PHILIP DAWE

ca. 1750 – London – after 1790

Lambert’s Leap (after ROBERT POLLARD) 1786


mezzotint on laid paper; 646 x 454 mm (25 7/16 x17 7/8 inches)

WATERMARK
dovecote with countermark FIN DE / A TAMIZIER / AUVERGNE / 178[1 or 7]

PROVENANCE
the Hon. Christopher Lennox-Boyd, London and Oxfordshire
C.G. Boerner, Neue Lagerliste 117: English Mezzotints from the Lennox-Boyd Collection, Düsseldorf/London/New York 2002, no. 65
private collection, England

A very good impression; some pale foxing, otherwise in very good condition with margins.

Philip Dawe based this print on a drawing by the engraver, painter, and print publisher Robert Pollard (ca. 1755–1838). As the engraved inscription describes it, “The Accident above represented happened some time ago to Mr. Cuthbert Lambert of Newcastle upon Tyne, whose Horse, as he was endeavoring to turn him, at full speed across Sandiford Stone Bridge, leaped the Battlement & fell about 20 Feet to the Bed of the Water …” (Newspaper records indicate that while the horse died instantly upon impact, Lambert survived.) It is a curiously comic scene given the tragic nature of the circumstances: the foppish Lambert, his elegant hat flying off, is seen in the midst of a futile attempt to break his fall by clinging to the spindly branch of a tree that appears to curve above him in picturesque imitation of the arch of the bridge from which he has fallen. His pose almost suggests dancing. Meanwhile, his panicked horse, frothing at the mouth and with flattened ears, appears to hover in the air, its front legs braced against the inevitable crash onto the rocks below.

Like Pollard, Cuthbert Lambert was a native of Newcastle upon Tyne, a detail that might explain the artist’s interest in this local incident—one of minor significance but so vividly described in this superbly eccentric mezzotint.