Charles Spooner, Mezzotint Engraver

(d. 1767)

Mezzotint Engraver

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

A native of the County Wexford, Spooner learned mezzotint engraving as a pupil of John Brooks (q.v.). After Brooks went to London in 1746, Spooner worked for a few years for the Dublin print-sellers. Of his Dublin prints, five mezzotints and three engravings and etchings published between 1749 and 1752 are known. In 1752 he went to London, probably on the invitation of his fellow-pupil McArdell, who put him in the way of obtaining commissions; but Spooner's intemperate habits and wayward disposition stood in the way of his attaining the success to which his talents entitled him. He worked for the print-sellers, chiefly Sayer and Carrington Bowles, producing for them, when he could be got to work, many ably executed copies of works by other engravers. McArdell, who seems to have borne with equanimity the piracy of his prints, befriended and did his best for his old fellow-pupil; but after his death and the loss of his restraining influence Spooner drifted hopelessly to the end of his wrecked career. He died on the 5th December, 1767, and on the following day was buried, at his own request, near the grave of his friend McArdell in Hampstead churchyard.


William Hogarth. C. Spooner fecit Dublin 1749. A copy of Hogarth's print published in London the same year.

Samuel Madden. Ex Marmore Van Nost. Spooner fecit Dublin 1752. This print was taken from the marble bust by J. Van Nost, then, and now, belonging to the Dublin Society. A newspaper advertisement, 16th January, 1753, announces: "Two finished Prints in Metzotint drawn and scraped from the models done by the ingenious Vannost, 1st, the Rev. Samuel Madden, D.D.; 2nd, Thomas Prior, Esq., Sec. to the Dublin Society, to be sold by subscription in Silcock's print-shop in Nicholas St."

Anthony Malone. Chas. Spooner fecit. "Now doing by subscription and speedily will be published a half length Metzotinto Print of Anthony Malone, Esq., Counsellor at Law. The Plate is 14 x 10 and will be printed on a superfine paper. Price to subscribers a British half-crown; 3 British sixpences to be paid at the time of subscribing and the remainder on delivery of the Print. Subscriptions will be received by Matthew Williams, printer and bookseller in Dame St.; at Ford's Print Shop on Cork Hill, by Thos. Wilkinson at his toyshop in Castle St., and Henry Saunders, printer and bookseller at the corner of Christ Church Lane" ("Universal Advertiser," 26th March, 1754-5).

Thomas Prior. Ex Marmore Van Nost. Spooner fecit Dublin 1752. See note under Samuel Madden above.

Mrs. Woffington; after Haytley. Spooner fecit. This plate, published by Silcock, is a copy of portion of one by Faber.

The above are mezzotints. Spooner also did the following etchings and engravings in Dublin:

The Facetious Tom Echlin. Etching.

Garrick, as Richard III; after Hogarth. In Line. Published by Michael Ford and dedicated by him to the Dublin Society.

Lough Lene—"A Perspective View of Lower Lough Lene, in the county of Kerry, Ireland." Spooner aqua forte fecit. This etching is in "Lectures on Natural Philosophy," etc., by Richard Barton, B.D., published in Dublin in 1751. A note in text says: "The perspective view here made use of is the first that ever was published, and was taken from the Mountain Turk, whither many are not likely to climb."


George, Earl of Albemarle; after Reynolds.

Mary, Duchess of Ancaster; after Reynolds.

Mary, Duchess of Ancaster; after Reynolds. A smaller plate.

Mrs. Brooks; after T. Worlidge.

Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick; after De Morgens.

Mrs. Chambers; after Reynolds. Similar to print by McArdell.

Queen Charlotte. Similar to a print by McArdell, C.S. 41, III.

Queen Charlotte. Similar, in oval, with different dress and ornaments.

Queen Charlotte. Similar to print by Houston, C.S. 26.

William, Duke of Cumberland; after Reynolds.

William, Duke of Cumberland; after Reynolds.

William, Duke of Cumberland; after Reynolds.

William, Duke of Cumberland; after Reynolds; in oval, 1761.

Nancy Dawson. Chas. Spooner Delin et Fecit.

David Garrick; after T. Hudson. Similar to print by J. Dixon.

David Garrick, with Kent and Fool. Copy of McArdell's print after B. Wilson. Published in 1761.

George II; after T. Worlidge.

George III; after T. Frye.

George III; after J. Meyer. Similar to print by McArdell.

George III; the above plate with face and hair altered.

George III; C. Spooner delint et fecit.

John, Marquess of Granby; after Reynolds. Dated 1760. Similar to print by Houston.

Catherine Gunning; after Cotes. Similar to print by Houston. Lady Selina Hastings; after Reynolds. Similar to print by Houston.

Lady Selina Hastings. A smaller plate.

Sir Edward Hawke. C. Spooner del et fecit.

Miss Hoare; after W. Hoare. Similar to print by Faber.

Sir William Johnson; after T. Adams. Published in 1756.

Miss Lewis; after Liotard. Similar to print by McArdell.

John, Earl of Loudoun; after Ramsay. Similar to print by Faber.

Nelly O'Brien; after Reynolds. Similar to print by J. Watson.

Nelly O'Brien. A smaller plate.

Penelope Pitt. Similar to print by Houston.

William Pitt; after T. Hudson. Similar to print by Houston.

Frederick, King of Prussia; after B. Schneider.

Miss Smith; after Cotes.

Miss Smith. Similar, but smaller, and not in an oval.

Maria, Countess of Waldegrave. Similar to print by McArdell.

George Whitfield. Mentioned by Bromley only.

General James Wolfe; after H. Smith. Similar to print by Houston.

Ernest Augustus, Duke of York and Albany; after H. Morland. Dated 1761.

The Bath Beauty; after W. Hoare.

The Bridegroom's Gift; after C. Eisen. C. Spooner Sculpt.

Cleopatra; after Netscher. Similar to line engraving by J. G. Wille.

The Elements; after R. Pyle. Two plates, "Earth" and "Water," published in 1768, after the engraver's death. As the other two of the set have not been met with they were probably not completed.

A Jewish Rabbi; after Rembrandt. Similar to print by Pether.

The Pen-cutter; after Rembrandt.

Sportsman taking Refreshments; after Junker.

The Studious Fair; after Miss Benwell.

The Studious Fair; a smaller plate.

The Spendthrift; after Van der Mÿn.

Titus Oates. Line Engraving.

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