Boydell’s “A Nymph and Shepherd”


George Farington after Carlo Cignani.  “A Nymph and Shepherd.”  London: John Boydell, November 1, 1775.  Engraving by Jean-Baptiste Michel.  10 3/4 x 14.  Very good condition.


John Boydell, a land surveyor in the employment of his father, was inspired by an engraving by W.H. Toms to leave his home in Shropshire about 1750 and walk to London to apprentice himself to Toms.  After six years, Boydell set up his own shop and thus began his career as one of the greatest of print publishers.  Boydell was much concerned with the French dominance of the European print market at mid-century, and it was mostly by his efforts that by the 1780’s Britain became a print exporting country.  This print was included in a series of engravings Boydell issued of paintings in British collections.  Boydell used this series to promote the art patrons who owned the paintings.  This print is based on the painting now known as ‘Shepherd and Shepherdess’ by Carlo Cignani (1628 – 1719).  At the time it was in the Gallery at Houghton, but now is in the collection of the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.