'Serenissimus Georgius, D.G. Hassiae Landgravius Princeps Hirsfeldiae (1669-1705)
(Georg, Landgrave of Hesse)' from volume "Mezzotintoes by Smith Vol I" 1703
bound volume (dimensions 54 x 38 x 6) inscr. on plate below image "Serenissimus Georgius, D.G. Hassiae Landgravius Princeps Hirsfeldiae; Comes in / Cattimeliboco, Dietz, Kigenhaina, Nidda, Schauenburgo, Isenburgo et Budinga; Eques / Nobilis Ordinis Aurei Velleris; Sacrae Cesareae Majestatis Campi Mareschallus; / Et Regiminis Catafractorum Praefectus Hispaniae Procer Anno Domini. MDCCIII."; inscr. on plate b.l. "T. Murrey pinx:"; inscr. on plate b.r. "I Smith fec: et exc:"; inscr. on page t.r. hand-written in brown ink "24" CRE SMITH, John; (English; 1652-1743) AFTER MURRAY, Thomas; (Scottish; 1663-1735) PUB SMITH, John; (English; 1652-1743) Part of William Hunter's original bequest, this is one of three volumes which together contain 488 mezzotints, almost all made or published by John Smith. About two thirds are portraits of eminent late Stuart, early Hanoverian persons, and one third fancy and mythological subjects.
Instrumental in raising the standard of mezzotint portraits, Smith was the first British printmaker to gain a European reputation, and examples of his work were essential for any serious early to mid 18th century European print collection.
Hunter's set of volumes is a rare surviving example of a comprehensive collection of mezzotints compiled in the 1730s.
Georg, Landgrave of Hesse Darmsdadt, prince of a state of the Holy Roman Empire, was a commander in the Austrian army. His positioning in the volume among members of the British Royalty seems at odds with the otherwise logical and precise ordering of the sitters. His portrait was painted by Scottish portrait painter Thomas Murray who trained in London under John Riley, a fashionable society portrait painter who was appointed principal painter to King William III and Queen Mary together with Kneller in 1689.