Sims Reed Rare Books×

A Touch at the Fine Arts

Alken, Henry

London. Thomas M'Lean. 1824
Alken's satirical collection of plates illuminating the terminology of artistic criticism.

For this series, Alken has titled each plate with an appropriate critical term, An Imposing Effect, A Striking Effect, A Very Warm Effect and so on, while the plate itself provides caricaturial counterpoint to the pretentiousness of the term itself.

'An attempt to elucidate, by graphic delineations, a variety of terms generally and perhaps exclusively made use of by artists, amateurs, connoisseurs, virtuosos, and the like, is the laudable object of this Work. Long, indeed, has a generous public been, doubtless, puzzled in the endeavour to discover some ray of meaning to those glowing, brilliant, and forcible phrases which the critical catalogues, 'Catalogues Raisonnées,' &c. of the day are woefully burthened with.' (From the Preface).

[Tooley 58].
4to. (284 x 194 mm). Engraved frontispiece with additional colouring by hand, title, preface leaf and 11 engraved plates each with additional colouring by hand and plates each with leaf of descriptive text (the frontispiece counted as plate five with text leaf). Later full polished calf by Rivière with their stamp to front free endpaper verso, boards ruled in gilt with floriate border and the initials W. B. B. to upper board, banded spine with elaborate gilt decoration and red morocco title label in six compartments, dentelles with elaborate gilt decoration, marbled endpapers, t.e.g.

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