William Smith Esq.re
Etching on india. Plate 229 x 152mm. 9 x 6". Staining and foxing into the upper half of the paper.
William Smith (1808-1876) was a print-seller and antiquary. He started at Cambridge University but following his father's death, he and his brother succeeded to the business and he was obliged to abandon his studies. A year later in 1836 he purchased the collection of engravings formed by John Sheepshanks which were considered to be the most perfect in Europe, which he later sold to the British Museum. Among the collections which reached the Museum through his exertions were those of ‘Mr. Harding of Finchley’ in 1841, of Coningham in 1844 and 1845, selections from the Aylesford and Woodburn collections in 1847, and some etchings of the utmost rarity by Rembrandt, procured at Baron Verstolk's sale at Amsterdam in 1847. He took a prominent part in establishing the National Portrait Gallery, being appointed an original trustee, and chosen deputy chairman in 1858. He was also actively engaged in the management of the Art Union of London. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1852. His collections, which included many rare catalogues of galleries and exhibitions, with copious manuscript notes, he bequeathed to the library of the South Kensington Museum.
[Ref: 21478] £75.00