Thomas Paine and the “Rights of Man”
Arrogance and Arbitrariness of Upstart Rulers
(1795 London 1880)
as one of the but few early
and thus typical works by Landseer :
“ That Thomas Landseer may be judged only by these illustrations a little book with woodcuts proves which show next to nothing of his intellect ” .
Worked since 1827 the 25 etchings incl. title were published in numbers and with classical captions at Moon, Boys & Graves in London till 1828 (The English Catalogue of Books: January to December) in three editions: standard edition in quarto, edition on larger paper in large quarto, edition with proofs in large quarto, too. Besides copies on mounted China.
Otherwise qualified by Rümann i. a.:
“ Much more important was Edwin’s brother Thomas Landseer …
… in the ’20s he distinguished himself by a series of 25 plates that were published 1828 under the title of ‘Monkeyana’ (ills. 57).
Technically his etchings are masterly ,
no less admirable the intellectual grasp of the subject. With much humor and sharp observation he transfers the plain life of his time to the monkey’s life. His sarcasm is biting, almost vicious. ”
In regard of the latter judgement Landseer’s contemporary Nagler, Monogramists V, 686, might be more to the point:
“ … the habits , costumes , and follies of his time
(Landseer has) caricatured delectably ” .
And Stechow sovereignly sums up :
“ Monkeys always fascinated artists ”
(Pieter Bruegel, Cologne 1977, page 76).
“ The monkey as the animal most similar to man plays an important rôle in art history since antiquity.
As figura diaboli ,
as symbol of sin and the fall of man ,
as fool , as figure of vanity
he appears in most varied context … (A)lso the usual religious reference in the interpretation of the monkey as
man mixed up in his passion for profane things … ”
(Hella Robels, Frans Snyders, Munich 1989, page 43).
Later Thomas Landseer devoted himself largely to the reproduction of the animal depictions by his brother Sir Edwin.
The fine etchings here from a copy of the better edition on large paper honeycombed with proofs. – The generally only light marginal foxing concerning a narrow stripe only and thus in view of the extreme broad margins meaningless.
The Brawl about the Fox
“Faithful to the track. th’unerring hounds. With peals of echoing vengeance close pursue. Thou villain there Expect thy fate deserved!” In the brawl about the fox the two huntsmen attack each other with horse-whip and fists in a quarrel over the dead fox also claimed by the two hounds – though they in faithful community. Inscribed with the Somervile verse from “The Chase” as above. 7⅞ × 6½ in (19.9 × 16.5 cm). – Proof. – See the complete description.
Offer no. 5,377 / EUR 240. (c. US$ 290.) + shipping
Rubbish may be — Shot here. “It has a strange quick jar upon the ear, That cocking of a pistol when you know, A moment more will bring the sight to bear Upon your person.” Duelists with their seconds before the decisive meeting, the first downright filled with painful presentiment. Inscribed with the Don Juan verse as above. 6½ × 8 in (16.4 × 20.3 cm). – See the complete description.
Offer no. 5,378 / EUR 220. (c. US$ 266.) + shipping
“– now will canker Sorrow eat my bud, And chase the native beauty from his cheek.” Mourning at the side of the dead companion. Inscribed: TL, otherwise with the Shakespeare verse as above. 8 × 6½ in (20.2 × 16.4 cm).
Offer no. 10,824 / EUR 199. (c. US$ 241.) + shipping
Hookey Walker!! With expressive gesture. Inscribed: Drawn and Etched by Tho L, otherwise as above. 8 × 6½ in (20.2 × 16.5 cm).
Offer no. 10,825 / EUR 176. (c. US$ 213.) + shipping
“What ho! does the Devil arrive! then we needs must get on.” Two monkeys galloping on an ass. Inscribed: Drawn & Etched by Tho Landseer 1827, otherwise as above. 8⅛ × 6½ in (20.6 × 16.4 cm).
Offer no. 10,826 / EUR 197. (c. US$ 238.) + shipping
“The potion. Turns his brain and stupifies his mind.” An obviously drunken gentleman led by a younger one. Inscribed: Thomas Landseer 1827, otherwise with stanza from Dryden’s translation of Juvenal’s Sixth Satyr as above. 8 × 6⅝ in (20.2 × 16.7 cm). – Proof.
Offer no. 10,827 / EUR 176. (c. US$ 213.) + shipping
Teachers Snort at You
“speak no more, I’ll not be made a soft & dull ey’d fool, To shake the head, relent, & sigh, & yield.” The teacher with the quill behind his ear and – worse – the rod in his right, pressing hard a little rascal. Monogrammed, inscribed with the Shakespeare verse as above. 8 × 6½ in (20.2 × 16.5 cm). – See the complete description.
Offer no. 12,174 / EUR 343. / export price EUR 326. (c. US$ 394.) + shipping
Monogrammed by Own Hand
“Fools ne’er had less grace in a year. For wise men are grown foppish. And know not how their wits to wear. Their manners are so Apeish.” The little ragged beggar with the cap in his hand looking up in horror to the “great” dolled up with monocle, chain of orders, neckerchief, bows, and silk hat. Monogrammed with pencil “T L”, inscribed with the Shakespeare verse as above. 8 × 6½ in (20.2 × 16.4 cm). – Proof. – See the complete description.
Offer no. 14,375 / EUR 297. / export price EUR 282. (c. US$ 341.) + shipping
When Plebeians rise to Power
“But man, proud man, dressed in a little brief Authority plays such fantastic tricks. & &.” Dressed up with the signs of police powers – coat with broad collar + oversized hat – brandishing the rod and roaring he takes action against the three little beggars on the steps at the church. Two of them already taking to their heels while the third tries to rescue the coin lying besides his cap. Monogrammed TL, inscribed as above. 6⅞ × 8⅜ in (17.6 × 21.2 cm).
Offer no. 14,376 / EUR 197. (c. US$ 238.) + shipping
“The muse saw it upward rise. Tho mark’d by none but quick poetic eyes.” The quill in his hand, a rag around the shoulders, covering his nakedness with a manuscript, the indefatigable poet reads with horror the critique the housekeeper shows him through the door: Weak, Weak, Weak. Monogrammed T:L 1828, otherwise with the Pope verse as above. 8 × 6½ in (20.2 × 16.6 cm).
Offer no. 14,377 / EUR 197. (c. US$ 238.) + shipping
“A fool to pleasure yet a slave to fame, Say what can cause such impotence of mind? A spark to fickle or a spouse to kind, Wise wretch with pleasures too refined to please, With too much spirit to be e’er at ease!” Lady spruced up excessively with pompadour, frill, curls, and a hat dressed with flowers like a field’s edge. Her pug under the raised skirt yapping against the impudent street-urchin with dustpan + brush over his back. Inscribed: Thomas Landseer invent, otherwise as above. 8 × 6⅝ in (20.4 × 16.7 cm). – Proof.
Offer no. 14,378 / EUR 189. (c. US$ 228.) + shipping
“Now singing shrill, and scolding oft between, Scolds answer foul-mouthed scolds.” Two women – one balancing basket try with a carp on her head, the other putting out her tongue together with an obscene gesture. Inscribed with the Swift verse as above. 8 × 6½ in (20.2 × 16.6 cm).
Offer no. 14,379 / EUR 146. (c. US$ 176.) + shipping
Even the heaviest Epaulettes
do not frighten a Ghost
“Hence, horrible shadow! Unreal Mockery hence!” Paralyzed with fear the general gives ground to an enemy disguised as ghost while another takes his pistol and loads him over his shoulder. In the middle distance further battle. Inscribed: Tho Landseer, otherwise with the Shakespeare verse as above. 6⅜ × 8¾ in (16.2 × 22.2 cm). – Proof. – See the complete description.
Offer no. 14,380 / EUR 222. (c. US$ 268.) + shipping
“I hope I dont intrude.” Gentleman in full dress, the silk hat in his right, the umbrella under the left arm. Inscribed: Tho Landseer, otherwise as above. 8 × 6⅜ in (20.3 × 16.2 cm).
Offer no. 14,381 / EUR 176. (c. US$ 213.) + shipping
When first I saw thee graceful move. Ah me, what meant my throbbing breast / Say soft confusion, art thou Love! If Love thou art – then farewell rest. A pair on a stage before harbour scenery. She skinny and languishing, he slightly appalled. Inscribed: T. Landseer, otherwise as above. 6½ × 8 in (16.6 × 20.2 cm).
Offer no. 14,382 / EUR 176. (c. US$ 213.) + shipping
Great skill have they in Palmistry. Still delighted in the arms of her newly wed spouse – with silk hat – the bride lets the fortune teller read from her hand. Monogrammed: T:L, inscribed with the Cowper line as above. 7 × 8 in (17.7 × 20.4 cm). – See the complete description.
Offer no. 14,383 / EUR 222. (c. US$ 268.) + shipping
As topical as ever – Human Rights
Thomas Paine on the Stage of the “Monkeyana”
The sight of one of the most despicable of God’s creatures Trumpling down the dearest rights of mankind, and crushing with impunity the rising liberty and prosperity of millions, is one of the most melancholy and degrading spectacles in existence. – and the miserable would-be-despote and the wretched monkish faction who has urged him into so much perfidy and folly are likely to be driven into merited obscurity. On a stage Majesty with ermine coat, brandishing the scepter in the raised left while holding the mask of gentleness in the right, at the same time, however, trampling with the feet on Liberty and Rights of Man of 1791 by Thomas Paine (Thetford, Norfolk, England, 1737 – New York City 1809). This in his own – thus human (sic!) – shape reaching out from the left for the crown on the Majesty’s knees while putting a fool’s cap onto his head. In the background two apes as clergymen. Inscribed: Landseer, otherwise as above. 8¼ × 7 in (21 × 17.7 cm).
Offer no. 15,262 / EUR 630. / export price EUR 599. (c. US$ 724.) + shipping
Always faster ahead with the Tax Burden
Ya — hip my haerties! here am I. That drive the Constitution Fly. The Tax Cart drawn by a blood-thirsty mastiff with the axle smoking. Inscribed: Tho Landseer, otherwise as above. 6¼ × 7⅞ in (16 × 20.1 cm).
Offer no. 14,970 / EUR 630. / export price EUR 599. (c. US$ 724.) + shipping
What wanton tricks sly Cupid plays, When’eer the rogues let loose! A God he’s turn’d into a swan And man into a goose! The bow in the right, a full quiver and a single arrow at the ground, roses in the hair and a swan’s wings at the shoulder: scheming new mischief. Inscribed: T Landseer, otherwise as above. 8 × 6⅜ in (20.4 × 16.3 cm).
Offer no. 14,386 / EUR 197. (c. US$ 238.) + shipping
“ Thank you Mr. Niemeyer, The prints (you have delivered two weeks ago) are being framed right now. My framer is very particular (works for the National Gallery … ) and I am having a perfect frame made for the large Ridinger (the imperial stag hunt Th. 67). Best regards ”
(Mr. J. R. L., November 19, 2003)