Elisha Kirkall: Printmaker & Printseller

According to E.K.Chatterton, who is not always wrong, Elisha Kirkall was born in Sheffield in 1685 and died in Whitefriars in 1742. Timothy Clayton points out that Vertue says Kirkall was aged 40 in 1722, and therefore favours a birth date of 1681/2 (ODNB). Hammelmann & Boase, Book Illustrators in 18th Century England, 1975, who are probably among the most authoritative sources, have this to say: "He was born in Sheffield, and his father, Thomas Kirkall, seems to have been a clock-maker. He went to London when he was twenty, and studied drawing in the Great Queen Street Academy. He married in 1707 ... Administration of his estate was given to his son, Charles, and he was survived by his widow Deborah. His first wife was called Elizabeth." The IGI life event resources of the internet offer the following: "Elisha Kirkall: Marriage; 3 Aug 1732, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. Spouse; Deborah Whitton."

Having finally bestirred myself to look up Vertue's actual words, written September 1722, they are repeated as follows: "Kirkall. Engraver. born at Sheffield Yorkshire. his father a lock smith. there he learnt, had some small beginnings to Engrave. came to London practice. & application. to grave arms ornaments etch. & cut stamps in hard metal for Printing in books. for several years. drew in the Accademy. made several essays to print in clair Obscure. now has done some large prints after a new manner from all others. being a Mixture of Etching. metzotint &. stamps of wood, to make the Tinctures, in which he has succeeded to Admiration. Ęta. 40." Vertue Notebooks III, 1933-1934.

Johannes Chicheley Armigeri

This mezzotint by Kirkall has gained celebrity for having apparently been singled out by Turner, who remarked that a print of a storm scene had inspired him to become a marine artist. The object of these pages is to examine the series of 16 shipping mezzotints in Kirkall's green-tinted colour oscure, and to ascertain, as far as possible, the manner in which they also aroused Monamy's active interest in van de Velde. Not a simple task.


original oil painting owners' names given where provided

Fight in 1672   [battle of solebay -- ?]
Onuphri Edwin Armigeri
Johannis Hadley Armigeri
Philippi Hollingworth Mercatoris

Thomae Brodrick Armigeri

monamy's painting and this print are discussed further, click here

baston prints

kirkall: battles             kirkall: storms
kirkall: calms & breezes             kirkall: capital ships
kirkall's shipping prints: conclusions
kirkall's "W: Vanderveld Jnr" mezzotint
the Britannia and/or Royal Sovereign
assorted sterns

prints: introduction
more on prints
mezzotints       line prints
monamy website index

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2002, 2007
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