Original William Walcot etching with drypoint and aquatint.
Exceptionally strong signed proof impression of this imposing etching, from the only edition of 50 impressions.
This large-scale etching is one of William Walcot’s earliest plates. Based upon the Basilica of Constantine, one of the most dominating ruins of all Rome, this image shows the interior of a basilica, the ultimate form of ancient Roman tribunal. The scene depicts the opening ceremony of a court of justice, with the procession of the magistrate (the Consul, or his colleague, the Praetor) from the Curia, after the religious ceremonies attached to a new office have been duly performed.
Here, William Walcot has re-created the living Rome of the Caesars, reconstructing the buildings with the living character of their purpose and depicting them in actual use. Never tied to by the orthodoxies of technique, the artist has employed an ingenious combination of printmaking techniques in creating this plate. A beautifully free use of the etched line has been combined with small areas of aquatint and a remarkable, but controlled, use of intentional foul-bite. This is a technique of applying loose patches of acid to the plate, through which William Walcot has produced some of his most effective and evocative atmospheric effects.
On heavy wove paper with full margins, as issued. One small and unobtrusive brown mark at top of image, some surface dirt in margins, otherwise very good condition.