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A Series of Progressive Lessons intended to Elucidate the Art of Painting
London,: T. Clay, 1828.. Oblong quarto; illustrated throughout with full-page hand-coloured lithographs; a fine copy in later quarter maroon calf over original marbled boards. Artistic tuition by a notable English painter whose reputation has grown in recent years. The recent major exhibition of Cox's work at the Yale Center for British Art, with a substantial accompanying reference work, has drawn further attention to a painter who, although somewhat out of fashion in recent decades, has often been compared with Turner, Constable and Burne-Jones.'Known mainly as a painter in watercolour, Cox is one of the major figures in the golden age of that medium and of English landscape painting, which began towards the end of the 18th century and might be thought of ending with the death of Turner in 1851. Cox was born in Heath Mill Lane, Digbeth, in 1783 and gained early experience as a theatrical scene painter. He moved to London in 1804 to pursue this career, but gravitated to the form of art for which he is best known. Between 1814 and 1827 he made a living as a drawing master in Hereford, returned to live in London until 1841 and "retired" to Birmingham where he died in 1859...' (Terry Grimley, reviewing the exhibition in the Birmingham Post).In the nineteenth century the skill of painting and drawing was considered as necessary as was, according to fixed ideas of gender, the learning of a foreign language or a musical instrument, the study of the classics or the fine art of needlework; such accomplishments were seen as indicators of one's civilized position in society.At a period when the English were travelling widely to Europe for the first time, beautifully illustrated and informative texts were prepared to meet the educational requirements of this new upper class taste. English cultural life was being extended to embrace studies of natural history, science and the art of landscape painting.This is an excellent example of just such a text: it includes studies on perspective, sketching, shading and marine art. The illustrations are prepared in lithography and coloured by hand, and some of the larger plates are folding. The ability to draw topography was at the same time seen as an important skill for naval and military officers, having obviously important practical applications and often being taught to cadets from a young age. Although this manual is rather advanced for military purposes, it would have been of particular interest to the often military men who drifted into landscape painting and found a ready audience for publication of their illustrations of exotic travels.'Cox's work was praised by Thackeray in Sketches after English Landscape Painters (1850) and Ruskin wrote in 1857 that "there is not any other landscape which comes near these works of David Cox in simplicity or seriousness". Although Cox's standing in the art world reached its apex in the late 19th century, recent reappraisals of Victorian art have seen Cox rightly restored to his position as one of the finest of all British landscape painters...' (National Library of Scotland).Tooley, 'English Books with Coloured Plates', 161 (listing the 1841 edition only).
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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