Pilgrimage to Canterbury
Painted by Thomas Stothard.
From page 26 of the book "The Heath Family Engravers, 1779-1878, Volume 1, James Heath ARA" written by John Heath, we have the following note:
Thomas Stothard had painted the picture in 1807, and the owner R.H. Cromek, had commissioned Lewis Schiavonetti to engrave it. Schiavonetti completed an etched proof which was published in August 1810, but in the meanwhile had died of overwork. After commissioning Francis Engleheart to complete the work, Cromek died; and his widow passed the task on to Niccolo, Lewis Schiavonetti's brother, who also succumbed. As Stothard's daughter in law Mrs Bray, remarked in the biography of her father in law (1851) "The plate was at length beautifully finished by Heath; it speedily became a universal favourite, whilst the fame of Stothard spread rapidly throughout the country ... The engraving (published in 1917) was bought by subscription (the proof six guineas, the common impressions three guineas each); it had altogether the most extensive sale of its kind published within the last hundred years.
This is a print however which is very hard to find, and the account of it in Farrington's diary for 17 February 1818 is probably the more accurate on its actual production and sale: He (John Landseer) spoke of the print from Chaucer's pilgrims from which and engraving begun by Schiavonetti, and finished after his death by Heath, having had 200 proofs taken off and about 500 other impressions, the Plate had been worked upon by Worthington, former pupil to Bromley, the engraver, with Heath's knowledge, who says he has spoiled the Plate. Worthington had the care of it for Mrs Cromek, the Proprietor. There were 700 subscribers.
The James Heath print above measures 27cm x 93cm. Worthington later produced a smaller version, 5cm x 18cm, which was published by Pickering in 1822.