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Lot 112: 18th century portrait of John Colet
October 29, 2016
Wells, ME, USA
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Description: Original 18th century portrait of John Colet (1467-1519) the English churchman and educational pioneer. Colet was an English scholar, Renaissance humanist, theologian, and Dean of St. Paul_s Cathedral, London. Colet wanted people to see the scripture as their guide through life. Furthermore, he wanted to restore theology and rejuvenate Christianity. Colet is an important early leader of Christian humanism as he linked humanism and reform. Colet influenced Erasmus, a key figure in Christian humanism. During his time abroad he became acquainted with Budaeus (Guillaume Bud_) and Erasmus, and with the teaching of Savonarola. On his return to England in 1496 he took orders and settled at Oxford, where he lectured on the epistles of Saint Paul, replacing the old scholastic method of interpretation with one more in harmony with the new learning. Due to their influences, when he arrived back in England, he returned more than just a humanist; he returned a Christian reformer. His methods did much to influence Erasmus, who visited Oxford in 1498, and who later received an annuity from Colet. This original mezzotint portrait is by Richard Houston (1721?_1775) who was an Irish mezzotint engraver, whose career was mostly in London. Born in Dublin about 1721, he became a pupil of John Brooks, who was also the master of James McArdell and Charles Spooner. He came to London about 1747, and some of his early plates bear the address "near Drummond's at Charing Cross". In debt to Robert Sayer the print-seller, he was arrested and confined to the Fleet prison; according to Sayer this in order that he might know where to find the dissipated Houston. He was released in 1760, on the accession of George III. As a free agent he was commissioned by Carington Bowles. Cropped and mounted many years ago, the image is approx. 10-1/4 x 7-3/4" plus margins.
Condition Report: VG