THE National Maritime Museum has purchased two prints from a London dealer following its appeal in the Antiques Trade Gazette for information about two missing William Hodges paintings.
Shortly after announcing that the museum was trying to trace
The Effects of Peace and The Consequences of War, whose last known
appearance was at a Christie's sale in 1813, the owner of Grosvenor
Prints, Nigel Talbot, contacted the museum believing that he had
two original aquatints after Hodges in the basement of his
Geoff Quilley, curator at the NMM, inspected the 2ft 6in x 20in
(76 x 51cm) prints and confirmed they were genuinely after Hodges
and engraved by Thomas Medland.
This makes them the only known visual record of the enigmatic War
and Peace works.
The National Maritime Museum has agreed to purchase these prints
and will be adding them to the current Hodges exhibition that runs
until November 21.
Mr Quilley believes that the prints were made shortly after the
paintings were first displayed in 1794-5. The exhibition was closed
in January 1795 after the Duke of York considered the paintings
sympathetic to the French Revolution.
Prints of War and Peace were advertised at the time of the
exhibition, but it was assumed that they were never produced
following the controversy surrounding the works. This discovery
"Interestingly, these prints don't seem to be overtly radical,"
said Mr Quilley. "But it's clear to see why they upset the Duke of
York. Since they question the value of pursuing war, they could
hardly be described as patriotic."
The prints are still in their original frames and under original
glass. They include the title inscribed on the glass, rather than
on the plate itself, as is usually the case with 18th century
Mr Talbot, who has had the prints in his shop for about six
months, said that three or four museums had contacted him with
regard to purchasing the aquatints since their importance came to
light. The whereabouts of the original paintings remains
• Grosvenor Prints will shortly be selling off a great deal
more of their 125,000 items of stock, in particular many of their
framed prints. After 25 years, they are leaving their site at 28
Shelton Street and moving to a new premises 150 yards up the road
at 19 Shelton Street. The sale opens at 23 Shelton Street on
October 13 and will include reductions of up to 50 per cent.
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