The Handmaid to the Arts. . . . A New Edition, with Considerable Additions and Improvements. Robert Dossie.

The Handmaid to the Arts. . . . A New Edition, with Considerable Additions and Improvements

London [York]: Printed for A. Millar, W. Law, and R. Cater; and for Wilson, Spence, and Mawman, York, 1796. Two twelvemo volumes, measuring 6.75 x 4 inches: xxv, [3], [25]-344; xx, [13]-324. Contemporary full tree calf, raised bands ruled in gilt, red morocco spine labels lettered in gilt, gilt numerals to spines. Appendix and index in Volume II. Armorial bookplate in each volume; small ink note to front free endpaper of Volume I. Marginal browning to first and last leaves; occasional light scuff to boards.

Third edition, revised and expanded, of this important guide to the industrial arts and decorative trades, following editions of 1758 and 1764. The work includes detailed chapters on painting, gilding, casting, lacquering, engraving, glassblowing, ceramics, and marbling, with the aim of improving England’s “skill and taste, in the execution of works of design,” a field the French had historically dominated. The encyclopedically knowledgeable author, Robert Dossie, was supported in his bid to join the newly founded Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce by no less than Samuel Johnson: “of the objects which the Society of Arts have chiefly in view, the chymical effects of bodies operating on other bodies, he knows more than almost any man” (Life of Johnson). ESTC notes that the London imprint on this 1796 edition is false; the volumes were likely printed in York. A near-fine copy of a rich historical resource, in a handsome contemporary binding.

Price: $750.00

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