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William Alfred Delamotte

1775 - 1863

Mill Dunkerque by William Alfred Delamotte

Mill Dunkerque   1834

  Original soft ground etching with mezzotint.
Signed and dated in the plate.
S 242 x 327 mm; P 139 x 165 mm; I 133 x 154 mm
Extremely rare early proof impression, with the title scratched faintly in the blank lower area of the plate. We have been unable to trace any other impression of this print.

This plate presents an unusual combination of printmaking techniques and is a fine example both of William Delamotte’s ability as a landscape draughtsman and of his innovative methods as a printmaker. Delamotte has designed this image as a pure soft ground etching, in line alone. He has then added tonal shading to the image using the most delicate of mezzotint ground. It is extremely unlikely that William Delamotte could have envisaged plates of this nature to be printed in published editions as the delicate mezzotint could not possibly have withstood the printing of many impressions. The few examples of William Delamotte’s prints of this type which we have located in museums are proofs without publication line and yet they show virtually no vestige of the mezzotint remaining. This superb working proof impression from the Delamotte family collection displays a delicate tonal balance which could only have been present in the earliest of impressions, when the fragile mezzotint burr was still completely fresh and unblemished.

The unusual combination of techniques which William Delamotte has chosen for this work has allowed him to achieve the freedom of a drawing through the soft ground process used to delineate the image, whilst the addition of mezzotint shading has introduced a subtle tonal range.

Provenance: Delamotte family collection and with their collectors blindstamp.

On firm white wove paper with full margins. Excellent condition.