It’s often said that we humans see what we want to see, and particularly it seems when directed by an artwork’s title or caption.

The subliminal power of text to influence the way we look at an image always amazes me – it’s something I’m very aware of when I’m buying prints. It is all too easy to uncritically accept the identification of a sitter or location, or the attribution to an artist.

new york

L’Arrive du Prince Ouillaume Henry a Nouvelle York. Etching with contemporary hand colouring by Balthasar Friedrich Leizel or Leizelt. Augsburg, Germany, c.1782.

I must confess when I first set eyes on this print I was guilty of reading the legend a little unquestioningly. The engraved lettering above and below the marine composition (in both French and German) proclaims the arrival of the ship carrying a young Prince William Henry, the future King William IV, into New York on the 16th October 1781.

Read the rest of Jasper’s article on the interplay of original art and print across international borders here:    ARTICLE for the January 2016 ABA Newsletter (PDF)