The Art Journal

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In the 1987 film, “84 Charing Cross Road”, adapted from the true story of Helene Hanff and her 1970 book of the same name, Anne Bancroft plays the role of a New York City woman who loves antique, classic books and literature, and who, in 1949 discovers an ad in the Saturday Review of Literature, placed by London antiquarian bookseller Marks & Co. Limited, seller the very books she sought. (Click images to enlarge)

Marks & Co. Limited in London closed it 1970.

Today, it is what else but…a McDonald’s?


Through correspondence for the next 20 years, many books were purchased through Marks & Co. and its chief buyer of antique books, Frank Doel, played by Anthony Hopkins.

The movie came to mind as I have before me an 1888 beautifully bound and crafted edition of The Art Journal. It’s a book I handle with great care and respect, just as I would a very delicate, priceless piece of glassware.


The Art Journal magazine was first published in London in 1849. It was preceded by the Art-Union Monthly Journal which began publication in 1839. The Art Journal, published during the Victorian era gained an international following and for more than 50 years was the most important art magazine in Britain, until finally discontinuing publication in 1912. An American edition was published from 1875-1887.

The (13″ x 10.5″ x 2″) several pound volume  I have (one of three, 1887-1889, given me by one of my English uncles) seems to be a collection of all the magazine’s articles published in the year 1888. As you can imagine, the quality of the writing, the grammar and thoughtfulness given each article is superb. Also, the quality of etchings and line engravings adds great beauty to the book. Over time, I hope to share excerpts from some of the articles with you.


Finally, an interesting side note…Samuel Carter Hall was editor of both the Art-Union and Art Journal magazines. When editor of The Art Journal, he exposed the profits that auction houses were earning on the “import” of Old Masters, and showed how the paintings were actually being manufactured in England. The Journal became noted for its honest portrayal of the fine arts and its opposition to fake and misattributed Old Masters; many fake works claimed to be by Raphael and Titian depressed the market for the truly original works.

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I’m pleased to offer both of my instructional videos and book as a complete set for the first time. They may also be purchased individually. All are best sellers and include everything I’ve taught in my workshops. You can now take my oil painting workshop right in the comfort of your home, and for a lot less money than physically being present. (Click image to learn more)

For those that have purchased the book, I invite you to join our new Facebook Group – “Limited Palette Unlimited Color”. If you qualify, I hope you’ll join us. Check us out on Facebook. HERE is the link.


Want to take your painting to the next level? I can help. Click HERE to learn about my critique/mentoring programs.


John Pototschnik is an Art Renewal Center Living Master. To view his art and bio, please click HERE


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