Edinburgh Bookshelf

Kay's Originals Vol. 1


[ENTERED AT STATIONERS’ HALL.] Printed& R. & R CLARK, Edinburgh.
Volume 8 Page iv
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AD VE RT I S E ME N T. In considering the best mode of re-issuing so popular a work as KAY’S PORTRAIiTt Sh,a s been thought advisable rather to adhere to the original text than to venture on any material alteration or enlargement. The attempt might indeed have been made to bridge over the interval that has elapsed since the Portraits were first published, and to indicate the relation in which the personal records and incidents stand to the present time. But the advantage of this is doubtful, and it would seriously alter the character of the work. The preferable course has therefore been adopted of presenting the Biographical Sketches in their original form, with such slight revision as has appeared essential. I t is almost unnecessary to invite attention to a work which is so well known, and the interest in which, after the lapse of nearly forty years, still continues unabated. Not only has it the fascination of gossiping biography, blended with anecdotes and illustrations, but it preserves a record altogether unique of a state of society just passed away, which has been well characterised by Mr. Ticknor, in his ‘‘Life and Letters,” as “the golden age of Edilzhurgh society.”’ Although the Portraits are principally of local interest, they are not wholly so, as may be seen from such names of wide celebrity as the following :- Sir Ralph Abercromby ; Duc d’Angoul6me ; Comte d‘Artois (Charles X) ; Bruce, the Abyssinian Traveller ; Bryce, the Irish Giant ; Grose, the Antiquarian ; the Revs. Rowland Hill and John Wesley ; Lord Chancellor Loughborough ; Lunardi, the Aeronaut ; Thomas Paine ; William Pitt, etc. Of the diligent use Kay made of his pencil these volumes furnish ample testimony, as well as of the admirable manner in which the engraving has been executed. A few additional pIates, not hitherto published (among which 1 Mr. Allibone, in his “Dictionary of English Literature,” speaks of Kay’s work 88 ‘ I a gocd bok fur a &ungerite,” in allusion to the passion for portraits exhibited by Jam- Granger, and excited by the publication of his work, the ‘‘ Biographical History of England, adapted to a Methodical Catalogue of Engraved British Heads,” 1769.
Volume 8 Page v
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