An Academy by Lamplight
In a stone chamber containing the "Nymph with a Shell and Borghese Gladiator," six fancifully dressed young artists have assembled to sketch by lamp-light. The virtuoso realism—exemplified by the chipped stone plinth—belies the scene's mysterious, romantic mood. Pether's exquisite mezzotint, based on a painting by Wright, displays subtle tonal range, with deep shadows warmed by the brownish hue of the ink. Against a range of velvety darks, highlights—such as the protruding sheet beneath the foremost draftsman's sketch—appear almost to glow.
William Pether (British, Carlisle ca. 1738–1821 Bristol)