The Artist's Assistant, In the Study and Practice of Mechanical Sciences: Calculated for the Improvement of Genius. Illustrated with Copper-Plates — Birmingham, [ca. 1785]

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Above all, nature is the grand object of his me-
ditation, and outfit never to be out of his fight; na-
ture is the only fource of beauty, for nothing can
be pleafmg that is not natural. The defigner who
overfteps the modefty of nature may court applaufe
from the ignorant and vulgar, but muft not expect
the approbation of the difcerning and polite.

Defign comprehends invention and difpofition;
invention furnifhes the fubject, and difpofition
places that fubject in the moft proper fituation for
exhibition ; nature fupplies the objects ; art con-
trails, diverfihes, and groups them. But, as every
painter may not have time or opportunity to view
nature in all her various lights, he will do well to
contemplate the works of thofe great mafters who
knew how to make a judicious choice of fubjects,
and to execute them with tafte and effect. On thefe
he may rely, almoft as confidently as on nature her-
felf, and will find them of the utmofbufe to affile
his invention. Genius need not difdain to call to
its aid the productions of kindred genius; and (as
a wit hath remarked) the young painter who fhould
neglect the ftudy of the moft eminent profeffors of
that fcience, on pretence of fetting up for an ori-
ginal, would be efteemed really an original.

An author, whofe title to genius is indilputable,
will not write the worfe for having learned his
grammar, and for being acquainted with what other
writers have faid upon the fubject which he pur-
pofes to illuftrate. An intimate knowledge of the
beauties of the antients will be of no fmall advan-
tage ; for they made nature their peculiar ftudy, and
tranfmitted to us examples in fculpture, which have
triumphed equally over the rage of time and Bar-
barians ; examples which have ever been confider-
ed as forming a perfect Rule of Beauty.

A clofe.
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