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Last weeks to see Caroline Watson

It is the final weeks to see the beautiful prints and private letters of the first British woman professional engraver, Caroline Watson. The exhibition finishes on Sunday 4 January. Watson was one of the most successful engravers of her age, with patrons including Queen Charlotte and the painter Sir Joshua Reynolds. Although she was the daughter of celebrated mezzotint printmaker James Watson, she was an early adopter of the new ‘stipple technique’, which was ideal for producing delicate portraits and decorative prints, many of which were aimed at female buyers. Transcripts of her letters written to William Hayley, who employed her to illustrate his Life of George Romney, have been published in the accompanying exhibition catalogue. They read like a Jane Austen novel; her personal relationships, everyday annoyances and triumphs written in careful prose in letters revealing her working secrets as the greatest and first female printmaker in Georgian England. Although Watson associated with royalty, aristocrats and celebrated painters, her writing shows her to be a demure and discreet woman who valued her privacy and worried constantly about her health. She never married, dedicated to her profession to her final days.

Tuesday 09th December 2014

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