This print of a coastal scene, entitled At Freshwater by Samuel Prout (17 September 1783-10 February 1852), was published by Rudolph Ackermann (20 April 1764-30 March 1834), a German inventor and publisher, 1 February 1816. Samuel Prout is known as one of the great British watercolour painters of the early 19th century, particularly his paintings of architectural scenes. He was born at Plymouth, England, and was encouraged as an artist during his schooling. In 1803 he moved to London and discovered vast new outlets for his talents, including painting marine landscapes for printsellers. Prout was appointed the coveted title of ‘Painter in Water-Colours in Ordinary’ to King George IV in 1829, and then later to Queen Victoria. For anyone unfamiliar with English geography, Freshwater is on the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of England.
Rudolph Ackermann, the printmaker, was born in Saxony and as an adult moved to Paris and then London, where he established a print-shop and drawing-school in The Strand in 1795. He used a lithographic press and later manufactured colours and thick carton paper for landscape and miniature painters. From 1809-1829, he published the Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions, which appeared monthly until 1829 by which time forty volumes had appeared featuring his own work and that of several other English artists. Ackermann also published several volumes of travel scenes of England and continental Europe of which this print was a part.
Of interest to Queens County Heritage, is that the print was used and copied by Queens County artist Anthony Flower for a painting c. 1860. The print is part of a large collection of ephemera that descended through the Flower Family, ending up in the possession of James H. Flower who gave it to the donor. The painting came to us two years earlier from another family connection; neither the donors or QCH knew the two items existed until they came to us. Flower regularly used prints and images from periodicals of the time as inspirations for his art; given the date of this print, it is possible it is something brought with him from England in 1817. Comparing the two pieces, it is clear Flower changed a few details. He removed the dory or rowboat altogether and enhanced some other features that are less clear in the print. Also of interest, Flower’s At Freshwater is one of his double-sided works; on the reverse is a European landscape scene dated 1857.
To view the print and the painting, visit our early summer exhibition at the Flower House, The Making of Anthony’s Art!