We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

search results

Previous Showing result 2 of 7 Next


An Essay In Two Parts, On The Necessity and Form Of A Royal Academy For Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. - [Epigraph from Cicero]

RA Collection: Book

Record number



London:: Printed for J. Robinson at the Golden Lion in Ludgate-Street., 1755. Price Six-pence.

Physical Description

35, [1] p.; 200 mm. (Quarto.)


[T.p.] - [Text].


On the history of the Royal Academy see J. Fenton, School of genius (2006); H. Hoock, The King's artists (2003); I. Pears, The discovery of painting: the growth of interest in the arts in England 1680-1768 (1988); I. Bignamini, 'Art institutions in London 1689-1768', in Walpole Society Journal, 55 (1988), p.19-148; S. Hutchison, The history of the Royal Academy (1986); H.C. Morgan, 'The Schools of the Royal Academy', in Brit. J. Educ. Stud., XXI/1 (1973), p. 88-103; A.W. Boschloo, ed., Academies of Art (1989); N. Pevsner, Academies of art ( 1940 /R New York, 1973).
ESTC, N492499

Summary Note

The author's name is not given. An unidentified hand has inscribed the title-page in ink, 'By. J. Gwynn.' (Gwynn had published in 1749 'An Essay On Design: Including Proposals for Erecting a Public Academy'. This may have been written partly in response to B. Le Blanc's Letters on the French and English nations (1747). Gwynn was connected with the St Martin's Lane Academy, participated in the abortive attempt to found a Royal Academy in 1755, and became a Founder Member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768.) But S.C. Hutchison in his History Of The Royal Academy 1768-1986 (1986), p.14, suggests that the writer of this publication was 'probably the landscape painter Alexander Nesbit' (i.e. John Nesbit [fl. 1763-8]?).


The front pastedown carries a 19th-century bookplate inscribed in ink 'J.H.A. 18 June 1846.' and 'from Upcott's Collection'. This is repeated in an inscription on a preliminary leaf, 'Lot 886. of a curious & interesting Collection of Books, MSS. and prints. - J.H.A. this Vol sold on 18. June 1846. in Mr. Upcotts sale for 10/6.-'. The pastedown is inscribed in ink, 'Gift of Mr. J.H. Anderdon to The Library of The Royal Academy of Arts in London Nov 1878.'

Copy Note

The title page is inscribed in ink, 'By. J. Gwynn' (deleted in pencil), and 'By whom is this Essay?' Preliminary leaves are copiously inscribed in ink, on the Contents &c., in what appears to be Anderdon's hand. There are some underlinings and marginal annotations in ink and pencil on other pages of the text.

Binding Note

20th-century half calf, grey cloth-covered boards; spine lettered 'Essays On Design And Royal Academy Gwynn', 'R.A.' and '1749-97'. Bound with others.

Name as Subject


Academies (organizations) - Art education - Teaching - Great Britain - History - 18th century
Essays - Great Britain - 18th century


John Gwynn RA, author?
Sir Augustus Wall Callcott RA, previous owner, donor
William Upcott, previous owner
James Hughes Anderdon, previous owner, donor
Jacob Robinson, publisher
John Nesbit, author?