Isaac and Ede Antique Prints
Say Henry Herbert

William Say.

William Herbert Esq.

6½ x 9 inches

It is often the way that the people who appear to have least to offer often turn out to be the most interesting. Step forward William Herbert (1718-1795), a modest man from Hitchin, who started out selling stockings in Leadenhall Street, went native on the Malabar Coast and became prosperous through the selling of prints and three advantageous marriages. He eventually died back in Hertfordshire, whence he came, but what an interesting and varied life he had along the way! Not satisfied with selling hose he learnt the art of reverse glass painting before signing up with the East India Company as purser on board ship. He took to the high seas and found himself bound for India. Away from official company business, he let his hair and beard grow, donned a dhoti and set off on his own version of the hippy trail. Back in London he found a wealthy woman or two to marry and established himself as a publisher, print seller and engraver of maritime charts, based in a shop on London Bridge. This charming study is, rather appropriately, a mezzotint version of a reverse glass painting.


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