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A spotlight on outstanding women artists and their works in the Royal Collection

Caroline Watson (1760/61-1814)

HER ROYAL HIGHNESS PRINCESS SOPHIA 1786

RCIN 605028

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Considered the first professional British female engraver, Caroline Watson was appointed to the post of engraver to Queen Charlotte in 1785, only five years after the publication of the artist’s first known signed print. The daughter of a printmaker, Watson became proficient early in her career in the newly-developed technique of stipple engraving, which involved using dots of varying sizes to give a sense of tone, and was ideal for producing delicate portraits and decorative prints popular with the female luxury consumer market.

Watson’s skill was also recognised by Joshua Reynolds, President of the Royal Academy, with whom she developed a strong working relationship. Watson reproduced many of his major portraits and history paintings.