London Printed for John Bowles
Mezzotint, very scarce, sheet 200 x 150mm (8 x 6"). Trimmed to platemark and glued to album sheet with letterpress clippings pasted below and another print verso.
William Wycherley (1640-1716), playwright. Like his contemporary the earl of Rochester, posterity saw Wycherley as the epitome of the attractive, wicked, brillant Restoration wit and rake (Charles II's notorious and beautiful former mistress Barbara Villiers was his lover for a time). His greatest plays 'The Plain-Dealer' and 'The Country-Wife'. The young Alexander Pope was a friend towards the end of Wycherley's life, and helped to edit and publish his works after his death. According to the British Museum cataloguing, engraved by John Simon, and probably copied from the similar John Smith engraving. The youthful appearance reproduced here was ironic: when Wycherley commissioned John Smith to engrave Peter Lely's handsome portrait of him in 1703 he accompanied it with the Virgilian motto 'Quantum mutatis ab illo' ('how changed from that').
For Smith's engraving of Wycherley see ref. 24460. CS: Not in.
[Ref: 36521] £260.00