Born in 1719, the English land survey or turned engraver John Boydell began his artistic career publishing his own prints. Eventually he began to publish the works of others, and by 1767 he devoted himself entirely to publishing and selling engravings of other artists.At the time, most of the prints for sale in England were imported from France and other Continental countries. And French publishers, being French, would rarely extend credit or exchange prints with the English dealers, demanding instead to be paid in cash up front. Boydell seized this opportunity and began commissioning English engravers to create plates of English paintings. The resulting works were the first English prints ever to be in demand in Europe.Boydell became quite wealthy from this enterprise. He used his fortune to fund a major art project, which became known as his Shakespeare Gallery. He commissioned the leading painters of the day to paint scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. He then printed both small and large engravings for sale in England and abroad.
Art (paintings, prints, frames)