STALKER, John; and George PARKER
A Treatise of Japaning and Varnishing, Being a compleat Discovery of those Arts. With the best way of making all sorts of varnish for japan, wood, prints, or pictures. The method of guilding, burnishing, and lackering, with the art of guilding, separating, and refining metals: and of painting mezzo-tinto-prints. Also rules for counterfeiting tortoise-shell, and marble, and for staining or dying wood, ivory, and horn. Together with above an hundred distinct patterns for japan-work, in imitation of the Indians, for tables, stands, frames, cabinets, boxes, &c
Oxford: Printed for and sold by the Authors, 1688. Folio. (14 1/4 x 9 inches). , 84pp. 24 engraved plates. (Old repair at lower edge of one plate, minor age toning).
Expertly bound to style in period calf, covers bordered with a gilt double fillet, spine with raised bands in six compartments, red morocco lettering piece in the second, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt
Very rare complete copy of an early English pattern book of Oriental designs.
This pattern book for decorating furniture and "smalls" contains a comprehensive account of lacquering techniques of the period and a suite of twenty-four plates by an anonymous artist, engraved with over sixty designs of flowers, birds, insects, and landscapes in the Oriental manner. The work was an important source book for early ceramic designs, particularly Viennese porcelain, and includes a comprehensive account of the techniques to be employed in japaning, gilding, burnishing, the production of glass-prints, varnishing and various trompe-l'oeil techniques amongst others.
"We have laid before you an Art very much admired by us, and all those who hold any commerce with the Inhabitants of Japan; but that Island not being able to furnish these parts with work of this kind, the English and the Frenchmen have endeavored to imitate them, that by these means the Nobility and Gentry might be compleatly furnisht with whole Setts of Japan-work, whereas otherwise they were forc't to content themselves with perhaps a Screen, a Dressing box, or Drinking-bowl, or some odd thing that had not a fellow to answer it: but now you may be stockt with entire Furniture, Tables, Stands, Boxes and Looking-glass-frames, of one make and design, or what fashion you please; and if done by able hands, it may come so near the true Japan, in fineness of Black, and neatness of Draught, that no one by an Artist should be able to distinguish 'em" (Epistle to the Reader and Practicioner).
Three variants are recorded without priority, each with slightly varying imprints and some without Parker's name on the title: this issue with Parker's name and both the Parker and Stalker imprints. The work is rare and copies are frequently incomplete owing to the common practice of removing such patterns for use as transfers. A fine copy with all plates present.
ESTC R229848; Wing S5187A; Hofer, Baroque, pl. 17; Percival "A Treatise on Japaning" in The Connoisseur (1929) 84:153-163; Rostenberg English Publishers in the Graphic Arts, p. 98, no. 54.