated results
of the graver, they should rather, in accordance with the nature of
the process at their disposal, be satisfied with rapid suggestions
of effect and modelling and a summary imitation of form and colour.
The illustrations after Holbein, by Lützelburger and other Germans of
the sixteenth century, and the portraits and subjects cut on wood by
Italian artists, or by Frenchmen of the same epoch, as Geofroy Tory and
Salomon Bernard, are models to which the engravers of our own day would
do well to conform, instead of entering, under pretext of improvements,
upon attempted innovations as foreign to the true nature of the process
as to its objects and real resources.

Though the practice of line engraving is more scientific in France
than anywhere else, it has nevertheless distinguished representatives
in other countries. Besides the French, the German, and the Italian
engravers we have mentioned, Weber, in Switzerland; De Kaiser, in
Holland; Biot and Franck, in Belgium; Jacobi, Sonnenleiter, and Klaus,
in Austria, are working manfully for the cause so well supported by
Henriquel and his followers. But everywhere the perseverance of zeal
and talent is unfortunately insufficient to overcome the prejudices
of the public, and its exaggerated confidence in the benefits of
mechanical discovery.

Since the progress accomplished by science in the domain of
heliographic reproduction, since the advantages with regard to
material exactness that photography and the processes derived from it
have offered, or seem to offer, line engraving, of all the different
methods, is certainly the one that has suffered most from the supposed
rivalry. A mistake, all the more to be regretted as it seems to be
general, gave rise to the idea that it was all over with the art of
engraving, simply because, as mere copies, its products could not have
the infallible fidelity of photographic images, and that, however
painstaking and faithful the engraver's hand, it could never produce
that exact fac-simile, that ruthless imitation of the thing copied.

Nothing could be truer than this, if the only object of line engraving
were to give us a literal copy, a brutal effigy of its original. But
is it necessary to mention again that, happily, it has also the task
of interpretation? Owing to the very limited field in which he works,
as it were in monochrome, the engraver is compelled to choose and to
combine the best means of rendering by analogy the various colours of
his original, to organise its general effect, and to bring out both the
character and the style, now by the simplification of certain details,
now by applying the principle of selection to certain others. We have
no longer here the stupid impartiality, or, if it be preferred, the
unreasoning veracity of a mechanical apparatus, but the deliberate use
of feeling, intelligence, and taste--of all those faculties, indeed,
which mould and enter into the talent of an artist.

Now as long as there are men in the world capable of preferring idea to
matter, and the art which appeals to the mind to the fact which speaks
to the eyes, line engraving will retain its influence, however small
it may be supposed, however limited it may really be. In any case,
those who in these days, in spite of every obstacle, are determined to
pursue in their own way the work of such men as Edelinck and Nanteuil,
will have deserved recognition from their contemporaries, and will have
averted, so far as they could, the complete decay, if it must come,
of art properly so called, when sacrificed to the profit of chance
manufacture and mere technique.



A CHAPTER ON

ENGLISH ENGRAVING.

BY WILLIAM WALKER.


England appears at first only to have participated in the European
movement amongst the fine arts by the trade which it carried on in
foreign productions, and the hospitality and the patronage which it
gave to many celebrated artists. Thus the country was enriched with
foreign works, and examples were obtained, not perhaps worthy of being
slavishly followed, but at all events capable of stimulating native
talent. At the persuasion of Erasmus, Holbein, in 1526, came to try
his fortune in England, and was followed afterwards by Rubens and Van
Dyck, as well as De Bry, Vorsterman, and the indefatigable Hollar, the
latter an engraver unrivalled in his own style, and perhaps the most
unfortunate in worldly circumstances who ever practised the art.

As early as 1483 wood-cuts were used for illustration in Caxton's
"Golden Legend," and subsequent printers adopted the same practice in
issuing their publications. In like manner, copperplate engravings
appeared first as illustrations for books, notably in one called "The
Birth of Mankind," dedicated to Queen Catherine, and published by
Thomas Raynalde in 1540, and in a translation of Vesalius' "Anatomy,"
published in 1545 by Thomas Geminus, who not only did the literary
work, but copied the original wood-cuts on copper. In the middle of the
century, the Hogenbergs took advantage of the method for portraiture,
Francis engraving in 1555 a portrait of Queen Mary, and his brother
Remigius in 1573 one of Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, who
seems to have retained the engraver in his service.

About the same period appeared William Rogers, who was born in London
in 1545, and may be considered as the earliest English engraver
worthy of mention. His series of portraits are of considerable merit,
especially a whole length, taken from a drawing by Isaac Oliver, of
Queen Elizabeth, standing with orb and sceptre, and clothed in a rich
embroidered and puffed dress. This print bears at the bottom the name
of the engraver, and was afterwards reduced in size all round, turning
the figure of the Queen into a three-quarter length, and cutting away
Rogers' name, which was not reinserted in the later publication. Both
sizes of the print are scarce, especially the original, and indeed for
a considerable time the reduced impression was considered anonymous,
until the appearance of the larger engraving and its comparison with
the smaller established the identity of the two. The elder Crispin de
Passe engraved a plate from the same drawing of smaller size, and with
different accessories in the background.

De Passe, a native of Utrecht, and his family, William, Simon, and
a daughter Magdalen, came over to England at the beginning of the
seventeenth century, and engraved many prints of much interest in a
style peculiarly their own. Reginald Elstracke (born 1620) and Francis
Delaram flourished about the same period.

But nothing was accomplished by any English engraver of great artistic
value, or which could be fairly compared with the work in other
countries, until the middle of the century. It was then that William
Faithorne, by his series of portraits, full of colour and executed in
a clear and brilliant style, freed England from this reproach. He may
be said to have inaugurated the era of English engravers, who, though
mostly surpassed by other nations in the line manner of engraving, have
no rivals in mezzotint. This style, which, when combined with bold
etching, may be called the culmination of the art, was taken up in this
country as soon as discovered, adopted by the English as their own,
and gradually brought by them to the fullest perfection. Faithorne was
a pupil of Sir Robert Peake, painter and engraver, and is said also
to have studied under Nanteuil, when driven through the troubles of
the first revolution to take refuge in France. His portraits of Mary,
Princess of Orange, the Countess of Exeter, Sir William Paston, Queen
Catherine of Braganza, Charles II., with long flowing black hair,
Thomas Killegrew, dramatist and court favourite, and the famous Marquis
of Worcester, one of the contributors to the invention of the steam
engine, rank high as engravings, and worthily take their place amidst
the achievements of other countries.

Before treating of mezzotint and the new field which it opened out
to the engraver, it will be well to call attention to the coming of
Hollar to England, and his peculiar method of work, which consisted
mainly of etching, assisted by the point or fine graver. Wenceslaus
Hollar (born 1607) was forced early in life by the exigencies of those
warlike times to leave his native land--Bohemia--and to travel through
Germany, designing and engraving on his way, until, in 1636, he met at
Cologne with the Earl of Arundel, the English Ambassador to Ferdinand
II., who immediately took him into his employment, and on his return
from his mission brought him to England, where, with the exception of
the troubled years of the first revolution, Hollar resided for the
remainder of his life.

Misfortune, however, which attended Hollar in youth, seemed relentless
throughout his entire career; after the restoration of Charles II.,
he underwent the terrible experiences of the plague and of the fire
of London, and the times, hostile to every pursuit of art, reduced
Hollar to a state of indigence and distress from which, in spite of
persevering industry, he seems never to have been able to recover.
Sent to Africa in 1669 as the king's designer, to make drawings of
the fortifications and surroundings of the town of Tangiers, he meets
with Algerine corsairs on his way back, from which he escapes with
difficulty. On his return, it is only after delay and vexation that he
can obtain £100 from the impecunious king for his two years' labours
and expenses. He travels through England, making drawings and etchings
of abbeys, churches, ruins, and cathedrals, and ultimately dies at
Westminster (1677) in a state of extreme poverty and distress, his very
death-bed being disturbed by bailiffs, who threaten the seizure of the
last article of furniture he possessed, the bed upon which he is lying.
His body was laid in the churchyard of St. Margaret's, Westminster;
his name and works remain living and immortal. Hollar's prints amount
to considerably over two thousand, and embrace all kinds of subjects,
portraits, landscapes, architecture, costume, and animal and still-life
of varied character and quality. His treatment of the textures of hair,
feathers, or the bloom on butterflies and other insects, is simply
unrivalled. Besides his portraits, among other well-known and valued
prints, there are--after his own designs--the long bird's-eye view
of London in four parts, plans of the same city before and after the
great fire (1666), exterior and interior views of the old Cathedral of
St. Paul,[51] Westminster Hall, with its picturesque surroundings, the
Cathedrals of Lincoln, Southwell, Strasbourg, Antwerp, and York, sets
of butterflies, insects, costumes, muffs, and richly-wrought jewelled
vessels.

In addition to these, he engraved a set of thirteen plates (1671)
on the various English ways of hunting, hawking, and fishing, after
Francis Barlow, painter and engraver, who flourished during the same
period, and excelled in the representation of animals, birds, and
fish. The latter artist has left a curious print--of which the only
known example is supposed to be that of the British Museum--entitled
"The Last Horse Race" (August 24, 1684), run before Charles II., at
Dorsett Ferry (? Datchett), near Windsor Castle. Hollar was the master
of Robert Gaywood, who in some measure imitates his style, and many of
whose plates are justly esteemed, such as the series of heads after
Van Dyck, the curious likeness of Cromwell, the large print of the
philosophers Democritus and Heraclitus, as opposing professors of
gaiety and gravity, and the plates of birds and animals after Barlow.

In the meantime, the art of mezzotint had been invented, in the first
place, by Ludwig von Siegen, a lieutenant-colonel in the service of
the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, who used the method to execute a large
portrait, bearing the date 1642, of the Princess Amelia Elizabeth, the
dowager Landgravine of Hesse. The credit for the discovery has also
been ascribed to the well-known Prince Rupert,[52] nephew of Charles
I.; but the legend of the prince meeting with a soldier cleaning his
corroded gun, and thus conceiving the idea of engraving a copper plate,
rests on no sufficient foundation. It is, however, enough for this
romantic prince's undying renown, that, having acquired the secret of
producing the necessary ground by some means or other, most probably
from Von Siegen, he not only introduced the process into England,
but executed himself several remarkable engravings in the style,
one of which, known as "The Great Executioner" (dated 1658), after
Spagnoletto,[53] to distinguish it from a smaller plate containing the
head only of the same figure, remains to this day as a powerful and
wonderful example of the method. It is curious that, with the partial
exception of Germany, and a few isolated instances in other countries,
mezzotint should have been practically confined to England; the very
name is not recognised elsewhere. Germany uses the word "Schabkunst,"
scraping art; the French, "La manière noire," the black manner; and
Italy, "L'incisione a fumo," engraving in smoke or black,[54]

Before the discovery of the new method, all engraving consisted of
an arrangement of lines varied occasionally by dots, which had to be
cut into the polished copperplate either directly by the graver or
indirectly by the use of acid. Untouched by either graver or acid, the
polished plate would thus, under the ordinary process of copperplate
printing (rubbing in the ink by a suitable dabber and then cleaning off
all the ink not held fast by in-dents), print white; mezzotint reverses
the process. The plate, instead of being polished when the engraver
commences his work, presents a close, fine, file-like surface, which,
if inked, wiped, and put under the heavy-pressure roller press, would
now print off a deep uniform surface of bloomy black; in place,
therefore, of putting in lines or dots to hold the ink, the engraver
has to scrape off the close file-like grain at the required parts,
bringing up his highest lights by means of a burnisher; the scraper and
burnisher, not the graver, are consequently the principal tools used in
executing mezzotint. In addition to the greater ease and rapidity with
which an engraving could be made by this process, the range of effect
or colour was immensely increased. All tones between pure white and the
deepest black were now capable of realisation, and it is easy to see
how greatly were enlarged the resources of the engraver, whose special
gift and claim as an original artist--a fact too often forgotten, or
rather not sufficiently recognised--consist in his power of translating
into various shades of black and white the numerous colours at the
disposal of the painter.

The forming or laying the grained surface, technically called _ground_,
is necessarily of the utmost importance, and is effected by a tool
known amongst practical workers as "the rocker," called also "cradle,"
or "berceau"--the French equivalent--from the peculiar rocking motion
given to it by the operator. The rocker is made of moderately thin
and carefully tempered steel about two inches broad, and might be
termed a stumpy, wide chisel were it not that it is curved (like a
cheese-cutter) and notched or serrated at the cutting edge, which
serration is caused by one side of the steel being indented into small
fluted ridges running parallel upwards to the handle by which the tool
is held, and somewhat presenting the appearance of a small-tooth-comb.
On the plain smooth side the rocker is ground level to the edge, like
other cutting tools, and sharpened on a stone or hone of suitable
quality. In laying the ground this instrument is held firmly in the
hand, the elbow resting on a convenient cushion, the serrated cutting
edge placed on the plate with a slight inclination, and a steady
rocking motion given to the tool, which slowly advances over the
surface of the copper or steel, forming on its way a narrow indented
path. Side by side with this path another is made until the whole
surface of the plate has been covered. The series of parallel paths
is then repeated at a certain angle over the previous ones, and so on
in regular progressive angular order until the required closeness of
texture has been produced; to do this it is necessary that the series
of parallel paths--technically called a _way_--should be repeated
in proper angular progression from sixty to a hundred times. As the
continual friction of the elbow against the cushion caused the laying
of a ground to become a severe and painful operation, particularly when
the use of steel instead of copper plates came into practice early in
the present century, a modification of this plan was introduced whereby
the tool was fixed at the fitting angle into one end of a long pole,
the other end being inserted loosely in a ring fixed on the board upon
which the plate was placed; the requisite rocking motion could then
be easily given by the hand, and much painful labour avoided. The
necessity for a good ground being so great, as the process became more
and more general in England, a race of professional ground-layers grew
up, who were paid at a certain rate per square inch for the surface
thus covered. Much controversy has taken place as to the means by which
Siegen, Prince Rupert, and the earlier mezzotinters produced their
grounds, but there is little doubt that it must have been accomplished
by some rude form of the present tool, and the curious appearance of
the grain--as seen in very early mezzotints--must have been caused
by the irregular crossings of the impressed layers, the necessity of
regular angular procedure throughout the plate, in order to obtain an
even tone, not having been recognised at first.

Prince Rupert imparted the secret of the process to Wallerant Vaillant,
a native of Lisle, a portrait painter (born 1623, died 1677) who
practised the method with great success, working chiefly at Amsterdam,
and leaving to posterity many prints of considerable artistic merit.
Sir Christopher Wren is also credited with the execution of one of the
earliest mezzotints, a negro's head with a collar round the throat, but
there is no satisfactory authority for the various statements to this
effect, the only sound fact being that this early print is an extremely
interesting specimen of the process. The first English engraving
executed in this style _bearing a date_ is a portrait of Charles II. in
an oval frame (Giul. Sherwin, fecitt 1669), by William Sherwin, who,
there is some reason to believe, acquired his knowledge of the process
directly from Prince Rupert. Sherwin, born about 1650, engraved also in
line,[55] and is said to have had the distinction of engraver to the
king conferred on him by patent, an exceptional honour.

Among the mezzotinters about this period, Abraham Blootelingh, born
at Amsterdam in 1634, and distinguished both as a line engraver
and etcher, came over to England in 1673, made use of the method
with admirable success, and is said to have effected considerable
improvement in the process of laying the ground; his life-size head of
the Duke of Monmouth, in an oval border or frame, is a masterpiece of
the art. But, with the above exceptions, the works left by the majority
of the early mezzotinters, both English and foreign, are more curious
to the student than satisfactory to the artistic eye. It was not until
the close of the century, when Isaac Beckett and John Smith had already
begun to issue their grand series of portraits after Kneller, Lely,
and other contemporary painters, that the full capabilities of the
invention were realised and the foundation laid for the steady and
uninterrupted progress of the art. John Smith's clear, bright, and
intelligent face ought to be well known to Englishmen both from his
own engraving and also from Kneller's admirable picture, from which
it was taken, so long to be seen hanging in the Rubens and Rembrandt
room of the National Gallery, and lately fittingly transferred to the
National Portrait Gallery. He was a pupil of Beckett and native of
Northamptonshire, and died at Northampton in 1742, where there is a
tablet to his memory in St. Peter's Church.

When the eighteenth century opened, mezzotint had taken firm root
in England; Beckett and John Smith were in the plenitude of their
powers; Jean Simon, a Protestant refugee from France (born in Normandy,
1675), had taken refuge in England, and forsaking his original method
of line, had adopted that of mezzotint with great success, while G.
White was already giving the first indications of the advantages that
might be gained by the introduction of etching into the method. John
Faber, junior, was also establishing his reputation, not only by his
well-known portraits (which include the set of the Kit-cat Club[56]
and the Hampton Court beauties), but by many spirited fancy subjects
after Mercier, and above all by an admirable print after Frank Hals of
a man playing the guitar. Faber, the younger, was born in Holland in
1684, and brought to England when three years old by his father (also
an engraver in mezzotint, but completely overshadowed by his son); he
studied under Vanderbank, and was patronised by Kneller; his works
are peculiarly valuable as forming records of the painters--now so apt
to be carelessly passed by[57]--who lived between the time of Kneller
and the rise of Sir Joshua Reynolds, and all left work of value to
posterity.

The modern sharp division between painters and engravers was unknown
in those days; the painter was only too glad to avail himself of the
talent of the engraver to make his paintings known, and in many cases
keep alive and hand down to after generations a name which otherwise
might have died out and been forgotten. Painters of the present age
ignore the engraver, and prefer the more tangible money results to
be obtained from treating with a publisher for the purchase of their
copyrights, adopting in this respect the teaching conveyed in the witty
speech of Sir Godfrey Kneller, who, when reproached for his preference,
to other branches of painting, of the lucrative one of portraiture,
replied: "Painters of history make the dead live and do not begin to
live themselves till they are dead; I paint the living and they make
me live." Kneller might, however, have defended his practice on higher
grounds, for portraiture, though often ignorantly decried, tests the
powers of a great artist to the uttermost, and bequeaths to posterity a
legacy of as valuable work as it is in the power of man to accomplish.
It is interesting to note here that copyright in works of art was first
obtained on the behalf of engraving; Hogarth, painter and engraver,
finding that so many of his prints--which, numerously distributed,
could easily be pirated--were being copied, boldly and successfully
asserted his rights in the courts of law, and was the means of
obtaining from Parliament a Copyright Act to defend property in art.

To Faber succeeded Thomas Frye and James McArdell, who were both born
in the same city, Dublin, the birthplace of several other distinguished
engravers. The life of Frye was eventful; he came in early manhood to
London in the company of his fellow-townsman Stoppelaer, who by turns
became artist, actor, dramatic writer, and singer. Frye commenced by
painting and engraving portraits, and then took charge of the china
manufactory just established at Bow, from the ruins of which afterwards
arose those of Chelsea and Worcester; there he remained fifteen years,
and by his taste and skill improved the manufactures in material form
and ornamentation until, the business not succeeding and his health
being injured by the heat of the furnaces, he had to take a journey to
Wales to recruit, the expenses of which he paid by painting portraits,
ultimately returning to London with some money in his pocket. Frye now
took a house in Hatton Garden, where he painted miniatures, life-size
heads in oils and crayons, and in the space of about two years, 1760-2,
executed in mezzotint the remarkable and justly esteemed series of
life-size heads, which contain, among others, portraits of himself,
his wife, and his mother. These were his last productions, as he
died of a complication of diseases in 1762 at the age of fifty-two.
Frye was industrious, amiable, and generous in character, patient in
misfortune, and ingenious in accomplishing his objects; his likenesses
of George III. and Queen Charlotte were obtained by frequent visits to
the theatre, where it is said that the king and queen, on knowing his
purpose, used kindly to turn their heads towards the artist to help
him in his task; other portraits were perhaps accomplished more by the
exercise of imagination, as the fine ladies he would ask to sit were
wont to refuse with the excuse that they did not know in what company
they might find themselves placed.

McArdell, the jovial companion of artists, the friend of Quin the
actor, of whom Sir Joshua Reynolds observed, that even if the colours
of his (Sir Joshua's) pictures faded his fame would be preserved by
McArdell's engravings, marks an epoch in the art; for he was the first
to use vigorous etching to increase the effect of mezzotint. He died
young, in June, 1765, in his thirty-seventh year, and was buried in
Hampstead Churchyard, where, according to Lysons, a short inscription
to his memory recorded the fact.[58]

McArdell's immediate successors were numerous, and of striking power
and originality in the exercise of their art; the more important
of them were Richard Houston, John Greenwood, Edward Fisher, John
Spilsbury, Valentine Green, William Pether, Richard Brookshaw, John
Blackmore, John Dixon, John Jones, Robert Laurie, and the two Watsons,
James and Thomas, who were closely followed, in point of time, by
William Dickinson, James Walker,[59] John Dean, John Young, the popular
J. R. Smith (John Raphael), and perhaps the greatest of them all as an
engraver, Richard Earlom. Many of these also practised in stipple, but
their finer works in mezzotint completely overshadow these productions.
It may be added that even the paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds would
hardly have been appreciated as thoroughly both in England and other
countries, were it not for the admirable renderings of his pictures
by the famous band of engravers practising during his lifetime.
Gainsborough has undoubtedly suffered in this respect, for, unlike
Wright of Derby, Hoppner, Opie, Morland, and Lawrence, few important
mezzotints have been executed after his pictures; and were the art to
revive and the engravers to be found, a mine of wealth would be waiting
to reward with its treasures well-directed labour.

Earlom was born in 1743, and at his death in 1822 had reached his
eightieth year; when fourteen years old he gained a premium from
the Society of Arts, and attracted attention by making copies of
Cipriani's pictures on the Lord Mayor's state carriage; this led
to his becoming the painter's pupil and to his acquiring a thorough
knowledge of drawing. The Boydells employed him to make drawings and
engravings from the Houghton collection, and throughout his long life
he continued to exercise unremittingly his laborious profession; his
plates are numerous and of great excellence, while his skilful use of
etching gives effect and variety to the many textures represented.
Earlom engraved after various masters ancient and modern, and perhaps
first showed the world the wide range of subjects which the style was
capable of effectively representing, such as--to mention only a few of
the more important plates--Correggio's "Repose in Egypt," Rubens' "Son
and Nurse," Van Dyck's "Duke of Arembergh on Horseback," Vanderwerff's
"Bathsheba bringing Abishag to David," the "Fish, Game, Vegetable, and
Fruit Markets," after Snyders and Long John,[60] Van Huysum's fruit and
flower pieces, Zoffany's terribly realistic representation of a "Scene
in the French Revolution on the 10th of May, 1793," and his "Life
School at the Royal Academy," Wright of Derby's "Blacksmith's Shop" and
"Iron Forge," and the six plates after Hogarth, "Marriage à la Mode."

The renown acquired by the works of English mezzotinters gradually
attracted the notice of other nations--particularly Germany--where
the style had almost died out, and many foreign engravers came to
this country, amongst others, J. G. Haid and the Viennese Jacobe, who
not only executed valuable works in England, but were the cause of a
partial renewal of the method in their own countries. The Austrian
Pichler (born 1765, died 1806) finished in pure mezzotint many plates
of exceptional merit, while his fruit and flower pieces after Van
Huysum rival the masterpieces of Earlom after the same painter.

During the same period the English school had been making rapid strides
in the other branches of copperplate engraving, line, stipple, and
etching. Line, which to this day is considered by many as the highest
style of the art, and which most certainly is well fitted to render
the human form with grace and purity of outline and detail, has
notwithstanding to overcome the difficulty of adequately expressing
the various shades of colour and texture, and above all of realising
the due effects of atmosphere and distance, a serious matter where
the accessories are of importance or where landscape enters largely
into the composition of the picture. It is, therefore, not surprising
that, with mezzotint at hand with its wide range of capabilities, there
should be comparatively few English engravers of eminence devoting
themselves to line.

Hogarth, who was born in 1697, and began life as an engraver of arms
and cyphers, naturally employed the method of line to give expression
to his bold and vigorous designs, and in this was assisted by Luke
Sullivan, who had been a pupil of Thomas Major. Major (born 1720) had
spent some years in Paris engraving after Berghem, Wouvermans, and
others; he was an artist of skill, and lived to a considerable age,
holding for forty years the office of seal engraver to the king, and
being the first _associate_[61] engraver elected by the Royal Academy.

In the year 1730, Vivares, who was a Frenchman by birth, and who, in
spite of natural artistic talents, had been apprenticed to a tailor,
came to England at the age of eighteen and studied under Chatelain,
an artist of French Protestant parentage, but born in London. Vivares
soon surpassed his master, acquired great renown for his many fine
plates of landscape and sea-scenes, and became a member of the Society
of Artists; he lived for thirty years in Great Newport Street, and was
buried in Paddington Churchyard in the year 1780.

It is, however, from the pre-eminent excellence of the line engravings
of Strange, Woollett, and Sharp that the right of England to a place
in the hierarchy of the art has been conceded by other nations. Sir
Robert Strange, descended from an ancient Scottish family, was born at
Orkney in 1721, and served an apprenticeship of six years to Richard
Cooper of Edinburgh. In this city Strange started as an engraver on his
own account; when the civil war broke out he joined the side of the
Pretender, engraved a half-length portrait of him, and was appointed
engraver to this prince; after the battle of Culloden, in which he is
said to have taken part, Strange escaped to Paris, and had there the
advantage of studying under Le Bas. In 1751 he returned to England,
and established himself in London, where his talents were readily
recognised and appreciated. On the accession of George III., Strange
refused the commission to engrave whole-length portraits of the king
and his Prime Minister, Lord Bute, thereby giving great offence, which,
together with the remembrance of his former adventures, made Strange
think it prudent to leave the country for a time; therefore, to turn
to good account even such untoward circumstances, he determined to
increase the knowledge of his art by travelling through the continent.
In Italy he produced some of his finest engravings after Titian,
Raphael, Correggio, Domenichino, Guido, and Van Dyck; his talent
was everywhere acknowledged; he was elected member of the Academies
of Rome, Florence, Bologna, Parma, and Paris; and, on his return to
London, by his engraving after West of the apotheosis of the king's
three children, who had died in infancy, he regained the royal favour
and received the distinction of knighthood. Sir Robert Strange was a
member of the Incorporated Society of Artists, but was very hostile
to the Royal Academy, deeply and justly resenting their exclusion of
engravers from full membership. During the later part of his life he
lived in Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, where he died in
1792. He was buried in St. Paul's Churchyard, Covent Garden.

Strange had chiefly devoted himself to classical subjects and the
delineation of the human form, Woollett, on the other hand, took
up the branches of landscape and history, and by his skill of touch
and persistently intelligent labour produced such results as were
sufficient to call forth ungrudging praise from all competent judges,
not only in his own country, but abroad. Among Woollett's most
celebrated plates are the "Fishery," the "Battle of La Hogue," and the
"Death of General Wolfe." In the printing of the last plate an accident
occurred after a few proofs had been taken; a printer in careless
fun taking up a hammer, cried out, "General Wolfe seems dying, I'll
finish him;" saying this, he suited action to word, and unintentionally
brought the hammer down on the face of the general, thus destroying by
the freak of a moment the work of days of patient labour. It is said
that Woollett cried on hearing the news; the painter, his art once
learnt, fired by imagination, can by rapid strokes of his brush give
effect to his will, while the engraver only attains his end by months
of unremitting and trustful toil.

Woollett was born at Maidstone in 1735, and was apprenticed to John
Tinney, who is now best known as having been the master of three
distinguished pupils, Anthony Walker, John Browne, and Woollett
himself. Anthony Walker engraved the well-known "Law and Physic" after
Ostade, and the figures in the print of "Niobe," Woollett's first work
of importance. He was the brother of the William Walker who greatly
increased the effect of etching by re-biting, and it is said that
Woollett, when making use of the process, was wont to exclaim, "Thank
you, William Walker."[62] Woollett lived in London all his life in the
neighbourhood of Rathbone Place, where, when he had finished a plate,
he used to celebrate the event by firing a cannon from the roof of his
house; he died in 1785, and a tablet[63] was placed to his memory in
the cloisters of Westminster Abbey.

William Sharp was the son of a gunmaker in the Minories, where he was
born in 1749, and afterwards apprenticed to Barak Longmate, a notable
heraldic engraver, with whom Sharp's first essay as an apprentice was
engraving pewter pots. Sharp completed the plate of West's "Landing
of Charles II.," left unfinished by Woollett at his death, while many
will know one of his finest works, the "Doctors of the Church," after
Guido. Although he never left England, his prints were celebrated
throughout Europe; he was elected honorary member of the Imperial
Academy at Vienna and of the Royal Academy at Munich, but like
Woollett, Strange, and Hall, was not recognised by the English Royal
Academy. His religious and political views were peculiar, and being
considered a dangerous character, he was summoned before the Privy
Council, where at length, annoyed by repeated and, as he considered,
irrelevant questions, Sharp is said to have deliberately pulled out
of his pocket a prospectus of his engraving of the celebrated Polish
general and patriot Kosciusko, and handing it to the council, requested
their names as subscribers; this and his frank manner relieved him from
the unpleasant predicament in which he found himself placed. Sharp also
engraved a portrait of Richard Brothers--a fanatic whose prophecies and
writings excited attention at the time--with the title of "Prince of
the Hebrews," and wrote underneath: "Fully believing this to be the man
whom God has appointed, I engrave his likeness." Though successful and
industrious in his art, Sharp died in comparative poverty in the year
1824 at Chiswick.

Among other distinguished men who worked in line during this period
must be mentioned James Heath, Anker Smith, John Keyse Sherwin, Francis
Legat, Thomas Morris--a pupil of Woollett's--who engraved the fine
views of the Monument, seen from Fish Street Hill, and St. Paul's
Cathedral from Ludgate Hill, and lastly the unfortunate William Wynne
Ryland, who engraved the portraits of George III. and Lord Bute, which
Strange had refused to undertake, and who, though of greater eminence
in line, is credited with bringing into notice in England the stipple
manner of engraving. Ryland finally ended an adventurous career by
being hanged for forging two bills on the East India Company, and by
his death--notwithstanding all efforts to obtain a reprieve--justified
words used in relation to the event: "Popes and monarchs have pardoned
men who had committed crimes of the deepest dye--even murder--in
consideration of their talents as artists; but Ryland lived in England,
the land of trade and commerce, and had committed an offence against
the laws of money, the god of its idolatry." Nor during the history
of this period ought the names of Thomas Worlidge, David Deuchar, and
the ingenious Captain Baillie to be omitted; Worlidge in the early
part, and Deuchar at the close of the century, etched each in his own
style with precision and effect, while William Baillie, an Irishman and
retired cavalry officer (born 1723, died 1810), etched and worked in
mezzotint with equal happiness and success.

William Blake (born 1757), poet, engraver, and painter, stands alone.
In engraving--the laborious art by which he was content to live--he has
executed admirable works, apart from his own peculiar methods, both in
line, as shown in the portrait of Lavater, and in stipple, as in the
"Industrious Cottager," after Morland; as poet and painter he has left
songs and designs which, if soaring higher than men can follow, or even
his own powers of hand and mind sufficiently express, remain for ever
to arouse the wonder and excite the imagination of posterity. Though
he lived in poverty, and oppressed with cares, he was always cheerful
and beloved by all who knew him intimately; he was ever at work while
life lasted, and died in 1827, as he had lived, a righteous and happy
man. He was laid in Bunhill Fields burying-ground, but the spot where
he was buried is marked by no tombstone, nor can it now be actually
identified; but who that has looked at the portrait engraved by Jeens
from Linnell's wondrous miniature can ever forget the face of the poet,
engraver, and painter, William Blake?

Before speaking of the branch of engraving known by the name of
stipple, it would be well to say a few words as to the mode of printing
in colour, so prevalent at one time, and of the connection which the
works of Kirkall had in relation to the method. Edward Kirkall, born at
Sheffield in the year 1722, published a set of plates, in the printing
of which he made use both of mezzotint and etching on copperplate
combined with wood blocks (that is to say, one printing was from a
copperplate, the remainder from wood blocks), in order to give variety
of colour to a set of chiaroscuros and other engravings which he
executed at that time. His plan differed from that of Leblond in that
he used only one copperplate printing, the other tints being given by
wood blocks; the results were interesting and effective, partaking
more of the character of chiaroscuros, the name he himself gave to
them. Apart from the failure of Leblond to realise his ingenious idea
that, by the consecutive and proper superposition of three layers of
primitive colours, every shade of colour might be produced in the
print, there still remained another fatal defect in the process: all
his colours were impressed by copperplate printing, that is, he made
use of three plates successively printed one after the other on the
same sheet of paper. Now a person who can realise the heavy pressure
under which a copperplate has to pass so as to force it into the damp
paper, in order that the paper should extract the ink from the grain
in which it is held, will be able to see that the second and third
printing--no matter how accurate the register--must crush the grain or
burr given to the paper by the previous printing and thus destroy the
beauty of the engraver's work. Notwithstanding the really remarkable
results produced by Leblond, this fatal imperfection mars all the
engravings he has left executed in this manner. The copperplates which
were printed in colour and carried to such perfection, particularly
in England, about the close of the eighteenth century, were printed
from one plate, generally executed in stipple, and the various tints
or colours carefully rubbed in by the printer, who used for this
purpose a sort of stump instead of the ordinary dabber. Whatever
artistic harmony in colour might be produced was therefore partially
the work, and to the credit of the printer; the printed impressions
were in addition generally touched up afterwards, and in some cases
almost entirely coloured by hand. Every impression printed in colours
necessarily varies; some are really exquisite in their delicacy of
tone and assemblage of shades, while others are contemptible in their
staring vulgarity. Kirkall engraved an elaborate ornamental form on
which to give a receipt to his subscribers for these engravings; one
of which, running thus, "Receipt from Sir Hans Sloane of one guinea
as part payment for twelve prints in chiaroscuro which he (Kirkall)
promises to deliver when finished on payment of one guinea more," can
be seen at the British Museum, and will give some idea of the moderate
remuneration artists of those days were content to receive for their
valuable labour.

The rise of stipple as a separate style took place in the middle of
the eighteenth century, and although the coming of Bartolozzi to
England gave it so great an impetus, it is necessary to point out that
the works of the school which goes by his name by no means show the
capabilities of the method. The aim of Bartolozzi and his followers was
essentially prettiness; to this all their efforts tended, and for this
stipple was a convenient medium. The very printing in red, recently so
popular, is barbarous in its ineffectiveness, plates so printed being
deprived of a great part of their proper ranges of light and shade. The
more serious work in this method was accomplished by other engravers,
of whom may be specially mentioned Thomas Gaugain, Anthony Cardon,
Caroline Watson, and, later on in the present century, William Walker,
who carried the style to the highest point ever reached or likely to be
reached. Engraving in stipple--that is, putting dots into the plate in
place of lines--was, however, no new invention; from early times line
engravers had placed dots in the interstices of their crossed lines to
give solidity and greater effect. Ottavio Leoni, a Roman painter, had
used the method freely in a set of plates of distinguished artists,
which he engraved in the years 1621-5, executing the heads, with the
exception of the hair, entirely in stipple; and early in the century
French engravers made use of the same means to give effect to many
of their flesh textures. The crayon style of engraving introduced by
Demarteau, and the feeble English manner known as chalk, which had only
a limited reign, are but modifications of the style.

Francesco Bartolozzi, the life-long friend of Cipriani (born in 1725 at
Florence), was educated in engraving at Venice by Joseph Wagner, and
like Cipriani, who had preceded him, came over to England in 1764. His
reputation was already established there; he was appointed engraver to
the king with a salary of £300 a year, became one of the first forty
full members of the Royal Academy (1768), and was the only engraver
admitted to the honour down to the year 1855. Bartolozzi remained in
England for thirty-eight years, continuously producing his innumerable
and well-known plates; at length, in 1802, seduced by the offer of a
house, pension, and a knighthood, he went, at the age of seventy-seven,
to Lisbon, where he died in 1815, having reached his ninety-first year,
and working at his profession to the last. John Ogborn, Cheesman,
Thomas Ryder, Chapman, Agar, T. Burke, and the delightful P. W.
Tomkins--who, with the late C. H. Jeens, may be called the miniaturist
of engravers--were all followers more or less of his school. An
admirable draughtsman and perfect master of the graver, Bartolozzi was
in addition able to infuse a certain grace and beauty into the trivial
work by which he is best known; but he has done work of a higher stamp,
and some of his line engravings, such as "Clytie," the "Death of Dido,"
the portraits of Lord Thurlow and Martin van Juchen in full armour
(worthy of the graver of Pontius or De Jode), make all who care for the
art regret that so talented an artist gave the greater part of his time
and attention to producing prints which, though graceful and pleasing,
charm but for the moment and leave no permanent impression.

This, the Augustan era of English engraving, saw also the rise of the
talented and genial Thomas Bewick (born 1753, died 1828), who made
the domain of natural history his own, and in addition to executing
some interesting copper plates, has by his exquisite wood-cuts after
his own drawings entitled England to claim her place amongst the
greatest artists in that form of engraving. The Boydells, too, had
established their celebrated firm; both were engravers, John in line,
and Josiah, his nephew (a pupil of Earlom), in mezzotint. John Boydell
was born in 1719, and established himself first (in 1752) at the sign
of the "Unicorn," corner of Queen Street, Cheapside, afterwards at 90
Cheapside, and finally took additional premises in Pall Mall for the
Shakespeare Gallery. Josiah was born in 1752, succeeded on his uncle's
death (1804) to the business, and died in 1817. A great proportion of
the best prints of this period will be found to bear the addresses of
these famous publishers and engravers.

The last years of the eighteenth and the commencement of the present
century witnessed the death of many of the famous engravers already
mentioned. It was now that the Birmingham school of line arose, and,
urged by the influence of J. M. W. Turner, executed their delicate
line engravings after that famous painter. William Radelyffe was the
founder of this school, and was followed by his son Edward, Robert
Brandard, J. T. Willmore, E. Goodall, R. Wallis, William Miller, and
others. Sharp, Anker Smith, James Heath, Earlom, Dickinson, Young,
and J. R. Smith still remained for a time, but much of their best
work was already done. William Ward, apprenticed to J. R. Smith, his
brother James, the noted animal painter, Charles Turner and Samuel
William Reynolds had also appeared to carry on and bring to its fullest
development the great British school of mezzotint. William Ward, born
in 1766, by his series of engravings after George Morland--whose sister
he married--has made the names of the painter and engraver almost
indissoluble, each having contributed to the immortality of the other.
James, the painter and Royal Academician, born in 1769, studied under
his brother, with whom he served an apprenticeship of nearly nine
years; his plates of "Cornelius the Centurion" after Rembrandt, Sir
Joshua's "Mrs. Billington as St. Cecilia," and the studies after nature
of heads and feet of ducks, ducklings, geese, and calves, are among
the finest works executed in the method. James lived to a great age,
dying in 1859 in his ninety-first year, having survived his brother and
also a nephew, William James Ward. The last-named was likewise a good
mezzotint engraver, but unfortunately died in the prime of life in the
year 1840.

Charles Turner was born in the same year as S. W. Reynolds (1773), and
survived the latter by more than twenty years; his prints are very
numerous, and comprise a great variety of subjects. The large upright
mezzotint of Sir Joshua's group of the Marlborough family, with the
two younger children in front, one holding a mask, the other shrinking
back in fright, is deservedly well known, as is also his fine rendering
of "The Shipwreck" after J. M. W. Turner, published in 1807. Other
characteristic prints which may be mentioned are "Black and Red Game,"
after Elmer; "Pheasants," after Barenger; the portraits of "Alexandra,
Empress of Russia," after Monier; "Lord Newton," after Raeburn; and a
marvellous life-size head of Salvator Rosa's "St. Francis," engraved
in 1805. Turner lived till the year 1857, when he died at his house in
Warren Street, Fitzroy Square, at the age of eighty-three.

Samuel William Reynolds, one of the most gifted men who ever applied
themselves to the engraver's art, studied mezzotint under C. H. Hodges;
he commenced his comparatively short career both as painter and
engraver, and exhibited for several years at the British Institution.
Endowed with singular powers of fascination, Reynolds seems to have
attracted and kept fast the friendship of all with whom he became
acquainted, irrespective of their particular social surroundings.
Samuel Whitbread, the distinguished Member of Parliament, of old Drury
Lane Theatre renown, was his intimate and kindest friend; Sheridan
and Edmund Kean played at Pope Joan with his daughters, and the very
printer of his plates fifty years after Reynolds' death would grow
bright when recalling his memory, saying, "He was the prince of
engravers." He gave lessons in drawing to the daughters of George III.,
who wished to make him their equerry, and afterwards an important post
with a salary of £900 a year was offered him, but both these offers
were refused.

It is from the technical skill and firm daring which Reynolds displayed
in his prints, and the intelligent use he made of the means at his
command, that his name as an engraver remains pre-eminent; the
"Falconer," "Vulture and Snake," "Heron and Spaniel," and "Leopards"
after Northcote; the "Duchess of Bedford" after Hoppner; the "regal"
whole-length of the unfortunate Princess Charlotte; the large and
exquisitely finished etching from Rembrandt's famous picture of "The
Mill;" and the "Land Storm"--known also as the "Mail Coach in a
Storm"--after George Morland, are but a few of the many prints which
show the power and versatility of the engraver. In the last-named print
(published 1798), where the resources of mezzotint and etching combined
have been used to fullest purpose, the familiar identity of the painter
has been almost hidden under the massive effects of light and shade
shown in the landscape, where amidst lightning flash and rushing wind
the terror-stricken horses are seen dashing madly onward.

When Reynolds went to Paris in 1826, artists there were astonished
at his paintings and the effects that he produced. Sixdeniers and
Maile studied with him, and several plates bear their combined
names; unfortunately both these engravers, excellent as they were
as mezzotinters, chiefly engraved after painters whose productions
partook of a frivolous and somewhat free character. Reynolds,
however, left more permanent marks of his stay in the French capital
by executing there the large plates of Géricault's "Wreck of the
Medusa," Horace Vernet's "Mazeppa," and the masterly representations
of Charlet's characteristic types, the "Village Barber" and the "Rag
Picker." In the last two the technical handling is so free that it
would almost seem as if the scraper had been used with the same
facility as chalk on paper. In reference to this there is a story
extant that Reynolds once scraped a large whole-length portrait in a
day and a night; the story is true, but it is also true that it is one
of his worst plates.

Shortly before his death Reynolds was greatly struck with Constable's
picture of "The Lock," and resolved to engrave it at his own cost;
writing to Constable on the arrival of the picture, he says:--"I
have been before your picture for the last hour. It is no doubt
the best of your works true to nature, seen and arranged with a
professor's taste and judgment. The execution shows in every part a
hand of experience; masterly without rudeness, and complete without
littleness; the colouring is sweet, fresh, and healthy; bright not
gaudy, but deep and clear. Take it for all in all, since the days of
Gainsborough and Wilson no landscape has been painted with so much
truth and originality, so much art, so little artifice." But he did
not live to fulfil his intention, for while still full of hope and
high purpose for the future, Reynolds was suddenly stricken with
paralysis, and died at his house in Bayswater in the year 1835.
This sudden ending was the cause of his son--likewise named Samuel
William--forsaking painting to finish some of his father's plates, and
ultimately continuing with success the practice of mezzotint on his
own account. Reynolds' daughter Elizabeth, who married the stipple
engraver William Walker--though chiefly known by her miniatures and
other paintings--also engraved in early life.[64] Although there are
no authentic records of the pedigree, S. W. Reynolds always asserted
his collateral relationship to Sir Joshua Reynolds, and his son often
mentioned that his father, when quite a youth, called on Sir Joshua,
who, during the conversation that ensued, remarked to Reynolds, "Then
you are my cousin."

Other engravers of eminence that flourished during this period are,
in line, the Bromleys, John Landseer and his sons, Charles Heath,
William B. Cooke and his brother George,[65] John Burnet (celebrated
as painter, engraver, and author), Richard Golding, and John Scott;
in stipple, William Bond, Thomas Woolnoth, and James Hopwood; in
mezzotint, Henry Dawe, William Say, Henry Meyer, George Clint, and his
pupil Thomas Lupton, who, for his introduction of soft steel instead of
copper as the medium for mezzotint engraving, received in 1822 the gold
Isis medal from the Society of Arts.

The method of stipple was meanwhile slowly dying out, but, as often
happens when some particular art seems about to expire, this was the
very time when the capabilities of the style were shown in the highest
perfection. William Walker, born in Musselburgh in the year 1791,
served an apprenticeship to three engravers, Mitchell, Stewart, and
Thomas Woolnoth, and choosing stipple as his method of interpretation,
in his portraits of Sir Walter Scott, Raeburn, and the Earl of
Hopetoun, justified his choice by executing the finest works that
were ever accomplished in the style. He astonished the mezzotinters
of the period--who told him that, do what he could, he would never
make stipple equal mezzotint in colour[66]--by the amount of force,
colour, and effect which he was able to give to these plates. It is
needless to say that such work as this could only be accomplished at
the expense of intense energy and persevering labour, qualities which
were the essential characteristics of the Scotch engraver. Later on,
when settled in London, and more particularly after the introduction
of steel in place of copper, Walker chiefly practised mezzotint, in
which, however, he made use of his previous experience, etching his
subject first in stipple before laying the mezzotint ground. His plate
of Burns, engraved in mezzotint by himself and Mr. Cousins, owes a
great part of its renown to Walker's power of rendering likeness; in
regard to this, the painter Alexander Nasmyth remarked, on seeing
the finished print, "that all he could say was that it seemed to him
a better likeness of the poet than his own picture." This particular
quality of fidelity in likeness Walker carried out in all his after
historical works; for this purpose no trouble was too much, no labour
too severe; the engraving of the "Distinguished Men of Science
assembled at the Royal Institution in 1807-8," which occupied a period
of six years of unceasing research and labour, is a striking instance.
This was practically his last plate. He died at the age of seventy-six,
in the year 1867, at his house in Margaret Street, Cavendish Square,
and was buried at Brompton Cemetery.

The death of Reynolds in 1835 seems to mark roughly the closing period
of English engraving as a great art; two of his most renowned pupils
were, however, still in the fulness of power, David Lucas and the
present Mr. Samuel Cousins, R.A.[67] Of Mr. Cousins, it is sufficient
to relate that Reynolds, happening one day to be in the town of Exeter,
saw some drawings in a shop window which caught his eye, and on going
inside he learnt that they were by a lad of the name of Cousins, which
incident led to Reynolds taking the youth to London and keeping him
as his apprentice. Mr. Cousins' artistic genius, steady perseverance,
and sterling integrity in all that he undertook, brought their full
results, as shown in the fine series of mezzotint engravings so widely
known and highly appreciated, and his name may indeed be said to close
worthily the long line of great British mezzotinters.

David Lucas was born in the year 1802, and had the good fortune to meet
in early life with Constable, between whom and Lucas was formed that
intimate connection of painter and engraver which in earlier times had
led to such great results. Failing Reynolds, Constable had applied to
Lucas to be his engraver, and between them was completed the beautiful
mezzotint series of English landscape; Constable bore the expense
and was ever in counsel with the engraver, going into the minutest
details, thinking no trouble too much to produce a good result, down
to the printing of the plates, which they often did themselves, Lucas
having had a press erected at his house for the purpose. The execution
of this series led to Lucas undertaking the large plate of "The
Cornfield" at his own risk, and afterwards the companion picture of
"The Lock"--referred to before--finally culminating in his production
of the superb engraving of Salisbury Cathedral as seen from the
meadows, to which Constable himself gave the name of "The Rainbow."[68]
During all this period constant intercourse and correspondence took
place between the painter and engraver. At one time, Constable writes,
"Although much admired, Salisbury is still too heavy; the sentiment of
the picture is that of solemnity not gaiety, yet it must be bright,
clear, alive, fresh, and all the front seen." At another, "The bow is
a grand whole, provided it is clear and tender; how I wish I could
scratch and tear away with your tools on the steel, but I can't do it,
and your quiet way is I know the best and only way." At length comes,
"Dear Lucas, the print is a noble and beautiful thing entirely improved
and entirely made perfect; the bow is noble, it is startling, unique."
So hand-in-hand they worked on, the painter upbearing his helpmate the
engraver, each aiding the other, little noticed by the public at the
time, but slowly building up an imperishable fame. David Lucas died in
1881 in his eightieth year.

In the middle of the century, inartistic mixture of styles, mechanical
means replacing true work, exigencies of copyright, and above all the
complete severance of the engraver not only from the painter but also
from his only rightful patron the public, had worked its sure result.
Some good men survived, such as Lewis, Atkinson, Doo, Robinson, J. H.
Watt, R. Graves, J. Posselwhite, Lumb Stocks, Henry Cousins,[69] W.
Giller, J. R. Jackson, and a few others; but no young school had been
forming to replace those dying out, and everything presaged the gradual
extinction of engraving as one of the great arts. Has this lowest
point been reached? Perhaps, as with the beautiful art of miniature
painting, which for a time on the advent of photography seemed gone for
ever, yet still like some stream was only running on in hidden course
underground to appear again and reach daylight, so may it happen with
engraving.

Within the last few years two engravers have produced prints worthy of
any period of the art, the late C. H. Jeens and the present Mr. W. H.
Sherborne. Some of the stipple miniature book illustrations which Jeens
executed for Messrs. Macmillan and others, such as the gem medallions
of Plato and Socrates, "Love and Death," Woolner's "Beautiful Lady,"
the portraits of Allan Ramsay, Charles Young, Mr. Ruskin's two Aunts,
and above all William Blake, are engraved with the tender feeling and
fine touch of the true artist. Mr. Sherborne, born in 1832, probably
little known except by the few, originally a chaser and designer for
jewellers and pupil of Pietro Gerometti, the Roman cameo engraver and
medallist, in 1872, fired by hope and love of the art, forsook his own
branch to follow that of engraving. Like all true artists, his mode of
execution is his own. Apollo, exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1881,
the head of Mr. Seymour Haden, the portraits of Phelps the Chelsea
Waterman or Mrs. James Builth, and the interiors of Westminster Abbey,
seen at the Painter-Etchers' Exhibition in the summer of 1885, are
works that will last, and are good examples of the engraver's powers,
causing regret that Mr. Sherborne had not earlier turned his attention
to an art the beauty of which he so truly feels. While engraving as a
whole was decaying, one branch, that of etching, has been undergoing
a revival, and the names of Mr. Seymour Haden, Mr. Philip Hamerton,
and Mr. Whistler are world-known. They and their school have confined
themselves to producing their own designs, while others, like Mr. David
Law, Mr. Macbeth, and the Messrs. Slocombe, also translate the works of
painters. But, whether as a vehicle for conveying an original design
or translating that of another artist, etching is strictly limited in
its powers; it bears the same relation to the full art of engraving
as sketching or drawing does to that of perfect painting; suggestive,
capable of exhibiting broad effects of light and shade, or indicative
of the idiosyncrasy of the etcher, it is, of its very nature,
incomplete, and acts but as herald to proclaim the greater results to
be obtained by following out the art to its proper goal.

The great impetus which Bewick's genius gave to the art of wood
engraving at the commencement of the present century was carried
onwards by his distinguished pupils Luke Clennell, Charlton Nesbitt,
and William Harvey, the latter of whom, in 1821, cut the large block
of the death of Dentatus (15 in. × 11-1/4 in.) from the picture of the
erratic genius B. R. Haydon, under whom he was at that time studying
drawing. Robert Branston, John Thompson and his brother Charles,[70]
Jackson, and W. J. Linton, are names of equal renown; in fact,
during the first half of the century, England may be said to have
been supreme in the art. Gradually, however, the various mechanical
processes for facilitating the commercial extension of the art such
as electrotyping,[71] photography, &c., brought here, too, their
deteriorating effects, causing the engraver to become less of an artist
and more of a mechanic. In delicacy of work and elaboration of detail,
American artists now stand first among wood engravers; but they attempt
too much with the means at their command, and try to produce upon the
comparatively soft material, wood, the delicate fineness of line which
can only be realised in perfection on metal. The extreme closeness of
the lines, combined with the exigencies of rapid surface printing, dull
more or less the minute interstices which ought to show pure white;
effect is lost, and, notwithstanding the excellence of the workmanship,
the result becomes monotonous and wearying rather than pleasurable to
the satiated eye. In etching also America takes high rank; in addition
to Mr. Whistler, the names of Messrs. J. Gadsby Chapman, Gifford,
Duveneck, F. S. Church, Pennell, Stephen Parrish, and Mr. and Mrs.
Moran, are well known in Europe.

In the complete styles of engraving, stipple, line, and mezzotint,
although American engravers are little known out of their own
country--a large enough field, however, in which to exercise their
talents--some good work has also been done; in stipple, by David Edwin,
Ion. B. Forrest, Gimbrede, and C. Tiebout; in mezzotint, by Charles
Wilson Peale, A. H. Ritchie, and John Sartain, who, after having worked
under the direction of William Young Ottley, went from London to
America in 1830 at the age of twenty-two; and in line, by Asher Brown
Durand; Joseph Andrews; the Smillies; and Charles Burt, who is said to
have been the actual engraver of the fine plate of Leonardo's "Last
Supper," copied from Morghen's print of the same subject, and bearing
the name of A. L. Dick as engraver. The lives of these and others not
mentioned were often eventful and picturesque, and would repay study.
Some leaving England, Scotland, or Ireland in early life to settle in
the land of their adoption, had to struggle with difficulties, often
teach themselves, make their own tools, like John Cheney, or like
Charles Wilson Peale, turn their hands to whatever duty might present
itself. Peale was a captain of volunteers, dentist, lecturer on natural
history, saddler, watchmaker, silversmith, painter in oil, crayons, or
in miniature on ivory, modeller in clay and wax, engraver in mezzotint,
and to crown all, as his son was wont to say, a mild, benevolent, and
good man. Many also devoted their talents to bank-note engraving, a
branch of the art highly cultivated in the United States, in which the
skill of the inventor and mechanic has been united with the grace and
genius of the artist. As engravers in this particular style may be
specially mentioned W. E. Marshall, J. W. Casilear, M. J. Danforth,
Gideon Fairman, and Jacob Perkins, the latter of whom, with Fairman and
the ingenious Asa Spencer, came over to England in 1818 to compete for
the premium of £20,000 offered by the Bank of England for a bank-note
which could not be counterfeited. Although not successful, the Bank
allowed them the sum of £5,000 in consideration of their ingenuity and
the trouble and expense which they had incurred in the matter. While
Asa Spencer is to be credited with inventing the method of applying the
geometric lathe[72] to engraving the involved patterns on banknotes,
Perkins has the honour of introducing the process of transfer by means
of steel rollers. The portrait or other design is engraved in the usual
manner on a die plate, which is then hardened; a soft steel roller or
cylinder is now rolled over the die with great pressure by means of a
powerful machine, causing the cylinder to take off in its course the
impression of the design in relief; this roller is now hardened in its
turn, and by the use of similar means made to impress another soft
steel die; by repeating this process, any requisite number of plates
can thus be reproduced the exact fac-similes of the original engraved
die plate. Owing to the mechanical necessity that only a small surface
of the roller should press on the die at a given moment, the diameter
of the cylinder requires to be small, so that several of these dies,
and consequently of the rollers, will be required to complete the
entire plate from which the ultimate printing of the note is effected.

Finally it may be well to conclude this brief account of the British
school of engraving by calling attention to the considerations which
ought to govern buyers of engravings; buy only that which gives
real personal satisfaction, distrust a seller's inducements, in
price be ruled by the amount that can be justly afforded, reject
alluring thoughts of future money gain (or be prepared to pay the
sure penalty--destruction of natural artistic feeling and hope of
further cultivation), and ever bear in mind the words of Constable
to his engraver: "Tone, tone, my dear Lucas, is the most seductive
and inviting quality a picture or print can possess; it is the first
thing seen, and like a flower, invites to the examination of the plant
itself."[73]

       *       *       *       *       *

*** The writer of the Chapter on English Engraving desires to
acknowledge the facilities kindly placed at his disposal by Mr. Sidney
Colvin, Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, and to
express his recognition of the valuable aid afforded him by Mr. F. M.
O'Donoghue, of the same department.



CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

OF THE MORE IMPORTANT ENGRAVERS BELONGING TO THE BRITISH SCHOOL OF
ENGRAVING.


    _Foreign Engravers practising in England are marked with an asterisk._

    b. stands for born; d., died; fl., flourished; c., about.

16th Cent.

   RAYNALDE, Thomas.            Published in 1540 a book called "The
                                  Birth of Mankind," illustrated by
                                  copperplate engravings.

   GEMINUS, Thomas.             Published in 1545 a translation of
                                  "Vesalius' Anatomy," written and
                                  illustrated with copperplates
                                  engraved by himself.

  *HOGENBERG, Francis.          Engraved in line a portrait of Queen
                                  Mary I. of England, bearing date 1555.
                                  (There are doubts as to the
                                  correctness of this date.)

  *HOGENBERG, Remigius.         Engraved in line portrait of Matthew
     (Brother of above.)          Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury,
                                  bearing date 1573.

   ROGERS, William.             b. London c. 1545. Engraved in line a
                                  fine whole-length portrait of Queen
                                  Elizabeth, afterwards republished and
                                  reduced in size.


17th Cent.

  *DE PASSE, Crispin.           b. Utrecht c. 1560. Line. Engraved and
                                  drew from life.

  *DE PASSE, Magdalen.          b. Utrecht 1583. Line.
     (Daughter of above.)

  *DE PASSE, William.           b. Utrecht c. 1590; fl. 1620-27. Line.
     (Son of above.)

  *DE PASSE, Simon.             b. Utrecht 1591; d. c. 1644. Line. His
     (Son of above.)              earliest work in England dated 1613.

   DELARAM, Francis.            fl. c. 1620. Line.

   ELSTRACKE, Reginald.         fl. c. 1620. Line.

   PEAKE, Sir Robert.           b. c. 1592; d. 1645. Line. Also painted
                                  portraits in miniature. Master of
                                  engraver Faithorne and painter Dobson.

  *HOLLAR, Wenceslaus.          b. Prague 1607; d. London 1677. Etcher,
                                  finishing, when necessary, with fine
                                  graver.

  *LOMBART, Peter.              b. Paris 1612; came to England c. 1653,
                                  remaining for considerable number of
                                  years; d. Paris. Line. Engraved series
                                  of twelve portraits called "The
                                  Countesses."

   FAITHORNE, William.          b. London 1616; d. London 1691. Line.
     (Pupil of Sir Robert
       Peake.)

  *VANDERBANK, Peter.           b. Paris; of Dutch extraction; came to
     (Pupil of De Poilly.)        England c. 1674; d. Bradfield 1697.
                                  Line.

   BARLOW, Francis.             b. Lincolnshire 1626; d. London 1702.
                                  Etcher, line engraver, and animal
                                  painter.

   GAYWOOD, Robert.             b. c. 1630; d. c. 1711. Etcher and line
     (Pupil of Hollar.)           engraver, chiefly of animal subjects.

  *LOGGAN, David.               b. Dantzic c. 1630; d. London 1693.
     (Pupil of Simon de           Line. Portrait and architectural
       Passe.)                    engraver and painter.

   RUPERT, Prince.              b. 1619; d. 1682. Introduced mezzotint
                                  into England, and engraved some fine
                                  prints in the method, which were
                                  probably executed abroad.

   SHERWIN, William.            b. c. 1650; d. c. 1714. Engraved
                                  portrait of Charles II. 1669, the
                                  earliest dated print in mezzotint
                                  authentically engraved in England.

   OLIVER, John.                b. 1616; d. 1701. Glass painter; also
     (Nephew and pupil            engraved in mezzotint.
       of Peter Oliver,
       miniature painter
       and etcher.)

   PLACE, Francis.              b. c. 1640; d. 1728. Mezzotint, line,
                                  etching.

                              { fl. 1670. A good many early mezzotint
                              {   prints bear these two names, but only
                              {   as publishers (_excudit_ not
   TOMPSON, Richard.          {   _sculpsit_), and there is great doubt
   BROWNE, Alexander.         {   if any were actually engraved by them.
                              {   Browne wrote the "Ars Pictoria" in
                              {   1669, in which "The Manner or Way of
                              {   Mezo Tinto" is described; published by
                              {   himself, Tompson, and another.

  *BLOOTELINGH, Abraham.        b. Amsterdam 1634; d. c. 1695. Line and
     (Pupil of Cornelius          mezzotint. Came to England for a few
       Visscher.)                 years 1673.

  *VALCK, Gerard.               b. Amsterdam c. 1626; d. c. 1720.
     (Pupil of                    Mezzotint and line. Accompanied
       Blootelingh.)              Blootelingh to England, not leaving
                                  until after 1680.

   WHITE, Robert.               b. London 1645; d. London 1704. Line.
     (Pupil of David              Portrait draughtsman from life.
       Loggan.)

  *VANDERVAART, John.           b. Haarlem 1647; d. London 1721.
                                  Mezzotinter and painter. Came to
                                  England 1674.

  *VAN SOMER, Paul.             b. Amsterdam 1649; d. London 1694.
     (Pupil of John Van           Mezzotint.
       Somer, probably
       his brother.)

   FAITHORNE, William,          b. London 1656; d. London 1686.
     junr. (Son of                Mezzotint.
       William
       Faithorne.)

   LUTTRELL, E.                 b. Dublin c. 1650; d. c. 1710.
     (Said to have                Mezzotinter and crayon portraitist.
       learnt method of
       mezzotint from
       Blois, ground
       layer to
       Blootelingh.)

   BECKETT, Isaac.              b. Kent 1653; d. 1719. Mezzotint. Prints
     (Attracted by                all dated between 1681-88.
       Luttrell's works,
       learnt the method of
       mezzotint from Lloyd,
       a printseller, who is
       said to have obtained
       the secret from
       Blois, ground layer
       to Blootelingh.)

   SMITH, John.                 b. Daventry 1652; d. Northampton 1742.
     (Pupil of Beckett            Mezzotint.
       and Vandervaart.)

   WILLIAMS, R.                 b. Wales. Mezzotint. Prints dated
                                  c. 1680 to 1704.

  *DORIGNY, Sir Nicholas.       b. Paris 1657; d. Paris 1746. Line.
                                  Settled in London 1711-24. Knighted by
                                  George I. for his set of Raphael's
                                  cartoons.

   LENS, Bernard.               b. London 1659; d. 1725. Mezzotint.

  *GRIBELIN, Simon.             b. Blois 1661; d. England 1733. Line.
                                  Came to England 1680; engraved first
                                  complete set of Raphael's cartoons.

   LUMLEY, George.              b. York latter part of 17th century.
     (Friend of Francis           Mezzotint.
       Place.)

   WHITE, George.               b. 1671; d. 1731-2. Mezzotint.
     (Son and pupil of            Introduced slight etching into the
       Robert White.)             method. Engraved also in line, and
                                  painted portraits.


18th Cent.

  *SIMON, John                  b. Normandy 1675; d. London c. 1755.
     (or Jean).                   First engraved in line, then came to
                                  England and devoted himself to
                                  mezzotint.

   VERTUE, George.              b. London 1684; d. London 1756. Line;
                                  antiquary, wrote notes on the history
                                  of arts and artists in England.
                                  Manuscripts now in the British Museum.

  *VAN BLEECK, Peter.           b. Flanders; d. 1764. Came to England
                                  1723 Mezzotint.

  *FABER, John, sen.            b. Holland; d. Bristol 1721. Mezzotint;
                                  also miniature painter. Came to
                                  England in 1687 with his son.

  *FABER, John, jun.            b. Holland 1684; d. London 1746.
     (Son and pupil of            Mezzotint. Amongst others, engraved
       above.)                    Kit Cat Club and Hampton Court
                                  Beauties.

   HOGARTH, William.            b. St. Bees, Durham, 1697; d. London
     (First apprenticed           1764. Line engraver and painter.
       to silversmith.)

   SULLIVAN, Luke.              b. co. Louth, Ireland, 1705; d. London
                                  1771. Line. Assistant to Hogarth, and
                                  engraved some of his pictures.

  *BARON, Bernard.              b. Paris c. 1700; d. London 1762. Line.
     (Pupil of Tardieu,           Came to England in 1712. Employed by
       the French engraver.)      Hogarth.

   WORLIDGE, Thomas.            b. 1700; d. Hammersmith 1766. Etcher and
                                  portrait painter. Chiefly resided at
                                  Bath.

   BICKHAM, George.             d. 1769. Line and etching, draughtsman.
                                  Published "The Universal Penman;"
                                  father of George, also an engraver and
                                  draughtsman.

  *RAVENET, François Simon,     b. Paris 1706; d. Hampstead Road 1774.
         A.E.                     Line. Came to England a little before
     (Pupil of Le Bas.)           1745, and settled in London.

   FRYE, Thomas.                b. near Dublin 1710; d. London 1760.
                                  Mezzotinter and portrait painter,
                                  chiefly lifesize.

   BROOKS, John.                b. Ireland; d. London. Line and
                                  mezzotint. Master of McArdell and R.
                                  Houston. Left Dublin c. 1747, and set
                                  up a china manufactory at Battersea.

   McARDELL, James.             b. Dublin c. 1729; d. London 1765.
     (Pupil of John Brooks,       Mezzotint. First made use of deep
       Dublin.)                   etching to give effect to the method.

  *CANOT, Peter                 b. France 1710; d. London 1777. Line;
     Charles, A.E.                chiefly sea views. Came to England
                                  1740, where he remained for the rest
                                  of his life.

   CHATELAINE, John Baptiste    b. London 1710; d. London 1771. Line and
     Claude.                      draughtsman. Of French Protestant
                                  parentage. Master of Vivares, for whom
                                  also he worked later on.

  *VIVARES, Francis.            b. France 1709; d. London 1780. Line;
     (Pupil of Chatelaine.)       landscape engraver. Came to London at
                                  the age of eighteen.

   TINNEY, John.                d. 1761. Practised in London 1740-50, in
                                  line and mezzotint; chiefly known as
                                  master of Woollett, Anthony Walker,
                                  and John Browne.

   MAJOR, Thomas, A.E.          b. 1720; d. London 1799. Line. First
                                  Associate engraver of the Royal
                                  Academy.

   COOPER, Richard.             b. Yorkshire; d. Edinburgh 1764. Line
                                  and mezzotint. Practised in Edinburgh
                                  in 1730, and was the master of Strange.

   STRANGE, Sir Robert.         b. Pomona, Orkney, 1721; d. London 1792.
     (Pupil of Richard            Line.
       Cooper, of
       Edinburgh.)

   HOUSTON, Richard.            b. Ireland 1721; d. London 1775.
     (Pupil of John Brooks,       Mezzotint.
       of Dublin.)

   BAILLIE, William,            b. Ireland 1723; d. 1810. Etching and
     Captain.                     mezzotint. Came to London 1741. Some
                                  years in the army.

  *BARTOLOZZI, Francis,         b. Florence 1725; d. Lisbon 1815.
         R.A.                     Stipple and line. Came to England
     (Pupil of Joseph             1764, remaining here till 1802.
       Wagner, of Venice.)

   OGBORNE, John.               b. London c. 1725; d. c. 1795. Stipple
     (Pupil of Bartolozzi.)       and line.

   WALKER, Anthony.             b. Salisbury 1726; d. London 1765. Line
     (Pupil of Tinney.)           and etching.

   WALKER, William.             b. Thirsk 1729; d. Clerkenwell 1793.
     (Pupil of his                Line; introduced the process of
       brother Anthony.)          rebiting into the  practice of etching.

   *CUNEGO, Domenico.           b. Verona 1727; d. Rome 1794. Line. Came
                                  to England and engraved some plates
                                  for the Boydells.

   GREENWOOD, John.             b. Boston, America, 1729; d. Margate
                                  1792. Mezzotint, etching, and painter.
                                  Afterwards became an auctioneer.

   SPILSBURY, John.             b. 1730; d. London 1795. Mezzotint.
                                  Portrait painter. Gained premiums for
                                  mezzotint 1761 and 1763 from Society
                                 of Arts; also printseller.

   DAWE, Philip.                d. c. 1802. Mezzotint and painter, said
                                  to have worked under Hogarth. Was a
                                  pupil of the painter Henry Morland.

   BASIRE, James.               b. 1730; d. London 1802. Line. His
     (Pupil of Richd.             father Isaac, his son James, and his
       Dalton, a                  grandson James, were also engravers.
       draughtsman and
       engraver of
       moderate note.)

   TAYLOR, Isaac.               b. Worcester 1730; d. 1807. Line. His
                                  son Isaac was also an engraver.

   FISHER, Edward.              b. Ireland 1730; d. London c. 1785.
                                  Mezzotint.

   FINLAYSON, John.             b. c. 1730; d. c. 1776. Mezzotint.
                                  Resided in London. Gained premiums
                                  from Society of Arts 1764 and 1773.

  *HAID, Johann Gottfried.      b. Wurtemburg 1730; d. 1776. Mezzotint.
     (Pupil of his father,        Came to England when young, and worked
       J. Jacob Haid.)            for Boydell, afterwards returning to
                                  Germany. His father, Johann Jacob, and
                                  his brother, Johann Elias, were also
                                  good mezzotinters.

  *JACOBE, Johann.              b. Vienna 1733; d. 1797. Came to London
                                  to learn mezzotint, engraved some fine
                                  plates, 1779-80, and then returned to
                                  Vienna.

   PETHER, William.             b. Carlisle 1731; d. 1821. Mezzotint.
     (Pupil of Thomas Frye.)      Painter in oil and miniature
                                  draughtsman.

   WOOLLETT, William.           b. Maidstone 1735; d. London 1785. Line.
     (Pupil of Tinney.)

   WATTS, John.                 Mezzotint. Engraved in London 1770-86;
                                  also a printseller.

   BROOKSHAW, Richard.          b. 1736; d. c. 1804. Mezzotint. Went to
                                  Paris about 1772, where his works were
                                  greatly esteemed.

   PURCELL, Richard.            b. Dublin c. 1736; d. London c. 1766.
     (Pupil of John Brooks.)      Mezzotint. Came to London c. 1755.
                                  Also worked under the names of C.
                                  Corbutt and (probably) H. Fowler.

   PHILLIPS, Charles.           b. 1737. Mezzotint. Worked chiefly after
                                  the old masters.

   RYLAND, William Wynne.       b. London 1738; d. London 1783. Line and
     (Pupil of Ravenet.)          stipple; also a printseller. Visited
                                  Paris c. 1760, and is said to have
                                  studied under Le Bas. Was hanged for
                                  forgery.

   GREEN, Valentine, A.E.       b. near Birmingham 1739; d. London 1813.
                                  Mezzotint. Engraved over twenty plates
                                  from Düsseldorf Gallery.

   HALL, John.                  b. near Colchester 1739; d. London 1797.
     (Pupil of Ravenet.)          Line.

   BLACKMORE, Thomas.           b. London c. 1740; d. c. 1780. Mezzotint.
                                  Engravings bear date about 1769-71.

   DIXON, John.                 b. Dublin c. 1740; d. early 19th century.
                                  Mezzotint. Practised in London,
                                  studied in Dublin under the painter F.
                                  West, a draughtsman of great power.

   LAURIE, Robert.              b. London 1740; d. c. 1804. Mezzotint;
                                  also printseller. Gained premium
                                  Society of Arts 1771, and one in 1776
                                  for facilitating printing by mezzotint
                                  in colours. Spells his name Lowry,
                                  Lowery, Lowrie, Lawrie, and finally
                                  Laurie.

   OKEY, Samuel.                fl. 1765-70. Mezzotint. Awarded premiums
                                  by Society of Arts in 1765 and 1767.
                                  Went to America in 1771, and settled
                                  at Rhode Island.

   WATSON, James.               b. Ireland 1740; d. London 1790.
                                  Mezzotint. Father of Caroline Watson.

   BROWNE, John, A.E.           b. Essex 1741; d. Walworth 1801. Line.
     (Pupil of Tinney and         Landscape engraver.
       Woollett.)

   WATSON, Thomas.              b. London 1743; d. Bristol 1781.
     (Apprenticed to              Mezzotint and stipple. Engraved
       engraver on plate.)        "Windsor Beauties" after Lely; has
                                  been stated to be the brother of James
                                  W., but no relation; partner with
                                  Dickinson as printseller.

  *TASSAERT, Philip J.          b. Antwerp; d. London 1803. Mezzotint,
                                  also line. Came to England very young.
                                  Assistant to T. Hudson the painter.

   BYRNE, William.              b. London 1743; d. London 1805. Line.
     (Pupil of his uncle, a       Landscape engraver. His son John and
       heraldic engraver,         daughters Letitia and Elizabeth also
       then of Aliamet and        engraved, and helped him in his plates.
       of Wille, at Paris.)

   EARLOM, Richard.             b. London 1743; d. London 1822.
                                  Mezzotint and stipple. Used etching
                                  with vigorous effect. Engraved a few
                                  plates under name of H. Birche; some
                                  time a pupil of Cipriani.

   DUNKARTON, Robert.           b. London 1744; d. early part of 19th
     (Pupil of Pether.)           century. Mezzotint. Engravings bear
                                  dates 1770-1811.

   COOK, Thomas.                b. c. 1744; d. c. 1818. Line. Engraved
     (Pupil of Ravenet.)          amongst others Hogarth's works under
                                  title "Hogarth Restored."

   DICKINSON, William.          b. London 1746; d. Paris 1823. Mezzotint
                                  and stipple. Awarded premium Society
                                  of Arts 1767. For some time partner
                                  with Thomas Watson as printseller.

   TOWNLEY, Charles.            b. London 1746. Mezzotint and stipple,
                                  also miniature painter. Worked at
                                  Berlin 1786-92, then returned to
                                  London.

   RYDER, Thomas.               b. 1746; d. 1810. Stipple. His son
     (Pupil of Basire.)           Thomas also engraved.

   WALKER, James.               b. 1748; d. London 1808. Mezzotint. In
     (Pupil of Val. Green.)       1784 went to St. Petersburg, became
                                  engraver to Empress of Russia, and
                                  returned to England in 1802.

   MURPHY, John.                b. Ireland 1748; d after 1820. Mezzotint
                                  and stipple.

  *GAUGAIN, Thomas.             b. Abbeville 1748; d. beginning 19th
     (Pupil of Houston.)          century. Stipple. Came very young to
                                  London.

   HOLLOWAY, Thomas.            b. London 1748; d. 1727. Line. Known
                                  chiefly from his series of Raphael's
                                  cartoons.

   COLLYER, Joseph, A.E.        b. London 1748; d. 1827. Line and
     (Pupil of Anthony            stipple.
       Walker.)

   SHARP, William.              b. London 1749; d. Chiswick 1824. Line.
     (Pupil of Barak
       Longmate, engraver
       on plate.)

   SHERWIN, John Keyse.         b. Sussex 1749; d. London 1790. Line,
     (Pupil of Bartolozzi.)       stipple, and painter.

   BURKE, Thomas.               b. Dublin; d. London 1815. Stipple and
     (Pupil of Dixon.)            mezzotint.

   STRUTT, Joseph.              b. Essex 1749; d. London 1802. Stipple.
     (Pupil of W. Wynne           Author of "Dictionary of Engravers,"
       Ryland.)                   "Sports and Pastimes of the English,"
                                  &c.

   DOUGHTY, William.            b. York; d. Lisbon 1782. Mezzotinter,
                                  also portrait painter. Engravings
                                  mostly dated 1779. Was a pupil of Sir
                                  Joshua Reynolds. Sailed for Bengal
                                  1780, but, captured by French and
                                  Spanish squadrons, was taken instead
                                  to Lisbon.

   HUDSON, Henry.               b. London; d. abroad; fl. 1782-92.
                                  Mezzotint.

   DEAN, John.                  b. c. 1750; d. London 1798. Mezzotint.
     (Pupil of Valentine          Prints dated 1776-89 at three
       Green.)                    addresses in Soho, at the last of
                                  which a fire destroyed nearly all
                                  his plates and stock.

   JONES, John.                 d. 1797. Mezzotint and stipple. Father
                                  of George Jones (b. 1786), R.A., the
                                  painter.

   PARKER, James.               b. 1750; d. London 1805. Line. Joined
     (Pupil of Basire.)           Willaim Blake in keeping a print shop
                                  in 1784.

   SIMON, Peter J.              b. c. 1750; d. c. 1810. Stipple.

  *FACIUS, George }             b. Ratisbon c. 1750. Stipple. Came to
     Sigmund.     }               London in 1766 at the request of
  *FACIUS, John   }Brothers.      Boydell.
     Gottlieb.    }

   MORRIS, Thomas.              b. c. 1750; fl. 1795. Line. Engraved
     (Pupil of Woollett.)         Views of St. Paul's and the Monument.

   MIDDIMAN, Samuel.            b. 1750; d. London 1831. Line.
     (Pupil of Byrne.)            Landscape engraver.

   SAUNDERS, J.                 fl. 1772-74. Mezzotint.

  *MARCHI, Giuseppe             b. Rome 1752; d. London 1808.
     Filippo Liberati.            Mezzotint. Brought to England 1769
                                  by Sir J. Reynolds, who employed
                                  him as an assistant.

   SMITH, John Raphael.         b. Derby 1752; d. Doncaster 1812.
                                  Mezzotint and stipple. Painter in
                                  miniature and crayons and printseller.
                                  Father of Emma Smith the engraver.

   BEWICK, Thomas.              b. Northumberland 1753; d. Gateshead
     (Pupil of Beilby, an         1828. Wood engraver; also copperplate.
       engraver at                His brother John was likewise a wood
       Newcastle.)                engraver.

   NUTTER, William.             b. 1754; d. London 1802. Stipple.
     (Pupil of J. R. Smith.)

   YOUNG, John.                 b. 1755; d. London 1825. Mezzotint.
     (Pupil of J. R. Smith.)      Published catalogues with etchings
                                  of the Grosvenor (1820), Leigh Court
                                  (1822), Angerstein (1823), and
                                  Stafford (1826) Galleries.

   GROZER, Joseph.              fl. 1786-97. Mezzotint.

   POLLARD, Robert.             b. Newcastle-on-Tyne 1755; d. 1838.
     (Pupil of a                  Etching, aquatint, and painter; last
       silversmith.)              surviving member of Incorporated
                                  Society of Artists; in 1836 gave over
                                  to Royal Academy the papers of the
                                  Society.

   LEGAT, Francis.              b. Scotland 1755; d. London 1869. Line.
                                  Studied under Alex. Runciman, the
                                  Edinburgh painter.

   GILLRAY, James.              b. Lanarkshire 1720; d. London 1815.
     (Pupil of heraldic           Etcher and line. Caricaturist.
       engraver.)

   HEATH, James, A.E.           b. London 1757; d. London 1834. Line.
     (Pupil of Collyer.)          Father of Charles Heath.

   BLAKE, William.              b. Broad Street, Golden Square, London,
     (Pupil of Basire.)           1757; d. Fountain Court, Strand;
       2nd of the name.           buried Bunhill Fields, 1827. Line,
                                  stipple, and etching. Poet and painter.

   HAWARD, Francis, A.E.        b. 1759; d. London c. 1797. Mezzotint
                                  and stipple.

   THEW, Robert.                b. Yorkshire 1758; d. Herts 1802.
                                  Stipple.

   SMITH, Anker, A.E.           b. London 1759; d. London 1819. Line.
     (Pupil of James Taylor,
       who was brother and
       uncle respectively of
       the two Isaac
       Taylors, engravers of
       some note.)

   SHEPPEARD, George.           b. c. 1760; fl. 1794. Mezzotint and
                                  stipple.

   TOMKINS, P. W.               b. London 1760; d. 1840. Stipple.
     (Pupil of Bartolozzi.)       Designer.

   PARK, Thomas.                b. 1760; d. Hampstead 1835. Mezzotint.
                                  Author.

   CHEESEMAN, Thomas.           b. 1760; d. after 1820. Stipple.
     (Pupil of Bartolozzi.)       Draughtsman.

   WATSON, Caroline.            b. London 1760; d. Pimlico 1814. Stipple.
     (Daughter of James
       Watson.)

   JUDKINS, Elizabeth.          fl. 1772-75. Mezzotint. Engraved "Mrs.
     (Said to be pupil of         Abingdon" and "Careful Shepherdess,"
       James Watson.)             amongst others, after Sir J. Reynolds.

   KEATING, George.             b. Ireland 1762; fl. London 1784-97.
     (Pupil of William            Mezzotint. Stipple.
       Dickinson.)

  *RAMBERG, John Henry.         b. Hanover 1763; d. c. 1840. Aquatint,
                                  etching, stipple. Painter. Came early
                                  in life to England, but is said to
                                  have died at Hanover.

  *SCHIAVONETTI, Luigi.         b. Bassano 1765; d. Brompton 1810. Line,
                                  stipple. Draughtsman. Came to England
                                  in 1790, and joined Bartolozzi.

   KNIGHT, Charles.             fl. latter part of 18th century. Stipple.

   SUMMERFIELD, John.           d. Buckinghamshire 1817. Line.
     (Pupil of Bartolozzi.)

   SKELTON, William.            b. London 1763; d. Pimlico 1848. Line.
     (Pupil of Basire and
       Sharp.)

   NUGENT, Thomas.              b. Drogheda; fl. end of 18th century.
                                  Stipple.

   DUPONT, Gainsborough.        b. 1767; d. London 1797. Mezzotint.
                                  Painter. Nephew and pupil of Thomas
                                  Gainsborough.

   BROMLEY, William, A.E.       b. Isle of Wight 1769; d. 1842. Line.
     (Pupil of Wooding, a         Father of John Charles, and James
       line engraver in           Bromley, the mezzotint engravers.
       London.)

   WARREN, Charles.             b. London 1767; d. Wandsworth 1823.
                                  Line. Perfected a process of engraving
                                  on steel plates tried by Raimbach.
                                  Awarded gold medal Society of Arts.

   WARD, William, A.E.          b. London 1766; d. London 1826.
     (Pupil of J. R. Smith.)      Mezzotint. Married sister of George
                                  Morland, father of William Ward,
                                  junior.


19th Cent.

   WARD, James, R.A.            b. London 1769; d. 1855. Mezzotint.
     (Nine years pupil of         Animal painter.
       his brother William,
       J. R. Smith.)

   LANDSEER, John, A.E.         b. Lincoln 1769; d. 1852. Line. Father
     (Pupil of William            of the painters Charles and Sir Edwin,
       Byrne.)                    R.A.'s, and of the engraver Thomas.

   SAY, William.                b. near Norwich 1768; d. London 1834.
     (Pupil of James Ward.)       Mezzotint. Engraved first successful
                                  mezzotint on steel.

   COOPER, Robert.              fl. early part of 19th century. Stipple.

   HODGES, Charles Howard.      b. England; d. Amsterdam 1837. Mezzotint
                                  and painter. Went to Holland c. 1794.

  *CARDON, Anthony.             b. Brussels 1773; d. London 1813.
     (Pupil of                    Stipple. Came to England in 1790.
       Schiavonetti.)

   GODBY, James.                fl. beginning 19th century. Stipple.

   SMITH, Benjamin.             d. London 1833. Stipple.
     (Pupil of Bartolozzi.)

   CLINT, George, A.R.A.        b. London 1770; d. Kensington 1854.
                                  Mezzotint; also portrait and miniature
                                  painter.

   REYNOLDS, Samuel Wm.         b. 1773; d. Bayswater 1835. Mezzotint,
     (Pupil of Hodges.)           portrait, and water-colour painter.
                                  Father of Elizabeth, mezzotint
                                  engraver and miniature painter, and
                                  Samuel William, mezzotint engraver
                                  and portrait painter.

   TURNER, Charles, A.E.        b. Woodstock 1773; d. London 1857.
                                  Mezzotint and stipple.

   SCOTT, John.                 b. Newcastle-on-Tyne 1774; d. Chelsea
     (Pupil of Pollard.)          1828. Line, animal engraver.

   SCRIVEN, Edward.             b. Alcester 1775; d. London 1841.
     (Pupil of Thew.)             Stipple.

   RAIMBACH, Abraham.           b. London 1776; d. Greenwich 1843.
     (Pupil of J. Hall.)          Line.

   NOBLE, George.               fl. beginning of 19th century. Line.

   ENGLEHEART, Francis.         b. London 1775; d. 1849. Line.
     (Pupil of Collyer.)

   NESBITT, Charlton.           b. near Durham 1775; d. Brompton 1838.
     (Pupil of Beilby and         Wood engraver.
       Bewick.)

   BRANSTON, Robert.            b. Lynn 1778; d. Brompton 1827. Wood
     (Pupil of his father, a      engraver.
       copperplate engraver.)

   CLENNELL, Luke.              b. near Morpeth 1781;
     (Pupil of Bewick.)           d. Newcastle-on-Tyne 1840. Wood
                                  engraver, water-colour, and miniature
                                  painter.

   COOKE, William               b. 1778; d. 1855. Line. Brother of
     Bernard. (Pupil of           George and uncle of E. W. Cooke, R.A.
       Angus, an engraver in
       line of some note.)

   COOKE, George.               b. London 1781; d. Barnes 1834. Line.
     (Pupil of Basire.)           Brother of Wm. Bernard, and father of
                                  E. W. Cooke, R.A.

   LEWIS, Frederick             b. London 1779; d. Enfield 1856. Stipple
     Christian.                   or chalk; water-colour painter.
                                  Father of J. F. Lewis, R.A., and C. G.
                                  Lewis the engraver.

   DAWE, George, R.A.           b. London 1781; d. 1829. Mezzotint;
     (Son and pupil of            painter. Brother of Henry. Painted
       Philip Dawe.)              in Russia for the Emperor 1819-28.

   DAWE, Henry.                 b. London 1790; d. Windsor 1845.
     (Son and pupil of            Mezzotint and painter.
       Philip Dawe.)

   PYE, John.                   b. Birmingham 1782; d. London 1874.
     (Pupil of James Heath.)      Line and stipple. Landscape engraver.

   WEDGWOOD, John Taylor.       b. 1783; d. London 1856. Line.

   MEYER, Henry.                b. London c. 1783; d. 1847. Mezzotint;
     (Pupil of Bartolozzi.)       and stipple. Nephew of J. Hoppner,
                                  R.A.

   LE KEUX, John  }             b. London 1783; d. 1846. { Line,
                  }Brothers.                             { architectural,
   LE KEUX, Henry }             b. London 1787; d. 1868. { and landscape
     (Pupils of Basire.)                                 { engravers.

   ARMSTRONG, Cosmo.            fl. early part of 19th century. Line.

   RADCLYFFE, William.          b. Birmingham 1782; d. Birmingham 1855.
                                  Line, landscape engraver; practised in
                                  Birmingham all his life. Father of
                                  Edward, landscape engraver.

   BURNET, John, F.R.S.         b. Edinburgh 1784; d. Stoke Newington
                                  1868. Line and mezzotint. Painter and
                                  author.

   HEATH, Charles.              b. 1785; d. 1848. Line; excelled in
     (Son of James Heath.)        small plates.

   GOLDING, Richard.            b. London 1785; d. Lambeth 1865. Line.
     (Pupil of J. Parker.)

   WOOLNOTH, Thomas.            b. 1785; d. c. 1854. Stipple and line.
                                  Small theatrical portraits and
                                  architectural views.

   THOMPSON, John.              b. London 1785; d. London 1866. Wood
     (Pupil of Branston.)         engraver. Brother of Charles and
                                  Charles Thurston.

   ROMNEY, John.                b. 1786; d. Chester 1863. Line.

   THOMPSON, Charles.           b. London 1791; d. near Paris 1843. Wood
     (Pupil of Bewick             engraver; better known in Paris, where
       and Branston.)             he went in 1816, and introduced the
                                  practice of cutting out the end of the
                                  wood, then unknown abroad.

   BOND, William.               fl. beginning of 19th century. Stipple.

   CHAPMAN, J.                  fl. beginning of 19th century. Stipple.
     (Pupil of Bartolozzi.)

   WEBB, J.                     b. c. 1790; d. 1832. Line. Engraver of
                                  animals.

   FINDEN, Wm.   } Brothers.    b. 1788; d. 1852. { Stipple and line.
   FINDEN, E. F. }              b. 1792; d. 1857. { Landscape and
     (Pupils of J. Mitan, an                      { book illustrators.
       engraver of some
       note.)

   WALKER, William.             b. Midlothian 1791; d. London 1867.
     (Pupil of Thomas             Stipple and mezzotint. Married
       Woolnoth, and              Elizabeth, daughter  of S. W.
       Mitchell and               Reynolds.
       Stewart, two
       engravers of
       moderate note.)

   LUPTON, Thomas Goff.         b. Clerkenwell 1791; d. 1873. Mezzotint.
     (Pupil of Clint.)            Established the use of steel in place
                                  of copper in mezzo engraving. Received
                                  for this gold Isis medal from Society
                                  of Arts in 1822.

   LINNELL, John.               b. 1792; d. c. 1880. Mezzotint; painter.

   CRUIKSHANK, George.          b. London 1792; d. London 1878. Etcher
     (Son of Isaac, also          and caricaturist.
       caricaturist and
       engraver.)

   WORTHINGTON, Wm. H.          b. c. 1795; d. 1826. Line. Worked in
                                  London.

   GOODALL, Edward.             b. Leeds 1795; d. London 1870. Line.
                                  Engraved after J. M. W. Turner,
                                  through whose influence he became an
                                  engraver. Was self-taught.

   LANDSEER, Thomas, A.E.       b. c. 1795; d. 1880. Line. Brother of
     (Son and pupil of            Sir Edwin.
       John Landseer, A.E.)

   HOPWOOD, James.              b. 1795. Stipple.
     (Son of James; also
       an engraver,
       self-taught, but
       helped by Heath.)

   ROLLS, Charles.              fl. early part of 19th century. Line.

   BROMLEY, John                b. Chelsea 1795; d. 1839. Mezzzotint.
     Charles. (Son of             His son Frederick was also an engraver.
       Wm. Bromley, A.E.)

   HARVEY, William.             b. Newcastle-on-Tyne 1796; d. Richmond
     (Pupil of Thomas             1866. Wood engraver and designer. Cut
       Bewick and B. R.           one of the largest English wood-cuts.
       Haydon.)

   ROBINSON, John.              b. Bolton 1796; d. Petworth 1871. Line.
     Henry, R.A. (Pupil of
       James Heath.)

   GRAVES, Robert, A.E.         b. London 1798; d. Highgate 1873. Line.
     (Pupil of John Romney.)

   WATT, James Henry.           b. London 1799; d. 1867. Line.
     (Pupil of Charles
       Heath.)

   BROMLEY, James.              b. 1800; d. 1838. Mezzotint.
     (Son of William
       Bromley, A.E.)

   WARD, William, junior.       b. c. 1800; d. 1840. Mezzotint.
     (Son of William Ward,
       A.E.)

   WILLMORE, James              b. Erdington, Staffordshire, 1800;
     Tibbetts, A.E.               d. London 1863. Line. Engraved after
       (Seven years pupil         J. M. W. Turner.
       of W. Radclyffe, and
       three years of C.
       Heath.)

   RADDON, W.                   fl. 1830. Line.

   HODGETTS, J.                 fl. 1830. Mezzotint.

   JACKSON, John.               b. Ovingham 1801; d. 1848. Wood
     (Pupil of Bewick             engraver. Published with Chatto "A
       and Harvey.)               Treatise on Wood Engraving," 1838.

   GIBBON, Benjamin             b. 1802; d. London 1851. Line.
     Phelps. (Pupil of
       J. H. Robinson and
       Scriven).

   SHENTON, Henry               b. Winchester 1803; d. London 1866.
     Chawner. (Pupil of           Line.
       Charles Warren.)

   GILLER, W.                   fl. 1835. Mezzotint.

   BRANDARD, Robert.            b. Birmingham 1805; d. 1852. Line,
     (Pupil of E. Goodall.)       landscape engraver. Came to London
                                  1824. Engraved after J. M. W. Turner.

   LEWIS, Charles George.       b. 1807; d. 1880. Line, etching.

   LUCAS, John.                 b. London 1807; d. London 1874.
     (Pupil of S. W.              Mezzotint; portrait painter.
       Reynolds.)

   RADCLYFFE, Edward.           b. Birmingham 1809; d. London 1863.
     (Son and pupil of            Line.
       William Radclyffe.)

   JOUBERT, Jean                b. 1810; d. 1884. Line.
     Ferdinand.

   ZOBEL, George.               b. c. 1815; d. London 1881. Mezzotint.

   JEENS, Charles Henry.        b. 1817; d. 1879. Stipple. Miniature
                                  book illustrations.

   JACKSON, John                b. Portsmouth 1819; d. Southsea 1877.
     Richardson. (Pupil of        Mezzotint and line.
       R. Graves, A.E.)

   COUSINS, Henry.              fl. 1840. Mezzotint.
     (Brother of Saml.
       Cousins, R.A.)

   WARD, George                 fl. 1840. Mezzotint.
     Raphael. (Son
       of James Ward.)


There are still living three engravers eminently representative of the
old schools:--

   DOO, George, R.A., F.R.S.    b. c. 1800. Line.

   POSSELWHITE, J.              Stipple.

   COUSINS, Samuel, R.A.        b. 1801. Mezzotint. The present T. L.
                                  Atkinson was a pupil of Cousins.



  FOOTNOTES:


  [1] At the present day line engravers sometimes work on steel plates,
  as they are capable of supplying without damage a much greater number
  of proofs than can be printed from copper plates. It more frequently
  happens that a copper plate is coated with steel before being submitted
  to the action of the press, in order to preserve it, and to increase
  the number of copies without taking off the edge of the workmanship.
  That is to say, that by means of "electrotyping" a thin coat of metal
  is superimposed, which, since it considerably increases the power of
  endurance, increases the productiveness of the plate and the number of
  proofs that can be taken.

  [2] Papillon, "Traité de la Gravure en Bois," 1766, vol. i., ch. 1.

  [3] Pliny, "Hist. Nat.," xxxv., c. 2.

  [4] "Materiali per servire alla Storia dell' Incisione," &c., p. 83 and
  following.

  [5] That is the "Treatises on Latin Syntax" by Ælius Donatus, a
  grammarian of the fourth century. In the Middle Ages these treatises
  were much used in schools.

  [6] Published by John Koelhoff under the name of "Cronica van der
  hilliger Stat van Coellen," p. 31 and after.

  [7] "Essai historique et critique sur l'Invention de l'Imprimerie."
  Lille, 1859.

  [8] This, at any rate, is what we feel tempted to do as regards the
  "Biblia Pauperum," a book containing xylographic illustrations, whose
  date has been variously estimated, and which we are disposed to believe
  even older than the first edition of the "Speculum." Heinecken, as
  usual, claims for Germany the production of this precious collection,
  which Ottley, with more appearance of reason, regards as the work of an
  artist of the Low Countries, who worked about 1420. In this way Germany
  would only have the right to claim the plates added in the German
  editions published forty years later, and which are far less perfect in
  point of style and arrangement than those of the original edition.

  [9] The Dutch word _coster_ means churchwarden, or beadle.

  [10] "Ideé générale d'une Collection d'Estampes, 1771," p. 305.

  [11] "Discours Historique sur la Gravure." Paris, 1808.

  [12] See in "L'Artiste," 1839, an article entitled "La plus ancienne
  Gravure du Cabinet des Estampes de la Bibliothèque royale est-elle
  ancienne?"

  [13] "Notice sur deux Estampes de 1406, et sur les Commencements de la
  Gravure en Criblé." "Gazette des Beaux-arts," t. I^{er}, 2^e période,
  1869.

  [14] "Le Peintre-Graveur," Leipzig, 1860, vol. i., p. 84.

  [15] "Une Passion de 1446. Suite de Gravures au Burin, les premières
  avec Date." Montpellier, 1857.

  [16] "Archiv für die Zeichnenden Künste," 1858.

  [17] The "Pax" is a metal plate which, at high mass and during the
  singing of the "Agnus Dei," the officiating priest gives to be kissed
  by the clergy and the devout, addressing to each of them these words:
  "Pax tecum." The "Pax" made by Finiguerra for the Baptistery of St.
  John has been removed from thence to the Uffizi, where it still is.

  [18] It is useless to adduce the fine "Profile of a Woman," discovered
  a few years ago at Bologna, and now the property of the Berlin Museum,
  as an argument against the poverty we are trying to prove. This very
  important document is not only of uncertain date, but, as we have
  remarked elsewhere, the nature of its execution and style forbid one to
  look upon it as the work of any Florentine artist.

  [19] Martin Schongauer was born at Colmar, in which town his father
  had settled as a goldsmith; there he passed the greatest part of his
  life, and there he died in 1488. Vasari sometimes speaks of him as
  "Antwerp Martin," or "Martin the Fleming." This is easily explained: a
  German or Flemish artist would be all one in the eyes of a Tuscan of
  the fifteenth century, as strangers were all barbarians to the ancient
  Romans.

  [20] This is by no means universally admitted to be a genuine work by
  Martin Schongauer.

  [21] He had no fewer than eighteen children; Albert was the third.

  [22] Herr Moriz Thausing has treated this question exhaustively in his
  important work on Albert Dürer.

  [23] The oldest known dated engraving by Marc Antonio, the "Pyramus and
  Thisbe," bears the date of 1505. If Marc Antonio, as we have reason to
  think, was born about 1480, he must have been already over twenty when
  he published this extremely commonplace print.

  [24] Michael Huber ("Manuel des Curieux et des Amateurs de l'Art," t.
  iii.) says, word for word: "All that is wanted in these prints is a
  richer handling and that general aspect which we admire in the subjects
  engraved from Rubens." One might as well say that Petrarch's style
  would be improved by being Ariosto's.

  [25] Agostino Caracci, who deserves to be numbered amongst the
  cleverest engravers of the end of the sixteenth century, did not
  blush to devote his talents to a similar publication, serious in
  style, but of most obscene intention. The Bolognese artist, like his
  celebrated countryman, seems to have wished to display at once his
  science and his shamelessness. The one only serves to make the other
  more inexcusable, and it is even still more difficult to tolerate this
  austere immodesty than the licentiousness, without æsthetic pretension,
  which characterises the little French prints sold under the rose in the
  eighteenth century.

  [26] Passavant: "Le Peintre-Graveur," iii. 5.

  [27] "Les Maîtres d'Autrefois," p. 165.

  [28] In the National Library at Paris a collection of over a hundred
  trial proofs, retouched by Rubens himself, exists to bear witness
  to the careful attention with which he overlooked the work of his
  engravers.

  [29] At the time of Callot's birth Lorraine was not yet French
  territory; but as it was during his life that Nancy was taken by the
  king's army, we have a right to include him among French artists.

  [30] He was in all twelve years in Italy: three in Rome, and nine in
  Florence.

  [31] William Faithorne, the first line engraver worth mentioning in
  the history of English art, did not even begin to be known till after
  Charles I. After the king's fall, Faithorne, who was a Royalist, went
  to France, where, under Nanteuil, he perfected himself in his art, and
  did not finally settle in England till near the end of 1650.

  [32] Hollar is not merely one of the most distinguished of German
  engravers. There are few artists in any country who have handled the
  needle with so much skill and intelligence; there is probably none who
  has so greatly excelled in rendering the details of apparel and of the
  daintiest objects. His achievement numbers more than 2,000 prints,
  which, in spite of their small size, and the generally trifling nature
  of the subjects, deserve to be classed amongst the most remarkable
  etched work of the seventeenth century.

  [33] His first plates are sometimes signed "De Leeuw," sometimes
  "Tomaes de Leu," which has led many writers--M. Robert-Dumesnil among
  them--to suppose that he migrated to Paris from a town in Flanders.

  [34] It represents a "Holy Family," with this inscription on a stone,
  to the right: "R. Nanteuil Philosophiæ Auditor Sculpebat Rhemis An^o
  dni 1645."

  [35] These flights were not Nanteuil's last. There is extant a sort of
  petition in verse, which he one day presented to Louis XIV. to excuse
  himself for not having finished in time a portrait ordered by the king.
  These rhymes, quoted by the Abbé Lambert in his "Histoire Littéraire du
  Règne de Louis XIV.," and some others composed by Nanteuil in praise of
  Mlle. de Scudéry, are not such to make us regret that he did not more
  frequently lay aside the graver for the pen.

  [36] The greater part of Nanteuil's drawings are in three crayons,
  made out in places with light tints in pastel. The colour is sober
  and delicate, and offers a good deal of resemblance to the charming
  French crayons of the sixteenth century. Nanteuil doubtless produced
  many portraits which he never engraved, but he engraved very few
  that he had not previously produced. It must also be remarked, that
  in his achievement, which is composed of more than two hundred and
  thirty pieces, there are not more than eighteen subject pictures or
  illustrations. It is worthy, too, of special note that there are only
  eight portraits in which the hands are seen, and in six of these only
  one hand is shown.

  [37] "Édit de Saint Jean-de-Luz," 1660.

  [38] Claude, it is true, was still alive in 1667; but after his second
  installation in Rome (1627), he never saw France again.

  [39] Vitet: "Eustache Lesueur."

  [40] It is said that Lebrun one day proclaimed that Audran had
  "improved his pictures." It is possible he may have said, "that he
  had not spoilt them." Such an expression in the mouth of such a man
  is quite modest enough; but it is difficult to imagine Lebrun so far
  humbling himself in public.

  [41] We said that Edelinck was born at Antwerp; but as he was very
  young when he took up his abode in France, and as he never returned
  to his native country, we may be allowed to include him in the French
  school with as much right as his countryman, Philippe de Champaigne.

  [42] Amongst Audran's most distinguished scholars, we need only mention
  the following names: Gaspard Duchange; Dorigny, summoned to London by
  Queen Anne; Louis Desplaces; and Nicolas Henri Tardieu, founder of a
  family of clever engravers, the last of whom died in 1844, worthy of
  the name he bore.

  [43] Engraver of the "Assumption" of Philippe de Champaigne. He must
  not be confused with another Bartholomew Kilian, his ancestor, and the
  head of a family in which there are no less than twenty engravers.

  [44] Some of these little unpretentious amateur prints are not without
  charm; some even show a certain amount of talent in the execution, and
  the portraits drawn and engraved by Carmontelle, the author of the
  "Proverbes," deserve, amongst others, to be mentioned on that account.

  [45] In his landscapes, Woollett makes use of etching, line, and the
  dry-point, all three. Philippe Le Bas was the first to make use of
  dry-point to render the misty tones of distances and the clearness of
  skies. This mode of engraving, improved by Vivarès, was carried to its
  highest perfection by Woollett. Certain English artists of the same
  period tried to apply the process of mezzotint to landscape engraving;
  but the landscapes engraved in this way by Watson and Brookshaw, after
  the German Kobell, will not bear comparison with Woollett's.

  [46] In a work dedicated to Pitt, "On the Origin of Trade and its
  History to the Present Times" (London, 1790), we read that the prints
  exported from England at that time were, as compared with those
  imported from France, in the proportion of "five hundred to one by the
  most exact computation," and that the trade in English engravings, far
  from being restricted to one or two countries, extended all over Europe.

  [47] The credit of the invention is really due to Jean Charles
  François, born at Nancy in 1717. But the application that François made
  of his discovery was--if we consider the improvements introduced soon
  afterwards by Demarteau--still so incomplete that it seems only fair to
  attribute to the latter a principal share in the original success.

  [48] "Lettre de Cochin, Secrétaire perpétuel de l'Académie, au Sieur
  François," 26th November, 1757.

  [49] Before giving himself up almost exclusively to the practice of
  aquatint, Debucourt produced a large number of engravings in colour:
  "Le Jardin" and "La Galerie de Bois au Palais Royal," the "Promenade
  aux Tuileries," "L'Escalade," and so forth. We know the ardour, verging
  on mania, with which these prints, albeit of little value from an
  artistic point of view, are now collected.

  [50] This important publication contains, in four sections, the most
  remarkable pictures and sculptures of the Louvre, as it existed after
  Napoleon had enriched it with masterpieces from every school. Begun in
  1802, it was continued till 1811.

  [51] This fine cathedral, burnt with so many other churches in the
  great fire, was 690 feet in length, 130 feet broad, and 520 feet high
  at the top of the spire.

  [52] The tear-shaped pieces of glass (Lachrimæ Vitreæ), which resist
  hard blows applied at the thick end, yet fly to pieces the moment a
  fragment is broken off the fine end, were first brought to England by
  Prince Rupert, and are called popularly "Prince Rupert's drops."

  [53] This print represents a tall, powerful-looking man, standing with
  naked sword in one hand, and holding up in the other the head of St.
  John the Baptist.

  [54] Other names given to mezzotint out of England are: Schwarzkunst,
  black art; La manière anglaise, L'incisione a foggia nera, engraving in
  black fashion or manner.

  [55] This engraver must not be confused with John Keyse Sherwin, whose
  line engravings produced a century later are well known.

  [56] This Club was instituted in 1703, the year after the accession
  of Queen Anne, to promote the Protestant succession, the members
  meeting at the "Cat and Fiddle" in Shire Lane, Fleet Street, kept
  by Christopher Kat, from whom it took the name. The particular size
  known amongst artists as Kit-cat, just below the waist and not quite
  three-quarter length, also acquired its name from this series of
  portraits, which were painted their particular length to suit the walls
  of Tonson's villa at Barn Elms.

  [57] John Riley, Jonathan Richardson, Michael Dahl, John Closterman,
  John Vanderbank, and Thomas Hudson.

  [58] The date of McArdell's birth is often erroneously given as 1710
  instead of 1728-9 according to the above authority.

  [59] James Walker must not be confused either with Anthony and his
  brother William, or with the stipple and mezzotint engraver William
  Walker of the present century. James Walker's prints are not numerous,
  a great number of his plates and prints having been lost from the
  foundering of the vessel which was bringing them back to England
  from Russia, where Walker had lived for seventeen years, having been
  appointed in 1784 engraver to the Empress Catherine.

  [60] A painter more generally known as Langen Jan, born at Munster in
  1610, the correct name being John or Johann van Bockhorst; the name,
  however, appears as above in the engraving.

  [61] On the foundation of the Royal Academy in 1768, Bartolozzi, to the
  exclusion of Strange and Woollett, was admitted one of the first forty
  members with full membership; all engravers afterwards up to the year
  1855 could only be elected as associate members.

  [62] This engraver was in no way related to the better-known stipple
  and historical engraver of the same name who flourished in the present
  century.

  [63] Woollett was buried in Old St. Pancras Churchyard; on a plain
  tombstone which marks the spot were found one day written in pencil the
  two lines--

    "Here Woollett rests, expecting to be sav'd,
    He graved well, but is not well engrav'd."

Shortly afterwards a subscription was raised, to which Benjamin
West and John Boydell contributed, for the purpose of erecting the
above-mentioned tablet which now stands in the West Cloister.

[64] Opie painted a life-size head of S. W. Reynolds, and of his
daughter Elizabeth as "Red Riding Hood" (exhibited at the winter
exhibition of the Royal Academy, 1876); this portrait of herself
Elizabeth engraved in mezzotint at the age of fourteen.

[65] Father of the late E. W. Cooke, R.A.

[66] Walker engraved the portrait of Raeburn with the special purpose
of proving the contrary.

[67] John Lucas, the well-known portrait painter and also engraver in
mezzotint, was likewise a pupil of Reynolds.

[68] The plate of Salisbury Cathedral was engraved at Constable's
expense and published in 1837 by Messrs. Hodgson, Graves and Co., for
the painter. After his sudden death in the same year it was sold at
Foster's, Pall Mall, in 1838, and bought in for eighty guineas, hardly
the price of two proofs at the present time.

Through the kindness of Mr. Algernon Graves, the writer has had access
to many manuscript notes written by David Lucas.

[69] Brother of Samuel Cousins, R.A.

[70] Better known in France, where he settled in 1816, he died in
the neighbourhood of Paris in 1843, and introduced there the mode of
cutting on the end of the grain instead of with the grain as was before
the practice.

[71] First introduced in 1840, although not in general practice until
some years later.

[72] On the principle of that which is known as "engine turning," as
seen on the back of watch-cases.

[73] It is also necessary to point out that no impression damaged from
course of time or printed from a worn-out plate can give any idea of
the original engraving as a work of art. Other things being equal,
proofs are primâ facie likely to be the best impressions, but a good
print (that is a later impression), if in good condition, is far more
valuable than a damaged or rubbed proof, however early the state may
be.



INDEX.


                          PAGE

  Agesilaus, King of Sparta, 8

  Agostino, Veniziano, 106

  Aldegrever, 93

  Ambling, Gustave, 209

  Amman, Jost, 175

  Andrea, Zoan, 74

  Andreani, Andrea, 111

  Andrews, J., 328

  Antonio da Brescia, Giovanni, 74

  Ardell, 172, 300, 301

  Aretino, Pietro, 109, 110, 136

  D'Argenville, 224

  Atkinson, 324

  Aveline, 216

  Audran, Gérard, 6, 178, 194-202, 207, 211, 216, 237


  Baillie, Will, 310

  Baldini, Baccio, 60-65

  Balechou, 229-231

  Barbari, Jacopo de', 74

  Barlow, F., 291, 292

  Bartolozzi, 237-239, 305, 313, 314

  Battista del Porto, 77

  Baudet, Étienne, 189

  Beatrizet, Nicolas, 151

  Beauvarlet, 226

  Beckett, Isaac, 297, 298

  Beham, Bartholomew, 93, 94

  Beham, Hans Sebald, 93, 94

  Bella, Stefano della, 162

  Berghem, 139

  Bernard, Auguste, 12

  Bernhardinus, Milnet, 44

  Bernini, 168

  Bertinot, 278

  Bervic, 249, 252-255, 259, 260, 274

  Bewick, 315, 326

  Binck, Jacob, 94

  Biot, 285

  Blackmore, 302

  Blake, W., 310, 311

  Blanchard, 278

  Blootelingh, Abraham, 297

  "B M", 85

  Bochelt, Franz von, 84

  Boldrini, Nicolò, 116

  Bolswert, 132, 133, 149, 177

  Bonasone, da Bologna, 106

  Bonnet, 242

  Bonzonnet, Claudine, 189

  Borromini, 168

  Bosse, Abraham, 164, 166, 169, 207

  Both, Jan, 139

  Botticelli, 60, 62

  Boulanger, 237

  Boydell, 315

  Boyvin, René, 151

  Branston, R., 326

  Brauwer, Adrian, 139

  Breughels, 134

  Bromley, 320

  Brookshaw, 234, 302

  Browne, John, 307

  Bruyn, Nicolas van, 131

  Burgkmair, Hans, 113

  Burke, 314

  Burnet, John, 320

  Burt, 328


  Calamatta, 269

  Callot, Jacques, 138, 156-166, 175-177, 205

  Canta-Gallina, 158, 162

  Cantarini, 162

  Caracci, Agostino, 110, 138, 158

  Caracci, Annibale, 168

  Caraglio, Giovanni, da Verona, 106

  Cardon, Anthony, 313

  Carmona, 226

  Carmontelle, 224

  Carpi, Ugo da, 111, 112

  Cars, Laurent, 213-216

  Casilear, 329

  Caylus, Count, 224, 240

  Cerceau, du, Adrian, 155

  Chapman, 327

  Chauveau, 204

  Chedel, 217

  Cheesman, 314

  Cheney, 328

  Chevreuse, Duc de, 224

  Chodowiecki, 228

  Church, 327

  Cipriani, 237

  Claessens, Alart, 130

  Clennell, 326

  Clint, George, 320

  Cochin, 218, 219, 240

  Coigny, Marquis de, 224

  Cooke, George William, 320

  Copia, 252

  Corneille, Claude, 153

  Cornelis, 134

  Cornelius, 94

  Cort, Cornelius, 130

  Cortona, da, Pietro, 198

  Coster, Laurence, 14, 16, 22, 28

  Cousin, 150, 151

  Cousins, Henry, 324

  Cousins, Samuel, 266, 267, 322

  Cranach, Lucas, 113

  Cunego, Domenichino, 228

  Cunio, Cavaliere Alberico, 9


  Dagoty, Gautier, 243

  Danforth, 329

  Danguin, 278

  Daullé, 226

  David, Emeric, 10, 31

  David, Louis, 248, 250

  Dawe, Henry, 320

  Dean, John, 302

  De Bry, 287

  Debucourt, 245

  De Kaiser, 285

  Delaram, François, 289

  Delaune, Étienne, 151, 153, 154

  De Leu, Thomas, 156, 157, 179

  Demarteau, Gilles, 239-242

  De Passe, Crispin, 288

  De Passe, Magdalen, 288

  De Passe, Simon, 288

  Desnoyers, Boucher, 249, 259, 260, 270, 274

  Desplaces, Louis, 201

  Deuchar, David, 310

  Dick, 328

  Dickinson, 172, 302

  Dienecker, Jost., 111

  Dixon, John, 302

  Domenichino, 168

  Doo, 324

  Dorigny, 201

  Drevet, Claude, 211

  Drevet, Imbert, 211

  Drevet, Pierre, 211

  Duchange, Gaspard, 201

  Duflos, 216

  Du Jardin, Karel, 140

  Dumonstier, Geofroy, 151

  Dupuis, 216, 226

  Durand, 328

  Dürer, Albert, 17, 87-95, 97-100, 102, 106, 112, 113, 116, 120, 122,
        128, 176, 177

  Duveneck, 327

  Duvet, Jean, 151, 152


  Earlom, 172, 302, 303

  Edelinck, 184-186, 189, 191-196, 200, 220

  Edwin, David, 328

  Elstracke, Reginald, 289


  Faber, John, senior, 298, 299

  Faber, John, junior, 298, 299

  Fairman, 329

  Faithorne, Will, 170, 289

  Felsing, 263

  Finiguerra, 35, 38, 47, 52-56, 62, 76

  Fiquet, 218, 220, 222, 223

  Fisher, Edward, 301

  Flipart, 217

  Forrest, J. B., 328

  Francia, Francesco, 102

  Francia, Jacopo, 74

  Franck, 285

  François, Alphonse, 278

  François, Jean Charles, 239-242

  François, Jules, 276

  Frye, Thomas, 300, 301

  Füst, 29


  Gaillard, 278

  Gantrel, 189

  Garnier, Noel, 151

  Gaugain, Thomas, 313

  Gaultier, Leonard, 156, 179

  Gaywood, R., 292

  Geminus, Thomas, 288

  Gherardo da Modena, 82

  Ghisi, Diana, 106

  Gifford, 327

  Giller, William, 324

  Gilli, 282

  Gimbrede, 328

  Giolito da Ferrari, 115

  Giotto, 53

  Girard, 246

  Glockenton, 85

  Golding, Richard, 320

  Goltzius, Hendrik, 130, 131

  Gomboust, Jacques, 203

  Gourmont, Jean de, 153

  Goya, 139

  Grateloup, 220

  Gravelle, de, President, 224

  Graves, Robert, 324

  Greche, Domenico delle, 116

  Green, Valentine, 172, 302

  Greenwood, John, 301

  Greuze, 216

  Grün, Baldung, 93

  Gutenburg, 8, 13-15, 17, 18, 28, 35, 47, 49, 51, 53, 54, 60, 76-78,
        82, 86, 176


  Haden, Seymour, 282, 325, 326

  Haid, 304

  Hainzelmann, Johann, 208

  Hamerton, 326

  Hardouin, 82

  Harvey, Will, 326

  Heath, Charles, 320, 329

  Heath, James, 309, 315

  Henriquel-Dupont, 271-277

  Hogarth, William, 231-233, 300, 304

  Hogenberg, François, 288

  Hogenberg, Remigius, 288

  Hollar, 170, 171, 177, 287, 290-292

  Hopwood, James, 320

  Houbraken, J., 228

  Houston, Richard, 301

  Huot, 278


  Il Vecchio da Parma, 106

  Ingram, 226


  Jackson, 324, 326

  Jacobe, 304

  Jacobi, 285

  Jacquemart, 280-283

  Jazet, 245, 246

  Jeens, C. H., 314

  Jeens, J. H., 325

  Jones, John, 302


  Kauffmann, Angelica, 237

  Kaulbach, 94

  Keller, Franz, 262

  Kilian, Bartholomew, 209

  Kirkall, Edw., 311-313

  Klaus, 285

  Kobell, 234


  Laborde, Léon, 12, 36-38

  Landseer, John, 320

  Larmessin, Nicolas de, 216

  Lasne, Michel, 180

  Lastman, 243

  Laugier, 276

  Law, David, 326

  Lawrie, Robert, 302

  Le Bas, 216, 234

  Leblond, J. Christophe, 242, 243, 311, 312

  Lebrun, 184, 187, 189, 194, 196, 198, 199

  Leclerc, Sebastien, 184, 204

  Legat, F., 309

  Le Joséphin, 158

  Lepautre, 204

  Lepicié, 216, 230

  Leprince, J. B., 244

  Le Roy, Philip, 134

  Levasseur, 217

  Lewis, 324

  Leyden, Lucas van, 118-131, 134, 176

  Linton, 326

  Longhi, 256

  Lorraine, Claude, 138, 160, 162, 165, 167, 177

  Louis, Aristide, 276

  Loutherbourg, 231

  Lucas, David, 322-324

  Lucas, John, 322

  Ludy, 262

  Lupton, Thomas, 320

  Lutma, Jan, 238

  Lützelburger, 113-115

  Luynes, Duchess of, 224


  "Maitre à l'Écrevisse", 130

  "Maitre à l'Étoile", 130

  Major, Thomas, 304

  Mantegna, Andrea, 68-74, 85, 124, 176, 177

  Mantovani, 106

  Marc Antonio, Raimondi, 66, 73, 91, 92, 100-113, 120, 122, 124, 133,
        176-178

  Marc de Bye, 140

  Marco da Ravenna, 106

  Marcolini da Forli, 115

  Marshall, 329

  Massaloff, 282

  Massard, 250

  Massé, 229

  Masson, 189, 194, 211

  "Master of the Bird", 77

  "Master of the Caduceus", 74

  "Master of Colmar", 76

  "Master of Nuremberg", 94

  "Master of the Streamers", 118

  "Master of 1466", 49, 51, 53, 76-78, 82, 86

  "Masters, The Little", 93, 162, 169, 177

  Mechenen, Israel van, 84

  Mellan, Claude, 180

  Memling, 22

  Mendel, 263

  Mercuri, 269

  Merian, Matthew, 170

  Merz, 262

  Meyer, Henry, 320

  Mignard, 194, 196

  Mocetto, 74, 75

  Molés, Pascal, 226

  Montenay, Georgette de, 156

  Moran, 327

  Morel, 250

  Morghen, 106, 255-258, 260, 269

  Morin, Jean, 6, 179, 181, 211, 237

  Morris, Thomas, 309

  Moser, 237

  Müller, Christian Fred, 258-261

  Müller, Jan, 130, 131

  Müller, John Godard, 258, 259

  Musi, Agostino, 151


  Nanteuil, Robert, 180-184, 186, 189-192, 194, 202, 209, 211, 220

  Nesbitt, 326

  Niccoló della Casa, 152

  Niccoló, of Pisa, 53

  Nicoletto da Modena, 74, 82


  Ogborn, John, 314

  Ostade, Adrian van, 139

  Ottley, 328


  Parrish, Stephen, 327

  Peale, Charles Wilson, 328

  Pencz, Georg, 93

  Pennell, 327

  Perkins, 329

  Pesne, Jean, 187-189, 193, 194

  Pether, William, 302

  Petitot, 220, 222

  Pichler, 304

  Pitau, Nicolas, 191

  Poilly, François de, 189, 191, 194, 204, 207, 209

  Pollajuolo, Antonio, 55, 62, 85

  Pompadour, Mme. de, 224, 225

  Pontius, Paul, 132, 133, 149, 177

  Porporati, 226, 227

  Posselwhite, 324

  Potter, Paul, 138, 139

  Poussin, 160

  Preisler, Martin, 226

  Prestel, Katherine, 237

  Prévost, 246


  Raimbach, Abraham, 266, 267

  Raimondi (see Marc Antonio).

  Raphael, 101-108

  Reboul, Mme., 224

  Redlich, 282

  Regent, The Prince, of France, 223

  Regnesson, 182

  Régnier, Mathurin, 160

  Rembrandt, 104, 128, 140-148, 177

  Reynolds, Sir J., 172, 231, 233

  Reynolds, Samuel, 266, 267, 317-322

  Ribera, 139, 175

  Richomme, 276

  Rigaud, 211, 214

  Ritchie, 328

  Robert, 284

  Robetta, 67

  Robinson, 324

  Roger, Barthélemy, 252

  Rogers, William, 288

  Romano, Giulio, 102, 108-110

  Rosa, Salvator, 159

  Roullet, 189, 194

  Rousseaux, 276

  Rubens, 131-133, 176, 178

  Rupert, Prince, 171-173, 292, 296

  Ruysdael, J., 139

  Ryder, Thomas, 314

  Ryland, 226, 228, 238, 239, 270, 309, 310


  St. Aubin, Augustin, 218-221

  St. Non, Abbé de, 240

  Saint-Ygny, 164

  Sanson, Adrien, 203

  Sanson, Guillaume, 203

  Sartain, John, 328

  Savart, 220

  Say, William, 320

  Schäffer, 262

  Schaüflein, Hans, 93, 113

  Schmidt, 226

  Schön, Bartholomew, 84

  Schongauer, Martin, 76, 78-86, 91, 117, 176, 177

  Scott, John, 320

  Scultori, Diana (see Ghisi).

  Seghers, 243

  Selma, Fernando, 228

  Sharp, William, 305, 308, 309, 315

  Sherborne, W. H., 325

  Sherwin, John Keyse, 297, 309

  Sherwin, William, 296, 297

  Silvestre, Israel, 138, 164, 177

  Simon, Jean, 298

  Simoneau, Charles, 229

  Slocombe, 326

  Smillies, 328

  Smith, Anker, 309, 316

  Smith, Beckett, 297, 298

  Smith, John, 297, 298

  Smith, J. R., 172, 302

  Snyders, Franz, 134

  Sonnenleiter, 285

  Soutman, 132, 133

  Spencer, Asa, 329

  Spierre, François, 204

  Spilsbury, John, 302

  Star, Dirck (see Van Staren).

  Steinfensand, 262

  Steinla, 263

  Stella, Claudine (see Bonzonnet).

  Strange, Robert, 226, 228, 234, 270, 305-307

  Sullivan, Luke, 304, 305

  Suyderhoef, Jonas, 136, 149


  Tardieu, Alexandre, 249, 251, 259, 270

  Tardieu, Nicolas Henri, 201, 226

  Taylor, 243

  Thaeter, 262

  Thompson, Charles, 326

  Thompson, John, 326

  Tiebout, C., 328

  Tinney, John, 307

  Titian, 116

  Tomkins, P. W., 314

  Toschi, 269

  Tory, Geofroy, 151

  Trento, Antonio da, 111

  Turner, Charles, 316, 317


  Unger, 282


  Vaillant, Wallerant, 172, 296

  Van Dalen, Cornelius, 136, 177

  Van Dyck, 133, 134

  Van Eyck, 18, 22, 28

  Van Schuppen, 194, 208, 209

  Van Staren, Dirck, 130

  Velde, Adrian van de, 140

  Veldenaer, John, 17

  Vermeulen, Cornelius, 209

  Vicentino, Nicolò, 111

  Vissher, Cornelius, 135-137, 149, 177

  Vivarès, 229-231, 305

  Volpato, 255, 269

  Von Siegen, Ludwig, 171, 172, 292, 296

  Vorsterman, 132, 133, 177, 287

  Vostre, Simon, 82


  Wagner, Joseph, 226

  Walker, Anthony, 302, 307

  Walker, James, 302

  Walker, William, 302, 308, 313, 321, 322

  Ward, William, 316

  Watelet, 224

  Watson, Caroline, 313

  Watson, James, 172, 302

  Watson, Thomas, 172, 302

  Watt, J. H., 324

  Watteau, 214

  Weber, 285

  Wenceslas, of Olmütz, 84

  Weirotter, 228

  Whistler, 326, 327

  White, G., 298

  Wierix, 131

  Wille, John George, 226, 259

  Woeiriot, Pierre, 153

  Wolgemut, Michael, 87-89, 113

  Woollett, 229, 231, 234, 236, 270, 305, 307, 308

  Woolnoth, Thomas, 320, 321

  Worlidge, Thomas, 310

  Wren, Sir Ch., 296


  Young, John, 302


  Zell, Ulric, 14-16


PRINTED BY CASSELL & COMPANY, LIMITED, LA BELLE SAUVAGE, LONDON, E.C.



Transcriber's Notes:


Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

When necessary, illustrations were moved so as to not interrupt the
flow of text.

Footnotes were moved to the end of the book, just before the Index.

Table of Contents lists "A CHAPTER ON ENGLISH ENGRAVING" as being on
page 278, but it is on page 287. Corrected here.

Page 330: Three asterisks represent an inverted asterism.





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