The Falconer


Samuel William Reynolds (1773-1835), The Falconer, after James Northcote (1746-1831), mezzotint with stipple, roulette and drypoint, 1797. References: Whitman 414, second state of 3; Le Blanc 99. A proof before the inscription space was cleared of the open mezzotint ground (cleared in state 2a). In generally good condition apart from light foxing, toning verso and in the margins, on old laid paper, with margins, 19 ¾ x 13 15/16, the sheet 14 5/8 x 20 5/8 inches.

A fine rich impression of this important mezzotint, in an early proof impression.

The sitter in this portrait was the artist’s brother Samuel Northcote, Junior. The mezzotint is probably based on the painting in the collection of Lord Kinnaird, which was painted in 1796.

State 1 is before the inscription at the bottom margin; state 2 has the lettering but is before the margin is cleaned. The lettering reads: “James Northcote RA pinxt  Sam W. Reynolds sculpt. The Falconer London Published March 1 1797 by IR Smith King St. Covent Garden”. In very small letters above the title “Mr Sam’ Northcote of Plymouth”.

The combined skills of the painter Northcote and the brilliant mezzotinter Samuel Reynolds created some of the finest mezzotints of the period; The Falconer is one of the most important of these prints.


Detail, showing inscription space before ground is cleared