“The Artful Disposition of Shades"

January 19, 2010, through March 14, 2010
The Great Age of English Mezzotints



Temporary Exhibitions, Friends and Cheatham Galleries


In the century and a half before the advent of photomechanical reproductions in the mid-1800s, mezzotints were the favored medium for publicizing English paintings. Compared to traditional printmaking techniques, such as engraving and etching, the new tonal method was praised by contemporaries for its ability to represent the painterly qualities of light and shadow. Although generations of artist had used prints to heighten awareness of their designs, the establishment of regular public exhibitions in London in the second half of the eighteenth century significantly increased the demand for inexpensive and widely available editions of fashionable pictures. Many painters embraced the picturesque appearance of mezzotints, including Reynolds, Turner, and Constable.

Generously supported by the Bernard R. Siskind 1955 Fund and the Cissy Patterson Fund.

Exhibition Curator

T. Barton Thurber

Related Publications

Exhibition subject: Europe