The Arts

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  • Anecdotes of Eminent Painters in Spain, by CUMBERLAND, Richard (1732-1811).
    CUMBERLAND, Richard (1732-1811).
    Anecdotes of Eminent Painters in Spain, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; with cursory remarks upon the present state of arts in that kingdom. By Richard Cumberland. In two volumes. Vol. I [-II]. London, J. Walter, 1782.

    First Edition. Two volumes, 12mo (156 x 95 mm), pp. [iv], 225, [1], [2] index; [iv], 224, [1] index, [1], in contemporary tree calf, spines ruled in compartments and numbered in gilt, red morocco labels lettered in gilt.

    A handsome copy of this guide to Spanish art written by the dramatist and diplomat, Richard Cumberland. Public awareness of the art and artists of… (more)

    A handsome copy of this guide to Spanish art written by the dramatist and diplomat, Richard Cumberland. Public awareness of the art and artists of Spain was growing as travellers made comparisons with the work of the Italian masters. Collectors and dealers were beginning to look towards Spain as a new source of supply and Cumberland’s detailed work was a great success. It was based in part on Cumberland’s observations made in Spain and in part on Antonio Palomino’s Vidas de los pintores y estatuarios eminentes españoles, which was translated into English in 1739.
    In 1780, Cumberland was sent on a confidential mission to Spain in order to negotiate a peace treaty during the American War of Independence that would weaken the anti-British coalition. Although he was well received by Charles III of Spain and his government, the sovereignty of Gibraltar proved insurmountable and Cumberland was forced to return to England empty handed. The government then refused to repay his expenses, even though he was out of pocket to the tune of £4500, a blow to his finances that he never really recovered from. One of the few positive results of his time in Spain was the research that he did for this book.
    ‘I had already published in two volumes my Anecdotes of eminent Painters in Spain. I am flattered to believe’, Cumberland wrote, ‘it was an interesting and curious work to readers of a certain sort, for there had been no such regular history of the Spanish School in our language, and when I added to it the authentic catalogue of the paintings in the royal palace at Madrid, I gave the world what it had not seen before as that catalogue was the first that had been made and was by permission of the King of Spain undertaken at my request and transmitted to me after my return to England’ (Memoirs of Richard Cumberland, 1806, pp. 298-299).

    ESTC t116936.

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  • Ideas for Rustic Furniture; by WRIGHTE, William
    WRIGHTE, William
    Ideas for Rustic Furniture; proper for Garden Seats, Summer Houses, Hermitages, Cottages, &c. on 25 plates. London, I. & J. Taylor, the Architectural Library, circa 1800.

    First Edition. 8vo, (235 x 145 mm), 25 engraved plates including the title, some staining, particularly to the title-page, in slightly later marbled wrappers, sprung and detached, possibly the result of an early and not very successful restoration project, consequently several of the plates are loose.

    A delightful suite of plates showing designs for rustic furniture to be used either in the garden or inside modest country dwellings or cottages. Fourteen… (more)

    A delightful suite of plates showing designs for rustic furniture to be used either in the garden or inside modest country dwellings or cottages. Fourteen designs for chairs are included on the first seven plates, two long stools, four sofas (decorative but perhaps rather uncomfortable), three tables, one bason [sic] stand, six mirrors on three plates and three large chimney pieces. The title-page and final leaf, both unnumbered, are captioned ‘Frontispiece’ and represent decorative entrances and exits to a garden. Wright is mostly remembered for his very popular Grotesque Architecture, which was first published in 1767 and ran to numerous editions. A much larger work than the present, it included a number of rustic seats as well as architectural and garden plans.

    ESTC t146494, at BL, RIBA, The National Trust, V & A and Massachusetts Institute of Technology only; the Met also has a copy.

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  • prints for British tourists in Italy
    [The Four Elements.] Earth. Wind. Fire. Water. by HAMILTON, William RA (1751-1801), after.DALL' ACQUA, Giuseppe (1760-circa 1829), engraver.
    HAMILTON, William RA (1751-1801), after.
    DALL' ACQUA, Giuseppe (1760-circa 1829), engraver.
    [The Four Elements.] Earth. Wind. Fire. Water. Northern Italy, 1787.

    Four sheets, (362 x 260 mm), stipple-engraved prints, platemarks measuring 246 x 177 mm, the images presented in elegant slim ovals (198 x 98 mm), double ruled, each plate bearing an English title of one of the elements and signed ‘W. Hamilton delinet’ and ‘Giuseppe dall’ Acqua di Cristoforo scul. 1787’, the first print (Earth) also with ‘no. 343’, two pin-holes at the top of each sheet, with very light creasing and soiling but generally a very fresh, clean set with generous margins.

    A lovely set of this rare series of prints depicting the Elements. This is a charming Italian and English collaboration, engraved and printed in Italy… (more)

    A lovely set of this rare series of prints depicting the Elements. This is a charming Italian and English collaboration, engraved and printed in Italy from an original by an English artist, using English language headings and presumably sold in Italy to an English market. The combination of the English artist and the use of English titles would have had a particular appeal to the traveller on the Grand Tour. The prints may have originally been published by a London print gallery, to whom Hamilton supplied a number of drawings, but we have traced no other version.
    The British painter William Hamilton had initially trained as an architect but was sent to Italy by the neoclassical architect Robert Adam, who employed both Hamilton’s father and the young Hamilton, whose first job was working for Adam as a decorative painter. Hamilton spent two years in Rome where he studied under the painter Antonio Zucchi, who later married Angelica Kauffman. On his return to England Hamilton established a reputation for himself painting theatrical portraits and illustrating scenes from Shakespeare. He was commissioned to create works for Boydell’s Shakespeare Gallery and was one of three principal illustrators of Boydell’s illustrated edition of Shakespeare, a massive project which ran from 1786 to 1805. He also contributed illustrations to Bowyer’s History of England and Thomas Macklin’s Bible, many of which were widely reproduced and sold as popular prints. Hamilton’s style was reminiscent of the cult of sentiment prevalent at the time and his work was clearly influenced by Angelica Kauffman and Henry Fuseli. These classical representations of the four Elements are typical of Hamilton’s output in combining sentimental interpretation with distinctively dramatic settings.
    Giuseppe dall’Aqua was a northern Italian engraver, son of the engraver Cristoforo dall’Aqua (1734-1787). A native of Vicenza, he began his career as an apprentice in the Remondini press of Bassano, where it is thought he continued to work for some years. In 1791 he became beadle of the Accademia Olimpica in Vicenza and later moved to Verona and Milan. Dall’Aqua is known to have copied many prints from the prolific Italian printmaker Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815), who worked in London.
    ‘[Hamilton’s] pleasantly plump and youthful figures were better suited to the less pretentious format of book illustration than that of history painting. His attractive romantic scenes appear in many editions of 18th century poets ... Hamilton was capable of being an accomplished draughtsman in a variety of styles; his album of drawings (London, V&A) includes work reminiscent of Henry Fuseli and Angelica Kauffman as well as more distinctive compositions nervously constructed with repeated, scratchy strokes of the pen’ (Geoffrey Ashton in Grove Dictionary of Art, online).

    We have traced only one copy of these prints, a coloured and framed set appearing at auction in Rome, 28 October 2014. In addition to the V&A album cited above, the Huntington Library has another sketchbook of drawings by Hamilton.

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  • preparation of paints and varnishes
    Traité théorique et pratique sur l’art de faire et d’appliquer les vernis; by TINGRY, Pierre François (1743-1821)
    TINGRY, Pierre François (1743-1821)
    Traité théorique et pratique sur l’art de faire et d’appliquer les vernis; sur les différens genres de peinture par impression et en décoration, ainsi que sur les couleurs simples et composées: accompagné de nouvelles observations sur le copal; de notes historiques sur la nature des matières et sur les procédés mis en usage par les compositeurs des couleurs et de vernis, et par les peintres vernisseurs et décorateurs, &c. &c. &c. Geneva, Magnet, 1803.

    First Edition, Fine Paper Copy. Two volumes, 8vo, (198 x 124 mm), pp. [iv], xlviii, 326, [1] errata, [1] blank; [iv], 351, [1] errata, woodcut device on each title, with five etched plates (four folding) in vol. 1 and a folding printed table in vol. 2, printed on thick, blue tinted paper, in contemporary mottled calf, flat spines attractively gilt in compartments, with orange and black lettering pieces, a circular numbering piece in contrasting orange on the black label, lettered and numbered in gilt, with red sprinkled carmine edges, liberally applied leading to the partial closure of a couple of pages, a little rubbed at extremities but a handsome set, with the bookplate of the Bibliothèque de Mr. de Barante on the pastedowns.

    A lovely fine-paper copy of this important illustrated work on varnishes. Pierre François Tingry was a Geneva pharmacist who worked in minerology, botany and applied… (more)

    A lovely fine-paper copy of this important illustrated work on varnishes. Pierre François Tingry was a Geneva pharmacist who worked in minerology, botany and applied chemistry and is credited with the discovery of Epsom salts. His detailed work on varnishes and their application became a standard text book, was translated into both English and German in 1804, and saw several reprints of the French text. ‘A comprehensive treatise on the preparation and use of varnishes, paints and colors. Tingry gives descriptions and results of his many experiments and, in general, supplies the principles and operations which were missing in Jean Félix Watin’s L’art de faire et d’employer le vernis, Paris 1772, to which there are frequent references.’ (Cole 1287 describing the English edition.)
    Printed on thick, light blue paper, this copy is suitably bound in an attractive and well-executed contemporary binding with mottled boards, contrasting orange and black spine labels and stylish gilding. This fine paper copy feels significantly more luxurious than the standard issue. The British Library copy, which is on thinner, white paper, measures a total combined thickness for the text block of both volumes of 38.5mm compared to our a total thickness of 51 mm in the present copy (BL 18.5 & 20 mm vs. 26 & 25 mm), being about a third thicker than the ordinary copies.

    Neville II, p. 558.

    View basket More details Price: £1,600.00