Category Archives: History of printmaking

A contemporary printmaker

Douce befriended some of the most celebrated artists of his time and his collections were widely used by them. When Grayson Perry visited the Ashmolean Print Room a few weeks ago, it was great fun to select some of Douce’s … Continue reading

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A print by Cosway

Douce was a friend and executor of the painter Richard Cosway (1742-1821). Many works by him and by his wife Maria can be found among Douce’s prints and drawings -this nymph carrying Cupid on her shoulders is a good example: … Continue reading

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Bonasone in red

Over fifty prints by Giulio Bonasone from Douce’s collection were transferred to the Ashmolean in 1863. At the time, they were integrated in the main sequence and they can now be found under the printmaker’s name. The print below, however, … Continue reading

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A medley print

Medley prints like the one below really capture the sense of mixture, the hotchpotch quality, and the endless referencing that characterize Douce’s folders: Unlike the impression in the BM, Douce’s print bears the inscription ‘Designed, and Engraven, and Sold, by S: … Continue reading

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“To the friend of curious and interesting things”

Among Douce’s portraits of artists, there is a silhouette of the Swiss engraver, publisher, and art dealer Christian von Mechel (1737-1817): The print is annotated with Mechel’s dedication to Douce: I beg dear Mr Douce, the friend of curious and … Continue reading

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“The best engraver on wood in Europe”

Douce’s interest in German prints was not limited to early woodcuts and engravings; it also encompassed the work of contemporary printmakers. Next to what seems to be a proof for a title-page, Douce wrote ‘Unger of Berlin, The best engraver … Continue reading

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Douce’s Annunciation

When told of Douce’s acquisition of a View of Clifton Ferry with a Holiday Party and Bristol Fair by Rolinda Sharples (1793-1838), his friend George Cumberland wrote that they had been ‘sold at an auction to Mr Douce who knows nothing … Continue reading

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Student life

Sports and various outdoor activities seem like an appropriate subject for a post, now that we have 123 days to go before the London Olympics start, Hilary term has just ended, and the first days of Spring have brought sun … Continue reading

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A game of cards

Among Douce’s many correspondents, Richard Twiss is probably my favourite -his style is maddening, since he constantly jumps from subject to subject, but his letters are very entertaining. He bombarded Douce with numerous enquiries about all sorts of matters often … Continue reading

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Baron Munchausen

Reading Francis Douce’s correspondence sometimes feels like playing six degrees of separation. Douce, for instance, knew Twiss, whose friend Alexander Jardine corresponded with Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, one of Goya’s patrons. Twiss’s letters are a particularly rich source of information … Continue reading

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