- Museum number
- Object: Composition with skeleton on a seashore
A scene on a rocky, desolate beach, with some scattered shells and one large tree; from the tree hangs a tattered net, and just off the shore floats a wrecked galley. On land, in the foreground, a skeleton lies stretched out on his back, beside him is a skull, hidden in the weeds, and beneath him, a harpoon. Additions in pen and ink have been made to the print, transforming some objects' identities. Faces have been given to the rocks in the distance, as well as to a lobster basket on the far right, the galley rudder has become a skeletal head, and the mast a skeletal leg. Above the rocks, a skeleton hangs suspended from a thin tree, and in the sky, a winged skeleton flies upwards, holding out a bottle towards one reclining and several snarling figures in the clouds. 1772 (?)
Etching and aquatint in shades of brown, overdrawn in pen and black ink
- Production date
- 1772 (ca.)
Height: 371 millimetres
Width: 486 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Burdett was the first British aquatinter and this is only his fourth known aquatint.
See Sunderland in the 'Burlington Magazine', December 1980 p.836, where this is described as an "apparently unique print", the pen and ink additions having been made by Mortimer himself. See Sunderland Cat. no. 70 for more information.
The subject is presumably satirical.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2007 July-Oct, Coburg, Kunsammlungen der Veste, 'Aquatinta oder...'
2007/8 Nov-Feb, Liverpool, Walker AG, Joseph Wright of Derby in Liverpool
2008 May-Aug, New Haven, Yale CBA, Joseph Wright of Derby in Liverpool
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Formerly with Christopher Mendez, 'Fine English Prints' Nov/Dec 1980 cat.9. It is inscribed on the verso 'supposed to be by Mortimer, bought at Ireland's sale' (which took place in 1797 and 1801)
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number