London, R. Ackermann, . Folio (28.2 x 22.5 cm). Engraved frontispiece, engraved title; 126 engraved and aquatint plates, of which 31 originally coloured by hand. Later half calf over contemporary plain boards. Spine with five raised, gilt-bordered bands and gilt title. Olive endpapers; speckled edges.
An ultra-rare, varied and finely illustrated drawing book, containing visual instructions on how to draw people and objects, and how to deal with perspective. We found only one auction record, of an incomplete and damp-stained copy sold in 1981. The images include mythological scenes, human facial expressions, human anatomy, landscapes, cattle, shells, flowers and fruits, etc., showing different techniques. Plate 99 is in fact a transfer of a handwritten dedication by Rudolph Ackermann, to Alois Senefelder, "Inventor of the art of lithography". The work was engraved by Thomas Hodson and John Dougall, both who were active in the late 18th and early 19th century. The plates are individually numbered, but the numbers 97-101 are used twice, for different plates, as is 120 (the second clearly an error for 121). Most plates are dated by month and year, between 1819 and 1821. A text volume, published simultanously, is more common, but not included here. An earlier, 1805 edition had but 60 plates, probably none coloured. Spine renewed; some light, mostly marginal spotting or toning, but generally clean, very good. Abbey, Life in England in Aquatint and Lithography, 1770-1860, 146.