Lot 364: Richard Houston (1721?–1775) Portrait of Wycliffe
29 October 2016
Wells, ME, USA
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Description: [PORTRAIT] original 18th century mezzotint engraving by Richard Houston (1721?–1775) the Irish mezzotint engraver, whose career was mostly in London. Born in Dublin about 1721, he became a pupil of John Brooks, who was also the master of James McArdell and Charles Spooner. He came to London about 1747, and some of his early plates bear the address "near Drummond's at Charing Cross". In debt to Robert Sayer the print-seller, he was arrested and confined to the Fleet prison; according to Sayer this in order that he might know where to find the dissipated Houston. He was released in 1760, on the accession of George III. As a free agent he was commissioned by Carington Bowles. Offered here ia a rare portrait of John Wycliffe ( c. 1320–1384) English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher,translator, reformer and university teacher at Oxford in England, who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. Print has been cropped and laid to larger sheet. Mezzotint is the rarest of all print mediums - almost a lost art today. A high level of quality and richness in the mezzotint print can be achieved. The mezzotint printmaking method was invented by the German amateur artist Ludwig von Siegen (1609–c 1680). His earliest mezzotint print dates to 1642 and is a portrait of Amelia Elizabeth, Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel). VG.
Condition Report: VG