George Baxter Prints, ca. 1840
My dad's cousin was a household science teacher in Winnipeg. The university women's club that she belonged to was being torn down, so she bought these there.
They're really landmarks in color reproduction in England in the 19th century. George Baxter was a printing entrepreneur. He was born in 1804, died in 1867. So around 1835, he devised a new method of color reproduction which incorporated using standard printing plates, engraving plates, running a print through the plate, then using wood blocks where he would use either oils or printer's ink to create really finely textured prints of the type you see here. What he got was something that really looked like a painting. Not only did it have incredible color accuracy, but it also had a lot of texture. And it's very unusual to see a pair of this quality. He was always trying to raise money to support his process, so he did a lot of popular prints which are not nearly of the quality of these. You can identify his prints really quite frequently by cartouches, which either they were embossed or they were printed right in the print. And this one says "Patent Applied for 1835." The sad part of his story is that while he was very successful, when the patent ran out, there was a lot of competition and new color printing methods came in, and in 1867, he actually died two years after having declared bankruptcy. But what you have here, the subject matter are two court beauties, I would say. They're very idealized young Victorian ladies from about 1840. The frames are not original to the pieces. But I think if they were to show up in a very nice gallery, they would probably sell for around $7,000 to $7,500 for the pair.
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