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Thomas Frye (1711/12-62)

A self-portrait dated 1760

Mezzotint | 50.5 x 36.5 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 654855

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The unusually large scale of the mezzotint allowed Frye to capture the different textures of skin, hair, cloth, metal and paper using tone alone. But Frye wished to emphasise his artistic genius rather than his technical skill: he shows himself holding a porte-crayon, the tool of the liberal draftsman, and his head-in-hand pose was an established signifier of the melancholic artistic temperament.