IU, unmounted s. on plate b. r. " Guercino del. RD sc."; inscr. in pencil outside plate t. r. "62" CRE DALTON, Richard; (English; 1715-1791) AFTER GUERCINO, Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, (Italian; 1591-1666) PUB DALTON, Richard (1715-1791) This volume is part of William Hunter's bequest. The prints were commissioned by Richard Dalton, Librarian to George III, in the 1760s. They focus on the King's unrivalled collection of more than 800 drawings by Guercino, largely assembled by Dalton on visits made to Italy to enrich his royal patron's art holdings. The volume promoted the Royal Collection and served the market for prints after Guercino who was particularly popular among eighteenth-century English connoisseurs. While most were etched by Bartolozzi, hailed as Italy's best engraver, Dalton did etch seven of the plates himself. His prints are inferior to Bartolozzi's.
Although Guercino painted few portraits of identified sitters he produced many studies of the human figure such as this. These studies aimed to create idealised character types which could then be used as templates in several different compositions. There are 12 head studies in the volume, of both men and women of varying ages in a range of poses and costumes (Glaha 16488-16498 & 16502-16504).