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To the Reader.
SHOULD any of our readers object, that too
much place is given in these volumes to what seems to interest the corresponding parties more nearly than the Public; it may be relied on, that such parts have been retained solely fron the motives of giving a more natural pi&ture of the manners, &c. of the people represented, than the unanimated narrative of a mere Speciator might have conveyed. Nor could the Editor, without difficulty, have separated from the several descriptions, that part and interest which the Author bad in them. If the Edi. tor should appear reprehensible for preserving such extensive criticisms in the article of painting; he can only say, that bis Autbor's strong propensity to that science induced ber treating it more largely than may be agreeable to some of her readers; and that he was prevented from supprefing any part, from a posibility of its being relished by those amongst them
of a different taste, who may be unprovided with better or more recent accounts.
Of Catalogues indeed, there is no deficiency; they swarm in every town and every palace of Italy : but these publications are merely catalogues ; such criticisms as they offer being oftentimes fortuitous, frequently false, and for the greater number calculated by the proprietor to promote the sale of such pictures of indifferent merit, as he wishes to part with to advantage and profit.
Those in this country who commission persons residing in Italy (of which there are many) to procure then the best of such pictures as chance brings to market, may acknowledge Some utility in critical difquisitions of this nature, if executed with a decent portion of truth and information ; as serving to direct their choice upon the immediate objeets of preference; and proving, when in correspondence with the reports of those employed by them, a confirmation of their estimates and recommendations.—Here they will also learn, that many pictures, supposed the property of their former owners, will appear to be in the poljefon of other mafiers and other countries. After all, if tkose who have not already travelled in, or who bave no expectation of visiting Italy: if those who
are unacquainted with, or uninterested in the merits of painting, will but turn over a few pages when they come to such descriptions, of which the marginal references are a constant indication, perhaps their trouble may be but inconfiderable, in proportion to the entertainment or information provided for a larger number of our readers,
L ETTER 1.
Sept. 20th, 1770. SUPPOSE you have already received my
letter from Ornon. Nothing but the promise I had made you of writing from the very first place we should seep at, could have prevailed upon me to have sent you such a somniferous epistle—if the reading of it did not put you to sleep, the writing did me.I fear this will not prove inore enlivening than its predecessor.-Would you had but patience until I have reached Italy! for there I expect every day will produce fresh fources of amusement both for you and me. But that, you have refused me, and insist that I mark and paint every step I take in so clear a manner, that you may follow me closely in idea-Do not suffer the too tender friendship you honour me with, to produce anxious and uneasy thoughts, which serve but to augment every inconvenience, or trifling accident that may happen ; for as you took care at the moment of our separation to bind me doubly by my Vol. I.