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John Hamilton Mortimer

1740 – 1779

Cassandra by John Hamilton Mortimer

Cassandra   1776

  Original etching.
With the artist’s name in the plate.
Ref: Walpole Society Catalogue 96.12
S 504 x 363 mm; P 399 x 322 mm; I (to borderline) 390 x 309 mm
John Hamilton Mortimer’s Shakespeare Characters were issued in two groups, each containing six etched characters - the first group of six characters was released before the end of 1775 and the second group, for which this etching was made, was issued on 15 March 1776. These remarkable imaginary characters represent the most important portrait etchings to have been made by this brilliant artist.

This etching is a marvellous example of John Hamilton Mortimer’s imaginative ability in the interpretation of character. The wild-eyed Cassandra was endowed with the ability to foretell the future and the artist has captured her nature with a characteristic vigour. Cassandra was the daughter of Priam, king of Troy – she had been condemned by Apollo to the fate of always prophesying truthfully but never being believed. Mortimer has chosen the moment in Troilus and Cressida when she vainly fortells the fall of Troy.

On soft white wove paper, watermarked 1811, with margins apparently as issued. Traces of soft creasing towards edges of sheet and some minor defects at extreme edges of sheet, otherwise generally very good original condition.