Martin, John (1789-1854), 'Paradise - With the Approach of the Archangel Raphael', Mezzotint with touches of drypoint, 1824/25

'Paradise - With the Approach of the Archangel Raphael', Mezzotint with touches of drypoint, 1824/25

£7,500.00
Printed on laid paper. Working proof before all letters, possibly unique (working proofs of Martin’s Paradise Lost series are very rare).

This is the earliest known state of this engraving, so far discovered (according to Campbell, the leading Martin scholar).

The state differences, seen in this working proof before all letters, listed below, are compared with the finished image in its earliest published form (the earliest fully lettered proof state):

 
Before the introduction of two smaller trees, to the right of the group of three trees in the middle - ground at the left of the image.
Before the introduction of trunks of three trees in the darkness behind the three trees in the middle -ground, at the left of the image.
Before the trunks of two ‘silver birch style’ trees, between the group of three trees in the middle -ground at the left of the image, and the rays of light emitted by the angel.
Before changes to the base of the small white bushes, behind the rays of light at the left, and before changes to rocks at their base.
Before the introduction of lights on the ground, at the feet of the angel, and before about three small trees were added, (two to at the right and one at the left) either side of the angel.
Before an additional white branch above the tip of the angel’s right -hand wing (viewer’s left).
Before the trunks of the trees between Adam’s outstretched hand, and the first white tree beyond his finger tips, become more defined.
Before any of the, extensive, spindly vegetation around the trunks of the principal trees, at the right of the image.
Before a white tree is introduced between the largest tree at the right (the principal tree) and the tree at the extreme right of the image.
Before white trees in landscape, in the distance at the foot of the mountain left-of-centre, and before enlargement of a suggested white peak in the sky, above, and to the left, of this mountain.
Before the introduction of numerous white trees, to the left of, and in between, the two palm trees in the middle-distance and just to the left of centre of the image, and before further fronds were added to these two palm trees.
Before small white trees were added to the mountain slopes, above these two palm trees.
Before further bushy trees were added to the dark area of woodland, to the right of these two palm trees.
Before the introduction of trunks, and main boughs, of white trees behind and left of the ‘v’ in the principal right-hand tree were altered.
Before some additional twigs and leaves were added to the high branch, at the right of the principal tree. (Not the uppermost branch but the one slightly below).
Before the introduction of two white boughs of trees beyond the principal tree, seen though the ‘v’.
Before a group of dark marks, to the right of the top of the dark main bough of the principal tree, and before a couple of etched twigs were added near the top of this dark bough.
Before white cirrocumulus clouds were added to the left of the upper leaves of the principal tree.

This engraving is considered one of the most successful of Martin’s Paradise Lost compositions. It typifies his ideal landscape, surmounted by mountains of sublime magnificence, yet it avoids the glaring white figures he so often used for Adam and Eve in his Paradise Lost engravings. Here, Adam and Eve are prominent yet do not obtrude - the brilliant highlight of the design is reserved for the Archangel Raphael, seen approaching through the trees.

Worked almost entirely in pure mezzotint, this engraving is not marred by the heavy roulette and etching work found in the foreground of some of the images in this series. The result is a composition which is well balanced in both visual and technical design.

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Image Size 19.1 x 27.7 cm
Plate Size 25.5 x 35.5 cm
Paper Size 26.7 x 37.6 cm
Reference C.W.39

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