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to remember, that no apology can be made for this deficiency, in that style which this Academy teaches, and which ought to be the object of your pursuit. It will be necessary for
you, in the first place, never to lose sight of the great rules and principles of the art, as they are collected from the full body of the best general practice, and the most constant and uniform experience; this must be he ground-work of all your studies : afterwards you may profit, as in this case I wish you to profit, by the peculiar experience and personal talents of artists living and dead ; you may derive lights, and catch hints, from their practice; but the moment you turn them into models, you fall infinitely below them ; you may be corrupted by excellencies, not so much belonging to the art, as personal and appropriated to the artist; and become bad copies of good painters, instead of excellent imitators of the great universal truth of things.
DISCOURSE XV. ·
DELIVERED TO THE STUDENTS QF
THE ROYAL ACADEMY,
DISTRIBUTION OF THE PRIZES,
DECEMBER 10. 1790.
GENTLEMEN, The intimate connection which I have had with the ROYAL ACADEMY ever since its establishment, the social duties in which we have all mutually engaged for so many years, make any profession of attachment to this Institution, on my part, altogether superfluous ; the influence of habit alone in such a connection would naturally have produced it.
Among men united in the same body, and engaged in the same pursuit, along with permanent friendship occasional differences will arise. In these disputes men are naturally too favourable to themselves, and think perhaps too hardly of theirantagonists. But composed and constituted as we are,