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Webb, Daniel

An inquiry into the beauties of painting; and into the merits of the most celebrated painters, ancient and modern. The second edition.

An inquiry into the beauties of painting; and into the merits of the most celebrated painters, ancient and modern. The second edition.

London, “printed for R. & J.Dodsley, in Pall-Mall” 1761.

Reference: 15319
Price: £140 [convert currency]

Full Description

8vo. xv+(1)+200pp. The copy is bound up with a copy of (William Gilpin), An essay upon prints : containing remarks upon the principles of picturesque beauty (etc) ... second edition, London, “printed by G.Scott, for J.Robson, bookseller to the Princess Dowager of Wales” 1768, xii + (4) + 246 + (10 ex 12)pp, lacking the final leaf of the index. Contemporary marbled boards, the covers soiled, and also worn at corners and outer edges, rebacked with later vellum spine.

An introduction to the study of paintings written primarily for travellers going on the Grand Tour, in an attempt to give them some kind of discerning eye when looking at art abroad. The course is divided into seven dialogues, each covering a general topic such as composition or chiaroscuro. First published in the previous year, 1760, this is the best-known of the writings of its author, Daniel Webb (c.1719-1798) ; Winckelmann realised that much of its text is derived from a similar book written a little earlier by the eminent painter Anton Mengs, and criticised Webb accordingly, but it should be recorded in fairness to Webb that while travelling in Italy in 1755-6 Webb had in fact been painted by Mengs and had been given a copy by him of the book in question, so Webb was not borrowing from the writings of a person he did not know. Webb’s book was also much more influential among English-speaking readers than any acknowledged writings by Mengs. Unexpectedly, Webb came from a Southern Irish Protestant family in co.Limerick, so his literary output reflects in part the often overlooked cultural aspirations of the educated Anglo-Irish gentry. The present copy is bound up with a copy of the second edition, 1768, of William Gilpin’s Essay on Prints, lacking the final leaf of the index but otherwise complete. This cataloguer takes the opportunity to note that Gilpin (1724-1804) was Vicar of Boldre, Hampshire, from 1777 until his death, and that the area covered by the parish of Boldre included at that time the present location of the Hugh Pagan Limited business.