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PICTURES AND PRINTS,
WHICH, FROM THE DECEASE OF THE POET TO OUR OWN TIMES,
A CAREFUL EXAMINATION OF THE EVIDENCE ON WHICH
BY WHICH THE PRETENDED PORTRAITS HAVE BEEN REJECTED,
ACCURATE AND FINISHED ENGRAVINGS,
BY THE ABLEST ARTISTS,
FROM SUCH ORIGINALS AS WERE OF INDISPUTABLE
BY JAMES BOADEN, Esq.
"We will draw the curtain, and shew you the PICTURE.”
PRINTED FOR ROBERT TRIPHOOK, 23, OLD BOND-STREET.
THE object of the following Inquiry having been clearly announced in the Title-page, and fully explained in the Introduction which is to follow the present Address, nothing remains for me to state here, but why I have undertaken the work, and what facilities I possessed towards its proper execution.-To each of these points in their order.
To profess a love for the writings of such a genius as Shakspeare, may be received as a declaration, which acquits a man of the charge of vanity, inasmuch as it claims no other credit than that of not being totally insensible to the highest literary excellence. A period of my life of something more than forty years has been devoted to the study of Shakspeare's works; and on some outrageous liberties which in the year 1796 were taken with his name, I had the honour
to address a Letter to the late George Steevens,
Esq. which brought before the Public the first detection of an impudent and very unskilful forgery. Upon that occasion, the great Commentator expressed a very agreeable opinion of my little work, by saying with his accustomed point, "Sir, you have very fairly gibbeted the culprit, and Mr. Malone will take him down and dissect him"-a task performed by him with an anatomical minuteness, which left not the smallest nerve of that body of fraud unexposed to the public eye.
Slight as the work was, published by myself upon that occasion, I received many compliments from men distinguished in literary criticism; and I was encouraged to persevere in the peculiar studies to which the illustration of Shakspeare had given birth among us. But I confess, in spite of the recommendation of Jonson, that I sometimes allowed myself to be drawn
from his works to their writer; the plays sent me back to the portrait before them, and the portrait seldom failed to return me to a more ardent perusal of the plays. And as my love