Seventeenth Century Hollar Prints Resurface

***This post was previously posted at the RBML Discoveries from the Vault website***

The famous artist and engraver Wenceslaus Hollar (Vclav Hollar in his native land), was born in Prague in 1607. While working in Cologne in May 1636 he met and entered into the service of the English diplomat Thomas Howard, the 2nd Earl of Arundel.

In London, Hollar executed work at Arundel’s direction, and also taught drawing to the Kings children and composed for printsellers and publishers.

One of Hollar’s finer works created in England was a series of prints on the theme of the four seasons. A set of the three-quarter length series was recently located in The Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

A very popular series, ‘Four Seasons’ at one point even received a Parisian imprint. The Rare Book & Manuscript copy of ‘Spring’ is the fourth state of four, with the other prints being the second states of two.


In the words of Hollar’s bibliographer, Richard Pennington:

Of all etchers, Hollar is certainly the most varied in subject, one of the most varied in subject, one of the most accomplished in technique, and with a style that is full of charm, a humour, and a good nature that are evidently the character of the man himself.

We hope you find these prints as elegant and charming as we do. CH