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Conference Of Monsieur Le Brun, Cheif Painter To The French King, Chancellor and Director Of The Academy Of Painting and Sculpture; Upon Expression, General and Particular. Translated from the French, and Adorned with 43 Copper-Plates.

Charles Le Brun

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Méthode pour apprendre à dessiner les passions proposée dans une conférence sur l'expression générale et particulière., English.]


London, -: Printed for John Smith at the Lion and Crown in Russel-street in Covent-Garden, Edward Cooper at the Three Pidgeons in Bedford-street, and David Mortier, Bookseller in the Strand, at the Sign of Erasmus's Head., 1701.

Physical Description

[14], 17, [1], 47, [1] p., 43 pl.; 156 mm. (In sixes.)


[T.p., dedic.] - The Bookseller To The Reader - [Text, and plates] - An Abridgement Of A Conference Of Monsieur Le Breun, Upon Physiognomy.

Responsibility Note

The work is dedicated to Sir Godf. Kneller by J. Smith; who in the dedication names himself as the translator.

The plates are stated in 'The Bookseller To The Reader' to 'have been Engraven after the Originals of Mr. Le Breun, or after very good copies'. The engraver is not named, but is presumably the same as the dedicator, translator and publisher, J. Smith - the celebrated engraver John Smith (1652-1743), who was a close associate of Kneller and generally published his prints from the Lion and Crown in Russell Street, Covent Garden.


ESTC, T116477
C. Harrison et al., edd., Art in Theory 1648-1815 An Anthology (2000), p.131-8.
J. Montagu, The expression of the passions: the origin and influence of Charles Le Brun's Conference ... (1994).

Summary Note

A variant has the article 'The' at the start of the title.

The work was first published in French at Paris and Amsterdam in 1698 as Méthode pour apprendre à dessiner les passions proposée dans une conférence sur l'expression générale et particulière. J. Montagu argues that Le Brun's lecture had first been given to the Académie in 1668 and repeated in 1678.

The text and plates describe the representation in art of the passions of Admiration, Esteem, Veneration, Ravishment, Scorn, Horror, Terror, Simple Love, Desire, Hope, Fear, Jealousy, Hatred, Sorrow, Bodily Pain, Joy, Laughter, Weeping, Anger, Extreme Despair and Rage. Le Brun's account is indebted to Descartes' Traité sur les passions (1649).

Le Brun's original drawings for the lecture are preserved in the Louvre Museum, Paris.


An electronic reproduction was published in 2003 (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale). A microfilm version was published in 1986 (Woodbridge CT: Research Publications).


A preliminary leaf is inscribed in ink, 'Bequest of Sr Augs. Callcott'.

Binding Note

18th-century calf, upper and lower covers having panel decoration; rebacked in 20th century, green morocco spine-label lettered 'Conference Of M. Le Brun.'

Name as Subject


Expression - Emotion - Painting - Art - Theory
Painting - Technique - France - 17th century
Lectures - Debates - Manuals - France - 17th century
Lectures - Translations from French - Translations into English - Great Britain - 18th century


Sir Augustus Wall Callcott RA, previous owner, donor
John Smith, translator, engraver, publisher
Edward Cooper, publisher
David Mortier, publisher, bookseller
Sir Godfrey Kneller Bt., dedicatee
Charles Le Brun, source artist, draughtsman
France - Institut de France