"Important Discoveries. New Invented Colours". Art supplies advertisement…

211 Piccadilly, London: Smith, Warner & Co., 1800-1820.

205 x 245 mm, engraved vignette at head.

"Discoveries": special new colours for travel artists

Rare early advertisement for this Piccadilly firm of art suppliers, who have come up with a new method for fixing soft crayon and chalk drawings, and their range of fine water and oil colours. Specifically directed at travel artists - "well calculated to take Permanent Views at Sea, for Travelling... as they will endure every Climate without spoiling" - the piece is illustrated with a version of the familiar "exotic peoples" trope: a classical figure, Fame, flying above a group of ships at sea, presents a set of colours to Britannia and the various Continents. As if an explanation were needed, the image is captioned "Fame presenting to the Four Corners a Box of S.W. & Co. Colours".

Rare early advertisement for this Piccadilly firm of art suppliers, who have come up with a new method for fixing soft crayon and chalk drawings, and their range of fine water and oil colours. Specifically directed at travel artists - "well calculated to take Permanent Views at Sea, for Travelling... as they will endure every Climate without spoiling" - the piece is illustrated with a version of the familiar "exotic peoples" trope: a classical figure, Fame, flying above a group of ships at sea, presents a set of colours to Britannia and the various Continents. As if an explanation were needed, the image is captioned "Fame presenting to the Four Corners a Box of S.W. & Co. Colours".

The title of the advertisement has a nice double use of the word "Discoveries", and the advertisement expounds the virtues of the "New Invented Colours, & a liquid for using them, in the manner of Oil, but with or without Oil, yet so as to become more durably brilliant & unfading". The advertisement dates from between 1800 and 1820, the period at which Smith & Warner were at 211 Piccadilly; their artists' supplies were among the best of the period and their name appears throughout the literature; for example, William Varley's "A few Observations on Art, with Notices relative to the various Exhibitions, Repositories of Art, &c &c" of 1816 lists them as one of three businesses "Where are the colours generally preferred by Artists, at which places drawing materials, of the very best quality, may be had on liberal terms".

National Portrait Gallery online resource: https://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/directory-of-suppliers/s/

Price (AUD): $2,150.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504870

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