We are a thriving Independent Historic Library and Educational Charity, welcoming new members of all ages.
We are open as usual: Tuesdays to Fridays 10am-5pm and Saturdays 10am-4pm.
Contact us:
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Thomas Malton the Elder (1726-1801)

Compleat treatise on perspective in theory and practice (1776)

Thomas Malton was an architectural draughtsman and author of the 18th century’s standard text on perspective. He submitted drawings to London exhibitions, including to the exhibition of the Free Society of Artists in 1761, to exhibitions of the Incorporated Society of Artists in 1766 and 1768 and to the Royal Academy for a number of years from 1772.

He published a school textbook to rival Euclid in 1774 – The Royal Road to Geometry; or an easy and familiar introduction to the mathematics.  His magnificent Compleat treatise on perspective, published the following year, is beautifully illustrated and details the construction lines to produce perspective drawings in buildings, furniture and even horse-drawn carriages.  It is also the earliest known commercially produced pop-up book.  Some of the three-dimensional drawings are manipulated by pulling on cotton strings and the resulting geometric shapes were intended to help artists and architects understand and visualise the concept of perspective and apply it to their own practice.

Malton was also a lecturer on perspective and geometry; he gave lectures at his house in Soho and later in Dublin where he died in February 1801.