Sunday, 1 February 2009

Sir Francis Seymour Haden

The Terrace, Cintra

Biography of Seymour Haden
Born: September 6, 1818; London Died: June 1, 1910; Arlesford

Seymour Haden was an amateur printmaker in the true sense of the word. A surgeon by profession, he chose etching as a hobby, but soon developed his technique to a high artistic level. Through his work, his speeches, and his activities in the Royal Society of Painter Etchers which he founded, he helped to popularize the medium in England, France, and the United States, and he eventually saw its status secured in official art circles. Although Haden made his first etchings around 1845, it was not until twelve years later that he began to seriously create in the medium. At first he worked closely with Whistler, his brother-in-law, but eventually their relationship disintegrated as their aesthetics took divergent paths. Haden was at his best when producing romantic, serene landscapes in either pure etching or etching and mezzotint.
The importance of line and light is pre-eminent in his work and reflects the influence of earlier English artists such as the Norwich school, as well as 17th century Dutch artists like Rembrandt. Although Haden viewed etching as a spontaneous medium, many of his most important compositions were first worked out in preliminary drawings and progressed through several states. Recognition of his art came in the form of a knighthood, exhibitions, and the increased popularity of the etching medium to which he devoted his artistic life.

Year 0f 1877

188 The Fountain, Cintra. D. 9 in. w. 6 in. h. Trials (a) (b) (c). One State.

189 Cadaval, Cintra. 9 in. w. 6 in. h. Trials (a) (b). One State.

190 Cork Trees, Cintra. D. 8^ in. w. 6 in. h. Trial (a).

191 Cintra. A Tree Study. D. 6 in. w. 9 in. h. Trial (a). Unique.

192 The Tank, Cintra. E.D. 9 in. w. 6 in. h. Trials (a) (b).

193 The Terrace, Cintra. D. 9 in. w. 6 in. h. One State.

194 Outside the Cork Convent, Cintra. D. 9 in. w. 6 in. h. Trial (a). One State.

195 Inside the Cork Convent, Cintra. D. 9 in. w. 6 in. h. Trials (a) (b). One State.

196 A Monk at the Fountain. 8^ in. w. 5^ in. h. Trial (a). One State.

197 A Monk Praying — St. Francis. D. 9 in. w. 6 in. h. Two States, the 2nd reduced to 5f in. by 6 in. 1878.


Haden was a friend of Sir J. C. Robinson. In 1877 he made 16 etchings whilst staying with Robinson at Newton Manor, near Swanage in Dorset. In the same year they made a trip to Spain and Portugal together, during which they visited Monserrate. (p. 21).

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