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Sculptura; Or, The History and Art Of Chalcography, And Engraving in Copper. With An ample enumeration of the most renowned Masters, and their Works. To which is annexed A new manner of Engraving, or Mezzo Tinto, communicated by his Highness Prince Rupert to the Authour of this Treatise.

John Evelyn

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

History of Chalcography


London,: Printed by J.C. for G. Beedle, and T. Collins, at the Middle-Temple-Gate, and J. Crook in St. Paul's Church-yard., 1662.

Physical Description

[32], 148, [4] p., add. engr. t.pl., [2] pl. (one fold.): [1] illus.; 172 mm. (Octavo.)

General Note

The book is variously catalogued as having one or two leaves of plates, with or without illustration[s].


[T.p., dedic.] - An Account of Signor Giacomo Favi by Monsieur Sorbiere - A Table of the Titles, of the Chapters and their severall Contents; Errata; Authors, and Books which have been consulted for this Treatise - [Text, with [1] illus.] - An Advertisement.

Responsibility Note

The folded mezzotint plate is signed as made by 'RP' (i.e. Prince Rupert). The added engraved title-plate is signed as designed by 'JE' (i.e. John Evelyn) and engraved by 'A.H.' (i.e. A. Hertochs).

The full-page illustration on p.121 is unsigned.

According to Wing the initial 'J.C.' in the imprint stands for James Cottrell.

The work is dedicated by J. Evelyn to Robert Boyle.


ESTC, R351
Wing, E3513

Summary Note

According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography this work was first published in 1661.

The title on the added engraved title-plate is, 'History of Chalcography by J.E.'

The author was a Member of the Royal Society, a friend of Pepys and Wren, and a man of wide interests - as reflected in the titles of his books: Sculptura (1662), Sylva (1664), Numismata (1697). He was a collector of prints, and himself made some etchings (now in the British Museum, London).

Though this account of print-making is superseded, the work is still valued for its celebrated plate of the Head of the Executioner of John the Baptist, engraved in mezzotint by Prince Rupert of the Rhine. This is the first mezzotint published in Britain.


A microfilm was made in 1975 (Ann Arbor, USA: University Microfilms). Republished in 1906 as Evelyn's Sculptura, with the unpublished second part (Oxford: Clarendon Press).


The front pastedown carries the early nineteenth-century, armorial bookplate of Daniel Tupper, with the motto, 'L'Espoir Est Ma Force'. This is signed as engraved by B. Wyon.

Copy Note

Imperfect: lacks the add. engr. t.pl. and the two plates. Short annotations in ink or pencil appear on a front endpaper and on many margins.

Binding Note

20th-century brown half morocco, grey cloth-covered boards; spine lettered 'Evelyn ยท Sculptura', 'R.A.' and '1662'.

Name as Subject


Engraving - Mezzotint engraving - Europe - History
Art history - Great Britain - 17th century
Pictorial works - Mezzotints - Great Britain - 17th century


Samuel Sorbiere
Rupert Prince, Count Palatine, engraver
Thomas Collins, publisher
Gabriell Bedell, publisher
J. Crook, publisher
Robert Boyle, dedicatee
James Cottrell, printer
A. Hertocks, engraver
John Evelyn, draughtsman
Daniel Tupper, previous owner
Benjamin Wyon, engraver