London: Thomas M'Lean, 1850. First edition. Hardcover. Double Elephant Folio (25 1/2 x 20 1/4"). (2) 80 plates. Original red three-quarter leather over marbled boards with decorative gilt ruling on covers, gilt lettering, ruling and tooling on spine; raised bands. Gilt edges. Marbled endpapers.
Engraved title page. Bradbury & Evans, Printers extraordinary to the Queen, Whitefriars. With eighty lithographed plates, including forty-nine in chromolithography and seven sepia-toned. Most color plates with additional blank protective guards.
First and only edition of this magnificent publication (Brunet II, 1769 - Ornamentale Vorlagenwerke 108. -Pollen I, 738. -"One of the most impressive achievements of Middle-Victorian color printing." (Ruari McLean). "The chromolithographs in Ludwig Gruner's Ornamental art are among the best ever produced in Great Britain. The craftsmanship in this volume is comparable to that of artists like Giotto and Michelangelo" (Birren Collection 207, McLean 120).
Gruner was the director of the Dresden Royal Copper Engraving Cabinet. He began studying painting under Klinger in 1815, then went on to Krüger to study copper engraving and went to Milano in 1825 where he continued his studies under Giuseppe Longhi and Pietro Anderloni. He traveled to France, Spain and eventually England. Here the British government commissioned Gruner to put together a book for art schools containing samples of color printing after the most prominent Italian artists.
The images presented in this volume include architectural ornaments in part one, doors, vases, candelabras, a cup designed by Hans Hohlbein for Henry VIII., specimen of bookbinding of the 16th century, flowers and fruit, friezes and columns from the Vatican, intarsia, inlaid wood and pavements, Pompeiana in part two, including paintings in the House of the Second Fountain, columns, friezes, murals, church ornaments from the 12th to the 16th century in part three, and palaces with their interior decoration in part four.
Text in English. Binding with wear along edges, some scuffing and light fraying at corners and head and tail of spine. Three inch closed tears at top and bottom of front joint. Endpapers, title page, table of contents and first five b/w plates with light foxing. After that foxing diminishes mostly to margins and is hardly affecting b/w images. Color plate images not affected by foxing, except in margins. Protective guard of plate 27 creased. Overall in very good condition, color images in fine condition.
Folio (12 1/2 x 9 3/4"). 36pp., 7 plates. Original full red leather with decorative ruling on covers, gilt lettering and ruling on spine. Gilt edges. Marbles endpapers. Blue ribbon marker. "Ornamental Art must be considered as originally the offspring of High Art, though now, in great measure, detached from its parent stock. It is become altogether a new branch, which has a free and independent sphere for its development, and enters into a not unsuccessful rivalry with sculpture and painting, Yielding to them, without dispute, the honours belonging to the more elevated department of historical composition, it surpasses them in regard to its wider range of influence; and, in proportion to the humility of the position which it assumes, does its own peculiar value become more conspicuous." (Preface). The lengthy preface is followed by detailed description of all eighty plates of the main volume. Seven additional plates rendered in b/w lithography at rear. Armorial bookplate of Joseph Neeld, Member of Parliament, on inside front cover. Light scuffing along edges, head and tail of spine. Tail end of ribbon marker torn off but present. Binding in very good-, interior in very good+ condition. vg- to fine. Item #48066