William Hazlitt [1824]

Throw open the folding-doors of a fine Collection, and you see all you have desired realised at a blow–the bright originals starting up in their own proper shape, clad with flesh and blood, and teeming with the first conceptions of the painter’s mind! The disadvantage of pictures is, that they cannot be multiplied to any extent, like books or prints; but this, in another point of view, operates probably as an advantage, by making the sight of a fine original picture an event so much the more memorable, and the impression so much the deeper. A visit to a genuine Collection is like going on a pilgrimage–it is an act of devotion performed at the shrine of Art! It is as if there were but one copy of a book in the world, locked up in some curious casket, which, by special favour, we had been permitted to open, and peruse (as we must) with unaccustomed relish.–Sketches of the Principal Picture-Galleries in England.

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