English wood-engraver and painter Edward Calvert was born in 1799 in Appledore, Devon. After a brief service in the Navy he studied drawing in Plymouth with Thomas Ball and Ambrose Bowden Johns. In 1824 he moved to London and entered the Royal Academy Schools.
Calvert met William Blake and the Shoreham circle of the Ancients through John Giles. He eventually visited Shoreham and decided to take a break from his Academy studies to pursue his interest in wood engraving. From 1827-1831, Calvert produced 11 miniature prints, which were rich in Arcadian imagery and chiaroscuro.
The masterpiece of his early work is the wood engraving “The Chamber Idyll” (1831) an erotic scene standing less than 2 inches high. Soon after, he abandoned engraving, perhaps due to eye problems associated with fine work. His later work was deeply influenced by a visit to Greece in 1844.