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Of truth and beauty

Two extracts about English attitudes to art

By Ian Irvine   February 2010

1st July 1792. The Hon John Byng visits Tong Castle, Shropshire, and records it in his diary:

“This place, purchased by Mr Durant, has been rebuilt in a most overgrown taste and would require a very large fortune to keep up. How people can build these pompous edifices without a sufficiency of surrounding estate is wonderful. And yet how commonly it is done. It is a grand and beautiful place. Attended by the housekeeper I surveyed the house; the staircase is very fine, the rooms well-sized and well furnished, the bedchambers excellent, there is on the first floor a vast…

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