bound volume (dimensions 54 x 38 x 7) inscr. bc. "His Highness William Duke of Glocester / & Mr Benj: Bathurst."; inscr. bl. "T. Murrey pinx:"; inscr. br. "I. Smith fe: et ex:" CRE SMITH, John; (English; 1652-1743) AFTER MURRAY, Thomas; (Scottish; 1663-1734) 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.
William, Duke of Gloucester, Queen Anne's only son to survive infancy, died aged 11 leaving her heirless and the last Stuart monarch. He is pictured here with childhood companion Benjamin Bathurst. One of a group of portraits of young royals and aristocrats in volume two, this is one of three portraits of William in volume two, the others picturing him aged two (Glaha 16215), and four (Glaha 16216). There is a fourth in volume one picturing him aged ten (Glaha 16361).
This print is after a portrait was painted by Scottish portrait painter Thomas Murray who trained in London under John Riley, a fashionable society portrait painter who was appointed principal painter to King William III and Queen Mary together with Kneller in 1689.