Select a Link

Barlow, Francis (active 1648-1704) ‘The central figure of British graphic art of the second half of the 17th century’ (Griffiths, Print in Stuart Britain, p. 140). Said by George Vertue to have come from Lincolnshire and to have been apprenticed to the portrait painter, William Shepherd, Barlow was responsible for various large oil paintings of birds and animals which survive at Clandon Park, Surrey, and at Ham House. He was also a noted designer and etcher, producing high quality illustrations for Edward Benlowes’ Theophila (1652) and for an edition of Aesop’s Fables which he published himself in 1666. He also designed sets of prints of birds and animals which were etched by Wenceslaus Hollar, Richard Gaywood and others. During and after the Popish Plot, he produced propaganda prints on behalf of the Whigs, including sets of playing cards. According to Vertue, Barlow was poor when he died in 1704.

  Portrait of Isaac Beckett, by John Smith Beckett, Isaac (c. 1653-88) The first great mezzotint engraver of the English school. Said by George Vertue to have learned the technique from Edward Luttrell while apprenticed to a calico printer, Beckett’s earliest known mezzotints date from c. 1681. Initially, his prints were published by Edward Cooper and Alexander Browne, but by 1686 he had set up his own business. His signed mezzotints are mostly portraits, particularly after paintings by Willem Wissing and Godfrey Kneller, though he also published landscapes and genre subjects. He died in 1688, leaving the field open to his pupil, John Smith, who took over his relationship with Kneller and much of his stock.

Blooteling, Abraham (1640-90) A pupil of Cornelis van Dalen who had earlier worked in Paris, Blooteling came to England in 1673 on the order of Prince Rupert. His son-in-law Gerald Valck also came to England at this point. Thereafter, Blooteling appears to have worked both in London and Amsterdam, acting increasingly as a publisher rather than an engraver in his later years. Blooteling was responsible both for fine engraved portraits after English and Dutch artists and for mezzotints.

Borcht, Henrik van der (1614-?66) Van der Borcht was the son of a man of the same name who had fled from the Netherlands to Germany, where he was trained partly by his father and partly by Matthaüs Merian, through whom he probably met Hollar. In 1636 he was taken into service by Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, returning with him to London where he took responsibility for Arundel’s art collection. He was responsible for various prints, many of them of objects from the Arundel collection. In his later years he returned to Frankfurt and helped his brothers in the family art-dealing business.

Burghers, Michael (1648-?1724) Burghers hailed from Amsterdam, and he started his career as a journeyman at Oxford assisting David Loggan on his Oxonia Illustrata. When Loggan returned to London in 1675 he took his place as the principal engraver for publications at Oxford, inheriting Loggan’s position as ‘Calcographus Academicus’ in 1694. He was responsible for various Oxford almanacs and for many portraits, book illustrations and engraved title-pages.