A 19th-Century Crayon and Watercolor Instruction Book

by Arthur on Thursday, October 15, 2009

in 19th-Century,Art,Technique

Couleru.  Nouveau Cours Élémentaire de Coloris et d’Aquarelle: Suivi de Considérations sur la Peinture Orientale. Paris (Monrocq Freres) n.d. (circa 1860).  [45699]

Nouveau Cours Élémentaire de Coloris et d'Aquarelle (book cover)

Nouveau Cours Élémentaire de Coloris et d'Aquarelle.

These charming images come from Nouveau Cours Élémentaire de Coloris et d’Aquarelle, an illustrated course of instruction in watercolor and crayon techniques for children and young adults. After an eight-page introduction offering 12 practical lessons for the budding artist, the pages that follow provide 11 examples of properly tinted drawings, each paired across a two-page spread with the identical illustration in black and white (for the student herself to color.)

Left-hand side of a sample page spread depicting the proper coloration for "Tigre Royal"

Left-hand side of a sample page spread depicting the proper technique for "Tigre Royal"

Right-hand side of the same page spread, offering the student a chance to try her hand at painting the tiger.

Right-hand side of the same page spread, offering the student a chance to color the tiger.

Left-hand portion of another page spread depicting a tramp.

Left-hand portion of another page spread depicting a tramp.

Right-hand side for the artist to color.

Right-hand side for the artist to color.

The particular copy in our inventory at the moment has seen some use, which in my opinion, makes it all the more interesting.

Left-hand side of a page spread depicting a farm house as colored by the publishers.

Left-hand side of a page spread depicting a farm house, as colored by the publishers.

Right-hand side, as colored by the student.

Right-hand side, as colored by the student.

I’ll reserve judgment as to our student’s mastery of the Nouveau Cours Élémentaire. Perhaps she might have paid a bit more attention to the book’s hand-tinted color guide?

color guide

Copy books such as this one were popular in their day.  The verso of the title page advertises additional books in the Bibliothèque de l’École de Dessin Le Maitre de Dessin, which in its totality provides “6,000 feuilles d’études en tout genre, depuis 20 centimes jusqu’a 3 francs et au-dessus.” Very few, however, seem to have survived to the present day, as WorldCat only locates three copies of Nouveau Cours Élémentaire de Coloris et d’Aquarelle in North American libraries.

FAB Item I.D. 45699

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Imprint Development Site | Coloring for Grown-Ups
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Katherine Fortier Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 12:22 AM

Such a delightful book and entry on it. Enjoyed your cheeky commentary.

Just some more of my grammatical nitpicking:

1. In the last sentence of the first paragraph, the period should be outside the parentheses.

2. In the first sentence of the last paragraph, I wonder whether “such as this one” should be set off by commas . . . (?)

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