Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Lurid Mezzotints from Carington Bowles (1724-1793)

Carington Bowles (publisher)
Bacchus and Ariadne
ca. 1770-90
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher)
Jupiter and Antiope
ca. 1770-85
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher) after Jean-Fran├žois de Troy
David and Bathsheba
ca. 1780-90
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

MEZZOTINT –  an engraving technique developed in the seventeenth century which allows for the creation of prints with soft gradations of tone and rich and velvety blacks.  The process involves indenting the metal printing plate by rocking a toothed metal tool across the surface.  Each pit holds ink, and if printed at this stage the image would be solid black.  However, the printmaker creates dark and light tones by gradually rubbing down or burnishing the rough surface to various degrees of smoothness to reduce the ink-holding capacity of areas of the plate.  The technique became particularly popular in eighteenth-century England for reproducing portrait paintings. 

– term note from the Tate Gallery, London

Carington Bowles (publisher)
Cymon and Iphigenia
1783
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher)
Judgement of Paris
ca. 1766-84
hand-colored mezzotint and etching
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher)
Peter Delivered out of Prison
ca. 1790
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher)
Vision of Jacob's Ladder
ca. 1780-90
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher) after Raphael
Transfiguration of Christ
ca. 1790
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher)
Father Bald-Pate's Absolution to his Fair Penitent
ca. 1770-80
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher) after Robert Dighton
Life and Death contrasted, or, An Essay on Woman
1784
hand-colored mezzotint and engraving
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher) after Robert Dighton
Life and Death contrasted, or, An Essay on Man
1784
hand-colored mezzotint and engraving
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher)
The Double Attack, or, French Politeness not a Match for English Assurance
ca. 1770-80
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher) after Robert Dighton
Tally Ho
ca. 1786-90
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher) after John Raphael Smith
The Singing Bird
1781
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Carington Bowles (publisher) after John Raphael Smith
The Singing Bird
1781
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum