John Samuel Agar (1773 – 1858) after John Uwins (1782 – 1857)

Pensioner of Trinity College, Masters of Arts, and Sizer (1815)

Hand-coloured aquatint

25 x 30 cm

Published by Rudolph Ackermann (1764 – 1834).

An engraving of a pensioner of Trinity College, Masters of Arts, and a sizer (that is, an undergraduate who receives some form of assistance such as meals, lower fees or lodging during his or her period of study, in some cases in return for doing a defined job) from Ackermann’s ”A History of the University of Cambridge, Its Colleges, Halls and Public Buildings”. The four figures walk forward with ceremonial accoutrements, likely to a graduation ceremony.

At Cambridge, a sizar was originally an undergraduate student who financed his studies by undertaking more or less menial tasks within his college but, as time went on, was increasingly likely to receive small grants from the college. Certain colleges, including St John’s and Trinity, distinguished between two categories of sizar: there were specific endowments for specific numbers of sizars who were called “proper sizars”; those who were not so endowed, but who were maintained by fellow-commoners and fellows were called subsizars. Isaac Newton matriculated as subsizar at Trinity College. Richard S. Westfall noted that sizars were considerably more successful in gaining degrees than the gentlemen who entered Cambridge in the seventeenth century.

Thomas Uwins RA RWS was a British painter in watercolour and oil, and a book illustrator. He became a full member of the Old Watercolour Society and a Royal Academician, and held a number of high-profile art appointments including the librarian of the Royal Academy, Surveyor of Pictures to Queen Victoria and the Keeper of the National Gallery. In the late 1790s he began producing work for Ackermann”s collections.

John Samuel Agar was an English portrait painter and engraver, who exhibited his works at the Royal Academy from 1796 to 1806 and at the British Institution until 1811. He was at one time president of the Society of Engravers. Rudolph Ackermann published many of his engravings.

Rudolph Ackermann was an Anglo-German bookseller, inventor, lithographer, publisher and businessman. In 1795 he established a print-shop and drawing-school at 96 Strand. Here Ackermann set up a lithographic press and began a trade in prints. He later began to manufacture colours and thick carton paper for landscape and miniature painters. Within three years the premises had become too small and he moved to 101 Strand, in his own words “four doors nearer to Somerset House”, the seat of the Royal Academy of Arts. Between 1797 and 1800 Ackermann rapidly developed his print and book publishing business, encompassing many different genres including topography, caricature, portraits, transparencies and decorative prints.

Condition: good. Some age toning.

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