John Smith after Sir Anthony van Dyck – Portrait of King Charles I


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Mezzotint c.1718 after the painting 1636. Trimmed and mounted onto a sheet of Whatman paper, framed with a line in brown ink 1-2 mm outside the print. The backing paper has been fixed to a wood stretcher and is displayed in a beautiful English 18th century carved and ebonised print frame. Apart from brown oxidisation the surface area of the print is in good condition. The backing paper has a couple of small punctures (upper left) but does not distract from the print.

Engraved and published by John Smith (1652-1743).
Sitter: King Charles I (1600-1649), Reigned 1625-49.
Artist: Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641).

Mezzotint: 13 1/2 x 9 15/16 in. (34.5 x 25.2 cm.)
Frame: 20 7/8 x 17 1/8 in. (53 x 43.5 cm.)


Smith, John, Engraver (1652-1743)

A pioneer of the mezzotint process. Born in Northampton, he moved to London to become a printer's apprentice. He turned his attention to mezzotint engraving and became the pupil of Jan Van der Vaart. In the first nine years of his career Smith worked for five publishers: Richard Palmer, Edward CooperAlexander BrownePierce Tempest and Isaac Beckett. He began publishing for himself in 1687, and from 1692 worked only for himself. When Beckett died in 1688, Smith inherited his position as chief engraver to Godfrey Kneller. He engraved over a hundred plates after Kneller's portraits, giving him access to prominent members of society, who became customers.