Unused 4to sketchbook/album of good thick paper, with the ownship inscription of the artist/diarist Joseph Farington, and the words 'The Incorporated Society of Artists' on the spine. Enclosed: a membership list and three other items
The present item is a puzzle. Farington joined the Incorporated Society of Artists at the age of twenty-one, and played an active part in its affairs until his resignation in 1773. (According to Algernon Graves's 'Dictionary', he exhibited with the Society of Artists every year between 1765 and 1773, showing a total of 23 items.) Since the Society was dissolved in 1793, and the present volume features the watermarked date 1806, it may be that Farington intended to use it as an album of material relating to the Society's members who feature in the two lists which are loosely inserted in it (Items One and Two below); on the other hand it would have served equally well as a watercolour sketchbook. The volume is 30pp., 4to. In contemporary half-binding, with marbled boards and calf spine and corners. Stamped in gilt on the spine: 'INCORPORATED | SOCIETY | OF | ARTISTS'. Consisting of 28 leaves of superior laid paper - thick, rough and dark - with the first and last leaves of a whiter and thinner wove stock. The endpapers are of a yet thinner wove paper, with the watermark 'BUTTANSHAW | 1806'. Internally in excellent condition, clean and tight; in worn and discoloured binding. The only writing or marking within the volume is the ownership inscription of 'Jos: Farington' on the front free endpaper. Loosely inserted are four items, all in very good condition. ONE: Manuscript 'Extract from the Universal Magazine of Knowledge & Pleasure for the Year 1748'. On 22 x 17.5 cm piece of thick paper. Giving a list of 57 'Painters of our own Nation now living'. TWO: Printed 'LIST | OF THE | SOCIETY of ARTISTS of GREAT-BRITAIN | Those marked thus * are the present DIRECTORS.' On one side of a piece of 38.5 x 23 cm paper. Printed in top right-hand corner: 'September 3, 1774.' The list is in two columns, and features 119 individuals under five headings: 72 painters (including Nathaniel Clarkson, Ozias Humphrey, George Romney, George Stubbs and Francis Wheatley), 12 sculptors (including Thomas Allwood and Isaac Gosset), 4 architects, 22 engravers (including John Boydell, Robert Strange, Francis Vivares and William Woollet) and 9 honorary fellows. Yale has a copy of what may be the same list (also featuring the phrase 'Those marked thus * are the present DIRECTORS.'), but undated. THREE: Cutting from the Morning Post of article 'The Painter's Mirrour, Society of Artists, Piccadilly.' 33.5 cm. Discusses work by John James Barralet, William Elmer, Gilpin and T. Hearne. FOUR: Cutting from unamed newspaper, with '1777' added in manuscript. Two pieces, totalling 20 cm, pinned together. Reviewing 'the present Exhibition of the Royal Incorporated Society of Free Artists, near Air-street, Piccadilly'.