Gallery of prints for sale

Saturday 19 June 2021

Jacob Houbraken’s etching & engraving, “Portrait of Charles Fleetwood”, 1740

Jacob Houbraken (aka Jacobus Houbraken) (1698–1780)

“Portrait of Charles Fleetwood”, 1740, from the series, “Birch's Heads” (aka “The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, Engraved by Mr Houbraken and Mr Vertue, with their Lives and Characters by Thomas Birch, A.M.F.R.S.”), after the painting by Robert Walker (1599–1658) in the collection of the Society of Antiquaries of London (Burlington House), engraved in Amsterdam and published in London in 1740 (as inscribed on plate) by John Knapton (fl.1735–1789) and his brother Paul Knapton (1703–1755).

Regarding the auricular styled frame around the portrait, the Curator of the British Museum advises that Hubert-François Gravelot (aka Hubert François Bourguignon Gravelot; Hubert François Bourguignon) (1699–1773) “was responsible for the ornamental surrounds which were engraved first” (

Etching and engraving on laid paper trimmed close to the platemark.

Size: (sheet) 39.8 x 23.9 cm; (plate) 37.7 x 23.3 cm; (image borderline) 36.5 x 22.5 cm.

Lettered in plate around the portrait the image borderline: “LIEUTENANT GENERAL FLEETWOOD”.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “Walker pinx.”; (left of centre) “In the Possession of Thomas Cook Esqr.”; (right of centre) “Impensis I. & P. Knapton Londini 1740.”; (right) “J. Houbraken sculps. Amst. 1740.”

State ii (of ii) with the addition of publication details and lettering around the portrait.

Ver Huell 50 (Alexander Ver Huell 1875, “Jacobus Houbraken et Son Oeuvre”, Arnhem, P. Gouda Quint, p. 110, cat. no. 50); O'Donoghue 1 (Freeman O'Donoghue 1908–25, “Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits Preserved in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum”, 6 vols., London, cat. no. 1).

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:

“Portrait of Charles Fleetwood, Governor of Ireland, bust directed to left but looking at the viewer, wearing armour; in an ornamental oval on a pedestal; a lion resting his paw on fasces below; with publisher's address; after Robert Walker. 1740”


See also the description of this print in its first state offered by the Rijksmuseum:

Condition: a well-printed, near faultless impression, trimmed close to the platemark as published. The sheet is in an excellent condition with no tears, folds, stains or foxing.

I am selling this remarkable portrait showing collaboration between the engraver of the Baroque frame surrounding the portrait (viz. Hubert-François Gravelot) and Houbraken who engraved of the portrait of Lt.-Gen. Charles Fleetwood (c1618–1692)—an English Parliamentarian and Lord Deputy of Ireland—for AU$254 (currently US$190.18/EUR160.28/GBP137.72 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in purchasing this fascinating portrait where the portrayed frame acts to give symbolic and psychological meaning to the sitter—in my personal reading I see the lion in the foreground as adding the idea courage, strength and nobility and its arrangement holding a Fasces (i.e., the bound bundle of rods traditionally used to sheath a sword or axe) as adding the symbolism of magisterial power and jurisdiction, while the lance and armour might signify a warrior mindset and military pedigree—please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

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