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Prints in Imitation of Drawings

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (series)

    • Prints in Imitation of Drawings
  • Description

    Head and shoulders of an unidentified man, in profile to right, a shadow on the right; after a drawing by Mantegna. 1735
    Etching, printed in brown ink

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1735
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 210 millimetres (trimmed)
    • Width: 157 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered below image with production detail: "And: Mantegna delin.", "AP [monogram] 1735", then owner of the original drawing: "E Musæo Dñi. Roberti Dingley".
  • Curator's comments

    For another impression, see 2006,U.1122.

    This is one of seventy prints in a bound album in BM P&D containing prints by Arthur Pond and Charles Knapton after Old Master Drawings from two series: 'Prints in Imitation of Drawings' and a subsequent series: 'Caricatures'. A number of the original drawings are in the BM collection. Many of the prints also have duplication in BM, classified according to numbers in Hake's list.

    The 'Imitations' was a collaborative effort amounting to seventy plates, Pond concentrating on the forty figure studies and Knapton on the landscapes. They drew on drawings in collections of eminent collectors such as Sir Hans Sloane, friends and Pond's own collection. Wood-blocks for the colour washes were cut by William Pennock and a man named Davis and the printing was done by Wyatt. Dates on the plates provide a range from 1732 to 1736. An advertisement appeared in the 'Daily Advertiser' in January 1734/5 for the first set of twenty, which were published on the 2 April 1735. Subscriptions for the second set opened in April 1736. Both were priced at a guinea.
    Despite the relative lack of success of the 'Imitations', for which he only made back his initial expenses ten years later, Pond embarked on another set of 'Caricaturas' independently in 1736. those dated provide a range from 1736 to 1747. By this time, Pond had an arrangement with the Knaptons, who had establised a workshop with a press in Great Queen Street and managed all phases of production from printing to sale, in collaboration with Charles' wife Elizabeth and John, Paul and George Knapton.

    Boydell appears to have acquired the plates from the engravers: he advertised sets in his 1807 catalogue. Lot 91 in the posthumous sale of John and Josiah's stock, held in 1818, lists the 'Imitations', as thirty-seven (presumably referring to the copper plates), folio, 'with the remaining impressions of this work, amounting to about 3,500, in which are included a number of prints from copper plates and wood blocks, destroyed, belonging to it as first published'. The 'Caracaturas', lot 92, are listed as twenty-five, folio, with 'about 600 impressions'.

    Hake's catalogue of the series' is based around a bound set in the Cottonian Library in Plymouth, in which the prints are arranged chronologically by master, within the two series. There is a bound set at the Guildhall Library (not mentioned by Hake) which seems to have been made up contemporaneously, since the watermarks of the prints are contemporary with those of the album sheets, on which the plates have been printed directly in some cases. At the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge there is a set of the two series' from an edition issued by Boydell with French title-pages. The order of the plates differs in these to that in the Cottonian set and some plates do not appear, while others are added, which do not therefore appear in Hake's catalogue.

    For further discussion on the series, see Hake 1922, and Louise Lippincott, 'Selling art in Georgian London, the rise of Arthur Pond', Yale University Press 1983, pp.128-135.


  • Bibliography

    • Hake 1922 47 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (164.c.20)

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


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Object reference number: PPA275918

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