Giorgio Ghisi (1520/4-1582)

An allegory of life (‘The dream of Raphael’) Paris, 1561 Engraving 380 x 540 mm Believed to have been inspired by Virgil’s Aeneid (19 B.C.), this work remains elusive in meaning. Ghisi’s frenetic attention to detail creates an intense, dream-like atmosphere of confusion. The splintered boat stranded amid the swirling water, jagged rocks and snarling … Read more

Stefano della Bella (1610-1664)

Les cinqs morts – Death on horseback Italy, 1648 Etching with engraving 191 x 151 mm Here, the horse charges out of the picture frame, representing the inevitable coming of death. Breaking away from traditional equestrian portraits of rulers and generals, the horse and rider are not a unified partnership. Instead, their struggle is portrayed … Read more

John Raphael Smith (1752-1812)

Dr Richard Robinson, D. D. 1775 Mezzotint 510 x 357 mm This print was made after the painting by Reynolds, which is also in the Barber’s collection. The Englishman Richard Robinson (1709-1794) was made Archbishop of Armagh in 1765, so when this portrait was painted he was Primate of Ireland. He is dressed in the … Read more

John Leech (1817-1864)

Mr Briggs contemplates a day’s fishing Coloured etching 240 x 299 mm Fishing was seen as a means of escaping urban congestion, offering the working man relaxation. Mr Briggs’s front-room construction of this contemplative sport is rather more frenetic, as his line knocks candlesticks, picture frames and vases from the mantel piece. Briggs’s shocked wife … Read more