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The regular progress of cultivated life is from necessaries to accommodations, from accommodations to ornaments.
By your illustrious predecessors were established Marts for manufactures, and Colleges for science; but for the arts of elegance, those arts by which manufactures are embellished, and science is refined, to found an Academy was reserved for Your Majesty.
Had such patronage been without effect, there had been reason to believe that Nature had, by some insurmountable impediment, obstructed our proficiency; but the annual improvement of the Exhibitions which Your
Majesty has been pleased to encourage, shows that only encouragement had been wanting
To give advice to those who are contending for royal liberality, has been for some years the duty of my station in the Academy; and these Discourses hope for Your Majesty's acceptance, as well-intended endeavours to incite that emulation which your notice has kindled, and direct those studies which your bounty has rewarded.
THE Author of the following admirabi: works, having, for near half a century, beet well known to almost every person in this country who had any pretensions to taste of literature, to the present age an account of him, however brief, may seem wholly unnecessary; nor should the reader be detained, even for a few minutes, from the pleasure which awaits him, but that Posterity, while they contemplate with delight and admiration those productions of his pencil which place him on a level with Titian and Vandyck, will naturally wish to know something of the man, as well as of the painter.
Joshua REYNOLDS was born at Plympton in Devonshire, July 16th, 1723; the son of Samuel Reynolds and Theophila Potter. He was on every side connected with the Church, for both his father and grandfather were in holy orders; his mother was the daughter of a clergyman, and his maternal grandmother the daughter of the Rev. Mr. Baker, an eminent mathematician in the last century, of whom we have an account in the BIOGRAPHIA BRITANNICA. His father's elder brother, John, was also a clergyman, a fellow of Eton College, and Canon of St. Peter's, Exeter.'
Mr. Samuel Reynolds taught the grammarschool of Plympton, which could have
* This gentleman, who died in 1758. left his library, and the greater part of his fortune, to Exeter College in Oxford.—There is a mezzotinto print of him, scraped by M' Ardell, (from a portrait painted by his nephew, now in Eton College,) which has erroneously been supposed to represent the father of the painter. See Bromley's Catas logue of Engraved British Portraits, 4to. 1792, p. 280.