|Description: We offer a scarce oversize mezzotint portrait of William Pitt from 1754. The plate is 15 3/8” x 11” on laid paper that is 17 ½” x 13 ½”. The text under the image reads “One of his Majesty's Principal Secretary's of State, And One of His Majesty's most Honble. Privy Council.', and "W. Hoare Pinxt. / R. Houston Fecit / sold by R. Houston, at Charing Cross". Pitt’s expression and attire are rendered with a luminous, silken, near photographic accuracy. Copies of this portrait are housed in prominent print collections and libraries, including the National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum. Item #PR00286.
From the National Portrait Gallery of London: "Statesman and Prime Minister. Forced by opinion on George II to save the nation in 1756, Pitt led the House of Commons and organized the victories of 1759 over France which consolidated British sea power and brought territorial gains in India and Canada. In 1761 he resigned. He returned to office as Prime Minister in 1766, accepting an earldom, only to fall ill and retire. Although suffering from manic depression, Pitt left his sick bed in 1778 to plead for a tolerant attitude to the British colonists in America. He was the father of William Pitt the younger."
Richard Houston (1721?–1775) was an Irish mezzotint engraver, whose career was mostly in London.
Condition: There are two thin horizontal rubbed lines across Pitt’s figure, it is likely that at one time the paper was lightly creased, however at this point in the print’s lifespan it is quite flat. There is a minor ½” tear at the upper right margin well away from the image. The paper is toned around the plate line from prior framing, still it is a quite presentable, early engraving.