SCULPTURA: Or the History, and Art of Chalcography and Engraving in Copper. To Which Is Annexed a New Manner of Engraving, or Mezzo Tinto, Communicated by His Highness Prince Rupert to the Author of This Treatise

SCULPTURA: Or the History, and Art of Chalcography and Engraving in Copper. To Which Is Annexed a New Manner of Engraving, or Mezzo Tinto, Communicated by His Highness Prince Rupert to the Author of This Treatise

(London: J. C. for G. Beedle, and T. Collins, 1662).

FIRST EDITION OF THIS VERY RARE AND HIGHLY IMPORTANT WORK IN THE HISTORY OF PRINTMAKING AND BOOK ILLUSTRATION. THE BOOK IS SINGULARLY FAMOUS FOR CONTAINING THE FIRST MEZZOTINT PRINTED IN ENGLAND AND THE FIRST DESCRIPTION OF THE PROCESS. This is given as the account of "A new manner of Engraving, or Mezzo Tinto, communicated by his Highness Prince Rupert to the Author of this Treatise". Many believe Rupert, a cousin to Charles II who had played a part in the perfection of mezzotint process, authored or co-authored the account.
Perhaps unintentionally, the book itself provides a dramatic demonstration of the significance of the new technique. When one compares the frontispiece (a finel copper engraved plate} with the Rupert 'mezzo tinto', the limitations of the former and the capabilities of the latter are clearly apparent.
SCULPTURA would play a very significant role in the mezzotint technique becoming known and used in England where artists such as John Martin would further perfect the process. The mezzotint plate is rare as it was often removed from the book by printers, printmakers and collectors. Item #30538

VERY RARE FIRST EDITION, containing the FIRST MEZZOTINT printed in England and the first description in England of the Mezzotint process. With an engraved frontispiece after Evelyn, engraved arms on titlepage, full page engraving within the text, and (most importantly) a fold-out mezzotint, the first to be printed in England, "The Head of the Executioner" by Prince Rupert of the Rhine. 8vo, in an especially handsome binding of the Regency period of full dark chocolate morocco, the boards with a multi-ruled gilt panel with large elaborate acorn and flower cornerpieces within a large gilt ruled frame, the spine with beautifully ornate full gilt-tooled compartments separated by tall gilt ruled bands, two of the compartments gilt lettered, double-gilt-ruled board edges lead to wonderfully gilt tooled turn-ins featuring waves and flowers over finely marbled endpapers and fly leaves, a.e.g. [a1-b8], 148, [3] pp. A smashing copy of this rare and important work, the binding very handsome and in excellent condition, the text is solid and sturdy with just a light bit of uniform mellowing, quite minor, the folding mezzotint print is very fine.

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Price: $17,950.00