Before the foundation of academies of art in London in 1768 and Philadelphia in 1805, most individuals who were to emerge as artists trained in workshops of varying degrees of relevance. Easel painters began their careers apprenticed to carriage, house, sign or ship painters, whilst a few were placed with those who made pictures. Sculptors emerged from a training as ornamental plasterers or carvers. Of the many other trades in a position to offer an appropriate background were `limning', staining, engraving, surveying, chasing and die-sinking. In addition, plumbers gained the right to use oil painting and, for plasterers, the application of distemper was an extension of their trade. Central to the theme of this book is the notion that, for those who were to become either painters or sculptors, a training in a trade met their practical needs. This `training' was of an altogether different nature to an `education' in an art school. In the past, prospective artists were offered, by means of apprenticeships, an empirical rather than a theoretical understanding of their ultimate vocation.
James Ayres provides a lively account of the inter-relationship between art and trade in the late 17th to early 19th centuries, in both Britain and North America. He demonstrates with numerous, illustrated examples, the many cross-overs in the`art and mystery' of artistic training, and, to modern eyes, the sometimes incongruous relationships between the various trades that contributed to the blossoming of many artistic careers, including some of the most illustrious names of the `long' 18th century.
As the third generation of his family to have been actively engaged in the visual arts, James Ayres was, in effect, apprenticed from childhood to work in paint, plaster wood and stone. Following graduation from Goldsmiths College, London University and the Royal Academy Schools, a fellowship in the US introduced him to the arts of British North America.
Acknowledgements Introduction PART 1. CRAFTS, TRADES, ARTISANS AND GUILDS 1. Art& mystery 2. The guilds& livery companies 3. Guild regulation& training 4. Indentured apprenticeships 5. The craft trades& the visual arts PART 2. PAINTERS 6. The art of picture craft 7. The materials of painters 8. Painter stainers 9. The painters: mechanic and liberal 10. Easel painting 11. The trade of painting in oil House and decorative painting Sign painting& making coach painting marine painting 12. Size painting Stained hangings Stained transparencies Scene painting for the theatre The plasterers 13. Limning& watercolour painting Limning Watercolour painting PART 3. SCULPTORS, CARVERS& RELATED TRADES 14. Sculpture7 15. Modelling& casting in plaster Modelling in clay Casting in plaster 16. The pointing machine 17. Carving Woodcarving Stone& marble carving 18. Metalwork& related trades The foundry Chasers& chasing Die-sinking& seal-cutting PART 4. ACADEMIES OF ART& THE FOUNDATIONS OF ARTISTIC PROFESSIONS 19. The origin& function of academies of art 20. Conclusion Appendix I: Indenture of 1788: Isaac Dell Appendix II: Advertisement for a Stationer and Picture Dealer c. 1750-1759 Appendix III: Samuel Wale (?-d. 1786) as sign painter Appendix IV: Charles Catton (1728-1798)"The Prince of Coach Painters" Appendix V: John Baker RA (1736-1771), coach painter Appendix VI: Luke (Marmaduke) Cradock (1660-1717) the"Ornamental Painter" Appendix VII: Sign painting in Colonial and early Federal America Appendix VIII: Prices of house painters'work of 1799 Appendix IX: Stained hangings: early seventeenth and eighteenth century Appendix X: A sampling of individual painters or sculptors who left the English Provinces for Apprenticeships in London, Westminster or Southwark Appendix XI: Some of the many woodcarvers who later worked in stone and marble Appendix XII: The construction of an armature in John Flaxman's studio Appendix XIII: Prices in 1797 for ship-carving on Royal Navy vessels in relationship to tonnage Appendix XIV: Price list for lead statuary Appendix XV: Some members of the St Martin's Lane Academy Appendix XVI: Proposed accommodation and prospectus for the Royal Academy Schools Appendix XVII: Part of Gustav Waagen'S (1794-1868) evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1834, on the value of Academies of Art Glossary Bibliography Index