John Faber Jr

John Faber, Cave Underhill, mezzotint

Mr Cave Underhill, ye Famous Comedian in ye Habit of Obadiah ye Fanatick Elder (after Robert Bing)

 Chaloner Smith 357

mezzotint, 1712, a fine impression of the only known state, trimmed to the platemark, on medium-fine laid paper, corners worn, light overall soiling, otherwise in good condition

S. 133x89 mm.

Provenance: the J. H Purdy and E. G. Kennedy collections, according to the label of the Kennedy & Co Rare Prints gallery (New York) affixed to the backing board.

Mr Cave Underhill is one of the most curious mezzotint prints of the English 18th century.  According to Chaloner Smith, this was probably Faber's first print, and he comments on its rarity:  "Most of his earlier prints are very seldom met with."

We have located two impressions of this print, in the National Portrait Gallery (London, which gives the dimensions as 130 x 87) and the British Museum (London, which is trimmed to 129x84 mm.).

Cave Underhill was a renowned comedian and actor, with a remarkable career spanning some 50 years, from 1660 to 1710.  Davies (in Dramatic Miscellanies) says that Mr Underhill was "a jolly and droll companion, a tavern-haunter, dividing his time between Bacchus and Venus, a martyr to gout, acting till he was past eighty, and that he possessed an admirable vein of pleasantry."