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  • Item Category: -
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Jul 06, 2009
  • Channel: Auction House



In 1793 the master British engraver, William Sharp ( 1749 - 1824 ), commissioned by John Boydell, created what many print connoisseurs consider to be his masterpiece, The King Lear Print, also know as the "The West/Sharp Lear". Acknowledged as the most important and dramatic interpretation of the American painter, Benjamin West's ( 1738 - 1820 ) masterpiece oil, King Lear ( now in the Museum of Fine Arts. Boston ). The work is also the earliest and most important recording of West's masterpiece, and one of the greatest graphic interpretations known of Shakespeare's work. This print is found in many of the great American and British collections including the Smithsonian and the British Museum. An edition of this print was in the collection of Thomas Jefferson. West was the second President of the Royal Academy in London and a personal friend of William Sharp. Sharp's incredible technique of fine line engraving ( working under magnifing dishes ) on a copper plate, exceeds the quality and detail of most bank note engravings.

This very rare fine line engraving is printed on laid rag paper measureing 17 1/2 inches by 24 3/4 inches ( including the the sepia titled legend below the image ): This work is a proof edition before the engraved letters ( printed Feb, 21 1793 ): the later edition with engraved letters below the image was published March 25, 1793 ). The full legend, on this print, in hand printed sepia capital letters reads lower left - "BENJAMIN WEST": lower center - "LEAR IN THE STORM": lower right - "Wm. SHARP"; with subcaption, lower center left - "OFF OFF, YOU LENDINGS". ( see Smithsonian's example below with 2nd edition engraved titles )-

150 Years of Print Collecting at the Smithsonian

William Sharp, 1749-1824
after Benjamin West, 1738-1820
King Lear
Etching and engraving, 1793
S. A. Schoff Collection
Leonard Hastings Schoff bequest, 1979

Many collectors considered Sharp's engraving of King Lear the finest of the one hundred large engravings made after paintings commissioned by London publisher and gallery owner John Boydell. George Perkins Marsh and Thomas Jefferson also owned prints from Boydell's Shakspeare Gallery series.

This work would make a fine addition to any important American or British collection. It is beautifully framed under new UV protective plexiglas in a custom gold leaf frame ( with acid free backing ): frame size is 25 1/2 inchs by 31 inches: frame distortion in my photos is from my lens only: actual frame is even and straight.

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u.S. shipping is fixed at $65 ( this includes professional art packing and insurance ).
andale andalesell
Payment Options: Credit Cards ,Paypal Shipping Options: Fixed Shipping Charges.
Shipping & Handling Rate: $65.00 (Domestic)
I will ship to: USA and following regions : Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, Americas, Mexico, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom [Sales Tax]: 9% for in-state buyers More than just a pretty picture.
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