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Aglionby, William

    Full Name: Aglionby, William

    Gender: male

    Date Born: unknown

    Date Died: 1705

    Home Country/ies: United Kingdom

    Subject Area(s): art history and biography (general genre)

    Career(s): art historians and biographers


    Earlier British writer, authored a history of art and artists’ biography, 1685. Aglionby traveled the continent and recorded his recollections on art, among other topics. In 1685, Aglionby published his Painting Illustrated in Three Dialogues based heavily on the Vite de’ pittori, scultori ed architetti moderni by Giovanni Pietro Bellori published in 1672. Aglionby, noted that in the Netherlands, paintings were common everywhere, even in the homes of tradesmen. He lamented England’s failure to produce “an Historical Painter, Native of our own Soyl”. He was the earliest English writer to describe free, vigorous and natural execution in painting Picturesque, which he noted the Italians call, “a la pittoresk'”.

    Selected Bibliography

    Painting Illustrated in Three Diallogues; Containing some Choice Observations upon the Art Together with the Lives of the Most eminent Painters from Cimabue to the Time of Raphael and Michael Angelo: with an Explanation of the Difficult Terms. London: John Gain/Walter Kettilby and Jacob Tonson, 1686 [actually 1685]


    Montanari, Tomaso. “Introduction.” Giovan Pietro Bellori: The Lives of the Modern Painters, Sculptors and Architects: A New Translation and Critical Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005, pp. 1, 4.


    Contributors: Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen


    Emily Crockett and Lee Sorensen. "Aglionby, William." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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