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Thomas Worlidge

1700 - 1766

Rembrandt’s Head by Thomas Worlidge

Rembrandt’s Head   c.1755

  Original drypoint with etching.
With the artist’s name in the plate.
Ref: Dack 188
S 262 x 212 mm; P 210 x 161 mm; I 201 x 160 mm
Very fine impression with drypoint burr, from the small edition issued by Worlidge’s widow in 1766-7.

After Thomas Worlidge died, his widow remarried and continued to sell his etchings privately; however, impressions from his widow’s edition can be identified from lifetime impressions through the presence of an engraved numeral, usually at the upper corner of each plate. These numerals were added to identify the title and price of each subject in relation to a list published for Thomas Worlidge’s widow (now Mrs. Ashley) in 1767. The earliest impressions, such as this, are particularly fine examples – the plates having been but little used during the artist’s lifetime.

Thomas Worlidge copied many of Rembrandt’s etched portraits and adopted Rembrandt’s etching style so successfully that in many cases his copies deceived even the most discerning of connoisseurs. The technique which Thomas Worlidge used in this and many of his portrait prints was first to etch the outlines of the subject and then to work up the shadows and details with drypoint. He would develop his design through many progressive states until he was satisfied with the completed work.

Inscribed in the title space “Rembrandt’s head by himself, Copyed from the Original Painting now in the Collection of his Grace the Duke of Argyll. - by Thos. Worlidge, Painter in Bath”, this brilliant drypoint work is a masterpiece of technique with remarkable texture – in this work Thomas Worlidge has paid fitting homage to his idol.

On cream wove paper, with full margins. Two isolated fox marks at plate bevel, otherwise very fine original condition.