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Hogarth, William, 1697-1764 / The analysis of beauty : written with a view of fixing the fluctuating ideas of taste

Preface,   pp. [iii]-xxii

Page [iii]

F a preface was ever neceflary, it may very likely 
be thought fo to the following work; the title of 
which (in the propofals publifh'd fome time fince) 
hath much amufed, and raifed the expectation of the 
curious, though not without a mixture of doubt, that 
its purport could ever be fatisfadorily anfwered. For 
though beauty is feen and confeffed by all, yet, from 
the many fruitlefs attempts to account for the caufe of 
its being fo, enquiries on this head have almoft been 
given up; and the fubje& generally thought to be a 
matter of too high and too delicate a nature to admit of 
any true or intelligible difcufflon. Something therefore 
introdudory ought to be faid at the prefenting a work 
with a face fo entirely new; efpecially as it will na- 
turally encounter with, and perhaps may overthrow, 
feveral long received and thorough eflablifh'd opinions: 
and fince controverfies may arife how far, and after 
what manner this fubjed hath hitherto been confider'd 
and treated, it will alfo be proper to lay before the 
reader, what may be gathered concerning it, from the 
works of the ancient and modern writers and painters. 
It is no wonder this fubje& fhould have fo long 
been thought inexplicable, fince the nature of many 
parts of it cannot poffibly come within the reach of 
mere men of letters; otherwife thofe ingenious gentle- 
A 2                   men 

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