London: 1842. Octavo measuring 8 x 5 inches, modern three-quarter brown sheep over pink and blue marbled boards, raised bands, red spine label, spine lettered and double ruled in gilt. 94 pages of Tupman’s manuscript copy of Howard’s text, penned in an exceptionally neat and clear hand. Original watercolor frontispiece and 17 original watercolors by Tupman tipped in. Illuminated initials “HT” drawn in blue and red ink on third fly leaf. Some offsetting from watercolors.
Skillful manuscript copy of English painter Frank Howard’s popular introduction to color theory, first published in 1838, with original watercolors after the lithographed plates of the printed book. The son of artist Henry Howard, a member of the Royal Academy, Frank Howard followed in the family tradition, exhibiting paintings on allegorical and historical subjects. He also lectured and published extensively on art. In this work, Howard offers a historical survey of the use of color in painting, introducing principles derived from the work of Titian, Rubens and Turner, among others. In the context of this manuscript, produced by Henry Tupman, an otherwise unknown art student, the watercolor illustrations do more than simply mimic the lithographs in Howard’s printed work: they serve as direct performances of the principles at hand. Howard writes: “Turner has controverted the old doctrine of a balance of colors, by shewing that a picture may be made up of delicately graduated blues and white, supported by pale cool green, and enlivened by a point of rich brownish crimson.” Tupman illustrates this passage with a watercolor that recreates the exact composition described, turning Howard’s text into an art-historical activity book. A fine illuminated manuscript that sheds light on the practical work of English art education (and imitation) in the nineteenth century.