Endymion by George Frederic Watts RA (1817-1904). Mezzotint and etching on vellum made in 1892 by Sir Frank Short, signed in pencil 'Frank Short' and inscribed 'touched proof; after the painting of 1869-1872 now in a private collection. Artist's proof, signed by the artist and printmaker. Exhibited: A copy of this print was exhibited in the Royal Academy, 1892, Summer Exhibition, number 1477.
Commentary by Hilary Morgan
Watts treated the subject of 'Endymion' four times, and this print is of the first and most important version. The painting originally belonged to the Pre-Raphaelite patron William Graham. It represents the shepherd Endymion who was loved by the moon, and the classical sub ect is here given a strong and sculptural treatment in which both the nude male figure and the draperies of the moon goddess derive from the Elgin Marbles. The sculptural qualities are emphasised in the monochromatic print.
Sir Frank Short RA PRE (1857-1945) was one of the most important late Victorian exponents of the etching revival. He was both a reproductive and an original printmaker and also a noted teacher, holding the post of head of the engraving school at the Royal College of Art. His technical skill is clearly seen in the present print. Martin Hardie produced a two volume study of his prints (Print Collector's Club, volumes 18 and 19, London 1939 and 1940).
Morgan, Hilary and Nahum, Peter. Burne-Jones, The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Century. London: Peter Nahum, 1989. Catalogue number 118.
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Last modified December 2001