The Excellency of the Pen and Pencil

The Excellency of the Pen and Pencil, Exemplifying the Uses of Them in the Most Exquisite and Mysterious Arts of Drawing, Etching, Engraving, Limning. Painting in Oyl, Washing of Maps & Pictures … (London, Printed by T. Ratcliff and T. Daniel, for D. Newman and R. Jones, 1668). Graphic Arts Collection (GAX) 2003-1344N

The coming of the seventeenth-century brought a proliferation of drawing manuals, beginning with Henry Peacham (1576?-1643?), The Art of Dravving vvith the Pen and Limning in Water Colours (London: Printed by Richard Braddock, 1606) [available online as an electronic text]. These books were written for an aristocratic audience of men and women who had the time to train their eyes and improve their mind.

The manuals provided instruction with an emphasis on art as an intellectual endeavor. Drawing is always the essential practice, with the arts of printing and painting coming later. Linear or contour models of the body parts are offered for copying, teaching the popular practice of limning.

The Excellency of the Pen and Pencil was published anonymously, printed by Thomas Ratcliff and Thomas Daniel, and sold by them at the Chyrurgeons Arms and at the Golden Lyon. The text is based in part on the writings of Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein. The title page introduces it as “A Work very useful for all Gentlemen, and other Ingenious Spirits, either Artificers or others.” A second edition was published in 1688 with the significant edition of a section on the mezzotint, a process that came into use just after the first edition had been released.

Other seventeenth-century drawing manuals available at Princeton include: Sir William Sanderson (1586?-1676), Graphice. The Use of the Pen and Pensil. Or, The Most Excellent Art of Painting (London: Printed for R. Crofts, 1658). Marquand Library (SA) NE910.G7 F17 1658

John Evelyn (1620-1706), Sculptura, or, The History, and Art of Chalcography and Engraving in Copper (London: Printed by J.C., 1662) Graphic Arts Collection (GAX), NE1760 .E94

William Salmon (1644-1713), Polygraphice: or the Arts of Drawing, Engraving, Etching, Limning, Painting, Washing, Varnishing, Gilding, Colouring, Dying, Beautifying and Perfuming (London: Printed by A. Clark, for John Crumpe, 1675). 3rd ed. Marquand Library (SAX): Rare Books, NE910.G7 S45 1675x


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