English, active c. 1800–after 1852
After Thomas Lawrence
Although similar in style to the portraiture of Thomas Lawrence’s final decade, the imagery here does not relate to any work known to have been executed by the artist. The original source may thus be lost, or perhaps the painting George Henry Phillips engraved was ascribed at the time to Lawrence but later discredited.
At least one example of The May Queen was printed, without letters, in London as early as 1827. This sheet, though, dates from the mid-nineteenth century or later, certainly not before 1853, when the American printmaker and publisher John Chester Buttre moved his business to the New York City address inscribed in the lower center. How or when the plate travelled from London to New York remains as much a mystery as the identity, and the author, of The May Queen.