Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Gauden, attrib. [or possibly: Jeremy Taylor, Obadiah Walker, or John Gaule.] A Discourse Of Artificial Beauty, In point Of Conscience, Between Two Ladies. With some Satyrical Censures On The Vulgar Errors of these Times. [issued with:] [Periamma 'epidermion, or Vulgar errours in practice censured.] London: R(ichard) Royston, 1662. Krown & Spellman retail: $750. Second Edition. [first with frontispiece and first with Vulgar Errours added.] 8vo. 2 parts in 1. ¹1, A4,B-R8,S4 [S4 blank present],B-H8. [10], 262, [2], 112p. Contemporary sheep, worn with corners chipped, re-backed in mottled calf, title and rules in gilt, later endpapers; old library stamp on t.p. has been inked over; frontispiece is on tab with small replacements but no affect to image, a good copy. Engraved frontispiece by A.H. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

    More Information:

    John Gauden, (1599/1600?-1662) the bishop of Exeter and Worcester and later Charles II's chaplain.

    "John Gauden's  A Discourse of Artificial Beauty, in Point of Conscience, Between Two Ladies: With Some Satyrical Censures on the Vulgar Errors of These Times (1662; first ed., 1656) engages all of these arguments. It is also--if not the first prolonged attempt of a man to see cosmetics from women's points of view--certainly the longest attempt, at 262 pages. The Discourse is set as a conversation "between two ladies," one woman presenting her objections concisely, and the other woman defending cosmetics at some length. Most of the arguments spring from the two women's fairly similar views of nature (which in one sense, but not always, includes conscience and the faculty of reason, and in another sense, can include some parts of civilization as outgrowths of human nature) and their agreement about nature's moral authority in comparison to scripture, tradition, and other forms of culture. A Discourse of Artificial Beauty is an excellent seventeenth-century source for understanding how the rhetoric of nature can affect the more specific ethical discussions of the period...

    The deeper meaning, the reality behind the appearance, turns out not to be about vanity but about piety. The dialogue is not designed to be a show of rhetoric but to genuinely satisfy women's consciences, one way or the other, regarding the choice of whether or not to use cosmetics. The same disjunction between appearance and reality will be argued, by the second woman, in the case of cosmetics themselves. A woman who wears cosmetics may at first glance seem to be acting out of vanity, but in fact she may be piously performing an act of worship and thanksgiving for God's gift of the freedom and materials needed to make her face as beautiful as possible. One must inquire into her motives before commending or condemning her actions. The second woman will continually return to the question of motive as she defends the use of cosmetics."

    [How The Rhetoric OF Nature Informs The Rhetoric Of The Ethics Of Cosmetics In A Discourse Of Artifiicial Beauty (1662) by

    Adam Kissel]


    "The second edition of Arificial Hansomeness (1662), after first appearing separately, was bound up with a book called (Periamma 'epidermion) or Vulgar Errors in Practice Censored [sic] (Wing W408), an imitation of Sir Thomas Browne. In the British Museum Catalogue, this is attributed to Obadiah Walker... Gauden is still a possible author... A curious legend has helped to perpetate the fase association of this book with (Jeremy) Taylor." [A Bibliography of the Writings of Jeremy Taylor. pp135-6.]


    Royston has used the sheets of his 1662 "Periamma 'epidermion" without the title, dedication, introduction, or table of contents pages and without mention on the second work on the general title-page. This work includes a curious chapter on "A Censure of the Epidemicall practise of reproaching Red-Hair'd Men."  Wing G353. ESTC r8975. Ferguson, Secrets, VI,32.Gathorne-Hardy. Taylor, T1Lowndes

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2015
    12th Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 219

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 45 days left to consign to the 2019 October 24 Estate of John Steinbeck Manuscripts Grand Format Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    Thanks a million for getting approval to sell my Civil War Hospital Death Ledger! You made them AND ME , a nice profit. You are the best!
    Ed W.,
    Mount Vernon, OH
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 July 16 - 18 The Armstrong Family Collection III Space Exploration Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 July 16 - 18 The Armstrong Family Collection III Space Exploration Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $4,641,550