[A pauper lying in bed; possibly the boy poet Thomas Chatterton?]
Etching on india paper, sheet 170 x 195mm. 6¾ x 7¾". Sheet trimmed; some spotting.
A young man with bare torso lying on a straw bed in an impoverished interior, looking up to the ceiling, his head bandaged; two mice, a spoon and a plate on the floor. Shafts of light from a window upper left. The plate was used to illustrate 'Juvenilia, or a Collection of poems' by James Henry Leigh Hunt. The artist Raphael Lamar West (1769 - 1850) seems to have been inspired by the story of Thomas Chatterton (1752 - 1770), a poet who spent his last months in poverty in a London attic before committing suicide at the age of 17. The print has been labelled 'The Death of Chatterton', as indeed this impression is captioned, in pencil, to verso. Chatterton's life and work had a powerful effect on the Romantic imagination; witness Wordsworth's tribute: 'the marvellous boy, The sleepless soul, that perished in his pride'. Raphael Lamar West, painter and lithographer, was the son of Benjamin West.
De Vesme 1738, III of IV. See NPG D1372.
[Ref: 21188] £260.00