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Painting Illustrated In Three Diallogues, Containing some Choice Observations upon the Art. Together with The Lives Of the Most Eminent Painters, From Cimabue to the time of Raphael and Michael Angelo. With an Explanation of the Difficult Terms. -

RA Collection: Book

Record number



London,: Printed by John Gain, for the Author, And are to be Sold by Walter Kettilby, at the Bishop's Head, in St. Paul's Church-Yard., M.DC.LXXXV.

Physical Description

[38], 375, [1] p. (irregularly numbered); 224 mm. (Quarto.)

General Note

The ESTC describes the work as beginning with [38] unnumbered pages. The numbered pages are numbered irregularly, as follows: 1-127, [blank], 125-132, 129, 134, 135, 132, 133, 138, 139, 136-139, 141, 140, 142-364, 165, 366, 367, 365, 365-368, 169, 370-375, [blank].


[Imprimatur, t.p.] - The Epistle Dedicatory - [Dedic.] - The Preface - The Contents of this Work - An Explanation Of Some Terms of the Art of Painting - [Text]. (Note: in some copies the leaf carrying the dedication is bound in before 'The Epistle Dedicatory'.)

Responsibility Note

The work includes 'The Epistle Dedicatory' by William Aglionby, and dedication leaf 'To The Right Honourable William Earl Of Devon, Baron Cavendish Of Hardwick, Knight Of The Bath, And Lord Lietenant Of Darby, &c.'


ESTC, R204285
L. Salerno, 'Seventeenth-century English literature on painting', in Journal of the Courtauld and Warburg Institutes, 13 (1951).

Summary Note

The author is not named on the title-page but The Epistle Dedicatory is from William Aglionby. Aglionby argues for the status of painting as not a mechanic but a liberal art, and laments the interruption of the development of painting in Britain caused by the Civil War. As well as analysing the practice of painting he discusses the means of making informed judgments about art. As for 'The Lives', he says in his Preface that they 'are all taken out of Vasari'. The work was printed again in 1719 as Choice observations upon the art of painting. Together with Vasari's Lives of the most eminent painters ... .


A facsimile was printed ca. 1972 (Portland, Or.: Collegium Graphicum).

Copy Note

Imperfect: lacks the first, unnumbered leaf (imprimatur).

Binding Note

17th-century calf, upper and lower covers blind-stamped with panel decoration; rebacked in 20th century, red morocco spine-label lettered 'Painting Illustrated'.


Painting - Theory
Painters - Artists - Italy - History - Renaissance
Treatises - Dialogues - Art criticism - Biography - Great Britain - 17th century