Le Clerc, (Sébastien)
Nattes’s practical geometry, or introduction to perspective. Translated from the French of Le Clerc ; with additions and alterations … with forty vignettes, etched from designs analogous to the different geometrical figures by W.H.Pyne. The problems engraved by T.King.
London, “published by W.Miller, Albemarle Street ; and may be had of Mr.Nattes, No.5, Woodstock Street” 1805.
8vo. Engraved frontispiece, x + 98pp, including 44 engraved plates. Old repair to pp 35-6 for marginal tear. Contemporary quarter dark green calf, marbled boards, worn at outer corners. The Kenney copy, with Kenney Collection book label. Some text pages browned.
Although loosely based on a well-known French text book by Le Clerc, issued in numerous versions from the late seventeenth century onwards, this is a decidedly individualistic publication which stems from a collaboration between John Claude Nattes (1765-1839), a French-born topographical draughtsman and drawing master who had settled in London, and his friend, the artist and engraver William Henry Pyne. It was Pyne who gave it its defining character by etching Nattes’s design for the volume’s frontispiece – a view of a mill by the bridge at Bray, near Dublin – and by supplying his own charming vignette images of scenes from rural life at the foot of each of the plates, the subject matter of each vignette being ostensibly “analogous to the different geometrical figures”. Nattes supplied the text and here his aim was evidently to make the learning process as painless as possible, his expectation in his introductory note being that “the youth who possesses sufficient ingenuity to invent stars for his kite, is likely to be insensibly led to draw these mathematical figures for his evening’s amusement”.