Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

John Thurston del. / Robert Branston sc.:

10) The Cave of Despair.

London 1822

The evocative engraving illustrates a scence from Edmund Spencer´s allegorical poem The Faerie Queene. It was originally published in 1822 in William Savage's sumptuous manual Practical Hints on Decorative Printing and was one of the most celebrated engravings of the early period of wood engraving. Linton reprinted the plate in 1889 for his Masters of Wood Engraving. He considered The Cave of Despair for Branston´s  best work, but he thought his engraving style did´nt suit the material. Branston´s line, he thought, "is in fact the line of copper, differing from copper only in effect, the printing causing the difference, as an impression from the surface of a relief cut gives white lines where an impression from the incised lines of copper-plate gives black."