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Prints - English 14th-19th c.

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Dedham Vale, after John Constable

19th century
80 cm x 66.3 cm (31 1/2 in. x 26 1/8 in.)

David Lucas (Northamptonshire, England, 1802 - 1881, London) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, English
Medium and Support: Mezzotint
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Teaching Collection of Marvin Vexler, '48, 1998
Accession Number: 1998.111

The collaboration between the painter John Constable and the mezzotinter David Lucas was one of the most involved and consequential, as well as thoroughly recorded, in the history of reproductive printmaking. Anxious to disseminate his compositions and hoping to realize a financial return, Constable involved Lucas in the translation of his paintings into a series of small-scale mezzotints entitled English Landscape Scenery. Shortly before Constable’s death in 1837, they undertook six separate plates on a much larger scale and, in the painter’s words, “made as perfect as possible.” Although a commercial failure, and therefore known in terribly few lifetime impressions, these plates represent the last great achievement in the British mezzotint tradition. Dedham Vale interprets Constable’s earliest painting (1802) of this part of his native Suffolk (today in the Victoria and Albert Museum). This impression is the earliest and finest ever identified, printed before a borderline was added, the plate reduced in size, or its surface at all worn. As a result, it is incomparably varied in tone and pictorial in effect, bearing eloquent testimony to the nature and ambition of Constable and Lucas’s collaboration

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