Artist's Assistant: Oil Painting Instruction Manuals and Handbooks in Britain 1800-1900 with Reference to Selected Eighteenth-century Sources, The
Dimensions: 297 x 210 mm
Illustrations: 20 halftone, 80 line
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, although artists' colourmen sold oil paint ready-prepared in bladders, artists were still accustomed to purchasing pigments, oils, and other components for their paint separately, combining them according to published information, experiment, personal preference or hearsay. By the close of the century, however, artists' colourmen were providing tube paints for export worldwide and artists, now dependent on the colourmen, were calling for product labelling, to enable professional and amateur painters alike to have full knowledge about what they were using. The science of artists' paint production had undergone a transformation.
In her meticulously researched study Dr Leslie Carlyle has examined artists' manuals, catalogues and trade journals produced in Britain, and later in the United States, during this period of transition in the artists' materials and techniques. She has compared all the extant editions of widely reprinted books and sought out publications which, although obscure now, were highly influential in their time. Recipes for varnishes, vehicles, paint mediums and grounds have been compared and tabulated. Methods of painting have been described, and the 'artistical' properties of pigments, their working qualities, drying times and cautionary notes on their use, have all been compiled in an extensive appendix.
Fascinating, accessible and carefully structured, The Artist's Assistant is the first comprehensive and critical analysis of information on nineteenth-century artists' materials. It is an invaluable resource, not only for conservators and historians of art technology, but also for artists, researchers and teachers who wish to work with authentic materials.
This huge volume is a godsend to enlighten professionals and students alike about some of the hidden and complex realities that lie on the surface of 19th century paintings. It provides greater understanding of artist's materials and methods and their evolution, and kindles insight and deeper appreciation for the subtle complexities of their ravishing beauty. No serious art scholar, and certainly no museum or art history department library, should be without it.
MUSE magazine, Canadian Museums Association 20(6) (November/December 2002) 60-61
...a highly useful, easily accessible and very important handbook for those concerned with English or English-influenced painting.
Studies in Conservation 47(2) (2002) 139-140
This book contains remarkable scholarship of the highest order. It provides a wealth of information about the development of English oil painting in an accessible and readable way, and each chapter concludes with an extenstive list of notes and references...This is a reference that should be in every art-history library.
CAA Reviews, College Art Association online (April 2005)