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Richard Corbould

1757 - 1831

Old Trees with Old Man, a Girl and a Dog by Richard Corbould

Old Trees with Old Man, a Girl and a Dog   1802

  Original pen lithograph.
Signed and dated on the stone.
Ref: Man 45
Dimensions of lithograph: S & I 240 x 325 mm; Dimensions of mount: S 391 x 500 mm; P 326 x 422 mm
Original Richard Corbould pen lithograph.

Very rare. One of the first pen lithographs ever published, on original aquatint mount, as issued.

Superb, strong impression on original, first issue, aquatint mount watermarked 1799. Both print and mount in unusually fine condition. Inscribed on the stone “R. Corbould. Del 1802.”

A particularly fine example from the first issue of Specimens of Polyautography, published in 1803 by Philipp André. This was the first publication ever to have employed the newly invented process of lithography.

Lithography, originally called Polyautography or Chemical Printing, had been invented by Aloys Senefelder, a Bavarian, by the year 1798 but it was not until 1801 that he began to explore the possibilities of the medium in the field of graphic art. Senefelder had come to England in the previous year, with Philipp André, the brother of his commercial partner, to obtain a patent for his new invention and establish a lithographic printing press in this country.

André approached a number of the finest artists in London at the time to produce drawings on stone for a projected publication. Only twelve of these drawings, including Richard Corbould’s Old Trees with Old Man, a Girl and a Dog, were selected for the set. Each lithograph was trimmed to the borderline of the image (if a border line existed) and glued at its corners on to a separately printed ‘wash’ mount with dark brown or buff aquatint borderlines. These mounts were prepared somewhat crudely and the aquatint borders rarely matched the exact dimensions of the prints.

It had been André’s intention to publish six issues containing six prints each. However, this project was not brought to fruition until 1806-7 when J.G. Vollweiler, who took over the rights to the process from André, re-issued the original twelve prints along with twenty-four new subjects. In both Vollweiler’s issue and the only subsequent publication to include these images, the lithographs were printed on a thin paper and the aquatint borders were printed in a lighter yellow-brownish ochre tint.

Old Trees with Old Man, a Girl and a Dog is a marvellous example of the facility of the new technique, which allowed an artist to make his drawing more freely than any preceding reproductive process. Arguably the most attractive of all of the first set of Specimens of Polyautography, Richard Corbould’s Old Trees… is typical of the style of rustic genre popular at the time. Richard Corbould was one of the most popular landscape painters of the day and he is only known to have produced one other pen lithograph - this remained unpublished.

A particularly good impression of this rare lithograph, printed on heavily textured off-white wove paper without watermark and glued at the upper corners to the original first issue aquatint mount, as issued. The aquatint mount is printed in buff coloured ink on off-white wove paper, watermarked Russell & Co 1799, with full margins beyond the edge of the aquatint plate (it is most unusual for the mount sheet not to have been trimmed within the platemark – this full sheet is untrimmed with deckle edge). Both print and mount in excellent original condition. It is exceptional to find an example from this series in such outstanding condition, undisturbed in its original state.