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Daniel Good Rare Books and Engravings

1811 Mezzotint portrait of Sir Francis Burdett by William Ward 62cm - Classical Art

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William Ward after John Raphael Smith

62 x 45.5 cm

Very large format.

Printed before the letters.

Published 1811

Following his imprisonment in 1810, Sir Francis Burdett (1770–1844) gained widespread notoriety as a defender of the rights and liberties of the people. As with Wilkes and Lilburne before him, Burdett’s reputation was reinforced by his supporters, who regularly associated him with the Magna Carta in the press and in popular prints. In this mezzotint, made in 1811 by John Raphael Smith (1752–1812), Burdett – surrounded by weighty legal tomes – holds out ‘Magna Charta’ to the viewer. In the background the Tower of London looms large, as a reminder of where Burdett was imprisoned by Parliament, and where others also risked being sent if the principles of the Great Charter were forgotten. As this print shows, Burdett and his champions were fully aware of the symbolic power of Magna Carta, which they invoked to great popular success.

Excellent condition before the lettering and with light use of white highlighting. One clean tear into image (without loss) restored. Otherwise very good.