bound volume (dimensions 54 x 38 x 7 cms) inscr. on page t.r. hand-written in brown ink "38" ATTR LENS, Bernard II; (English; 1659-1725) 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. The remaining third are subject prints after a wide range of artists and subjects, from mythological and religious scenes after old Italian and Dutch and Flemish masters such as Titian and Rubens to fancy subjects after contemporary French and English painters.
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 first half of the 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 is one of a number of prints in volume three with no maker or publisher signatures and Smith's involvement in its production is unclear. Appearing to form a pair with one other garden scene in the volume (Glaha 16652), it has been attributed to Bernard Lens II who, like Smith, was a pioneer mezzotint engraver. Almost 40 prints by or attributed to him were inserted in the volume, providing a context for Smith's own mezzotints.