The Art of Painting, In All its Branches, Methodically demonstrated by Discourses and Plates, And exemplified by Remarks On The Paintings of the best Masters; and their Perfections and Oversights laid open By Gerard De Lairesse. Translated by John Frederick Fritsch, Painter.

Gerard de Lairesse

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Groot schilderboek., English.]


London:: Printed for the Author, and Sold by J. Brotherton, in Cornhill; W. Hinchliffe, at the Royal-Exchange; J. Oswald, in the Poultry; A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch, and J. Wood, in Pater-noster Row; C. Rivington, and G. Foster, in St. Paul's Church-yard; J. Clarke, in Duck-lane; L. Gilliver and J. Clarke, in Fleet-street; J. Nourse, at Temple-bar; S. Sympson, in Maiden-lane, Covent-garden; S. Harding, in St. Martin's-lane; J. Regnier, in Newport-street; J. Millan, and J. Chrichley, at Charing-cross; J. Fox, in Westminster-hall; J. Jackson, in St. James's-street; J. Brindley, in New-Bond-street; J. Clark, near Warwick-court, in Gray's-inn; and J. Huggonson, in Chancery-lane., MDCCXXXVIII.

Physical Description

[ii], iv, [x], 654, [2] p., frontis., 71 [i.e. 69] pl. (11 fold.): , 222 mm. (Quarto).

General Note

Plate II is numbered II-III, plate III is numbered IV-V, plates IV-LXIX are numbered VI-LXXI. Number 'LVI' is misprinted as 'LIV'.


[Frontis., t.-p.] - The Translator's Preface - The Author's Introduction - A Catalogue of the Painters and other Artists mentioned; A Catalogue of the Authors quoted - A Table of the Books and Chapters - [Text] - Direction to the Book-binder; Errata.

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece and all the plates are signed as designed by G. de Lairesse and engraved by I. Carwitham.


ESTC, T142680
RIBA, Early printed books, 2 (1995), no. 1717.
A. Roy, Gérard de Lairesse, 1640-1711 (1992).

Summary Note

This work was originally published in Dutch in 1707.

Firmly established in the representational tradition of the Renaissance, Lairesse advocated a selective, idealising, 'classical' approach to the representing of nature. He condemned mere realism, and thought it important for artists to copy from the idealising strand of Greek and Roman art. For him Poussin and Le Brun were the best exemplars of this classicising outlook.

The present manual is divided into thirteen books, on the following subjects: 1. Pencilling, second Tint and Beauty; 2. Ordonnance or Composition; 3. Things Antique and Modern; 4. Colouring; 5. Lights and Shades; 6. Landskips; 7. Portraiture; 8. Architecture; 9. The painting of Ceilings; 10. Statuary; 11. Still-life; 12. Flowers; 13. Engraving.


An electronic reproduction was published in 2003 (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale). A microfilm version was published in 1986 (Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications).


Inscribed in ink on the title page in an unknown hand, 'Given by F. Hayman RA'. Presented by Francis Hayman 21 August 1769.

Binding Note

Contemporary calf; rebacked in 20th century, retaining panels of the spine-piece; red morocco spine-label lettered 'De Lairesse - Art Of Painting'.


Painting - Theory
Lectures - Treatises - Europe - 18th century
Treatises - Translations from Dutch - Translations into English - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


John Carwitham, engraver
John Frederick Fritsch, translator, publisher
John Brotherton, bookseller
Arthur Bettesworth, bookseller
Charles Hitch, bookseller
Charles Rivington, bookseller
John Nourse, bookseller
Samuel Harding, bookseller
John Brindley, bookseller
J. Huggonson, bookseller
Francis Hayman RA, previous owner, donor
Gerard de Lairesse, draughtsman
John Oswald, bookseller
W. Hinchliffe, bookseller
John Wood, bookseller
George Foster, bookseller
John Clarke, bookseller
Lawton Gilliver, bookseller
S. Sympson, bookseller
J. Chrichley, bookseller
Joseph Fox, bookseller