This fine pair of Georgian engravings depict two scenes from Shakespeare. The first, engraved by Robert Thew (1758-1802) after John Hoppner RA (1758-1810), references Cymbeline, Act III, Scene VI. This was one of the bard’s final plays and it’s abundant with seduction and deceit. The second, engraved by William Satchwell Leney (1769-1831) after John Downman ARA (1750-1824), references As You Like It, Act 1, Scene 2. Both were published by John and Josiah Boydell in 1800 and 1801 respectively.
During the early 19th-century, there was a reinvigorated desire for Shakespeare, partly due to the Romantics who held his works in high regard. John Boydell looked to meet this new demand by opening a gallery in London to display a range of commissioned artworks inspired by his plays. Each painting was then engraved and published.