Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to Draw the Features of the Face - Art Recreations by Prof. Henry Day and Madame L.B. Urbino

A strangely inclusive book on making art with entries ranging from drawing to painting and color mixing, varnishing, and gilding, to making decorative art from seeds and shells has examples of how drawing was taught in the mid nineteenth century.

The book is called Art Recreations and was authored by Levina Buoncuore Urbino and Henry Day. You can see a copy of it at Google books or order a reprint from Art Recreations: Being A Complete Guide To Pencil Drawing, Oil Painting, Watercolor Painting, Grecian Painting And Many Others.

This is an example on one of the instruction pages:

Art Recreations

A progressive drawing book published before Art Recreations was Rembrandt Peale's Graphics: a manual of drawing and writing, for the use of schools and families

The kind of drawing lessons shown in this book were greatly expanded upon to make a series of lessons later turned into a complete book by J. G. Chapman, The American Drawing-Book: A manual for the amateur, and basis of study for the professional artist ; especially adapted to the use of public and private schools, as well as home instruction.

Portions of Chapman's American Drawing Book are reprinted to show their influence on the drawing journal of a young Yale student named Harry Cook in How Harry Cook Learned to Draw. Download a copy at

A digital edition of Chapman's American Drawing Book for viewing on the web is at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections.

Here is a link to a blog at Princeton University about an exhibition of drawing books published around the time as these two were which was the same time that legislatures around the country were making the study of drawing a mandatory subject in response to the dawning of the industrial age.

Legislating Mandatory Drawing Classes in the United States

Books similar to the progressive drawing book shown in the post can be seen at:

A Course of Sepia Painting

A Course of Painting in Neutral Tint

A Course of Water Colour Painting

Another progressive drawing book: A Progressive Drawing Book for Beginners
By Philip Henry Delamotte

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