James North cote (see Biographical Glossary), who had studied under the leading portrait painter Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–92), encouraged both John and William Hazlitt in their careers as painters. Though Hazlitt finally abandoned painting as a career in 1811 and 1812, he continued to write about painters and painting, and remained, like Godwin, a regular visitor to Northcote’s studio. In 1822, Hazlitt in a letter to his ten-year-old son wrote admiringly of the old painter’s intellectual vitality: ‘You have seen Mr Northcote, that delightful specimen of the last age. With what avidity he takes up his pencil, or lays it down again to talk of numberless things! His eye has not lost its lustre, nor “paled its ineffectual fire.” His body is a shadow: he himself is a pure spirit’ (Sikes, p. 236). From 1826 onwards, Hazlitt published versions of his conversations with Northcote under the title of ‘Boswell Redivivus’ in the New Monthly Magazine and in several other periodicals, before collecting them in the volume, Conversations of James Northcote.