"Village of Castri, Near Delphi" is a magnificent, historically significant hand-colored wood engraving from the first edition of "Greece: Pictorial, Descriptive And Historical" by Christopher Wordsworth, published in 1839 by William S. Orr & Co., London. Measuring 5.5"x5.5" sight and 10.75"x10.75" in wood frame, matted and behind glass. It is in excellent condition, esp. so for a work near 200 years old, with no foxing and only minor wear in the frame.
Born in Colchester, England, engraver John Orrin Smith (1799 – 1843) went to London about 1818, and spent a short time training as an architect. Coming of age in 1821, he inherited some money, and bought a part-proprietorship in a newspaper, The Sunday Monitor, on which Douglas Jerrold worked as a compositor. By the time he was 24 he found himself penniless. William Harvey then instructed him in wood-engraving, after having previously been a pupil of Samuel Williams. After much hack-work, Smith was employed by Léon Curmer of Paris to engrave a number of the woodblocks for his edition of "Paul et Virginie" (1835). In 1837 he prepared prints for John Antes Latrobe's "The Solace of Song," a new departure in wood-engraving with a finish contrasting with the crisp work of contemporaries Luke Clennell, Charlton Nesbit, and John Thompson. His contribution to the technique of wood-engraving was admired by contemporary commentators including one, writing in the London and Westminster Review in 1838, that Orrin Smith was an "able and intelligent cultivator of his art, and has introduced improvements and attempted effects...which have advanced it." His work was routinely published in both London and Paris.In 1842 Smith took into partnership William James Linton. Smith and Linton did much work for the Illustrated London News, and illustrated books, including "Whist, its History and Practice" (1843) from designs by Kenny Meadows. Smith died of apoplexy on October 15th, 1843, in London. His most noted works include "The Ponte della Maddalena" (an illustration from "The Solace of Song"), Johann Gottfried Herder's "Der Cid nach spanischen Romanzen," published at Stuttgart, 1839; an English edition of "Paul et Virginie," 1840; Christopher Wordsworth's "Greece" (1839), which includes "Village of Castri, Near Delphi;" "Heads of the People," by Kenny Meadows; "Shakespeare's Works," in 1839–43, with nearly 1,000 designs by Kenny Meadows.
C.F. Sargent was a much sought after engraver's artist in the mid-19th century, working on some of the most successful published works of the time. We have been able to glean little more about his biography, other than the works he drew or illustrated on wood block for the Illustrated London News and several book publishers. He worked with master engravers such as Orrin Smith, John Woods, and Ebenezer Landells among others.
Wordsworth was the youngest son of the Rev. Dr. Christopher Wordsworth, Master of Trinity and a nephew of the poet William Wordsworth. He was the younger brother of the classical scholar John Wordsworth and Charles Wordsworth, Bishop of Saint Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane. He was educated at Winchester and Trinity, Cambridge. Like his brother Charles, he was distinguished as an athlete as well as scholarship. He won the Chancellor's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1827 and 1828. He became Senior Classic, and was elected a fellow and tutor of Trinity in 1830; shortly afterwards he took Holy Orders. He went for a tour in Greece in 1832-1833, and published various works on its topography and archaeology, the most famous of which is Wordsworth's "Greece: Pictorial, Descriptive and Historical" (1839). In 1836, he became Public Orator at Cambridge, and in the same year was appointed Headmaster of Harrow, a post he resigned in 1844. In 1844, Sir Robert Peel appointed him as a Canon of Westminster (1844-1869?). He was Vicar of Stanford in the Vale, Berkshire (1850-1869?) and Archdeacon of Westminster (1864-1869?). In 1869, Benjamin Disraeli appointed him Bishop of Lincoln which he retained until his death in 1885.