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Young Man with a Candle, from Life-Sized Heads

A work made of mezzotint in black on ivory laid paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of mezzotint in black on ivory laid paper.




Thomas Frye
Irish, 1710-1762

About this artwork

Features gone ashen and eyes bulging, Thomas Frye’s anonymous figure brandishes a candlestick. The embodiment of Romantic terror, he may very well have seen a ghost or encountered other scientifically inexplicable horrors. Backed against an unforgiving and ancient stone wall, he suggests a tragic hero like the one in the first Gothic novel, Horace Walpole’s soon-to-be published Castle of Otranto. Joseph Wright of Derby copied some of Frye’s heads for his Experiment with the Air Pump; this frightened youth could have inspired the wild-haired philosopher at center stage.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Thomas Frye


Young Man with a Candle, from Life-Sized Heads


Ireland (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Mezzotint in black on ivory laid paper


Image: 47.2 × 35.1 cm (18 5/8 × 13 7/8 in.); Sheet: 50.5 × 36 cm (19 15/16 × 14 3/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Dorothy Braude Edinburg to the Harry B. and Bessie K. Braude Memorial Collection

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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