Richard Earlom Fruit Piece


Joseph Farington after Angelo Campidoglio.  “A Fruit Piece.”  London: John Boydell, [1776].  19th century strike.  Mezzotint by Richard Earlom.  10 3/8 x 13 3/4.  Fine impression.  Framed to museum standards.

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A magnificent botanical mezzotint first issued in 1776 by John Boydell.  The print was based on a painting by Angelo Campidoglio, and it has an elaborate composition of an over­flowing basket filled with and surrounded by luscious fruit.  This image was masterfully transferred to copper plate by Richard Earlom using the mezzotint process, one of the most elaborate of printmaking techniques.  Mezzotinting gives prints a rich texture unequaled by other prints, as is well demonstrated here.  The detail and composition of Campidoglio’s image are superbly rendered in the print, well expressing the skill of both the artist and mezzotinter.  This print is the first of three mezzotint botanical prints issued by Boydell, the other two, issued in 1778 and 1781, being after paintings by Jan Van Huysum.  It is likely that the success of this wonderful print inspired Boydell to issue the later, better known pair.  This is a nice example of Earlom’s work, from a nineteenth century impression.