Elements of painting with crayons. The second edition, with additions.

London, printed for J. Wilkie, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard; J. Walter, at Charing Cross; and R. Bishop, Newport-Street, 1777.

4to, pp. [8], iv, 5-52, (half-title and content leaf present, often missing), an uncut copy in contemporary grey-blue wrappers, wrappers frayed at extremities, leaves dust-soiled at extremities, spine perished but original stitching intact and strong.


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Second corrected and enlarged edition of the most comprehensive contemporary record of pastel technique in Great Britain.

The portrait painter John Russel (1745-1806) describes in some detail the technique of pastel painting. ‘His pastel portraits are technically and aesthetically brilliant, easily surpassing those of his master, Franis Cotes. They are usually laid on blue paper, the pastel colours vivid, a striking sfumato effect achieved by blurring with the finger and crayon, and the details accented with black chalk. … In 1772 Russell published his excellent and detailed Elements of Painting with Crayons, purporting to explain the technique of Francis Cotes but in fact a handbook to the art of pastel painting. He revised and enlarged it in 1777 …’ (Oxford DNB).

Russell made his own crayons and was initially very secretive about his recipes. The final section of this work however sets out his procedures for crayon manufacture.

ESTC records only 2 copies: British Library and National Gallery, London.

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