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The Art of Painting, With The Lives and Characters of above 300 of the most Eminent Painters: Containing a Complete Treatise of Painting, Designing, And The Use of Prints. With Reflexions on the Works of the most Celebrated Masters, and of the several Schools of Europe, as well ancient as modern. Being the most perfect Work of the Kind extant. Translated from the French of Monsieur De Piles. To which is added, An Essay towards an English School. The Second Edition.

Roger de Piles

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[L'Abrégé de la vie des peintres., English.]

Variant Title

Essay towards an English school


London:: Printed for Charles Marsh, at Cicero's Head in Round-Court in the Strand., MDCCXLIV.

Physical Description

[xviii], 430 p.; 201 mm. (Octavo.)


[T.p., dedic.] - The Contents - An Alphabetical Index of the Painter's Name in De Piles; An Index of the Painters Names in the Essay towards an English School - [Text].

Responsibility Note

The translator was John Savage. The author of the 'Essay towards an English school' was Bainbrigg Buckridge (he is named in the third edition, 1754).

The work is dedicated to Robert Child.


ESTC, N30103
T. Puttfarken, Roger de Piles' theory of art (1985)
B. Teyssèdre, 'Félibien et Roger de Piles, historiens de la peinture française avant Poussin', in Inf. Hist. A., 3/VI (1961), p. 72-81.

Summary Note

This is the second edition of the translation first published in 1706. Piles's L'Abrégé de la vie des peintres was originally published in 1699.

The 'Essay towards an English School' (by B. Buckridge) is a biographic dictionary of painters. It draws on R. Graham's Short account of the most eminent painters (1695) and other sources. Although essaying an account of an 'English school', Buckridge sensibly includes foreign artists active in Britain, such as O. Gentileschi, H. Holbein, P. Lely and G. Kneller.


[First copy:] Acquired before August 1802 (see A Catalogue of the Library in the Royal Academy, London, (1802), p. 7).

[Second copy:] The title-page is inscribed in ink in the top right-hand corner, 'J Reynolds'. The front pastedown is inscribed in pencil, 'Sir Joshua Reynold's Copy with his Autograph on title page £4-4-0'. Presented by Sigismund Goetze, 1923 (see RA Annual Report for 1923, p. 42).

Binding Note

18th-century sheep; rebacked in 20th century, red morocco spine-label lettered 'Art Of Painting - De Piles'.


Connoisseurship - Europe - History
Painting - Painters - Europe - Great Britain - History
Art history - Biography - Reference books - 17th century - 18th century


John Savage, translator
Charles Marsh, publisher
Sir Joshua Reynolds PRA, previous owner
Sigismund Christian Hubert Goetze, previous owner, donor
Robert Child, dedicatee
Bainbrigg Buckridge, Essay towards an English school