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Friday 6 December 2019

Alexander Runciman's etching, “Cormar Attacking the Spirit of the Waters”, 1774

Alexander Runciman (1736–1785)
“Cormar Attacking the Spirit of the Waters”, 1774, illustration inspired by an episode in “Fingal” (see in James Macpherson's (1736–1796) “The Works of Ossian” (1765)—a reputed translation of the oral cycle of Gaelic poetry of the (possibly) legendary narrator/poet, Ossian. This composition relates to the cycle of ceiling paintings by Runciman in Penicuik House (Midlothian, Scotland) destroyed by fire in 1899.
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed along the platemark and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 7.5 x 12.8 cm.
Inscribed on plate: (lower edge) "ARunciman [“AR” in monogram] inv & [in reverse] fecit […]  [“Uid Fiingul” faint and not fully decipherable and perhaps a reference to Fingal].
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Cormar standing at a deck in profile to left, his left foot forward, about to grab the spirit in a wave on the left with his right hand, a sword in his left, three other figures in the right background.”
Condition: richly inked and well-printed impression, trimmed along the platemark in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, losses, abrasions, significant stains or foxing), laid upon an archival support sheet of millennium quality washi paper.
I am selling this small but visually arresting etching executed with confident spontaneity and creative invention—note how the freely sketched figures (water spirits) fleeing the central figure (Cormar) are convincingly portrayed as whisper-like apparitions—for a total cost of AU$330 (currently US$225.76/EUR204.02/GBP171.95 at the time of this listing) 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 gem of Scottish printmaking capturing some of the passion of Goya and William Blake, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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