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IN THE PALACES AND SEATS OF THE NOBILITY
IN TOWN AND COUNTRY,
OVER-ACAINST GRAY'S-INN-GATE, HOLBORN,
PRINTERS TO THE ROYAL SOCIETY.
HE great progress which the polite
arts have lately made in England, and the attention which is now paid them by almost all ranks of men ; seem to render an apology for a work of this nature wholly unnecessary. The only way, by which we
ever hope to arrive at any skill in distinguishing the ftiles of the different masters in Painting, is the study of their works : any aslistance therefore in this point cannot but be grateful to the rising Connoiffeur. It is well known at how few of those houses into which, by the indulgence of their illustrious owners, the curious are admitted, any catalogues of the paintings and other curiosities which adorn them can be obtained ; and without such catalogues
it must be confeffed little use can be made, by the yet uninformed observer of these valuable collec.ions, befides that general one of pleifing the eye and the imagination, by viewing a variety of delightful objects. Tic edito* of the following trifle, aware of the neceflity of such asistance, when he first designed to travel about his native country, in order anong other vicws to become acquainted with tiie manner of the principal masters in painting, looked out for books giving an account of the curiofities which the feats of the nobility and gentry, in various parts of the kingdom, contain. From the few that fell into his hands, ' he abstracted what he thought was to bis purpose ; and in his progreffes, corrected in them whatever he thought amiss, and made additions when he found them de. ficient. Where no catalogue had been be. fore printed he endeavoured to obtain one, or to make out such an one as he was able to do, from a survey of the house and information. If this work, which the editor here offers the young student in
the polite arts, fhould at all contribute to promote or facilitate the study of them among his countrymen, he will have gained all the end which he aims at.
The curious observer will find ample and instructive lessons on the Italian schools in the houses of our nobility and gentry. . Mr. Walpole (a) scruples not to affert that
there are not a great many collections left 'in Italy more worth seeing than that at Houghton. In the preservation of the
pictures it certainly excells most of them.' It fculd be observed in commendation of the taste which our illustrious countrymen in general have showed, that they have preferred the greatness of design and composition in which the Italian masters are fo well known to excell, before the gaudy Flemish colouring, or the drudging mi. * mickry of nature's most uncomely coarse,
neffes (b),” upon which the Dutch fo inuch value themselves. To deny these their proper share of merit, or to refuse them a place
(a) Ædes Walpolianæ, Introduction.