Thomas Frye (Irish, Edenderry 1711/12–1762 London)
Black and white chalks on beige paper
15-7/8 x 12-11/16 in. (40.4 x 32.3 cm)
Gift of Richard and Trude Krautheimer, 1979
Not on view
Frye moved to London from Ireland in his twenties to work as a portrait and miniature painter. In 1744 he co-founded the Bow porcelain works, managing the enterprise until 1760, when ill health forced him to stop. He devoted his remaining years to creating dramatic mezzotint portraits, the first set of twelve described in the Public Advertiser of 1760 as "in the manner of Piazzetta, drawn from Nature and as large as life." This drawing likely was made in preparation for a mezzotint (unrealized) and shows a man from behind looking at a board or framed canvas. His right hand supports his chin, causing a ruffled cuff to splay out and allowing Frye to create a delicate visual interplay between passages of white and dark chalk.
Donor: Richard Krautheimer
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Drawings and Prints: Selections from the Permanent Collection," August 27, 2012–November 18, 2012.
John Chaloner Smith British Mezzotinto Portraits...from the introduction of the art to the early part of the present century. Henry Sotheran & Company, vols. 1-4, 1878–83, relates to no. 14.
Charles E. Russell English Mezzotinto Portraits and Their States. vol. II, London and New York, 1926, relates to no. 14.