ZENTNER, L. A - THANE, John (1747?–1818). Select Collection of Landscapes from the Best Old Masters, one of each Engraved by L. Zentner, after Drawings made by him from Original Pictures, in different cabinets, during his residence in Germany, France, Holland, &c. To which are added, Portraits of the Artists, and Short Biographical Accounts of each. London: J. Thane, 1791 [- 1798].
Oblong folio (10 4/8 x 12 6/8 inches). Title-page and text in French and English. 39 tinted engraved plates (of 56), each set within a decorative frame, and with an accompanying leaf of explanatory text (some spotting throughout). Contemporary half tan calf, marbled paper boards gilt (very worn).
The plates, originally issued in parts, date variously from March 1st 1791- March 10th 1798, and included renditions of the paintings of old masters from Pierre Jean van Asch, Paul Bril, Jean Breughel, Louis Backhuysen, Corneille Dusart, Adrian van Diest, Jean van Goyen, Pierre Paul Rubens, Rembrant van Ryn, Salvator Rosa, Titian, Adrien de Vries, to Anthoine Waterloo.
Thane, "dealer in prints, medals, and manuscripts,...collected the writings of the numismatist and printseller Thomas Snelling (1712–1773) and published them as Snelling on the coins of Great Britain, France and Ireland … containing seventy copper plates (1762–74) with an excellent portrait drawn and engraved by himself... In 1772–5 Thane was living at 24 Gerrard Street, Soho, London, and from here he published regular catalogues of his retail stock of prints. He was a friend of Joseph Strutt, engraver and antiquary, who lived for a time in Thane's household; Thane published Strutt's Regal and Ecclesiastical Antiquities of England in 1773. By 1781 Thane had moved to Rupert Street near by, where he dealt in manuscripts, coins, and medals, becoming well known for his expert knowledge of these, besides pictures, and other objects of virtu as well as prints. In 1781 he took on a second shop with the printseller Anthony Torre: they insured the contents of this ‘shop and the Warerooms communicating in the brick dwelling of Mr Greenwood auctioneer situate no. 28 Haymarket’ for £1000. The new outlet was probably dedicated to modern prints, for from about this time Thane became a significant publisher of contemporary pictures in stipple. He guided the formation of several notable print collections including that of the banker William Esdaile. He himself was particularly interested in antique portraits and autographs. The collection of some 2000 portraits assembled by John Nickolls and sold at his death to Dr John Fothergill were sold at Fothergill's death in 1780 to Thane for either £150 or 200 guineas (sources differ); he broke up the volumes and disposed of the portraits to the principal collectors of the time.
"Thane edited and published British autography: a collection of facsimiles of the handwriting of royal and illustrious personages, with their authentic portraits, issued in three volumes, probably in 1788–93. A memorial portrait of Thane by John Ogborne after William Redmore Bigg was used as a frontispiece to the second edition. Thane died in May 1818, probably at his home, Spur Street, Leicester Fields, London; he was buried on 10 May at St Anne, Soho. Between November 1818 and May 1821 his extensive stock of prints, coins, and medals, diverse items, and lastly his copperplates, went through the salerooms in London and Paris, contributing to an estate valued at nearly £14,000" (Timothy Clayton and Anita McConnell for DNB). Sold as a collection of plates. Catalogued by Kate Hunter