Original Thomas Barker pen lithograph.
Very good, strong impression, as issued in the only edition of Thomas Barker’s most important publication, Forty Lithographic Impressions from drawings by Thomas Barker selected from his studies of Rustic Figures after nature. Published privately by the artist himself in an edition of not more than 200 impressions of each pen lithograph in 1813. Thomas Barker made at least two studies of this same man as pen lithographs for this series.
Thomas Barker stands out as one of the few artists to exploit the process of pen lithography in any large publication during this period. The first publications to employ any form of lithography had not been commercially successful and J.G. Vollweiler (who had taken over the rights to the process from Philipp André) had returned to Germany, closing his London firm in late 1807. There followed a period during which the process fell into abeyance as a commercial art form, partly because the dissemination of the chemistry of the polyautographic process was much delayed by the ongoing Napoleonic Wars. Thomas Barker’s Rustic Figures represents one of the few isolated publications to use the early lithographic process in England prior to the English language issue of Senefelder’s Complete Course of Lithography in 1819.
This polyautographic drawing and its companions in Thomas Barker’s highly significant series are amongst the most informative depictions of the working classes of England at this time, having been made with realistic accuracy, rather than for the purpose of decoration. These studies possess and immediacy inherent in the freedom allowed by the pen lithographic process, which adds a natural authenticity to their charm.
On fine buff tinted wove paper, laid on original warm white wove backing sheet, as issued. With full margins. Very good original condition.