Jacobus secundus

Engraver Isaac Beckett British
After Sir Godfrey Kneller German
Sitter James II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland British

Not on view

Mezzotint, a tonal method of printmaking, was invented in Germany in 1642 and introduced to Britain by Dutch engravers. Beckett was first great native-born Englishman to practice the technique, producing just over than a hundred prints between 1681 and his early death in 1688. Most of these are portraits, many after leading painters. This example after Sir Godfrey Kneller represents King James II. The image was painted when James was Duke of York, but in this second state of the print, the engraved inscription was altered to reflect his ascension to the throne.

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