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Antiquarian Books, Maps, Prints & Photographs - I Antiquarian Books, Maps, Prints & Photographs - I RICHARD EARLOM (1743 - 1822)
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After Johann Zoffany, R.A. Colonel Mordaunt’s depiction of the famous Cock Match at Lucknow, 1786 beautifully hand colored mezzotint, with engraved descriptive key plate published by Laurie & Whittle, London, 1794 in a gilt frame with mount.
Colonel Mordaunt ’s Cock Match at Lucknow , 1784–1786
After an original oil by John (Johann) Zoffany, R.A. (1733–1810), engraved in mezzotint by Richard Earlom, London 1792; this copy published in 1794.
Inscribed: “Colonel Mordaunt’s Cock Match. / At Lucknow, in the Province of Oude, in the year 1786, at which were present several High and Distinguished Personage,” and below, in smaller characters: “For the Names, see the Index Plate,” and in small letters near the lower edge of the folio, center: “Published 13 May 1794 by Laurie & Whittle, 33 Fleet Street. London/ (…)” The artist’s name is given below the picture, lower left corner: “J. Zoffany pinxit”; the engraver’s name appears below the picture, lower right corner: “R. Earlom sculp. London.”
The greatest European expert in cock fighting was probably the French General Claude Martin who “had amassed a large fortune by trade and by winning bets on cock fights…”
He is numbered “4” in the Index Plate and is shown dressed in a red uniform, seated on a dais, with his right ankle placed on his left knee. Zoffany himself is also present. He is the gentleman seated in the background with his right elbow resting on some device and holding a pen in his right, numbered “16” in the Index Plate.
Another artist of note who arrived at Lucknow not before February 20, 1786 is Ozias Humphry. Numbered “15” in the index plate, he is the man who places his left hand on the right shoulder of John Zoffany. This probably, “most famous ‘conversation piece’ of the eighteenth century Anglo–Indian record,” as Zoffany’s painting was rightly called, triggered a number of Indian copies and /or versions of either the lost version of the nawab or the engraving, which at some point must have arrived in India. This is the largest published version which was in the collection of Dr. William K. Ehrenfeld, who subsequently donated it to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. A Composition that is almost new rather than a copy is offered by another Indian painting of more modest dimensions. It shows the nawab seated with Haider Beg Khan behind the nawab’s right outstretched arm. Haider Beg Khan seems not to be present in the “Daylesford Version” Probably no other work of art shows more noted Europeans assembled and engaged at a native Indian court than this one.