Antique Framed Etching of Harry Rowe, a Man with quite a Story


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THE STORY - I knew absolutely nothing about Harry Rowe when I saw this etching, it was the that wonderful face upon which sits I think an army hat with pompons, holding in his large hand a Trumpet that spoke to me. But oh, have I had fun researching this most interesting of men. Harry Rowe was born in York in 1726 and was Trumpeter to The Duke of Kingston's Light Horse Brigade and was present at the battle of Culloden in 1746. For the next 40 years he was Trumpeter to the Assizes High Sherifs in Yorkshire. But he was also an itinerant Showman & Puppeteer, a satirical emendator of Shakespeare and I believe at one point contemplated becoming a matchmaker until his wife died. I believe this etching to be a commemorative one. Indeed during my research I did find another example on the British Museum website, advising that the print was made by anonymous 1791-1798, but interestingly the British Museum's example does not appear to have the date at the bottom of 1797 which this one does. The etching sits within a moulded oak frame which my instinct tells me is a later frame although it does have some age to it.

AGE - 1791-1798

CONDITION - The etching is in good condition, although there are some areas that are dirtier than others this is especially true around the rectangular impressed frame on the paper and also at the very bottom of the etching, please see all photos. The etching of Harry is still crisp and clear. The frame as I have mentioned I believe is a later one and is good condition and there is a wire on the back to hang it from although I would recommend this is tested for security before hanging.

DIMENSIONS (Approx) - Framed - Height 9&1/4" / 23.5cm, Width 7&1/4" / 18.5cm, Depth 5/8" / 1.5cm. Unframed - Height 7&3/4" / 19.5cm, Width 5&3/4" / 14.5cm

Sadly when Harry died in 1799 it was in a York Poor House, but goodness what a life he lived. And I love this simple etching, his unimpressed face weighted down by that hat with its pompons, but most of all for some reason I love that hand holding his trusted trumpet, a hand which not only held a trumpet, but brought puppets to life and scribed those satirical emanations of Shakespeare.

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