Friday, 13 October 2017

An interpretative etching after Angelica Kauffman’s painting, “Lodovica Hammond” (aka “Louisa Hammond”), c1781



A pair of interpretative etchings executed using different techniques after Angelica Kauffman’s (aka Angelica Maria Catherine Kauffman; Maria Anna Angelika Catharina Kauffman; sometimes misspelt Angelica Kauffmann) (1741–1807) painting, “Lodovica Hammond” (aka “Louisa Hammond”), c1781.

The attribution of the date is based on a stipple etching by Francesco Bartolozzi held in the Rijksmuseum of the same composition dated in the plate: 15 Sept. 1781 (see http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.collect.75292).

Note: although I am not aware of the present whereabouts of the painting by Kauffman (if anyone can help that would be marvellous) I assume that the design of the two prints is based on a painting because of the inscription on the plate: “Angelica Kauffman pinxit" (i.e. Kauffman painted the original composition).


J. Louis. L. *** (the name of the engraver inscribed on the plate) possibly
Louis-Joseph Le Lorrain (1715–60) or Louis Legrand (aka Louis Claude Legrand; Louis Le Grand) (1723–1807)

“Lodovica Hammond”, the British Museum proposes a date between 1781 and 1873, after Angelica Kauffman.

Etching and stipple/dot engraving in red-brown coloured ink on laid paper with small margins lined onto a support sheet of fine washi paper.
Size: (sheet) 39.7 x 30.8 cm; (plate) 38 x 29.2 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “Angelica Kauffman pinxit"; (centre in three lines) “Lodovica Hammond / If mio Fratello é Vostro Amico è dunque partito (Google transl. from Italian: “If my brother is your friend then he left”) / Vedette, Emma Corbell, ower [.], de Miserie delle Civili Guerre. Lettera XXXIII me di, S. I. Pratt.” (Google transl. from Italian: “He saw, Emma Corbell, ower[.], of Misery of Civil Wars. Letter XXXIII with, S. I. Pratt."); (right) “J. Louis L. *** Sculp.”

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“A woman writing in a landscape, sitting on a stone ledge and leaning on a board in her lap, an inkwell in her left hand, with a dog curled up alsleep [sic] in the foreground, mountains in the distance; oval design; after Kauffman Etching and engraving”

Alexander 1992 110 (after) (David Alexander 1992, “Chronological checklist of singly issued English prints after Angelica Kauffman”)

Condition: crisp impression in marvellous condition for its age (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or significant stains) with small margins (varying slightly in size but approximately 7 mm) and laid onto a conservator’s support sheet.

I am selling this very beautiful example of line and stipple engraving printed in red-brown ink in a combined sale with the mezzotint and etching printed in black ink for the total cost for the pair of prints of AU$186 (currently US$146.76/EUR123.67/GBP110.26 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this pair of related prints after a painting by one the major female artists of the 18th century, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This pair of prints have been sold







D.P. (the initials of the engraver inscribed on the plate) (active in the late 18th century)

“Louisa Hammond”, late 18th century, after Angelica Kauffman.

Mezzotint and etching on laid paper trimmed to the edge of the oval image borderline and lined onto a support sheet of fine washi paper.
Size: 37.7 x 25.9 cm
Lettered below the image borderline: (left) “Angelica Kauffman pinxit / My Brother and your Friend, then, is gone?” "; (centre) “LOUISA HAMMOND.”; (right) “DP fc / Mon Frére et votre Ami est donc parti!”

Condition: richly inked impression trimmed within the image borderline on the left and right sides with a red collector’s stamp at the lower centre of the margin. There is light watercolour retouching in the image and margin of blue ink stains and abrasions, otherwise the print is in good condition.

I am selling this very beautiful print in a combined sale with the stipple etching shown previously for the total cost for the pair of prints of AU$186 (currently US$146.76/EUR123.67/GBP110.26 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this pair of related prints after a painting by one the major female artists of the 18th century, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.







Although worldly wise and tough spirited viewers may wince at the saccharine coating of social politeness expressed by the subject of these two prints, the reason that I chose to share these prints is not really about the subject at all. Instead my interest is all about the subtle shift in meanings projected by the different techniques employed—etching and engraving in the print on the left and etching and mezzotint in the print on the right.

Before I propose how I perceive this shift in the interpretative translation of a painting into the graphic medium of print, I had better offer a few insights into Kauffman’s vision of genteel feminine charm underpinning this composition featuring a glamorously dressed and unchaperoned young lady from the Louis XVI period engaged in the multi-tasking activity of writing a letter with a goose feather while simultaneously balancing a writing board on her knee and holding an inkpot.

Perhaps the essence of Kauffman’s vision may be summed up by her original career choice to be a painter-printmaker rather than pursuing a career in the opera: Kauffman chose to be an artist because she was advised by her priest that the opera “was a dangerous place filled with ‘seedy people’” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelica_Kauffman). (My apologies to opera folk!) What I am implying by mentioning her decision to be a visual artist is that Kauffman’s mindset was geared at a very fundamental way towards social politeness and inoffensive charm. In short, her composition here is flavoured with the same sweet tastes.

Mindful that the two prints are designed to showcase the social niceties of Kauffman’s vision, I see a conceptual gap separating the way that these prints express the same meaning. In the print on the left, the use of stippled dots gives a pictorial lightness and airiness to the scene. By comparison, the densely worked surface of the mezzotint shading of the print on the right draws attention to the physical attributes of the portrayed subject: the surface sheen and transparency of fabric and lace, the solidity of the tree limbs and, importantly, the spot lit effect of the figure set against a dark background. Going further, the colour of ink chosen for each print also helps to articulate the difference of meanings expressed. In the left print, the red-brown adds the dimensional of otherworldliness matching the expression of transcendent lightness of the stippled lines. By contrast, the warm greys of the right print complements the feeling of solid tangible reality suggested by the mezzotint modelling.


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