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Of French origin, ‘amateur’ originally denoted a lover of art and, by implication, often a collector. French sale catalogues of the 18th century were frequently of the collections of ‘un grand amateur’. By the end of that century, however, the word had taken on a different meaning in English, describing someone who practised art for pleasure and interest, but not for money, i.e. professionally. Amateur artists usually worked in the graphic media—drawing and watercolour—in which they received instruction from drawing-masters or drawing manuals.

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