8vo, pp. vii,  (blank), , 227, title-page a little dust-soiled but a very good copy in contemporary cat’s paw calf, modestly gilt spine with red label. Contemporary ownership signature of John Savage to head of preface.
US $669 €604
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An Inquiry into the Real and Imaginary Obstruction to the Acquisition of the Arts in England.
First edition of the Irish painter James Barry’s first book which he had begun writing while in Rome and published a few years later, after he had become a member of the recently founded Royal Academy. It is a passionate plea for English patronage of the arts, especially painting. Barry noted that English collectors traditionally favoured Old Master pictures but were less enthusiastic in supporting native talent. Barry also argued that history painting needed public support beyond mere lip service.
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First edition. ‘L’exposition qui se tint au Pavillon de Marsan permit d’avoir une vue d’ensemble de l’art byzantin. Pour la première fois, depuis près de cinq cents ans, se trouvèrent rassemblées des pièces de toutes techniques, jusque-là disséminées au hasard des trésors et des collections de l’ancien et du nouveau monde. Celles que reproduisent les planches de cet album figurèrent toutes à l’exposition de 1931’ (introduction).
PROPOSALS FOR AN ACADEMY OF ART [GWYNN, John].
An Essay on Design: including Proposals for erecting a public Academy to be supported by voluntary Subscription (till a royal Foundation can be obtain’d) for educating the British Youth in Drawing, and the several Arts depending thereon ...
First edition of the first public appeal for a national academy of arts. John Gwynn’s Essay called attention to the inadequacy of art training in England. ‘Whatever thoughts about an academy were in the air at the time were set in motion by the Essay’ (Harris). It was Gwynn’s first salvo in a campaign that eventually led to the foundation of the Royal Academy (1768), of which he was a founding member. The essay’s head-piece vignette is an attractive neo-classical building engraved after a design by Gwynn (an architect by profession), depicting his vision of the Academy. Oddly enough it is not unlike the Chambers built Somerset House which became the home of the Royal Academy in 1779.