The Two Asses
Les Deux Ânes
The Two Donkeys
Sir Francis Seymour Haden (English, 1818–1910)
Harrington (1910) 50, II; Schneiderman (1983) 46.A, II
Platemark: 15.2 × 8.5 cm (6 × 3 3/8 in.) Sheet: 26.2 × 17.2 cm (10 5/16 × 6 3/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
This plate and Dundrum River (No. 46B) were originally one (see MFA M27727; M27728), and as a composition the intact plate was preceded by the watercolor The Dundrum River (BMPD). The view is part of the estate of the Viscount of Hawarden seen from the east bank of the Dundrum or Multeen River.
There are no extant impressions before division though CMA, DAC (annotated “F. Seymour Haden fy. - Mr. F. Goulding with thanks for excellent printing”), MMA, Orc, and SCMA have the two trimmed and mounted very closely. Drake and Harrington state that there are one or two examples of the two plates being printed together on a single sheet of paper, but the example in AP is the only one known.
Some of the impressions of The Two Asses have a (British) penny Inland Revenue stamp glued on the image. According to Harrington these were waggishly presented by Haden as a form of receipt to some of the subscribers to Études àl’eau forte. Frederick Goulding recounts another use that Haden had for this print: “Mr. Seymor Haden [Jr.] tells me that later in his life his father was in the habit of presenting impressions of this plate to engaged couples.”
Goulding writes of the printing of The Two Asses and Dundrum River: “In December of this year  I commenced the printing of two etchings by Seymour Haden which he used for illustrating an article in the Fine Arts Quarterly Review, published in 1867; and this was really the commencement of my printing his etchings. I see by my books that two thousand of each plate were printed, and I wonder what became of them all.I do not think that very many were ever issued. They were printed at the Firm of Day and Son where I was still at work. The plates were really one large plate cut in two, one being titled “A River’s Bank,” the other “The Two Donkeys.” I never saw a proof of the uncut plate, but I have proof of the two plates printed together, on which Haden wrote - “To F. Goulding, with thanks for excellent printing” - and I have prized this proof ever since.”
Schneiderman (1983) p. 129
Printed by F. Goulding for publication in the Fine Arts Quarterly Review, new series, II (1867), facing p. 118. The foul-biting burnished and the inscription added: “This plate is part of the square one wh(ich) follows it. Both were drawn under the mordant and afterwards cut. The balance w(oul)d have been better preserved if the division had not been made, and if this white space had been filled in with strong work as intended. S.H.” (E.l.c.)
Schneiderman (1983) p.129
In plate b.c.: This plate is part of the square one wh(ich) follows it. Both were drawn under the mordant and afterwards cut. The balance w(oul)d have been better preserved if the division had not been made, and if this white space had been filled in with strong work as intended. S.H
In plate: Initialed S.H.
PDP Register entry: Date acquired, 4/1/1918 [exact to month] Acquired from Goodspeed Bookshop in exchange for duplicate.