Gallery of prints for sale

Tuesday 9 April 2024

William Henry Simmons, “The Return (First Class)”, 1857, after Abraham Solomon

William Henry Simmons (1811–1882)

“The Return (First Class)”, 1857, engraving after Abraham Solomon’s (1823–1862) painting, “First Class - The Meeting. ‘And at first meeting loved.’”, 1855, in the collection of the Yale Centre for British Art (, printed by McQueen & Co (aka William Benjamin McQueen) (fl. 1816–1956) and published in London in 1857 by E. Gambart & Co (aka Jean Joseph Ernest Theodore Gambart [1814–1902]).

Based on the description of this print offered by Antipodean Books, Maps and Prints, I understand that the engraving was initially published and sold with the related engraving, “The Departure - Second Class”, in an edition of 225 pairs (see

Engraving with mixed techniques (viz. stipple, etching, aquatint and others) on heavy wove paper backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 55.7 x 72.1 cm; (image borderline) 47.9 x 68.1 cm.

Lettered in plate below the image borderline: (left) “PAINTED BY A. SOLOMON.”; (centre) “LONDON; PUBLISHED 4TH. APRIL 1857, BY E. GAMBART & CO. 25 BERNERS STREET/ THE RETURN/ (First Class)”; (right) “ENGRAVED BY W. H. SIMMONS.”

The British Museum offers the following description of this print: “A railway carriage, where a young woman sitting by the window on the left is making lace and listening to a young man wearing military uniform, who sits on the right, leaning inwards and talking with animation to her and an elderly man, who holds a paper and leans forward, smiling; after Solomon.” In the description details, the Curator of the British Museum offers an insight from the Lennox-Boyd database: “… Solomon exhibited an earlier version at the Royal Academy in 1854, which showed the young man flirting with the girl while her father slept, and Solomon altered it in response to criticism for immorality; the paintings were entitled 'First Class - The Meeting', and 'Second Class - The Parting / Thus part we, rich in sorrow, parting poor'; the prints seem to suggest a closer relation between the two pictures than the original paintings” (

Condition: a strong and well-printed impression laid onto a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. There is scattered pale foxing, otherwise, the huge sheet has no tears, holes or folds.

I am selling this famous and immense 19th century masterwork of engraving capturing the underlying nervous energy and polite social manners of the time—for example the etiquette of removing one’s gloves before contacting another’s hand is fixed in my mind ever since I was introduced to the custom by my father when I was required to read a nineteenth century publication on etiquette to equip me for my future life—for AU$569 in total (currently US$375.90/EUR346.24/GBP297.06 at the time of posting 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 exceptionally rare and important engraving, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please let me know your thoughts, advice about inaccuracies (including typos) and additional information that you would like to add to any post.