THE ART OF PAINTING IN OIL, by John Smith - 1788 [9th ed.]


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The Art of Painting in Oil,

Wherein is Included Each particular Circumstance relating to that Art and Mystery;

by John Smith 

Ninth edition.  London:  J. Bew, 1788 

Hardback is overall in VERY GOOD condition.

  • Thin boards have tan paper covers one-quarter bound in brown cloth. 
  • Boards show some age, wear, marks, dings, edgewear.  Corners are worn, with exposed board.  See photos.
  • Spine with no text is clean, with firm ends. 
  • Binding is secure, shows some signs of separation at back cover.  See photos. 
  • Pastedowns and feps have some scattered foxing, some pencil marks. 
  • Interior is gently age-toned, exhibits scattered stains.  Inside pages are free of writing and intentional marks.
  • Text block edges have some unopened edges; a worm hole.  See photos.  
  • PS2023.1122

112 pages. 4 1/4 x 7 1/8 inches

First published in 1676, John Smith's The Art of Painting "may perhaps lay claim to being the first painting manual in the English language" (Baty).  A clockmaker by trade, Smith's book was designed in particular to assist in the decoration of clock and sundial faces.  It also includes an important section on the restoration of oil paintings.

This was a manual written with artisans in mind; Smith claimed that "the whole Treatise being so complete, and so exactly fitted to the meanest Capacity, that all Persons may be able, by these Directions, to paint in Oil Colours, all Manner of Timber-Work; such as Posts, Pales, Palisadoes, Gates, Doors, or any Thing else that requires either Use Beauty, or Preservation from the Violence or Injury of the Weather."  Thus, the appeal of Smith's book was that it provided details on the creation of paint and paint colors to a wide variety of artisans, whose work needed to survive use and the elements.

A scarce work, in any printing.  This volume is unassuming in aspect, but the paper is in good condition and the printing crisp and bright.

Ninth edition, revised and corrected.  Printed for J. Bew, No 28 in Pater-noster Row, London.


AS IS! Please see photos. More photos available upon request.

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