Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists - Vol. 3

By Horace Walpole | Go to book overview

WALPOLE'S POSTSCRIPT TO THE SECOND EDITION,
PUBLISHED IN 1786.

THIS volume, the Editor was sensible at its compilation, was the most imperfect part of Vertue's and his own accounts of the History and Progress of the Arts in England. It would not be difficult, at present, to give a much more complete deduction of the Graphic art, in its different branches. But not only the indolence that attends age and frequent illnesses, have indisposed the author from enlarging his plan ; but more pardonable reasons determined him to make very few additions to this new edition; nor should he have thought of republishing the work, unless solicited by Mr. Dodsley. The indulgence of the public ought to imprint respect, not presumption, and instead of trespassing anew on that lenity, the author has long feared he should be reproached that " Detinuit nostras numerosus HORATIUS aures;" a quotation he should not dare to apply to himself, if adjectives in osus as famosus, &c. were not most commonly used by Latin authors in a culpatory sense; and thus numerosus only means too voluminous. Another reason for not having enlarged the preceding work was, that it would interfere with the plan laid down, of terminating the history of the arts at the conclusion of the last reign. In fact a brighter era has dawned on the manufacture of prints. They are become almost the favourite objects of collectors, and in some degree deserve that favour, and are certainly paid for as if they did. Engraved landscapes have in point of delicacy reached unexampled beauty. A new species has also been created—I mean aqua-tinta— besides prints in various colours.

Perhaps it would be worth while to melt down this volume, and new cast it, dividing the work into the several

____________________
impressions of Strange's engraving produced no less a sum than 190l. 13s. 6d. The print which so greatly enhanced this sum was a portrait of Charles I. standing in his robes, after Vandyck—a. choice proof before any letter—Note under the print, "Given me by the most excellent engraver thereof, M. M. S." So great was the competition, that it was sold for 51l. 9s. About fifty plates from the most celebrated Italian pictures are distinguished by an intelligent execution, which by the admirable union of the point and graver, produce a vigorous and harmonious effect.—D.

-266-

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