Feature January 2015

Great Masters Paintings given the Baxter treatment

 

La Ménagère a Baxter Process Print by William Dickes

Three of the printers who used the Baxter Printing Process produced books which were compilations of paintings by famous artists to showcase their expertise in colour printing.

George Baxter published The Cabinet of Paintings in 1837 which contained reproductions of 11 paintings; Bradshaw & Blacklock produced their The Pictorial Casket of Coloured Gems in 1853 / 1854 containing 32 prints (plus either one of two frontispieces depending on the edition); and William Dickes published his Studies from the Great Masters which contains reproductions and descriptions of 18 famous paintings.



The Spanish Flower Girl a Baxter Process Print by William Dickes
The Spanish Flower Girl a Baxter Process Print by William Dickes

Three of Dickes works in his Studies from the Great Masters are shown here: ‘La Ménagère’, painted by Dutchman Gerard Douw in 1663; ‘The Spanish Flower Girl’, painted by the Spaniard Murillo at about the same time; and ‘The Infant Samuel’, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, about a century later than the previous two.

The Infant Samuel a Baxter Process Print by William Dickes

The prints in Dickes’ book vary in size from 16.5 x 12 cm to 21 x 16 cm. They are all beautifully coloured and, allegedly, faithful copies of the originals. Bound in dark blue or green cloth, with ornate gilding, the book is impressive at 37 x 28 cm. The complete book is a rarity, as so many would have been split up and the prints sold separately in frames. The prints were also published individually, with and without stamped mounts.