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Dr. Brook Taylor's Method of Perspective Made Easy, Both in Theory and Practice. In Two Books. Being An Attempt to make the Art of Perspective easy and familiar; To Adapt it intirely to the Arts of Design; And To make it an entertaining Study to any Gentleman who shall chuse so polite an Amusement. By Joshua Kirby, Painter. Illustrated with Fifty Copper Plates; most of which are Engrav'd by the Author. ... Book I.

Joshua Kirby

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Practice Of Perspective


Ipswich:: Printed by W. Craighton, for the Author; and Sold by him in Ipswich: And in London, by J. Swan, near Northumberland-House, in the Strand; F. Noble, in King's-Street, Covent-Garden; and J. Noble, in St. Martin's Court., MDCCLIV.

Physical Description

2 vols. in 1; 255 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

Book I: [4], xvi, iv, [2], 78 p., frontis., 22 pl. - Book II: [2], 84 p., 27 pl.


Book I: [Frontis., t.-p., dedic.] - Preface - Contents [of Book I and Book II] - A List of Subscribers - Directions for placing the Plates - Errata [in Books I and II] - [Text and plates of Book I]. - Book II: [T.p., dedic.] - Preface - [Text and plates of Book II].

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece (showing various perspectival absurdities) is signed as designed and drawn by W. Hogarth and engraved by L. Sullivan. Most plates are unsigned, but in Book II plate 17 is signed as [drawn] by JK and engraved by J.S. Müller; plate 18a is signed as [drawn] by JK and engraved by J. Wood; plate 18b is signed as etched ('fec. aqua forte') by T. Gainsborough and finished ('perfecit') by J. Wood.

The first Book is dedicated by the author to Mr Hogarth; the second, to the Academy Of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, &c. in London.


Royal Institute Of British Architects, Early printed books, 5 (2003), no. 3950; J. Archer, Literature of British domestic architecture (1985), 167.1.

On Brook Taylor and Kirby in the history of perspective see M. Kemp, The science of art: optical themes in western art (1992); K. Anderson, Brook Taylor's role in the history of linear perspective (1989); P. Descargues, Perspective: history, evolution, techniques (1982).
ESTC, T133414

Summary Note

The title page of Book II reads, 'The Practice Of Perspective: Being The Second Book Of Dr. Brook Taylor's Perspective made Easy, &c. By Joshua Kirby, Painter ... Ipswich: Printed by W. Craighton. MDCCLIV.'

Kirby's book is based on Brook Taylor's Linear perspective (1715) and New principles of linear perspective (1719), which established the 'measure point' method at the centre of British theory. Kirby also acknowledges his debt to John Taylor's Stereography (1738). (J.M.W. Turner, who became Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy in 1807, is probably the best-known artist in this succession.) As well as dedicating his book to Hogarth, Kirby includes an etching of a landscape by Thomas Gainsborough (pl. 18).

The book was reprinted in 1755. A second edition appeared in 1765; a third, in 1768.


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


Acquired between 1769 and 1802. Recorded in A Catalogue Of The Library In The Royal Academy, London (1802).

Binding Note

18th-century mottled calf, upper and lower covers having gilt-tooled borders; rebacked in 20th century, red morocco spine-label lettered 'Kirby's Perspective'.

Name as Subject


Perspective - History
Manuals - Instructional materials - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Images from this book

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