Monday, 16 February 2009

Review – "Academy Notes 1888-1891”

Publ: 1888-1892
Genre: Art
Pages: c500
Found by Serendipity
Rating: ***** *****

This ‘book’ was in a charity shop and any old binding in a charity is worth investigating. This is my best charity shop purchase for years, even if it was a cut above the usual charity shop price.

I put ‘book’ in inverted commas because it is actually four pamphlets by Chatto and Windus bound together post-publication.

Academy Notes was an annual publication designed to accompany the Royal Academy Exhibition and was published on the opening day in May. There are brief notes about a number of the more interesting works in each gallery and over a hundred accompanying pages of ‘facsimiles of sketches’ of many of the works. It first came to success in 1875 and was not designed as a catalogue but was intended for those who were unable to visit the Exhibition, ‘who, having visited it, desire some memento’, or for those who wished to save time and trouble in examining the contents of the Exhibition.

The illustrations were produced by ‘various new processes intended to give an idea of the composition of the pictures, and are not intended specially as works of art’. Nevertheless, they are works of art!

I have thoroughly enjoyed poring through this set of four volumes in one and then seeing if I can find some of the original pictures on-line.

This is one I found:-

The illustration in the book.

The on-line print – since that early exhibition Hubert Herkomer has become Hubert von Herkomer!

Some of the sketches are purely representational like this one by Joseph Clark, an example of whose work can be seen below.

This is one book that will enhance my shelves for ever and will undoubtedly provide many a happy hour of browsing.

1 comment:

  1. It also looks wonderful. Here's to charity shops, eh? PS: Giveaway of DJKirkby's book on my 'Dotterel' site at present!


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