A Backwater

Sir Francis Seymour Haden British

Not on view

Seymour Haden was the unlikely combination of a surgeon and an etcher. Although he pursued a very successful medical career, he is mostly remembered for his etched work as well as for his writings on etching. He was one of a group of artists, including James McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) and Alphonse Legros (1837–1911), whose passionate interest in the medium led to the so-called etching revival, a period that lasted well into the twentieth century. The extolling of etching for its inherent spontaneous qualities reached its pinnacle during this time. While the line of the etching needle, Haden wrote, was "free, expressive, full of vivacity," that of the burin was "cold, constrained, uninteresting," and "without identity."
A small pond at left; three ducks at right; trees in background at right; foliage and trees reflected in pond.
"The scene is a Thames backwater at Sonning.
State VIII (H1). Additional horizontal shading on the lower foliage of central tree and additional loop on S of Seymour. The bur wears during the printing."
[Source: Schneiderman, p. 327]
"Published States: First.-The bur is much reduced in most parts of the plate, especially in the clump of trees on the right bank; this clump of trees now projects farther to the left. There are three ducks seated in the foreground, and the head of a fourth appears from behind the bank a little farther beyond."
[Source: Harrington, p. 90]

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