bound volume (dimensions 54 x 38 x 7) inscr. bc. "Madam Ann Kirk / To the Right Honble. Anthony Earle of Kent &et This Plate is humbly dedicated by your Honours / most Obedient Servant Alexander Browne"; inscr. bl. "Ant: Van Dyck Eques / pinxit"; inscr. bc. "I. Becket fecit"; inscr. br. "Sold by E. Cooper at ye 3 Pigeons in Bedford Str." CRE BECKETT, Isaac; (English; 1653-1688) AFTER DYCK, Anthony van, Sir; (Flemish; 1599-1641) Part of William Hunter's original bequest, this is one of three volumes which together contain 488 mezzotints, almost all made or published by John Smith. About two thirds are portraits of eminent late Stuart, early Hanoverian persons, and one third fancy and mythological subjects.
Instrumental in raising the standard of mezzotint portraits, Smith was the first British printmaker to gain a European reputation, and examples of his work were essential for any serious early to mid 18th century European print collection.
Hunter's set of volumes is a rare surviving example of a comprehensive collection of mezzotints compiled in the 1730s.
This print was made by Smith's teacher Beckett, one of the earliest English mezzotinters and many of whose plates Smith bought and republished after his death. 32 of them appear in these three volumes, providing a context for Smith's own mezzotints. It is after a portrait by the celebrated court painter Anthony van Dyck who set new standards for English portraiture. Included in the second volume among portraits of wives and daughters of eminent men, it depicts Anne Kirke dresser to Henrietta Maria, Queen of Charles I.