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In order to understand the part I have had in this book, and the circumstances under which I undertook it, it is necessary that I should inform my readers that it had been a cherished object of the late excellent and much-regretted painter, C. R. Leslie, R.A., for several years before his death, to do justice to the memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds, which he believed had suffered from the tone of Allan Cunningham's Biography of that great painter, contained in his 'Lives of the Most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and Architects.'
In the unfinished draft of a préface to his (unfortunately) unfinished work-written on his death-bed-I find this statement of Mr. Leslie's main object in writing a new Life of Reynolds :
“ As the impression made on my mind by all I have read and heard of Reynolds is very different from the estimate formed of his character by Allan Cunningham, I have endeavoured to show that he did not deserve the imputations that are dispersed through the most popular account that has yet been published of him, nor the aspersions on his character to be found in that author's Lives of Hogarth, Wilson, and Gainsborough.
“To this end," he continues, “I have arranged