Francis Seymour Haden

Original Prints: Etchings


Although trained as a surgeon, Francis Seymour Haden (1818 - 1910) took up other gentlemanly pursuits in the 1840s, travelling to Italy and liberally sketching, as well as studying Old Master prints back in London. 

A real commitment to printmaking bloomed in 1855 through his marriage to Deborah, the half-sister of James McNeill Whistler.  Haden even set up an etching press at their home on Sloane Street in 1858 (where Whistler then was staying), encouraging him to work from nature (!).  As a result, Whistler duly dedicated his first set of etchings, the 'French Set', to Haden.

Despite their eventual falling out, Haden kept up a life-long interest in printmaking, producing over 250 etchings; he also founded the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers, which he presided for thirty years, and was knighted in 1894.

He was renowned however for his printmaking in its own right.  Malcolm Salaman, who published the first catalogue raisonné of Haden's etching in 1923, earlier described Haden's style of working sur le motif  "with that breadth, freedom, and spontaneity of effect, which, while suggesting a sketch, represented a true etcher's drawing." *

* The Graphic Arts of Great Britain, London, 1917, p. 57  (see

Francis Seymour Haden, On the Test, etching, 1859

On the Test (Le Crépuscule)

Schneiderman 24

etching, 1859, the 6th state (of 8), an exceptional impression, dated and initialed by the artist, with a dedication to his printer, Frederick Goulding

Francis Seymour Haden first began etching his "direct landscape plates" in 1859, and this is one of his most accomplished.  This bucolic scene shows the River Test, flowing near the market town of Romsey, in Hampshire, at dusk.