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Samuel Arlent Edwards (English, 1862-1938) was born in 1862 in Somerset, England. He studied art and architecture at the Kensington Museum Art School from 1877 to 1881, and then continued studies in engraving with Appleton, Josey & Alais in London. He achieved early success in making mezzotint reproductions of well-known paintings, a path he was to follow all his life. In 1887, he enjoyed the distinction of having an engraving exhibited at the Royal Academy in London. In 1890 he came to the United States and established himself in New York as a book illustrator under the name S. Arlent Edwards. He then began to work on color printing from a single mezzotint plate, an art dormant since late in the eighteenth century.

In 1890 he came to the United States and established himself in New York as a book illustrator under the name S. Arlent Edwards. He then began to work on color printing from a single mezzotint plate, an art dormant since late in the eighteenth century. He abhorred the traditional practice of touching up imperfect prints by hand, and he routinely penciled in this statement just above his signature: “Engraved and printed in color at one printing without retouching.” Edwards himself inked and printed each plate for every copy, and therefore no two prints were exactly alike. He made only a limited number of copies of each work, insisting that each be sold framed, and then he destroyed each plate. His engravings were sold to subscribers by major dealers such as D. B. Butler and M. Knoedler in New York. In 1910 he returned to Europe, living in Bruges, Belgium, continuing to issue mezzotints from there. He remained in Bruges throughout World War I despite the German occupation. When Allied troops entered Bruges at the end of the war, he acquired instant notoriety by being the first to fly the American flag. Edwards returned to the United States in 1934, settling in Westport, Connecticut. He died there in November 1938.

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