Jean Dubreuil, La perspective pratique, vol. I (1663)

By Leo Cadogan

This post concerns a now-sad copy, with a board detached, of volume one (of three) of a heavily illustrated manual on practical perspective, intended for painters, engravers and others in the design trades.

It was inscribed in the mid-eighteenth century by an eleven-year-old English girl visiting Paris, who a few years later became a recognized amateur artist and printmaker. Our copy of Jean Dubreuil, La perspective pratique, necessaire à tous peintres, graveurs, architectes, brodeurs, sculpteurs, orfèvres, tapissiers, et autres qui se meslent de desseigner […] première partie, seconde edition (Paris, Jean Dupuis, 1663) has a neatly-written note to front free endpaper “Louisa Augusta Grevile, Paris, 23d. of Aug.st 1754.”

This was Lady Louisa Augusta Greville (1743–1779).[1] What she was doing in Paris, I have not discovered. She was the daughter of an earl (Earl Brooke, who became also the earl of Warwick). As an artist, we do not know what professional training she might have had or how much she was reliant simply on teaching herself from books such as the present one. She was to produce etchings based on her own drawings and after artists including Nicolaes Berchem, Annibale Carracci, Pietro Francesco Cittadini, Guercino, Matteo Ricci, and Salvator Rosa. She made her first known dated print in 1757 and, as a teenager, was awarded prizes for her drawings by the Society of Arts, in 1758, 1759, and 1760. Holdings of her prints can be found in the British Museum and Calke Abbey, Derbyshire (National Trust). Her last year of production was 1770, which was the year of her marriage, to William Churchill of Henbury, Dorset (d.1808).

Print by Louisa Augusta Greville, 1755-1757? © The Trustees of the British Museum.

On Louisa Augusta’s death, this item from her professional library—which, when she acquired it, presumably had all its volumes—remained with her immediate family, first her husband and then probably their son, William Churchill (d. 1835).[2] The bookplate of husband or son is affixed to front pastedown.

In 1836, one Caroline Greville wrote her name directly below Louisa Augusta’s. This new owner is likely to have been Lady Caroline Greville, who died, unmarried, in 1844.[3] She was Louisa Augusta’s niece, the daughter of Louisa Augusta’s brother George Greville (1746­–1816). Caroline would not have known her aunt, as her parents only married in 1776. However, from where she places her inscription, we can see that she was keen to create an association with her. Possibly contributing to Caroline´s understanding of Louisa Augusta was a shared family background of connoisseurs and collectors.[4]

Caroline’s father, who became the earl, was a renowned art collector; her father’s brother Charles Francis Greville (1749–1809) was a collector of plants and minerals and patron of the painter George Sandby (1730–1809); her grandfather (Louisa Augusta’s father) was a patron of Canaletto; and his brother-in-law (Louisa Augusta’s maternal uncle) was the collector and diplomatist Sir William Hamilton (1731–1803). Social and cultural experiences derived from this family milieu may have helped Louisa Augusta form her ambitions as an artist. It was unusual for a woman to have made a mark in this connoisseurs’ world. It is quite possible that this impressed Caroline. 

The next recorded owner was the painter and civil servant Angelo Collen Hayter (1819–1898).[5] The natural son of the painter Sir George Hayter (1792–1871), he had exhibited portraits at the Royal Academy in the years 1848–1852 but had given up professional artistry by the time he acquired the volume, or volumes, in 1870. He was more successful in his new career, which saw him rise to chief reviewer of wills in the government offices at Somerset House. He would not have obtained the item for immediate professional needs, but he may have been intrigued by the provenance.

As for subsequent ownership, the book carries an old penciled price (10 shillings). It was acquired as part of lot 607 at Mallam’s (Oxford) on 29 January 2020. In the lot there was also an English student’s manuscript, c.1800, on the subject of perspective, and folded loosely into that other item are bibliographical notes from the twentieth century, relating to our volume, which by then certainly appears to have been single. The writer of the notes checked books in Cambridge University Library and may have been connected to the university. Both the present volume and that manuscript have since the sale been acquired from me by the bookseller Susanne Schulz-Falster.

Source: book in private ownership. Photos by Leo Cadogan, reproduced by permission.


[1] On Greville, see: ‘Greville, Louisa Augusta, Lady‘, in Benezit Dictionary of Artists online (henceforth Benezit) (published 31 October 2011; accessed 26 August 2020); also notes by Nicholas Stogdon, on the Sanders of Oxford website (henceforth Stogdon (Sanders)), and on the British Museum website. British Museum holdings of her prints can be seen here and Calke Abbey holdings here.

[2] On William Churchill of Henbury (d.1835), see An inventory of the historical monuments in Dorset, volume 2, south east (London, 1970), Sturminster Marshall (283-290), on the

British History Online website. A note on Greville´s husband is found in Stogdon (Sanders), who mentions Greville and her husband having a son and cites the husband´s contemporary memorial notices. These last indicate that, although he remarried after Greville´s death, he only had that one child. William was therefore Greville´s son.

[3] On Lady Caroline Greville, see Cracroft’s Peerage, ‘Warwick Earl of (GB, 1759)’; also (confirming her non-married status), Sarah Spencer, Lady (afterwards Lady Lyttelton), Correspondence of Sarah Spencer, Lady Lyttelton, 1787-1870, edited by her great-granddaughter, the Hon. Mrs. Hugh Wyndham (London 1912), 118 n.4.

[4] On Caroline’s father, see Matthew Kilburn, ‘Greville, George, second earl of Warwick and second Earl Brooke (1746–1816)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography online (henceforth ODNB) (published 25 September 2014); see also Michael P. Cooper, ‘Greville, Charles Francis (1749–1809)’, ODNB online (published 25 September 2014); and Geoffrey V. Morson, ‘Hamilton, Sir William (1731–1803)’, ODNB online (published 25 September 2014). On Caroline’s grandfather (Louisa Augusta’s father), Francis Greville, first earl of Warwick (1719–1773), see Kilburn (above). For more family artistic connections see Stogdon (Sanders).

[5] On Angelo Collen Hayter see ‘Hayter, Angelo Collen’, Benezit Dictionary of Artists (published 31 October 2011); also Barbara Coffey Bryant, ‘Hayter, Sir George (1792–1871)’, ODNB online (published 17 September 2015).

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