Sydney E. Wilson - Signed Artist Proof Mezzotint
Sydney E. Wilson - Signed Artist Proof Mezzotint
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This is a signed in pencil, mezzotint, “artist’s proof” from about 1915 by acclaimed British mezzotint engraver Sydney E. Wilson (1869-unknown). It is titled Master Lambton, based on the original painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence, RA (although they do not look alike at all). See info about the artist below. Price includes shipping.
This was originally offered by Annesley & Co., Albany Art Galleries at 505 Broadway in Albany, New York. From the info below, I am lead to believe this is from around 1915-ish. The company was located at this address in the 1840s, but that was before Wilson was born. They relocated to this address in 1915. So, being the logical detective that I am, I am going to say this artwork is from around 1915-1920.
In trying to determine its age, here is some very interesting information about the gallery’s history that I uncovered.
”Annesley and Co. of Albany was founded in 1802 by Lawson Annesley, a native of Bordentown, New Jersey. Lawson, along with his younger brother William, was a gilder specializing in looking glasses and picture frames. The shop was, as of 1813, located at 16 Stueben Street. Later they relocated to 294 North Market Street. In 1823 they moved again just down the street to a larger location at 325-327 North Market Street. In the following decade, Annesley and Co. relocated to 309-311 N. Market Street and began to advertise itself first as a looking glass store and then as a looking glass warehouse. During the 1840’s, Annesley and Co. moved twice. Their first move of the decade took them to 46 Broadway in 1841 and their second move, in 1846, took them to 504-506 Broadway. The company’s first major change came in 1856 when Lawson Annesley took on Marshall K. Williamson as a partner. The company name was changed to Annesley and Williamson. On September 1, 1875 Annesley & Vint moved from 504-506 Broadway to 57 North Pearl Street where the company remained until 1915. In the Albany Directory of that year, Annesley & Vint ceased to advertise themselves as sellers of looking glasses, but rather as purveyors of picture frames, fine furniture, upholstering and hangings. Moreover, it was also in this advertisement that they first referred to themselves as the Albany Art Gallery. In 1885, James Vint the elder left the business to set up his own shop on 34 North Pearl Street specializing in artists’ supplies. His son remained with Annesley, although the name reverted back to Annesley and Co. With the departure of the elder Vint, the company began to turn from manufacture towards becoming more of a gallery for both art and fine furniture. In 1890 the partnership with the younger Vint dissolved and Richard Annesley never took on another partner. By 1893, the phrase “Albany Art Gallery” came to dominate the Albany Directory advertisements of Annesley and Co. Over the next few years the advertisements of the company changed little, consistently offering etchings, paintings and frames, but also at various times fine furniture, antiques, cut glass, oriental rugs, and artists supplies. The company was incorporated in 1905. On October 24, 1909 Richard Annesley died and was the last Annesley to run the company. Ambrose Boylan, who had begun at Annesley and Co. as a clerk in 1885, succeeded Richard Annesley as president. Within two years of taking over the company Boylan shifted focus and, while continuing to offer art, frames and antiques, Annesley and Co. began to make and modify fine furniture at their new factory located at 40 James Street. In 1915 the company moved back to its 1874 location at 504-506 Broadway. Annesley and Co. ceased to advertise in the Albany Directory after 1930. Sixteen years later it moved again to 121 State Street. By 1941 Annesley and Co. was listed as selling antiques at 20a Stueben Street. The company seems to have closed in 1944.”
ABOUT SYDNEY E. WILSON:
"This eminent mezzotint engraver was born at Isleworth, Middlesex, in 1869. He was educated at Margate and Hereford [England]. Whilst still a child, he astonished his parents by the wonderful facility with which he drew any natural object that attracted his attention. His father, delighted with this evidence of his son's abnormal artistic endowments, consulted Dr. Henry Graves, the well-known publisher, of Pall Mall, who advised his being apprenticed as an engraver to Mr. A.C. Alais. Not being satisfied with this opinion, [Wilson's father] consulted other publishers, and was strongly advised to apprentice his son to Mr. Joseph B. Pratt, then one of the most promising mezzotinters. This was done, and [Wilson] entered Mr. Pratt's studio at the age of fifteen. After serving his full time, he remained as assistant to Mr. Pratt for seventeen years. This proved a valuable training for the young engraver, as he worked with the master upon the finest plates of the day, and to this must be attributed the full development of the powers which have placed Mr. Wilson in the front rank of his contemporaries.
Wishing, at this period, to work independently, and to assert his personality as an artist, he, for [more than] a year, endeavored to obtain a commission, but without success. Eventually, as a last resource, he called upon Messrs. Vicars Brothers, of Old Bond Street, who did their best to help him. Not then being publishers themselves, they sent him with strong letters of recommendation to three of the leading publishing firms, but with no result, though two of these firms had previously expressed to Messrs. Vicars their willingness to commission him. Mr. Wilson naturally returned to Messrs. Vicars very disheartened, and they, sympathising with him in his difficulty, gave him a commission to engrave Lady Hamilton as Nature , after Geo. Romney. When published, this plate was a phenomenal success, the whole issue of proofs in colour being sold in one day to the London trade.
An agreement for a number of years was then arranged with Messrs. Vicars, and for them he [had] worked exclusively..
The great feature in the art-publishing world undoubtedly has been the modern colour proof, which has created a demand which has increased with the supply. This is only to be explained, so far as Messrs. Vicars are concerned, by the very high standard of excellence reached and maintained by Mr. Wilson, whose efforts have brought the most beautiful works of art into the homes of all people of artistic sensibilities.
Sidney E. Wilson died at the grand age of 94 in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.