The Practice of Oil Painting & Drawing || Solomon J Solomon

The age of this is apparent the moment you open it, as the text has been directly reproduced from the 1911 pages. The centre-mounted colour plates, all of Old Master paintings, are a dead giveaway, too.

So, is it worth reading a 100 year-old painting manual? Well, if you’re at all interested in history, it’s got to be worth a glance, at least. As a learning manual, it clearly has its limitations, but those are of its time rather than anything else. Back then, colour printing was expensive (the plates here are in fact new, the original only reproducing in black & white) and even half-tone blocks weren’t cheap. As a result, authors had to rely on words to get their point across. The result is that this book is 278 pages long; today it would be 128, and that with copious colour work.

So, don’t put this down in favour of the latest book you can find, but value it for the lengthy explanations and discussions. Sure, it won’t show you what to do but, if you sometimes, secretly, find short descriptions and extended demonstrations less than enlightening, this will lead you, albeit at some length, by the hand.

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