London: printed for R. Blamire, in the Strand, M.DCC.XCII . Early Reprint. Quarter-Morocco. Fourth Edition (so stated). 8vo: xiii,,174,xi,pp. Contemporary quarter black morocco over marbled boards, flat spine in six compartments between gilt rules, gilt urn stamped in each but second titled in gilt. An excellent copy, the binding holding firmly, the text block generally clean and bright with just occasional minor smudges and handling marks and a few stray spots of foxing. Barbier, pp. 24-27. Lowndes II 895. Near Fine. Item #BB0995
First published anonymously in 1768 (Gilpin's authorship was only revealed with the third edition, in 1781) as the first standard guide on print collecting in England, reaching a fifth edition in 1802. On the continent its influence spread through German, French and Dutch translations. Gilpin's "aim, as the title-page indicates, was to outline ‘the Principles of picturesque Beauty, the Different Kinds of Prints, and the Characters of the most noted Masters’. . . . The Essay defines ‘picturesque’ as ‘a term expressive of that peculiar kind of beauty, which is agreeable in a picture’, but does not develop the definition." (ODNB) Among prints singled out for detailed consideration are Salvator Rosa's "Death of Polycrates," Waterloo’s "Tobias," and Hogarth’s "Rake’s Progress." Finally, the collector is "cautioned against indulging a desire of becoming possessed of all the works of any master. . . . against a superstitious veneration for names. . . . [against] making the public taste our standard. . . [against] rat[ing prints'] value by their scarceness. . . [against] buying copies for originals," and against acquiring poor impressions. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, with dust jackets carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.