Thoman(n) von Hagelstein, Ernst Philipp (1657 Augsburg 1726) or (?) son Tobias Heinrich (1700 Augsburg 1764, see below). Marten at the nest of a couple of wild ducks in the reeds. Beside three chickens several eggs, of these one each started to burst and broken up resp. with interesting depiction of the already complete chicken. Mezzotint printed in brown. Subject size 13¾ × 20⅛ in (34.8 × 51.2 cm).
For the purpose of fitting into an album trimmed to platemark on three sides, below supposedly at loss of the caption to the edge of the image, mounted by old on laid paper and edged with line in brown ink. – In the white upper margin old updated inventory inscription: Nro 5 / Tom: X / Fol 92 and by likewise old hand as by Ernst Philipp. – Smoothed centerfold. – Two tiny hair-fine folds at the marten’s neck.
Marvelous , also zoologically interesting sheet in the wonderful impression
of a comprehensive old stock, richly nuanced in its chiaroscuro and, as all mezzotints by Ernst Philipp – “one of the best artists of his time”, Nagler – , but, possibly, also by the son, exceedingly rare. So then, too, just as only sheet among the about 27,600 of the first 28 sections of Weigel’s Art Stock Catalog (1838/57; 6,211) the portrait Rauner as the only one known to Nagler, too, while a Marten, robbing a Pigeon’s Nest (19,715) figuring as by Tobias Heinrich. At which the unambiguity of present duck couple suggests a varied repetition by the son, on the other hand with regard to the caption certainly missing here along with supposed signature also a casual title by Weigel cannot be precluded.
One way or another, present sheet also not in Schwerdt who III, 170 f. records both Thomans and thereby for Ernst Philipp lists two sets of 4 sheet each from the Baillie-Grohman Collection, one of these the set of the set of the Didactic Pieces of Hunting. Ditto with The Earth / La Terra, any special literature aside, a first indication to a 4-sheet set of the Elements.
On the artist dynasty of the Thomans, originally residing in Lindau and flourishing for more than 200 years, see Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie XXXVIII, 65 f. And Nagler on Ernst Philipp: “In the later period of his life he occupied himself with the mezzotint manner, and
had in this in Augsburg but One predecessor “,
mentioning the relevant (so ADB) “Several Animal and Hunting Pieces” only from hints by the younger Paul von Stetten (1731-1808) of which “we have found none of these described in greater detail”. This general scarceness of the mezzotints already results from their technique. So already in 1675 the expert von Sandrart figured “clean copies” of the velvety mezzotint at just about “50-60 (!) … soon after, however, (the picture) grinds off for it not goes deeply into the copper”.
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(Mr. M. W., December 19, 2012)