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 S. Arlent Edwards  (1862 - 1938)

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Lived/Active: New York/Connecticut      Known for: mezzotint engraving

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A Master engraver, he is best known for his single-print mezzotint engravings in color.  His work displays a meticulous attention to detail, and depth and richness in color.

Samuel Arlent Edwards was born in 1862 in Somerset, England, and studied art and architecture at the Kensington Museum Art School from 1877 to 1881.  He continued studying engraving, working for Appleton, Josey & Alais in London, achieving early success in making mezzotint reproductions of well-known paintings.  An engraving by his hand was exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in 1887.

Edwards came to the U.S. in 1890, and began working as a book illustrator in New York under the name of S. Arlent Edwards.  At the same time, he began creating single print mezzotint engravings in color, a practice invented in the eighteenth century by English engravers, and abandonned, probably because of its need for such meticulous attention and patience, in a process unforgiving of errors or the slightest mistakes.  It took years of experimentation and practice to revive the process but Edwards succeeded, and his work was soon recognized by American as well as European collectors.

His Old Master copies (Da Vinci, Botticelli, Nattier, Boucher, and others), were meticulous in detail, yet also different, as he sometimes chose a detail or image of the work as his focus, and used his own colors.  He inked and printed each plate for every copy himself, thus ensuring that no two copies were alike.  He also limited the number of prints and subsequently destroyed each plate.  The engravings were sold to subscribers by major dealers in New York.

Edwards returned to Europe in 1910, taking up residence in Bruges, Belgium, where he continued to create mezzotint engravings, and where he remained throughout World War I.   He returned to the United States in 1934, and  moved to Westport, Connecticut, where he died in November of 1938.

information courtesy of Stu Sanfield

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S. Edwards is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
San Francisco Panama-Pacific Exhibition 1915

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