Framed transfer mezzotint on glass of a young woman looking down at her sewing while seated next to a small table with a pincushion and other sewing implements. It is inscribed: "Heilman pinxt. J. Watson fecit." / "Domestick Amusement. The Fair Seamstress" / "Printed for John Bowles at the Black Horse in Cornhil, & Carington Bowles in St Pauls Church Yard, London" (see the companion, The Lovely Spinner, HD 56.219). The "look" of reverse glass painting, made popular by the reverse glass paintings coming out of Canton, was so popular that in the mid to late 18th-century England, mezzotints and prints were applied to glass. This back-painting on glass process consisted ot soaking the print before attaching it to a sheet of paper. While the paper was till damp, it was carefully rubbed away until only a thin layer of paper sometimes remained. Once dry, the back of the print was coated with two or three applications of mastic varnish to make it transparent, after which it was hand-colored with watercolors. This process differs from "hinterglasmalerei," where the design is painted directly onto the glass. James Watson (1739/40-1790) was born in Ireland, and then settled in London where he learned engraving. He became one of the leading mezzotint engravers of the day, including 56 plates after the paintings of Joshua Reynolds. This print is based on a painting by the artist, Johann Kaspar Heilmann (1718-1760). The majority of Watson's work was for Sayer, Boydell, Bowles and other printsellers, but he published some plates himself. Watson exhibited at the Society of Artists from 1762 to 1775. Representing the third generation of publishers, print and map sellers, Carington Bowles (1724-1793) worked with his father, John Bowles (1701-1779), in Cornhill until 1764 when he took over the firm vacated by his uncle, Thomas Bowles (1695-1767) in St. Paul's Churchyard, which he lead for thirty years until his death in 1793 when his son Henry continued under the partnership of Bowles & Carver. John Bowles dropped the inscription "at the Black Horse in Cornhill" after his shop was damaged by fire in 1766, relocating at "No. 13 in Cornhill" by 1768.
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