Explanation and application of elements and rules of perspective. Specially adapted for class instruction.
First edition. Brown cloth 8vo, 95pp, including 62 illustrations. Very Good with moderate mottling to covers and soil to endpapers, otherwise a tight, clean copy. Contemporary gift inscription and signature to the front flyleaf and first blank, contents otherwise unmarked. Perspectival gilt vignette on the cover, which we find particularly delightful.
A sophisticated work covering technical elements of perspective and geometry, written in 1882 by an underrecognized female educator who died at 42. Christina Sullivan (Christine Gordon Sullivan, 1857-1899) was raised in Cincinnati public schools, where Frobelian influence was strong in the late 19th century. In addition to private art instruction, she attended Cooper Union for a year before returning to Cincinnati, where she was appointed Assistant Supervisor of Drawing in 1879, then Superintendent of Drawing in 1884.
“Miss Sullivan had no leisure finding important work for all her time. She had a talent for hard work. In 1882 she published her first book The Elements of Perspective and in 1884 The Eclectic System of Industrial Drawing which was at once adopted for the schools of Cincinnati and is still used with satisfaction. The excellence of her method of teaching drawing has been attested by awards of merit wherever presented in competition…” (Boone, History of the Schools of Cincinnati: And Other Educational Institutions, Public and Private. 1900)
Arthur Forbriger, a previous Superintendent of Drawing whose tenure overlapped with Sullivan as a student in the 1870s, had published a book of “stigmographical” drawing exercises based on the work of Froebel contemporary, Franz Carl Hillardt. Published in 1884, the first edition of Eclectic Drawing began with similar line-dot exercises intended to develop a child’s understanding of form, before their progression to object. (See “Elementary School” by J. Abbott Miller in ABC's of the Bauhaus: The Bauhaus and Design Theory, 1991).
In the following decade, Christina Sullivan became Christine Gordon-Sullivan, earned her Ph. D. in 1892, and served as president of the Art Department of the National Educational Association in 1894. Afterward, she revised her Eclectic System, which was republished in 1896. The revised edition prominently featured concrete examples of the forms, including two pages of small outlines for copying. A comparison of the editions gives evidence of the waning influence of Froebel’s methods at the close of the 19th century. An even stronger shift to industrial applications and mechanical drawing left less room for the organic development of drawing faculties.
A consummate educator and administrator, her name peppers the Proceedings of the National Educational Association and Cincinnati district reports. She was one of two female teachers elected to the “Cincinnati Male Teachers’ Association,” forcing the organization to strike “Male” from the title. She was also a founding member of “Mathesis,” a society of women educators organized to promote the spread of “pedagogical, literary, artistic and scientific subjects” and offer support to their female colleagues. She died prematurely after a brief illness; a marble bust was commissioned for the Cincinnati Museum of Art upon the event.