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Memoirs Of The Life Of Nicholas Poussin. By Maria Graham, Author Of A Journal Of A Tour In India, &c. &c.

Lady Maria Callcott

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed For Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, And Brown, Paternoster-Row; And A. Constable And Co., Edinburgh., 1820.

Physical Description

xvi, 236 p., frontis. (port.), [1] pl. (fold.); 216 mm. (Octavo.)


[Blank leaf, frontis., t.p.] - Preface - [Fold. pl.] - The Life Of Nicholas Poussin - Two Dialogues By Fenelon Descriptive Of Poussin's Pictures - Catalogue Of Poussin's Principal Paintings.

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece portrait (self-portrait) of Poussin is signed as drawn by I. Jackson R.A. and engraved by Fry. The folding plate is signed as drawn by 'C.L.E.' [probably the author's friend, Charles Lock Eastlake] and engraved by I. Clark.

Each carries the publishers' imprint of Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown, London and the date (Decr. 5th) 1820.

The printer is named on the t.p. verso and in the colophon: 'A. and R. Spottiswoode, Printers-Street, London'.


R.B. Gotch, Maria, Lady Callcott: the creator of 'Little Arthur' (1937); C.R. Sherman and A.M. Holcomb, Women as interpretators of the visual arts, 1820-1979 (1981).

Summary Note

This biography of Poussin by Mrs Graham (she became a widow in 1822, and in 1827 married Augustus Wall Callcott, R.A.) was the first study of the painter published in English. In her Preface the author declares herself indebted to Lanzi; and her critical comments owe something to the lectures of Reynolds and Fuseli.

The two dialogues by Fénelon which she translates as an appendix were first published posthumously in Abbé de Monville's La vie de Pierre Mignard (1730). In the first of them Poussin is imagined discussing his painting of 'The funeral of Phocion' [Paris, Louvre] with the ancient Greek painter Parrhasius and considering the representation of architecture, the balance of color and form in landscape and the representation of emotion. In the second he discusses with Leonardo da Vinci his 'Landscape with a man killed by a snake' [London, National Gallery] and declares himself independent of Italian models in emulating the ancients.


The first, blank page is inscribed in ink, 'Bequest of Sr. A. W. Callcott'.

Copy Note

The Preface and the first pages of the text carry some marginal annotations in pencil.

Binding Note

20th-century half calf, red cloth-covered boards; blue morocco spine-label lettered 'Life Of Nicholas Poussin - Graham', spine lettered 'R.A.' and '1820'.

Name as Subject


Artists - Painters - Italy - Rome - History - 17th century
Biography - Art history - Great Britain - 19th century