pencil signed, lower right; in plate, lower left; "2nd state" in pencil, lower right, following signature; dated in plate, lower left "1870"; various proofs and states; printed by Frederick Goulding on laid antique-white O.W.P & A.C.L. paper; publsiehd by artist through Colnaghi.
Various proofs and state; printed by Frederick Goulding on laid antique-white O.W.P. & A.C.L paper; published by artist, through Colnaghi.
The single most important subject of Sir Francis Seymour Haden's career, Breaking up of the Agememnon, No. 1 was printed by the foremost plate printer of the day, Frederick Goulding, and was issued by the artist himself through Colnaghi's - with immense success.
Early in 1870, P.G. Hamerton had approached F.S. Haden to etch a plate for his newly-founded art magazine, The Portfolio. Haden chose this subject of the hulk of the warship Agamemnon as she lay moored at the Naval Arsenal at Deptford (on the Thames) for demolition.
One of the last wooden-hulled warships built in England, launched in 1852, the Agamemnon had served as the flagship in many naval battles and in 1857 it had been a participant in the laying of the Atlantic telegraph cable. To her left, in front of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich, is seen the Dreadnought.
Haden drew the initial sketch for this etching directly on the copper plate. He wrote to Hamerton: "I had thought of making the sun set behind the old hulk and the distant cupolas of Greenwich and of using the sinking luminary as typical of the departing glories of both..."
In this state the distant scene beneath the prow of the Agamemnon shows a brig under sail (stern on), two small sailing boat, and a smoking chimney. This scene was removed and replaced by a view of dockyard sheds and a much altered chimney in the subsequent state. In this state the plate prints with particular clarity, being prior to the addition of much drypoint work.