English printmaker. According to George Vertue he was first apprenticed to a calico printer in London; afterwards Beckett apparently learnt the new technique of mezzotint engraving from the printseller John Lloyd. Some of his prints were published by Alexander Browne or Edward Cooper (d before 1725), but eventually Beckett set up as a publisher and printseller at the Golden Ball in Old Bailey, London, allegedly financed by an advantageous marriage. He took on John Smith (i) as a pupil, whose work he strongly influenced, and who succeeded him at the same address c. 1688, when Smith acquired Becketts plates. In addition to c. 100 portraits, which include Charlotte Lee, Countess of Lichfield, after Godfrey Kneller, and John Maitland, 1st Duke of Lauderdale,
after John Riley, Beckett produced mythological and religious subjects. Despite
the brevity of his career, he was by far the most accomplished of the early
English mezzotint engravers, bringing a new clarity and greater sophistication
to the medium
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