Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, Scene IX
Line and stipple engraving with contemporary hand coloring, published by John & Josiah Boydell, dated December 1, 1795. On white wove paper with full margins, image 446 x 594 mm, platemark 504 x 630 mm, sheet 567 x 840 mm, the paper watermarked (twice) 1794 / J WHATMAN. A first edition impression with vibrant hand coloring. Negligible marginal nicks and tiny pinhole in right center of image invisible from recto (all professionally restored), small waterstain upper center edge of sheet, slight browning on upper and left edges, negligible marginal foxing outside platemark, otherwise fine condition, a strong impression with brilliant coloring.
In the Palace in Alexandria Iras pleads the collapsing Cleopatra toward
Antony, “unqualitied with very shame,” while Eros urges Antony
toward the Queen, “Your comfort makes the rescue.” Henry Tresham’s
design, after a lost painting, shows his tendency as perhaps the most Italicizing
member of the English neoclassical circle which included Fuseli and Northcote.
This brilliantly colored impression was published in London in 1795; the
uncolored first edition prints were compiled into the legendary Boydell
atlas Shakespeare of 1803.
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