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'A View of Land Guard Fort' from volume "Collection of Prints, Engraved from the finest paintings ... of the most celebrated collections in England and France"

IH, unbound volume inscr. bl. "T. Gainsborough pinxt." and "{In the Possession of Capt. Thicknesse / 4 feet 10 inches broad 12 feet 9 1/2 high}"; inscr. br. "T.Major Sculpt."; inscr. bc. "To the Right Honourable Lord George Beauclerck / Colonel of the Nineteenth Regiment of Foot, and Governor of Lord-Guard Fort in Suffolk. / This South East View of the said Fort is most Humbly Inscribed by his Lordship's Dutifull and most Obedient Humble Servt: Thos. Major. / Publish'd August 5th. 1754. by T. Major Engraver to his R.H. the Prince of Wales at the Golden Head in Chandois Street near St. Martin's Lane London" CRE MAJOR, Thomas; (English; c.1714-1799) CRE GAINSBOROUGH, Thomas; (English; 1727-1788) PUB MAJOR, Thomas; (English; c.1714-1799) Part of William Hunter's original bequest, this volume contains 44 prints after paintings primarily by Dutch and Flemish 17th century masters. The majority of the prints were etched by English engraver Thomas Major between 1744 and 1754. During this time Major studied in Paris under Jacques-Philippe Le Bas (1707-83), tutor to many of the century's best engravers, and on his return to England developed a reputation as one of the best engravers of his day. Hunter commissioned Major to engrave an anatomical drawing for him.
This is one of the latest etchings in the volume and it is the only one after a contemporary and an English artist. The painting was commissioned from Gainsborough by Philip Thicknesse who had purchased the title of Lieutenant Governor of the fort. According to Thicknesse's account he showed the painting to Major and urged him to engrave it. Although keen, Major apparently expressed concern over whether the impressions would sell, to which Thicknesse offered to take "ten guineas worth of impressions" himself. Thicknesse claimed that the "engraving made Mr. Gainsborough's name known beyond the circle of his country residence" and prompted his move to Bath.
Major dedicated the engraving to Lord George Beauclerk who was Governor of the fort from 1753 until his death in 1768.