Beautiful, detailed steel engraving from the picture by John Frederick Herring who uses Byron's poem "Mazeppa" as the subject for this drawing.
Mazeppa is a Romantic narrative poem written by Lord Byron in 1819, based on a popular legend about the early life of Ivan Mazepa, a Ukrainian gentleman who later became Hetman of the Ukrainian Cossacks. According to the poem, the young Mazeppa, while serving as a page at the Court of King John Casimir II, has a love affair with a Countess named Theresa, who was married to a much older man. The Count, on discovering the affair, punishes Mazeppa by tying him naked to a wild horse and setting the horse loose. The bulk of the poem describes the traumatic journey of the hero strapped to the horse
Here the herd of horses appear surprised or curious, rather than fearful, at the strange sight presented to them. Fear would have caused them to rush away; but they look on with manes and heads erect, yet with an air of uncertainty as to whether it would be wiser to flee or stay. The horses in the foreground are drawn with much spirit and animation, while the attitude of the animal whereon Mazeppa is bound is most natural. Weary with his flight, his eyes bereft of of their fire, his nostrils sending forth a stream of hot breath, he has stumbled, and in another instant will roll over and crush his rider to death.
Printed on heavyweight ivory/cream stock. Reverse side is blank.
Title (printed below image): Mazeppa
Publication: The Art Journal
Publication Year: 1865
Publisher: London: Virtue & Co., Ltd.
Approximate Page Size (in inches): 12.75 x 9
Approximate Image Size (in inches): 10 x 6
Library blind stamp* in margin area (over title) does not detract from the beauty of this print.
*blind stamp: A colorless impression that is embossed on paper.