Art of Colouring

Henri GAUTIERL'Art de laver, ou de la nouvelle manière de peindre sur le papier. Suivant le coloris des desseins qu'on envoie à la Cour. Ouvrage nouveau, nécessaire aux ingénieurs & fort utile à ceux qui se servent de couleurs.

Brussels, François Foppens, 1708.

12mo, 18th century fancy paper wrappers, calligraphic label on spine, untrimmed. (8)pp., 120pp. Engraved frontispiece-plate by Harrewijn. Complete.

Second edition of a scarce little work.

It is regarded as one of the earliest European treatises on the techniques of using watercolours, originally published in Lyon in 1687.

The book is by the engineer Henri Gautier (1660-1733), also known as Gauthier of Nîmes. “Gautier’s handbook was intended to give the public useful instructions on the art of colouring drawings with watercolours, an art he considered to be in a state of confusion… Pigments and pigment containers, use of media, suitable brushes, and how to copy a drawing are among the subjects discussed in this very practical treatise” (Massing).

This early work is the first published in France which deals specifically with wash drawing, explaining in thirteeen chapters how to make the colours and the main laws of “spatial organization” of layout. The author’s discourse is also centered on legibility and the conventional codes of the colours used for architectural works, insisting for example on the importance of identifying and placing all preexisting ruins “and the old fortifications” on engineers plans by indicating them with dotted lines. An Italian translation was published in Lucca in 1760.

A very good copy.

Ref. E. d’Orgeix, L’art de laver ou nouvelle manière de peindre, Vauban, Bâtisseur du Roi Soleil, Paris, Somogy éditions d’art/Musée des Plans-Reliefs, 2007, 55, p. 178 / Berlin Katalog, 4625 (1st edition) / Massing, Painting materials and techniques: towards a bibliography of the French literature before 1800, 72 / S. T. Lucas, Bibliography of Water Color Painting, (1976), 4 / NUC locates three copies: Library of Congress, Oberlin and Yale

Price: 750,00 euros

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