1893 text

Alexander Browne, a printseller, who taught drawing, and practised it with success. He published in 1669, “Ars Pictoria, or an Academy treating of Drawing, Painting, Limning and Etching.”

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

3 Annotations

First Reading

CGS  •  Link

Alexander Browne, Practitioner of the Art of Limning
Alexander Browne (floruit 1659-1706) moved between several interconnected professions and was a notable figure in the art world of late seventeenth century London. He was variously a 'practitioner of the art of limning' (although none of his paintings or miniatures survives or can be identified); a drawing master (to Mrs Pepys among others); a colourman; the author of drawing manuals (the first in 1660) and of a treatise on art (Ars Pictoria, 1669); an art auctioneer (conducting sales later at his own premises in Gerrard Street, Soho), and a print publisher and printseller. His shop at 'ye Blew Balcony' in Little Queen Street near Lincolns Inn Fields would have contained quantities of prints, books and artists' materials.

Browne died in 1706 and as was usual his widow quickly sold his collections at auction. The sale was advertised:

What is a mezzotint?
A mezzotint (in the Italian sense 'half-tone'; French manière noire; German schabkunst) is a print made using a copper plate which has been worked over ('grounded') using a semi-circular fine-toothed tool ('rocker') so that the entire surface is roughened. In this state, when inked the plate will print solid black. http://www.npg.org.uk/live/mellon…

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

Alexander Browne was author of "Ars Pictoria, or an Academy, treating of Drawing, Painting, Limning, and Etching," 1669, folio; to which is prefixed his head. He, in the title, styles himself Practitioner in the Art of Limning. It appears from the encomium of Payne Fisher, before this treatise, that he engraved the thirty plates at the end of it. Some of them are taken from Bloemart's fine drawing-book, and they are well copied. Many of our old mezzotintos have this inscription, "Sold by Alexander Browne, at the Blew Balcony in Little Queen-Street." As there is seldom the name of any engraver to the prints laid to be sold by him, it is very probable that some of them were done by his own hand.
---A Biographical History of England. J. Granger, 1775.

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