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
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
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 https://archive.org/details/graphicartsofgre00salauoft)
On the Test (Le Crépuscule)