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W.H. Pyne on rustic figures, in imitation of chalk
London: R. Ackermann. 1813. 4to., (2) + ii pp., 36 engraved plates, all printed on heavy wove paper watermarked 1809, the first of the two text pages with a thin streak of staining in the foremargin, the plates all excellent impressions, 3 plates with imprints partially cropped, a very few small spots or soil marks, original half calf over boards, these rather soiled, corners and edges worn, rebacked, the binding sound. Internally in very good state of preservation. First edition: very rare. (OCLC & COPAC find copies only at NYPL + Yale + BL + Guildhall + Aberdeen). Not in Abbey. This suite of soft-ground etchings is an extraordinarily sentimental portrait of the rural working class in Regency England. 'The study of drawing the characters of the peasantry, or rustic figures', Pyne writes, 'although having its foundation in a certain knowledge of the proportions of the human figure, is nevertheless essentially different from the study of the elegant or classic figure, and, perhaps, in as great a degree as the manners and habits of the peasantry differ from those of the most polished of the human race. Not that the rustic is always devoid of dignity; but his is a dignity of a peculiar order, existing in nature, without either the elegance or the affectedness which may be derived from education ..... The elegant heads, the delicate hands and feet, and the languishing positions of the classic figure, cannot accord with the hardy habits of the peasantry. Nothing can be more absurd, than to see a race of gods and goddesses, with scythes and hay-rakes, attired in waggoners' frocks and mop caps. This is an incongruous as it would appear to place slender, highly groomed race-horses in the rude harness of a farmer's team ..... To become acquainted with the true rustic character, the student must go to nature, and view this class of people in their occupations'.
      [Bookseller: John Drury Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-06-09           Check availability:      Biblio    

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