Alexander Runciman

Fingal Encounters Carbon Carglass (upright version)

first printed c.1773

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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Alexander Runciman 1736–1785
Etching on paper
Image: 145 × 106 mm
Purchased 1983

Display caption

Runciman and his brother John were among the most original of the artists who gathered in Rome in the 1770s, and Alexander's output of etchings marks an important departure in the history of the medium. His wild, strongly lit subjects from Scottish or Greek myth share something of Fuseli's urgent drama, and are executed with a spontaneous energy of their own. Like Ryley's small oil painting in this room, this etching takes its subject from Ossian, who was the son of Fingal.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

T03605 FINGAL ENCOUNTERS CARBON CARGLASS (upright version) first printed c. 1773

Etching 5 3/4 × 3 3/8 (145 × 106) on hand-made wove paper 6 × 4 7/8 (152 × 123)
Etched inscription ‘A Runciman [?inv]’ below subject and within plate lower left
Purchased (Grant-in-Aid) 1983
Prov: As for T03604

Lit: As for T03604

In this etching the figure of Carbon Carglass is virtually the same as in T03604, but reversed and placed on the left of the composition; Fingal approaches from behind her on the right, without his shield and with a less billowing cloak. In the Santa Barbara exhibition catalogue of 1969 (p.64, fig.g), a reproduction of a late pull from this plate, bound with nine other Runciman prints in a volume lent by Robert N. Essick, is entitled ‘Catholda’, which is probably a mistake; Gray describes ‘Catholda’ as ‘a nymph drawing a bow’, and it is anyway unlikely that Runciman would have used a virtually identical figure for two different Ossianic characters. Perhaps this image was designed before T03604, which is larger and considerably more dramatic.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986

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