Samuel Drummond, A.R.A.(1765–1844) (after)
engraved by J.R.Smith Junr
62 cm high x 46.4 cm wide (image)
56 cm high x 38.5 cm wide (plate)
Proof before final text.
Lettered beneath the image with the title, the artist's details "Drummond pinxt." "Smith sculpt." and faintly either side of the title with the verse: "Say why, fair Maid in every feature / Are such signs of fear exprefst / Can a wandering wretched Creature / With such Terrors fill thy breast".
The verse and title beneath this large format mezzotint indicate that the inspiration for scene in the image is an extremely popular late 18th/Early 19th Century ballad entitled "Crazy Jane". This verse was written around 1800 by Matthew Gregory Lewis (1775-1818) (author of the controversial 1796 Gothic novel "The Monk: A Romance") and was in turn inspired by a real event: the chance meeting on a country walk in Scotland between the beautiful aristocratic writer Lady Charlotte Campbell (1775–1861) and a deeply distressed and heartbroken woman who had lost her wits having been deserted by a false lover. Various versions of the published verse "Crazy Jane" can be found in ballad sheets held by the Bodleian Library in Oxford.
Interestingly, although the publication details here explicitly attribute the work to Drummond and other literature on Samuel Drummond indicates a work of this title was exhibited by him, the catalogues from Royal Academy exhibitions do not include any work with such a title having been shown under Drummond's name. The only picture so named, dating to around this time, was one shown at the R.A.'s exhibition of 1802 by "S. De Maria" (No.412) (the sole work exhibited by this artist (who may have been related to the theatre scenery-painter of the same name to whom David Cox was apprenticed)).
The reviewer in the Monthly Magazine of October 1, 1805 [p.249] was uncertain as to whether Drummond in the original picture and the mezzotint reproduction therefrom had been able to convey the unsettling nature of the subject's condition: "Painters seem to think that these little simple subjects, which come home to the business and bosoms of us all, may be easily transferred to the canvas and copperplate. But whether we expect too much, in thinking that the picture should interest our feelings as much as the poem, or that it is not in the power of colours to convey to the mind ideas consonant to the words, we have scarcely seen any of them well depicted; so that all which can be said of Mr. Drummond is that he had not completely succeeded in an attempt, in which almost every artist who has proceeded him, has failed. I have never seen the two species of madness which mark the characters of Ophelia and Cassandra delineated with much interest, except in Mortimer's two etchings of characters from Shakespeare. But this great artist, with all his ability, was afraid of attempting that character so exquisitely described in the lines of Othello... 'My mother had a made call'd Barbara, She was in love...&c &c"
Extremely rare in any state. No version in BM or Yale etc. Mentioned in Challoner Smith's "Additions and Corrections" in a note p.1321 - but with additions to the printmaker's details (probably therefore a later state after this here) "J.R.Smith Junr." and a publication line "London Engd & Pubd May 1 1802 by J.R.Smith Junr., No.30 Great Titchfield Street, St. Mary Le Bone."
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