Some Anecdotes Of The Life Of Julio Bonasoni, A Bolognese Artist, Who Followed The Styles Of The Best Schools In The Sixteenth Century. Accompanied By A Catalogue Of The Engravings, With Their Measures, Of The Works Of That Tasteful Composer. And Remarks On The General Character Of His Rare And Exquisite Performances. To Which Is Prefixed, A Plan For The Improvement Of The Arts In England. By George Cumberland.

George Cumberland

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Plan for the improvement of the arts in England
Plan for improving the arts in England


London: Printed by W. Wilson, Ave-Maria Lane; And sold by G. G. J. and J. Robinson, Paternoster-Row., M DCC XCIII.

Physical Description

[4], 100, [2] p., [1] pl.; 184 mm. (Octavo.)

General Note

There was also an issue with a price printed on the title page.


[Pl.] - [T.p., dedic.] - A Plan For Improving The Arts In England - Anecdotes Of Julio Bonasoni, A Bolognese Artist - [Catalogue]; Erratum - [Advertisement].

Responsibility Note

The plate is unsigned.

The work is dedicated by the author to Sir William Hamilton, Knight of the Bath.


ESTC, T49242
G.E. Bentley, A bibliography of George Cumberland 1754-1848 (1975)
G. Keynes, 'Some uncollected authors, 44: George Cumberland', in Book Collector, 19:1 (1970).
H. Hoock, 'Old masters and the English School: The Royal Academy of Arts and the notion of a national gallery', in Journal of the history of collections, 16:1 (2004)
G. Wright, ed., The formation of national collections (1996)
Palaces of art: art galleries in Britain 1790-1800, ed. G. Waterfield [exhibition catalogue] (1991)

Summary Note

Cumberland's lengthy catalogue of Bonasone's works (p. 48-100) is divided under the following heads: Sacred pieces of Bonasone's own invention; Sacred pieces with Bonasone's name as engraver only; Sacred pieces indisputably engraved by Bonasone but without name or mark; Sacred pieces with names of inventors as well as engraver; Pieces of Scripture subjects still doubtful, attributed to Bonasone; Poetical and historical inventions of Bonasone; Pieces not marked Inventor but attributed from style; Pieces that seem from Giulio Romano; From Polidore; From Raphael; From Bolognese; From Parmigiano; Pieces decidedly by Bonasone though without his name; Portraits; Addenda.

In his 'Plan for the improvement of the arts in England' Cumberland advocates the creation of a National Gallery.

The concluding advertisement is for two works 'Published by the same Author': 'Lewina the maid of Snowdon' and 'A poem on the landscapes of Great Britain'.

The only plate shows a blank escutcheon supported by putti carrying the masks of tragedy and comedy, and probably intended for a book-plate.


A microfilm copy was published in 2004 (Woodbridge, Conn.: Primary Source Microfilm [imprint of Gale Group]).

Binding Note

20th-century green morocco; gilt-decorated spine lettered 'Life Of Bonasoni Lond. 1793'.

Name as Subject


Engravers - Artists - Italy - Lazio - Rome - Emilia Romagna - Bologna - History - 16th century - Renaissance
Arts - Patronage - Art Galleries - Great Britain - London - 18th century
Biography - Art history - Catalogues - Great Britain - 18th century