Item Details

Ken Spelman Books Ltd

Art, manuscripts, ephemera, landscape, gardening, Grand Tour, Italy, general antiquarian.
Cataloguing work undertaken, consultancy, commission sales for clients, valuations for insurance and probate.

A Familiar Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Perspective. 1780


PRIESTLEY, Joseph. A Familiar Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Perspective. The second edition, correct-ed. [2], xv, [1], 132, [6], [4]pp adverts., 25 folding plates, 3 with flaps. Bound in recent half calf, marbled boards, and with the contemporary signature of Eliza Spencer, 1786, at the head of the title-page. Some foxing, and with the discard stamp of the John Crerar Library on the verso of the title-page, which also has their perforated stamp. The plates also have the library name on the verso.8vo. London: printed for J. Johnson. 1780. ~ A re-issue of the remaining sheets of the 1770 first edition, but with the title-page and 12 other leaves cancelled. ESTC notes 23 plates, and that “there’s no evidence in the text to suggest that any more plates are called for.” This copy has 25 plates, and confirms the evidence submitted by Birmingham and Leeds library. The final two plates are from Priestley’s History of Electricity. This copy has plate 14 in duplicate, one version mis-bound in place of plate 10. After publishing The History and Present State of Electricity, Priestley found that its lack of illustrations made it rather difficult for a general readership, and he determined to write a more accessible one. But unable to find anyone to create the neces-sary illustrations, in typical fashion, he taught himself perspective drawing. “At first I puzzled myself with several mechanical methods of drawing; but though I made considerable improvements in some of them, I was obliged, at last, to have recourse to the rules of perspective. I found them, however, so immethodically digested, or so insufficiently ex-plained, that, in several cases, I was able to investigate the rule myself, from considering the nature of the thing, sooner than I could find it in the books...” [Preface].