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An Ancestor of Paint-By-Numbers

The modern form of Paint-By-Numbers was a fad that swept the country in the 1950s, but it had an 18th century antecedent in the work of William Gilpin. Gilpin, a landscape artist whose work influenced the Romantic movement, published several books in the 1780s which combined travel writing with Gilpin’s philosophy of art, and included etchings of Gilpin’s watercolors of the scenery. Gilpin advised his readers to construct a table of different colors, each numbered, and carry that table with them when they went sketching. They could then label each feature of a sketch with the appropriate number, to accurately reproduce the colors when painting the scene later at home.

Published in:John Overholt |on June 14th, 2005 |Comments Off on An Ancestor of Paint-By-Numbers

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