back to works by this artist go to previous work

Charles West Cope

1811 – 1890

Milton’s Dream of his Deceased Wife by Charles West Cope

Milton’s Dream of his Deceased Wife   c.1850

  Original etching.
With the artist’s name in the plate.
S 367 x 268 mm; P 121 x 116 mm; I 103 x 96 mm
Original C.W. Cope etching.

Superb impression with rich luminosity and clear, crisp line. From the only published edition, as issued in 1857 by the Etching Club.

Cope’s masterpiece in the medium. C.W. Cope was one of the founder members of the Etching Club, the body of artists which dominated the art of original etching during the early Victorian period. He was a close and lifelong friend of Samuel Palmer, and was the principal instigator in introducing Palmer to the art of etching.

This beautiful visionary night-piece is related to C.W. Cope’s painting of the same subject which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1850, the year in which he introduced Samuel Palmer to the Etching Club. It is the outstanding example of the influence which these two brilliant artists had upon one another and is, without doubt, one of the most poetic etchings to come from this elite group, evoking all that is embodied in the work of Samuel Palmer and the ‘Ancients’. In particular, this work recalls Edward Calvert’s masterpiece of wood engraving, The Chamber Idyll of 1831.

In this masterly work C.W. Cope has used a dense web of finely etched lines, through which the white of the paper is allowed to sparkle in a thousand tiny dots to create an infinite tonal range. It was this technique which Samuel Palmer was later to adopt in the creation of his famous etched works. Here, Cope has displayed the definition of this approach, suffusing the entire scene in a glowing light which can only be regarded as an extraordinary achievement of etching technique.

On fine India paper, applied to original warm white wove backing sheet, with full margins, as issued. Some very minor foxing in margins only, otherwise very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.