BOOTH, JOSEPH

(d. 1789)

Miniature Painter

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

An English artist who practised with some success in Dublin from about 1771 to 1789. He was a clever mechanic, and made inventions in connection with the woollen manufacture. He was also the inventor of "the Polygraphic Art," which professed to be a method of multiplying pictures in oil with all the perfections of the original colours without touching or finishing by hand. This invention is noticed in "The Dublin Chronicle," May 19-22, 1787, as one "by which a picture is copied and multiplied to any number with such accuracy of drawing, colouring and manner that it requires the eye of a master to discover the original from the copy. The ingenious inventor of this art is Mr. Booth, whose ability as a miniature painter is not unknown." An exhibition by the "Polygraphic Society" was held at 381 Strand, London, in 1792.

The inventor is described in the catalogue as "Joseph Booth, a portrait painter of Lewisham, Kent." About 1797, Christopher Pack (q.v.) submitted a paper to the Royal Irish Academy, which was not printed in the Transactions, an "Explanation of a new mode of producing Pictures supposed to be the same as that called the Polygraphic Art." (R. I. A. 12.0.5.). In it he says, that the attempt made to imitate pictures is very poor, but he thinks it may be useful for the decoration of furniture and of paper hangings. He explains the process as produced by a series of stencils and successive printings, and illustrates his explanation by three drawings. Booth died in Dublin in 1789.

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