Great Masters in Painting & Sculpture

George Bell & Sons (London, UK)
Series dates: 1899-1914
Size: 5.5″ x 8″

Known in part for its significant number of women authors (including Hope Rae, Maud Cruttwell, Evelyn March Phillips, Lucy Baxter, Ethel Halsey, Marchesa Berlamacchi, and Contessa Lorenzo Pruili-Bon), the Great Masters in Painting & Sculpture series reached 31 titles by 1906. The series was published between 1899 and 1908 with a few titles reprinted through 1914.


The price was 5s./-. The series was published by Macmillan in the US (at $1.75). Titles were in general short introductions to artists with significant illustrations. Some titles were first published in the series, others were abridged versions of longer works (Bell’s Rembrandt) and a few were translations (Martin’s Gerard Dou).


This 1905 copy of Hope Rea’s Rubens is a British edition, although a small bookseller’s plate on the front endpaper indicates the book was sold at Rollins Stationery in Keokuk, Iowa. It’s possible that the book was sold as a British remainder, shipped to the U.S. after Macmillan’s copies of series titles were exhausted.

Series jackets are illustrated and unique to each of the titles with the series name at the top of the jacket. The jacket flaps are blank.


Bell’s Handbooks of the Great Masters are advertised on the rear of the dust jacket.


The books are cloth-bound with white text and design. The series name is indicated on the front of the book.


The half title page includes the series name and its general editor (G.C. Williamson) as well as the book title.


A list of 30 titles in the series follows the half-title page. At least one more title, Van Dyck by Lionel Cust (1906) was published.


An illustration faces the title page, separated by a bound-in sheet of tissue.


The two-color title page with the date of printing (1905):


The copyright page includes printer information.


The printer information is also included on the last page in the book.