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John Martin. 1789-1854.

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The Fall of Babylon. 1831. Campbell-Wees 88.Mezzotint with etching. Image: 18 1/2 x 23 3/8; sheet:22 3/4 x 31 3/4 (trimmed to just within the plate mark, which would have been 23 3/8 x 32 1/8. A later impression, with the altered lettering 'The Fall of Babylon by John Martin'. A professionally-repaired tear in the top left margin, extending 1/2 inch into the image; otherwise fine condition. A rich impression printed on chine collé mounted on sturdy white wove paper. Signed and titled in the plate. Housed in a dramatic 26 5/6 x 36-inch double black and grey mat with the artist's name and the title of the mezzotint written in gold in the lower right-hand margin.$3,750.

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'The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labour in vain...', Jeremiah (51:58)

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John Martin first interpreted the biblical scene of the destruction of Babylon in a huge painting exhibited at the British Institution in 1819. He created prints after his paintings, as a 'means which would enable the public to see my productions, and give me a chance of being remunerated for my labours'. Martin did not see his prints just as commercial reproductions, but as works of art in their own right. He took personal responsibility for every stage of print production. He even inked his own plates, a job which was normally left to specialist printers.

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