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Samuel Cousins RA (9 May 1801 in Exeter – 7 May 1887 in London) was a British mezzotinter.
Cousins was born at Exeter. In 1855 he was elected a full member of the Royal Academy, to which he later gave in trust £15,000 to provide annuities for superannuated artists. One of the most important figures in the history of British engraving, he died in London, unmarried, in 1887 and was buried in a family grave (no.12697) on the western side of Highgate Cemetery.
Cousins was preeminently the interpreter of Sir Thomas Lawrence, his contemporary. During his apprenticeship to Samuel William Reynolds he engraved many of the best amongst the three hundred and sixty little mezzotints illustrating the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds which his master issued in his own name. In the finest of his numerous transcripts of Lawrence, such as Lady Acland and her Sons, Pope Pius VII and Master Lambton, the distinguishing characteristics of the engravers work, brilliancy and force of effect in a high key, corresponded exactly with similar qualities in the painter.
After the introduction of steel for engraving purposes about the year 1823, Cousins and his contemporaries were compelled to work on it, because the soft copper previously used for mezzotint plates did not yield a sufficient number of fine impressions to enable the method to compete commercially against line engraving, from which much larger editions were obtainable. The painterly quality which distinguished the 18th-century mezzotints on copper was wanting in his later works, because the hardness of the steel on which they were engraved impaired freedom of execution and richness of tone, and so enhanced the labor of scraping that he accelerated the work by stipple, etching the details instead of scraping them out of the ground in the manner of his predecessors. To this mixed style, previously used by Richard Earlom on copper, Cousins added heavy roulette and rocking-tool textures, tending to fortify the darks, when he found that the burr even on steel failed to yield enough fine impressions to meet high demand. The effect of his prints in this method after Reynolds and Millais was mechanical and out of harmony with the picturesque technique of these painters, but the phenomenal popularity which Cousins gained for his works at least kept alive and in favor a form of mezzotint engraving during a critical phase of its history. Abraham Raimbach, the line engraver, dated the decline of his own art in England from the appearance in 1837 of Cousins's print (in the mixed style) after Landseer's Bolton Abbey . Such plates as Miss Peel, after Lawrence (published in 1833); A Midsummer Nights Dream, after Landseer (1857); The Order of Release and The First Minuet, after Millais (1856 and 1868); The Strawberry Girl and Lavinia, Countess Spencer, after Reynolds; and Miss Rich, after Hogarth (1873-1877), represent various stages of Cousins's mixed method. It reached its final development in the plates after Millais's Cherry Ripe and Pomona, published in 1881 and 1882, when the invention of facing copper-plates with a film of steel to make them yield larger editions led to the revival of pure mezzotint on copper, which rendered obsolete the steel plate and the mixed style which it fostered. The fine draughtsmanship of Cousins was as apparent in his prints as in his original lead-pencil portraits exhibited in London in 1882.
Engraving is the practice of incising a design onto a hard, usually flat surface by cutting grooves into it with a burin. The result may be a decorated object in itself, as when silver, gold, steel, or glass are engraved, or may provide an intaglio printing plate, of copper or another metal, for printing images on paper as prints or illustrations; these images are also called "engravings". Engraving is one of the oldest and most important techniques in printmaking.
Valentine Green was a British mezzotinter and print publisher. Green trained under Robert Hancock, a Worcester engraver, after which he moved to London and began working as a mezzotint engraver. He began to exhibit with the Incorporated Society of Artists from 1766, became a fellow a year later and a director in 1771. He was appointed mezzotint engraver to the King in 1773, and the following year was elected an associate engraver with the Royal Academy. Throughout the 1770s and 1780s, Green's engraving practice flourished. In the 1790s, however, several of his international speculations failed and in 1798 he was declared bankrupt. In 1805, he accepted the role of keeper of the British Institution, a post he held until his death.
John Raphael Smith was a British painter and mezzotinter. He was the son of Thomas Smith of Derby, the landscape painter, and father of John Rubens Smith, a painter who emigrated to the United States.
Sir Francis Job "Frank" Short PPRE was a British printmaker and teacher of printmaking. He revived the practices of mezzotint and pure aquatint, while expanding the expressive power of line in drypoint, etching and engraving. Short also wrote about printmaking to educate a wider public and was President of the Royal Society of Painter Etcher & Engavers from 1910 to 1938. He was a member of the Art Workers' Guild and was elected Master in 1901.
James Tibbits Willmore was a British engraver.
Line engraving is a term for engraved images printed on paper to be used as prints or illustrations. The term is mainly used in connection with 18th- or 19th-century commercial illustrations for magazines and books or reproductions of paintings. It is not a technical term in printmaking, and can cover a variety of techniques, giving similar results.
Henry Graves was a printseller and publisher.
Thomas Oldham Barlow was an English mezzotint engraver. His prints helped to popularise the works of painters like John Phillip and Sir John Everett Millais.
Charles Turner was an English mezzotint engraver and draughtsman who specialized in portraiture. He collaborated with J. M. W. Turner on the early plates of the same's Liber Studiorum.
Thomas Goff Lupton was an English mezzotint engraver and artist, who engraved many works by J. M. W. Turner and other notable British painters of the 19th century. He also produced some pastels, exhibited at the Royal Academy. He played an important part in advancing the technical aspect of engraving by introducing soft steel plates.
George Clint was an English portrait painter and engraver, especially notable for his many theatrical subjects.
Samuel William Reynolds was a mezzotint engraver, landscape painter and landscape gardener. Reynolds was a popular engraver in both Britain and France and there are over 400 examples of his work in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
William Walker was a Scottish engraver. He is known for engravings of Sir Henry Raeburn's portraits of Sir Walter Scott and Raeburn himself, Sir Thomas Lawrence's portrait of Lord Broughham, and Alexander Nasmyth's portrait of Robert Burns.
James MacArdell (1729?–1765) was an Irish mezzotinter.
John Smith was an English mezzotint engraver and print seller. Closely associated with the portrait painter Godfrey Kneller, Smith was one of leading exponents of the mezzotint medium during the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and was regarded among first English-born artists to receive international recognition, along the younger painter William Hogarth.
Stipple engraving is a technique used to create tone in an intaglio print by distributing a pattern of dots of various sizes and densities across the image. The pattern is created on the printing plate either in engraving by gouging out the dots with a burin, or through an etching process. Stippling was used as an adjunct to conventional line engraving and etching for over two centuries, before being developed as a distinct technique in the mid-18th century.
William Say (1768–1834) was a British mezzotinter, born in Lakenham, Norfolk.
Robert Graves (1798–1873) was a British engraver.
Alfred Charles Whitman was a British print historian and museum curator, known for his books on the works of Valentine Green, Samuel William Reynolds, Samuel Cousins, and Charles Turner.
Lumb Stocks was a British engraver. In a long career he produced engravings from paintings by notable artists of the day.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cousins, Samuel". Encyclopædia Britannica . Vol. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 335–336. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Wood, James, ed. (1907). "Cousins, Samuel". The Nuttall Encyclopædia . London and New York: Frederick Warne.