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Imitations Of Original Designs By Leonardo Da Vinci: Consisting Of Various Drawings Of Single Figures, Heads, Compositions, Horses, And Other Animals; Optics, Perspective, Gunnery, Hydraulics, Mechanics; And In Particular Of Very Accurate Delineations, With A Most Spirited Pen, Of A Variety Of Anatomical Subjects: In His Majesty's Collection. Published By John Chamberlaine, Keeper Of The King's Drawings And Medals, And F.S.A.

RA Collection: Book

Record number



London:: Printed By W. Bulmer And Co. And Sold By George Nicol, Bookseller To His Majesty; Edwards, Pall-Mall; Robson Bond-Street; And Messrs. White, Fleet-Street., 1796. [-1806]

Physical Description

[2], 12 p., [15] leaves carrying 17 pl. (incl. frontis.); 575 mm. (Broadsheet).

General Note

Only plates VII-XVII carry numbers; pl. [1-6] include the frontisp. (port.). Plates X, XI are printed on one sheet, as are pl. XV, XVI (in the order XVI, XV).


[Frontis. (port.), t.p., dedic.] - Leonardo Da Vinci - [Plates].

Responsibility Note

All plates carry the name of Leonardo as source-artist. The first group of six plates (unnumbered, and dated 1795 or 1796) are all signed as engraved by F. Bartolozzi. Plate XII (dated Oct. 1803) is signed as engraved by P.W. Tomkins. The final group of plates (all numbered, and all dated Oct. 10 1806) are signed as engraved by F. Bartolozzi, Shepster, P.W. Tomkins or B. Pastorini - but plate X does not carry an engraver's name.

Each plate carries the imprint of I. Chamberlaine and the date.

The publication is dedicated by Chamberlaine to the King (George III).


M. Clayton, Leonardo da Vinci: a curious vision [exhibition catalogue] ( 1996-7); A.E. Popham, The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci (revised 1994); K. Clark and C. Pedretti, The Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci in the collection of Her Majesty the Queen, 2 v. (1969); C. Alberici and M.C. de Biasi, Leonardo e l'incisione [exhibition catalogue] (1984).
ESTC, N50133

Summary Note

The publication-date of 1796 is printed on the title page; but the plates appeared serially and all carry their several dates of publication - Sep. 1 1795 (pl. [1] [frontis.]); Mar. 1 1796 (pl. [5]), Apr. 11 1796 (pl. [6]); 13 May 1796 (pl. [4]); Oct. 1 1796 (pl. [2, 3]); Oct. 1803 (pl. XII); Oct. 10 1806 (pl. VII-XI, XII-XVII).

Despite the title, the plates show only human heads and figures, apart from plate [4], which shows a cannon and military engine.

Chamberlaine's essay, 'Leonardo da Vinci', includes a short account of the provenance of the drawings.


The Academy resolved to subscribe to this work on 22 December 1796 (see RA Council Minutes), and paid a total of £6: 12s. for the first number together with the 9th and 10th numbers of Chamberlaine's Imitations of ... Holbein (see RA Treasurer's Account Book, 'Abstracts of Bills', Lady Day Quarter, 1798).

Copy Note

The six unnumbered plates (frontispiece and first five plates) have been numbered I-VI in pencil.

Binding Note

20th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; spine lettered 'R.A.', brown morocco spine-label lettered 'Leonardo Da Vinci'. Bound with Engravings From The Original Designs Of Annibale, Agostino, and Ludovico Caracci (1797) and a collection of engravings after Claude and others.

Name as Subject


Drawings, Italian - 15th century - 16th century
Collections - Great Britain - Berkshire - Windsor Castle - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


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