Archduke Charles of Austria (1771-1847) Field Marshal, Commander in Chief of Imperial Austrian Armies in Germany
Colour mezzotint30 June 1799
About the work
This colour mezzotint print shows the military leader Archduke Charles of Austria wearing a white silk coat with gold braid and buttons, over a red waistcoat. He wears the sash and breast star of the Imperial Austrian Order of Maria Teressia and his hair is powdered and queued (braided from the lower back of the head). The lettering on this print tells us it is derived ‘from an original drawing made at Vienna by H. Schmidt’ and was ‘Engraved, Published and Sold’ by mezzotinter Valentine Green and also sold by ‘R. Green’. R. Green is Valentine’s son, Rupert (1767/8-1804), who went into partnership with his father in 1785, helping to run his international print-publishing business. After the business was made bankrupt in 1798, Rupert tried miniature painting to earn money, before dying at the age of just 36. He was buried in Hampstead churchyard, London.
About the artist
German painter Heinrich Schmidt was born in Saarbrücken, Germany. He became a court painter in Dresden in 1775, after distinguishing himself for his oil and pastel portraits in France and Italy. Schmidt made portraits of many illustrious contemporary figures, including Nelson and Napoleon. He died in the city of Darmstadt in south central Germany.
Valentine Green, engraver of portraits and historical subjects after works by his contemporaries, was born at Salford, Worcestershire. He was intended for a career at the Bar, but without his father’s consent, became apprenticed to an obscure line engraver in Worcester. When he came to London in 1765 he began working in mezzotint and engraved nearly 400 plates over the next 40 years. In 1775 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy and was appointed Mezzotint Engraver to George III. In 1789 he obtained the exclusive privilege of engraving the pictures of the Dusseldorf, but was ruined when the city was besieged in 1798. In 1805 he was made Keeper of the newly founded British Institution, a post he retained until his death.