Richard Houston after Francis Hayman.
The Five Senses.
10 x 14 inches
A scarce set of five mezzotint portraits, engraved by Houston after Hayman and published in London in 1753.
A charming set of five portrait of women personifying the five senses: Feeling, Smelling, Seeing, Hearing and Tasting.
It was common in the Eighteenth Century to personify the seasons, months, elements and senses in either classical or contemporary fashion. In each of these images a winsome young lady is depicted using each of the senses: a feather tickles a well-shaped chin and ripe cherries rest upon sensual lips.
This set were painted by Francis Hayman (1708-1776) who started his career as a set designer at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. He went on to design the infamous "supper boxes" at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens but perhaps most famously formed a friendship with the up and coming portrait artist of the day, Joshua Reynolds. The two artists became friends and worked in collaboration to create the Society of Artists; an organization that would eventually become The Royal Academy of Arts in 1768. The transformation from canvas to copperplate was entrusted to one of the leading exponents of mezzotint at the time, the highly talented Richard Houston. Houston was born in Dublin in 1722 and was one of the "Irish School" of engravers arriving in London during the middle of the century to meet the insatiable demand for printed images.
Set of 5