THE first impression that this book may give, is that I have put the cart before the horse, and that, instead of dwelling on the Pavement Masters, I have laid too much stress on the Pavement itself, and too little on the makers of it. A careful perusal, however, will, I hope, prove that I have been right in my reasoning. I have felt strongly, that in order to form a fair idea of these Masters, many,—I may say, most,—of whose names are entirely unknown to the general English reader, it was necessary to give as clear and vivid a picture as was possible, of this, their greatest work, through which their names live. Most people, who have ever heard of Siena, have heard of its Cathedral Pavement:—an unique and historical piece of work:—but how many have heard of even such great artists as Pietro del Minella and Antonio Federighi? On this account, it seems to me that the case needed treatment such as I have given it. I have, therefore, composed a full and, as far as I could make it, a clear account of the chain which connects these men together, and then added short notices of each, giving all the important facts obtainable about them. For this purpose, I have examined all the recognized authorities, and tried to introduce any side-lights that may brighten up a somewhat dull record of facts. I have avoided venturing on criticism: partly because I felt myself unequal to the task; and partly because my space was too limited to allow of such digressions without a sacrifice of more important matter. Where I have put forward a theoretical suggestion, I have carefully pointed out that it is only offered as such. I regret that it is impossible to translate all the documents quoted, chiefly because the quaint language in which they are written is untranslatable, and would lose most of its charm if rendered into modern English. On the other hand, I have, where a passage specially important to my argument occurs in a document, given its general meaning in the text. I have added a long list of authorities, and works connected with the Cathedral and its Pavement which have been consulted, and I have to thank cordially, for practical and artistic help, and advice throughout, three ladies: the Hon. Mrs. A. L. Pelham, Mrs. J. P. Richter, and Mrs. Trail.