Thomas Worlidge (1700-1766)
Portraits of "Mahomet" and "Hamet"
Etching with drypoint
On laid paper
Dimensions: 19.6 cm x 14.4 cm (Mahomet Plate)
19.6 cm x 14.4 cm (Hamet Plate)
27.5 cm x 18.0 cm (Mahomet Sheet)
26.3 cm x 18.8 cm (Hamet Sheet)
A scarce pair of 18th Century English depictions of Ottoman Turks. Lettered beneath the images "Mahomet, a Turkish Merchant / Taken by the corsairs, made a slave at Malta, Escap'd in a Dutch Vessel / from thence came to England" "Painted and Etch'd by Tho. Worlidge, in the Piazza Covent Garden." and "Hamet, companion to Mahomet, Taken Prisoner, & Escaped with him" "Painted and Etch'd by Tho. Worlidge, in the Piazza Covent Garden." Probably lifetime impressions, richly inked, un-numbered and with full margins.
These engravings by Thomas Worlidge, after his own paintings, are wonderful examples of his work 'after the manner of Rembrandt', imitating the drypoint style of the earlier master. They depict muslim merchants who found their way to England having escaped slavery. The appearance of these men clearly interested the artist and their presence in England and the story of their capture, enslavement and escape, demonstrates the perils associated with trade along the Barbary Coast of North Africa.
Worlidge was a colourful character who was born into a recusant family in Peterborough. He moved to London in about 1740. He first made a name through his popular miniature portraits, but eventually concentrated his energies on etching in the style of Rembrandt which were highly influential. The works here combine both his skills. He fathered thirty-two children by his three wives.
Scarce, but there are impressions of both in Royal Collection (see and RCIN 658468 and RCIN 618582 etc) and the BM (see 1850,0810.52 and 1851,0308.327 etc)
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