A print by Cosway

Douce was a friend and executor of the painter Richard Cosway (1742-1821). Many works by him and by his wife Maria can be found among Douce’s prints and drawings -this nymph carrying Cupid on her shoulders is a good example:

Maria Cosway after Richard Cosway, Nymph and Cupid, 1774-1805, etching and aquatint (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)

Maria Cosway after Richard Cosway, Nymph and Cupid, 1774-1805, etching and aquatint (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)

From Douce’s annotation on the verso, we know that he thought that Cosway’s Cupid resembled ‘Reynolds’s Shepherd Boy’ and that he wondered which the original was:

Joshua Reynolds, Piping Shepherd Boy, c. 1788, Oil on canvas,  (National Trust, Antony House, Cornwall  ©National Trust Images/John Hammond)

Joshua Reynolds, Piping Shepherd Boy, c. 1786, Oil on canvas, (Antony House, Cornwall ©National Trust Images/John Hammond)

Moreover, Douce considered that the attitude of the two figures was very similar to that of the mother and child depicted in this scene of the Deluge:

Jan Sadeler I after Maerten de Vos, The story of the family of Seth, 1586, engraving © The Trustees of the British Museum

Jan Sadeler I after Maerten de Vos, The story of the family of Seth, 1586, engraving © The Trustees of the British Museum

Douce found the same motif in the upper right side of another print in his collection: this allegory of The Power of Love by Hieronymus Hopfer which was, as he noted, copied after a ‘Trionfo della Luna’ by the Monogrammist PP in the collection of his friend Mr Dimsdale:

Hieronymus Hopfer, The Power of Love, 1528-63, engraving (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)

Hieronymus Hopfer, The Power of Love, 1528-63, engraving (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)

Cosway’s original source was, however, correctly identified by Douce as a ‘Greek or Roman gem’ reproduced in the second volume of Caylus’s Recueil (plate LXXXIII):

caylus gem

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This entry was posted in Antiquaries, Antiquities, Aquatint, Collections and Collectors, Engravings, History of printmaking, Paintings, Prints. Bookmark the permalink.

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