Clypeus antiquus, exhibens Romam a Gallis, Duce Brenno, captam et incensam … omnia mira opificis arte elaborata. Ex Museo Woodwardiano.
(No publication details, but London or Amsterdam, first quarter of eighteenth century).
Engraving, 385 x 370mm (trimmed at outer margins, without loss of engraved surface). Some small tears and abrasions at left-hand blank margin, slight traces of old fold.
The best early eighteenth-century representation of “Dr.Woodward’s shield”, a iron shield carrying an embossed representation of the sack of Rome by barbarian invaders. This had been acquired by Dr.John Woodward (1665-1728), a London medical practitioner and Professor of Physic at Gresham College in the City of London, who supposed it to date from the Roman period, but although this view was widely accepted at the time by Woodward’s contemporaries, it was eventually to become clear that the shield was an artefact of the Italian renaissance. The drawing on which this handsome engraving is based was done by the artist and portrait painter Hugh Howard (1675-1737), who although London-based came from an upper -class Anglo-Irish family and was himself a keen collector of paintings and related works of art. More puzzlingly, the engraver employed, Pieter Stevens Van Gunst (1659-1724), lived in Amsterdam, and hence the uncertainty as to whether the engraving was initially marketed there or in London.