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Lot 111: 19th C. Tinted Mezzotint Engraving - Goffers (Golfers)
October 27, 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Europe, England, ca. 19th century CE. The first-ever golf print, according to various experts of golf memorabilia, originally created in 1790, a hand-tinted mezzotint depicting William Innes, Blackheath's captain, and his caddy, a Greenwich Hospital pensioner, a retired sailor. The text on the lower margin of the print reads as follows: "Painted by L. F. Abbott, 1790. From the engraving by V. Green. Mezzotint engraver to his Majesty and the Elector Palantine. TO THE SOCIETY OF GOFFERS AT BLACKHEATH. This plate is with just respect dedicated by their most humble servant. Lemuel Francis Abbott." William Innes (1719-1795) was the captain of the Society of Golfers at Blackheath, which is now known as Royal Blackheath. Lemuel Francis Abbott (1760- 1803)was an 18th century English portrait painter, famous for his portraits of Horation Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, and other naval officers and literary figures. Valentine Green (1739-1813) was a British engraver and publisher who was appointed mezzotint engraver to the king in 1773 and was also elected as an associate engraver with the Royal Academy the following year. This composition is a fabulous early example of golf memorabilia, sure to be the ace in the hole for any golfer! Originally it was issued in black and white and later hand-tinted. While it is difficult to establish the first issue, fewer than 15 of the original 50 are known to exist. The quality of the paper leads us to believe that it was printed in the early 19th century, close in time to the original (1790), and hence, quite rare. Custom frame and mat. Size: image measures 15.5" L x 11" W (39.4 cm x 27.9 cm); plate impression measures 18" L x 12.625" W (45.7 x 32.1 cm); framed 27" x 21.75" (68.6 x 55.2 cm)
Provenance: Ex-East Coast auction company
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Condition Report: Etching has aged gracefully. Image is quite legible and pigments vivid. Plate markings wonderfully visible. Small area of possible water damage in lower right corner. Overall excellent.