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Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Williams Collection 1959.317.2
Catalogue raisonné: Parthey 607
Increments of time, such as the seasons, were one of the most popular subjects for printed sets. Wenceslaus Hollar alone made six different versions. Hollar was a professional printmaker with over 3,000 prints to his credit. Born in Bohemia, he worked in Germany, London, and Antwerp. He came to London in 1636 while in the employ of the Earl of Arundel, an important collector that Hollar met in Germany. Apparently free to pursue independent projects, Hollar designed and etched this series around 1643–44. Here, each season is personified by elegantly clad ladies, appropriately dressed for their particular climate, with recognizable landmarks in and around London in the backgrounds. The inscriptions, in an older version of English, are slightly suggestive, in keeping with the lighthearted character of the imagery. The background depicts St. James Park, with the Banqueting House and Old St. Paul's Cathedral along the horizon. The inscription reads: "How Phoebus, crowns our Summer days / With stronger heat and brighter rays / Her lovely neck, and breast are bare, / Whilst her fan does cool the Air."
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