Martin, John (1789-1854), 'Approach of the Archangel Michael', Mezzotint with drypoint, 1824/26

'Approach of the Archangel Michael', Mezzotint with drypoint, 1824/26

Printed on a sheet of India on a backing sheet of laid paper.

Working proof before all letters. This is the earliest known state of this engraving and is possibly unique. (Working proofs of Martinís Paradise Lost series are very rare).

State differences, which appear this working proof before all letters, are in comparison with the finished image in its earliest published form (the earliest fully lettered proof state):-

Before roulette work across the grass, at the lower left.
Before all heavy drypoint work, reinforcing the large tree at the left-hand side of the image, and before dark areas of roulette work are added to it throughout.
Before a group of seven, dark, drypoint marks in the grass, at the base of this tree.
Before Eveís shadow completed.
Before the hair and clothing of Adam and Eve are darkened and reinforced with further drypoint work.
Before the shadows on the foreground grass are strengthened.

This early working proof has been printed with particular clarity so that the lion, and all three deer, can be distinguished easily. This proof shows the early version of the group of trees above the lion, and below the figure of the archangel. These were much altered from the four pale trees, leaning left, seen in this early version, to around ten much darker trees. A number of palm trees (around seven) were added to the left of this clump and a group of around five dark palms (made with a roulette) were added to the top of the clump, just below the figure of the archangel.

Any apparent difference to the rays of light are due to inking and wiping alone. The sky and distant mountain areas are already completed but have been wiped so that they print very pale in this working proof.

Plate Size 25.6 x 35.5 cm
Image Size 19.6 x 28 cm
Paper Size 32.5 x 48 cm
Reference C.W. 48

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