This wonderfully detailed engraving by Charles Whymper depicts two hunters waiting in the marshes circa 1885. Titled The Hunter’s Joy, the figures have already managed to shoot down four ducks. Dressed traditionally for wildfowling, the man on the right serves as the shooter while the man on the left records the bounty.
Charles H. Whymper was a British engraver and painter. After receiving traditional schooling in the arts, he specialized in animal and hunting scenes. Whymper was highly exhibited at select establishments such as the Royal Academy in London.
Hunting has a long history in England and is considered a very traditional activity even today. One of the most popular forms of hunting is called “wildfowling” and targets wild geese and ducks. Often conducted on coastal marshes, wildfowling is typically a solitary sport unlike the grand group fox and pheasant hunts. As seen here, hunters kept game-books tracking what they shot and where. Not portrayed in Whymper’s engraving is a dog that normally would have accompanied the two men to retrieve the birds once they fall to the ground.
The 19th century was known as the “golden age” of wildfowling. This engraving was done at the sport’s peak and reflects the technologies of the time. The new steel barrels, smokeless gun powder, and other improved technologies for English arms made it much easier to shoot at flying targets. Suddenly, it was much more practical to hunt for birds while in flight and became not just a common sport but also a form of sustenance for the lower classes. Soon many English men from many different social standings were present on the coastal marshes in search of geese and ducks.
Overall the condition of the print is age appropriate. There is some discoloration throughout, especially on the vegetation at the center. Otherwise, the engraving has no tears, loss, etc. designed to match the tones of the print, the work is housed in a custom archival frame.
Framed Dimensions: 25" H x 31 ¼” W x 2" D
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