The Galley

by the incomparable

Wenzel Hollar 1607-1677


                            this stupendous engraving measures 4¾ x 10½                            
there are six ships riding the sea's well

This engraving is number 1276 in Pennington's catalogue of Hollar's etched work. He missed one of the ships; the smallest one. The re-issue of these four plates by Overton in 1717 reinforces the probability that Baston was well aware of them.


This enlargement is little short of the height of the entire original etching.

"His accomplished handling of minute detail is undoubtedly one of the great pleasures of his etchings." Graham Parry, Hollar's England, 1980, p.11. In 1642 "Hollar was obliged to become dependent on London publishers, and in particular on Peter Stent ... whose shop was in Giltspur Street". p.17. Mackenzie, in British Prints, 1998, notes "he worked for publishers who exploited his talents mercilessly until his death in penury." This alleged "death in penury" appears, in other opinion, to be something of an overstatement. Opinions vary, however. Wikipedia has this to say: "He died in extreme poverty, his last recorded words being a request to the bailiffs that they would not carry away the bed on which he was dying." A remark by James Spedding, 1808-1881, seems worth repeating here: "When a thing is asserted as a fact, always ask who first reported it, and what means he had of knowing the truth."

In 1677 Hollar was buried in St Margaret's Church, Westminster, where he is described in the register as The Famous. Parry remarks: "He died quite unregarded." p.29. An epitaph was put up to him by George Vertue in the next century.


Did Baston have Hollar in mind ?

hollar and the algerine pirates
baston 1
baston 2
more on baston
kirkall prints

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© Charles Harrison Wallace 2005, 2013
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