It is naturally a matter for some regret that the standard of portrait engraving in the period was not higher, for though we see here practically every well-known personage, and many less known and unknown ones, we sometimes wish that we could see them through the eyes of better artists. Milton's dissatisfaction with the engraver's version of his countenance -
A portrait limned sure, by an unskilled hand Thou'dst say, if thou behold'st his native face -
may well have been felt by a good many of the other subjects. As the editors point out, the extraordinary wealth of emblematic
and symbolic illustration in the work of these engravers is one of its most striking characteristics, and to those interested in the history of ideas through iconographical study, this book holds out enormous possibilities of finding new and fruitful lines of investigation. Foreseeing the importance of the volume from this point of view, the editors have provided an admirable subject index with special reference to emblematic material.