'The art of literary portraiture in the seventeenth century developed with the effort to improve the writing of history. Its first and at all times its chief purpose in England was to show to later ages what kind of men had directed the affairs and shaped the fortunes of the nation. In France it was to be practised as a mere pastime; to sketch well-known figures in society, or to sketch oneself, was for some years the fashionable occupation of the salons. In England the character never wholly lost the qualities of its origin. It might be used on occasion as a record of affection, or as a weapon of political satire; but our chief character writers are our historians.'