Edward Calvert
The Chamber Idyll 1831

Artwork details

Edward Calvert 1799–1883
The Chamber Idyll
Date 1831
Medium Wood engraving on paper
Dimensions Image: 41 x 76 mm
Acquisition Presented by S. Calvert 1912
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

Calvert's engravings 'The Return Home' and 'The Sheep of his Pasture' are particularly close in style to Blake's illustrations for Thornton's edition of Virgil's 'Pastorals'. 'The Chamber Idyll', by contrast, is a truly original image, and is usually regarded as Calvert's masterpiece. It is a sensuous vision of a bucolic honeymoon. The cottage stands open to the warm night, apples litter the floor, and a plough is silhouetted on the far right-hand horizon emphasising the end of the day's labours. The print, with its fine engraved lines, is an astonishing technical achievement for an artist who had been making prints for only four years. Yet after this work Calvert abandoned printmaking altogether.

September 2004