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Richardson, Two Discourses, 1719.

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€750,00 EUR
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€750,00 EUR
The most influential book for the development of art criticism

Jonathan Richardson (1667-1745).

Two Discourses. I. An essay on the whole art of criticism as it relates to painting. II. An argument on behalf of the science of a connoisseur; Wherein is shewn the dignity, certainty, pleasure and advantage of it.

London, printed for W. Churchill at the Black Swan in Pater-Noster-Row, 1719.

4°. [XVI], 220; 234, [2] pp. Followed by a 10 pp. manuscript in ink tipped in.

Modern quarter calf with marbled sides.


First edition of “The most important English book about painting and connoisseurship of the eighteenth century” (Munsterberg) by painter and collector Jonathan Richards (the elder). This copy with a 2 pp. publisher’s advertisement at the end. After that a 10 pp. 19th cent. manuscript is tipped in which contains four abstracts from various works that provide background information for parts of the present book.
The book contains two works, each with a separate title page, register and pagination. The first is titled The connoisseur: an essay on the whole art of criticism as it relates to painting, and the second A discourse on the dignity, certainty, pleasure and advantage, of the science of a connoisseur.
“Richardson’s books on connoisseurship reached a very large audience. They remained in print through the century, in English as well as in a number of translations, and long quotations from them appeared in periodicals and other books. For example, at least one country house guide included selections about judging art as a helpful supplement. The most influential for the development of art criticism was An Essay on the Theory of Painting, first published in 1719 and in a revised and expanded edition in 1725. In it, Richardson explained a version of the Academic method of pictorial analysis, dividing paintings into seven parts: expression, composition, drawing, colour, handling, and grace and greatness. The lengthy descriptions of each quality include discussions of many older pictures” (Munsterberg).

Condition: endpapers renewed, marginal staining to preliminaries, Battersea public library stamp on several leaves.

Refenrence: Marjorie Munsterberg, “The Beginning of British Art Criticism in the 1760s.” The British Art Journal, vol. 15, no. 1, British Art Journal, 2014, pp. 82–94.


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