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Sharp, William, English Engraver

SHARP, WILLIAM, ENGLISH ENGRAVER (1740-1824), English line-engraver, was born at London on the 29th of January 1749. He was originally apprenticed to what is called a bright engraver, and practised as a writing engraver, but gradually became inspired by the higher branches of the engraver's art. Among his earlier plates are some illustrations, after Stothard, for the Novelists' Magazine. He engraved the " Doctors Disputing on the Immaculateness of the Virgin " and the " Ecce Homo " of Guido Reni, the " St Cecilia " of Domenichino, the " Virgin and Child " of Dolci, and the portrait of John Hunter of Sir Joshua Reynolds. His style of engraving is thoroughly masterly and original, excellent in its play of line and rendering of half- tints and of " colour." He died at Chiswick on the 25th of July 1 824. In his youth, owing to his hotly expressed adherence to the politics of Paine and Home Tooke, he was examined by the privy council on a charge of treason. Mesmer and Brothers found in Sharp a stanch believer; and for long he maintained Joanna Southcott at his own expense. As an engraver he achieved a European reputation, and at the time of his death he enjoyed the honour of being a member of the Imperial Academy of Vienna and of the Royal Academy of Munich.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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