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Disclaimer: Here I have collected links to some of my favorite and interesting historical and free art books, artist handbooks and artist's reference works. Many of these books are in the public domain, but there are also many works that are still in copyright and are the property of the copyright holders. Just because an author has allowed you to view their work for free, it does not mean they automatically give up their copyright, you are still bound by copyright law. In most of these cases I have only provided a link to the authors site where you can view the copyright notice on the authors page or work, and view the book from their site or host site.

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Artist Handbooks, Art Techniques and Painting - Free Art Books | 



written by Cennino Cennini in the year 1437 and first published in Italian in 1821 with Introduction and Notes by Signor Tambroni containing practical directions for painting in Fresco, Secco, Oil and Distemper, with the Art of Gilding and Illuminated Manuscripts adopted by the Old Italian Masters. Translated by Mrs. Merrifield, with introductory preface, copious notes, and Illustrations in outline from celebrated pictures.

By Cennino Cennini, Giuseppe Tambroni, Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, Translated by Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, Published by Lumley, 1844


"Of all the modes of painting used by the masters of these times, as well by those who succeeded them. Connino has composed the most complete treatise that has ever been written."


"You must know that there are seven natural colours, namely, four which are of the nature of earths, as black, red, yellow, and green; three are natural colours, but require the assistance of art, as white, ultramarine, or Della magna, and Naples yellow. We will not proceed further, but return to the black pigment. To grind it properly, procure a slab of porphyry, which is strong and firm. There are many kinds of stone for grinding colours, as porphyry, serpentine, and marble. The serpentine is a soft stone, and is not good; marble is worse, that is, softer; porphyry is the best of all; and if you procure a slab very well polished, it will be better than one with less polish. It should be about half a braccio square. Take another stone, also of porphyry, smooth on one side, and raised on the other, in the shape of a porringer, and half the height of one, of such a form that the hand may hold and guide it at pleasure "


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By Leonardo Da Vinci, John Francis Rigaud, Published by J.B. Nichols and Son, 1835
Faithfully Translated From The Original Italian, and Digested Under Proper Heads, By John Francis Rigaud, Esq. Academician of The Royal Academy of Painting at London,
Illustrated With Twenty-three Copper-plates, And Other Figures.


"Of the Measures of the human Body, and the bending of Members:

It is very necessary that painters should have a knowledge of the bones which support the flesh by which they are covered, but particularly of the joints, which increase and diminish the length of them in their appearance. As in the arm, which does not measure the same when bent, as when extended ; its difference between the greatest extension and bending, is about one eighth of its length."


PDF (13.6 MB)






by Denman Waldo Ross, 1907


"IT is quite impossible for me, in this discussion of terms and principles, to indicate, in any measure, the possibilities of composition, in lines and spots of paint, in tones, measures, and shapes. This is in no sense a Book of Designs. All I have undertaken to do is to give a few very simple examples and to indicate the kind of reasoning to be followed, recommending the same kind of reasoning in all cases. There are three general rules, however, which I must state...."


(23.0 MB)







being a complete guide to pencil drawing, oil painting, water-color painting, crayon drawing and painting, painting on ground glass, Grecian painting, antique painting, oriental painting, sign painting, theorem painting, ferneries, moss work, paper mache, cone work, feather flowers, potichomanie (The art or process of coating the inside of glass vessels with engravings or paintings), leather work, hair work, taxidermy, gilding and bronzing, plaster work, decalcomanie, wax work, shell work, magic lantern, paper flowers, imitation of pearl, the aquarium, sealing-wax painting, panorama painting, coloring photographs, enamel painting, etc.

by L. B. Urbino, Prof. Henry Day, and others, Published 1873


"A perfect muscular control of the hand is of the first importance in drawing, as accuracy of outline and delicacy of expression can only be obtained by having the fingers in complete subjection to the will, so that the slightest volition will be properly interpreted by the pencil. This requisite facility in the use of the pencil or brush can be acquired only by patient practice, the length of time necessary for its attainment being in some degree dependent upon the natural ability, taste, or 'genius' of the learner. "


(15.2 MB)




A Primer for the Materials, Methods and Techniques of Art Conservation



by Perry Hurt, Conservator for Regional Conservation Services and Noelle Ocon, Associate Conservator of Paintings, ©2005 Do not reprint without permission


"The history of painting has included the use of many different materials. The basic definition of a painting: a pigment mixed in a medium and applied to a support. An easel painting typically has at least four basic layers: support, ground, paint, and varnish."






: containing useful and valuable information on the following subjects: adulteration of paint, blistering of paint, brushes, calcimining, carriage painting, china painting, colors, color harmony, color mixing, color testing, exterior painting, gilding, graining, house painting, marbling, mildew, oils and driers, oil painting on glass, painting a bath tub, painting in distemper, paperhanger's tools, paperhanging, pigments, plain oil painting, primary colors, priming, scenic painting, sign painting, stains, staining, stencilling, turpentine, varnishes, varnishing, water color painting, when not to paint, practical points on painting, useful information...

by George D. Armstrong, 1908


"The facility with which ready-prepared colors can now be obtained has no doubt led to a neglect of information as to their composition or special qualities, a small amount of knowledge only being picked up in the course of practice from the men with whom each painter is associated, and who have obtained their own information in a similar unreliable manner. It is not here intended to advocate the idea that each workman should, as in olden times, manufacture his own colors and varnishes; the rate of wages as compared with the expenses at the present day wholly forbid such a system; but it is strongly urged that the painter should know the qualities of the various substances he employs in order that he may judge of their fitness for every kind of work, and likewise that he should be able to prepare them if circumstances require him to do so."


(21.2 MB)






by Franz Kugler, Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, George Scharf, Francis Turner Palgrave, 1855


"In the master-works of this period we find the most elevated subjects, represented in the noblest form, with a depth of feeling never since equalled. It was only for a short period that Art maintained this high degree of perfection."


(19.5 MB)






By Franz Kugler, Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, Sir Edmund Head, 1842


"The consideration of the influence of Religion on the Arts forces itself on the attention in investigating the progress of Painting, since so large a proportion of its creations was devoted to the service of the Church—in many instances, we fear we must add, the service of superstition. Yet the difference or abuse of creeds may be said in most cases to affect works of Art only in their extrinsic conditions; the great painters were so generally penetrated with the spirit of the faith they illustrated, that the most unworthy subjects were often the vehicles of feelings to which all classes of Christians are more or less alive. The implicit recognition of apocryphal authorities is, however, not to be dissembled.... references to the sources whence the painters at the revival of Art derived their subjects. Some acquaintance with the legends and superstitions of the middle ages is as necessary to the intelligence of many Italian and German works of Art.."






a manual for manufacturers, art dealers, artists and collectors

By Maximilian Toch 1911

"Cobalt green is made in various ways. Some manufacturers mix a pale shade of ultramarine blue which is known commercially as artificial ultramarine green with a mixture of oxide of zinc. Sometimes it is made by grinding oxide of zinc and zaffer which is a native oxide of cobalt. In any case the cobalt green which has been examined is apparently very permanent, but lacks very much in opacity, which, however, is no detriment, because the color is principally used as a glazing color. It appears to be a very expensive color when made from the salt of genuine cobalt, and as such is permanent under any and all conditions. It may also be a composition of genuine cobalt blue mixed with chromate of zinc or zinc yellow, in which case it would also be permanent, but if it is a mixture of ultramarine blue and chromate of zinc, it is not permanent, and has sometimes been known to decompose in the tube."


(21.5 MB)








from earliest times to the end of the XVIIth century, with some account of their preparation and use,

by A. P. Laurie, 1910


"In the introductory chapter I explained how pigments were probably suggested by the art of dyeing, such pigments, made by staining and fixing with a mordant on a white base a vegetal or animal dye, being known to artists as lakes. The lakes to which artists of today are accustomed, such as madder lake and crimson lake, are usually made by fixing the dye on a translucent or almost transparent base such as alumina; but the lakes of Egypt and Rome were usually fixed on chalk or gypsum, and formed there fore opaque pigments. It will readily be understood that it is not enough to mix the dye with the chalk or gypsum, the staining color readily washing out. The dye must be fixed on the gypsum just as it must be fixed on the cloth, by means of a fixing agent or mordant. Such a yellow vegetal lake is described by the chemist John as having been found on an Egyptian fragment. "


(8.3 MB)








by Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, Lady Eastlake, Franz Kugler  © 1960


Available in a protected DAISY file only. It can only be opened with a key issued by the Library of Congress:.


Zip file






by C. J. Holmes, 1920


"THERE is a common foundation from which all the arts rise, and that is the need of self-expression on the part of the artist..."

"Though the beauty of an unsullied wash of water color upon certain kinds of paper is great, that beauty is not always at the artist's command, if only for the reason that a perfect paper of the kind required is rarely to be found, nor does the beauty obtained in this way fit every subject or every kind of decorative need. "


(31.8 MB)








The handling of pigments in oil, tempera, water-colour & in mural painting, the preparation of grounds & canvas, & the prevention of discoloration, together with the theories of light & colour applied to the making of pictures

by A. P. Laurie, 1926


(13.4 MB)







containing definitions of all important words in the art of plain and artistic painting,

By Franklin B. Gardner, Published by M.T. Richardson, 1887


"This is one of the yellowish browns verging on to olive, and the shade may be varied by a change in the proportion of ingredients. Japan brown is a beautiful color when properly mixed, and is made by adding a very little Indian red to black japan. This method of forming a brown is an excellent one where old work is to be re-colored, the japan laying over an old varnish surface without the danger of cracking so often experienced. A color known as 'Bismarck brown' may be made as follows: First make a ground of two parts burnt umber to one of white lead; put over this two coats of burnt sienna, and glaze with a mixture of one ounce carmine, one-half ounce of English crimson lake, and one ounce of best gold bronze. When a light color is required use a ground of English vermilion 'and glaze as above.

Brown Pink.—A vegetable lake, made from French berries and dye woods. It is a fine, rich, transparent color, but inclines more toward a citrine, or an orange color, than to a brown. It is a very fugitive color.

Brunswick Green.—A pigment obtained by exposing metallic copper to the action of muriate of ammonia. It is a chloride and oxide of copper. It is also generated by the action of seawater upon copper, and it may be said to be, virtually, verdigris."





Painting a Portrait


by de László , ©1934

Get the large PDF (200 MB) with updated pictures and commentary on

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Containing rules and regulations in everything relating to the arts of painting, gilding, varnishing, glass-staining. Graining, marbling. Sign-writing, gilding on glass, and coach painting and varnishing; Tests for the detection of adulteration in oils, colors, etc. And a Statement of the diseases to which painters are particularly liable, with the simplest and best remedies. by Michel Eugène Chevreul, 1886


"All the primary colors gain in purity and brilliancy by the proximity of gray; but the effects are far from being similar, or even analogous to those which result from the proximity of the same colors with white. White allows each color to preserve its integrity, and even heightens them by contrast, and can never be taken for a color itself. But Gray can; for with the darkest colors, as Blue and Violet, and with the deep tones in general, it produces associations which enter into analogous harmonies, while with the brilliant colors..."


(9.9 MB)








by Henry Rankin Poore, 1903


"THIS volume is addressed to three classes of readers ; to the layman, to the amateur photographer, and to the professional artist..."


(43.1 MB)









by Albert Abendschein, 1909


"I had begun to form a determination to discover the technical principles, methods, and material that enabled the Old Masters to produce their art work..."

"Of all the Masters, this first veil is most obvious in Rubens, and was said to have been, in some few cases, made up of a very small quantity of color in powder, mixed with a glue size when used on an absorbent glue made ground, or composed of quick-drying varnish when used on an oil ground. One eminent Italian restorer, who studied for years the secrets of the Old Masters in their paintings, claims to have found the same kind of glue size stain in Titian's work. For obvious reasons this veil must dry quickly and thoroughly, sufficiently at any rate so it shall lie undisturbed as it is worked upon by the artist in his first painting...."


(5.7 MB)









by Bonnie E Snow, Hugo B. Froehlich, 1920


"the study of Color has been approached from three different angles: the angle of the physicist, the angle of the chemist and the angle of the painter or artist. The physicist has demonstrated that the sun is the source of all Color, and has unlocked for us the secrets of the Solar Spectrum. The chemist has found in certain clays, in plant and animal life and in by-products of coal, various symbols and substitutes for Color which he calls pigment, and which he combines in wonderful ways to make our dyes, paints and inks. The artist-painter has made use of the chemist's formulae in the instrument which he uses to portray his interpretation of nature, his marvelous flights of imagination and the depth of his insight into the human heart. But all three of these workers, indispensable as each one is to the growth and development of the world, have ignored the individual man and his needs."


(6.5 MB)








; or, Elements of the fine arts, containing the principles of drawing, painting in general, crayon painting, oil painting, portrait painting, miniature painting, designing, coloring, engraving and Portrait Painting,

by William Enfield, 5th Ed. with engravings 1822



Implements and Materials used in Drawing;
Drawing the Figure;
Drawing of Drapery ;
Drawing of Landscapes;
Copying drawings, &c;.
To transfer any Impression with Vermilion;
The Camera Obscura;
School of Florence;
Roman School;
Venetian School;
Lombard School;
French School;
The German School;
The Flemish School;
The Dutch School;
The English School;
Of Invention;
Of Composition;
Of Design;
Expression of the Passion;
Of Clair obscure, or Chiaroscuro;
Of Coloring;
The method of preparing the various kinds used in Painting;
Of Red colors;
Of Blue colors;
Of Yellow colors;
Of Green colors;
Of Purple colors;
Of Brown colors;
Of White colors;
Of Black colors;
Of painting Flesh; Principal colors from which all the tints of the Flesh are made, and their qualities in painting;
Principal tints composed from the foregoing principal colors, and necessary for painting flesh..."

(23.5 MB)






Graphic Arts


A treatise on the varieties of drawing, painting, and engraving in comparison with each other and with nature.

By Philip Gilbert Hamerton ©1895


"The idea of so ordering things that their mutual relations may be pleasing to the aesthetic sense is the foundation of culture in the fine arts. Truth, in these arts, is altogether subordinate. They do, no doubt, include and even require most extensive and subtle knowledge of natural truth, but it is only to avail themselves of it when it happens to be agreeable. A highly cultivated artist knows twenty times as much about nature as the most accurate, matter-of-fact draughtsman, and yet the artist constantly sacrifices truth to composition. He sacrifices it, also, to the idealization of natural forms, to emphasis in lines, and to the concentration of natural light and shade and color. All these are necessary to the artist, because without them he cannot give that aesthetic pleasure..."







By John Collier, 1882


"This little work is addressed to all those who are endeavouring to learn the Arts of Design,in the hope that it may remove some practical difficulties from their path...
...Art is a word of very wide significance, and extremely difficult of definition; speaking broadly, art is a creative operation of the intelligence, it is the making of something either with a view to utility or pleasure—so that it falls naturally into two great divisions, each of which corresponds with one of these different ends, namely, the Useful Arts and the Fine Arts... "





Handbook of painting


the German, Flemish and Dutch Schools : based on the handbook of Kuglee. In two parts, —part 1.

By Franz Kugler, Gustay Friedrich Waagen, Joseph Archer Crowe, 1860


The Netherlandish school, which, in the previous periods, had greatly distinguished itself in the art of painting,...This element manifested itself in the endeavour to express that spiritual meaning which these artists so strongly felt, through the medium of the forms of real life; rendering these forms with the utmost distinctness and truth of drawing, coloring, perspective, and light and shadow, and filling up the space with scenes from nature, or objects created by the hand of man, in which the smallest detail was carefully given. The great importance of such a development of the realistic feeling in painting, which had never been sufficiently acknowledged..."




handbook of painting


The German, Flemish, and Dutch schools. Based on the Handbook of Kuglee. Enlarged and for the Most Part Re-written by D. Waagen, Director of the Royal Gallery of Pictures, Berlin. with Illustrations.Into Parts.—part 2.

By Franz Kugler, Gustav Friedrich Waagen, Joseph Archer Crowe, 1860


"...In every respect is this the finest equestrian portrait painted by Van Dyck, and indeed I may almost designate it as the finest existing. A smaller series of portraits, of the same time, show the mighty influence of Rubens even after Van Dyck's return from Italy. But the then more mature painter knew how to combine the luminous coloring of his great master with a more truthful and refined observation of forms..."





artist's way


in the various handicrafts and arts of design, Vol 1

By Russell Sturgis, ©1905, Published 1910


"In all such work as we have been considering, the preparation of the color is the simple grinding of it into fine powder, and the mixing of it in a pot or upon a slab with such a vehicle as may be chosen. Throughout the later Middle Ages a sticky and glutinous material was used, as in distemper, which we sometimes call tempera.

Distemper: painting with a sticky medium, or vehicle, as white of egg or the juice of fruits, but always something soluble in water, or capable of being thinned out with water."





in the Various Handicrafts and Arts of Design, Vol 2

By Russell Sturgis, ©1905, Published 1910


"Dedicated with admiration and undying gratitude to the many artists and skilled artisans to the sculptors and carvers, painters and draughtsmen, silversmiths and blacksmiths, potters and glass makers, masons and joiners, printers and engravers, architects and decorative designers, who during forty years have been my teachers in fine art... "





color text book


or Modern chromatics, with Applications to Art and Industry.

By Ogden Nicholas Rood, 1881


"In Fig. 67 these complementary colours are arranged in a circle. They are of course only a few of the pairs that can be noticed. The tints situated between red and orange will have complements lying between greenish-blue and cyan-blue; those between orange and yellow, again, will find complements between cyan-blue and ultramarine-blue, etc. As before remarked, it is a good plan to copy the results with water-colors; this fixes the facts in the memory far better than mere momentary inspection."






Painting Materials


(Text files only)

By Rutherford J. Gettens and George L. Stout, ©1942 by D. Van Nostrand Co.

This book is still in copyright and provided by for reading only


This great book is also still being published, and the updated printed paperback book or the kindle version can be purchased at amazon:

By Rutherford J. Gettens and George L. Stout ©1966 by Dover publications, Inc


"Museum curators, conservators, painters, teachers, and students will find this volume an outstanding reference. An encyclopedic collection of specialized data rather than just a handbook of art instruction"

"Table of contents:

Preface Medium,...
Adhesives, and Film Substances...
Pigments and Inert Materials... Solvents, Diluents, and Detergents...
Tools and Equipment...
Download DjVu here:
provided by for reading only

provided by for reading only





Including Fresco, Tempera, Encaustic, Miniature, Oil, Mosaic, Watercolor, Missal, Painting on Pottery, Porcelain, Enamel, Glass, etc.

By Thomas John Gullick, John Timbs


"...although painting has not the power of giving actual relief like sculpture, it yet can, by means of imitating the effects of form, light, and shadow on the eye, sufficiently secure the impression of relief, so that no want is suggested; and, in the addition of colour, it has the means of imitating a very beautiful class of facts in nature, beyond the scope of sculpture..."




art transportation


By Richard, M., Mecklenburg, Marion F. and Merrill, Ross, Copyright © 1991, 1997 National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC 20565. All rights reserved.

First edition 1991. Second edition 1997

ISBN 0-89468-165-6


(large file)



painting supports


By Jørgen Wadum, ©2009 All rights reserved

It is not permitted to download or to forward/distribute the text or part of it without the consent of the author(s) and/or copyright holder(s), other than for strictly personal, individual use"

Archived publication in the University Van Amsterdam Digital Academic Repository


"Dou doesn't paint, oh no, he juggles with his brush"


(large file)



color of art


By Wilhelm von Bezold, ©1876


"...On the palette we do not mix colors at all, but only pigments; to mix colors we must employ means of a very different nature. Before, however, describing these methods, it may be well to call to mind a few instances in ordinary life, in which we have to deal, not with the mixture of pigments, but with that of colors..."





figure painting


By Frank Fowler, ©1894


"THE fact that the representation of the human figure is generally regarded as the most advanced step in the painter's art seems to invest it with unusual fascination for the beginner. Certainly the number of persons who deliberately choose a course of training that prepares them for painting from life is constantly increasing..."





Handbook of Art


Richard St. John Tyrwhitt, 1875


"Though Venice contains the greatest examples of Colour in the world, Florence is the great school of Drawing. Solid study of accurate form must come first, because it can be taught to any person : and when that is learnt may come the delight and excitement of colour ; power in which is incommunicable, and which, taken by itself, would be mere intoxication..."


(34.5 MB)




Art of Painting


by Charles A. Du Fresnoy, 1695, 1716


"Grecians are wanting to us; nothing of their Painting and Coloring now remains to assist our modern Artists, either in the Invention, or the manner of those Ancients. Neither is there any Man who is able to restore the Chromatic part, or Coloring, or to Painting, renew it to that point of Excellency to which it had been carried by Zeuxis:...which is so charming, so magical, and which so admirably deceives the Sight, made himself equal to the great Apelles, that Prince' of Painters;... And as this part, which we may call the utmost Perfection of Painting, is a deceiving Beauty,.....therefore it will be profitable to us, to have a more clear Understanding of what we call Coloring."


(29.5 MB)







The theory and practice of color


By Bonnie E. Snow, Hugo B. Froehlich, ©1920


"UP to the present time, the study of Color has been approached from three different angles:the angle of the physicist,the angle of the chemist and the angle of the painter or artist. The physicist has demonstrated that the sun is the source of all Color, and has unlocked for us the secrets of the Solar Spectrum. The chemist has found in certain clays, in plant and animal life and in by-products of coal,various symbols and substitutes for Color which he calls pigment, and which he combines in wonderful ways to make our dyes, paints and inks. The artist-painter has made use of the chemist's formulae in the instrument which he uses to portray his interpretation of nature, his marvelous flights of imagination and the depth of his insight into the human heart..."





art of painting


in all its branches; accompanied by seventy engraved plates, and exemplified by remarks on the paintings of the best masters,

by Gérard de Lairesse, 1817


"...The figures being brought thus far, retouch or finish them in this manner ; brush thinly over your figure some varnish mixed with a little light oker; then put on your main lights, scrumbling them softly and gently into this wet ground, as far as is necessary. For a child mix, under the varnish, a little vermillion ; some light oker for a man ; and somewhat less light oker for a woman...."


(25.7 MB)




art of painting


in all its branches; accompanied by seventy engraved plates, and exemplified by remarks on the paintings of the best masters,

by Gérard de Lairesse, 1817


"...We see that many, without difference, be the figure in full proportion, or in little, give the touches under the nose so black and dark, that it seems as if a black beetle were proceeding thence; whereas it is certain, and nature teaches it, that when the light falls strong on the nose, the nostrils and their ground-shades can never appear so black..."


(20.0 MB)




How to paint permanent pictures


By Maximilian Toch,


"I have investigated the methods, analyzed the material and demonstrated the folly of most of the procedures in common use today, and feel that there is a demand for a little book of this kind, which painters can use, and from which art students can acquire a sane method of producing permanent results. If the painter once knows, either mechanically or unconsciously, the pigments that are absolutely permanent, and the principle involved in producing paintings which will not crack, fade, darken, peel, blister or decompose, his or her mind can be taken up completely with the artistic effect to be produced..."




The Artist's repository; or, Encyclopedia of fine arts v1


History of the Arts;
Principles of Proportion;
The Human Figure

Published 1808 by C. Taylor in London


"THE intention of this work is to cultivate as much as possible, our national taste for the Arts; it is therefore calculated for two purposes, one to initiate and instruct young persons,whose genius prompts them to these studies; the other to gratify the taste of the Professor, whose judgment is mature. To accomplish this design, it commences with the principles of Art, and proceeds regularly until it comprehends a, complete system of picturesque knowledge..."


(25.8 MB)




The Artist's repository; or, Encyclopedia of fine arts v3


A Compendium of Colors, Etc.

Published 1808 by C. Taylor in London


"Red lake may be prepared from cochineal, by gently boiling two ounces of cochineal in a quart of water ; filter the solution, add two ounces of pearl-ashes dissolved in half a pint of warm water, and filtered. Dissolve cuttlefish bone as in the former process : and, to a pint of it add two ounces of alum dissolved in half a pint of water. Put this mixture gradually to that of the cochineal and pearl-ashes..."

(27.2 MB)



Note: The cover pages and files of Vol.2 & 3 seem to have been reversed.



A Compendium of Colors



Published 1808 by C. Taylor in London


"I have now the honor to open a second series of Discourses on the Principles of the Arts of Design: In this Lecture I propose more immediately to elucidate the nature, and the general properties, of Perspective..."


(20.7 MB)



Note: The cover pages and files of Vol.2 & 3 seem to have been reversed.



The Artist's repository; or, Encyclopedia of fine arts v4


Dictionary & history of art

Published 1808 by C. Taylor in London


"BEAUTIFUL, in the arts, signifies whatever in nature is most perfect and complete; especially, in those objects which our train of thinking leads us to suppose are more eminently beautiful. Nothing is more vague than the ideas of most persons on what is beautiful; nor is it easy to propose regulations which shall produce beauty, though it is common for many persons to unite in opinion of what is not beautiful..."


(33.2 MB)




The handmaid to the arts


By Robert Dossie, 1758


"COLORS maybe either PIGMENTS or fluids. By pigments, it is meant all such solid bodies as require to be mixed with some fluid, as a vehicle, before they be used as paints, (except in the case of crayons, where they are used dry.) These make the far greatest part of the whole, the fluid colors being only a small number employed along with water colors and asphaltum, which is sometimes employed in oil painting.

Colors are distinguished into several kinds, according to the vehicles in which they are worked, as oil colours, water colors, enamel colors, etc. As the fame sorts of pigments, however, are, in many instances, employed in more than one kind of painting, as vermilion and lake in several, and ultramarine in all."


(18.2 MB)



Ladies' manual of art: branches of decorative art, embracing every variety of painting and drawing on china, glass, velvet, canvas, paper and wood


or, Profit and pastime: a self teacher in all branches of decorative art, embracing every variety of painting and drawing on china, glass, velvet, canvas, paper and wood

by Donohue, Henneberry & Co., 1890


"Learning the art of drawing or writing, like all other Arts and Sciences, there are certain first and fixed principles to be observed as a foundation upon which the whole is built. A right understanding of these is absolutely necessary that we may become masters of that art which we undertake to learn. A neglect of these first principles is the reason why so many who have spent time sufficient to become accomplished artists, are, after all their pains and loss of time, incapable of producing even fair artwork..."



A treatise of painting


by Leonardo da Vinci,

(Translated from The Original Italian) 1721

And adorned with a great Number of Cuts.

(includes index)


"Painting consists of two principal Parts, the Division of one is the Design, that is, the Figure, or Contour, bounding Bodies, and their Parts: The other is the Coloring, comprehending the Colors included within the Contour."


(15.3 M)




Cover of: The Art of Color by Itten, Johannes


The Subjective Experience and Objective Rationale of Color.

Published January 31, 1974 by John Wiley & Sons Inc. Written in English


Available in a protected DAISY file only. It can only be opened with a key issued by the Library of Congress:.



guide to painters


or, A Treatise Both In Theory and Practice on The Art of Making and Applying Varnishes; on The Different Kinds of Paintings; and on The Method of Preparing Colors, Both Simple and Compound: With New Observations And Experiments On Copal; on The Nature of The Substances Employed in the Composition of Varnishes and of Colors; ; and on Various Processes Used in The Art.

" The masterpieces of Apelles, and those of the painters who preceded him, disappeared with the generations who saw them produced. Gum water and white of egg, which are still employed for certain pieces of painting, were not perhaps neglected. Being ill calculated, however, by their nature to resist the impression of moisture, and the washing rendered necessary in consequence of their being dirtied by insects, they could not be any security to artists that their works would be handed down unimpaired to posterity. The mixture of oils and resins, and that of resins with alcohol (spirit of wine), which form real varnishes, are alone endowed with the valuable property of checking the ravages of time."



An Introduction to Perspective: Practical Geometry, Drawing and Painting


a New and Perfect Explanation of The Mixture of Colours;
with Practical Directions for
Miniature, Crayon, and Oil Painting

by Charles Hayter, ©1845


"Now, on viewing the diagram, you may imagine a level surface extending from the base line to the utmost visible distance: suppose it a smooth sea, if you please. The line which appears to meet the sky is called the Horizontal Line, and must be as high up in the picture as the spectator's eye; for the one always determines the other. In drawing landscapes from nature, the height of this line is determined by the horizon itself; because, had you the transparent plane really set up to sketch on..."




Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters


by Sir Charles Lock Eastlake,
This new Dover edition, first published in 1960, is an unabridged and unaltered republication of the first edition of the work originally published by Brown, Green, and Longmans in 1847 under the title Materials for a History of Oil Painting.


"The following work was undertaken with a view to promote the objects of the Commissioners on the Fine Arts. It professes to trace the recorded practice of oil painting from its invention; and, by a comparison of authentic traditions with existing works, to point out some of the causes of that durability for which the earlier examples of the art are remarkable. It was considered that such an inquiry, if desirable on general grounds, must be especially so at a time when the best efforts of our artists are required for the permanent decoration.."



Methods and Materials of Painting v.2


by Sir Charles Lock Eastlake,
This new Dover edition, first published in 1960, is
an unabridged and unaltered republication of the first
edition of the work originally published by Longmans,
Green, and Company in 1869 under the title Materials
for a History of Oil Painting


"The records of the Hospital of S. Maria
Nuova, it is true, show that linseed oil was abundantly furnished to Domenico Veneziano during the period of his labours; but this proves nothing more than a use of that vehicle which Sir Charles Eastlake, in his first volume—chapters iii. and iv. especially—has shown to have been, long before the invention of oil painting, common in processes of wall-painting.."




Paint and Color Mixing


for painters, decorators, artists and all who have to mix colors, containing 287 samples of actual oil and water paints and water-colors of various colors, including the principal graining grounds, and upwards of 600 different colour mixtures, with instructions on colour and paint mixing generally, testing colours, etc., etc. with thirteen colored plates

by Arthur Seymour Jennings,1904, 1921


"The variation in the names of colors above referred to has proved so inconvenient alike to manufacturers and decorators and other color users, that an effort was made during 1906 by one leading firm of paint manufacturers to remove the difficulty by standardizing sixty of those colors which are most used. With this object, the firm in question offered prizes' aggregating ; £100, and took a vote of several thousand competitors which included many eminent decorators and colorists, besides architects, technical teachers and others."


2nd Ed., 1904
(14.3 MB)


6th Ed., 1921 updated:




Color: a Handbook of the Theory of Color


by George Henry Hurst, 1st Ed. 1900,
2nd Edition, Revised By H. B. Stocks, 1916

"The subject of color is one of considerable interest, more especially to artists, painters, dyers, calico printers, and others who use color or colors in their everyday work. Such persons have considerable practical experience in the mixing and application of colours for various purposes — painting, dyeing and printing of textile fabrics, etc. — but they will no doubt have met with, from time to time, curious effects of mixing the various colors together. To such persons a knowledge of the theory of color
its cause and production, and a succinct account of the phenomena which occur on mixing colors together in various ways, will be of interest."

(8.1 MB)






by Gay Bumgardner, ©1967 all rights reserved, Illinois Wesleyan University


"Japanese Painting is three quarters inspiration and only one quarter sight. Anyone can paint what he sees - but only a true master can paint that scene in with emotive feeling. The artists paint what they feel, rather than what they see, but first they must see very distinctly."



Cyclopedia of painting


containing useful and valuable information on the following subjects : adulteration of paint, blistering of paint, brushes, calcimining, carriage painting, china painting, colors, color harmony, color mixing,color testing, exterior painting, gilding, graining, house painting, marbling, mildew, oils and driers, oil painting on glass, painting a bath tub, painting in distemper, paperhanger's tools, paperhanging, pigments, plain oil painting, primary colors, priming, scenic painting, sign painting, stains, staining, stencilling, turpentine, varnishes, varnishing, water color painting, when not to paint, practical points on painting, useful information

by George D. Armstrong, Published 1908


"Cleaning Paint Brushes. All brushes, after being used, should be carefully cleaned. This is best effected by immersing the hair of the brushes in a little raw linseed oil, the oil should afterwards be washed out with soap and warm water, till the froth which is made by rubbing the brushes on the palm of the hand is perfectly colorless. The brushes should next be rinsed in clean water, and the water pressed out by a clean towel. The hair should then be laid straight and smooth, and each brush restored to its proper shape, by passing it between the finger and thumb, before it is left to dry. "







by Marie Elisabeth Cavé ; approved by E. Delacroix, for teaching painting in oils and water-colors; translated from the 3d French ed. [by J.M. Hart] Published 1869


"In common parlance the name of colorist is reserved for the painter who possesses the science of the harmony of colors. He who does not have this science, but places colors one along-side of the other, commits an absurdity.... A picture by such a painter is no painting, it is an indescribable something, false and discordant, created for the torture of the eye. How many of this sort have I seen at the famous exhibition of 1848!...We must confine ourselves to making color without colors, when we have no instinct for tones, and no talent for harmonizing them. This is another way of being a colorist, which is not so well known to the vulgar, and to which I shall consecrate, this letter..."



Old Masters, Artists & Art History - Free eBooks | 




Volume 1of 3;

edited by John Denison Champlin, Charles Callahan Perkins, ©1913


"The important paintings of all periods are treated under their own names, in separate articles, in which are given an accurate description of each work, its date, its place of preservation, its history from the time of leaving the painter's easel, notices of its replicas and copies, the names of its engravers, and such other facts as make the account as nearly as possible exhaustive."





Drawings of Da Vinci


by ;


"Unlike Velasquez, whose authentic drawings are almost negligible, pen, pencil, silver-point, or chalk were rarely absent from Leonardo's hand, and although, in face of the Mona Lisa and The Virgin of the Rocks and the St. Anne, it is an exaggeration to say that he would have been quite as highly esteemed had none of his work except the drawings been preserved...."







by Charles Merrill Mount, ©1955, Copyright holder W.W.Norton & Co.


Available in a protected DAISY file only. It can only be opened with a key issued by the Library of Congress:.



(intended for the print disabled)





by Kenneth Clark,


Available in a protected DAISY file only. It can only be opened with a key issued by the Library of Congress:.


(intended for the print disabled)





by Erwin Panofsky,


Available in a protected DAISY file only. It can only be opened with a key issued by the Library of Congress:.



(intended for the print disabled)



sketches of the great painters


By Edwin Watts Chubb,
© 1915


"In the Rijksmuseum of Amsterdam hangs a painting that is now generally considered one of the great pictures of the world; its completion in 1632 marked the turning point in the career of the artist who painted it. It is the "March out of the Civic Guard," or, as it is commonly called, "The Night Watch," by Rembrandt."





da vinci notebooks


By Leonardo Da Vinci


"It is indispensable to a Painter who would be thoroughly familiar with the limbs in all the positions and actions of which they are capable, in the nude, to know the anatomy of the sinews, bones, muscles and tendons so that, in their various movements and exertions, he may know which nerve or muscle is the cause of each movement and show those only as prominent and thickened, and not the others all over [the limb], as many do who, to seem great draughtsmen, draw their nude figures looking like wood, devoid of grace; so that you would think you were looking at a sack of walnuts rather than the human form, or a bundle of radishes rather than the muscles of figures. "


Available in and only




By Malcolm Bell, © 1901


"in order to reduce the volume on Renbrandt, published in 1899, to the smaller dimensions demanded by the 'Great Masters' series, it became necessary to dispense with some of the material in it. This, is is hoped, has been done without seriously affecting the usefulness of the book.
The story of the painters' life and work has been somewhat compressed..."


Available in (10.5 M)

and only





By John William Mollett, Carel Vosmaer


" not only an exhaustive recapitulation of all that deserves notice in the writings of previous biographers and critics of Rembrandt, it is a perfect systematic exposition of a theory that the biographer has worked out, of the cardinal importance of his subject..."








Raphael, Rubens, Murillo, and Durer

by Jennie Ellis Keysor



"To Raphael, with his love of the beautiful, with his zeal to learn, Florence was the city of all others that he longed to see. At last his dream was to be realized. A noble woman of Urbino gave him a letter to the Governor of Florence, expressing the wish that the young artist might be allowed to see all the art treasures of the city."






text book of art history


by John Charles Van Dyke, ©1894, published 1909


"The origin of painting is unknown. The first important records of this art are met with in Egypt; but before the Egyptian civilization the men of the early ages probably used color in ornamentation and decoration, and they certainly scratched the outlines of men and animals upon bone and slate.."






Masters in art


Various authors, January 1901


"THE place which Leonardo da Vinci holds in the history of art must always be unique. He stands alone among the painters of the Renaissance, by reason not only of the rare perfection of the high intellectual qualities of his art, but of the extraordinary influence which he exerted upon his contemporaries..."


(2.3 MB)




Art of Velasquez


by R.A.M. Stevenson, ©1895


"WHEN one speaks of Velasquez, it must be remembered that his influence upon art is still young. His genius slumbered for two hundred years, till the sympathy of one or two great artists broke the spell and showed us the true enchanter of realism,,,"





Raphael Art


by Mary I. Lovejoy, ©1902


"THE function of Art is to embody the universal. "Whether Art is the product of the poet's pen, the artist's brush, the sculptor's chisel, or the musician's harmonious tones..."





Grotesque Art


by Thomas Tindall Wildridge, © 1899


"...THE term 'Grotesque,' which conveys to us an idea of humourous distortion or exaggeration, is simply grotto-esque, being literally the style of art found in the grottos or baths of the ancients. The term rose towards the end of the fifteenth century, when exhumation brought to light the fantastic decorations of the more private apartments of the licentious Romans..."





A Handbook of Legendary and Mythological Art


by Clara Erskine Clement, ©1890


"...But later in its history, this art has been influenced by legends and doctrines in the choice of subjects, and these have been variously rendered, in accordance with the character, the aesthetic cultivation, and the refinement of the artist..."





Leonardo da Vinci's note-books


by Arranged and rendered into English with Introductions BY EDWARD MacCURDY, M.A.
First published by Reynal & Hitchcock, ©1939, ©1955


This should be required reading in all schools.
Read below, or the whole book, and be humbled by this man's brilliance!....


"As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life, well used, brings a happy death."


"Every obstacle yields to effort."


"He who fixes his course by a star changes his course not."


"Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind."


"O misery of man! To how many things do you make yourself a slave for money?"


"Knowing therefore that you cannot be a good master unless you have a universal power of representing by your art in all the varieties of the forms which nature produces, — which indeed you will not know how to do unless you see them and retain them in your mind."


(9.0 M)





Drawing & Illustration - Free Art e-Books | 


Drawing Book


(a manual for the amateur, and basis of study for the professional artist: especially adapted to the use of public and private schools, as well as home instruction)

by J.G. Chapman, ©1847










art and craft


by Vernon Blake, ©1927

Available in a protected DAISY file only. It can only be opened on with a key issued by the Library of Congress:..



Elements of Drawing


by John Ruskin, ©1920


"it may perhaps be thought, that in prefacing a Manual of Drawing, I ought to expatiate on the reasons why drawing should be learned; but those reasons appear to me so many and so weighty, that I cannot quickly state or enforce them..."







line and form drawing


by Walter Crane, © 1914


"...OUTLINE, one might say, is the Alpha and Omega of Art. It is the earliest mode of expression among primitive peoples, as it is with the individual child, and it has been cultivated for its power of characterization and expression, and as an ultimate test of draughtsmanship, by the most accomplished artists of all time..."


(41.9 M)





Pen drawing


by Charles Maginnis
Seventh Edition


"Of the kindred arts which group themselves under the head of Painting, none is based on such broad conventions as that with which we are immediately concerned—the art of Pen Drawing. In this medium, Nature's variety of color, when not positively ignored, is suggested by means of sharp black lines, of varying thickness, placed more or less closely together upon white paper; while natural form depends primarily for its representation upon arbitrary boundary lines..."







scketching in pencil


by Arthur Leighton Guptill, © 1922


"AN ARTISTIC conception is susceptible of translation into graphic expression through a variety of media, but by a certain universality of custom, or perhaps more accurately of convenience, the familiar lead pencil has achieved a significance derived from its immediate association with all forms of pictorial delineation..."


(29.2 MB)







By Grant Wright, ©1904


"NOTHING distinguishes civilized from uncivilized man with as much emphasis as humor, and the various stages of civilization are marked by the character and amount of humor of each epoch..."





drawing book 1


by De Resco Leo Augsburg, ©1901


"book I. A text book designed to teach drawing and color in the first, second and third grades. -- book II. A text book of drawing designed for use in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades.--book III. A text book designed to teach brush drawing, wash drawing, water colors, pen drawing. The human head and figure, chalk modeling, designing and constructive drawing in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. Also the high schools"




Augsburg's drawing, book 2


by De Resco Leo Augsburg, ©1912, ©1901


(8.0 M)

(7.1 M)


drawing book
The New Augsburg's Drawing,
Book 1

by De Resco Leo Augsburg, ©1910





comic art


By James Parton, ©1877


"There must be something precious in caricature, else the enemies of truth and freedom would not hate it as they do. Some of the worst excesses and perversions of satiric art..."





freehand drawing


Light and Shade and Free-hand Perspective for the Use of Art Students and Teachers.

By Anson Kent Cross, ©1892


"An artistic method is difficult to teach to students who have been taught an inartistic one, and the change will involve a struggle on the part of both pupil and teacher."





drawing handbook


for modern methods of reproduction

By Charles George Harper, ©1894


"Everywhere today is the Illustrator (artist he may not always be), for never was illustration so marketable as now; and the correspondence editors of the Sunday papers have at length found a new outlet for the superfluous energies..."







By Harold B.Speed, ©1920


"No work on Art has been published in recent years which might be more advantageously placed in the hands of a young student, as a statement of the logical elements of drawing and painting. Every page shows robust common sense expressed in a clear style..."


(20.0 M)

(18.6 M)





art of caricacturing


A Series of Lessons Covering All Branches of the Art of Caricaturing

By Mitchell Smith, ©1941


"In the writing and illustrating of this book my aim has been to produce a comprehensive and concise treatise on the art of caricaturing. It has been made as brief as is consistent with clearness and complete' ness... "


(4.1 MB)




art of illustration


By Edmund J. Sullivan, ©1921


Available in the DjVu Format Only




Art of Illustration


by Henry Blackburn, ©1896


"There is almost a revolution in illustration at the present time, and both old and young — teachers and scholars — are in want of a handbook for reference when turning to the new methods. The illustrator of to-day is called upon suddenly to take the place of the wood engraver in interpreting tone into line..."


(9.5 MB)




Perspective drawing for art students


by Richard G. Hatton, ©1910


"He who has mastered these three lines, especially if he can sketch them in by freehand, has practically mastered perspective. Of course the solids do not necessarily occur lying flat on a horizontal surface, such as the ground. He, too, who would master sketching in perspective, must certainly be able to draw from imagination..."


(5.3 MB)




practice Drawing


a book for the student and the general reader

By Edwin George Lutz


",,,But should drawing from the actual objects be so hard? Wouldn't it be just as simple as working from the flat if the student could let himself believe that the visual rays from all the points of the object, or the view, were brought forward to a supposed plane directly in front of him? This plane with the object or view thus ideally outlined he would need merely to consider as a huge flat copy to be faithfully imitated..."





Art of Scketching From Nature


With 27 illustrations designed by Thomas Rowbotham

by Thomas Rowbotham, 48th ed. ©1912


"In the brief course of instruction proposed in the following pages, the object is to lead the student to a successful result by the simplest means. The rules are few; but if carefully studied, they will be found applicable to every object occurring in ordinary experience..."





freehand sketching drawing in oerspective


principles and methods of expression in the pictorial representation of common objects, interiors, buildings, and landscapes

By Dora Miriam Norton, 1908


"FREEHAND Perspective teaches those few principles or truths which govern the appearance of things to the eye, and the application of these principles to the varied conditions encountered in drawing. Strictly speaking, there are but two foundation truths in perspective, namely..."





Line an art study


by Edmund Joseph Sullivan, ©1922


"What, after all, is drawing but this the shortest line between the two points of an infinity withheld from our comprehension? A short cut that the artist takes, while the mathematician goes round? Through and beyond lines, algebraic symbols, signs and formulae, it is the artist's trade..."





The art of drawing in lead pencil


by Jasper Salwey, ©1921


"...Many people now concede the claim that it is actually possible to suggest "a sense of color " in a "black and white" drawing, and it is hoped that the notes in Chapter IX may at least convey to the student those principles upon which the claim is based..."


(7.9 MB)




Drawing for art students and illustrators


by Allen W. Seaby, ©1921


" becomes necessary to insist upon the importance of draughtsmanship in the classical sense, as understood by Holbein, Velasquez, Ingres, Menzel, and Degas. This technical power or faculty, call it what we will, is not a conjuring trick, a mere sleight-of-hand to be learned as a series of "tips," but must be acquired, if at all, by severe training..."


(6.8 MB)




Handbook of Drawing


By William Walker, ©1879


"...As the eye is the most important gateway of knowledge, so far as the physical world is concerned, it ought to receive great culture, even with only a utilitarian motive, for the time is rapidly approaching when drawing will demand its right place..."





drwaing trees


by Edward C Clifford, ©1921


"Here it is purposed to deal with trees only, and it should at once be pointed out that trees have an anatomy, individual and class characteristics, limits to their areas of growth and to their endurance of certain conditions and changes of appearance under the influences of season, situation, and climate. As the figure painter studies the nude that he may be able to paint the costumed figure, as he must know the figure within the clothes, so should the landscape painter study the naked tree in winter, that he may be able to paint it rightly in its summer dress of foliage..."


(7.4 M)




The Sketcher's Manual by Frank Howard 1837


The whole art of picture making reduced to the simplest principles

By Frank Howard, ©1837


"The objects in a drawing may be accurately outlined, and shaded very correctly, very neatly and delicately finished, and yet it shall still be less pleasing than a slight sketch, having no pretension to accuracy of outline or detail, but which possesses the charm of Pictorial Effect."





The Practice and Science of Drawing


by Harold Speed, Fourth Edition, ©1922


"Permit me in the first place to anticipate the disappointment of any student who opens this book with the idea of finding "wrinkles" on how to draw faces, trees, clouds, or what not, short cuts to excellence in drawing, or any of the tricks so popular with the drawing masters of our grandmothers and still dearly loved by a large number of people. No good can come of such methods, for there are no short cuts to excellence."





Theory and practice of perspective


by William Locock, ©1852


"Perspective is the science which teaches the art of representing objects on a plane surface, in such a manner as to present to the eye the same appearance which the objects themselves do, real or imaginary."







By Robert Pratt, ©1901


"Of what consequence, it may be asked, is it to an artist, this geometrical study of the subject, if he copy faithfully what he sees? To this the reply may be given—quoting from Leslie's ' Handbook to Young Painters — 'that it is of the greatest consequence if it enables him to see better what he copies.' "





Essentials of Perspective


by Leslie William Miller, ©1892


"I CALL this little book 'The Essentials of Perspective,' because it seems to me that it contains as much information about the science of which it treats as the artist or the draughtsman ever has occasion to make use of, except under the most unusual conditions. I do not claim to have discovered any new thing, either in the principles or possible applications of perspective science. But it has occurred to me, as I know it has occurred to many others with a similar experience in teaching drawing, that a book on perspective, which should be exhaustive enough to redeem the study from the contempt with which it is too often treated by artists — an estimate which is, to a considerable extent, justified by such presentations of it as are usually found in the "hand-books" and "text-books " in common use—and yet free, as far as possible, from the technical difficulties which the unscientific mind is pretty sure to encounter in the profounder treatises, might be of use."





Free-hand Perspective


by Victor Tyson Wilson, first edition ©1908


"In presenting a new treatise on an old theme, it seems necessary at the outset to give a brief history of its development, so that the reader may see more clearly its purpose. When the author began to teach the elements of freehand drawing to technical students, and found it necessary to deal with the art of drawing associated with the principles of linear perspective, he was impressed with the fact that there was an unnecessary and undesirable antagonism between the two, which, when speaking of the one, required the other to be ignored, at the same time both had to be carried along side by side; the time seemed very long before the student might be permitted to view the mystery of why the one was dependent upon the other..."




Pen and Ink


rendering with pen and brush, elements of water-color rendering, rendering in water color, drawing from nature, the American Vignola

by unknown author, Copyright, 1903 by International Text-book Company, Published 1921


"It is necessary to understand and keep before the mind the fundamental principles of composition; i.e., to notice and remember what arrangements are the most agreeable. These principles apply not only to pictorial representation, but to every kind of design. In general, composition involves three separate considerations – balance, rhythm, and harmony; and if work be executed in accordance with these principles it will result in a unity of effect that is satisfactory and restful, because all parts of the picture are consistently related to one another. "




Outdoor Sketching


Four Talks Given Before
The Art Institute of Chicago
With Illustrations by
the Author

by Francis Hopkinson Smith, 1914


"After the salient features of a landscape have been analyzed and recorded in color, the more subtle qualities are to be detected and expressed. The most important of these is the time of day. To an outdoor painter—an expert examining the work of another expert—the hour-hand is written over every square inch of the canvas. He knows from the angle of the shadows just how high the sun was in the heavens, and he knows, too, from the local color of the shadows whether it is a silvery light of the morning, the glare of noontime, or the deepening golden glow of the afternoon."




Artist Technical Reference and Anatomy - Free Art eBooks | 




Being a guide to the knowledge of the human body by dissection



"When the ear has been drawn down by hooks, the position of the upper muscle will be indicated by a slight prominence between it and the head; and the muscular fibres may be laid bare by means of the two following incisions, made no deeper than the skin: One is to be carried upwards on the side of the head."







By Henry Gray, ©1918


"Illustrations have been added wherever important points could be made more clear, and throughout the work colored pictures have been even more extensively used than heretofore."





fine arts


as connected with the fine arts

By Sir Charles Bell, Alexander Shaw, ©1865


"The painter must not be satisfied to copy and represent what he sees; he must cultivate this talent of imitation merely as bestowing those facilities which are to give scope to the exertions of his genius; as the instruments and means only which he is to employ for communicating his thoughts, and presenting to others the creations of his fancy; it is by his creative powers alone that he can become truly a painter; and for these he is to trust to original genius, cultivated and enriched by a constant observation of nature."





handbook for art students


By Arthur Thomson, ©1896


"Reference has been already made to the association of facial expression with gesture and pose of the body. As Professor Cleland has pointed out, gesture largely depends on the association of mental with physical conditions. Moral rectitude, as expressed in indignation, is associated with a straightening of the figure; mental depression is indicated by a lack of energy in the movements of the body."





art anatomy


By Sir Alfred Downing Fripp, Ralph Thompson, Harry Dixon, ©1911


"The object of this book is to give the shortest description of human anatomy compatible with the interests of the artist and essential for his work, and to burden his mind as little as possible with names, with technicalities, and with those details which do not bear directly upon the surface forms.

It is, unfortunately, impossible to save the art student from the difficulties of the nomenclature employed in anatomy. Attempts made from time to time to simplify it have been found to impair the accuracy and clearness of the necessary descriptions..."





art horse


By Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, 3rd Edition, ©1866

"Before proceeding to the Anatomy of the Horse, it may be desirable to glance at some of the varieties of form which have been represented in the works of the earlier (art) masters, either of painting or sculpture..."







Revised with additional Original Illustrations. Edited and Amplified by A. Melville Paterson, M.D., Derby Professor Of Anatomy In The University Of Liverpool

By Mathias Duval, Andrew Melville Paterson, First edition 1884, Revised and enlarged 1905, reprinted 1907


"This summary of anatomy is intended for those artists who, having commenced their special studies, have drawn the human form either from the antique or from the living model—who, in a word, have already what may be termed a general idea of forms, attitudes, and movements."





figure drawing


A Brief Treatise on Drawing the Human Figure For Art Students, Costume Designers, and Teachers With Illustrations of Four-minute Drawings by Students, supplemented by Photographs and Drawings by the Old Masters

By Alon Bement, ©1921



THE average artist will answer this question by saying that it is a "tool of the trade." If he is bound by academic tradition he will admit that it is of first importance in art training. Many art teachers will agree with the academic artist. Others will hold that life drawing has a special, not a general, place in the scheme of art education and is, of course, necessary in certain fields, such as illustration, figure painting, portraiture, and costuming."






figure drawing


containing practical instructions for a course of study in this branch of art.

By Charles Harvey Weigall, ©1852


"There have been many works published on Landscape Painting containing the results of the experience of the best masters in this delightful branch of Art, and many also on Figure Drawing, but the latter for the most part on too extensive a scale, and in too expensive a form, to be generally available. A requirement, which has long been felt, is now being supplied..."







To Teachers and Students of Artistic Anatomy this Series of Diagrams will be invaluable...

By John Marshall, J. S. Cuthbert, 3rd edition, ©1890

Illustrated By Two Hundred Original Drawings
By J. S. Cuthberet
Engraved By J. And G. Nicholls


"In pursuing this line of research, from an artistic point of view, it is impossible that the painter, and especially the sculptor, should long avoid comparing the form of man with that of such animals as approach him more or less closely in organization; and, in such a comparison, they must undoubtedly, from an aesthetic standpoint, at once agree in assigning to man, above all other animate beings, the incontestable palm of beauty."





artist manual


for the use of sculptors, painters, and amateurs

By Robert Knox, ©1852


"The brief Manual, on a matter of national importance, which I now venture to submit to public criticism, is simply the completion of an idea entertained by me for nearly a quarter of a century. From the time, indeed, that I first taught anatomy, or rather I ought to say, studied anatomical shapes, their import or signification, their relations to each other, and their artistic, philosophic, and utilitarian aspects, I felt convinced, instinctively as it were, that the true relation of anatomy to art, meaning Fine Art, had been misrepresented and misunderstood..."






animal anatomy


By Edouard Cuyer, ©1905

Translated and edited By George Haywood


"...we have had the very great honour of supplementing the teaching of our distinguished master, Mathias Duval, after having been prosector for his course of lectures since 1881 — it is our practice to give, as a complement to the study of human anatomy, a certain number of lessons on the anatomy of those animals which artists might be called on to represent."


(17.3 MB)




human machine anatomy drawing



by George B. Bridgman, ©1939


Available only in protected DAISY file. It can only be opened with a key issued by the Library of Congress:.




anatomy drawing



by George B. Bridgman, ©1920


"The drawing's that are presented here show the conceptions that have proved simplest and most effective in constructing the human figure.

The eye in drawing must follow a line or a plane or a mass. In the process of drawing, this may become a moving line, or a moving plane, or a moving mass.



(6.9 MB)






By Deanna Petherbridge, L. J. Jordanova, Hayward Gallery, South Bank Centre, Royal College of Art, ©1997


"The drawings, prints, photographs, and objects in this book span five centuries and mark numerous cultural shifts, yet their imagery is as powerful today as when it was created..."


Only available to



artistic anatomy


By Henry Leidel jr., ©1887


"In presenting this Hand Book, 'Anatomical Auxiliary,' my object has been to meet the constant and growing demand for a practical and thoroughly reliable work on Artistic Anatomy,..."

"Artistic Anatomy being essential to the progress of Art, it is of course obvious that a work on this subject, although both simple and comprehensive, should be of as high a standard as has been attained by science..."

"The value of anatomy on the part of an Artist must not be underrated, for a sound knowledge of the same is a most useful aid..."





The Human Figure


by John Henry Vanderpoel
(Instructor in Drawing and Painting. Lecturer on the Drawing and Construction of the Human Figure, Art Institute of Chicago). ©1907


"The human body, with its varied beauty of construction, character and action, is so complex that it is essential for the student, artist and sculptor not only to have a clear knowledge of its intricate forms, but a comprehensive understanding and a habit of simple treatment in order to apply this knowledge to its artistic end."





A guide to figure drawing


with Illustrations

by George Elgar Hicks, ©1853


"Expression, though inseparably connected with Invention in the composition of a figure, forms a separate study, but is useless unless displayed in conjunction with good drawing; and for this reason the Student was recommended not to attempt it before he is able to draw. At the same time the figure may be well drawn and its proportions may be correct and yet it may be wanting in expression or the animation necessary to convey the language of the mind."




Free Art Magazines, Journals, and Papers - Free Art Books | 


advanced imaging
Advanced Imaging Magazine,

various authors, Copyrighted work © 2001-2014

"Advanced Imaging is dedicated to providing the latest information on imaging hardware, software and peripherals to qualified professionals working with all forms of electronic imaging"





various authors, Copyrighted work © 2008-2014

"is a free web based publication (in PDF format) focused on mail art for trade such as ATCs (Artist Trading Cards), ACEOs, art journals, chunky books, altered art and altered art books."





Art Talk



various authors, Copyrighted work © 1990-2014

"is a monthly six-page fine art supplies newsletter available online"

"Each month you'll find informative articles that deal with a variety of subjects such as artists and art history, current events and art world news, schools, competitions and workshops"







All images and editorial material in Canadian Brushstroke Magazine and are protected by copyright. Reproduction is strictly prohibited by law

Get a free subscription to this great Art tips e-magazine. By the way, It's not just for Canadians.





various authors, Copyrighted work © All rights reserved

"The Decorative Painter was the first and remains the most highly respected decorative painting magazine in the world. In its early years, its content helped define the art form of decorative painting!"



All images and editorial material in are protected by copyright. Reproduction is strictly prohibited by law.


"the online art magazine with practical advice, tips, and tutorials for creating and selling art."




the Aldine


various authors,
Coverage: 1871-1879 (Vols. 4-9), Publication ceased in 1879.


"Through collaboration with the, the, and the, JSTOR has developed a collection of 19th and early 20th century American art journals found in the libraries of these prominent New York City museums. These fragile periodicals are a rich source of images and text, which span the development of American visual culture and the evolving role of the artist and art audience within it. "







various authors, Copyrighted work © All rights reserved

Industry Magazine,
is edited for manufacturers of paint and/or coatings, printing inks and adhesives/sealants. PCI focuses on new technology and the research and development of the coatings industry.;
This is a trade magazine and the publisher might require some information about your "company".








various authors, Copyrighted work © All rights reserved

"Founded in 1991 by Portland artists as a creative resource, today Plazm is an award-winning magazine that publishes challenging and innovative art, design, cultural, and literary works."




screen printing



various authors, Copyrighted work © All rights reserved


"Screen Printing is the leading publication and trusted source of information for commercial and industrial screen printers. Get in-depth coverage of the latest techniques and technologies to "



E-conservation magazine


Rui Bordalo,
Conservator - Restorer
Teodora Poiata,
Conservator - Restorer
Anca Nicolaescu,
Conservator - Restorer

e-conservation magazine is produced by E-conservationline and published under the Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works License. We have chosen especially this license so we can allow authors to keep full copyrights after the publication but at the same time to be able to give access to their work as open as possible


"e-conservation is a free online magazine entirely dedicated to the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage.
It was especially created for the professionals of the Art Conservation field in order to create a more united community which shares information and knowledge.
The content of the magazine is based on the contribution of conservators and other specialists involved in the conservation of Cultural Heritage field. "






various authors, Copyrighted work ©
All images and editorial material in are protected by copyright. Reproduction is strictly prohibited by law.


The Newsletter of the UK based SAA (The Society for All Artists)

"PAINT magazine is an exclusive, bimonthly magazine, delivered FREE to over 46,000 members of the SAA community.

Each issue is packed full of all the latest news, inspirational articles, competitions and step-by-step guides from all your favorite artists, PAINT magazine aims to give you the encouragement you need to try something new and develop your artistic streak."


Free Sample Issues:




Art manager


by Pavlin Petrov & Copyrighted work © All rights reserved


Monthly online magazine for visual arts from Bulgaria







Various authors, Copyrighted work ©1962-2014 All rights reserved

"Offers Art related news, including critiques of exhibitions in the visual arts, critics' picks, and interviews."

by Thierry de Duve
IN THE THIRD in a series of new essays on the avant-garde for Artforum, historian and philosopher Thierry de Duve’s exploration of Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain leads us to an unexpected place: the nineteenth-century French Salon. The reception of Duchamp’s scandalous "readymade" — despite its initial rejection in 1917 — ultimately led to the watershed pronouncement that … "




art wall


Various authors, Copyrighted work © All rights reserved

"Artwall is an international contemporary art magazine. Published monthly, keeping you in touch with the best of the contemporary art world, music, poetry and great analyses from independent critics. If you wish to get closer to the new art produced in the world you need Artwall!"







Editor, Sue Ward,
Various authors, Copyrighted work © All rights reserved

"International online magazine of art and art books."

"Besides our many articles, exhibition reviews and interviews,  Cassone publishes a wide variety of book reviews. No specialist knowledge is necessary to read our book reviews. They are written to inform, interest and entertain all our readers. We divide  the books themselves into three categories, colour coded in each review.


Green: A book for the art lover who wants to know more about an artist, movement or period. 
Orange: A more detailed and scholarly account for undergraduate humanities students or those seeking a deeper level of understanding. 
Red: A very scholarly, more technical book aimed at academics and postgraduate researchers.
See the bars at the top of every book review."







by Ali Saadat
Copyrighted work ©2010-present, All rights reserved

C.O.B.A.C. INTERNATIONAL ART MAGAZINE founded in January 2010. It contains the art history and relatives. now it has been published in the blog and does not have a site. Ali Saadat is the owner and creator of this magazine.




Revolutionart Magazine pin100


"REVOLUTIONART International Magazine is a publication delivered in PDF format as a collective sample of the best of graphic arts, videos, music, modeling, and world trends."

"The objective of REVOLUTIONART is to serve as a inspirational source to artists, models, advertisers, photographers, designers and communicators in general who wish to explore new alternatives of expression through graphical samples of design, photo, illustration, ads, fashion, music, and general visual arts."






pop culture


Magazine by Ilirjana Alushaj, Editor In Chief Ilirjana Alushaj
Art Direction and Design Red de Leon, ©2013 The Pop Manifesto. All rights reserved


The Pop Manifesto is an contemporary online publication with a fresh look, covering the Arts, Design, Music and POP culture.


"London label Swash marries elaborate illustration and fashion design with intricate collections based around its hand-drawn prints. Alongside her partner, Toshio Yamanaka, and their canine muse, Candy, Sarah Swash has been creating their heavily patterned, carefully curated line for nearly a decade.

Creating such visual brand, do you consider yourself an artist or a designer first?
Yes, a designer first, definitely.

And your aesthetic is very graphical; does anything particularly inspire your prints?
Each season, we have numerous influences that go into the prints...."

- from article Swash/I Want Candy, by Tiffany Tso, ©2013 The Pop Manifesto. All rights reserved







The Magazine for Graphic Design

Various Authors, Copyright ©1914, published by Adventures in Publishing Ltd.

Based in the UK

"Grafik is an international bimonthly magazine for and about graphic designers. The magazine champions innovative and inspiring work by designers, illustrators and photographers, from established names to upcoming talent. With connections throughout graphic design communities around the world, Grafik gets to the heart of the ideas, trends and technologies that are informing contemporary design. Grafik also explores the rich visual history of graphic design, looking at the influential movements and iconic practitioners who continue to inspire designers today.
Grafik has been an established part of the design landscape since 2003, and prior to that it was published as Graphics International for over 15 years. It continues to be essential reading for all design professionals and students who want to feel connected to the most inspiring and innovative aspects of their industry."




Bizarre Beyond-Belief


Copyright ©1914


Based in Canada,
Dedicated to the brilliant, beautiful and bizarre. Whimsical tales, visuals and various odds and ends about obscure and misunderstood sub-cultures.
Disclaimer: Some of the content on this site may contain offensive nature. BBB does not condone or promote the activities portrayed, it is merely documentation of bizarre and extraneous sub-cultures.


Home site:




Copyright ©1914, Published by the,


"Featuring articles about the guild and it’s members as well as the work they have produced, in addition to technological advances in the industry and issues that pertain to guild members. Perspective is available online."





Sign and Digital Graphics


For the business of visual communications

©2014 All Rights Reserved.


"Sign & Digital Graphics is the most widely read industry trade publication covering the business of visual communications and offering a broad range of in-depth reporting for sign industry and wide-format digital graphics professionals. This distinguished and unique monthly trade publication provides comprehensive professional coverage on all aspects of commercial signage, commercial graphics production, electric LED-based signage and letter systems, architectural signage, electronic digital displays, vehicle wraps and much more."


Trade Magazine, requires business info for subscription.



Design TAXI


All images shown are properties owned by their respective owners. Copyright © 2003 - 2014 Hills Creative Arts Pte Ltd. All rights reserved.


A daily-updated news and editorial site focused on Creativity and Innovation

Named by Forbes as "Top Five Sites for Keeping up With Creativity and Design", DesignTAXI is a highly-influential source with our content picked up by leading media such as The New York Times, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and LinkedIn Today. TIME Magazine calls us one of the "Best Twitter Feeds of 2012".

The typical TAXI reader is tech-savvy, creative, curious and excited about new ideas. More than 400,000 followers across our network's social media streams.

Started since 2003.







Other Design TAXI network sites, of interest to Artists and Graphic Designers:


© 2014 The Creative Bazaar Pte Ltd. All artworks are copyright of its respective owners.

An online marketplace to buy and sell creative objects
Sellers can sell and ship
most types of creative objects created by themselves, directly to buyers

Free for basic accounts.


All artworks are copyright of its respective owners. Copyright © 2014 Hills Creative Arts Pte Ltd. All rights reserved.

Where 'finders' meet creatives for networking, collaboration and inspiration

We also host web and mobile portfolios for creative professionals, and 'fave galleries' for curators and taste makers.

All accounts are free. Commissions vary from 3.5% - 30%.



JAIC, the Journal of the American Institute for Conservation


by various Authors, Copyright ©1977-2005 by American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, All rights reserved


"A large number of canvas samples from paintings by 116 French artists are analyzed for fiber type and weight. Results are categorized chronologically as well as by artist, and it may be seen that prior to the end of the 18th century, hemp canvases were most common..."
from, Katrina Vanderlip Carbonnel, Vol.20 No.01, ©1980


"THE PRESENT NOTE gives the results of the analysis of nineteen Winsor and Newton moist watercolors (in pans) which once belonged to Winslow Homer. The identification of many of these were previously reported by Craigen Weston, and this note represents a completion of her research. The colors are in a box which the artist signed (Figure 1)...."
from, R. Newman, C. Weston, E. Farrell, Vol.19 No.02, ©1980






health and safty


The commissioned special pull-out sections for, Copyright ©1998-2008 by American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, All rights reserved


" workers are more likely to be exposed to low-level doses of heavy metals over an extended period of time, resulting in chronic health problems. Heavy metal exposure in the environment along with that from museum collections and buildings is of particular concern to museum professionals involved in emergency and disaster rescue and recovery efforts. "
from A Special Insert: Heavy Metals, their Salts, and other Compounds, A Quick Reference Guide from AIC and the Health &Safety Committee, By Cheryl Podsiki, AIC news, November 2008




American Art Illustrated


Coverage: 1886 (Vol. 1),


Sample articles from Nov., 1886:

(pp. 31-34) by Frank T. Robinson

(pp. 39-40) by Lyman H. Weeks

(pp. 42-43) by Alfred Trumble

(pp. 51-55)

(pp. 56-59)



, Nov., 1886, pp. 31-60, V-X


, Oct., 1886, pp. I-II, 1-30, III-IX




American Magazine of Art


Coverage: 1916 (Vol. 7)



Coverage 1909-1915 (Vols. 1-7)


Sample Articles:

(p. 506)

(pp. 435-441)

(pp. 392-397

(pp. 332-333)

(p. 336)

(pp. 338-339)

(pp. 340-341)





The Art Amateur


Coverage: 1870-1891 (Vols. 1-24)
Note: The content for 1892-1903 will be released as soon as the issues become available to JSTOR


Sample Articles:

by M. B. Odenheimer-Fowler, Vol. 8, No. 6 (May, 1883), p. 130

, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Jan., 1881), pp. 38-39

' Vol. 13, No. 2 (Jul., 1885), p. 39

, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Mar., 1890), pp. 79-81




Art and Life






















Chemical Oil Paint and Color Review


by Various Authors, Published Manchester : Davis Bros., (1891-1905)



Paint, Oil and Chemical


by Various Authors, Published Oak Park, Ill., etc., Trade Review Co., etc., (1891-19215)





Oil Painting - Free Art e-Books | 


landscape painting in oil color


With Illustrations In Colour
And Black-and-white

by Alfred East, ©1907


"Now as to the canvas upon which you are to paint your picture. There are many opinions as to which is the most suitable, most of them formed by artists who get into the habit of using one kind. For instance, some prefer a coarse canvas, and others choose a very fine texture. I think the best is a medium grain, which will not show disagreeably the texture of the linen when painted, and which is not too absorbent. It is better white, since it is quite an easy matter to give it a wash with spirits of turpentine in which a little burnt sienna is mixed to tone it to a softer tint. The turpentine also gives the surface a pleasant 'tooth,' or surface to work upon, and takes away the oily and shiny appearance."



(7.6 MB)




art of painting



by John Cawse, ©1840


Introduction..... Materials requisite for Painting in Oil..... Colors used in Painting..... Oils and Varnishes, Megelps, and Varnish..... On Grounds..... Portrait Painting... Method of painting a Portrait by Tints mixed and material and the complexion of the Sitter..... First Sitting..... Second sitting..... Third Sitting..... Backgrounds..... Draperies..... Landscapes.... General Directions for drawing Animals, Horses, Birds..... Colours used for painting Black, White, Chestnut..... how to copy a Miniature the size of life..... Picture Cleaning..."





art of painting portraits in oil colors


by Henry Murray, ©1851
"Portraiture is the branch of art which has preceded all others in the English school; it has been carried to a degree of excellence in this country which has not been generally arrived at by others of the existing schools of Europe. The high and rare qualities of the art can only be communicated to a work after years of anxious study; all the niceties of execution are mechanical, but the power of vivifying the canvas is an intellectual faculty..."







A Contemporary Practical Treatise on Quattrocento Painting.

By Cennino Cennini, Translated from the Italian, with Notes on Mediaeval Art Methods by CHRISTIANA J. HERRINGHAM, Published by G. Allen & Unwin, ltd., 2nd. ed. ©1922
"THIS treatise is properly so named. It is a comprehensive technical manual, teaching everything belonging to the painter's craft in the time of the writer. It is not a mere collection of recipes like most of the monkish secrets, but a school of art, and emphatically the working directions of a man who could do what he taught..."


(28.9 MB)






By Alfred Clint, ©1877


"The object of this little book is to impart to the reader instruction in the Practical part of Landscape Painting in Oil Colors, and more particularly with reference to Painting from Nature."





By Frank Fowler, ©1885


"The present Handbook has been prepared with the belief that there is a large and growing constituency of art lovers, and those engaged in the study of art, to whom a practical book on the methods of oil painting will not be unwelcome..."





oil painting


by John Collier, ©1887


"The art of painting in oils is a very difficult one, and not the least of its difficulties consists in the great uncertainty that exists as to the proper methods to be pursued"


(7.3 MB)




oil paint


by Charles Lock Eastlake, ©1869


"Vasari also states that Andrea dal Castagno and Domenico Veneziano executed certain paintings on the walls of the same chapel in oil. These paintings, which, according to Vasari, illustrated the Life of the Madonna, have long since disappeared, and, with them, all certain evidence of the method of their execution; from the light now obtained, however, it has become doubtful, perhaps more than doubtful, whether any of the series were executed by the process implied by the modern term 'oil painting'...."


(9.5 MB)




oil painting materials



by Charles Lock Eastlake, ©1869


"In submitting to the public the chapters destined for the second volume of 'the Materials for a History of Oil Painting' which Sir Charles Eastlake left in a state of preparation, Lady Eastlake is anxious to state how she has presumed to exercise the office of editor in the revision of them. It win not be necessary to assure those readers already acquainted with Sir Charles's habits of scientious accuracy and patient research that such habits are as vividly impressed on these chapters as on all that have gone before."


(11.2 MB)




painter in oil


A Complete Treatise on the Principles and Technique, Necessary to the painting of Pictures In Oil colors

By Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst, ©1903


"...To say "do thus and so" will not teach any one to paint. But there are certain principles which underlie all painting, and all schools of painting ; and to state clearly the most important of these will surely be helpful, and may accomplish something..."





Painting in Oils


a manual for use of students,

by Mary Louise McLaughlin, ©1888


"PAINTING in oil offers a means of artistic expression more nearly perfect than that afforded by any other method. Whatever may be the special charms of other mediums, this must ever remain the one which gives the freest range to the capacity of the artist, and the most direct and complete facility in the representation of nature..."


(2.2 MB)




oil painting



by Solomon J. Solomon, ©1911


"...With this object in view I have divided the work into a series of separate lessons or chapters, beginning with a method of drawing which is not, I believe, usually taught, but which my own students have found useful as an additional aid to the knowledge they had already acquired..."


(6.9 MB)






being the introduction to the three arts of design; Of Painting in Oil on Panel or on Canvas. Oil Painting, its Discovery and Early History. A most beautiful invention and a great convenience to the art of Painting, was the discovery of coloring in oil...


By Giorgio Vasari,
Painter & Architect Of Arezzo

Now For The First Time Translated Into English
Louisa S. Maclehose
Edited With Introduction Notes by Professor G. Baldwin Brown,
Published 1907


"Unity in painting is produced when a variety of different colors are harmonized together, these colors in all the diversity of many designs show the parts of the figures distinct the one from the other, as the flesh from the hair, and one garment different in color from another. ( When these colors are laid on flashing and vivid in a disagreeable discordance so that they are like stains and loaded with body, as was formerly the wont with some painters, the design becomes marred in such a manner that the figures are left painted by the patches of color rather than by the brush, which distributes the light and shade over the figures and makes them appear natural and in relief. All pictures then whether in oil, in fresco, or in tempera ought to be so blended in their colours that the principal figures in the groups are brought out with the utmost clearness, the draperies of those in front being kept so light that the figures which stand behind are darker than the first, and so little by little as the figures retire inwards, they become also in equal measure gradually lower in tone in the colour both of the flesh tints and of the vestments."




oil painting handbook


being chiefly a condensed compilation from the celebrated manual of booths, with additional matter selected from the labors of Merimee, de Montabert and other distinguished continental writers in the art of Oil Painting...

by Laughton Osborn, Pierre Louis Bouvier, ©1849


"Imagine not that the profession of a painter is that of an idler: on the contrary, it is of all occupations the one perhaps that requires most activity; for one is constantly engaged, if not with the art itself, at least with its materials.

"All true artists will tell you, that if the art of painting were not in itself replete with charms, as in fact it is for all those who practise it with love, it would be a very painful pursuit, so many precautions are there to be taken, so many things to be calculated, foreseen, and prepared, independently of the considerable time which must be consecrated to" it for the art itself, if one would make progress."





art of oil painting


being an account of the various methods and materials made use of by the professors of that art, from the time of Hubert and John Van Eyck, down to the present day...

By Jean-François-Léonor Mérimée, William Benjamin Sarsfield Taylor, Before 1830?


"The fourth chapter, which in itself forms a considerable part of the work, relates to the preparation of colors, and belongs properly to what may be termed the chemistry of painting; and we can bear ample testimony to the extensive and accurate knowledge of M. Merimee, who it is evident has selected with judgment from amongst a heap of preparations and recipes, those which he found approach nearest to the simplicity of nature. For it is a remarkable fact, that the most permanent class of colors, are those which have been the slowest of creation in nature's laboratory."





arts of painting


in oil, miniature, mosaic, and on glass ; of qildinq, dyeing, and the preparation of colours and artificial gems; preceded by a general introduction ; with translations, prefaces. and notes,Vol 1

By Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, ©1849


" Having repeated these last experiments, I obtained from the dark green, light green, and purple enamels, results differing from the preceding in the gradation of color only. From the red I afterwards obtained a transparent glass of yellowish green colour ; from the black, a violet or amethystine glass. These iterations and anomalies, some of which throw light on the nature of the blue glass of the ancients, are to be ascribed to the greater or less degree of oxidation of the metallic coloring matters."


(30.4 MB)




arts of painting


in oil, miniature, mosaic, and on glass; of qildinq, dyeing, and the preparation of colours and artificial gems; preceded by a general introduction; with translations, prefaces. and notes, Vol 2

By Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, ©1849


"To purify azure. — If the azure is too earthy, it may be purified as follows : — Take white and clean ashes, and an equal quantity of quicklime, and let it be very white ; then take equal quantities of vinegar and water, and put them into a new and clean jar, and boil them with the ashes and lime, and afterwards let them cool and settle, and with that, wash the azure, and know that after such washing the azure will appear black. Then wash the blackened azure with white wine, and let it dry, and put it into a shell with about a fourth part of gum water."


(26.5 MB)




landscape oil painting


By W. Williams (artist.), ©1883


"The following pages treat of one branch of the Art of Oil Painting—that of imitating upon canvas, with fidelity and truth, the varied aspects of Nature, as they present themselves to the eye in Landscape. It is taken for granted that the pupil is so far acquainted with the general principles of Drawing and Perspective, as to be able to apply them..."





Introduction to the art of painting in oil colours


By John Cawse, ©1839


"A Concise and systematic introduction to the use of the palette and colours has long been a desideratum to the student in the art of painting; for, of the many publications on this part of the art, most have been critical or theoretical, and none practical. The design of this work is to remove those difficulties which have hitherto been a great and serious hindrance to the improvement of the student..."





painting in oils


by Mike Callahan, ©2008, All rights reserved


The great landscape artist Mike Callahan has made available a PDF of his excellent book. Loaded with many color photos, step by step instruction and tips. Visit his, and you can also sign up for a he publishes.




The guide to oil painting


By J S. Templeton, ©1845


"...the composition of Maguilps (Meguilp, Macgilp, Magelp, Magilp), and Mediums has usually occupied a considerable share of the attention of Artists, and consequently the recipes for their formation are numerous; but as the aim of this treatise is to simplify, and not to perplex, we shall only give a few of those which we consider the best.
No. 1.—Mix equal quantities of Drying Oil and Mastic Varnish, let the mixture stand undisturbed for a few minutes, and it will take the consistence of a thin transparent amber-colored jelly; this forms an agreeable Maguilp in very general use. No. 2..."



The guide to oil painting


by J S. Templeton, 3rd edition, ©1845


Dedication iii.

The Painting Room...1
The Implements...4
The Materials...11
Of the Drying of Colours...26
The Mixing of Colours...28
Maguilps and Mediums...34
Methods of Applying the Colours...36
Of Painting Heads and Flesh Generally...44
Of Painting Back Grounds...61
Of Painting Draperies...64
Of Painting Landscapes...60
Of Painting Animals...64
Of Flower and Fruit Painting...66..."




Eggg Temera Techniques


a manual of technique,
by Vaclav Vytlacil and Rupert Davidson Turnbull. (New York, Oxford University Press, ©1935)


"that if it is not the technique of such Old Masters as Rubens, Rembrandt, and the great Venetian colorists, it is at least a technique closely resembling theirs.
Once mastered, effects similar to theirs grow easily and naturally out of the characteristics of this method of painting.
This can hardly be said of modern direct oil





The art of landscape painting in oil colour


... with illustrations in color and black-and-white

by Sir Alfred East, First Edition, November, 1906. Reprinted 1907, 1911


"IT will be found that I have not attempted in these pages to write at any length on the art of landscape painting in its elementary stages. I have taken it for granted that the reader has, at least, a practical knowledge of the rudiments of drawing, such as may be acquired at any school of art.
It is, of course, an absolute necessity that such should be the
case before any attempt is made to paint from Nature. My aim, therefore, has been to place before the student certain considerations which do not find a place in the curriculum of our art schools, and which should be of assistance to him in the progress of an artists' development."





oil painting


with Eight Plates (Four In
Color) and 17 Diagrams

by Stephen Bone, 1904-1958.,

Published Princeton, N. J. : Van Nostrand, ©1956


"IF you have not painted before, or not painted with oil paint before,
you are naturally impatient to begin.
In that case, go ahead and begin. There is a great deal to be said
for getting paints and brushes and starting to paint before reading
the rest of this book. After even half an hour's work you will have
experienced some of the delights of oil painting and have en-
countered a few of the difficulties.
But, before starting to paint, you must have some paints, some
brushes, a surface to paint on, and a few other things. Buy only
what is really necessary; the initial stages are quite difficult enough
without trying to learn how to handle a dozen different tools at once.
Your requirements will be paints, 'thinners', brushes, boards or
canvases, a palette, a palette knife, an easel, and a paintbox. Let
us take them in this order...."





Oil Painting


by HENRY GASSER, N. A, ©1953 all rights reserved,
Reinhold Publishing Corporation
Second Printing 1955
Third Printing 1957


Painting equipment,,,6
Studio equipment,,,6
The Selection of Colors and Painting mediums,,,9
The selection and care of brushes,,,10
The use of the various brushes,,,11
The various painting surfaces,,,15
Color mixing,,,19
Strengthening the design,,,24
Enlarging a sketch,,,26
Landscape painting,,,27
Painting directly in color,,,34
The autumn scene,,,37
The waterfront,,,42
Summer yard,,,48
The street scene,,,52
The industrial scene,,,58
Painting a nocturne,,,62
The winter subject,,,66
Casein as a base for oil painting,,,72
Use of casein for an oil painting,,,75
Painting on a gesso base,,,80
Palette knife painting,,,84
Demonstration of palette knife painting,,,87
The use of the imprimatura,,,92
Glazing and scumbling,,,96
Glazing over a drawing,,,100
Demonstration of glazing and scumbling,,,101
Studio painting,,,104
Dynamic composition,,,108
Introducing figures into a landscape,,,110
Figures in a landscape Ill
Moving figures in a landscape,,,112
Source material for studio painting,,,115
Dramatizing a subject,,,117
Painting a portrait of a house,,,120
Salvaging a painting,,,122
The amateur painter,,,124
Varnishing and preserving of oil paintings,,,127
Hints on framing,,,128 "





Manual of Oil Painting


by the Hon. John Collier ©1887
Published Cassell, 1887


"THE art of painting in oils is a very difficult one, and not the least of its difficulties consists in the great uncertainty that exists as to the proper methods to be pursued. As a rule the great painters have been too much occupied with their painting to explain to the world how their effects have been produced. Indeed, it would seem that they have not always known themselves ; for when they have theorized upon the subject their theories have been often quite irreconcilable with their practice. Fortunately, they have generally had pupils who have carried on the tradition of their masters' work..."





On the Theory and Practice of Painting in Oil and Watercolors


for Landscape and Portraits; including the Preparation Of Colors, Vehicles, Varnishes, & Method Of Painting In Wax, or Encaustic; Also On The Chemical Properties And Permanency Of Colors, & a Manual of Lithography. Illustrated on Plain and Colored Plates.

by Theodore Henry A. Fielding, ©1846
London : published for the Author, by Ackermann & Co., Strand, 1846


"Among the great number of artists that have lived since the revival of painting, how few stand in the first class of their profession. For this there must be causes not wholly consisting in the difficulties of the art; and one cannot but imagine that some mistake has constantly pursued this large majority, and prevented them from perceiving in what the chief intention of painting consists,...."





Paniting with Sunshine


- An Introduction to Oils for Young People

by Mervyn Levy, 1955?


"This LITTLE BOOK was inspired, not only by the children who sent in thousands of their paintings for the B.B.C. competition which followed my television series ‘Let’s Paint in Oils’, but also by the thought of those of you who may not as yet have started to explore the delights of this exciting material. If you have already started to paint in oils, I hope this book will refresh your interest, and provide you with information, opinions, and ideas that I had not the time to give you on television. If you are on the threshold of your first oil-painting, I hope you will find my book helpful."





An accidence, or gamut, of painting in oil


by Julius Caesar Ibbetson, 2nd Ed. 1828


"The cloths used at present for painting upon, are prepared in the worst and most dangerous manner imaginable. The colourmen, to whom every thing is left, begin by brushing the cloth over with strong glue, to lay the flue, and prevent its absorbing any oil, as I suppose: then, with stiff paint, the greatest part of which is whiting, they plaster over the glue twice, seldom three times; it is then done, when the exciseman has stamped it. In a very short space of time, if kept in rolls, it gets so brittle, that it would be as easy to unfold a manuscript of Herculaneum as this, without breaking or cracking in ten thousand places. If the picture be hung in a damp place, it comes off altogether, in great flakes; and in time, with the greatest care, it becomes covered with circular cracks, like net-work, for which there is no remedy. It ought to be prepared with very thin starch, and rubbed while wet with a rubber-stone, to lay the flue smooth, and painted with proper thin color several times: when the paint unites with the canvass, it is flexible, will never crack, and will endure for ages. In Holland, and even Dublin, their cloths are far superior, and very pliable."




Pigments & Color, Art Conservation and Art Materials - Free Art Books | 


Handbook for painters and art students


Their Permanent or Fugitive Qualities, and the Vehicles Proper to Employ. also Short Remarks on the Practice of Painting in Oil and Water-Colors.

By William J. Muckley, Published by Baillière, Tindall, and Cox, 1880





Analysis of paint color pigments and varnishes



by Clifford Dyer Holley, Edwin Fremont Ladd, 1908


"Partial contents:...Why Paints Fail; North Dakota Paint Law; Groups of Pigments; Sublimed Lead; Lithopone; Leaded Zinc; Zinc Lead White; Form of Label; Labels that Mislead ; Need of Paint Law ; Water in Paint; Imitation White Leads; Paints supposed to be White Lead and Zinc; Whitewash; Short Measure and Weights; Relation of Lead to Zinc... "


(15.2 MB)



chemistry of painting



By Arthur Herbert Church, Published by Seeley, 1901


"Partial contents:
XIII. white pigments - 145
XIV. yellow pigments - 157
XV. red pigments - 186
XVI. green pigments 212
XVII. blue pigments - 226
XVIII. brown pigments - 252
XIX. black pigments - - 264
XX. classification of pigments 274
XXI. tables of permanent, fugitive, and alterable pigments - - 283
XXII. selected and restricted palettes - - 290..."


(22.6 MB)




chemistry of pigments


By Ernest John Parry, John Henry Coste, Published by Scott, Greenwood, 1902


"The authors have in the following pages endeavoured to indicate the chemical relationships, composition and properties of most of the better-known pigments. During recent years they have given a great deal of attention to the examination of painters' colours, and have from time to time found some difficulty in obtaining reliable information on the subject. This led to a considerable amount of work in obtaining and examining specimens of pigments..."

(5.4 MB)







Or, A Treatise On Colours And Pigments, And Of Their Powers In Painting

by George Field, 1840


"...Among the means essential to proficiency in Painting, none is more important than a just knowledge of Colors and Pigments — their qualities, powers, and effects..."





Art Safety


Copyright ©1995 all rights reserved: by BCMA, EPSOM, ETAD, VdMI, Based on the booklet Safe Handling of Color Pigments, by the Color Pigments Manufacturers Association Inc.©1993


"Cadmium pigments are compounds with a low solubility, but small quantities of cadmium dissolve in dilute hydrochloric acid (at a concentration equivalent to stomach concentration). Long-term oral intake of cadmium pigments leads to accumulation in the human body, especially in the kidneys. On inhalation of sub chronic amounts of cadmium pigments, a small proportion of cadmium is bioavailable (1,3). Toxicity of cadmium pigments is nonetheless very much lower (by several orders of magnitude) than that of other cadmium compounds."




Resin Lakes and Pigments
The Distillation of Resins:
Resinate Lakes and Pigments. Carbon Pigments and Pigments for Typewriting Machines, Manifolders, etc.
A description of the proper methods of distilling; resin-oils, the manufacture of resinates, resin-varnishes, resin-pigments, and enamel paints ; the preparation of all kinds of carbon pigments and printers' ink, lithographic inks and chalks, and also inks for typewriters, manifolders, and rubber stamps.

by Victor Schweizer, 1907


(14.4 MB)
(11.4 M)







pigments and vehicles
Facts about Processes, Pigments and Vehicles: A Manual for Art Student,

By Arthur Pillans Laurie, Published by Macmillan, 1895


HOW TO GRIND A PIGMENT For this purpose a muller and slab must be obtained. These are made of various sizes, but a muller 2 1/2 inches in diameter and a stone or glass slab 9 inches each way are all that is needed..."


(3.9 MB)





Household formulas receipes
The Household Cyclopedia,

By Henry Hartshorne 1881


"To make Golden Yellow Color.
Cases often occur when it is necessary to produce a gold color without employing a metallic substance. A color capable of forming an illusion is then given to the composition, the greater part of which consists of yellow. This is accomplished by Naples or Montpellier yellow, brightened by Spanish white, or by white of Morat, mixed with ochre de Berri and realgar. The last substance, even in small quantity, gives to the mixture a color imitating gold, and which may be employed in distemper, varnish, or oil. When destined for oil, it is ground with drying or pure nut-oil, added to essence or mixed with drying oil
To make Chamois and Buff Color.
Yellow is the foundation of chamois color, which is modified by a particle of minium, or what is better, cinnabar and ceruse in small quantity. This color may be employed in distemper, varnish, and oil. For varnish, it is ground with 1/2 common oil of pinks, and 1/2 of mastic gallipot varnish. It is mixed with common gallipot varnish. For oil painting, it is ground and mixed up with drying oil.
To make Olive Color for Oil and Varnish:
Olive color is a composition the shades of which may be diversified. Black and a little blue, mixed with yellow, will produce an olive color. Yellow de Berri, or d'Auvergne, with a little verdigris and charcoal, will also form this color. It is ground and mixed up with mastic gallipot, and common gallipot varnishes. For oil painting, it is ground with oil added to essence, and mixed up with drying oil."






artistic technology



By Alvah Horton Sabin, Published by J. Wiley & Sons, 1904


"WHEN we devote our attention to the subject of paint and painting, we seem to encounter matters on which the vast majority of commonly well educated people feel almost entire ignorance and concerning which the opinion of any self-constituted expert..."


(26.6 MB)




earth colors




"...the necessity for a new edition afforded a welcome opportunity of revising "Earth Colors." Although, in the nature of things, little progress has been made in this subject itself, there was a good deal to add in connection with the mechanical appliances for treating the color earths and manufacturing them into pigments..."


(10.8 MB)




Lake Pigments



by Francis H, Jennison, 1920, SECOND REVISED EDITION


"The generic term "lake color" is applied to all pigments made from dyestuffs and coloring-matters, by precipitation of the coloring-matter as an insoluble compound, and serves to distinguish such colors from natural pigments, such as ochre, umber, etc..."


(8.3 MB)




mineral and lake pigments


containing directions for the manufacture of all artificial artists' and painters' colours, enamel colours, soot and metallic pigments,

by Josef Bersch, 1901


Known as Indian yellow or aureolin. It is distinguished from other yellow pigments by being unaffected by sulphurated hydrogen. The potassium nitrite required in the preparation of this pigment is most easily made by melting saltpetre in a thick iron vessel and stirring in fine iron filings in small quantities as soon as the saltpetre begins to decompose. The iron glows brightly and burns to oxide, the saltpetre changes to potassium nitrite. The mass is dissolved in a little hot water, the solution filtered and cooled, when most of the undecomposed saltpetre crystallizes out, whilst the nitrite remains in solution. After further evaporation and separation of another crop of potassium nitrate crystals, the solution can be used to precipitate the aureolin."


(28.8 MB)




Modern Technology of Paints, Varnishes



by the NIIR Board, ©2007


"The major contents of the book are application of paints, fundamentals of paint, varnishes and lacquers, manufacturing of different type of paints, paint formulation, pigment dispersion, emulsion paints, and so on.
The book deals with fundamentals of paints, Varnishes and lacquers, pigments, Oils used in paints and varnishes, solvents, dryers, plasticizers, additives for surface coating, various types of paint manufacturing etc. The book is very useful for new entrepreneurs, existing units, technocrats, technical institutions and for those who wants to diversify in the field of paints manufacturing.."




Modern pigments



by Frederick Maire, 1908


"IT is to be regretted that not withstanding it is a matter of prime importance that both dealers in painters' supplies and users of the same the painters and decorators should be well posted about the materials they handle, the vast majority have but the faintest ideas concerning the properties of pigments..."


(23.1 MB)




painters guide


]or, A treatise, both in theory and practice, on the art of making and applying varnishes; on the different kinds of painting; and the method of preparing colors both simple and compound: with new observations and experiments on copal; on the nature of the substance employed in the composition of varnishes and of colors; and on various processes used in the art dedicated to the society at Geneva for the encouragement of the arts, agriculture, and commerce.

By Pierre François Tingry, 1804


The turpentine of Chio, just mentioned, was long known under the name of Venice turpentine, because the Venetians, who got into their hands a great part of the Levant trade, sent to every part of Europe all the productions of these countries. At present, that distinguished by the name of Venice turpentine is produced by a kind of larch tree very abundant in the Apennines, in part of the Alps of the Orisons, of Savoy,...It is fluid, glutinous, tenacious, and of a consistence between that of oil and that of honey. It has a yellowish-white color, and a strong penetrating yet agreeable smell,...
The turpentine of Alsace, or of Strasbourg,is produced by a kind of silver fir, with leaves like those of the yew tree. When fresh it is liquid, and more transparent than that of Venice, but less viscid and tenacious. Its smell is very agreeable, and has more resemblance to that of oranges than the smell of the Venice turpentine. It has nearly the same taste as that of Chio..."






Oil colours and printers' inks


a practical handbook treating of linseed oil, boiled oil, paints, artists' colors, lampblack and printers' inks, black and colored

by Louis Edgar Andés, 1903


...The great technical progress that has been made in every direction has naturally made itself felt in the manufacture of pigments for all purposes. This has been especially the case during the last forty years...

(3.9 MB)





Paint making and color grinding


a practical treatise for paint manufacturers and factory managers, including comprehensive information regarding factory arrangement; pigments; vehicles and thinners; liquid and cold water paints as well as practical working formulas and recipes

By Charles L. Uebele, 1913


(6.7 MB)





Color My World


A Personal Scientific Odyssey into The Art of Ancient Dyes

by Zvi C. Koren ©2006 Copyrighted work, All rights reserved


Published in:
For the Sake of Humanity: Essays in Honour of Clemens Nathan.
Stephens A. and Walden R. (editors), Martinus Nijhoff - Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands, ISBN 90-04-14125-1 pp. 155-189 (2006)


"The study of the coloring matters produced by the ancients opens a historical window to understanding the processes associated with one of the oldest chemical technologies – textile dyeing. Color analysis of a textile involves - the identification of the colorants and of the processes utilized to produce that color or hue on the textile, as well as the identification of the fiber material, the substrate, which can also influence the final hue produced. "




Painting supports and grounds


characterized and localized in paint cross-sections

by Katrien Keune, Published by University of Amsterdam 2005,
© 2005 Katrien Keune, All rights reserved

ISBN 90-77209-10-7


"Examples of pigments which degraded on the surface of the painting are: the fading of red and yellow lakes, the whitening of bone black, indigo, blackening of vermilion (see chapter 4), color changes of chrome and cadmium yellow and the decomposition of orpiment and realgar. Pigments that degrade under the influence of their local external environment can only be visualized in paint cross-section. For example, analytical imaging studies on a partially degraded smalt particle (a blue potash glass) containing a discolored rim and an intact blue core, indicate that an elemental exchange between the particle and surrounded medium occurred."




Mummy Cassel Earth Pigments


their characterization, identification and effect on the drying of traditional oil paint

by Georgiana M. Languri, Published University of Amsterdam, Cover design: Iliya Cerjak, copyright © Georgiana M. Languri 2004, All rights reserved
ISBN 90-77209-07-7


"Asphalt, Kassel earth and mummy pigments were characterized at a molecular level using mass spectrometric (MS) techniques (see chapter 2, 3 and 4). This has resulted in a set of markers and biomarkers specific for the particular black-brown organic pigments that are further used to identify their presence in historical paint material collections or other reference samples of interest. In chapter 2 results on an asphalt sample from the 19th-century paint material collection are given...
Chapter 3 deals with mass spectrometric characterisation of an historical mummy pigment sample in order to assess a possible Egyptian origin of mummy pigment samples, seen as a Dead Sea asphalt containing samples. Chapter 4 reports on the characterisation of Kassel earth samples and the identification of such samples as Kassel earth type. "





By Nicolas Wyplosz, Published University of Amsterdam, 20 November 2003,
© 2003 Nicolas Wyplosz, All rights reserved
ISBN 90-77209-02-6


"Pigments traditionally employed in easel paintings are for the most part mineral matter (such as ultramarine, azurite, ochre, sienna, umber) or the result of chemical synthesis (such as lead white, lead-tin yellow, Prussian blue, vermilion, smalt, verdigris). A few pigments however were organic in nature and
were prepared from plants or animals. The vast majority of these coloring materials belong to the chemical classes of flavonoids (yellow), anthraquinones (red), and indigoids (blue), with basic molecular structures shown in Figure 1.2. Their coloring properties are known since antiquity in many civilizations."




oil paint


by Jaap van der Weerd, Published by University of Amsterdam 06-12-2002, © 2002 Jaap van der Weerd, all rights reserved.
ISBN 90-801704-8-8


"Paintings are an important part of our cultural heritage. Art from all periods and places is stored, conserved, studied, and admired in various museums. Paintings are studied by investigators in different disciplines: Art historians study the history of the visual arts, being concerned with identifying, classifying, describing, evaluating, interpreting, and understanding the art products and historic development of the fields of painting, sculpture, etc.
Art restorers or conservators are concerned with the conservation and repair of works of architecture, painting, from the effects of negligence, wilful damage, or, more usually, inevitable decay caused by the effects of time..."




Linseed Oil Paints


By Jorrit Dirk Jan van den Berg, Published University of Amsterdam, 26 April 2002, copyright © 2002 Jorrit Dirk Jan van den Berg, all rights reserved.
ISBN 90-801704-7-X


"A detailed description of the chemistry of drying, the autoxidation and photooxidation processes, the effects of transition metals, and other factors that affect the composition of the oil constituents in oil paint are presented. The knowledge on the effect of paint formulation on the composition, including the role of the pigments in the curing and ageing processes as derived from a number of analytical studies on oil paints..."




Color Changes in Oil Paintings


By Annelies van Loon, Published by University of Amsterdam, 15 January 2008,
Copyright ©2008 Annelies van Loon, all rights reserved.

ISBN/EAN 978-90-77209-17-2


"Traditional oil paintings are not stable systems, and despite the fact that so many Old Master paintings are considered to be generally well preserved, the oil paint used by the seventeenth-century painters as discussed in this thesis is an extremely dynamic system, much more dynamic than is usually thought. Paintings are, in fact, subject to all kinds of chemical and physical processes taking place on a micro and molecular level in the paint layers that only over time (eventually) become visible changing the original appearance of the work of art. These processes are inherent to the artist’s choice of materials and his working methods."




Van Gogh


image analytical studies of preparatory grounds used by Van Gogh

By Beatrice Marino, Published by University of Amsterdam Oct. 18, 2006, copyright ©2006 Beatrice Marino, all rights reserved.
Cover illustration by Beatrice Marino.
ISBN-10: 90-77209-19-0
ISBN-13: 978-90-77209-19-6


"The comparison and distinction between different formulations and different production batches of artist materials (supports, grounds, and paints) is useful for conservators and art historians. For example, technical studies have demonstrated that comparative investigation of self-made or ready-made picture supports of Van Gogh can help to establish a chronology for these pictures, or even prove authenticity.
The characterization of artist materials is also a useful aid for the understanding of the role and the influence of these materials in the stylistic evolutionary process of an artist."




Painting Materials


The authors are presenting in this book a series of selected methods for the analysis of materials used in the manufacture of paints...

By Henry Alfred Gardner, John Ahlum Schaeffer, 1911


"True vermilion, or, as it is generally called, English vermilion, is sulphide of mercury. On account of its cost it is rarely used in paints, and is liable to gross adulteration. It should show no bleeding on boiling with alcohol and water and no free sulphur by extraction with carbon disulfide. A small quantity mixed with five or six times its weight of dry sodium carbonate and heated in a tube should show globules of mercury on the cooler portion of the tube. The best test for purity is the ash, which should be not more than one-half of 1 per cent. Make the determination in a porcelain dish or crucible, using 2 grams of the sample. Ash in a muffle or in a hood with a very good draft, as the mercury fumes are very poisonous. It is seldom necessary to make a determination of the mercury; but if this is required, it may be determined by mixing 0.2 gram of the vermilion with 1 gram of very fine iron filings..."


(1.5 MB)




Natural Organic Coloring Matters


By Arthur George Perkin, Arthur Ernest Everest, 1918


"THIS comprehensive treatise is the first English monograph to deal exhaustively with the fascinating but complex chemistry of the natural organic coloring matters. The historical aspect of the subject matter and the scheme of classification are unfolded in the introduction, after which eighteen groups of natural dyes are described. The first chapter deals with the anthraquinone group, containing alizarin, the color principle of madder root..."







Production of comparative dyeings for the identification of dyes on historic materials

By Helmut Schweppe, copyright ©1986, Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution




Dictionary of Artists' Oil Pigments


Their Chemical and Physical Properties

by R. Bruce Handlong, ©1969 all rights reserved, llinois Wesleyan University

"This work is primarily intended as a reference for the artist who seeks to know more about the chemical and physical properties of oil pigments that he has at his disposal. By better understanding these properties, the artist can insure the durability and permanency of his creations and, also, give him a firm foundation on which he may begin to develop an individual style..."




Facts about processes, pigments and vehicles: a manual for art student


a manual for art student

By Arthur Pillans Laurie, 1895, 1913


For this purpose a muller and slab must be obtained. These are made of various sizes, but a muller 2 1/2 inches in diameter and a stone or glass slab 9 inches each way are all that is needed..."

(3.9 MB)





Dictionary of chemicals and raw products used in the manufacture of paints


By George Henry Hurst, F.C.S., 1901


"The need of a book of reference giving brief descriptions of the various chemicals and other substances which are employed in the paint, colour and varnish trades has been expressed to me by many correspondents. In the following pages I have endeavoured to satisfy that need with, I hope, some small measure of success..."





Paint Film Components


National Environmental Health Monographs

by M van Alphen, ©1998


"Diversity in paint formulations is driven by the need for a range of colors, applied to a wide range of substrates, a diversity of paint uses and differing exposure (weathering) conditions. There are many paint properties such as covering or obscuring power, drying time, paint-film-hardness, film flexibility, color permanence, water resistance, UV resistance, ease of application, control of paint layer thickness, rate of chalking, mould and fire resistance, among others, that are able to be modified by varying the properties and proportions of major components and minor additives..."



A treatise on color manufacture


a Guide to the Preparation, Examination, and Application of all the Pigment Colors in Practical Use

By Georg Zerr, Robert Rübencamp, 1908


"There being no English work on Color Manufacture approaching it in the fullness of its scope, the completeness of its details and its treatment of modern practice, arrangements were made to issue an English edition, and I am indebted to them for the careful oversight of my translation."





tables charts common inorganic substances


By Wilhelm Segerblom, 1909

"The tables on the following pages give the principal properties of such substances as may reasonably be looked for in a course in Qualitative Analysis. No attempt is made to record every known salt of every metal. Consequently, only the metals of the six groups usually studied are included, together with their oxides, hydroxides and more common salts. To increase the value of the book for general reference, tables are added covering the acids, non-metals and rare metals."





Dyestuffs & coal-tar products: their chemistry, manufacture and application


their chemistry, manufacture and application, including Chapters on Modern Inks, Photographic Chemicals, Synthetic Drugs, Sweetening Chemicals, and other Products derived from Coal Tar.

By Thomas Beacall; F. Challenger, Ph.D., B,Sc; Geoffrey Martin, Ph.D., M.Sc, B.Sc; and Henry J. S. Sand, D.Sc, Ph.D., 1915


"The section on dyes has been brought as thoroughly as possible up to date, and the remarkable new dyes derived from indigo, as well as the anthracene vat dyes and sulphide dyes, have received special attention..."





The chemistry of the coal-tar colors


By Rudolf Benedikt, 1889


"...of these artificial coloring matters only very few of the many organic substances employed are obtained from the vegetable kingdom (e.g., tannin, which after its conversion into pyrogallol is used for the preparation of cerulein). The greater part of the materials which serve to furnish the artificial coloring matters is obtained from coal-tar..."





A dictionary of applied chemistry


By Sir T. E. Thorpe, 1921

...Muller (J. pr. Chem. [ii.] 30, 252) has prepared purples by several processes without the use of tin. A pale rose (containing 01 p.o. of gold) to deep carmine pigment is produced by igniting a well washed and dried mixture of magnesium oxide and gold chloride...





Outlines of industrial chemistry


by Frank Hall Thorp, Warren Kendall Lewis, 1916

"THE object of this book is to furnish, an elementary course in Industrial Chemistry, which may serve as the ground work for a more extended course of lectures, if desired."


(48.9 MB)




Dictionary of arts


Containing a Clear Exposition of their Principles and Practice

by Andrew Ure,
Ed. 7 revised and enlarged 1875, by Robert Hunt, assisted by F.W. Rudler


"Every division of the Arts, - each special process of Manufacture, and all the branches of Mining, have been most cautiously examined, and such improvements, as have been proved to be of real utility, have been recorded in all necessary detail. This has led to an increase in the size of the volumes..."





A practical treatise on the manufacture of colors for painting


Comprising the Origin, Definition, and Classification of Colors; the treatment of the raw materials, the best formula and the newest processes for the preparation of every description of pigment, and the necessary apparatus and directions for its use; dryers; the testing, application, and qualities of paints, etc. etc.

By Jean René Denis Riffault des Hêtres, Armand Denis Vergnaud, G. Alvar Toussaint, revised and edited by M.F. Malepeyre, 1874


"believed to be by far the most thorough and complete treatise upon the important subject which it considers, ever published in the English language.
It comprises some account of those pigments now known to have been used by the ancients; the principles of color as developed by Chevreul; thorough descriptions of the nature and properties of the raw materials used, and the processes and machinery for the manufacture of an immense variety of pigments; the combinations necessary in the compounding of those colors, hues, and tones which are the results of the mixture of colors; practical information as to dryers; and a variety of analyses and tests of pigments, and much other useful information....etc."






Rudiments of the painters' art: or, A grammar of coloring


or, A grammar of coloring- applicable to operative painting, decorative architecture, and the arts. with colored illustrations and practical instructions concerning the modes and materials of painting, etc.

By George Field, 1850


"By the inverted arrangement of the primary colors, Red takes the place of Blue, Yellow that of Red, and Blue that of Yellow; and if these pairs of colors cross each other, or be alternately mixed they constitute an order of secondary colors: thus if Blue be mixed with Yellow, they will form Green; if Yellow be mixed with Red they form Orange color ; and if Red be mixed with Blue they form Purple; and these second denominations, Green, Orange, and Purple, constitute the second order of colors. "




Painters' colours, oils, and varnishes: a practical manual

By George Henry Hurst, ©1892, 1913

"The white pigments are a very important group of painters "colors," probably the most important, as while the red, blue, green, etc., pigments are used simply or almost entirely as coloring pigments, the white pigments are used in two ways— 1st, as "body colors," i.e., to give body or covering power to paint; 2nd, as "coloring pigments." Thus, in making a red paint, white lead or barytes is added to give the necessary body and vermilionette is used to color the paint. On account of this dual feature of the white pigments they merit a more detailed account of each individual member of the group than is necessary for other pigments..."


1st Ed. 1892:

(32.0 MB)




5th Ed. 1913:

(HathiTrust Digital Library)



The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

by Sarah Lowengard,.

All images and editorial material in is protected by copyright. Reproduction is strictly prohibited by law.
An excellent, interesting and important work, this book is a fantastic study of 18th century pigment creation and art techniques.
It has been graciously provided at. for strictly personal use only. Please note this book is still in copyright, copyright info can be found here:


"The coloring material made by precipitating gold in a tin chloride solution is often called purple of Cassius, named after Andreas Cassius, who described it in his treatise De auro (1685). It was known before then, however: it is mentioned by Johann Glauber and Andreas Libavius and the process to make it is described in a fourteenth-century Bolognese manuscript of painters' recipes. This was not the only technique to obtain red colors from gold......"


at only


Note that all works are in copyright and intended for for personal educational use only. They can not be used for profit, reprinted, recompiled, added to another work or any other use without permission.


Condensed record of meeting of Special committee.... U. S. National Bureau of Standards.


U. S. National Bureau of Standards,.1940


"16. The committee then proceeded to a selection of
minimum standards for tinting strength. The Paint Testing and Research Laboratory had prepared painted out panels of eight leading paints of each color. These panels were numbered in code and the committee selected the one to be designated as standard. The members of the committee making the selections had no knowledge of what manufacturers' paints were being considered.
The standards selected are to be duplicated and samples furnished to all manufacturers of artists' oil paints and, in so far as is practical, they will be available to testing laboratories and others who may be required to test artists' oil paints."





Recipes for Color


compiled by an analytical chemist. ©1902


20 lb. copperas, 10 lb. of alum, and 10 lb. of zinc sulphate are dissolved in 50 to 60 gallons' of water, and to this solution is added one of 40 lb. of the red or yellow prussiate of potash, dissolved in 50 to 60 gallons of water. The blue is finished in the ordinary way.
100 lb. of barytes, 3 lb. of Croceine orange, 4 lb. of barium chloride. Dissolve the barytes and Croceine orange in water, and add the barium chloride.
This is prepared from Persian berries, boiling 1 lb. of the berries with 1 oz. of cream of tartar, in 1 gallon of water, straining the clear decoction and adding sufficient alum to precipitate the lake. "





Historical Painting Techniques


Preprints of "A Symposium", University of Leiden, the Netherlands,
26-29 June 1995.
Edited by Arie Wallert, Erma Hermens,
and Marja Peek


"The role of the art historian in the realm of art research is critical. It is the art historian who set the foundation, into which the information gathered by individual researchers of a painting-technique research team is organized, for final interpretation. In the study of painting techniques, two tools used by art historians are very important: connoisseurship and archival research..."




Physical and chemical examination of paints, varnishes, and colors


by Henry A. Gardner, director Scientific Section, Educational Bureau, Paint Manufacturers' Association of the United States, Published: Washington, D.C., ©1922


Partial Contents:

"Examination and Analysis of Varnish Resins 134
Examination of Turpentine and Mineral Spirits 141
Bituminous Paints, Varnishes, Cements and Similar Materials.... 145
Analysis of Paint Pigments 156
Analysis of Lead 0xides 183
Analysis of Vermilions 196
Analysis of Indian Reds, Red Oxides (Prince's Metallic, Tuscan
Red, etc.) 199
Analysis of Ochres (Siennas, Umbers, etc.) 202
Analysis of Yellow and Orange Pigments 205
Analysis of Blue Pigments 208
Analysis of Green Pigments 213
Analysis of Black Pigments 215"





by John Geddes McIntosh (1904)


"Drying Oils.

Definition. — The drying oils are those oils of vegetable origin which,
being liquid at the ordinary temperature, possess the property of gradually and progressively absorbing oxygen from the air at ordinary temperature, and in so doing, instead of yielding a rancid, more or
less viscous, greasy mass, change gradually and eventually by insensible gradations from the original condition of a fluid oil into solid
elastic substances insoluble in the usual oil solvents."

(4.4 MB)




Understanding historical recipes for the modification of linseed oil


by Indra Kneepkens ©2012, p.29, UvA-DARE, Digital Academic Repository of the University of Amsterdam


"The theory about the existence of a ‘copper resinate’, that was used for green translucent glazes and was supposedly made by dissolving verdigris in hot varnish, has led to the frequent identification of such a mixture when resins were identified in green paint layers. I name the Walters passion (late 15th century, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore), the painted wings of the Oplinter retable (early sixteenth century), and the Crucifixion with St Catherine and St Barbara (late fourteenth century, Bruges, Cathedral of the Holy Saviour). Opponents of this theory and have often suggested that the resins were contaminations from conservation treatments or varnishes that were applied on top of these paints. According to Van Eikema Hommes the existence of copper resinate is a myth. She believes verdigris was simply mixed with heat-bodied oil to which perhaps a little ready prepared varnish was added"




edited by Allen Rogers, 1919

"Chrome Green. Chrome green is principally a mixture of Prussian blue and chrome yellow. When chrome green is used as a pigment it should be free from soluble salts, otherwise the soluble salts are liable to affect the linseed oil. A paint which contains chrome green when used at the seashore usually bleaches, so that a paint for that purpose should contain chromium oxide as the pigment.

Chromium Oxide. Chromium oxide is the only perfectly permanent green made. It mixes with every other pigment without decomposition and stands exposure to light without fading or darkening. It is unaffected by alkali.

Zinc Green.
Zinc Greens are usually mixtures of chromate of zinc and Prussian blue and are extremely brilliant and permanent to light, but not permanent to alkali or water. They are largely used in flat wall paints and for paints for interior decoration.

Verte Antique (Copper Green). This is generally bicarbonate of copper. It is used for producing a corroded copper effect, known as verte antique.




Watercolor Painting - Free Art Books | 


art of watercolor


with instructions for sketching form nature: comprising the whole process of water-colored drawing, familiarly exemplified in drawing, shadowing, and tinting a complete landscape... and directions for compounding and using colors, sepia, Indian ink, bister, etc...

by J. Hassell, 1823


"The works on Water-colored Drawing that have hitherto been laid before the public, are usually complained of, for the want of introductory assistance, to lead the Pupil into a progressive study of managing and completing a drawing by himself;.. a Treatise on the Art of Sketching from Nature, and Painting in Water Colors; which received the most unequivocal approbation by passing through several editions."





Theory of Painting


to which is added and index of mixed tints, and an introduction to painting in water colors, with precepts

by T. H. Fielding, 1836


"THE chief effect of improvement in arts and sciences is in their simplification, and consequent greater diffusion, giving increased advantages to subsequent writers, who may condense more than their predecessors, and at the same time be equally well or to better understand..."

(8.1 MB)




practical watercolor


by Mary P. Merrifield, 1850


"to the person unaccustomed to the use of colors it appears a task of considerable difficulty to paint a head from life and to imitate with accuracy and precision or even to be able to distinguish the delicate gradations of the tints and the correct form as modified by perspective... "


(845.5 K)




practice of water-colour painting


by A. L. Baldry, 1911


"The art of water-color painting is capable of being applied in so many ways, and has such a variety of technical possibilities, that an attempt to sum up its processes arbitrarily is practically impossible: the object of this book, therefore, is to show how futile any such attempt would be..."


(6.0 MB)




theory and practice of landscape painting in water-colours


Illustrated by a series of twenty-six drawings and diagrams in color, and numerous woodcuts,

by George Barnard, 1861


"The object of the present work, therefore, is to supply that which the author, in a long course of professional teaching, has found necessary for the advancement of his pupils. The diagrams and illustrations introduced are such as have been found most useful in elucidating the theory and practice of color in landscape painting, and at the same time in diminishing the labor of the pupil in acquiring this valuable and attractive art..."


(12.3 MB)




water color


by Neville Stephen Lytton, 1911


" BY the term water-color, I mean landscape drawings done in wash. There are an immense number of works painted in watercolor which cannot be described as wash drawings. For instance..."


(2.4 MB)




water color painting


a book of elementary instruction for beginners and amateurs,

by Grace Barton Allen, 1903


"This early work is a comprehensive and informative look at the subject of Watercolor painting with much of the information still being useful and practical today. Chapters include; Introduction, colors, Materials, Flowers fruit and still life, Landscapes and Marines, Figures and Animals, Monochrome, Decoration, Composition, Glossary, Index and Color washes..."


(2.7 MB)




watercolor painting


By Henry Warren


"DIFFERENCE OF WATER AND OIL PAINTING. sought to be represented ; in neither is the material of such imitation to be first evident ; and it would appear that approximation to proper means were carried on in both ; and such should art..."







By George Barret, 1840


"The yellow sable, when the soft point has been worn off by frequent use, will answer very well for washing out the clouds. Should the drawing, however, be of a large size, a hog's hair brush, reduced to a point by a long application to oil painting, will answer the purpose better: but as a brush of this kind is seldom met with, except in the hands of an oil painter, one may be ground to this form upon a rough stone with water, and if skillfully managed will produce effectually the appearance of light floating clouds. As these differ in hue each succeeding afternoon according to the state of the atmosphere, the following colours, if judiciously mixed, will produce every modification of tint that may be required. Such parts of the clouds as oppose the sun's light must be tinged with Yellow Ochre, and graduated with Light Red, or Burnt Sienna, towards the part; and the clouds above them, darker than the blue, will require Cobalt and Indian Red, or Brown Madder, for the purplish tint usually seen at this time"





water color painting


Oil and Water-Color Painting contrasted—Ambitious Mistakes of Beginners—Water-Color Painting To-day—Methods— The best way to begin...

By Mary L. Breakell, 1904


"The art of Water-Color painting today, broadly speaking, may be practised by two methods—that of the Body-Color School, which uses Chinese White and other heavy pigments more or less throughout the work, and that of the more legitimate and earlier English Transparent Color School, which uses opaque color as little as possible, and eschews Chinese White altogether."





water color masters


by H. M. Cundall and C. Geoffrey Holme. ©1922-1923


"The earliest form of painting was with colors ground in water. Egyptian artists three thousand years B.C. used this method, and various mediums, such as wax and mastic, were added as a fixative. It was what is now known as tempera painting. The Greeks acquired their knowledge of the art from the Egyptians, and later the Romans dispersed it throughout Europe. They probably introduced tempera painting into this country for decoration of the walls of their houses. The English monks visited the Continent and learnt the art of miniature painting for illuminating their manuscripts by the same process. Owing to opaque white being mixed with the colors the term of painting in body-color came in use. Painting in this manner was employed by artists throughout Europe in making sketches for their oil paintings.
Two such drawings by Albrecht Dürer, produced with great freedom in the early part of the sixteenth century, are in the British Museum. The Dutch masters also employed the same means. Holbein introduced the painting of miniature portraits into this country, for although the monks inserted figures in their illuminations, little attempt was made in producing likenesses. As early as the middle of the seventeenth century the term 'water colors' came into use...."





watercolor painting


By Adolf Dehn, 1945


Available in a protected DAISY file only. It can only be opened with a key issued by the Library of Congress:.




painting trees


by William Henry James Boot, 1883


" I DON'T know how it is, but I can't do trees," is a remark an artist frequently hears; and it is too often justified by the poor and crude attempts at tree delineation that accompany it...





art studio watercolors


Facts and Fancies about Art, Pictures, Together with a Plain Guide to Water-Color Painting and Sketching from Nature

By John Ivey, 1903


"...Since water-color has asserted itself in the hands of many of the world's great modern masters as the best medium of interpreting the tenderest and most charming passages of atmospheric effects, and, moreover, has been proved to be absolutely permanent in character, there is naturally a rapidly increasing interest exhibited toward it on the part of all lovers of pictures and of wealthy collectors...









A practical treatise on drawing and on painting in water colors


with illustrative examples in pencil, in sepia, and in water colors, leading the pupil progressively, from the first rudiments, to the completion of works of art in their finished state; comprehending the treatment of coast scenery, river scenery, and general landscape.

By Giles Firman Phillips, 1839







by Martin F. Gleason, ©1921

"The teacher may do much good developing by having children observe the shapes of leaves and petals and showing through demonstration how to form them with the brush. Children may do some experimenting on a separate piece of paper before painting the flower study. Observation to obtain facts concerning plant characteristics and imitation in developing technique will go a long way toward bringing satisfactory results in this line of work."



online version seems to be missing a few image plates, PDF looks OK



Water Color Painting


a book of elementary instruction for beginners and amateurs

by Grace Barton Allen With Illustrations By The Author, Published 1898


"Before the student begins to put color on his paper, he should consider just what he intends to do, and how he intends to set about it. He ought to understand the reason for every touch he gives his work, otherwise it is of no value to him. If he arrives at a point from which he does not know how to go on, he should not continue to paint at random, but should lay down his brush, and not take it up again until he has fully decided upon the course he will pursue. "





The Camera


or the Art of Drawing in Water Colors
with Instructions for Comprising the Whole Process of Water-colored drawing |
familiarly Exemplified in Drawing, Shadowing, and Tinting a Complete Landscape, in all its Progressive Stages: and Directions for Compounding and Using Colors Sepia, Indian Ink, Bister, Etc.

by J.Hassell, Published 1823


"Your sponge, which should be in size a small handful, immerse into a basin of clear water; squeeze it gently until you discharge what is superfluously held in it; with the sponge thus charged with water carefully pass over the sky backwards and forwards, until your drawing appears even and soft to the eye; if any marks are visible, from the water opposing the tint, or any settlement of color ensues, apply the sponge smartly to the part and in a short space of time, it will disappear. I Again let your drawing dry, and then commence to forming your clouds with the weakest tint; put in your shadows, easing off the part that runs into the light side of the clouds. I must again caution you from ever attempting to lay one color on the other without assuring yourself the first tint is quite dry..."




Other Arts, Sculpture, Print Making, Etc. - Free eBooks  | 


Wood Block Printing


A Description Of The Craft Of Woodcutting & Color Printing Based On The Japanese Practice

by F. Morley Fletcher, 1916?, with drawings and illustrations by the author and A. W. Seaby. Also collotype reproductions Of various examples of
Printing, and an original Print designed and cut by The author printed by hand on Japanese paper


"On a merely superficial acquaintance the Japanese craft of block-printing may appear to be no more than a primitive though delicate form of colour reproduction, which modern mechanical methods have long superseded, even in the land of its invention; and that to study so limited a mode of expression would be hardly of any practical value to an artist. Moreover, the craft is under the disadvantage that all the stages of the work, from making the first design to taking the final impressions, must be done by the artist himself—work which includes the delicate cutting of line and planning of colour blocks, and the preparation of colour and paper. In Japan there were trained craftsmen expert in each of these branches of the craft, and each carried out his part under the supervision of the artist."




public domain


By Daya Filmaker, copyright ©2006 by Keith Aoki, James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins


"This book is about the effects of intellectual property on culture – something of interest to artists and citizens around the world. Reflecting the authors’ expertise, the legal discussion in the book is primarily focused on US law, which has strongly influenced the global cultural marketplace..."


with page flipping and a magnifier tool. Requires flash player ( ) and high-speed connection, loading may take a few minutes

- the entire comic in one downloadable file


- Read the book!





By William Ordway Partridge


" Sculpture is the oldest of the arts. Long before the Scriptures were written we find products of it in ancient Egypt. It is the most enduring, as well as the most ancient, of all arts..."





glass painting


By Charles Winston, 1865


"It is evident, 'he observes,' that the first step towards elevating glass-painting to the rank it once held among the arts, is to estimate its productions by those sound rules of criticism which are alike applicable to all works of art.."


(25.8 MB)




Beautiful Women in Art


By Armand Dayot, 1902


"A GENERAL view of the portraits of women reproduced in this volume, portraits of women belonging to the most remote antiquity, as well as those of lovely contemporaries, shows very clearly that the author found himself compelled to choose, from among the innumerable feminine representations which we owe to the brush of the painter and the chisel of the sculptor, those in which the genius of the author and the beauty of the model are most perfectly expressed..."





Beautiful Women In Art


By Armand Dayot, 1902


"O designate a feminine type in which beauty depends upon the incessant play of expression, the in- tense, changeable animation of the physiognomy, we usually say: an eighteenth century. And, in fact, this type is to be met with in the definitive form of the masterpiece, in the works of La Rosalba, Watteau, Latour, Fragonard, and others..."





art of bookbinding


by Joseph William Zaehnsdorf, 1880


"This book is intended to give the amateur sufficient knowledge to enable him to avoid such mistakes in his purchases, and at the same time give him as much instruction as will, if his inclination and time permit, enable him to bind his own volumes as his wishes and taste may dictate. To this end I have endeavoured to explain, in as concise a manner as possible, the various branches of the trade..."


(9.6 MB)




art of magic


Being Volume 1 of the Magic Art Series

by donald Holms 1920


"...I make no apologies for the inclusion of certain known tricks and devices. The book is not intended so much for the collector of magical literature as for that great host of aspiring amateurs, who, seeking after enlightenment in the world of conjuring..."


(4.8 MB)




Art of Magic


Thomas Nelson Downs, 1921


"For the purpose of this book it will be convenient to divide magic into three branches: manual dexterity, mental subtleties and the surprising results produced by a judicious and artistic blending of the second and third branches..."


(7.7 MB)




art of brewing


by David Booth, 1829


"The artificial formation of exhilarating and intoxicating liquors has been practised in most ages and nations..."


(7.0 MB)




art of miniature painting


by Charles William Day, 1852


"...Almost every painter sees nature with a different eye, and uses different colours to imitate it, some more successfully than others; the colours, however, to be shortly mentioned below, will produce every effect that may be required..."



(947.7 K)







art of fresco


as practised by the old Italian and Spanish Masters,
a preliminary inquiry the nature the colours used in fresco painting, with observations and notes.
Mrs. Merrifield, translator of Cennino Cennini

By Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, 1846


"The revival of the art of Fresco Painting in the nineteenth century, will be an epoch in the fine arts, and, will probably, be the means of forming a great school of painting in this country, and lead to the improvement of the sister arts of sculpture and architecture..."


(9.2 MB)




Stained Glass Art


by Henry Holiday, 1896


"...for this purpose three things are indispensable : 1. A brief but clear account of the technique and methods pertaining to the material. 2. An examination into the artistic possibilities inherent in it from the point of view of its technique. 3. A consideration of the artistic question in relation to the situation and purpose of the work..."


(11.8 MB)




wood carving


by George Alfred Rogers, 1867


"...In commencing the study of wood-carving it will be well to see that the necessary implements and materials are at our hand; I will, therefore, give in this section a list and description of the various items we shall require in the course of our work..."



(Open Library)

(Open Library)

(Open Library)






Wood Carving Manual


By Charles Godfrey Leland, 1891


"..the author has endeavoured in these pages to treat wood-carving not merely as a fine art, whose chief aim is to produce specimens of fancy work for exhibitions, and facsimiles of flowers, never to be touched, but also to qualify the learner for a calling, and what nine-tenths of all practical wood-carving really consists of..."





blacksmith art


by Thomas Francis Googerty, 1915


"...The artistic success of this book lies in the evident fact that the work represented appears 'Hand wrought and fashioned to beauty and use'..."


(3.2 MB)




Art of Paper


by Rensselaer W Daniels, 1905


"...As in the case of many useful arts, the earliest beginnings of paper-making, properly so-called, must be traced among the Chinese; but it is worth while to bestow some attention upon a material which anticipated both the name and function of paper..."


(1.4 MB)




art of photography


by Paul Lewis Anderson, 1919


"THERE are almost as many definitions of the phrase " fine art " as there are writers on the subject, one author even maintaining that any beautiful object produced by man is a work of fine art, a definition which would obviously include Oriental rugs, automobiles, grand pianos and repeating rifles; but the definition which the present author prefers, and on which the discussion in the following pages is based, is as follows: A fine art is any medium of expression which permits one person to convey to another an abstract idea of a lofty or ennobling character, or to arouse in another a lofty emotion."


(16.5 MB)




Master Art Forger


by John Godley, ©1951


"...It is a fact that he proceeded to paint six spurious "Vermeers" and forge two "de Hoochs" and that these pictures were unanimously hailed as outstanding examples from the Brushes of two of the greatest artists of all time, — The experts and the connoisseurs agreed on that... "


(20.4 MB)







Forgers Dealers Experts Strange Chapters In The History Of Art


by Sepp Schuller, ©1960


"Who are the forgers and who are the experts? It is not always easy to say, so great is the skill and ingenuity employed by forgers when copying a work of art. The greatest art experts can be, and have been, taken in by a clever piece of forgery, and though the forger's motives are questionable — his skill deserves recognition...!"


(24.4 MB)






Creative Ceramics A Primitive Craft Becomes A Fine Art


by Kartherine Morris Lester, ©1948


"...It was, no doubt, the highly plastic quality of clay and its sensitive response to the slightest pressure that fascinated the primitives. It is this same plastic quality which, charmlike, continues to hold the interest of moderns..."


(13.7 MB)




Principles of Light and Color


Including Among Other Things The Harmonic Laws of The Universe, The Etherio - Atomic Philosophy of Force, Chromo Chemistry, Chromo Therapeutics, And The General Philosophy of The Fine Forces, Together With Numerous Discoveries And Practical Applications

By Edwin D. Babbitt, 1878


"it seemed quite possible at last to crystallize the subjects of Light, Color, and other Fine Forces into a science, and learn their chemical and therapeutical potencies as well as many of their mystic relations to physical and psychological action..."


(14.0 MB)




The art of illumination


With a description of the metals, pigments, and processes employed by the artists at different periods

By Henry Shaw. 1870


"Of all the relics of the middle ages which have been preserved to our times, none possess a greater amount of interest, or more varied instruction, than illuminated manuscripts. Whether we regard them, in their almost infinite variety, as an assemblage of all that is most graceful in design and gorgeous in coloring..."







by:, ©1947
Publisher: The Manual Arts Press


"All plans and information on the use of native American materials in handcraft work have been selected and set down only after diligent effort on the part of the author of this book."



(5.4 MB)



The Druggist's General Receipt Book



by Henry Beasley, Copyright ©1876-1886, Lindsay And Blakiston


"Comprising a copious veterinary formulary numerous recipes in patent and proprietary medicines druggists' nostrums, etc. Perfumery and cosmetics beverages, dietetic articles, and condiments trade chemicals, scientific processes and an appendix of useful tables "


(21.9 MB)


(chest of Books)




1000 Secret Recipes


by C. A. Bogardus, 1907,
Copyrighted 1898
By C. A. BOGARDUS Revised and Enlarged
1907, Fourteenth Edition


" HARTER'S IRON TONIC.—Calisaya Bark two ozs., Citrate of Iron two ozs., Gentian two ozs., Cardamon Seed two ozs., Syrup two ozs., Alcohol two ozs., Water eight ozs. Mix.

HALL'S BALSAM FOR THE LUNGS.—Fluid Extract Ipecac one-half oz., Fluid Extract Squills one oz., Chloroform one-fourth oz., Wine of Tar one oz., Tinct. Opium, one-fifth oz., Fluid Extract of Mullen one oz., Syrup enough to make one pint.

GODFREY'S CORDIAL.—Tinct. Opium six ozs., Molasses four pints, Alcohol eight ozs., Water six pints, Carbonate Potash four drams., Oil Sassafras cut with Alcohol one dram. Dissolve the Potash in water, add the Molasses; heat over a gentle fire till it simmers, remove the scum, add the other ingredients, the oil dissolved in the Alcohol.

HOOD'S SARSAPARILLA.—Fluid Extract Sarsaparilla one oz., Fluid Extract Yellow Dock one oz., Fluid Extract Poke Root, one-half oz., Iodide of Potash one-half oz., Syrup Orange Peel one oz., Alcohol four ozs., Syrup enough to make one pint.

HAMLIN'S WIZARD OIL.—Oil Sassafras two ozs., Oil Cedar one oz., Gum Camphor one oz., Sulph. Ether two ozs., Chloroform two ozs., Tinct. Capsicum one oz., Aqua Ammonia two ozs., Oil Turpentine one oz., Tinct. Quassia three ozs., Alcohol half a gallon. Mix and you have a fine liniment. "





The Principles Of Aesthetics


by DeWitt H. Parker, ©1920


"Although some feeling for beauty is perhaps universal among men, the same cannot be said of the understanding of beauty. The average man, who may exercise considerable taste in personal adornment, in the decoration of the home, or in the choice of poetry and painting, is at a loss when called upon to tell what art is or to explain why he calls one thing "beautiful" and another "ugly." Even the artist and the connoisseur, skilled to produce or accurate in judgment, are often wanting in clear and consistent ideas about their own works or appreciations. "





Paper making


by Richard Herring, Third Edition.1863, Introductory Preface
By the late Rev. George Croly, LL.D.


"On the Materials employed in the Formation of Paper — Method of Preparation — Processes of Comminution — Washing, Bleaching, etc., described — Paper Making by Hand — Paper-making Machine — Sizing Apparatus — Cutting Machine, etc., explained — General Observations on what are termed Water Marks — Manner of effecting the same — Importance frequently attached to them — Ireland's Fabrication of the Shakespeare MSS. — Difficulty of procuring suitable Paper for the purpose — On the perfection to which Water Marks have now attained, especially with reference to the production of Light and Shade, as seen in the New Bank Note, etc. etc.."


(9.3 MB)




art of making paper


A practical handbook of the manufacture of paper from rags, esparto, straw, and other fibrous materials, including the manufacture of pulp from wood fibre

by Alexander Watt, F.R.S.A., 1907


"...many of the substances from which cellulose, or vegetable fibre, can be separated for the purposes of paper-making with advantage; but the vegetable kingdom furnishes in addition a vast number of plants and vegetables which may also be used with the same object. We have seen voluminous lists of fibre-yielding materials which have been suggested as suitable for paper- making..."


(15.2 MB)
(11.2 M)






a complete guide to the manufacture of paper

by James Dunbar, 1881


"Recipes for High-class Papers:

In making papers of superior quality, considerable experience and skill are necessary in selecting and blending the material. The following receipts will produce papers, smooth, strong, tough, and possessing elasticity of feel and clearness of color:

S.P.F.F., 1/4; Dark Fines, 1/4;
Green Linen, 1/4; New Pieces, 1/4 ;
4 oz. ultramarine, marked B.B.A.C. ; 1 1/2 gill cochineal ; 40 Ib. pearl hardening.

Dark Fines, 1/4 ; S.P.F., 1/4; Superfines,
1/4; Spanish Esparto, Fine, 1/4;
6 oz. ultramarine, B.B.A.C. ; 1 gill cochineal ; 40 Ib. pearl hardening ; 14 Ib. dry starch. "


(4.1 MB)




Henley's twentieth century forrmulas, recipes and processes


containing ten thousand selected household and workshop formulas, recipes, processes and moneymaking methods for the practical use of manufacturers, mechanics, housekeepers and home workers

Edited by Gardner D. Hiscox, M.e.. 1916



Version I.—
Oil of wormwood... 96 drops;
Oil of star anise... 72 drops;
Oil of aniseed 48 drops;
Oil of coriander... 48 drops;
Oil of fennel, pure. 48 drops;
Oil of angelica root 24 drops;
Oil of thyme 24 drops
Alcohol (100% pure).... 162 fluid ounces;
Distilled water.... 30 fluid ounces;

Dissolve the oils in the alcohol, add the water, color green, and filter clear.

Version II.—
Oil of wormwood.. 36 drops;
Oil of orange peel. 30 drops;
Oil of star anise... 12 drops;
Oil of neroli petate. 5 drops;
Fresh oil of lemon. 9 drops;
Acetic ether 24 drops;
Sugar 30 avoirdupois ounces;
Alcohol, deodorized 90 fluid ounces;
Distilled water.... 78 fluid ounces;

Dissolve the oils and ether in the alcohol and the sugar in the water; then mix thoroughly, color green, and filter clear.."

(29.0 MB)


(google, 1914 edition)



A concise history of ancient institutions, inventions, and Discoveries in Science And Mechanic Art vol 1


Volume 1

Abridged and translated with important additions by Johann Beckmann, 1823


Partial contexts of first section:

Of Spinning-Machines; — Penalties against Sorcery; — Lapland Wizards; — Magic Drum; — Ancient Books on Conjuration; — Antiquity of Deceptions with Fire; — Trial by Ordeal; — Hirpi; — Modern Fire-Eaters; — Cups and Balls :— Feats of Strength; — Tumbling; — Rope-Dancing and Horsemanship; — Learned Animals; — Dancing Bears; — Bees; — Deformed Persons ; — Stone Eaters


Section on Indigo:

"The dye-stuff termed 'indigo' is a friable substance obtained from the fermented and desiccated juice of certain plants, known to botanists by the generic title of indigo (era tinctoria), and is employed to impart the various tints of blue and purple. It appears to have been manufactured in the East-Indies from the earliest periods of which we have any authentic account, and it is remarkable that it still preserves its ancient appellation...

,,,that a decree was published, in 1577, prohibiting the newly-invented, fraudulent, destructive, and corrosive dye, called the devil's dye, for which vitriol and other pernicious substances were used instead of woad."








A concise history of ancient institutions, inventions, and Discoveries in Science And Mechanic Art vol 2


Volume 2

Abridged and translated with important additions by Johann Beckmann, 1823


"Ancient Process Of Making Verdigris:

The greater part of our verdigris was formerly manufactured at Montpelier. The process is simple: the dried stalks of grapes being steeped in strong wine, are brought to a sour fermentation, after which they are placed in an earthen-pot, with alternate layers of plates of copper, the surface of which becomes corroded in a short time, and the calx is then scraped off.....


The word ultramarine or azurrum ultramarinum seems to have been common about the end of the fifteenth century. In the beginning of the sixteenth century, Vanuccio Biringoccio, gave directions for preparing the real ultramarine, which he has sufficiently distinguished from copper azure, or azurro dell' Alemagna, describing it as being made from the lapis lazuli..."








Partly Based Upon The Twenty-eighth Edition Of Scientific American Cyclopedia of Receipts, Notes And Queries
Edited By Albert A. Hopkins, C 1910


Picture Varnish.

1. —Several varnishes are called by this name. Tale copal or mastic varnish is generally used for oil paintings, and crystal, white hard spirit, or mastic varnish, for water-color drawings on paper.

2. —Solution of Venice turpentine, 8 kilos, and sandarac, 8 kilos, in spirit, 28 kilos.

3. —Mastic, 175 parts; turpentine, 45 parts; camphor, 15 parts; pulverized glass, 150 parts; alcohol, 110 parts. Mix and dissolve.

4. —Mastic Varnish.—a.—Fine. Very pale and picked gum mastic, 5 lb.; glass pounded as small as barley, and well washed and dried. 2 1/2 lb.: rectified turpentine, 2 gal.: put them into a clean 4 gal. stone or tin bottle, bung down securely, and keep rolling it backward and forward pretty smartly on a counter or any other solid place for at least 4 hours: when, if the gum is all dissolved, the varnish may be decanted, strained through muslin into another bottle, and allowed to settle. It should be kept for 6 or 9 months before use. as it thereby gets both tougher and clearer.

b.—Second Quality.—Mastic, 8 lb.; turpentine, 4 gal.; dissolve by a gentle heat, and add pale turpentine varnish, 1/2 gal.


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Artist Reference Resources:

Historical Artist and Pigment Reference Sources:  
This is just a partial list, for a more complete listing of Historical Pigment References see the

  1. ,
    By Alvah Horton Sabin, Published by J. Wiley & Sons, 1904
  2. ,
    By Franklin B. Gardner, Published by M.T. Richardson, 1887
  3. ,
    By Jehan Georges Vibert, Published by P. Young, 1892
  4. ,
    By Cennino Cennini, Giuseppe Tambroni, Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, Translated by Mary Philadelphia Merrifield, Published by Lumley, 1844
  5. ,
    By Leonardo Da Vinci, John Francis Rigaud, Published by J.B. Nichols and Son 1835
  6. ,
    By Cennino Cennini, Cennini, Christiana Jane Powell Herringham, Translated by Christiana Jane Powell Herringham, Published by G. Allen & Unwin, ltd., 1899
  7. ,
    By Arthur Herbert Church, Published by Seeley, 1901
  8. ,
    By William J. Muckley, Published by Baillière, Tindall, and Cox, 1880
  9. ,
    By Henry Hartshorne 1881
  10. ,
    By Ernest John Parry, John Henry Coste, Published by Scott, Greenwood, 1902
  11. ,
    By Arthur Pillans Laurie, Published by Macmillan, 1895
  13. ,
    By Maximilian Toch 1911


Modern Pigment and Artist Reference Sources:

  1. ,
    by Pip Seymour, Arcturus Publishing (September 16, 2003)
  2. ,
    Ray Smith; DK Publishing 2003
  3. ,
    Third edition, by Ralph Mayer; Viking Press 1979

  4. Edited by Robert L. Feller

  5. Edited by Ashok Roy (Oct 2, 1993)

  6. Edited by Elisabeth West Fitzhugh (Oct 1997)

  7. Edited by Barbara Berrie (Jun 7, 2007)
  8. ,
    Simon Jennings; HarperCollins Publishers 2003
  9. ,
    The Society of Dyers and colourists, third edition 1998
  10. Ralph Mayer, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969
  11. ,
    by Jonathan Stephenson (May 1993)
  12. ,
    Mark David Gottsegen; Watson-Guptill Publications 1993
  13. ,
    by Rutherford J. Gettens and George L. Stout; Dover Publications 1966
  14. ,
    by Nicholas Eastaugh, Valentine Walsh, Tracey Chaplin, Ruth Siddall; Butterworth Heinemann 2004



Web Resources and Art Suppliers with Excellent Reference Materials:

  1. (AIC):

    National membership organization in the United States dedicated to the preservation of cultural material, establishes and upholds professional standards, promoting research and publications, educational opportunities, and fostering the exchange of knowledge among conservators, allied professionals, and the public.

  2. :
    a resource for artists dedicated to providing the most comprehensive, up-to-date, accurate, and unbiased factual information about artists' materials

  3. has done a extremely thorough job of indicating the pigments used in most of the paints they sell, making the Dick Blick art supply website much more than just a store to purchase paint and art supplies.

    for of most of the products they sell, making the Blick site a valuable resource for toxicity info and the health and safety of artist materials.
  4. ,
    a large and thorough site on pigments, in Finnish
  5. (CAMEO),,
    developed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), to be a more comprehensive and well-rounded encyclopedic resource for the art conservation and historic preservation fields. The MATERIALS database contains chemical, physical, visual, and analytical information on over 10,000 historic and contemporary materials used in the production and conservation of artistic, architectural, archaeological, and anthropological materials.
  6. (CoOL):
    A freely accessible platform to generate and disseminate vital resources for those working to preserve cultural heritage worldwide.

  7. site by Bruce MacEvoy has loads of excellent information on and showing where the actual pigments are in color space. Truly an awesome site, the site is directed at watercolors, but is a good general reference for any paints or pigments.
  8. ;
    Great pigment sight that even includes step by step instructions for making you own pigments.
  9. ;
    by Don Jusko is also a great color site.

  10. has a fantastic sorted by the marketing paint color name and brand.
  11. ;
    A Searchable Database of Health & Safety Information for Artists
  12. ;
    Health and safety information on household products from the US Department of Health and Human Services

  13. One of the best sources of rare natural and historical pigments and information.
  14. by Julie C. Sparks, is part of. Wonderful stuff.
  15. : By Tony Johansen, Great Paint making site with all types of useful pigment and binder information for the artist.
  16. Paint & Coatings Indusry
         by Darlene Brezinski, Dr. Joseph V. Koleske, Robert Springate, June 4, 2010;

  17. Full Range of art supplies at discount prices and has pigment info on most paints they sell

  18. Has a huge amount of pigments and information.

  19. Specializes in earth pigments.

  20. Many rare and out of production Pigments mostly in aqueous dispersions

  21. Lots of Pigments & info

Health and Safety in the Arts References and Info:

  1. Consumer Product Safety Commission

  2. Consumer Product Safety Commission

  3. Environmental Protection, Health & Safety, California State University at Monterey Bay

  4. Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology, Oregon Health & Science University

  5. U. S. Environment Protection Agency

  6. Scott Fields. Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 105, Number 3, March 1997

  7. CoOL – Conservation Online, Stanford University Libraries

  8. American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Work

  9. Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Connecticut College

  10. The Occupational Health Service Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago

  11. The Occupational Health Service Institute, University of Illinois at Chicago

  12. New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health

  13. Gamblin Artists Colors



other ASTM specifications used the the labeling of artists materials are:


See also proposed revision

See also proposed revision

WK28388 New Specification for Traditional Artists Watercolor Paints
WK37409 New Test Method for Measuring Aspiration Potential of Aerosol Products
WK37916 New Specification for Standard Specification for Artists Pastels


I hope you you have found the Pigment Database useful info for oil painting and watercolor painting, acrylic painting or indeed any painting medium; I have tried to make this a good resource for the fine arts, that has the important information on toxicity of paint and art materials including the hazards of some craft materials used by decorators, interior designers, illustration and graphic designer;


© 2013 by David Myers all rights reserved



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