Publish'd Dec.r 1.st 1775. by W.Pether Broad Street near Carnaby Street.
Mezzotint. 455 x 580mm. Margins; creasing and slightly rubbed; occasional spotting and general paper tone. Glued to backing sheet.
Mezzotint from one of Wright's most celebrated paintings. He first exhibited 'The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone [...]' in 1771 then took the painting to Italy in 1773. This print was published in 1775- 'presumably he [Wright] persuaded Pether to engrave it [the painting], having failed to sell it by any other means' (Egerton). 'Despite its Gothic setting and picturesque embellishments, this work is utterly opposed to its seventeenth century predecessors. Without a trace of satire, its mood is as serious as that of the 'Orrery' and 'Air Pump'. Its purpose is not to ridicule the superstitions of the past, but to commemorate the birth of modern science from those superstitions' (Klingender).
Egerton 163 iv/v
[Ref: 6726] £1,450.00