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Samuel Arlent Edwards
Lady Betty

Circa: 1900

$400

About

An original signed mezzotint engraving on wove paper by English artist Samuel Arlent Edwards (1862-1938) titled "Lady Betty", c. 1900 after a painting by English artist George Romney (1734-1802). Hand pencil signed and illegibly inscribed by Edwards lower right. Limited edition unknown, presumed small. Edwards himself inked and printed each plate for every copy, and therefore no two prints were exactly alike. He made only a limited number of copies of each work, insisting that each be sold framed. Old gallery sticker label adhered on verso. Framed in a gilt period frame with French matting. Framed size: 23.25" x 19.25". Image size: 12.75" x 10.25". In overall good condition. Lady Elizabeth Hastings (19 April 1682 – 21 December 1739), known as Lady Betty and less commonly as Steele's Aspasia, was an English benefactor. She was the daughter of the 7th Earl of Huntingdon; her brother George became the 8th Earl. Hastings's father died in 1704 and her brother in 1705. Her grandmother died a year later and passed on to her the estate of Ledston or Ledstone Hall, near Castleford, West Yorkshire, and she lived there until her death. She did not marry. Lady Betty had an annual income of about £3000 and gave half of this to various charitable causes, including local charities, a girls' school in Ledsham, and a school in Chelsea run by Mary Astell. She was a major influence on the erection of Holy Trinity Church, Leeds. She gained the epithet "Steele's Aspasia" because Richard Steele wrote an essay in Tatler that compared Hastings to Aspasia. Her portrait was painted by Godfrey Kneller, and her memorial in Ledsham church is based on this portrait. Early in 1738 she was found to have breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy, but her health continued to decline until she died at the end of 1739; during her illness she continued to make charitable donations. She left the bulk of her estate to her nephew Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon, but also made many charitable legacies and left the estate of Wheldale, near Wakefield to The Queen's College, Oxford to support scholars from specified northern schools. Lady Betty is remembered in the names of primary schools in Collingham, Ledston and Thorp Arch. Samuel Arlent Edwards (English, 1862-1938) was born in 1862 in Somerset, England. He studied art and architecture at the Kensington Museum Art School from 1877 to 1881, and then continued studies in engraving with Appleton, Josey & Alais in London. He achieved early success in making mezzotint reproductions of well-known paintings, a path he was to follow all his life. In 1887, he enjoyed the distinction of having an engraving exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. In 1890 he came to the United States and established himself in New York as a book illustrator under the name S. Arlent Edwards. He then began to work on color printing from a single mezzotint plate, an art dormant since late in the eighteenth century. In 1890 he came to the United States and established himself in New York as a book illustrator under the name S. Arlent Edwards. He then began to work on color printing from a single mezzotint plate, an art dormant since late in the eighteenth century. He abhorred the traditional practice of touching up imperfect prints by hand, and he routinely penciled in this statement just above his signature: "Engraved and printed in color at one printing without retouching." Edwards himself inked and printed each plate for every copy, and therefore no two prints were exactly alike. He made only a limited number of copies of each work, insisting that each be sold framed, and then he destroyed each plate. His engravings were sold to subscribers by major dealers such as D. B. Butler and M. Knoedler in New York. In 1910 he returned to Europe, living in Bruges, Belgium, continuing to issue mezzotints from there. He remained in Bruges throughout World War I despite the German occupation. When Allied troops entered Bruges at the end of the war, he acquired instant notoriety by being the first to fly the American flag. Edwards returned to the United States in 1934, settling in Westport, Connecticut. He died there in November 1938. George Romney (1734-1802) was an English portrait painter. He was the most fashionable artist of his day, painting many leading society figures – including his artistic muse, Emma Hamilton, mistress of Lord Nelson.

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