Robert Smirke for J & J Boydell.
Shakespeare, The Seven Ages of Man.
20 x 17
These plates were engraved by a team of the most accomplished engravers working for the publishers J. and J. Boydell at the time. The paintings they were given to replicate were done by the Royal Academian, Robert Smirke (1753-1845) but such was the scale of the commission that the work was shared out between Peltro Tomkins, William Leney, Jean Pierre Simon, John Ogborn and Robert Thew. Stylistic differences in the rendition can be spotted by those with a gimlet eye!
The passage from As You Like It is one of Shakespeare's most famous and much-loved scenes. In it, he describes the seven stages of life that must come to us all, from the infant "mewling and puking in the nurse's arms" right through to the final stage of "second childishness and mere oblivion" where we are left "sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything". To cheer us along the way there are more vital scenes where life encompasses moments of derring-do and thoughtful, intellectual contemplation. It is rare to find a complete set of these highly decorative prints.
Set of 7