Stephen James Ferris etched this self-portrait in October of 1880, probably as one of the prints exchanged by members of the Philadelphia Society of Etchers. Ferris was a founding member of the society, which formed earlier that year, three years after the establishment of the New York Etching Club, the first in the United States. Ferris had seen the etching process demonstrated in 1860 by John Sartain, an engraver. In 1875 Ferris produced one of his earliest etchings to be commercially published in the United States, a portrait of Mariano Fortuny (1838–1874).
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