With Pleasing Hand-Colored Plates and in Remarkable Condition


(London: Published by Thomas McLean, 1819). 368 x 273 mm. (14 1/2 x 10 3/4"). [26] leaves of text, including 3 pp. ads. Three parts in one volume. Second Edition.

SPLENDID CONTEMPORARY ENGLISH RED STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, ELABORATELY TOOLED IN GILT AND BLIND, covers with concentric filigree frames in alternating gilt and blind tooling, raised bands, spine panels intricately gilt with two large lozenges formed by rectangular and triangular tools surrounded by curling botanical ornaments, turn-ins gilt, all edges gilt. In an excellent recent matching morocco-lipped slipcase. With 36 very appealing illustrations, being 18 engravings (six flowers, six fruits, six birds), each in two states (monochrome and fully hand colored). Dunthorne 53-55; Sitwell "Fine Bird Books," p. 82. Text leaves with faint mottled foxing and minor browning and off-setting, just a few plates with negligible faint spots or smudges, otherwise A WONDERFUL COPY, THE ORIGINAL SPARKLING BINDING IN AN AMAZING STATE OF PRESERVATION.

This is a sumptuously bound copy of three manuals intended to teach the art of drawing to young persons, written by the accomplished botanical painter who produced the renowned "Pomona Britannia." In an earlier career, Brookshaw (ca. 1751-1823) was a successful London cabinet-maker whose painted Neoclassical furniture attracted such titled enthusiasts as the Duke of Devonshire and the Prince of Wales, but he suddenly abandoned this livelihood in the 1790s. Art historian Lucy Wood speculates that the sudden change was prompted by involvement in a financial or sexual scandal, as he also parted company with his (wealthy) wife around this time. He spent a decade living under the name "G. Brown," teaching flower painting to refined young ladies before producing his first manual, "A New Treatise of Flower Painting," which was finally issued under his real name in 1816. The three guides that make up the present volume were intended as a supplement to that work, and they expand the subjects covered to fruit and birds. In the preface to this work, Brookshaw observes that flower painting is a "peculiarly appropriate" accomplishment that may be obtained "without the expense of a Master, a few elementary instructions, and good copies being sufficient." The plates here are more highly finished than the examples in his original "Treatise," in order to "lead the young artist onward in a progressive line of improvement." Fruits and birds are added to offer a new challenge for the pupil, and Brookshaw notes that while avian subjects lack the variety of botanical ones, they compensate with "the inifinite number of attitudes they assume." Our elaborate and immaculately preserved binding is testament that our volume was never used as a drawing manual, but was more likely enjoyed for its own merits as an attractive object.