bound volume (dimensions 54 x 38 x 7) title inscr. on plate b.c. "Jacobus II dus D.G. Ang: Sco. Fran: & Hib: Rex."; inscr. on plate b.l. "G. Kneller Pinxit."; inscr. on plate b.r. "I. Smith ex." CRE SMITH, John; (English; 1652-1743) AFTER KNELLER, Godfrey, Sir; (English; 1646-1723) 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.
Smith's close association with leading portrait painter Godfrey Kneller, author of this portrait, was key to his success. From around 1690 almost all engravings after portraits by Kneller, were executed by Smith.
James II reigned from 1685 until the invasion of William of Orange in 1688. This print is one of a group of royal portraits toward the end of volume two which are smaller, reversed versions of prints by Smith in volume one.