Monday, February 1, 2010

Figure Drawing by Richard G. Hatton


Figure Drawing by Richard G. Hatton, originally published in 1904 by Chapman and Hall is available as an e-book at

From the preface:

The artist studies anatomy in order that he may the better understand what the form of the figure is. Not infrequently he finds, however,that his anatomy has not helped him very much.  He finds that it asserts itself in a manner which does not improve his work.  He feels overborne by the mass of "origins" and "insertions," and endeavors to learn by heart lists of muscles and bones, and fears the disgrace of not knowing, like a school-boy, all the facts exhibited in the book he happens to be studying.  If he grows interested he finds, after a while, that he begins to decry anatomical study as so much wasted labour.
The reason for such a verdict is that the study, instead of being directed to the correction and development of the ideas already present in the mind concerning the form of the figure, is dissipated among a multitude of accurate little statements.  The very accuracy of the statements tends to rob them of their utility to the artist.  Often a student will labour to remember the location (and even the accurate anatomical description of the location) of the insertions of a muscle, and its form.  He too, soon gets to deceive himself with the idea that a knowledge of names and of insertions amounts to the knowledge of anatomy.
Artist will always owe much to such surgeons as the late John Marshal whose works on Anatomy for Artists and a Rule of Proportion for the Human Figure have steadied and fixed the inquiry into the structure of the human body.  One would certainly not displace the sound thoroughness of MArshall for the less conclusive and less certain work of his predecessors. But there can be little doubt that the student needs something different at a certain stage of his career. He wants to be helped with his form and his construction, and to help him effectually the subject must be approached from a draughtsman's standpoint.
It is with the hope of fulfilling such a purpose that the present work is issued.

Printed versions at

Figure DrawingFigure Drawing

Figure Drawing: A Complete Guide (Dover Books on Art Instruction)Figure Drawing: A Complete Guide (Dover Books on Art Instruction)

A digital version of another book, Figure Composition by Richard G. Hatton is at Google Books.

Another contemporary book The proportions of the human body  by Sir Bertram C. A. Windle is at the Internet Archive.

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