A counterproof is an offset from a print onto another sheet of paper. It is made by printing an impression and then, while the ink is still wet, re-running the print through the press against another damp sheet, in the process transferring the image onto the other sheet. The result is an image in reverse of the original print, but in the same direction as the plate.
Surviving impressions of counterproofs are generally a rarity. This may be because they were used mainly as working proofs for the purposes of correcting, and as a result weren't deemed valuable and discarded. As a method it has its limitations as it generally produces impressions which lack detail. Though there are very few counterproofs outside public collections, the presence of an album in the British Museum containing numerous counterproofs of etchings by Cornelis Dusart suggests that he used this method extensively to proof his plates.
The Large Village Fair is regarded as Dusart's chef-d'oeuvre. Both the fine impression of the completed plate and the counterproof in this lot compare very favourably to the impressions held in the British Museum.