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SiR,

The account in the enclosed paper corresponds exactly with what I have been able to colle&t concerning the Stuart papers both here and in France.—I had loft all hopes of finding the Scotch College Papers before I went to that country; and the chief objećt of my journey was to consult the archives of the Secretary of State's Office, &c. Barillon's and D'Avaux's correspondence. In this . I succeeded, and found much very useful and curious matter. There were not in the National Library any papers that either had, or were pretended to have, belonged to the Scotch College. I can have no doubt but Carpentier's account is true; for if he had them in his possession, he would certainly either have restored them to the right owners, or have disposed

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style of drawing, and of colouring, and
some of the articles introduced in the paint-
ing, preclude every doubt as to its very
great antiquity. The name of CHAU-
cER written in Gothic charaćters on the
side of the portrait, appears to me to be
of the same origin as the picture itself—
that is to say—written at the same time,
and inserted by the hand of the same
artist.
It only remains then to enquire—whe-
ther this portrait, painted in oil, could
have been produced during the life-time
of Chaucer, i.e. before the year 1421 ;
or whether it was not painted some few
years posterior to his decease. Upon this
point, I conceive there will always be a
diversity of opinion. According to the
most generally received opinions, the art
of painting in oil was not intro 'uced be-
fore the year 1410. The Brothers Van
Eyck, of Flandels, have had the honour of
setting a reputed example, which was im-
mediately followed by every painter of
their time in every country. There have,
however, been found in Bohemia several
pictures of the 13th century, bearing on
their ful face all the marks of being oil-
paintings. These pićtures have been
carefully preserved in the Imperial Gal-
lery at Vienna; and they have occasioned
M. Musel of Basle to write a very learned
differtation to prove that oil-painting was
practised before the time of the Brothers
Van Eyck, who merely contributed to re-
vive the art by inventing a more easy pro-
cess. If it be true, that the paintings
discovered in the House of Commons,
which were produced in the year 1350,
are executed in oil-colours, there can be
no longer a doubt relative to the antiquity
of the art. - -
There is, however, a third solution of
the problem in question, and one which in
my opinion, is the most probable. It has
been supposed that many of the pictures
of the 13 h century, which were painted.
in water-colours, have at an after-period
been covered with a coat of oil, with a
view to their preservation, and that in pro-
cess of time, this cost of oil has become
fo perfectly amalgamated wih the colours,
as to occasion them to be mottaken for
paintings in oil. It is even supposed that
this accidental mixture of oil with paint
gave rise to the invention of the Brothers
Van Eyck–It is to be remarked that in
the pićtures of the 13th century, to which I
have alluded, the vitages and hands of the
persons represented generally appear much
browner than the painter would originally
have designed to make them; while on

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