Guide For Drawing The Acanthus


Well-known member
It's only taken a decade or two, but I finally found an affordable copy of I. Page's Guide To Drawing The Acanthus, c1840. While I'm not a carver, I've seen this title referred to enough times that I wanted to read one, if not hold the real thing, if not actually own it.

Sorry Kessinger, Google books does not do it for me.

Courtesy of the Liverpool Library which saw fit to discard this copy, it's now in my hands.  Page is not one to fear to state his thoughts:

"To enable those who have not talent in arrangement, sufficient to complete their perseverance in study, I would advise them to notice the general variety of diagrams heretofore given..." p.161

Has anyone here referred to this title when carving? From the number of editions, it would seem to have been a fairly popular title throughout the 19th C.
I have used Page's book as a reference, but  more for learning to draw than actual carving. As a few mentors have pointed out to me, if you can't draw, you can't carve, and Page has been helpful in that respect. I have used a pdf of the 1886 version from the UC library that's floating around the internet, and a print on demand that isn't too horrible. I believe that is the 1886 edition also. I would be very interested to hear what the differences are in the many editions.

The other (very brief) references that I have used to learn the acanthus are Matthias Lock's "The Principles of Ornament, Or the Youth's Guide to Drawing of Foliage (1762)" and "A New Book of Foliage for the Instruction of Young Artists (1769)." The only place that I know that has reproduced all of Lock's plates was in an old volume of the UK journal "Furniture History."

I'd love to hear more about the Page work if anyone has any information.

While I am thinking of it Gary, I had been meaning to send you an email regarding your reprints, and I thought perhaps some others here in the forum would be interested as well. Does it make a difference to you from which venue I was to purchase one of those volumes? I would just as soon you received as much of the purchase price as possible, and don't know if the percentages varied between sellers.

In a quick comparison of the 1886 and the c1840 editions, the first edition numbers 264 pages plus a tipped in publishers catalog. The 1886 from Google numbers 245 pages. I'll have to compare the two to figure out why the earlier is longer. I suspect there are more engravings in the earlier.

On the question of the reprints, feel free to purchase from wherever: Amazon, PWW, Toolemera site, etc. Pretty much any bookseller, online or brick who uses Bowker ISBN services (which is everyone) will list the titles. They're even turning up in libraries here and there. The percentage does vary across booksellers with the direct Paypal purchase putting the most in my pocket. However, even there, the difference is not all that much.

Truth is, if you buy from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles or any other online bookseller, the process is entirely hands-off for me. These orders go through Ingram to Lightning Source to you. Once a quarter I get a nice check from Lightning Source (the Ingram printer) and that's about it. So it's up to you. Thanks for asking which path would benefit me the most. In time, I'll move entirely to the hands-off system, with the exception of the PWW orders which occur under a special arrangement between F&W and Toolemera Press.

PS: I'm seriously considering Acanthus and Page's other book for future reprint. It's an interesting book for a non-carver such as myself to read.