London: Printed for Edward Orme by J. Hayes, 1810. Item #02777
"We Didn't Need Dialogue. We Had Faces!"
1810 Physiognomy Color Plates Predate Norma Desmond
BOBBIN, Timothy (pseudonym of John Collier, 1708-1786). The Passions, Humourously Delineated. Containing Twenty-Five Plates, With His Portrait, Title Plate, and Poetical Descriptions. London: Printed for Edward Orme by J. Hayes, 1810.
Second, revised edition (the first with color plates), later issue. Quarto (9 1/2 x 7 3/8 in; 242 x 188 mm). Twenty-five hand-colored stipple- and line-engraved plates, one plain stipple- and line-engraved portrait as frontispiece. Plates watermarked "J. Whatman 1825."
Contemporary full straight-grained morocco with triple fillets and broad gilt-tooled frame enclosing an inner blind stamped frame. Gilt ornamented and lettered spine. All edges gilt. Gilt-rolled turn-ins. A fine copy.
Originally published in 1773 with twenty-six plates as Human Passions Delineated in Above 120 Figures: Droll, Satyrical, and Humorous: Designed in the Hogarthian Style, Very Useful for Young Practitioners in Drawing (Manchster: J. Heywood).
British satirist John Collier (1708-1786), under the pseudonym Tim Bobbin, “developed his trade as a painter … producing inn signs, painted panels, and grotesque caricatures which were widely distributed, reaching the American colonies via a Liverpool merchant. He promoted and distributed his own work, traveling all over northern England collecting and delivering orders and commissions for books and pictures and consuming the proceeds as he went...
“…In 1773 was published his Human Passions Delineated, an upmarket edition of his caricatures which acted as a catalogue, in which he described himself as the ‘Lancashire Hogarth’… The 1810 London edition of Human Passions systematically softened his caricatures… The Victorian antiquary W. E. Axon thought his pictures ‘execrable … gross and cruel’, while the Dictionary of National Biography found them ‘grotesque’ and ‘absolutely devoid of artistic merit’”(Oxford DNB).
An 1803 edition from J. Hartley featured restrikes from the original plates, as did an 1820 edition from J. Westall. One can only imagine their poor quality, which is one reason why these editions were not avidly acquired by institutions and the present edition so desirable. Bond Street print publisher Edward Orme (1775-1848) resurrected Collier’s caricatures in 1810. His edition was subsequently reprinted by others in 1846 and 1858.
In these prints we see the origins of Louis-Leopold Boilly's Recueil de Grimaces (96 lithographs, 1822-27), which was greatly influenced by the illustrations within Johann Kaspar Lavater's Physiognomische Fragmente zur Beförderung der Menschenkenntnis und Menschenliebe (1775–1778), that book in turn inspired by Charles Le Brun's illustrations in his posthumously issued Characteres des passions (1698). Lavater's book found admirers in France and England as well as Germany but Collier/Bobbin, in 1773, beat Lavater to England with the concept by two years. The study of physiognomy as a window into character was well-accepted by the ancient Greek philosophers, but fell into disrepute in the Middle Ages. It was then revived and popularized by Lavater before falling from favor again in the late 19th century.
Here, then, is an early and unheralded addition to the genre, which, in its first crude edition of 1773, predates Lavater, and here in its second edition (the first nearly unobtainable) still setting the stage for Boilly and the popular craze for reading faces for personality and the passions.
"The engraved designs of this once famous Lancashire artist having been many years out of print, and now almost unknown to the world at large, the publisher, from a love of the early productions of art in his native country, has undertaken this new work, relying on the patronage of the admirers of originality and genius" (Edward Orme, opening Address).
Not in Abbey, or Tooley.
Out of stock