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Sir Francis Seymour Haden

1818 - 1910

Mytton Hall by Francis Seymour Haden

Mytton Hall   1859

  Original etching with drypoint.
Signed in pencil.
Ref: Schneiderman 19 v/v; Harrington 14 i/i
S 154 x 282 mm; P & I 123 x 263 mm
Original Francis Seymour Haden etching with drypoint.

The rare completed state of the plate - only one impression recorded by Schneidermann.

Excellent signed proof impression of the freshly completed plate, the new drypoint work at the lower right printing strongly.
This plate was published in the comparatively common third state in Etudes a l'eau-forte, Francis Seymour Haden's first publication. The plate for this etching is known to have been cancelled.

One of Francis Seymour Haden's most famous plates, Mytton Hall is an outstanding early example of this celebrated artist's radically innovative landscape style. Unlike the mainstream works of other Victorian etchers, which were mostly narrative in subject and style, here we have a pure and naturalistic study of landscape, not intended as a decorative print. This approach was to have considerable influence and far reaching effects on the minds of other etchers working at the time, and it was for this approach that Francis Seymour Haden became established as a leading figure of the British Etching Revival.

Indeed, Francis Seymour Haden's contribution to the revival of etching as a creative art form in this country cannot be overstated. His magnificent landscape work introduced many of the Impressionist ideals to British etching, especially through his marvellous ability to use the open areas of white paper as the source of light.

This romantic view shows the entrance to Mytton Hall, a fifteenth century mansion house situated on the River Ribble, in Lancashire. Francis Seymour Haden stayed often at the Hall in order to pursue his passion of salmon fishing in the nearby river. Fishing was Haden's favourite pastime - a pastime which he regarded as entirely compatible with his practise of etching. It was while on fishing trips that he made many of his preparatory sketches or worked plates direct from nature, occasionally finishing a plate at one sitting. Francis Seymour Haden, a surgeon by profession, filled his leisure hours with these pursuits and is recorded to have expressed the opinion that "angling has a peculiar charm for men of powerful and active intellect... because it calls into play all the powers of observation".

R. Gutekunst, the dealer who inherited the rights to sell all of Francis Seymour Haden's remaining prints upon his death, noted on the front of his catalogue in July 1911: "It may be useful to add that those impressions of Sir Seymour Haden's early and rare etchings, which were published in portfolio form in Paris in 1865-66, under the title "Etudes a l'eau forte" have, with the exception of one or two sets, never been signed in autograph by Sir Seymour, and do not, of course, bear any stamp of any kind." Although Gutekunst had impressions of the majortiy of Haden's works for sale, he had no remaining impressions of Mytton Hall. This proof impression of the freshly completed plate is one of those few pencil signed examples mentioned by Gutekunst. This completed state of the plate is considerably more scarce than Schneiderman's third state - the third state is this most regularly encountered as it is the state in which this plate was published in Etudes a l'eau-forte. Schneiderman could locate only one impression in this completed state (Alexis Pencovic Collection, San Francisco).

An impression of this outstanding work was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1864 under Francis Seymour Haden's pseudonym, H. Dean. Haden used this name in order to preserve his professional reputation as a surgeon.

On fine Japan-style paper, with margins, as issued. Very fine condition.