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Sir Francis Seymour Haden

1818 - 1910

Breaking up of the Agamemnon, No.I by Francis Seymour Haden

Breaking up of the Agamemnon, No.I   1870

  Original etching with drypoint.
Signed and dated in the plate.
Ref: Schneiderman 133 viii/xi; Harrington 145 i/ii
S 235 x 447 mm; P & I 195 x 413 mm
Original Francis Seymour Haden etching with drypoint.

Outstanding impression with brilliant clarity of line in the 8th state (of eleven).

The single most important subject of Sir Francis Seymour Haden’s career, Breaking up of the Agamemnon, No.I was printed by the foremost plate printer of the day, Frederick Goulding, and was issued by the artist himself through Colnaghi’s – with immense success.

Early in 1870, P.G. Hamerton had approached F.S.Haden to etch a plate for his newly-founded art magazine, The Portfolio. Haden chose this subject of the hulk of the warship Agamemnon as she lay moored at the Naval Arsenal at Deptford (on the Thames) for demolition.

One of the last wooden-hulled warships built in England, launched in 1852, the Agamemnon had served as the flagship in many naval battles and in 1857 had been a participant in the laying of the Atlantic telegraph cable. To her left, in front of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, is seen the Dreadnought.

Haden drew the initial sketch for this etching directly on the copper plate. He wrote to Hamerton: “I had thought of making the sun set behind the old hulk and the distant cupolas of Greenwich and of using the sinking luminary as typical of the departing glories of both...”

In this state the distant scene beneath the prow of the Agamemnon shows a brig under sail (stern on), two small sailing boats, and a smoking chimney. This scene was removed and replaced by a view of dockyard sheds and a much altered chimney in the subsequent state. In this state the plate prints with particular clarity, being prior to the addition of much drypoint work.

On warm white laid paper with margins as issued. Faint foxing, verso only, otherwise generally very fine original condition.