Portrait of Thomas Flatman
mezzotint, circa 1680s or 1690s, on laid paper, watermark Name of Jesus (similar to Heawood 2959), a fine and rich impression of the third state (of four), printing with plate tone, fine wiping marks and inky plate edges
Plate 340 x 248 mm.
Sheet 380 x 310 mm.
Chaloner Smith 11 (two states), Russell 11 (three states)
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Lot Essay

Chaloner Smith thought the print might be the younger Faithorne’s earliest, made with the assistance of his father, and after a likeness by his father or by Flatman himself, an accomplished miniaturist as well as a poet. But the elder Faithorne was an engraver and his involvement unlikely, while the plate most probably records a painting by John Hayls; Robert White, famous for the verisimilitude of his likenesses, probably excerpted the bust for a frontispiece engraving, in which he names the sitter and this artist, best known for his portrait of Samuel Pepys.

There are probably four states: in the first, recorded by Chaloner Smith but not presently known, the roll of paper held by the sitter has a coat of arms and coronet; in the second the paper is re-grounded and prints black; in the third the head appears, as in the present impression; in the fourth the plate is insensitively reworked. Two impressions of the third state (Amsterdam and Washington), have the sitter identified as John Ogilby.

We are most grateful to Nicholas Stogdon for the correct identification of the engraver and subject, and the above note.
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