De Beer Ec 1827 M
London: Septimus Prowett
‘Dark to light’ mezzotint engraving was probably the most appropriate medium to use to create images of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the epic poem on the ‘Creation’ and ‘Mankind’s Fall’. Samuel Prowett paid the British artist John Martin (1789-1854) 2000 guineas to produce 24 engravings to complement Milton’s famed text; he received a further 1500 guineas for a second smaller set of 24. The images he created are dramatic. Published in 1827, the two-volume book, and the prints (many sold separately) were a commercial success. This rare edition sits in the de Beer Collection, among many other outsized editions such as 16th century herbals, the voyages of Captain Cook, Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall, and the musical works of Handel. There is variety indeed.
John Milton, “Paradise Lost,” ourheritage.ac.nz | OUR Heritage, accessed October 2, 2022, https://otago.ourheritage.ac.nz/items/show/11174.