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.

The RA is closed due to coronavirus restrictions, and will reopen when government guidance allows. For ticket enquiries, please contact us at 020 7300 8090 or tickets@royalacademy.org.uk.

Anecdotes Of Painting in England; With some Account of the principal Artists; And incidental Notes on other Arts; Collected by the late Mr. George Vertue; And now digested and published from his original MSS. By Mr. Horace Walpole. The Second Edition. ... Vol. I. (- III.)

Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford

RA Collection: Book

Record number




Printed by Thomas Kirgate at Strawberry-Hill,, MDCCLXV.

Physical Description

3 vols.; 228 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

Vol. I: xiii, [i], 182, [20] p., frontis., [15] pl. - Vol. II:[2], 182, [58] p., [28] pl. - Vol. III: [2], 167, [11] p., [38] pl.


Vol. I: [Frontis., t.p., dedic.] - Preface - Contents Of The First Volume - [Text (on earliest period to Elisabeth I), with pl.] - Appendix - Index Of Names of Artists In This Volume Ranged according to the Times in which they lived - Index Of Names of Artists Ranged alphabetically. - Vol. II: [T.p.] - [Text (on the period from James I to the Interregnum), with pl.] - Appendix - Index Of Names ... Ranged according to the Times ... - Index Of names ... Ranged alphabetically. - Vol. III: [T.p.] - [Text (on the period of Charles II to Queen Anne), with pl.] - Appendix - Index ... according to the Times ... - Index ... Ranged alphabetically.

Responsibility Note

The names of many of the source-artists and engravers are inscribed on the plates. The named source-artists are: John Mabuse, Marc Garrard, Is. Oliver, Nathaniel Bacon, Ant. Van Dyck, Peter Oliver, Lilly, Dobson, Cornelius Polenburg, J. Lyvyus, Fr. Wouters, Isaac Fuller, Robert Streater, Abraham Hondius, Peter Lely, John Greenhill, Mrs Ann Killigrew, Hayls, G. Kneller, Samuel Cooper, Mary Beale, N. Largilliere, Henry Tilson, Sevonyans, John Medina, Godfrey Schalken. The named engravers are: C. Grignion, A. Bannerman, T. Chambars, J. Miller, A. Walker.

The work is dedicated by the author to Mary Leppel, Baroness Dowager Hervey of Ickworth.


A.T. Hazen, A bibliography of the Strawberry hill press (1942).
ESTC, T63190

Summary Note

In the third volume the name of Thomas Kirgate is dropped from the title-page.

Most plates are portraits of artists.

Best known for his lively and informative correspondence and as author of the Gothick novel, The Castle of Otranto, Walpole was also an active patron of the arts - the builder of the neo-Gothic Strawberry-Hill and advocate of the Gothic Revival. His collections supported his historical curiosity. He had already published his catalogue of his father's collection of paintings (Aedes Walpolianae, 1747) when he acquired George Vertue's notes in 1758, which he edited, supplemented and began to print on his own press in 1762. The Anecdotes remain a useful source-compendium for the history of art in Britain.

The author was a friend of Joshua Reynolds, who painted two portraits of him, as well as two group-portraits of his friends and family.


Microfilm versions were published in 1999 (Woodbridge, Conn.: Primary Source Media) and 1986 (Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications).


Each volume is inscribed in ink on the title-page, 'Given by the Author, to the Royal Academy June 1769'.

Copy Note

In Volume I there is a marginal note in pencil on page 74, and a faint pencil drawing at the foot of page 84.

Binding Note

18th-century sprinkled calf; gilt-decorated spines, red spine-labels lettered 'Anecdot(es) Of Paintin(g) Vol I (-III)'.


Painters, British - Painters, European - Artists - Painting - Portraits - Great Britain - History
Art history - Biography - Anecdotes - Reference books - 18th century
Pictorial works - 18th century


Images from this book

17 results