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Mezzotint - Maria D.G. Angliae Scotiae Franciae et Hiberniae Regina &ct.
  • Maria D.G. Angliae Scotiae Franciae et Hiberniae Regina &ct.
    Smith, John, born 1655 - died 1743
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Maria D.G. Angliae Scotiae Franciae et Hiberniae Regina &ct.

  • Object:

    Mezzotint

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (published)

  • Date:

    1690s (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Smith, John, born 1655 - died 1743 (engraver)
    Cooper, Edward (publisher)
    van der Vaardt, Jan (van der Vaart), born 1648 (after, artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mezzotint on paper

  • Museum number:

    E.673-1910

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 54b, case 14, shelf D1

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Object Type
A mezzotint is a form of tonal engraving. To make the design, the surface of a metal plate is pitted with a serrated tool called a 'rocker', then scraped and smoothed so that different areas of the plate will hold varying quantities of ink. This creates a range of velvety tones and white highlights when the image is printed onto paper. The rougher areas of the plate hold more ink and print dark tones, while the smooth areas hold little or no ink and print light.

People
The print is taken from a portrait of the Queen painted in 1688 by the Dutch painter and engraver Jan van der Vaardt, who moved to England in 1674. The portrait is now at Audley End, Essex.

John Smith, the printmaker, was one of the most important mezzotinters of the period and published a large number of portraits using the technique. Although the mezzotint was invented in Holland, it was perfected in England and became known on the Continent as the manière anglaise. Prince Rupert, a nephew of Charles I, is said to have introduced it to England.

Subject Depicted
Images of royalty were always a staple of print production. This example shows the Queen dressed in the height of fashion, in the style set by the French court. She is wearing a formal gown or 'mantua' made of striped and figured silk. Her highly elaborate lace headdress was called a frelange, while the ribbon bows behind the lace were known as fontanges. The whole ensemble was held up by a wire frame called a commode.

Physical description

Half-length portrait, turned slightly to left, looking to right, her left arm leaning on a parapet. The sitter is wearing a lace headdress and is holding a fan in her left hand. The portrait is set in an architectural setting.

Place of Origin

London, England (published)

Date

1690s (published)

Artist/maker

Smith, John, born 1655 - died 1743 (engraver)
Cooper, Edward (publisher)
van der Vaardt, Jan (van der Vaart), born 1648 (after, artist)

Materials and Techniques

Mezzotint on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Maria D.G. Angliae Scotiae Franciae et Hiberniae Regina &ct. Vandervaart Pinxit I. Smith fecit Cum Privilegio Regis Sold by E. Copper at ye 3 Pidgeons in Bedford Street.'

Dimensions

Height: 35.3 cm, Width: 26.2 cm

Descriptive line

Portrait, half-length of Queen Mary II. Mezzotint by John Smith after Jan van der Vaardt, 1690s.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Queen Mary was popular, both for her beauty and her accomplishments. Her appearance was recorded in numerous paintings and in cheaper formats such as prints. Mezzotint was a relatively new printing technique, which captured some of the range of tones of a painted portrait, but at a fraction of the price. [27/03/2003]

Materials

Paper

Techniques

Mezzotint

Subjects depicted

Queen; Pearls; Necklace; Fan; Ribbons; Lace; Mary (II, Queen of England); Parapet

Categories

Portraits; Royalty; Prints

Collection code

PDP

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Qr_O78240
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