International Journal of Art & Design Education

A Preliminary Survey of Drawing Manuals in Britain c. 1825 - 1875

Volume 15.3   1996



Despite this increasing fragmentation of the market during the period under investigation, nineteenth-century manuals possess a striking homogeneity in their terms of discourse; and certain recurring themes can be singled out as underpinning the conceptual framework within which drawing instruction tended to operate. First, that drawing is important as a source of useful knowledge and moral edification, especially for the lower social classes; secondly, that the exercise of drawing is particularly suited to training eye and hand; thirdly, that drawing and writing are fundamentally related as forms of visual and manual expression, making it advantageous to learn them in tandem; fourthly, that drawing is a universal language, comprehensible to people of all races and nationalities, and therefore of great utility in commerce and industry; and, lastly, that drawing provides a means of intellectual and moral refinement, exercising an elevating influence.