Original Stephen Gooden line engraving.
Extremely rare unpublished line engraving. One of only twelve proof impressions printed prior to the disappearance of the plate.
Campbell Dodgson records all that is known of this engraving as follows:-"Designed as frontispiece for an edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets. The plate went to America after twelve proofs had been printed. Inquiries have been made in vain for any American edition of the Sonnets in which the plate was used." (An Iconography of the Engravings of Stephen Gooden, London, Elkin Mathews Ltd., 1944).
Mr. W.H. remains one of the most scarce of all of Stephen Gooden's highly accomplished original line engravings. The title refers to the mysterious person to whom Shakespeare dedicated his famous Sonnets. There has been much speculation that 'Mr. W.H.' could refer to either William Herbert (Earl of Pembroke) or the debonair Henry Wriothesley (Earl of Southampton), with initials reversed, the latter being known for his rather beautiful good looks.
Very fine impression on cream wove paper with full margins. Time toned verso, otherwise generally very good original condition. Image surface excellent.