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The Stag and the Fawn

The Fables of Aesop, and others
Artist: Thomas Bewick (1753 – 1828) Primary
19th century
Dimensions: 2.2 x 3.15 in. (5.6 x 8 cm)
Dimensions Extent: image
Object Type: Print
Creation Place: Europe, England
Medium and Support: Engraving on paper
Credit Line: Gift of James M. Reed, 2017.
Accession Number: 2017.35.907
This work is not currently on view

From The Fables of Aesop, and others by Thomas Bewick, 1818, p. 141-142. The text of this fable reads:

"A Stag, grown old and mischievous, was, according to custom, stamping with his foot, making threatening motions with his head, and bellowing so terribly, that the whole herd quaked for fear of him; when one of the little Fawns coming up, addressed him to this purpose: Pray what is the reason that you, who are so stout and formidable at all other times, if you do but hear the cry of the hounds, are ready to fly out of your skin for fear? What you observe is true, replied the Stag, though I know not how to account for it: I am indeed vigorous and able enough, I think, to defend myself against all attacks, and often resolve with myself, that nothing shall ever dismay my courage for the future; but, alas! I no sooner hear the voice of the hounds, but all my spirits fail, and I cannot help making off as fast as my legs can carry me.

Try what we can, do what we will,
Yet nature will be nature still.
The predominance of nature will generally shew itself through all the disguises which artful men endeavour to throw over it. Cowardice particularly gives us but the more suspicion of its existence, when it would conceal itself under an affected fierceness, as they who would smother an ill smell by a cloud of perfume, are imagined to be but the more offensive. When we have done all, nature will remain what she was, and shew herself whenever she is called upon: therefore, whatever we do in contradiction to her laws, is so forced and affected, that it must needs expose and make us truly ridiculous."


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Any living organisms, including human beings; may be real or fictional, including mythical or legendary creatures.
The intaglio process in which the design is incised into a printing plate, usually a flat copper plate, with the aid of a graver or burin that is held in the palm of the hand and pushed against the copper to cut lines comprising V-shaped grooves. The plate is then inked up, wiped so that ink is retained in the grooves and then forced out under the pressure of the printing process to create lines on the paper. The technique was first developed in the early 15th century in Germany, probably by goldsmiths who wished to keep records of the designs they had engraved on their wares. The process is distinct from "wood engraving (process)," which is a process for relief printing; "wood cut (process)" refers to engraving wood blocks for printing. Historically, "engraving" has sometimes been used incorrectly to refer to all printmaking processes, particulalry any process employing printing plates. For the single step of incising an inscription or design into any surface, not only a printing plate, see "engraving (incising)."
Pictorial works produced by transferring images by means of a matrix such as a plate, block, or screen, using any of various printing processes. When emphasizing the individual printed image, use "impressions." Avoid the controversial expression "original prints," except in reference to discussions of the expression's use. If prints are neither "reproductive prints" nor "popular prints," use the simple term "prints." With regard to photographs, prefer "photographic prints"; for types of reproductions of technical drawings and documents, see terms found under "reprographic copies."
Items comprising a collection of leaves of paper, parchment, wood, stiffened textile, ivory, metal tablets, or other flat material, that are blank, written on, or printed, and are strung or bound together in a volume.
public domain
Land owned and controlled by the state or federal government. Also, the status of publications, products, and processes that are not protected under patent or copyright.
Ancient Greek
Refers to the culture and styles of ancient Greece, generally excluding modern and prehistoric periods, but including periods between around 900 BCE to around 31 BCE. For the culture of Greece in general, including modern Greece, see "Greek."
nineteenth century
Century in the proleptic Gregorian calendar including the years 1800 to 1899 (or 1801 to 1900).

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