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Jacobus Houbraken (1698-1780) - 1744 Engraving, Sir Thomas Smyth

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An original 1744 engraving by Jacobus Houbraken (1698-1780), depicting a portrait of Sir Thomas Smyth, after a painting by Holbein. Signed in plate. On laid.


The condition is typical for a picture of this age including some discolouration and light staining to the upper and lower edges. Some minor creasing to the corners.


35.2 x 21.4cm (13.9" x 8.4")
Sheet: 40.7 x 25.5cm (16" x 10")

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Artist Biography

Jacobus Houbraken (1698-1780) was a Dutch engraver, apprenticed under his father, Arnold Houbraken (1660-1719). Houbraken’s style was similar to the portrait engravers of the great seventeenth century French school, most notably, Nanteuil, Drevet and Edelinck. He surpassed these masters in his ability to capture textures and tones. The Italian engraver, Raphael Morghen said, “No engraver has ever equalled, and probably will not equal, the Dutchman Jacobus Houbraken, in the manner of imitating the flesh and the hair by means of the graver.”

He was sought after by both English and Dutch publishers. His most famous engravings for English publication were those for the historical series, "The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain", published in parts in London between 1734 and 1752. He worked alongside George Vertue (1684-1756), but most of the great portrayals were left to Houbraken, including those of Newton, Pope, Dryden, Shakespeare and Milton. Under the framed portrait of each individual, he designed and engraved the vignettes and objects associated with each person. Jacobus Houbraken's most important set of original portrait engravings, The Heads of Illustrious Persons of Great Britain, required almost twenty years to complete. The set contains one hundred and eight portraits of British luminaries dating from the 14th to early 18th centuries including Kings, Queens, noblemen, politicians, writers, scientists and philosophers.

More Information
Code pp803
Artist Jacobus Houbraken (1698-1780)
Date 1744
Dimensions 35.2 x 21.4cm
Framed No
Medium Engraving
Style Realism
Subject Portrait
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