Shaftesbury’s Illustrations for Characteristicks (1732)

 

Anthony Ashley Cooper, more commonly known as the Third Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713), wrote one of the most influential books of the 18th century: Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, TimesThis work contains numerous images designed in detail by the Earl himself. There is an image for the work as a whole as well as for each of the essays contained therein. In addition, there is a self-portrait and coat of arms. Shaftesbury believed that studying the images would help in understanding the essays to which they were attached. Each image contains page numbers that indicate where to go in the text of that particular essay to discover the basic idea behind the essay as whole. This was also true of the image that opens the entire work. Shaftesbury's text can be complicated, so these signposts help the reader keep a focus on the main message. But the images are worth reflecting upon in their own right as they provide insights into how Shaftesbury depicted various ideas and themes in a visual manner. Further, these depictions not only give us insights into Shaftesbury himself, but also into the era in which he was writing.

 

Vol. 1 Title Page to the three volume set.
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Volume 1 Title Page.
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Volume 1 Preface, p. xxi.
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Volume1, image accompanying "A Letter Concerning Enthusiasm", p. 3.
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Volume 1, illustartion accompanying "Sensus communis: An Essay on the Freedopm of Wit and Humour", p. 39.
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Volume 1, illustration accompanying "Soliloquy: or, Advice to an Author", p. 97.
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Volume 2, Title Page.
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Volume 2, illustration accompanying "An Inquiry Concerning Virtue, or Merit", p. 3.
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Volume 2, illustration accompanying "The Moralists, A Philosophical Rhapsody," p. 103.
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Volume 3 Title Page.
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Volume 3, illustration accompanying "Miscellaneous Reflections", p. 3.
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Volume 3, illustration accompanying "The Judgment of Hercules", p. 231.
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Images of Liberty and Power

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