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Wenceslaus Hollar

1607-1677

The etcher Wenceslaus Hollar (1607 - 1677) was born in Prague, and as a young artist travelled the regions of Stuttgart, Strasbourg and Cologne. He was employed as a draftsman by Lord Arundel in 1636, and travelled to Vienna, Prague and finally England in 1637, where he remained for many years. In 1642 he was employed by the Duke of York. For a brief period he worked in Belgium during the English Civil Wars, but returned in 1652 and went on to produce some of his most famous works - the Views of London. He continued producing landscapes, portraits, still life, and architectural drawings which he sold to publishers and booksellers. Although recognised as a fine etcher, Hollar was never considered a gentleman-artist, and is believed to have sold works at a price of four pence an hour. In 1677, he died in London in extreme poverty. Today he is regarded as one of the most skilful etchers of his day, and his works are considered important records of 17th century Europe.