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Lecture on Composition and Decoration [incomplete]

RA Collection: Archive

Reference code



Lecture on Composition and Decoration [incomplete]





Extent & medium

1 document of 47 pages

Previous reference codes


Historical Background

The Art Journal states that this was a lecture originally been delivered by Richmond in his capacity of Slade Professor at Oxford. Edits to the printed version are few and relate, in the main, to comments regarding the initial delivery of the lecture (eg. "the drawing before you"). It is almost certain that this text was the one read by Richmond as part of his lecture series in the season immediately preceeding the Art Journal's publication.

Content Description

A final draft, but with many amendments; these tally very closely with the text as printed in the Art Journal of May and June 1881. The text is not quite complete, it breaks off after 47 pages, during a final discussion of encaustic wall painting and is missing Richmond's summary conclusion.

Richmond covers aspects of composition to a great length, using as examples the approaches exemplified by the Rome School of the late 16th century, the Nazarenes in Germany in the early 19th century, the French school of the same period and a brief dismissal of impressionism, "imitation of unselected nature". He then progresses to a more technical analysis to how he feels composition operates. The theoretical aspect of decoration is dispensed with fairly swiftly before he moves on to the various techniques used for wall decoration, fresco, tempura, encaustic and a special focus on the merits and limitations of mosiac.

Associated Material

RI/2/2 - another draft of the same text.