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BRITISH ARCHITECTS 
AND CRAFTSMEN 



THE PHOTOGRAPHS ON THE COVER 


The picture on the front cover shows Robert Adames 
Long Gallery at Syon House, Middlesex. Repro- 
duced by courtesy of Country Life, 

Illustrated on the back cover are; 

(i) St Martin-in-thc-Ficlds. Architect: James 
Gibbs, 1722. Reproduced by courtesy of B, T. 
Batsford Ltd. 

(ii) Shell Porch. Doorway of a house in Cerne 
Abbas, Dorset, Reproduced by courtesy of 
W, E. Lake, Esq. 

(iii) Rougemont House, Exeter. 1810. Reproduced 
by courtesy of B. T, Batsford Ltd. 

(iv) Staircase Hall at Coleshill, Berkshire. i66o~2. 
Architect: Sir Roger Pratt; Carver: Richard 
Cleare, The house was destroyed by fire in 
1952. Reproduced by courtesy of Country Life, 



BRITISH ARCHITECTS 
AND CRAFTSMEN 


A Survey of Taste ^ Design and 
Style during Three Centuries 
1600 to 1S30 

SACHEVERELL SITWELL 



The Mausoleum of Nicholas Hawksmoor 
in the grounds of Castle Howard, Yor^ 


PAN BOOKS LTD : LONDON 



First published 1945 by B, T, Batsford Ltd, 

This revised edition published i960 by Pan Books Ltd, 
8 Headfort PI ace ^ London^ S.W,i 


To 

HARRY BATSFORD 

whose life has been devoted to 
preserving and making popular 
the buildings and craftsmanship 
of England, and the lore and 
tradition of the English scene, 
this book is dedicated in 
friendship and gratitude 
by the Author 


Printed in Great Britain hy 
Cox & Wyman Ltd., London, Fakenham and Reading 



CONTENTS 


CHAPTER 

PAGE 


Preface to the First Edition 

9 


Note to the Fourth Edition 

10 


Acknowledgments 

12 


Preface to the Pan Edition 

13 


Introduction 

15 


PART ONE 


I 

Elizabethan and Jacobean Building 

31 

II 

Inigo Jones 

59 

III 

Sir Christopher Wren 

79 

IV 

The Craftsmen 

109 

V 

Sir John Vanbrugh 

138 

VI 

Hawksmoor and the Baroque 

161 


PART TWO 


VII 

Gibbs and the Rococo 

177 

VIII 

Kent and the Palladians 

205 

IX 

Adam 

240 

X 

Non-Adam 

262 

XI 

The Regency 

283 


Properties open to the Public which are 



referred to in this Book 

307 


Index 

313 



LINE ILLUSTRATIONS 


IN THE TEXT 

FIGURE 

PAGE 

I. 

Nonesuch Palace 

35 

2. 

St Benct, Paul’s Wliarf 

97 

3 - 

Maze Hill, Greenwich 

147 

4- 

Steeple of St George’s, Bloomsbury 

167 

5 and 6. Circular market crosses in East Anglia 173 & 174 

7. 

Steeple of St Giles-in-the-Fields 

181 

8. 

A double shopfront at Lewes 

203 

9 - 

A typical Adam fanlight design 

240 

10. 

Design for a supper room ceiling 

267 

II. 

RadclifFc Observatory, Oxford 

272 

12. 

Design for a bedroom ceiling 

275 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

IN PHOTOGRAVURE 
{Between pages 64 and 65) 

1. St PauPs Cathedral, by Sir Christopher Wren. The Interior, 

looking to the Quire. 

2. Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire: the Entrance Front. 

3. Burton Agnes, Yorkshire: carved stone Screen in the Hall. 

4. Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire: the Elizabethan West Front. 

The 17th century gardens, famous in their day but later 
allowed to fall into decay, have been restored in recent years 
to their former beauty. 

5. Kirby HaU, Northamptonshire: the North Side of the Inner 

Court, showing the 17th century rebuilding in the style of, 
and possibly by, Inigo Jones. 

6. The Queen’s House, Greenwich, by Inigo Jones (1619-1635). 

7. Coleshill, Berkshire, by Sir Roger Pratt, 1650-1662. Gutted by 

fire a few years ago and now entirely demolished. 

8 . St Bride’s, Fleet Street, by Sir Christopher Wren. Gutted 

during the war, now rebuilt. 

9. Hampton Court Palace: detail of the River I'ront, by Sir 

Christopher Wren. The pediment carving is by Caius 
Gabriel Cibber. 

10. Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, by Sir John Vanbrugh: the 

North Front from the East Colonnade 

11. Petworth House, Sussex: a detail from the Carved Room by 

Grinling Gibbons. 

12. Repeating Clock, by Thomas Tompion; with subsidiary dials 

for regulating the pendulum and strike silent. In ebony case 
veneered with fire-gilt mounts. 

13. Chamber Candlestick, by Paul de Lamcrie. I .ondon haUmark 

for 1748-49. 

14. Long Case Clock, by Thomas Tompion. c. 1685. Olive wood 

parquetry case decorated with medallions of ebony and light 
wood inlay. Mouldings ebonised. Height 6 ft 6i in. 

15. New College, Oxford; Garden Gate, by Thomas Robinson. 

16. Chatsworth, Derbyshire: the State Drawing-Room. 



{Between pages l6o and i6i) 

17. Castle Howard;, Yorkshire, by Sir John Vanbrugh: the Garden 

Front. 

18. Queen’s College Library, Oxford, by Nicholas Hawksmoor. 

19. King’s Lynn, Norfolk: the Custom House, by Henry Bell. 

20. Mompesson House, Salisbury: the former Judges’ Lodgings in 

the Cathedral Close. 

21. The Senate House, Cambridge, by James Gibbs. 

22. Russboiough, Co. Wicklow, by Richard Cassels and David 

Bindon: a Colonnade. 

23. Wilton Park, Wiltshire: the Palladian Bridge, by Roger Morris 

and the Earl of Pembroke. 

24. Wilton House, Wiltshire: the Double Cube Room (c. 1650) by 

Inigo Jones and John Webb; the ceiling painted by Edward 
Pierce and Emanuel de Critz. 

25. Holkham Hall, Norfolk: the Great Hall, by William Kent. 

26. Kedlcston, Derbyshire: Chimncypiece Composition in the 

Alabaster Hall, by Robert Adam. 

27. Claydon House, Buckinghamshire: the inlaid wood staircase, by 

an unknown joiner. 

28. English bookbinding (c. 1690). 

29. Syori House, Isleworth: Doorway, the Red Drawing-Room, by 

Robert Adam. 

30. Bath: part of the Circus, designed by Wood the Elder and 

finished by liis son. 

{Betzoecn pages 256 and 257) 

31. Belcombc Manorhouse, Wiltshire, by John Wood the Elder: the 

Octagonal Anteroom. 

32. Nostell Priory, Yorkshire: tVie Dining-Room, decorated by 

James Paine except for the inset panels. The chairs and side 
tables are by Chippendale. 

33. Crichcl, Dorset: the Dining-Room, probably by James Wyatt. 

34. Brooks’s Club, St James’s Street: the Subscription Room, by 

Henry Hollvand, 

35. Heveningham Hall, Suffolk: the Orangery, by James Wyatt. 

36. Carlton House Terrace, by John Nash. 

37. Arbury, Warwickshire: the Dining-Room, ‘medievalised* by 

Sir Roger Newdigate in 1780. 

38. Bridport, Dorset: a late-Georgian Chymist’s Shop. 

39. Shopfront in Artillery Lane, Spitalfields. 

40. The Bank of England : detail of the original Court Room Screen, 

by Sir Robert Taylor. 



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 


T his study of architecture and the attendant arts in England 
has been made as full as possible except, it may be, in 
respect of the English cabinet makers. But the researches of 
Miss Margaret Jourdain and Mr Ralph Edwards are not yet 
complete, and till then this vast subject may be considered as 
under argument and not 3^et settled. It would be impossible 
in a work of this nature to attempt a bibhography of all works 
consulted. The author’s thanks are due, however, in particular 
measure to that great authority. Miss M. Jourdain, who has 
read the proofs and made various suggestions and corrections. 
Another eminent specialist, Mrs Arundell Esdaile, has given 
her kind co-opcraiion and has even contributed some valuable 
notes to this later edition. Certain of our sculptors are to be 
regarded as her personal discoveries, and have to be included 
by her efforts in the histories of art. If their works are some- 
what copiously illustrated in these pages, it is due to her 
kindness, but also it may remind the pubhc of what treasures 
of art are to be found from end to end of England, many of 
them, as yet, unpublished and waiting to be admired. The 
author must also convey his grateful thanks to Mr Harry 
Batsford and to Mr Charles Fry, Seldom can a work have 
been prepared under conditions of more genial and infectious 
enthusiasm and participation. 

Sacheverell Sitwell 

October^ 1944 



NOTE TO THE FOURTH EDITION 


A PEW PERSONS have raised the question of the bookbindings 
of Samuel Meamc^ referred to on pp. 129-132 of this text. 
Samuel Meame was a publisher as well as bookseller, who 
was appointed Royal Bookbinder by Charles the Second at 
the Restoration. He never called himself a bookbinder, but 
used the more important title of bookseller, cf. The Great 
Mearne Myth^ by E. Gordon Duff, 1918, p. 6. An excerpt 
from the Mulliner Catalogue^ states that ‘the work produced 
during the thirty years following the Restoration reached the 
high-water mark of English bookbinding. It was the fashion 
to ascribe the fine gilt post-Restoration bindings to Samuel 
Meame, who died in 1685, or to his son, Charles Meame, who 
died in 1686, neither of whom probably bound a book in their 
lives. This type of binding continued to be produced in equal 
profusion after the death of the two Mearnes, and beyond the 
official position of Royal binder, no allusion to Samuel Meame 
as a bookbinder exists.’ It has been suggested that Meame 
simply employed a school of (foreign?) craftsmen. But the 
work of no such foreign craftsmen has survived. There is as 
much, or more, probability that it is English. The Royal 
bookbindings of this style and character have definite contact 
or association with Samuel Meame, They came under his 
superintendence and it may be no great fallacy, therefore, to 
ascribe them to his name. They reveal the character of his 
establishment if not the direct labour of his hands. 

It is good to know tliat further research is being made 
available — by the issue of Mrs Esdaile’s study of English 
Renaissance Church Monuments, to be shortly followed by 
Mr Marcus Whiffen’s work on Stuart and Georgian Churches, 
while Miss Jourdain is preparing a monograph on William Kent. 

’ The Decorative Arts in England^ 1660-1780. By Col. H. Mulliner, 
Batsford, 1926. 



Mr Harold G. Leask, Inspector of National Monuments, 
Dublin, has kindly supplied several corrections in the attribu- 
tion of Irish buildings, which we are glad to have the oppor- 
tunity of incorporating in the text. 

Advantage has been taken of the review, in the Irish 
Quarterly, by Mr C. P. Curran, to whom our thanks are due 
for information about buildings in Ireland. Our attention has 
been drawn, also, from another source, to the private chapel 
of the Prince Primates of Ireland in the Palace at Armagh, a 
masterpiece from the joint hands of Francis Johnston and 
Thomas Cooley. 

Autumn 1947. 



ACKNOWLEDGMENT 


The publishers wish to express their thanks to Mr 
George Howard for the drawing which appears on 
the title page, and to J'he Builder for permission to 
inciude the reconstruction by the late H. W. Brewer 
(Fig. I). 



PREFACE TO THE PAN EDITION 


I N PREPARING this new edition of British Architects and 
Craftsmen for Pan Books the Author would ask his public 
to bear in mind certain points. The book was first published 
in the Spring of 1945, having been finished eighteen months to 
two years before that. The War was very much a living reality 
when these pages were written and all the buildings concerned 
were in peril of destruction. There arc the echoes of this on 
many pages, but it has been thought better to keep the original 
text unaltered and thus preserve its sense of urgency and latent 
danger. Since then, and with the return of peace, there has 
been an extraordinary upsurge of public interest in our old 
buildings, and not least in our domestic architecture. Much 
expert historical research has been undertaken, and the 
author would thank Zvlr Mark Girouard of Country Life for 
going through, and correcting and amending tiie text, in the 
light of what has been established in the last fifteen years. 
Attributions have had to be altered and mistakes of date and 
fact put right. But in another sense, too, the scene has altered, 
or, at least, other and later buildings have come into the back- 
ground. This is due in part to Mr John Betjeman, and v/ithout 
following this gifted explorer and apologist of Victoriana 
through any Midland town to the bitter end, past the cemetery 
wall to the gasworks and the bus-stop, I would tone down 
and palliate some of my strictures upon nineteenth century 
buildings in the light of his discoveries. But, happily, the 
subject of this present work is really domestic architecture 
during three centuries from 1600 to 1830, and if we admire 
terraces and crescents and many individual buildings of the 
later period, in passing, churches by Scott or Butterfield are 
outside our limits of time. Perhaps they are a pastime for 
minds that have not tasted the architecture of sunnier lands. 
There is a huge public who go to see our old churches and 



houses, and find pleasure in them, but strange things can 
happen even now. It is only last autumn that one of the few 
remaining beautiful eighteenth century houses in London, in 
a street just off Hanover Square, vanished entirely. The 
writer walked past it one day, thinking of its lovely staircase 
and stucco’d rooms, and a fortnight later it was demolished 
and gone. There are not more than four or five such houses 
left in London. That such things can still happen, and only in 
order to make way for more oflice buildings, is nearly in- 
credible. It was as much to forestall this sort of fate as for any 
other reason that this book was written, and will, I hope, be 
read. 


September, 1959 


SACHEVERrix Sitwell 



INTRODUCTION 


T he glories and tragedies of five years of war may have 
blinded us somewhat to the flight of Time. For we are 
nearing the middle of the twentieth century, and it is with a 
shock we realise that the field of Waterloo was fought, already, 
a hundred and thirty years ago. It can be, therefore, that we 
have travelled sufficiently far into the continuous present to 
contrast our survival out of a ruined Europe, lying in shame 
and misery, with those centuries of a miiversal language in the 
arts of life. 

We do not speak of the Middle Ages, but of the Age of 
Reason and the reign of order. They had wars, but they were 
not fatal ; and they had miseries in plenty, but those were as 
nothing compared witli the horrors of our times. It is of no 
use now, when we have come so far, to argue that die past was 
contemptible for its illiteracy, or for its legal use of torture. 
For there are the prison and the concentration camp, and we 
know how minds can be pervened by mass education. We 
know, too, that standards of life were improving before the 
war, but have we not lost in other ways as much as we have 
gained? Can we get it back again? Is not the life of the 
individual in our large towns, near the cinema and tiie fried- 
fish shop, with the air-raid shelter opposite, hideous and 
shameful compared with that of any savage? Is ours to be a 
world only of dog races and the Cup Final? When we consider 
the spiritual values in our council houses, should we not envy 
the Papuan and the black fellow of the Torres Straits? The 
golden age is dying even now, before our eyes, among the Stone 
Men of Malekula and the dancers of Orokolo. In New Guinea 
our steel birds drop their bombs among the birds of paradise, 
and the blessings of civilisation have been brought to the built- 
up terraces of the living Stone Age. Let us consider, rather, 
our own glorious past and draw profit from it for the future, 

15 



The palace of the Muses has many entrances, which is 
another way of saying that it is open to all of us to begin our 
experiences of the arts from different angles. To some, who 
derive their early sensations from reading poetry, it may come 
from a thin volume, badly printed, and bound in paper. For 
such persons it may be a long Journey before they cease to 
resent the finely printed page. Or it may be approached at 
cither end; through the old masters, or by means of a taste 
for modern paintings. Or it may be by way of music. But, 
however entered, sooner or later it will lead to architecture. 

Now the perils of our modern times weigh heavier on archi- 
tecture than on tlie other arts. Not only in war ; for the hand 
of the destroyer has been little less dangerous in times of peace. 
Yet our old buildings are more loved and valued by more 
of the population than ever before. This is the contradiction. 
Nevertheless, our island contains buildings of many different 
periods and styles that, second only to our prose and poetry, 
are the expression and idiom of the English genius. This is 
certain, compared with our music or our painting, not in- 
considerable though those may be. Happily, the palace of the 
Muses has many rooms, which is to say it is open to all tastes, 
though, for our present purposes, it is built in a regular style 
of architecture and is Classical, however varied in manner, and 
not Gothic. 

For we may discover a love for architecture in many 
different ways. It could come to some persons, from village 
churches in any part of England; from the towers of Somerset 
in the buttercup meadows, or from the carved and painted 
rood lofts of the Devon churclies; from the flint churches of 
East Anglia and the gilt ‘angeF ceilings; from Norman 
columns, or from the fan vaulting of tlie Perpendicular. From 
the abbeys and cathedrals. Or it can begin abroad, and come 
home, at last, to England. It could have its origin from the 
stiff sculptures and stained glass of Chartres; or from the 
figures of stone oxen on the towers of Laon; from the white 
vessel of the church of Vezelay, with its carved capitals and 
portals, and the Church of Saint-Pere, at foot of the hill, with 
its open porch and the stone archangels blowing into their 

i6 



trumpets at the comers of the tower. Or it could begin from 
Giotto’s tower; from the fagade of San Miniato in coloured 
marbles; from the dome of Brunelleschi; from the Palazzo 
Vecchio and its tower shaped like an iris or a lily. Thence^ to 
the world of the Roman basilicas. To St Mark’s in Venice^ 
and to Sant’ Ambrogio in Milan. To the golden mosaics in 
the covered atrium before the heavy doors are opened. To the 
court of Sant’ Ambrogio with the fountain in its midst. To 
that mystic marriage of the East and West^ for the form is 
Roman, but the style Byzantine. And for ourselves, we remem- 
ber for its intoxication when ten years old our first sight of the 
pair of columns on tlic molo of the Piazzetta above the lifting 
gondolas, granite columns brought from Syria or Constanti- 
nople, with upon tlie one, the winged lion of St Mark, and 
upon the other, St Theodore and Ids Eg^^ptian crocodile, both 
facing to San Giorgio Maggiore and the Adriatic Sea. And at 
twenty, or soon after, the wonders of Ravenna; the mosaics 
of San Vitale, tlie marble columns witli their basket capitals, 
and the composite capitals of the women’s galleries. The 
gaunt but glorious impression of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe 
fuori, in tlie marsh beyond Ravenna, with its mosaic and the 
twenty-four huge columns of Proconnesian marble. A 
grandeur in desolation of a watery splendour, for tlie basilica 
is as though submerged. It is as if under the green wave, and 
there are marks of water upon the marble pillars. That is 
how it seems; and once the Pineta, the pinewood, was all 
round it, sighing in the Adriatic wind. 

But the later architecture throws its spell upon us. It may 
begin with Spain, not Italy, and we may find that the Spaniards 
were greater builders, even, than the Italians. There is 
nothing in Italy to compare with the cathedrals of Toledo, 
L^n, Burgos, and Seville, There are no abbeys comparable 
to Poblet and Santas Creus. We may love the Alhambra and 
its stalactites and honeycombs, and the courts of orange trees 
at Cordoba and Seville. But the fantasy deepens, grows more 
extravagant. Where is there another town to compare with 
Avila and its walls and towers? Or another palace-monastery 
like the Escorial? What could be more Spanish than the 

17 



church of La Magdalena at Valladolid, which has a facade 
formed entirely from the coat of arms of the founder, Don 
Pedro de la Gasca? We have reached the haughty Spanish 
decadence; the West fagade, El Obradoiro, of Santiago da 
Compostela, which is like a Hindu temple, but for the snap- 
dragons growing from its towers, but for its flights of steps; 
the interior of Los Santos Juanes at Valencia, with its ceiling- 
painting by Palomino ; the fountains of La Granja and palace 
rooms in which the greatest of human singers, the castrato 
Farinelli sang nightly, the same four songs to soothe the King’s 
melancholy, while his Queen, the dwarf Infanta Barbara of 
Portugal, sat at the harpsichord with the incomparable 
Domenico Scarlatti, who was her music master, and may have 
been her lover. 

Hence, as the appetite grows, to the colonnades and Roman 
fountains of Bernini. And down to Naples; to Santa Chiara 
in the middle of the town, now utterly destroyed and gone, 
with its cloister of the Poor Clares, its walls and benches of 
majolica and trelliscd vines; to San Gregorio Armeno and its 
black and red nuns behind their gilded lattices; to the great 
monastery of San Martino, high above the town, where our 
first taste of tlie South, of the Parthenopean city and the Bay 
of Sirens, comes from the flashing and brilliant architecture of 
Cosimo Fansaga. Here, out in the bay, lies Capri as Claude 
painted it, and you may row at foot of the cliffs and gather the 
narcissus and tlie violet in your hand. Here are Sorrento and 
Posilippo. Here arc terraces of omages and lemons. Here the 
zampognari come down at Christmas and play their pastoral 
bagpipes when the frost is on the tangerine. ^ In the distance 
lies forgotten Calabria; and over the spangled seas to Sicily, 
to the chapels of Serpotta and the balconies of Noto. 

The style is continued into Catholic Germany, where lie the 
extreme wonders of the Rococo. To the Benedictine abbeys 
of Ottobeuren and Zwiefalten and their fantastic altars. To 
their lacquer and coral, and to their skeletons of saints wearing 

^ An echo of these pastoral bagpipes is to be heard in the many 
sidliennes of Handel, who had lived long in Southern Italy during 
his youth. 



Court dresses of Spanish fashion, and glittering with diamonds. 
To the silver and blue pavilion of the Amalienburg, now gone, 
by the Court dwarf Cuvilli^, of Walloon descent. To the 
works of the brothers Cosmas Damian and Egid Quirin Asam. 
To the chapel of tlie Ursuline nuns at Straubing, on the 
Danube, its scarlet curtains of stucco with inlays of mirror, 
and pilasters with capitals of vivid scarlet. To Frauenzell, in 
the forest, its balconies for the nuns, like opera boxes, and its 
painted ceiling. To Osterhofen and its six side altars, each 
with its robed skeleton, where Duke Odo of Bavaria kneels at 
the high altar, and from opposite, the wife of Duke Heligo 
smiles at him behind her fan. To Weltcnburg, upon tlie 
Danube, its ceiling painted with the heavens, and its baldac- 
chino of four high Salomonic pillars, linked together with 
chains of gilded flowers. Under that, St George, a knight in 
golden armour on a silver stallion, rides into the light to slay 
the dragon. He wears the plumed helmet of a horseman in a 
masquerade. At his feet, a golden goose hisses witli out- 
stretched neck at the serpent. Andromeda, or the maiden, 
dressed hke a peasant girl, holds up her hand before her eyes. 
St Martin in golden robes takes off his biretta in homage; 
St Maurus points to the audience in the body of the church. 
But there are the churches of other architects; Diessen, on 
the Ammer-See, by J. M. Fischer, where tlie Augustinian 
canons ordered altar paintings by Tiepolo and Piazzetta; and 
the pilgrimage church of Wies, by Domcnikus Zimmermann, 
an interior in white and different shades of gold, but of a 
lightness and fantasy that cannot be described in words. Last, 
to Wurzburg, with its staircase ceiling painted by Tiepolo with 
Olympus and the Four Continents; to the Kaiser- Saal 
frescoed by the same hand with the Marriage of Barbarossa; 
to the incredible card-room of green lacquer with gilt stucco ; 
the mirror room ; and the tapestries of Italian comedians and 
the carnival of Venice. 

This account may be a personal trajectory, but it is better to 
come back to England primed with other architectural 
instances. Nearly every one of our great architects, except 
Wren, travelled to Italy and saw the wonderful spectacle of 

19 



Venice; while Wren himself had his meeting with Bernini. 

would judge of our architecture, not as we would treat 
our painters, who are good in themselves but cannot bear 
comparison with the great masters of Italy or France. For 
tlie English architects from Inigo Jones down to the first 
quarter of the nineteenth century reflect the prosperity and 
the naval or martial pre-eminence of England. They are no 
more inferior to those of the rest of Europe than was our 
reputation as an independent kingdom. That is to say, they 
are not provincial. The beauty of an old building in Portugal, 
in Baltic Germany, or in Sw^eden, may be precisely because it 
is so distant from the centres of control. Our Elizabethan 
architects were naifs, according to that meaning. Their touch 
was not certain. It was good, or bad. They were under French, 
Italian, Dutch, and German influences. And the latter part 
of the sixteenth century, we should add, was not a good period 
in architecture, or in painting. The great Italian masters of 
the Renaissance were dead, and the Baroque had not begun. It 
was an interregnum. It would even be possible to call the 
whole of the Renaissance in France, from the reign of Francois 
premier to that of Louis treize, a period of exuberant and 
incessant, visual ugliness. The Elizabethan architects were 
new, and ugly, when they copied the wrong models, as at 
WoUaton ; but the breath and poetry of genius could transform 
a bad engraving from a book of patterns into a beautiful 
modelling in stucco. The engravings of Martin de Vos are 
nothing in themselves, as works of art, but they inspired the 
coloured hunting frieze at Hardwick, in probably tlie most 
beautiful room of the whole Renaissance in Europe. 

Perhaps the sure sign of genius in Inigo Jones is that he is 
not provincial. From the first moment of his appearance on 
his return from Italy, Inigo Jones is the great master. The 
Banqueting House at Whitehall and the Queen’s House at 
Greenwich are neither Italian completely, nor copied from 
the Italian, but they converse in the language of great archi- 
tecture. This, in spite of the fact that in Italy Inigo Jones 
would have been considered academic and not building 
according to the fashion of his day, for Italian work contem- 


20 



porary with Inigo Jones belonged to the freakish style favoured 
by the Medicean Grand Dukes of Tuscany. It is this^ and not 
the work of the Englishman returned from Italy, that has 
become local and provincial. Where we see it in Florence it 
is characterized by the typical broken pediment over doors 
and windows tliat seems to derive from a bat’s wing, and that 
attaches the reigns of Cosmo II and Ferdinando II so closely, 
in spirit, to the engravings of Jacques Callot and Stefa no della 
Bella. Of this, again, there are traces in Inigo Jones where he 
is working for the theatre, but not in his architecture. 

The most fortunate occurrence in the history of the art in 
England is that Inigo Jones should have been followed, in 
the next generation, by Sir Christopher Wren. And the 
problem, one of a pair of mysteries in our architecture, is tlie 
emergence of this scientist and mathematician into an artist. 
The only explanation is that Wren was a man of tlie Renais- 
sance, and that the Renaissance came anything from a hundred 
to two hundred years late, to England. Let us remind ourselves 
that Wren was born in 1632, and that such typical figures of 
the Italian Renaissance as Leon Battista Alberti and Francesco 
di Giorgio were born, respectively, in 1404 and 1439. We 
will take another instance. The little model Renaissance town 
of Pienza, in Tuscany, built by Pope Pius II (Aeneas Sylvius 
Piccolomini) with churches and palaces by the Florentine 
Bernardo RosscUino, dates from 1458-1462, two hundred 
years and more before Wren’s earliest building, the Sheldonian 
Theatre, and was the work of an architect born as far back as 
1409. It is true that the literary Renaissance came earlier to 
England, and that its great period was over before Wren was 
born. But it is true also that Italian literature cannot compare 
with tliat of England. Their genius lay in painting and in the 
arts of hand. It is probably the immortal generation of Shake- 
speare, Ben Jonson, Marlowe, and the others, that has made 
the world think that poetry is the only art in England, flowering, 
in contradiction, in a material soil where only sport and com- 
merce flourish, and the arts are stillborn or die at birtli. 

But the career of Wren was the opportunity for great 
craftsmen. This belated man of the Renaissance, though 


21 



nothing is belated if it comes in time, grows more interesting, 
and less academic, the more we study him. We have said that 
Inigo Jones, greater artist though he was than any contem- 
porary Italian, would have been thought old-fashioned in 
Italy and pertaining to the previous generation; but Wren, 
once he had developed, and he matured rapidly from the 
Sheldonian Theatre and Pembroke College Chapel, Cam- 
bridge, his first buildings, could be called the first architect 
in Europe, after Bernini. But Bernini was sculptor more than 
architect; and, in architecture, he played with fire. His 
experiments were always dangerous, and in any case Bernini 
was an old man by now. We must not, however, pretend to 
ourselves, for conscience’ sake, that St Paul’s Cathedral is 
not a building in Baroque style. For it is that, certainly, but 
in pure form, without the influence of the theatre. It is a 
great work of art that appeals more to the intellect than to the 
senses. It has none of the Jesuit imager}^ that inspired Bernini. 
And it is incredible when we turn from this evidence to the 
garden alcove or the Orangery at Kensington. Thus is an 
architect as diverse of talent as the Neapolitan. He is tlie master 
of brick as w^ell as stone, and combines tlie two at Hampton 
Court on a large scale, and in little, at the Town Hall at 
Windsor. It could be argued that Bernini does not compose in 
colour; that he has the sculptural, but not the colour sense; 
that his magnificent Scala Regia in the Vatican is a composition 
in light and shadow, like his Doric colonnades to St Peter’s, 
or even his marble group of Apollo and Daplme at the Casino 
Borghese. But Wren is one of the great masters of colour in 
architecture ; and if we compare him with Bernini he surpasses 
the Italian in other ways. Bernini embellished Rome with 
many fountains; but their easy, and not always exquisite 
invention is intellectually little, or nothing, beside the beauty 
and variety of Wren’s London steeples. When we add to those 
the sum total of his City churches, the Englishman emerges 
as not inferior to the Italian. 

Under Wren the great craftsmen assemble, and their con- 
tinuity is established down to a hundred years ago. It is of 
no importance that Grinling Gibbons and Tijou, the two most 

22 



femous names, were foreigners and not Englishmen. So were 
Verrio and Laguerre, but our native Thomhill was a better 
painter than both put together. He is, indeed, probably the 
most underrated of all the Baroque masters, forgotten in 
England and omitted, in ignorance, by foreign critics. Grinling 
Gibbons and Tijou, it is true, were never excelled in their 
respective spheres, but they were nearly approached. The 
incomparable silversmiths of Charles the Second’s reign, the 
bookbindings of Samuel Meame, the wahiut furniture, the 
stucco ceilings, these are accompaniment to the architeaure. 
No book that only concerns itself with buildings can give the 
picture of the age, or of subsequent generations down to the 
death of George the Fourth. But Wren lived to be so old, 
and altered so much in his work, that he is as typical of the 
reign of William the Third as of that of Charles the Second. 
Hampton Court, if we are not mistaken, could not be the 
palace of the Stuart. The Hampton Court Beauties by Lely 
already look a little out of place. That seraglio of young 
beauties is now middle-aged. We are arriving at Marl- 
borough’s wars, and the colonnade of the Clock Court is 
intended for Dutch William’s grenadiers. 

The other mystery of our architecture is the case of Van- 
brugh. Here we are dealing, not with a scientist and mathe- 
matician unexpectedly, perhaps even to his own surprise, 
turned architect, but with a playwright and man of fashion, 
in whom architecture worked witih all the fire and violence of a 
conversion to religion. Not, though, in his letters or, we are 
certain, in his conversation. In those he was unchanged; they 
were his nature. The matter is inexphcable, therefore, except 
as a case of genius. It must be imderstood that his talents in 
architecture were of no feminine order. We must not imagine, 
because he was a man of the theatre, that he was equivalent to 
the modem decorator, to the dressmaker, or fashionable 
photographer. Inigo Jones’s Banqueting House at Whitehall, 
even many of Wren’s buildings, look feminine beside his 
Roman or Ninevean grandeur. To deepen the mystery, 
Vanbrugh does not seem to have been in the least interesting 
or temperamental as a character. He remained the ordinary 

23 



man of fasliion. Even to a confirmed admirer of the Baroque 
style, Vanbrugh transcends that, and is not culpable of its 
weaknesses. Or is he not Baroque at all? It is a difficult 
question to answer. His layout and planning are Baroque, 
so is his peculiar ornament. We are brought to the conclusion 
that he built in the Baroque, just as he used in his letters and 
conversation the fashionable jargon of the day, but that his 
inner purposes were different, and even grander or more 
serious. His houses, alone in architecture, are in an epic style; 
but influenced by what poetry or under the influence of which 
plays? We do not know. There is little or no evidence of his 
reading. He is not in the least literary in inspiration. We must 
conclude that, like many artists, Vanbrugh had two person- 
alities; one for the occasion, and another, which was deeper, 
and lay below the surface. He was, at least, fortunate in the 
gratification of his talents, and it can only have been due to 
a rare combination of good fortune and charm of person. 
Vanbrugh is, undoubtedly, the most extraordinary instance 
of genius in our architecture, if not in all architecture of the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

How cold, after he has gone, is tlie prospect of the Pal- 
ladians! But it need not be for long. William Kent is too 
interesting in achievement; and there is the genial and pon- 
derously graceful Gibbs, a contradiction, but to our eye he is, 
terpsichorally, a middle-aged dancer, neat and agile, in a 
periwig. Nothing of the sort with William Kent, who is 
always serious and solemn, as much the typical Englishman 
as Don Quixote is Castilian. Nevcrtlteless, after Inigo Jones, 
more conspicuous in legend than in acliievement, after the 
intellectual Wren, and the solitary and inexplicable Vanbrugh, 
William Kent is the greatest of our architects. The marble 
hall of Holkham and the staircase of No 44 Berkeley Square 
must be counted among the finest interiors of the Renaissance 
in Europe, the one, Classical or Roman, and the other, Venetian 
in inspiration, but both of them seen only by a few persons 
and unknown to the world at large. Kent is truly magnificent 
in his doorways, his coffered ceilings, and gilt chairs and tables, 
Gibbs, by contrast, has a lighter, and more humorous hand. 

24 



While in Italy he must have studied the contemporary Italian. 
There is no such evidence in William Kent. Bernini might 
not have been bom so far as he was concerned. Even his gilt 
furniture is in the style of the late sixteenth century Venetian; 
with emendations and corrections, it could be by Inigo Jones 
after that master had come back from Venice. 

Gibbs is, in fact. Rococo, but to the sober limit. His London 
churches, which are masterpieces, are in the language of 
Wren, but with inflections of the modern Italian, as can be 
seen by comparing, for instance, St Mary-le- Strand with the 
Court Chapel at Dresden, by Ciiiaveri, or with some of the 
churches at Turin. Altogether, the quantity of Rococo in 
England, in Ireland, even in Scotland, is far greater than 
might be anticipated, under the ban of the PaUadiaiis. Much 
of it, of course, was the work of imported Italian craftsmen. 
That applies, particularly, to stucco; but the cabinet makers, 
headed by Thomas Clhppcndale, self-proclaimed, but offering 
no apologies for his borrowings from others, are as wilfully 
Rococo as they dare to be, and in a flux of the Classical, the 
‘Gothick^ and Chinese. This is the period of the Chinese 
wallpaper, and of Paul de Lamerie. The Huguenot silversmith 
is the greatest artist among several of his race and faith. Pie 
can no more be omitted from a history of British architects and 
craftsmen than can the Meissen figures of J. J. Kandler be 
left out from any study of the Rococo in Germany. And 
our Chelsea and Worcester porcelain must be considered, 
too. 

But in England there was no second generation of the Ro- 
coco. On the other hand, the sins of the fatliers were visited 
upon the third and fourth generation of the Palladians. Or in 
other words, they never ceased to build their porticos, emin- 
ently unsuited, as always, to the English climate. But behind 
the facade, in the interior, there is aU the competence of a host 
of delightful architects: Matthew Brettingham, Paine and 
Vardy, Flitcroft, Isaac Ware, individuals whom, now, with 
the aid of detail photography it is becoming possible to 
identify. The culmination of this later trend of the Palladians 
is with Sir WiUiam Chambers, who brought to the landscape 

25 



garden of Kent and ‘Capability’ Brown the artificiality of the 
Chinese^ built the pagoda in Kew Gardens, and at the same 
time studied the refinements of French architecture under 
Louis seize. Chambers, we know from Somerset House, was 
a Classical composer of a noble mould. No later architect 
could contrive or sustain the immense length of his fa9ade 
along the river Thames. 

The dawn of Adam brought with it a brightening of the 
parts, till, indeed, no interiors have glittered with more 
brilliance of detail. But the works of Adam must be selected, 
and re-selectcd, until we reach his best. We may not find it 
possible to admire Adam as architect of an exterior. Neither 
the South front of Kedleston, nor that of Stowe, has move- 
ment, nor any quality but that, like a triumphal arch, of 
standing stiU. But Adam is master of a flight of rooms, of the 
first, second, and third drawing-rooms, that communicate 
through high door cases of mahogany and gold. Master, too, 
of the English dining-room, for it is to be observed that the 
French, who prefer female company, ate their meals anywhere, 
and joined the ladies. Not so the English. They sat for long 
hours over their port. Adam, therefore, was master of the 
sideboard and the wine-cooler; but his true genius lay in the 
frieze and ceiling. 

The best of Adam is at Kedleston, where also he is at his 
worst ; and at Syon. In the hall at Kedleston tlie conception is 
upon tlie Roman scale, for good or bad, while no praise could 
be excessive for such magnificence in detail as the fire grates 
of polished steel and brass. But the interior of Syon is above 
praise or blame. The ante-room with its pillars of verde 
antique, its panels of military trophies in gold, its golden 
honeysuckle frieze and coloured scagliola floor, is worthy of the 
late Greek or Roman, How skilful is the difference between 
this ante-room and the red drawing-room, where the walls 
are hung with Spitalfields silk of plum-red and silver, where 
woven carpet and painted ceiling are beautiful and fine, and 
fireplace of marble and ormolu, and doorway of mahogany 
and cream and gold are worthy, in another mood, of the Dued 
Palace at Urbino! The long gallery at Syon shows Adam 

26 



studying the Renaissance, for once, and not the Roman. It is 
unique in his works, and among the most fancifully delicate 
achievements of the art of ornament. 

Adam is to be most loved when he is least the Adam v/hom 
we know so well. We prefer Adam without Angelica Kauff- 
mann, and without the cameo. Adam witliout the lincrusta 
ornament, and even without the ordinary Adam mantelpiece. 
We love him in what Walpole so despised, his ‘harlequinades ’, 
that is to say, his mirrors and his coloured ceilings. We love 
him, in fact, when Walpole calls him ‘clinquant’. He is to 
be admired in this mood in the drawing-room, on the first 
floor, at No 20 Portman Square, which is a wonderful ex- 
ample of his calculated intricacy and richness. Adam so dazed 
his clients with brilliance that, in the end, he fell out of 
favour. 

He was succeeded by Wyatt, who was younger, lazy, but 
more brilliant still. His facade of Pleaton Hall gives greater 
promise than any architect since Vanbrugii, but it only led him 
to the Gothic inanities of Ashridge and Fonthill. The interior 
of Heveningham is his masterpiece, nothing could be more 
admirable in elegance and imagination, and the problem of 
Wyatt becomes the third, and last, mystery of our architecture. 
The solution can only lie in his laziness and lack of conscience, 
since it is impossible to believe that an artist of his taste and 
instinct could be converted to the new style. James Wyatt 
is among the fallen angels: in the company of Sir John 
Millais. 

The decline of the eigliteentii century into tlie century of 
soot and smoke, which has only hfted in our lifetime to plunge 
us, once, and once again, into the fog of war, is marked with 
every sign and warning of spiritual disaster. It is only now 
that we are reaping the whirlwind, after a hundred years of 
complacency beyond precedent, and material prosperity. Why 
did Keats, Shelley, Byron, die young, before their time? But 
our subject is architecture, not politics. Let us seek the reason, 
rather, in the decay of craftsmanship, and we may lay tlie 
blame, if we like, at the door of tlie new conditions. But the 
true reason, doubtless, is the rise in prices, and a quarter of a 

27 



century of war. It is to be noticed that all the symptoms are 

present before the appearance of the disease. Architeaure and 
the attendant arts, from 1780 onward, are suffering from 
organic weakness. The interiors of Wyatt, Adam, Leverton, 
could fold up like a house of cards. Architecturally, or physic- 
ally, they have no resistance. They are graceful, fragile, and 
attenuated. They have lost their force. How different from 
that earlier, Handelian age of fifty years before, contemporary 
witli Gibbs and Kent, when we may fancy to ourselves we 
hear, at every step, the peal of the mighty Organ Concerto, or 
the hautbois and drums and trumpets of the Grand Concerto ! 
But these later interiors are upon the point of falling inward, 
upon themselves. 

Nevertheless, tlie arts lay long a-dying, and in suffering they 
tossed from side to side. How else could Wyatt build Gothic 
Fonthill and Classical Dodington at the same time? Or the 
elder Pugin and Thomas Hope of Deepdenc be working, 
separately, on furniture in tlie Gothic and the Grecian man- 
ners? There are still craftsmen like Sheraton and Hepple- 
white. There arc the strict Grecians, Cockerell and Charles 
Heathcote Tatiiam. There is the revived Rococo of the 
Regency. There are Flaxman and Stothard, and the silver of 
Paul Storr. There arc the squares of Brighton, the parades 
of Cheltenham, and the terraces of Regent’s Park. There is 
the cottage ornJe, and there is Windsor Castle. Or Belvoir, 
Eaton, Eastnor, and so down tlirough lesser examples, to the 
Gotliic of Islington, or Pcntonvillc. 

Further than that we do not intend to go. For it only leads 
to mid- Victorian Gotliic churches, in the same Gothic, neither 
better nor worse, than that of the illuminated coming-of-age 
address of the eigliteen-scventies and eighteen-eighties. The 
steps of that weary pilgrimage, ending in the encaustic tile, 
are not in the least necessar^^ If v/c would take our pleasures 
humorously, there is so much that is more amusing. Let us 
end, instead, in the shell grotto, at pavements inlaid with 
knucklebones ; or at A La Ronde, the shellwork rotunda above 
Exmouth. ^ Or with a bowl of wax flowers under a glass shade; 

^ A la Ronde was built 1799-1800. 

28 



a glass ship with glass sailors in the rigging; or a tray of 
papier mach^. 

Buta in truth, we are surrounded in England even now by 
wonders, and there is not time in a single life to see them all. 
For they have, to the full, our national habit of reticence or 
self-effacement. Indeed, the English masters, as we would 
expect, are paragons of understatement. Not, of course, Van- 
brugh, who was an exception to all our rules. But our national 
temperament could not be more aptly illustrated than by com- 
parison with the little Rococo town of Noto, in Sicily, in its 
v/ay among the minor wonders of the world, where the beauty 
of the architecture consists in the fagadcs and in the balconies, 
these latter upheld by figures of turbaned Moors, Chinamen, 
Pierrots or drolls of Comedy, and winged Fcgasuscs, carved in 
the local golden stone, but the palaces have notliing whatever 
of interest inside them, and the whole energy and fortune have 
gone upon the outward show. Compare this with tlie exterior 
of Syon, or of No 44 Berkeley Square, and you will understand 
the difference, in aesthetics, between the Anglo-Saxon and the 
Latin. 

We are looking in these pages for tlic link joining Hampton 
Court Palace, of red brick and Portland stone, with the humble 
mariners’ almshouse or hospital at Old Yarmouth, with its 
flagpole in front of it; for tlie connection between St PauPs 
Cathedral and any Methodist chapel or Quaker meeting house ; 
for the secret shared, in common, by tlic Painted Hall at 
Greenwich Hospital, and the print of a bluejacket, ‘pemiy 
plain and twopence coloured’, in the window of die toy shop 
at Hoxton. We are searching for die national genius, expressed 
in architecture and its lesser arts. Yet it has been our endeavour 
to treat of our subject as though it were not insular. It is a 
part, and an important part, of history. Our architects, like our 
poets, are of the first order. They, and the craftsmen, must 
be set against the entire European Renaissance, and be judged 
by that. But, so far as Enghshmen are concerned themselves, 
an increasing number of men and women, as the years pass 
by, go to our old architecture for their pleasure and recreation. 
For architecture can console, and inspire, as can no other art 

29 



but music. Under that stimulus, whether it soothes or fires, 
we see what tlie man-made world has been, and what it still 
could be. That is our subject,' and it only remains now to 
present this study of British architects and craftsmen to our 
readers, in the hope that it will instruct a few, remind more, 
and interest all who turn these pages. 


30 



PART ONE 


I 

ELIZABETHAN AND JACOBEAN BUILDING 

A TEMPTATION, which there is no reason to resist, would 
begin this book with the PerpendicuJiir Gothic. Our 
earliest instance would be the fan vaulting of the cloisters at 
Gloucester, and it would bring us to the fretted stalactites of 
St George’s, Windsor, of King’s College, Cambridge, and of 
the Henry the Seventh chapel at Westminster. Their style, and 
even their unit of ornament, are as peculiar and fanciful as 
though made for Shah Abbas or the Mamelukes of Egypt, until 
we note the thin walls and huge surfaces of glass window and 
realise that they were intended for the English climate. 

For the Perpendicular, apart from technical details and inno- 
vations that only the professional architect or ecclesiologist 
would distinguish, is the first definite and distinct contribution 
of England to the architecture of the world. Here, indeed, is 
something to be seen in this cotintry only, and nowhere else. 
And, from this point, the especial delights of our national 
architecture can begin. Of course it is true that, taken in tlieir 
whole eficct, Durham, Ely, Lincoln, Wells, the four most 
wonderful of our cathedral churches, are unique and unsur- 
passed by anything abroad. But their component parts can be 
matched or tallied. Canterbury — and later Westminster — are, 
in large degree, designed by French master masons. In fact, 
the greater the work, in tliose early days, the more Continental 
are its affinities. The national style was beginning to emerge 
in smaller instances, in scattered Transitional and Early 
English. We are thinking of the spires of Lincolnshire and 
Northamptonshire; later, of the Perpendicular towers which 
are the feature of the village churches of Somerset; of the 
‘angeP ceilings of Norfolk. It is fascinating to speculate upon 
the origin and derivation of these ‘angel’ ceilings. The two 

31 



most splendid specimens are at Sail and Cawston, a pair of 
villages a mile or two apart, not far from the sea at Cromer, a 
detail which, as we shall see, is important in their history. 
That, at Cawston, is an open roof with double hammerbeams. 
It lias a row of cherubs or angels with outspread wings along 
the cornice, and long, gilded angels resting on the projecting 
beams, as though lying or floating, full length, into the body of 
the church. Now, a species of shark that has curious projecting 
dorsal fins used to be called an ‘angcT by the Southwold 
fishermen, and it is tempting to think that the art or ‘ mystery % 
i.e. mastery, of these ‘anger ceilings, which arc found no- 
where else, was a secret confined to certain local guilds or 
families of craftsmen, and was closely allied to the art of ship- 
building. By the middle of the fifteenth century, too, the 
exterior of the East Anglian churches, built of flints, was 
strictly local or traditional in type. An English architecture has 
arrived, at last, and it can be studied in its characteristics of 
region and material in every part of the country. 

Then came the Renaissance and the change over of religion. 
During the Tudor period few churches were built. On the 
other hand, many monastic and collegiate ones were de- 
molished and pulled down. It is the time of the Dissolution 
of the Monasteries. There is evidence that the G othic was not 
even dying, much less dead, that it was capable of much further 
and fanciful development, but that a change of architectural or 
moral fashion had come in. But all the progress was in domes- 
tic architecture. Little was done in the churches but in the case 
of tombs, which tend, owing to the deficiency of the sculptor, 
to delight us more by their curious heraldry, their detail of 
Elizabethan costume, their odd architectural conception, com- 
plete with pillar, roof, and obelisk, than as works of sculpture, 
pure and simple. Many dead persons, men and women and 
their numerous progeny, are lying in what is practically a 
garden pavilion or gazebo in the middle of the church, but it is 
a capricious architecture that looked prettier on parchment, 
and is emblazoned with their arms. 

The red brick Tudor architecture has begun. A familiar, but 
comparatively plain instance is the Founder’s Tower at Eton 

32 



College, while more elaborate examples are the gateways of 
Trinity and St John’s at Cambridge. More typical still, be- 
cause it is plain but lavish, yet not enriched with too much 
heraldry and gilding, is Layer Marney Tower in Essex. This is 
a tall building. The double towers to either side of the door- 
way are eight storeys high, and they are in a hybrid style, for 
the panelling, so to speak, of the mullioned windows is Per- 
pendicular Gothic, while the design of the parapets, with their 
dolphins leaping over semi-circular panels, is taken direct from 
the French Renaissance of Francois premier. The material, 
here, is the typical thin, red brick much in use in East Anglia 
because of the scarcity of stone, but also under the influence of 
the brick houses of Bruges and Ghent, not far away, and even 
profiting, it may be, from the red bricks of the local Roman 
villas. Hengrave Hall, Suffolk, is still more inicresting as 
marking the transition. The entrance gateway has a triple bay 
window, the corbelling below terminating in a shield of arms 
that is supported by a pair of amorini dressed in Roman 
armour. They are in fact perfectly Italian, while the w’lndow 
above them is Perpendicular Gothic, and the turrets io cither 
side carry those domed caps which are so curious a feature of 
the Henry the Seventh Chapel at Westminster, and that look 
as though the pennons of the tournament should flutter from 
them. There are instances, too, in buildings of this time, and 
particularly at Hampton Court, in which busts and medallions 
of terracotta arc incorporated in the brick surface. These 
plaques are Northern Italian by influence, and the best in- 
dividual example is that which bears the arms and cardinal’s 
hat of Wolsey at Hampton Court. A typical building in this 
terracotta style is Sutton Place, Surrey, though w^e must admit 
that our personal taste prefers other things. English domestic 
architecture is deep in the process of learning to be itself, and 
in the course of that mistakes are being made. There is Itahan 
influence, French influence, Flemish, Dutch and German in- 
fluences. Holbein, one of the two great foreign artists, in any 
of the arts, who has ever worked here for any length of time — 
the other was Handel — employed his many talents in design 
and afFeaed, if he did not practise, architeaure. 

B 33 



Unfortunately the most conspicuous building of the age has 
been destroyed. This was the palace of Nonesuch in Surrey. 
Below the print by Hoefnagel it says, in Latin, that Henry the 
Eighth invited thither the most excellent artificers, architects, 
sculptors, and statuaries of different nations, Italians, French- 
men, Hollanders, and native Englishmen. But the decorations 
were, in fact, mainly by Italians, and of course the best Italian 
craftsmen remained in Italy, and were not to be tempted to 
barbaric Britain. Nonesuch had two courts, only one of which 
was completed by the King. The other was continued after 
his death by Lord Lumley. The Court in question was not so 
large in dimensions as the tJtree remaining Tudor courts, of 
four, at Hampton Court, but it was more richly decorated in 
accordance with its flaunting name. We may visit Nonesuch 
Palace in the company of both Pepys and Evelyn, wLo saw it 
only a few years before Charles the Second gave it to his mis- 
tress, Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine, by whom it was 
dismantled and pulled down. There was a gatehouse with a 
clock turret, a great banqueting hall three storeys high con- 
taining a hall and eight rooms with windows on cither side, and 
a privy garden. The lower storey was of stone; the upper of 
half-timber, but richly gilt and painted, and covered with 
scales of slate; the slate, in Evelyn’s words, ‘fastened on the 
timber in pretty figures, that has, hke a coat of armour, 
preserv’d it from rotting’. Pepys remarks that it was ‘covered 
with lead, and gilded’, especially the two great towers, five 
store^^s high, that faced the privy garden. As for this latter, 
Pepys tells us that it was walled, and divided into ‘alleys, 
quarters, and rounds, set about with thornc hedge’, and had a 
fountain of a pelican, and ‘two other marble pinnacles or 
pyramids, called the Faulcon perches, betwixt which is placed 
a fountaine of white marble with a lead cisteme, which foun- 
taine is set round with six trees called lilack trees, which trees 
bear no fruit but only a very pleasant flower.’ 

The characteristics of the Tudor house were, by now, suf- 
ficiently developed to be recognised upon a plan, and tliey 
include two structural features, a staircase and a long gallery. 
These staircases were built, generally, of oak with richly 

34 



Fig. I 


. Nonesuch Palace: a reconstruction by the late H. W. Brewer. 


35 



carved balusters and newels, giving much opportunity for 
heraldic display. The long galleries were peculiarly English, 
being, indeed, another tribute to our English climate, so that 
they w^ere noticed particularly by foreigners, for instance by a 
Venetian traveller, who writes of the galleries, 'which are long 
porticoes or halls, without chambers, with windows on each 
side, looking on gardens or rivers, tlie ceilings being marvel- 
lously wrought in stone (stucco?) witli gold, and the wainscot 
of carved wood representing a thousand beautiful figures’. 
He may have been referring to the long gallery at Hampton 
Court, destroyed by Wren, but details of this especially 
English innovation, the long gallery, that continues the spirit 
of the Perpendicular, may be left till later. For another, and 
that a typical form of Tudor building in popular opinion, 
has yet to be described. This is the 'black and white’, or 
'magpie’ house, great or small, for ‘half- timber’ is too 
mipleasant, now, in its associations. The old buildings in 
Holborn give tlie pattern, while there are small houses, in 
plenty, and even whole villages, in Warwickshire, Worcester- 
shire, and Herefordshire. Certain villages in Worcestershire 
could have been brought over, bodily, from Wiirtemberg. 
But, in general, the English timber contruction is quite dif- 
ferent from the German. We have notliing that resembles the 
timber frame houses of Goslar, or Hildesheim, or Dinkelsbuhl. 
And, equally, there is nothing in ‘black and w^hite’ in Ger- 
many that recalls our English pargetting, or external plaster- 
work. Those features that we have mentioned, the staircase 
and the gallery, are to be found, in miniature, in the small 
houses as much as in the great, even if it is only the upper 
passage that has been widened to form a gallery, as in an old 
black and white house at Long Itchington, in Warwickshire. 

But there arc the magnificent instances of ‘magpie’ build- 
ing. Timber houses were built, as we would expect, in wooded 
districts, in tlie Weald of Kent and Sussex, and still more in 
Lancashire and Cheshire. Moreton Old Hall, in Cheshire, and 
Speke Hall, near Liverpool, are black and white houses of great 
size. Crew^e Hall, Cheshire, is, unfortunately, only to be 
admired in the lithographs of Joseph Nash, for it was burnt 

36 



[ down; and Crewe Hall may have been the most beautiful of 
I all. We may regret the carved parlour with wooden mantel- 
piece, panelled wall, and stucco ceiling, and the hall with still 
richer ceiling that dropped in pendant stalactites, carved 
screen, and tremendous mantelpiece, but, of course, the in- 
teriors of these ‘magpie’ houses were Uttle different, at their 
best, from the interiors of other houses. The outside of More- 
ton Old Hall, with its two storeys of oriel windows and its 
gables all facing inwards at different angles, is exceedingly 
picturesque; while the drawing-room of Speke Hall has a 
magnificent stucco ceiling moulded into grape or acorn 
panels. Nothing could be more English than these ‘magpie’ 
houses. They show no foreign influence. At Moreton Old 
Hall the bay windows arc signed and dated by Richard Dale, 
a carpenter, in 1559, which raises two arguments concerning 
such specimens of building. In the first place, they are so 
entirely indigenous and traditional in style that in the absence 
of definite evidence it is difficult to date them. It has been 
suggested that Speke Hall was not begun till 1598, and tlicre 
are other cases in which the problem extends from late 
fifteenth to early seventeenth century, from the reign of 
Henry tlie Seventh to that of James the First. And, secondly, 
the beauties of such houses derive from carpenter and plas- 
terer. An architect, as later ages understood that term, would 
hardly be employed upon these wood and plaster buildings. 

At the same time, the crafts of the carver and plasterer were 
in their apogee. They were, in fact, in such houses, in advance 
of the walls on which they worked. In a sense, the appropriate 
architecture was not yet ready for them. We must remember, 
in looking at the beautiful lithographs of Elizabethan buildings 
and interiors by Joseph Nash, and at the books on Elizabethan 
architecture and decoration by C. J. Richardson, both pub- 
lished about a hundred years ago, that tliey were in possession 
of better evidence than we can find ourselves. So much has 
perished; so many buildings have been burnt down or de- 
stroyed. Some houses, like Speke Hall, outside Liverpool, 
or Aston Hall, nearly in the middle, now, of Birmingham, have 
found themselves stranded like extinct monsters in the w^aste 

37 



lands, or in the public recreation parks. In any case, Nash and 
Richardson could see colours that are lost to us. Of the plaster 
mantelpiece in the carved parlour at Crewe Hall, now burnt 
down, Richardson writes that ‘it represents the effects of 
Idleness and Industry. The former, dressed in rags, is asleep, 
his ground overrun with weeds and thistle, his house, un- 
roofed, is falling to ruin from neglect; it is backed by dead and 
lifeless trees; a gallows, his final destination, is seen in the 
extreme distance. Industry . . . without liis coat is represented 
at work to tlic left; in the centre is Time, presenting rewards 
and punishments.’ This description, which reads beautifully 
in itself, could be paralleled in so many other places in Nash or 
Richardson where tliey draw, or describe, something that is 
lost to us by destruction or neglect. 

But we return again to the long galleries. There is, stiU, a 
wide choice of these. They were placed, generally, on the top 
floor and ran the whole length of the house. The longest of all 
was that at Audley End, now destroyed, which was 226 ft long. 
Next came the long gallery at Hampton Court, pulled down by 
Wren, and 180 ft in length. Even longer galleries are shown 
upon the plans of Buckhurst House and Ampthill, but these 
may have been divided into two compartments. Enormous 
galleries still exist at Hardwick Hall and Montacute; and 
beautiful, but smaller, galleries at Chastlcton and Haddon 
Hall. Every Elizabethan house had its long gallery; and at 
least fifteen or twenty specimens can still be seen. No one 
knows their purpose; whether they were meant for exercise 
on rainy days, or as a general living-room for the whole house- 
hold. They have two, or even three fireplaces, showing that 
they were used in winter. The walls were hung, where pos- 
sible, with tapestry. At one place, the gallery was floored with 
cedar boards, ‘casting a pleasant smelE, but, more usually, 
the oaken floor was strewn with rushes. Probably, the children 
played at one end, or in the sunlight of a bay window, and the 
women brought their embroidery and needlework. We must 
consider, too, that this was the place for music. It was the 
golden age of music in England. Madrigals would be sung in 
the evening round a table, from special music printed facing 

38 



all four ways. The songs of Dowland, most exquisite of 
Elizabethan song writers, and one of die great masters of the 
world, would be heard. In more than one of these long 
galleries must have stood a harpsichord made in Antwerp by 
the great Flemish maker, Ruckers, and marked with his own 
special ‘rose’. We must imagine pavancs and galliardes of 
Byrd and Bull, and smaller pieces, folk-song fantasies, perhaps, 
by Orlando Gibbons and Giles Farneb}^ Other instruments, 
as romantic and beautiful in workmanship as the lute of Queen 
Elizabeth, by John Rose, that is still preserved at Helmingham, 
in Suffolk, will have been famihar in their sound. The musical 
instruments with forgotten names are, indeed, among the 
most beautiful objects that have come down to us from the 
sixteenth century. And no less beautiful was the half-forgotten 
music that they played. 

It is, by now, a bewilderment to move among the houses and 
make our choice of which to mention. But wc will be guided 
by nothing but whether they are works of art. For some are 
ugly. Wollaton Hall, sunk into Nottingham, is ugly now, and 
must have always been, built under bastard Dutch or German 
influence, like the worst excesses of the German Renaissance, 
and even then, at second hand, for its ornament is copied from 
German drawing-books. The strapwork ornament of Wollaton 
is meaningless and at its best, or worst, it is in the manner of 
the architect and draughtsman, Wendcl Dicttcrlcin. All the 
abuse which has been lavished upon the wilder exponents of 
the Rococo, and none of their elegance, applies to Diettcrlcin. 
His influence, if not his hand, direct, can be seen at the castle 
of Biickeburg, the former capital of Schaumburg-Lippe. Fie 
was invited to Stuttgart by Duke Ludwig of Wiirtemberg to 
build a Lusthaus or pavilion, and while there published his book 
on architecture, in 1593. This had an extraordinary vogue in 
England under Elizabeth and James the First, being only in- 
ferior in point of time to the folios of the Fleming, Jan Vredman 
de Vries, of which editions appeared as early as 1563. De Vries 
is, perhaps, more responsible for Wollaton than the later 
Dietterlein. We shall see, though, that it was only in architec- 
ture that such results were bad. When the Enghsh carvers and 

39 



stuccoists^ especially, made use of Flemish pattern books and 
adapted their designs, their work is often of extreme beauty. 

WoUaton Hall was designed by Robert Smithson who was 
master-mason at Longleat and may have partly designed that, 
too. His son was John Smitlison, a far greater and more 
imaginative person, to whom the glorious and romantic Bols- 
over Castle is due. Longleat has been so much redecorated, 
internally, in Victorian times that all we are left with is its 
exterior and its plans. It looks fine and imposing from the 
distance. So does Burghlcy. So does Hatfield. Perhaps their 
chief interest lies really in the w^orks of art that they contain. 
In the same way, the wonderful paintings, one by Rubens, 
in particular, confer a distinction upon Longford Castle, in 
Wiltshire, when it is in reality more curious than beautiful 
with its triangular plan and three towers at the corners. Other 
houses, as Compton Wynyates, have a physical beauty that 
is not architectural. Nevertheless, to look down upon this 
house from the trees above it is to enjoy one of the most lovely 
visual experiences to be had in England. 

Before we come to what is supreme in Elizabethan building 
we may take, together, a trio of houses in different parts of the 
country, Levens Hall in Westmorland, Chastleton in Oxford- 
shire, Montacute in Somerset. Among them we no longer feel, 
as we do at Burghley, that we are in the courtyard of some 
German castle. What could be quieter, more beautiful, more 
serene, than Levens ? This has tlie physical beauty of Comp- 
ton Wynyates, and something besides. But not yet the hand of 
a great architect. The outside of Levens lies in the beauty of 
repose. Within, a haU, a pair of drawing-rooms, a dining-room, 
are of the richest plasterv/ork and wainscoting. Below the 
diamond windows, the topiary garden laid out a hundred years 
later by the Frenchman, Beaumont, is entirely appropriate to 
this ancient peace. It is the same at Chastleton, with this 
difference, that when the house comes into view, not far away, 
an intense delight is to be had from the grain and closeness of the 
stonework, and that we know instinctively, as in Italy, that this 
is the Renaissance, that new images and poetry are at their birth 
in the stuccoed and muUioned rooms above. Here, again, there 

40 



is a topiary garden, of later date, with no less than a full-rigged 
galleon at sail, in box; while the interior and faded wonders 
end at the long galler}^, than which nothing more romantic and 
forgotten could be imagined. Montacute, by contrast, is more 
beautiful outside than in. It gains, too, from the exceptional 
loveliness of the land in which it lies, being the most country 
part of Somerset and apt to remind one of that delightful 
passage in Pepys where the diarist, on a journey into the West 
of England, writes : ‘ So rode a very good way . . . with great 
pleasure, being now come into Somersetshire. . . . And the 
first town we came to was Brekington, where, we stopping for 
something for the horses, we called two or three little boys to 
us, and pleased ourselves with their manner of speech.’ Mon- 
tacute, indeed, could be said to be in the centre of that country 
dialect, just as much of its peculiar charm coming from the fact 
that it was built by a family of no subsequent eminence, so that 
it has been unspoilt by subsequent ages and history has passed 
it by. The only drawback to Montacutc, pictorially, is that the 
low balustrade in front of the house and tlie summerhouses or 
gazebos at the comers are so integral a part of the plan that it is 
only perfectly realised when they are all set out before the 
eyes. The planning is too regular and concentric, and suffers 
from that. And Lord Curzon, who called in Mrs Elinor Glyn, 
trespassed at a bad moment upon the sleeping beauty and hung 
floral wallpapers upon the bedroom walls. 

But there is still time to turn aside into a curious architec- 
tural cul-de-sac. This consists in the buildings of the Papist, 
Sir Thomas Tresham, all in Northamptonshire, consisting of 
the Rothwell market house, Lyveden New Build, and the 
manor house and triangular lodge at Rushton, all nearby. 
Sir Thomas Tresham, who was by birth a Protestant, and who 
was knighted by Queen Elizabeth on her visit to Kenilworth, 
was converted by Campion and reconciled to the Church of 
Rome. With all the zeal of the convert, he was repeatedly fined 
and imprisoned for his faith. His buildings bear every mark 
of having been designed in detail by him, forming something 
absolutely apart and personal, reminiscent of Mr Nicholas 
Ferrar and the community of Little Gidding. His bookplate 

41 



has survived; it is the second earliest known, and is very rare. 
A copy is in the British Museum. Lyveden New Build stands 
by itself in the fields, roofless and unfinished, a mile from any 
road. It is built on the plan of a Greek cross, with oriel win- 
dows on two floors at the termination of each limb of the cross. 
But the curiosity lies in the carved ornaments along the cor- 
nices, which are all emblems of the Passion; the purse, lan- 
thorn, torches, spear, and sword; the cross, ladder, hammer, 
and nails; the seamless garment and dice; the crowing cock 
and the scourges. These are finely cut into the stone by skilled 
hands. In looking at I.yveden New Build, deserted, deep in 
the fields, we are haunted by a curious poetry, for this is the 
parallel, in architecture, to Vaughan or Crashaw. And in fact 
the buildings of Sir Thomas Tresham have a secure, if little, 
place in tlie history of the Renaissance. They are, in a sense, 
too obscure and mysterious to be forgotten. The triangular 
lodge at Rushton, more modest still in size, is the most curious 
of all, covered as it is witli emblems, and even an emblem in 
itself, but no description of it could better the narration of an 
incredible and unlikely scene during a n.eeting of the Mayor 
and burgesses of Rothwell in their market house, one of Tres- 
ham’s buildings.^ It was the year 1822, and during their ses- 
sion, a panel in the wall above the mantelpiece fell out and 
clattered down, revealing a secret hiding-place in which was 
an old and faded manuscript, with the following statement: 
‘If it be demanded why I labour so much in the Trinity and 
Passion of Christ to depaint in this chamber, this is the prin- 
ciple instance thereof: that at my last being hither committed 
(in prison), and I usually having my servant here allowed me, 
to read nightly an hour to me after supper, it fortuned that 
Fulcis, my then servant, reading in the Christian Revelation, 

’ The triamcailiir lodge is on the plan of an equilateral triangle, each 
side measuring 33 ft 3 in. There are three floors, three windows on 
each of three sides, and the windows are in three divisions. The 
inscriptions arc in twice three couplets in three lines. Each of the 
Latin inscriptions is of thirty-three letters; and the single words 
below them are three sets of two letters. The Tresham arms are in a 
trefoil, and the roof is furnished with three gables. Cf the article by 
Miss Margaret Jourdain in Memorials of Old Northamptonshire, 

42 



in the treatise of Proof there is a Gody etc. : there was upon a 
wainscot table at that instant, three loud knocks (as if it had 
been with an iron hammer) given; to the great amazing of me 
and my two servants, Fulcis and Nilkton. ’ For tlie triangular 
lodge we have, then. Sir Thomas Tresham’s own evidence of 
his intention, delivered by what the superstitious might con- 
sider to be a supernatural means. 

Sir Thomas Tresham’s buildings are too ‘nice’, by the 
original meaning, to be mere mason’s work. They must have 
been set forth and drawn in detail, according to his indications. 
It is only necessary to compare them with the ‘Porta Honoris’ 
at Caius, Cambridge, to be sure of this, for that is a little, odd 
fantasy in German style, amateurish in design and finish, 
though pertaining in manner and intent of execution to these 
more serious buildings with their religious meanings. But the 
mystery of tliis whole Elizabethan architecture now develops, 
in the person of John Thorpe. The problem of these un- 
known architects had long exercised the curiosity of the age 
which first renewed an interest in them, and it was left to 
Horace Walpole to discover what he believed to be the name 
and hand responsible. Fie found an album of old drawings in 
the possession of Lord Warwick, and this same folio of plans 
and architectural drawings, on 280 pages, is that now pre- 
served in the Soane Museum, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. It con- 
tains plans and elevations by John Thorpe for the following 
houses; Kirby, Longford, Rushton (perhaps), Holdenby, a 
great house at Wimbledon for Sir Thomas Cecil, Audley End, 
Ampthill, Buckhurst, Burghlcy, Wollaton, Holland House, and 
many others, besides adaptations from French and Flemish 
books of architecture, together with plans and designs for 
buildings that were never executed. Walpole was disposed, on 
the strengtli of this, to ascribe all the major Elizabethan 
houses to John Thorpe, and that opinion persisted, more or 
less, until recent times. Thorpe, moreover, copied the French 
plans from the French architect du Cerceau’s book, and one of 
his drawings has written below it ‘Queene Mother’s house 
Faber St Jarmin alia Parie, altered per J. Thorpe’, the Queen 
Mother being Marie de Medici, and there is a drawing, too, for 

43 



a house for Monsu Jammer ‘in Parie’. The words ‘en- 
lardgcd by J. Thorpe’, or ‘perfected by me, J.T.’, appear 
below others of his plans and drawings, while he has added 
improvements from his own hand to designs and elevations 
taken from Vredman de Vries and from the book of du 
Cerceau. It is not even certain that all the drawings in the 
book arc by the same person. Many of the drawings are, 
evidently, of finished buildings. Thorpe is at his best a 
fascinating draughtsman, while his plans are accurate and 
painstaking, probably the most scientific made to date. 

A plan, typical of the fanciful Elizabethan taste, is that for a 
building of three rooms, a haU, a parlour, and a bedroom, 
within a circular balustrade, surrounded by a terrace laid out 
in a circle. Between the angles made by the joining of the three 
rooms are three towers containing the porch, and the other 
two, the staircases. There are deep cupboards in the angles in 
between the towers and the walls. This is a project in the vein, 
precisely, of Sir Thomas Tresham, though, in this case, wholly 
capricious and without interior meaning. Another curiosity is 
a plan for a monogram house built on the plan of his own 
initials l~T, with the verse beneath : 

Thes 2 letters I & T 

loomed together as you see 

is meant for a dwelling house for me. 

His best drawings for houses, actual, or never realised, are like 
exquisite little cabinets or boxes. Two, particularly, perhaps 
the best of many, are those for ‘Sir Wm. Haseridge’ and ‘Mr 
Willm Powell’, while others are in the manner, very much, of 
Kirby Hall in Northamptonshire. We have said that these 
finished drawings remind us of Renaissance cabinets; and, in 
fact, they are reminiscent of South German and French carved 
and inlaid work, up to, but not during, the reign of Henri 
quatre. But also and in spite of this they are Elizabethan 
English, with their smoldng chimneys, turrets, and their two 
floors of oriel windows. One of the drawings, that for Kirby 
Hall, bears the inscription ‘Kerby whereof I laid the first 
stone 1570’, and this could be taken, in the direct sense, to 

44 



mean that John Thorpe was the architect.^ Kirby is in 
fact generally attributed to Thorpe; and so are Rushton 
(but not the triangular lodge) and Holland House. Thorpe 
was draughtsman and surveyor, more than architect. It 
has been argued that it would not be possible for the same 
hand to design Wollaton and Kirby, that are so dilferent, 
within a year or tv/o of one another. That is, perhaps, no just 
criticism of an eclectic age that took its ideas, impartially, 
from all sources, Dutch, Italian, French, or German. But 
there is an overwhelming argument that Thorpe esnnot have 
been responsible for all the buildings of which he made tlie 
plans and drawings. A similar book of architectural drawings, 
by the Smithsons," Robert, John and perhaps Huntingdon, 
raises the same problem and must be given the same answer, 
except that, in this latter case, fewer houses are drawn and 
those of less importance, so that there is greater probability 
that they were the actual architects, and not draughtsmen and 
surveyors, only. Thorpe was so fine and beautiful a draughts- 
man that his employment in that capacity can be quickly 
understood; and the cjualifications, in his own words, of ‘cn- 
lardged’ or 'perfected’, written below them in his owut hand, 
must be taken in their literal meaning. Thorpe then was not 
the super-architect of the Elizabethan era, a person wdio, if he 
had ever existed in the fullness of that term, and with direct 
responsibility for so many huge and varied buildings, good and 
bad, would have kept his place among the most protean talents 
there have ever been. But he is a delightful and painstaking 
draughtman who, occasionally, must have been given oppor- 
tunity to build. More often, he drew before or after. Who then 
were the real architects ? We do not know\ Men of the calibre 
of Thomas Holt of Oxford; or Ralph Symonds, who built some 
of the quadrangles of Cambridge, St Jolm’s, Emmanuel, and 

’ Kirby’s designer is now thougJit to have been John’s father, 
T homas Thorpe. 

"Many of the Smithsons’ drawings were purchased by the late 
Lord Byron from descendants, who still lived in Bolsovcr. On Lord 
Byron’s death the drawings were purchased by the Rev D’Ewes Coke, 
and after being in the possession of his descendants at Brookhill Park, 
Derbyshire, were purchased by the RIBA in 1899. 

45 



Sidney Sussex, and perhaps the centre fountain with its canopy 
standing in the great court of Trinity, that vision of what a 
Renaissance monastery cloister might have been in England. 

Even a great house, like Knole, is an old and lovely range of 
building, more than it is fine architecture. There is in fact not 
much of architecture about it, compared with Spain, or Italy, 
or later England. It has some of the best plasterwork, on ceil- 
ing and mantelpiece, in the whole kingdom. But it is un- 
rivalled in its furniture and contents. Brocaded and cut- velvet 
beds of James the First; costume portraits of that curious age 
by Mytens and Van Somer; wonderful silk or velvet chairs in 
quantity; and silver furniture of the reign of Charles the 
Second. But not great architecture. Knole with its treasures 
is the most famous, it may be, of the great English houses, but 
there is no knowing where fine plasterwork may not be found. 
The most beautiful instances that arc described and illustrated 
by Miss Margaret Jourdain in her book on this subject are at 
Herringstone, Dorset; Dorfold, Cheshire; and Boston House, 
Brentford. But there are innumerable specimens throughout 
the coimtry, often in unlikely places. The w^aggon- vaulted 
ceiling of the great chamber at Herringstone is a particularly 
splendid example with its extraordinary medley of mermaids, 
fishes, swans and pelicans, winged horses, and Prince of 
Wales^s feathers, moulded in compartments, the three great 
hanging pendants and the frieze, below it, with elephants and 
other animals below fantastic trees. But perhaps GiUing 
Castle near York, the home of the Fairfax family, has the most 
complete interior of all, more than any of those mentioned, and 
not excepting any Elizabethan room at all, save that at Hard- 
wick, which w’'e shall shortly visit. The dining-room has a plain 
ceiling, crowded with pendant stalaaites, and with only small 
moulded figures in the compartments ; and below that a frieze 
of what was known as ‘forest-work’, giving the arms of the 
gentry of the different wapentakes of Yorkshire in the year 
1585. It had three windows, too, filled with shields of the 
Fairfaxes, Stapyltons, and Constables, painted by a German, 
Barnard Dininckhoff; a splendid wooden mantelpiece; and 
most beautiful panelling upon the walls. There exist, as we 

46 



have said, many still smaller and unsuspected interiors of great 
beauty. There are, for instance, farmhouses, probably small 
manor houses in the first place, with wonderful plasterwork 
ceilings and mantelpieces, on the hilly country outside Shef- 
field, and into Derbyshire; and, doubtless, in many other parts 
of England. Could their total be gathered up and illustrated, 
a most numerous body of vhtnesses would be assembled, not 
least when it approximates to peasant art. In many places this 
plasterwork was given paint and gilding. An ambassador of 
Henry the Eighth to Francois premier writes to his master that 
the King of France had said to him, that ‘ he heard saye that 
your majestie did use much gilding in your said houses, and 
especially in the rooffs’. Bloomfield cites in further evidence 
the ceiling of the hall at Theobalds, which was decorated with 
the signs of the Zodiac, and in which the sun, by some mechan- 
ism, ran its course across the ceiling, and the stars came out at 
night. And he mentions another room at Theobalds, painted 
with designs of the towns, mountains, and rivers of England; 
and other ceilings which were painted ‘byse’ or light blue, 
with gilt roses. This phase of colouring the plasterwork, of 
wliich we are about to visit probably the most beautiful 
specimen ever executed, was, however, but temporaiy, and the 
stucco ornaments, generally, were pristine white. Lesser arts, 
such as the ‘swan’ marquetry, of which the great bed of 
Ware is an instance, also flourished. 

What Walpole calls ‘King James’ Gothic, the last chapter 
of Elizabethan and Jacobean architeaure, was by now estab- 
lished. It betrays itself by pyramid and obelisk, harking back, 
sentimentally, to the bastard Perpendicular of Henry tlie 
Eighth. Or, in other words, their ideas were wearing thin. The 
field was ready for Inigo Jones, the first true arcliitect, to 
come. But, in the meantime, England had great houses which 
for picturesque character, and more still, for the works of art 
that they contained, could compare with any m Europe. In 
Italy the great houses were in towns. The French chateaux 
were not comparable. There is little, or nothing, so beautiful 
in Germany or Spam. The English country house is supreme 
of its kuid, and gives the energy and imagination of our race in 

47 



architecture, for no churches were built. There are but the 
Elizabethan and Jacobean tombs. Northern work of quaint 
originality and pretension which there is a tendency, in our 
time, to neglect in favour of the age of Roubiliac and Rys- 
brack.^ But even the Elizabethan houses have become by now 
so much a part of our national heritage that we can hardly see 
them in the clear focus that they merit. It is, in part, because 
they are familiar from childhood; and partly because tliey are 
filled with so many works of art and personal associations of 
later periods. Partly, again, because there is good and bad, and 
we should be discriminate in our admiration. For which 
reasons we have kept, till last, two ruined houses with neither 
furniture nor painting to distract our eyes; and, to end with, 
the most beautiful Elizabethan house of aU, probably, even, 
the most romantic and beautiful country house of the whole 
Renaissance in Europe. We propose to visit these three houses 
primed w'ith the architecture of aU epochs, but as though 
seeing them for the first time. By tliat expedient we may know 
tlicm for what they are. 

Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire, is a building as fine and 
magnificent as it is little known, and in the present state of the 
world it would be superfluous to add that so characteristic a 
masterpiece of English under-emphasis has been ignored by 
foreign opinion and is unknown to the world at large. Did it 
not, therefore, recall these present and unliappy times, when 
the whole world is miserable, it would be a pleasure to have in 
our company some intelligent foreigner with whom to discuss 
its beauties, and who could be delighted and surprised, in 
default of whom w e have to keep our own company and talk 
of this great work of art in the fight of our own experience, 
here, and in other lands. 

This is one of those buildings that have to be known in their 
natural setting, in this case across the green and shadowed 
fields. For it is approached by a gated road, having left behind 
the lake and grey mass of Deene in its deer park, where Lord 
Cardigan lived who led the Hussars at Balaclava, and having in 

^ The tomb of the Countess of Derby, at Harefield, Middlesex, is 
one of the most quaint and beautiful of its kind. 

48 



front, only too visibly, the iron works and smoke of Corby, 
There are three gates, and little is seen of Kirby till it is near at 
hand. But little, and that hides itself again, till we turn a 
corner and stop at the forecourt of the house with a blank 
doorway, over to the left, contrived into the outer wall for 
mere magnificence, and bearing in its rustication the breath of 
the Italy of Vignola, and in the quality of its shell-like orna- 
ment the hand of Inigo Jones, for it could be none other. 
Only a blank doorway in a garden wall, but it recalls C^aprarola 
or Villa d’Este, adapted to this green land, belonging, in fact, 
to what his later disciples called the Venetian manner, under 
the influence of the Palladian viUas of the terra firma. It is an 
Italian doorway; but, at the same time, like a painted doorway 
in the scenery of a masque. 

But we must enter the court of Kirby Hall, to find we are 
surrounded on all four sides by glorious architecture, and by 
a plan and symmetry that arc too rare in Elizabethan building. 
The north fagadc (Plate 5) that lies behind us, for long accep- 
ted as the work of Inigo Jones himself, may well have been by 
Kirby’s Master Mason, Nicholas Stone. The date 1640 is set 
clearly in the stonework. The exquisite ornament for this 
facade is in the fail Renaissance of Urbino or Mantua, for it is 
not unworthy of those palaces. Nevertheless of what we have 
come to admire at Kirby is the Elizabethan building. We have 
before us the south front of the court, or banquet hall, dating 
from 1570, or soon after, with a splendid porch of three storeys 
and to either side great windows, immensely high, filling two 
storeys from floor to roof, with fluted pilasters in between. 
The ornament of the porch itself is unique, but with a later 
window and balcony by Inigo Jones on the first floor inserted 
into it, improving, and not spoiling, its magnificence. These 
long windows may remind us of Elizabethan virginal music and 
of the strict form and close harmony of Byrd and Bull. Not 
only in the elaboration, but in the actual handwriting. The 
reproduction of a page from the Fitzwilliam Virginal MS 
would explain our meaning. There are unimaginable har- 
mony and peacefulness in those immense flights or staves of 
leaded panes and their stone casements, and looking round on 

49 



the court where music and poetry linger, we must wonder, but 
be thankful, that Kirby has been so long deserted and is un- 
spoilt because of that.^ 

Passing the banquet hall and other empty rooms we come 
out into the garden and walk to the far side of that, in order to 
have the full flight of the west front before us (Plate 4), across 
the newly planted beds of roses. It is the box or cabinet 
architecture of John Thorpe, in excelsis, and for this once, his 
mysterious hand is, probably, responsible. The delightful 
gables and obelisks arc quite typical of his drawing, and so are 
the chimney stacks which should show the smoke and flame he 
always added. But the house is a ruin and deserted, which 
makes more mysterious the neatness of its finish. For it is 
impersonal, and has no note of tragedy. But, in presence of 
this work of the great Elizabethan draughtsman, we are con- 
scious of its beautiful and quiet restraint, so different in key 
from much of their flaunting architecture, and we begin to 
tl'iink this is the most beautiful in the whole of England. Too 
lovely, almost, to be appreciated during our wars of nerves. 
How satisfying is its simplicity, crowned with the gables and 
finials above the second storey ! But this is not all. For walking 
to the far end, where the garden continues along a parapet, we 
look round again and see that the building ends in a great pair 
of twin bay windows, facing south, set side by side, like two 
huge galleons tied up at anchor. They arc like the poops of 
two stone ships, never meant to sail, but only to catch the sun- 
light, and their gables in fact are like the ships floating and re- 
flected, keel uppermost, but, certainly, they remind us of great 
vessels with their cabins made on the curve, and bound in, as 
it were, to the shaping of the hull. How English they are, those 
twin bay windows, side by side, upon two storeys! The 
foreigner who has come with us will have seen nothing like 
them, and wc could show him a hundred or a thousand more. 
Those bov/ wdndow^s of Kirby are carpenter’s work, made in 

^ Kirby Hall v/as partly inhabited as late as 1820. A few years before 
this it had been suggested as a retreat for George tlie Third and his 
court in the event of a Napoleonic invasion. Nicholas Stone (p. 70) 
was Master Mason at Kirby Hall. 

50 



stone; and looking back for the last time on the whole range of 
building, we decide we do not know which is more beautiful, 
that court of the Renaissance with its golden detail, or this 
quiet and grave beauty where gable and obelisk must once have 
matched the knots and yew pyramids of the Jacobean garden. 
We come away in the knowledge of having seen a building the 
like of which there is not in Italy, the land of architecture, for 
with all their genius they could not attain to this restraint and 
calm. Kirby Hall is in complete harmony with the green fields 
and ancient shades. 

Bolsover Castle is troubled and stormy. It excites, and does 
not lull, imagination. It stands on a spur of land above a 
precipice, where the land breaks and falls, two hundred or 
three hundred feet, on to another level. You have to climb to it 
and come along the ridge; or the land drops, and the northern 
corner of Derbyshire lies below you with the moors and high 
hills in the distance. At its foot there grew tail trees, reaching 
to the keep, but they have been cut down, the Castle stands 
gaunt and empty on its crag, abandoned to the weather and 
shaken and riven by the mines beneath, hut its romantic fire 
must touch and heat the blood of all who see it. 

The gateway to the Castle has something grandiose and 
theatrical in its air, and takes us immediately to the masques 
and horsemanship of the Cavaliers. The moment it opens we 
are on enchanted ground, for there is nothing hke Bolsover. 
To one side, as we enter, lies the Riding House where the 
Cavalier Marquis, and later, Duke of Newcastle, trained his 
horses, his barbs and Neapolitans and marcs of noble Spanish 
strain, in the cabriol, the jetee^, and other figures of the haute 
ecole. This Riding House is in a style of architecture that is 
unique so far as England is concerned, with a great Italian 
doorway, gigantic in proportion, and gable after gable, of 
Dutch influence, but like nothing ever built in Holland.^ In 

^ The Riding House cannot be earlier in date than 1650, or even 
1660. Bolsover Castle itself was built by Sir Charles Cavendish, 
younger son of Bess of Hardwick. His son was the Cavalier Marquis, 
and later Duke of Newcastle, and this is the place to mention his book 
on Horsemanship which contains many views of Bolsover Castle as 
the background for the haute ecole. Cf also, p. 74. 

51 



front are the huge rooms, ruined and roofless, in Italian style, 
built for the entertainment of Charles the First and his court 
when Ben Jonson’s masque of Love's Welcome was performed, 
in 1634, with dresses and stage setting by Inigo Jones, the 
architect being Jolin Smithson. We shall walk later through 
those rooms, in admiration of their stone doorways. 

The keep lies to the right, with its forecourt and two lodges, 
and with the battlcmented roof common to this part of Derby- 
shire. Though so fearfully shaken by the subsidence from the 
mines, the keep is still habitable, though not furnished, and 
was lived in not so very long ago. It was built by the same 
John Smithson, but had been begun 20 years earlier in 1612, 
hence the difference in style. Most beautiful are the vaulted 
ceilings, of the hall particularly, and of another room, the Star 
Chamber, which has the Twelve Caesars, not remote from 
Titian, on the w^alls; beside which there arc the earliest in- 
stances in England of lacquer painting on the panelling of 
certain rooms, and other rooms have Flemish paintings on 
their ceilings. The Castle kitchen is a wonderful and fearful 
hall, with deep stone sinks, given over to the rats and ghosts of 
scullions. Rut the chief beauty of the keep of Bolsover is the 
chimneypicces of local stone and Derbyshire marble, some of 
them fit ted into the corners of the rooms, wonderfully varied 
in design, and the work, probably, of French craftsmen. 

At the foot of the keep a terrace has been contrived along the 
top of the wall, above the precipice. It was wonderful to walk 
here before the trees were felled, with no parapet, and on a 
level with the topmost boughs, and look down the steep fall on 
to the land below, mysterious with mines and collieries, with 
the parks of Renishaw and Sutton Scarsdalc sloping in the 
distance witli their woods, dark green and almost black, and 
in the feeling that this is the beginning of the North, that the 
accent is Northern, and that we can see the Peak and the 
Derbyshire moors upon a clear, late afternoon. But on the 
enchanted ground of Bolsover we must look within, and in an 
inner enclosure, below the keep, we see the Venus fountain, 
a stone Venus who combs her hair, set on a pedestal above a 
stone basin, dug deep into the soil, and furnished with niches 

52 



and ledges that could be garden seats, while in the surrounding 
wall there are strange little rooms with fireplaces, and the 
whole feeling is that this is the court of love. The Venus foun- 
tain, so far as we know, is unique in England. Nothing else, 
like this, keeps the love songs of the Cavaliers and their ladies, 
and still echoes, to our imagination, with the trembling of the 
lute string. 

It is sad but wonderful after this to walk through the roof- 
less rooms of the great gallery, marvelling at their huge stone 
doorways. It may be that the forgotten architect, John Smith- 
son, is freakish and too large in scale, but we would remember 
nothing else than that the Court of the Cavaliers came here for 
a night or two, that these great rooms were put up for that 
purpose, and that the masque was given here. But there is still 
the terrace below the long gallery, and running so far along the 
hill, that is not so steep upon this side, that its surface has been 
wrecked and shattered by the mines beneath, as though by 
artillery, and it is not possible to walk down to its end. And, 
turning back, wc see the curious architecture of the fat;adc, with 
stone stays or buttresses, for they cannot be mere ornament, 
that resemble guns or cannon set upright into the wall; and 
we see a splendid stone door above a flight of steps; and the 
shivered, rooky battlements, black as rooks, and the whole 
building, Bolsovcr Castle, entire, dead, dead, as the Mayan 
ruins of Uxmal or Chichen Itza, and as remote from us, but 
with a ghostly poetry that fires the imagination, that can never 
be forgotten, and that never cools. 

Hardwick Hall (Plate 2) is six miles beyond Bolsover, a few 
moments by motor, or no more than an hour in the pony cart 
of my childhood; and while we drive there is time for its 
history; that it was built by Bess of Hardwick, who was bom 
here, in the old house, in 1520, who built Bolsover, too, and 
who had four husbands, Sir William Cavendish and the Earl of 
Shrewsbury among them; and that she died at Hardwick 
during a hard frost that haltered her mania for building. It 
was erected, therefore, during the last years of Queen Eliza- 
beth and the early years of James the First, but the name of the 
architect is unknown. It is anonymous, like mediEeval building, 

53 



and we shall see how, according to mood, it can be the last and 
belated masterpiece of the Perpendicular; a great house of the 
Renaissance; or the lesson and precursor of much modern 
architecture. 

There is little time for more until we reach the entrance into 
the park, and only a moment, then, passing the herds of deer, 
before wc. see the great towers of Hardwick rise before us. 
They have the liabit of grouping curiously, according to which 
angle they are seen from, sometimes spread out to great extent, 
with the six towers at the corners, or, from this approach, all 
four close together, as though the building is shaped like the 
diamond on a playing card, more still, like the ace of clubs, so 
that the fourth tower is hidden, almost, behind the other three. 

But the towers sink back again behind a wall, till the v/all 
itself becomes more elaborate, with a battlemented ornament 
like a halberd head upoji it, and we come to the porch or gate- 
house into the walled court, and our breath is taken away at the 
high and immense building that lies within. We see the six 
towers, now, at their right interval, two to a side, and one flank- 
ing, or behind, the other. But vdiat seems incredible is the 
huge height of Hardwick, and its enormous windows. There 
is more glass than wall. The scale is gigantic, and the six 
towers bear a stone parapet that is perforated with the letters 
E and S, whicli initials are repeated in the flowerbeds to each 
side of the stone flagged pathway ; but in fact these battle- 
ments look more romantic still from the distance, when, as 
Mrs Ratcliffc writes, they look as though splintered by the 
lances of the tournament. 

We have known Hardwick at all times of year, in early 
spring; in high August; later, when the leaves arc falling; and 
in the stark v/intcr, but it is always beautiful. In so many 
Augusts, year after year, since childhood, it has astonished us. 
But it is perhaps more extraordinary still at other seasons. We 
shall never forget a late September evening, when, having 
visited Bolsovcr, wc came to Hardwick Hall too late to be shown 
the house, and had to content ourselves with looking through 
the gate into the walled court and up at those fanciful towers 
that were half hidden, already, in the cold mist. We had with 

54 



US a friend, a Frenchman, who had never heard of Flardwick, 
and we looked in awe and silence at this extraordinary building. 
Like all foreigners he had heard such tales of England, of great 
houses hidden and inaccessible, but had paid no heed. Were 
there portraits of Queen Elizabeth in her farthingale, and por- 
traits by Van Dyck, within? And old tapestries in the darken- 
ing rooms? We said, “Yes”. No building has ever looked to 
us more romantic and beautiful than then, and by now it was 
nearly dark, and the house had disappeared into the fogs of time. 

But we enter Hardwick by the doorway in its long plain 
pillared porch, and are in the hall, a high room with a splendid 
fireplace carved with talbots or mastilf supporters ibr the 
family of that name. There is here some needlework on a 
black ground, of the Vices and Virtues, said to be by the hand 
of Mary, Queen of Scots. So wc come to the first floor of low 
ceilinged rooms, full of portraits and old furniture, but with 
little promise of what lies above, the first inkling of which is 
the stone staircase hung with tapestries of Hero and Leander, 
with older ‘verdures’ higher up, and a landing, and ‘mille- 
fleur’ tapestries, and then a doorway with an elaborate steel 
lock. It is the great chamber or state room, in our opinion the 
most beautiful room, not in England alone, but in the whole of 
Europe, with a great frieze of parget work, ten or twelve feet 
deep, of coloured plaster, representing a stag hunt, and a boar 
hunt, the court of Diana, and the story of Orpheus. There are 
forest scenes of men and dogs hunting under the trees ; and, in a 
corner, Diana and her court. Above the window bays are 
panels of Spring and Summer. Spring is whipping Cupid with 
a birch of flowers; while Summer, crowned with corn, sits 
naked on a heap of corn stooks to watch the harvest. This 
noble room — but the plaster frieze is so beautiful it dwarfs all 
else — has a magnificent and plain fireplace, set flat, so that it 
does not interrupt the eye, and the floor has the Hardwick or 
rush matting laid upon it. 

There are some French cabinets in the room that belong to 
the Renaissance of Henri deux and Henri quatre, with gro- 
tesque masks, but of the richest workmanship, and a marquetry 
table which has its entire surface inlaid with figures of musical 

55 



instruments, guitars and mandolines, with chessmen and back- 
gammon boards, with playing cards, as on the coat of Harle- 
quin, and in the midst that beautiful and mysterious poem: 

The redolent smclle of eglantine 

We stagges exalt to the Divine. 

that might be part of a madrigal by Roberto Greene, the 
‘stagges’ being, no doubt, the stags of the Cavendish arms. 

The remainder of the house is no less fascinating. One room 
has a stone relief of the Muses, mandoline in hand, above the 
fireplace; and nearly every room has piaster decoration, some- 
times of nude figures for the elements, Fire, Wind, and Water, 
part gilded but, particularly, there is wonderful needlework. 
Some small panels are, it seems, authentically by Mary, Queen 
of Scots. These were brought from other houses — probably 
Chatsworth and the old Hardwick Hall, as the new house 
was not built until after her death. There are some velvet 
chairs, too, with their backs worked, one with Sir Waiter 
Raleigh driving in his coach, according to the tradition of the 
house, and the other with a pool of hounds with their red 
tongues hanging out, and the kill taking place at the foot of a 
tree with jewelled fruits. There are delightful and indescri- 
bable tapestries of giants and bearded heroes in the Roman 
costume of the time of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, deeply 
engaged in lost histories and forgotten legends. The beds of 
state are wonderful, but hanging, as Walpole saw them, ‘in 
costly golden tatters’; curtains of black and silver, Venetian 
velvets and damascenes, hangings rayed with gold, or of 
baudekyn powdered with flowers, or worked with gold and 
silver wires and threads. No other house possesses such 
needlework. 

^ Much of this plastcrwork and parts, doubtless, of the great hunting 
scenes were the work of Abraham Smith, remains of whose work are 
to be seen also in the ruins of the Old Hall at Hardwick. Some of the 
figures, those, for instance, of Spring and Summer, are proved by Miss 
Jourdain to have been adapted from engravings by Martin de Vos, 
and others from Crispin van de Passe, yet one can but think of them 
as original, so transformed are they by the poetry and inspiration of 
the craftsman. 


56 



But we come at last to the great gallery, all but two hundred 
feet in length, hung with tapestry from end to end, and with 
portraits hung upon the tapestry. Not so many years ago, the 
tapestries were three or four deep on top of one another. 
Among them were the fragments of the Hunting tapestries, 
now sewn together, and at Chats worth, which were brought 
here when Lord Burlington’s old house at Londcsborough, 
in Yorkshire, was burnt down. They are among the most 
beautiful Gothic tapestries in existence. And here, in this long 
gallery, hangs the portrait of Queen Elizabeth, in an enormous 
farthingale, stiffer and more elaborate than any crinoline of the 
Second Empire, not plain black, like the hooped skirts of the 
Infanta in portraits by Velasquez, but patterned, incredibly, 
with birds and fishes, a sea horse, or serpent, and even a spout- 
ing whale. We can look out, from the windows in the long 
bays, upon the park and the stag-antlered trees. 

We can come out of the house and wander as far as the ruins 
of the Old Hall near by, where Bess of Hardwick was born, and 
in which Mary, Queen of Scots, was lodged, for she never in- 
habited the new building. It is in ruin, like Bolsover and 
Kirby Hall; but we can look up at the remains of coloured 
plasterwork; at the forest chamber and its hunting scenes; at 
the giant’s chamber, with little left of the pair of giants, the 
Gog and Magog in Roman armour over the mantelpiece ; at a 
limb in plaster, here or tliere, or part of a figure, or a coat of 
arms; and in one place there used to be, it may still be there, 
that mysterious inscription again, which is worked upon the 
table, among the mandolines and playing cards : 

The redolent smelle of eglantine 

We stagges exalt to the Divine. 

We turn round and there Hardwick stands before us at another 
angle, and we see the lead statues and yew alleys of its haunted 
garden. To what can we compare it? To Chambord, but only 
for its fantastic roof, where the ladies sat to watch Francois 
premier hunting in the forest. Not for its interior beauties, for 
it has none, except the twisting stairway. Yet Chambord is the 
most beautiful of the French chateaux. The only great house 

57 



of the Renaissance to which Hardwick could be compared is 
Caprarok; but its faded frescoes of the Farnese family are as 
Dothingto this bunting frieze; the moss-grown giants^ thetritons 
and Atlantes, are not more magical than the needlework, more 
romantic than the hand of Mary Stuart; even the faun carya- 
tids, mysteriously smiling, under the full baskets of ripe figs 
and grapes upon their heads, some of them whispering to their 
neighbour statue, arc not more beautiful than Summer resting 
on the corn stocks, to watch the golden harvest. From 
Caprarola you can see Soracte and the Volscian mountains. 
The dome of St Peter’s floats in the distance over Rome. But 
we would sooner the view of the collieries outside the park. 
What wonders w^e have come from! All hidden, all enclosed 
behind the leaded windows, under the towers of Hardwick, 
looking out for all weathers on the stag-antlered trees. 


58 



II 


INIGO JONES 

S INCE THE beginning of history superstition lias played upon 
the turn of a century or the start of a new reign. The old 
is dead and finished and a new epoch has begun. Such is the 
burden, and as with all signs of portent there is some truth 
in this. Events themselves conspire to help it; if we think only 
of 1900 and 160O5 and who died in 1901 and 1603. The later 
coincidence is, of course, less interesting, for neither the arts, 
nor architecture, flourished then. But in 1603 Queen Elizabeth 
died and James the First, the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, 
came to the tlirone. We might not, it is true, And any differ- 
ence in the plays of Shakespeare; but we should expect some 
alteration, sooner or later, in more material things. We have 
mentioned the name of the supreme artist, the greatest English- 
man in history, and that not arbitrarily, for the age of Shake- 
speare was succeeded by the age of masques, and Inigo Jones, 
our first architect, was a theatrical designer, first and foremost, 
till he was forty years of age. Only then did he bring the 
new architecture into England. This we would stress, parti- 
cularly, and tliat he trained himself in Italy. 

Inigo Jones was a Londoner, born in Smithfield in 1573, his 
father being a cloth worker, but of his early years nothing is 
known, and it is only certain that he went to Italy. We have 
it in his own words, at the beginning of ‘ Stonc-Heng Res- 
tored ’ : ‘ Being naturally inclined in my younger years to study 
the arts of design, I passed into foreign parts to converse with 
the great masters thereof in Italy; where I applied myself to 
search out the Ruins of those ancient buildings, v/hich, in 
despite of Time itself, and violence of barbarians, are yet 
remaining. Having satisfied myself in these, and returning to 
my native country, I applied my mind more particularly to 

59 



the study of Architecture’. His pupil and nephew, Webb, 
added these words to a later edition of his master’s theories 
on Stonehenge; ‘it was Vox Europae that named Inigo Jones 
Vitruvius Britannicus, being much more, than at home, famous 
in remote parts, where he lived many years. . . This must 
be in allusion to the employment of Inigo Jones by Christian 
the Fourth of Denmark,^ who was an amateur, but there is 
no reason to believe the legend that Inigo Jones was respon- 
sible for the Bourse at Copenhagen, or for any of the Danish 
castles. He returned, probably with a recommendation from 
the King of Denmark to James the First, his brother-in-law, 
and was almost at once employed by the University of Oxford, 
in 1605, to stage three plays for a visit by the King, being 
described in this connection as ‘Mr Jones, a great traveller, 
who undertook to further them much, and furnish them with 
rare Devices’, and it is added, ‘but performed very little of 
that which V7as expected’. Probably his employment in Den- 
mark had been mainly theatrical; v/hile during his stay in Italy 
we must think of him as a student and amateur with a little 
money. The remark of Webb is in fact exaggerated. Inigo 
Jones was not yet an architect. It is more probable that he had 
distinguished himself by his personality and by his drawings. 

His introduction to court was probably, as we have said, 
through Anne of Denmark, for we will defer our mention of 
the influence of Italy on Inigo Jones until another paragraph, 
when wc deal with his second visit there. Immediately follow- 
ing what seems to have been his failure at Oxford, Inigo Jones 
collaborated with Ben Jonson on the Masque of Blackness y 
given on Twelfth Night at Whitehall. Four years later, after 
painting the scenery for a masque in which that prince took 
part, Inigo Jones was appointed surv’^eyor to Henry, Prince of 
Wales, a youth of great taste and intelligence, but for whose 

^ Christian the Fourth can only be characterised as extremely 
fortunate in the Englishmen whom he employed. John Dowland, the 
lutenist and songwriter, lived in Copenliagen from 1598 to 1606, upon 
a salary of 500 crowns a year, equal to the pay of the highest ministers 
of state. He was the foremost virtuoso upon the lute, and one of the 
very greatest songwriters there has ever been, 

60 



untimely death we might have been spared the tragedy of his 
younger brother, Charles the First. But he died in 1612, and 
Inigo Jones took the opportunity to go abroad again to Italy.^ 

Of this second tour there are relics in a copy of Palladio he 
took everywhere with him, and in his sketch books. In the 
former, now preserved at Worcester College, Oxford, there 
appear, with dates, the names of Vicenza, Rome, Tivoli, and 
Naples. It is also certain and obvious that he went to Venice. 
His nephew, Webb, says of his earlier visit, that ‘ Chris ti anus 
the Fourth, King of Denmark, first engrossed him to himself, 
sending for him out of Italy, where, especially at Venice, he 
had many years resided’. It is probable that Inigo Jones had 
made the acquaintance of some Danish nobleman who was 
shown his drawings. But it is time now to consider Italy in 
1600 or 1614, at the moment when Inigo Jones saw it, and 
forgetting aU that has happened since. 

The huge wave of sculpture, painting, architecture, had but 
just spent itself, and was hardly still. It is perhaps difficult for 
us to realise what this meant. There must be many of our 
readers who have wished themselves, in imagination, among 
the great French painters of sixty years ago, wlicn Aianet, 
Degas, Cezanne, were working. Those are the masters of our 
modern age, but could we throw open the past, even so little, 
it would be to discover what we know by instinct, that their 
surroundings were even uglier than those we own ourselves. 
Paris, France itself, while it delighted us with its language and 
its wines, would appal and suffocate with its modem archi- 
tecture. The innocent would find, to their surprise, that the 
rebel painters were Catholic, bourgeois, even Royalist, in fact, 
reactionary to a man. The compensation, of course, would 
come in character. We could stay hours on end in any cafe, 
watching the scene, seeing the women bringing home their 
food from market, and the typical Frenchman of the pointed 
shoe and flowing tie, intrigued by all who passed upon the 

^ A reHc of this gifted youth, who died at sixteen years of age, are 
the books bound for him, in a distinct and original style of binding, 
always centring in a novel form upon his badge, the Prince of Wales’s 
feathers. 


61 



boulevard by the newspaper kiosque^ and even delighting in 
the glazed and shiny bowler hats of the fiacre drivers. Perhaps 
we could wish for no better fate, and no more fascinating book 
to write, than to be stranded with the reader for an hour or two, 
from one white upholstered railway carriage to another, be- 
tween trains, and drive with him across Paris from the Gate de 
L3^on to the Gare du Nord. We should have much to tell, even 
of the early railway engines, though this is certain, the seven- 
ties of the nineteenth century were no golden age. 

But it is diffienUt to deny this title to Italy of the sixteenth 
century. For wliat may spoil it to some tastes had not yet 
occurred. Inigo Jones went to Italy at a time when Bernini 
was no more than a child, at Naples, and before the arts pointed 
in their new direction out of the high Renaissance into the 
Baroque. He saw Italy in purity. When we consider what 
Venice is, even now, if it survives our stormy present, and then 
read of tlic effect of its buildings and the colour of its paintings, 
only a hundred years ago, and of the intoxication that these 
brought even to minor painters, to an Etty or a Thomas 
Uwins, indeed to all persons of subtlety and intelligence who 
saw them, then we must conceive what it must have meant to 
see the library of Sansovino before it was fifty years old, and 
to admire the buildings of Palladio before the paint on them 
had to be renewed. Sansovino, Palladio, Vignola, were dead 
only thirty^ years before; the paintings of Veronese and Tinto- 
retto were more recent still. Titian was the great name among 
modern painters. It is, perhaps, impossible for us to conceive 
of what the colours of these three masters must have been when 
the eyes of this first of Englishmen beheld them. There were 
palaces in Venice that had the frescoes of Giorgione still fresh 
upon their outside walls. Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, 
Mantegna, were but two generations before his time. But, 
as well as this, Venice did not present the spectacle of a city in 
decay. The Venetian galleys under Doge Venier had 
triumphed at Lepanto. You might pass in 3^our gondola the 
senators of Titian’s portraits, and see them climb the water- 
steps in their crimson stoles, and walk into their palaces. You 
might pass the Venetian courtesans upon the bridges, walking 

62 



on their high pattens, and be told their names and prices. 
They had bleached hair, and resembled, for they were his 
models, the paintings of Palma Giovane. 

Modena, Mantua, Parma, Tuscany, were in the happy 
position of being unimportant, politically, but given over to 
the arts. Even if their greatest artists were just dead, there 
were enough of their pupils living for this Englishman to be 
able to say that he had conversed with the great masters. He 
will have lingered, to much purpose, in Palladio’s theatre at 
Vicenza, for that had not been completed twenty years at his 
first visit; while Scamozzi, the pupil of Palladio, who put the 
finishing touches to it, was alive and flourishing. It is more than 
probable that Scamozzi was one of those great masters with 
whom Inigo Jones conversed, while he was studying the arts 
of design.^ But the contemporary theatre was not entirely 
formal. Inigo Jones will have seen the travelling companies 
of the Commedia dclPArte; the famous Gelosi, in all probabi- 
lity, and the beautiful Isabella Andreini. Jacques Callot, who 
ran avmy to Italy when he was a boy of fourteen to live with the 
Gypsies and strolling players, tells us of those experiences in 
his immortal etchings. They date from the years, precisely, 
when Inigo Jones was studying in Italy. We want to establish 
that Inigo Jones was as Italian by training as Claude or Pous- 
sin; that he was as Italian by school (to take another com- 
parison out of a different art) as Handel, who learned his art in 
Italy, when Italy was the land of music. 

Upon his return to England the second time, in 1614, he 
immediately took up the post of Surveyor-General to the 
King, and the office being in arrears of money, fulfilled his 
duties without salary, proof that he had private means. He 
was forty years of age, and about to take up practice as an 
architect, but this is, perhaps, the moment to discuss once and 
for all his work in the theatre. Nearly ten years of his life, 
1604-1613, had already been spent upon designing masques. 
But there is now an interval, till 1621; and then he is at work 

^ Inigo Jones spoke with ‘Scamozio’, in Venice, on Friday, the 
1st August 1614. Their colloquy was not an unqualified success: 
‘this secret Scamozio being purblind under stoode nott’. 

63 



again year after year for twenty years, often collaborating with 
Ben Jonson, till the Salmacida Spolia of Davenant, a masque 
prefaced, in pathos, by the words that it sought to express the 
King’s anxiety ‘by all means to reduce tempestuous and tur- 
bulent natures into a sweet calm of civil concord ’, shortly after 
which both Houses of Parliment suppressed all stage plays and 
closed the theatres. 

The chief contribution of Inigo Jones to the theatre was in 
his invention, or first use, of movable scenery. This was con- 
trived by flats and shutters, and shows close study of Serlio and 
Italian models. Elaborate stage machinery was in use by 
means of which transformations w^ere effected, clouds were 
moved and made to break and disclose another scene behind, 
and sea monsters could be made to swim. He paid, too, 
particular attention to the lighting. Ben Jonson, for once polite 
to his collaborator, for more often he quarrelled with him, 
writes of the Masque of Blackness that the masquers ‘were 
placed in a great concave shell, like mother of pearl, curiously 
made to move on those waters and rise with the billow; the top 
thereof was stuck with a chevron of lights, which indented to 
the proportion of the shell, struck a glorious beam upon them, 
as they were seated one above another, so that they were all 
seen, but in an extravagant order’. And he ends: ‘There was 
not wanting either in riches, or strangeness of the habits, 
delicacy of dances, magnificence of the scene, or divine rapture 
of music . . . only the envy was, that it lasted not till now, as, 
now it is past, cannot by imagination, much less description, 
be recovered to a part of that spirit with which it glided by’. 

The drawings by Inigo Jones for the court masques, which, 
as one authority puts it, may be reckoned by hundreds, while 
his architectural drawings may be numbered by the dozen, are 
mostly preserved at Chatsworth.^ As this same critic remarks, 

’ A catalogue of Inigo Jones’s masque designs at Chatsworth, with 
many illustrations, was issued by the Malone and Walpole Societies 
in 1924. So little is left of Inigo Jones as a theatrical designer that the 
destruction, in the eighteenth century, of his oval lecture theatre at 
the Barber Surgeons’ Hail is the more to be regretted. It would have 
compared with the sixteenth century anatomy theatres at Padua and 
Bologna. 


64 



RADIO TIMKS HOLTON LIHRARV 


I. St, Paul’s Cathedral, by Sir Christopher Wren. 
The Interior, looking to the Quire. 







H.M S <\ CkOWN COPVKKini 


4. Kirby Hall, Northampionshirc; the Elizabethan West Front. I’he lamoiis 
17th century gardens, restored in recent years to their former beauty. 

5. Kirby Hall, Northamptonshire: North Side of the Inner Court. The 
lyih century rebuilding in the style of, and possibly by, Inigo Jones. 


.S/VIK)NAI.. BUU.DING.S KI-COKI) 




H M.S.O. CKDU'N COPYRIGHT 

6. The Queen’s House, Greenwich, by Inigo Jones (1619-1635) 

7^ Coleshill, Berkshire, by Sir Roger Pratt, 1650-1662, 

Gutted by hre in 1952 and now entirely demolished. 

COUNTRY LIRE 










NAI'IONAI RUll.DINGS RfcCOKO MATIONAI. BV^II.UINGS RFCOKII 

9. Hampton (\>urt Palace, by Wren. 10. SeatA>n Delaval, Northumberland, 
Detail of the River Front. by Vanbrugh: tlie North Front. 


II. Petworth House, Sussex; a detail from 
the C?arved Room by Grinling Gibbons. 


THF GORIJON FRA.SKR GAI.I.FRY 









New College, Oxford: Garden Gate, r6. Chatsworth, Derbyshire: the State Drawing-Room, 

by Thomas Robinson. 



on the strength of these he could be regarded as a painter 
rather than an architect. Later, he designed scenery for plays 
as well as masques, Fletcher’s beautiful play. The Faithful 
Shepherdess^ being an instance. Nevertheless his preoccupa- 
tion as an architect is evident. One of the drawings at Chats- 
worth is for a backcloth with a distant view of London and old 
St Paul’s, while street scenes of old houses form the wings. 
Many other drawings are for proscenium frames, which he was 
fond of ornamenting with sculptured figures in relief, sym- 
bolising the name and persons of the masque. In the costumes, 
as in the landscape scenes, we cannot but feel the English 
origin of the artist behind his Italian training. In the nature of 
his trees, which are English and not Italian; but even more, we 
consider, in the masquers’ faces. The Court of the Cavaliers 
was renowned in Europe for its good looks. Lovers of physical 
beauty must have had full gratification of their senses in the 
masque, where a higher standard of beauty obtained than in 
the contemporary European theatre. We must agree with 
another authority that a certain androgynous quality, which 
makes it difficult to determine the sex of the masquer, may 
reveal a current in the air to which James the First was ex- 
tremely sensitive; while, for the rest, we must concur with him 
that nearly all the women’s costumes show them naked- 
breasted, accordiiig to an English fashion that had prevailed 
at the Court, and in the person of Queen Elizabeth, and was 
to be revived among the beauties of Charles the Second’s 
reign. 

To conclude, Inigo Jones must be reckoned the first and 
greatest English artist of the theatre. There was never any- 
thing comparable with the Restoration play, which was 
comedy of manners, and neither called for, nor received, the 
extravagance of a court setting with all the mythological scenes 
and personages that were in direct descent from the Elizabe- 
than poets. But there is an anomaly. Inigo Jones, who in his 
architectural sketches is painter rather than architect, con- 
tradicts himself in his stage drawings which are, plainly, by an 
architect, and not a painter. In trying to establish his stature 
beside other great artists of the stage we must remember that 
c 65 



the Bibiena family in their many members belong to a later 
period. This is apparent from the dates 1657-17435 of Fer- 
nando, the greatest of the dynasty, while we should form the 
opinion from his drawings and his splendid folio, ‘Architet- 
ture e Prospcttive’, that he and his family excelled in scenic 
perspective and in stage machinery, but not in costume. Their 
scenes were the most gorgeous and elaborate ever painted: 
colonnades and staircases, balconies and balustrades, a multipli- 
cation of detail and ornament that could only be realised upon 
canvas. An architectural delirium, and it is typical that no 
patron would have employed one of the Bibiena family upon 
an actual palace. They were geniuses of the order of Piranesi, 
masters of capriccio, but not architects. Those persons in- 
terested in architectural fantasies should study, too, a for- 
gotten German, Paulus Decker the Elder, the draughtsman of 
Babylonian palaces and Ninevean gardens, of statues and 
clipped hedges, of fountains and obelisks, of gorgeous “ Spiegel- 
saale’’, or mirror rooms, and every inhabitant of a palace from 
the potentate down to the sentry and the flunkey.^ But in fact 
the apt comparison is to be made between Inigo Jones and the 
Sicilian, Filippo Juvara (1684-1735), who was a stage artist 
and a great architect as well, v/hich is shown in his palaces and 
churches at Turin. We can tell at once from Juvara’s drawings 
that his architecture could be realised. But this neglected man 
of genius belongs to the full Baroque period, and is a hundred 
years after Inigo Jones, who was designing masques in Shake- 
speare’s lifetime. This in fact is the importance of Inigo Jones 
so far as the theatre is concerned, that he was the leading figure 
in that early time, and that all discussion of him involves the 
mention of others who were working for the next hundred 
years, till the scenic phase of theatre art came to an end. 

For a year or two after his return from Italy, Inigo Jones had 
little opportunity for the new architecture. It is, however, the 
symptom of what is coming that the following sentences should 

^ Furstliche Baumeister oder Architectura Civilis, by Paulus Decker 
the Elder, Augsburg, 171 1-1716. Filippo Juvara can be studied in a 
two- volume work published by the Italian Government just before 
this war, on the occasion of his bicentenary. 

66 



be found written in his sketch book, under date, January 20th, 
1614 (1615): ‘In all designing of ornament one must first 
design the ground plan as it is for use, and then adorn and 
compose it with decorum according to its use. . , . For as out- 
wardly every wise man carries himself gravely in public places, 
yet inwardly has imagination and fire which sometimes flies 
out unrestrained, just as Nature sometimes flies out to delight 
or amuse us, to move us to laughter, contemplation, or even 
horror; so in architecture the outward ornament is to be 
solid, proportionable according to rule, masculine and un- 
affected.’ 

The Banqueting House at Whitehall, the living proof of 
those principles, is the most beautiful building in London; 
there is, indeed, nothing whatever that can compare with it 
except St Paul’s, and it is worthy in every respect of the hand 
of the great Italians, Sansovino, Vignola, Palladio. Yet how 
few have the curiosity to know its history ! How many of the 
public know that its painted ceiling is by Rubens? The ex- 
terior of the Banqueting House is a work of art that can bear 
comparison with the Library of Sansovino at Venice. From 
one of the upper windows Charles the First stepped out to 
execution on the scaffold. But the most interesting fact about 
this building is its early date. It was finished in 1622, during 
the reign of James the First. The architect, who at his first 
effort broke with the mediseval style, was close on fifty years of 
age, but he was to continue in his maturity for three decades 
more. The Banqueting House was the result of many years’ 
study in Italy, and much reflection on Italian buildings. Only 
thus can the mystery be explained. But a further and deeper 
problem now develops, the subject of endless controversy and 
conjecture. It concerns the intended new palace of Whitehall, 
of which this Banqueting House was to be a mere fragment, in 
fact one of three similar items on that giant plan. The new 
palace, we all know, was never built. There was no money for 
it. But who drew the plans? 

The drawings are preserved, some at Chatsworth, and others 
at Worcester College, Oxford; but originally they belonged to 
Webb, the nephew and pupil of Inigo Jones, and after his death 

67 



they were disposed of by his family. They used to be attri- 
buted, one and all, to Inigo Jones, and the architectural sensa- 
tion of the day was their publication in two editions by Colin 
Campbell and William Kent, in 1722 and 1727. It inaugurated, 
indeed, what we could almost call the counter-Reformation in 
English eighteenth century architecture, and was responsible 
for that whole Palladian trend which kept the Baroque and 
Rococo from the shores of England. But this will have to be 
considered later in its proper place. The publications in 
question included not only the drawings for Whitehall, but 
plans for Greenwich and many other buildings. The engrav- 
ings for these volumes were made indiscriminately from 
the drawings; but in recent years when the originals them- 
selves have been examined, and it has been possible to 
compare the two sets at Chatsworth and at Worcester College, 
the truth has emerged that most of the drawings are not by 
Inigo Jones at all but by his nephew, Webb.^ The late Mr 
Gotch identified no fewer than seven different schemes for 
Whitehall Palace, of which six, beyond question, were the 
work of Webb. Nevertheless so self-effacing a pupil was 
Webb, and so determined was he, as we can read in his 
writings, to give all credit to his uncle, that it is probably 
correct to consider them as master and apprentice and that 
Webb drew up, at his leisure, plans which he had long dis- 
cussed and even worked out in detail with his master. It re- 
mains, therefore, the Whitehall of Inigo Jones as set forth by 
Webb. 

In architecture there are the two sorts of lost buildings, those 
which were built but have been destroyed, and those which 
were never carried out at all. Probably the tragedy of English 
architecture is that the tw^o most ambitious of its projects, the 
Whitehall of Inigo Jones and the rebuilding of London after 
the Fire by Wren, were never executed. The little fragment 
of the Banqueting House only makes the loss to be more 
poignant. It seems certain that the original scheme by the elder 

^ The degree of their relationship is uncertain. Webb married 
Anne Jones, probably the niece of Inigo Jones, in which case Inigo 
Jones would be his wife’s uncle. 


68 



architect was twice drawn up, and on the second occasion was 
doubled in scale, but not much altered in detail. The first set 
will have been prepared early in the reign of Charles the First, 
and the second just before the Civil War. Colin Campbell 
published the engravings of the first project, and William Kent 
of the second, from which it is apparent that the drawings at 
Worcester College provided for a plan of 630 ft by 460 ft; and 
those at Chatsworth for a similar palace, but of 1280 ft in 
length by 950 ft wide. 

The scheme, which covers an area twice the size of the 
Escurial, provides for seven courts, with an immense court in 
tlie middle, 800 ft by 400 ft. To each side of this are three 
courts, one behind another, maldng six ; the corner courts in 
every case to be oblong, but the central court in one block to 
be square, and in the other to be circular. This latter is the 
‘Persian’ court, with sculptured columns of patriarchal 
figures in flowing robes, an invention of Inigo Jones intended 
to be more grave and serious than the female equivalent or 
caryatid. This circular or ‘Persian’ court was to be 280 ft in 
diameter. In an alternative scheme the great central court was 
to be filled by smaller buildings. The elevation, as a whole, was 
to be 100 ft or more in height; and a magnificent river front 
was to face the Thames. Whitehall Palace became something 
of an obsession with the architecturally minded, as we can see 
from an imaginary drawing by Thomas Sandby, which gives 
the strength, but the weakness also of the design. More still, 
the monotony of its white stone masses. 

In Sandby’s drawing we could almost think it is the Louvre 
and Tuileries in Portland stone. How soon it would have 
blackened with the soot of London! The old Tuileries had, in 
fact, two oval courts by Philibert de I’Orme, and this may have 
influenced the plan of Whitehall. Long ago, it would have 
been turned over to museums and public offices, and only a 
small portion would have remained a palace. It suffers, to the 
full, from the sameness of all Royal palaces, even the most 
successful of them, the Palace at Madrid. The best feature in 
Whitehall, the ‘Persian’ court apart, would have been the 
balcony, in a projecting portico, upon the river front. This 

69 



portico was to have been of the Corinthian order, two storeys 
high, the lower rusticated, with many statues on a balustrade 
against the sky line. These statues were to have been the work 
of Nicholas Stone, the sculptor, who made the lovely little 
York Water Gate, still standing at the foot of Buckingham 
Street, Strand, and also carried out the gateway of the Botanical 
Gardens at Oxford.^ We do not doubt that there would have 
been magnificent staircases and interiors at Whitehall, but so 
vast a project was more likely to be excellent in parts than in 
the whole. What we should regret, therefore, is not the whole 
palace, but that some more fragments, like the Banqueting 
House, were never finished. 

^ The master work of Nicholas Stone (1586-1647) is, probably, the 
recumbent effigy of Lady Carey in the church of Stowe-Nine-Churches 
in Northamptonshire, made of white marble and of black touchstone. 
Nicholas Stone, it is of interest, married the daughter of the Dutch 
sculptor, Hendrick dc Keyser, who carved the tomb of William the 
Silent, in the Nieuwe Kerk at Delft, Vol. VII of the Walpole Society 
for 1918-1919 is a whole monograph on Nicholas Stone by W. S. 
Spiers. From a perusal of its illustrations we deduce the following as 
the best works of this sculptor: the mural monument to Thomas 
Sutton in the chapel of the Charterhouse; the canopied tomb of Sir 
Charles Morison in St Mary’s, Watford; ditto, of Sir John and Lady 
M orison at South Carlton, Lincolnshire; Sir G. Villiers and his wife, 
the Countess of Buckingham, at Westminster Abbey, an altar tomb; 
another canopied monument to another Sir Charles Morison, at 
Watford, son of the preceding of that name; and Dr John Donne in 
his shroud, at St Paul’s, of which Isaac Walton tells us, in his Life of 
Donne, ‘ Several charcoal fires being first made in his large study, he 
brought with him into that place his winding-sheet in his hand, and 
having put off all his clothes, had this sheet put upon him, and so tied 
with knots at his head and feet, and his hands so placed as dead bodies 
are usually fitted to be shrouded and put into their coffin or grave’. 
Upon a wooden model of an urn he stood ‘with his lean, pale, and 
death-like face’, while his picture was drawn by a painter upon a 
board. And we conclude our list of the more notable of the works of 
this prolific sculptor with the altar tomb of Arthur and Elizabeth 
Coke, at Bramfield, Suffolk, the lady, who died in childbirth, being 
shown with her baby in her arms, a most beautiful and pathetic 
sculpture; the canopied altar tomb of Lord and Lady Spencer, at 
Great Brington, Northants; and the very curious, detached pillar 
monument, with an Ionic column on a high pedestal, and life-size 
figures of the four cardinal virtues at the foot, at Chilham, Kent. 

70 



Dismissing then this architectural vision from our minds, 
we turn to what buildings by Inigo Jones were realised and 
rose above the soil. We have the giant shadow of the Doric 
portico to St Paul’s, Covent Garden, a church which has been 
burnt down and built up again, but so deep a continuity 
attaches to this part of London that we are persuaded that 
nothing will ever alter it, for it has survived both aerial bom- 
bardment and the worst the modern architect can do, and is 
the same now as it was when Hogarth made it the background 
for his scene of ‘Winter’, where we sec the same Cockney 
characters, and their coffee stalls and fruit barrows. A master- 
piece of Inigo Jones, within the London area, is the Queen’s 
House, Greenwich (Plate 6), built for Henrietta Maria, the 
visitor to which must feel his spirits lifted by the health-giving, 
the therapeutic proportions of the interior, as at the wonderful 
Villa Maser, which is the greatest work of Palladio upon the 
Venetian terra firma. The river front or King Charles’s block 
of Greenwich Hospital is in the manner, certainly, of Inigo 
Jones, and could be called the ‘masculine and unaffected 
brother’ of the Banqueting House at Whitehall. But, in actual 
fact. King Charles’s block was built by Webb for Charles the 
Second and, later, Wren built the Queen Anne block in entire 
imitation of King Charles’s, so that the credit for Greenwich 
Hospital is difficult to apportion, and if the style and inspira- 
tion arc that of Inigo Jones, we have his nephew, Webb, to 
thank for it, but the final credit, and the compliment, are 
Wren’s. 

No less a title than that of masterpiece is deserved, too, by 
the staircase of Ashburnham House, in Westminster. This is 
a late work done, like Wilton and Colesliill, at the end of the 
Civil Wars, or during the Commonwealth, an unlikely flower- 
ing, especially when we remember that Inigo Jones was nearly 
eighty years old, and died in 1653. This staircase is too good, 
though, to be by Webb alone. The panelling and fluted 
columns of the walls arc beyond praise, and so is the oval 
dome above, a wonderful decorative invention and of masterly 
ingenuity. It would be no exaggeration, remembering the 
staircases in Itafian palaces, to say that this, within its modest 

71 



dimensions, is as fine as any. The only staircase to compare 
with it, for its use of a small space, is the interior of No 44 
Berkeley Square by WilHam Kent, an affair of genius that in 
any other city but London would be famous, but, as it is, only 
a handful of persons have ever heard of it, and fewer still have 
seen it. 

We are left with Coleshill in Berkshire (Plate 7),^ and the 
work of Inigo Jones at Wilton. Coleshill was in the style of the 
Venetian villa, with a difference. It was not slavishly Palladian, 
like the villas built later for Lord Burlington and other ama- 
teurs. It had English' individuality of its own, from the plain 
but imaginative exterior with its simple pilasters, to the stair- 
case, and to the stucco ceiling of the haU. But Coleshill was 
terribly damaged by fire a few years ago, and even the shell of it 
is now demohshed. The stucco work was particularly fine and 
original at Coleshill, a quality which must be due to the direct 
intervention of the architect, and thanks to which Jacobean 
ceilings belong now to the fashions of the past. 

In contrast to the simple Coleshill, typical of the Italian 
villeggiatura brought to Berkshire, comes the magnificence of 
Wilton, wherein we may think ourselves in the unrealised in- 
terior of WhitehaU, particularly, surrounded as we are by Van 
Dyck’s paintings. A good deal of the work of Inigo Jones at 
Wilton has been destroyed, but there remain the state rooms on 
the first floor with all their decorations, including the Ban- 
queting Hall and the Double Cube Room (Plate 24), a double 
cube of 60 ft by 30 ft, with the frames designed by the architect 
for Van Dyck’s portraits. One entire wall is occupied by the 
immense group of the Herbert family, containing ten figures, 
and forming the most considerable portrait group ever painted 
by the master. We may quote the words of a painter — a bad 
one, but of the sort who uttered sense : ‘ I am at loss for words 

^ Coleshill is now accepted as being the work of Sir Roger Pratt, 
b. 1620, d. 1685, a Norfolk country gentleman who studied the art 
in France, Italy, and the Netherlands, and built Clarendon House, 
in London, and Horseheath in Cambridgeshire. Coleshill was built 
for his relative. Sir Henry Pratt, vide post, p. 1 1 1. Pratt consulted with 
Jones at the time he was beginning Coleshillj cf p. 5 of Architecture 
of Sir Roger Pratt, by R. T. Gunther. 

72 



to convey my admiration of this picture. . . . Yet I think the 
expression bad; and wish it had an unity of subject, or any 
subject. But, as it is, when shall we see its like again.’ Here 
are the Cavaliers, made immortal, even when we remember the 
haste with which Lord Pembroke joined the other side. The 
mantelpiece in the Double Cube Room is entirely splendid and 
of a heroic boldness. There arc splendid doors with broken 
pediments, and the wall panelling is divided by great gilded 
swags of fruits and flowers, tied up with ribbons. The coved 
ceiling is painted, neither well nor badly, while a word of praise 
must be spared for some gilt furniture by William Kent which 
is exactly appropriate to Inigo Jones, his adored idol. The 
whole effect of the room is white and gold. For a comparison 
with the Double Cube Room wc have to go to Italy, where the 
nearest equivalent is in the state rooms at the Pitti Palace, in 
Florence, that were frescoed and designed by Pietro da 
Cortona (1596-1669). The two are in fact contemporary, and 
perhaps both suffer from the same defects, of too much mag- 
nificence and too little feeling. No room hke this had been 
built before in England, but it has moments, almost, of bad 
taste. The carving is heavy and not equal to the best Italian, 
and there was no Pietro da Cortona to paint a fresco on the 
ceiling. We feel this to be the precursor of other heartless 
parade-rooms in the golden manner. But the time lag is 
abolished. English architecture has caught up with its 
foreign model and is no longer provincial and barbarian. As in 
so many other instances, in all the arts, nothing that came later 
ever surpassed the original. We may criticise the Double Cube 
Room for lapses of sensibility, but it may be that these are in- 
separable from rooms of state. They are softened, at least, by 
the proportion of Inigo Jones and the pencil of Van Dyck. 

The hand of Inigo Jones at Wilton is proved by how dif- 
ferent was the later work of Webb. But the contrast is even 
deeper when wc are told that Webb, in his own words: ‘was 
brought up by his Unckle Mr Inigo Jones upon his late Maie- 
styes command in the study of architecture, as well as that 
w^*' relates to building as for masques Tryumphes and the 
like’, and in fact it has been found that Webb designed the 

73 



scenery for Salmacida Spolia^ for which his ‘Unckle’ did the 
costumes, while Webb was employed, later, upon the scenery 
for D’Avenant’s The Siege of Rhodes^ the first opera to be pro- 
duced in England. Webb was admirer and disciple, but not 
slavish adherent of his uncle. He had distinct, if lesser indi- 
viduality of his own. Thorpe Hall, near Peterborough, in the 
valley of the Nene, is sensible and masculine. It has not the 
touch of genius. No one could say of it that this is posthumous 
Inigo Jones, though it was built during the Commonwealth by 
Oliver St John, a relation of Cromwell, after Inigo Jones was 
dead. Webb has always been accepted as the builder, but 
recently it was discovered that this house was, in fact, designed 
by Peter Mills. The stables bear so mysterious a suggestion of 
the Riding House at Bolsover that it has been conjectured they 
may be the work of a certain Marsh, mentioned by Vertue as 
having designed the additional buildings at Bolsover, erected 
after the Restoration, which would mean the stables at Thorpe 
Hall were the pattern of that later building. The roof and the 
central gable, particularly at Thorpe Hall, could be by no other 
hand than that which put up the Riding House for the Cavalier 
Duke of Newcastle. 

Still more divergent from the work of Inigo Jones is Ash- 
down, in Berkshire, a house in a most lonely situation below 
the downs, under the White Horse upon the pagan hillside. It 
is an unforgettable experience to pass Ashdown upon an 
autumn evening, for it stands up so tall against the sky, among 
the naked trees. Some thread of memory connects it in our 
minds with the ancient dew ponds, near by. The ‘property’ 
swans of Le Lac des Cygnes should be drawn across, before our 
eyes. For this curious high house, so solitary and undisturbed, 
with its dormer roof ending in a balustrade and cupola, with its 
formal layout, the little low rooms flanking at each side, and 
the pair of pavilions in front, recalls a ‘slott’ in Sweden or 
Denmark. This is the castle to which the prince and his com- 
panions will return in the evening after hunting, and we see in 
imagination the ‘spangled’ bed got ready for Odile and the 
silver mirrors in her room, and hear that haunted, nostalgic 
air with which the ballet opens. No house would compose so 

74 



beautifully for a glass transparency as Ashdown, unless it is 
Nether Lypiatt, near Stroud, a house of similar date, with 
wrought-iron gates in front, flanked by a pair of little formal 
pavilions or gazebos, and with an interior where music will for 
ever linger, for it is the home of Mrs Gordon Woodhouse, one 
of the greatest of living musicians, who with her genius has 
brought the music of the past alive. Nether Lypiatt has not 
the pale colour that we associate with the Swedish and Danish 
castles, that are often whitewashed. It is as formal, but more 
cheerful, as Ashdown, and the work probably of some local 
architect from Gloucester or from Bristol. Ashdown, however, 
now appears to be the work of William Windc, who was 
largely responsible for Hampstead Marshall and Combe 
Abbey, Lord Craven’s other houses. 

Webb profited but little from the Restoration. The plans for 
Whitehall and for Greenwich were drawn up in detail, and 
Webb may have lived in constant expectation that he would be 
called upon to put into execution plans that his master Inigo 
Jones had formulated as much as fifty years before. He re- 
paired the existing Whitehall Palace and made it ready for the 
restored King and the Court to live in, while work at Green- 
wich was begun upon King Charles’s block. But he was disap- 
pointed in the post of Surveyor-General to the King, and 
bothered incessantly by the intrigues of his rivals, among them 
that quaint individual Sir Balthazar Gerbier, whose character, 
we may feel, was implicit in his curious name. Sir Balthazar, 
for as such he would delight for us to call him, had been baiting 
other architects for some forty years, directing his shafts, 
particularly, at Inigo Jones. His was a versatile nature, not 
inconsiderable, altogether, as a painter, if we read what is 
written of him in Walpole’s Anecdotes^ but more apt for in- 
trigue than for the practice of the arts.^ His little book of 
Counsel and Advice to all Builders^ overweighted with forty 
dedicatory epistles at the beginning, is nearly quaint enough to 

^ Of Gerbier’s activities during the Civil War, Walpole has this 
excellent phrase in his Anecdotes of Painting : T do not doubt but a 
man of so supple and intriguing a nature, so universal an undertaker, 
did not lie still in times of such dull and busy complexion. * 

75 



be reprinted^ belonging as it does to that period in our language 
when almost everything written is worth reading. He is 
obsequious to the great, but more, he conveys to us, on behalf 
of the reader than for himself, who is upon equal terms with 

them, anxious as he is for their convenience that staircases 
should be wide enough to allow for the ascent of noble persons 
with an attendant on each side. Throughout, he attacks Inigo 
Jones and Webb, whenever and wherever possible. Buildings 
by this egregious character are unhappily burnt down or 
destroyed, so that we cannot judge of him. Such has been the 
fate of Hampstead Marshall, Lord Craven’s house in Berk- 
shire, of which only the kitchen garden and eight splendid pairs 
of gate piers now remain, though this house was the work, not 
so much of Gerbier, as of his pupil Captain Winde, an archi- 
tect who belongs to a later period, and must be reserved till 

then. Ashdown, built at the beginning of Charles II’s reign, 
was long thought to be a work of Webb. More like a Restora- 
tion house than any work by Webb, it now appears that Ash- 
down was the work of Winde. 

English architecture may be said now to divide into two 
directions, both of which are centred in the hands of Wren. 
The Palladian or Italian style is continued at Greenwich, to 
cuhninatc under a Baroque influence at St Paul’s Cathedral; 
but Wren was the first also to elevate the red brick vernacular 
into great architecture. Inigo Jones was to be restored, later, 
and become the idol of our taste, but, for the moment, he is in 
danger of being forgotten, nearly. And Webb was growing old 
and crossing with him into the shades, his career broken by 
the Commonwealth, and never mended or given opportunity 
under the Restoration. 

The early years of the reign of Charles the First, before the 
Puritan fever burnt up and consumed its chances, had all the 
possibilities of a great period for the arts. The King had a 
collection of paintings that was second to none in Europe; 
Rubens worked in England, and Van Dyck lived among us. It 
can only have added to the dream-hke quahty of these memories 
that so many of its beauties were only realised in temporary 
manner, during the performance of a masque. Being botli 

76 



theatrical designer and architect, Inigo Jones was master both 
of the moment and of the age. None can deny that he was 
one of the greatest artists that England has produced, but 
coming, as he does, out of the age of Shakespeare, and con- 
temporary with him, it is so long ago that we can know but 
little of his character and personality. The more precious, 
therefore, is his portrait by Van Dyck, and better still, it is a 
portrait drawing, not a canvas filled in by a pupil’s hand. 

It lies before me as I write this, one of the finest plates of 
the Cabinet des Plus Beaux Portraits^ in the splendid edition 
published at Antwerp, a collection of engravings tliat, as it is 
stated in the title. Van Dyck had caused to be engraved at his 
own expense by the best engravers of the time. A few of the 
plates have the distinction of being etched by Van Dyck him- 
self. ‘Ant. van Dyck fecit aqua forti’; but the sketch of Inigo 
Jones is engraved by Van Vorst, and is probably the best in 
the whole book. He appears in it as a man, sixty or sixty-five 
years old, holding in his left hand a sheet of drawing paper 
that flutters out of the edge of the engraving into the title, 
which begins with the words ‘ Celeberrimus Vir’, an epithet 
that would seem to be confirmed in the care and brilliance 
given to the plate. Inigo Jones, in his portrait, has long hair 
in tire Cavalier fashion touching on his shoulders, and it is 
fair hair, evidently, according to the lights of the engraving. 
He has a fair beard and moustache too ; but wears a plain linen 
coUar, which it is amusing to contrast with the lace collar 
worn by his patron. Lord Pembroke, who also appears in one 
of the better engravings in the volume. Upon his head the 
architect has a linen cap suggesting that of a scholar, a man of 
learning, not a fashionable person. Lord Pembroke wears the 
Order of the Garter ; Inigo Jones has no decorations, but a long, 
plain buttoned coat, carrying with it the suggestion of good 
height, while his hair escapes under his cap and on his forehead 
with all the disorder of someone who uses his brain. His 
eyes seem, in the etching, to be light brown or hazel, and he 
has a strong nose and a long face, tlie physiognomy of a thinker, 
if we note the lines around his eyes. It is not possible that this 
could be a Frenchman, a Spaniard, or an Italian; no German 

77 



has that pointed physiognomy. If it was not an English- 
man, it could only be a man of the same race as Rubens or 
Van Dyck. The colouring of the face and hair, even in the 
engraving, is in fact not unlike that of Rubens in his portraits 
of himself. But it is a longer face than Rubens, witliout the 
impulsiveness of that artist, and perhaps we may read in it 
that this was not a painter but an architect. The whole 
impression is that of a person of great physical importance, 
more, indeed, than that of any portrait in the volume, when we 
turn its pages. It comes from the grave and serious expression 
above that large physique, and we close the book in the feeling 
that Inigo Jones, besides being one of the finest engravings, 
is the portrait of the most important person of the time. 
Probably this is no less than the truth. He is the first of English 
architects; but poet and artist, always, more than engineer. 
He is followed by a scientific genius, and by a man of genius 
in the spontaneous, untrained meaning of tlie word: by Wren 
and Vanbrugh. After them come many architects. But Inigo 
Jones belongs to the great epoch, to die High Renaissance. 
He was of the generation of Shakespeare, and belongs to the 
Age of Poetry, not the Age of Reason. 


78 



Ill 


SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN 

A t a time when the pleasures of architecture appeal, more 
and more, year after year, to an increasing public, it is 
curious to think that the writer, who is not old, can remember 
the day when it was bad manners to admire the architecture 
of country houses. The family of the owner could spend their 
lives, knowing no more than that their home was Tudor, or 
Jacobean, or in the ‘Adam’ style. One and all, in their lesser 
examples, country houses were in fact inaccessible and it 
would have been embarrassing, indeed, to attempt admittance 
to them. But this attitude has changed. There is an ever 
growing appreciation of old buildings. But we are living now 
during a trans valuation of all values. Architecture, till recently, 
w^as the most permanent of the arts. Once a building, by public 
protest, had been rescued from demolition it seemed s^e for 
ever. But a fine building cannot, alas! be taken down into a 
vault; or be packed up and put into a cave in Wales. It has 
to stand its chance, with sandbags round it. And it so happens 
that the buildings of Sir Christopher Wren are in greater, 
present danger from the war than those of any other architect. 
For all his masterpieces are in, or near, London. St Paul’s 
Cathedral, which has come through by a miracle, is in per- 
petual peril. Greenwich Hospital, the shrine and symbol 
of our glorious Navy, is in the first line of danger down among 
the London Docks ; while of Wren’s fifty City churches it is 
difficult, indeed, to know w^hat is standing and what has been 
destroyed. These buildings, with his wing or front of Hampton 
Court, are Wren’s masterworks, for unlike all other English 
architects he built few, if any, country houses. 

This is the greater contradiction for the reason that the 
typical red brick house is ascribed to Wren by popular opinion; 

79 



just as much as the name ‘Chippendale’ appears in the light of 
modem investigation to be misleading, till what is typical 
Chippendale furniture emerges as not being by Chippendale 
at all, but by some other craftsman, and his genuine manner 
is in fact more Classical tlian Rococo. But the red brick house 
by Wren is a popular misconception which, nevertheless, is 
entirely true, for though the authentic specimens may be so 
few in number, tliis is his influence, and it is tlie spirit of his 
time. 

Let us, therefore, make two groups of Wren: Greenwich 
Hospital, St Paul’s, the City churches, of the white Portland 
stone, chiefly; and for his red brick building put on one side 
Hampton Court, the Orangery, Kensington Palace, and houses 
in Chichester,^ and shall we add to these, St Benet’s (Fig. 
2, p. 97), Upper Thames Street, one of Wren’s red brick City 
churches charming in its domesticity, like a room for family 
prayers? This latter group of buildings gives the William and 
Mary manner in perfection, whether they date from the reign 
of Charles the Second, or were constructed, like the Orangery, 
for Queen Anne. A particular sesthetic pleasure is to be 
derived from the thin lines of the brickwork, whether rubbed 
or gauged, particularly at Hampton Court where the building 
is in both materials, red brick and Portland stone. The 
pleasures of the red brick buildings come from the warm glow 
and neatness of the brick, in contrast with the white joints of 
mortar. We may be reminded of pictures by Van der Heyden, 
who painted brick architecture so meticulously that we may 
count the bricks, yet he never tires or fidgets, and is among the 
little masters even when his subject is a cobbled street. But in 
fact Wren’s brick buildings may be Dutch, by suggestion, but 
are not Dutch at all in spirit. Wren is only under Dutch 
influence till we have been to Holland. Then nevermore. 

It emerges that he was master of two styles, great and small, 
St Paul’s, or St Benet’s, Upper Thames Street; Greenwich 
Hospital, or tlie red brick Orangery, and tliat in his maturity, 

^ Wren House and Dodo House (which is also known as Pallant 
or Swan House) are attributed to Wren, but there is no actual evidence 
that they are by liim. 


80 



after experiment, and with regard to the exterior of his 
buildings. Wren had a greater colour s6nse than any other 
of our architects. Not only that, he was continually seeking 
out new forms, which is apparent in the endless variety of his 
London steeples. When we remember St Paul’s and compare 
it with St Peter’s, and then recollect the pair of domes at 
Greenwich Hospital, we get the astonishing measure of his 
greatness, and may think that he was on the highest level of all 
classical composers where the domed building is concerned, 
while the last of these quahties was altogether lacking in 
Vanbrugh, who is our other genius among the architects. 

But leaving till later those two groups of contrasted build- 
ings which form his masterpieces, we must treat of Wren 
himself and of his lesser works. Christopher Wren was bom 
in 1632, at East Knoyle in Wiltshire, one of the most pastoral 
regions of the West, about where the Arcadia of scalded cream 
begins. His father was rector of the parish, becoming, later. 
Dean of Windsor; while Maitliew Wren, his brother, uncle to 
the architect, rose to the important position of Bishop of Ely. 
Christopher Wren, therefore, was born in the ecclesiastical 
purple of the Church of England. Pie was sent to Westminster 
School, under the notorious Dr Busby, and leaving there 
during tlie worst crises of the Civil War when his father, as 
Dean of Windsor, was under persecution from the Round - 
heads, he was placed by his parents in the London house of 
Sir Charles Scarborough, who later became physician to 
Charles the Second, and had deep scientific interests. Here 
Wren seems to have studied, among other things, mathematics 
and anatomy. His few letters of the time abound in meta- 
physical conceits, as when he writes to his father : ‘ Most kindly 
made welcome by the best of Friends, I have spent my Easter 
Holydays as happily as you will gather . . . the noble mansion 
stands almost on the topmost Brow of a Hill. Delightful 
gardens surround it . . . nor are lacking Groves of Trees whose 
topmost Branches support a clamorous Commonwealth of 
Rooks, whole Hamlets, I had almost said Townships, of them. 
. . .’ In fact Wren was becoming, in the old sense of the word, 
a virtuoso. 


81 



In the fateful year of 1649 Wren became a Gentleman- 
commoner of Wadham College, Oxford, and three years later 
a fellow of All Souls. The diarist Evelyn comes down to 
Oxford and visits ‘that miracle of a youth Mr Christopher 
Wren, nephew of the Bishop of Ely’. The atmosphere of 
that Oxford summer sounds quite delightful. Evelyn dines 
at ‘that most obhging and universally curious Dr Wilkins’, 
former chaplain to the Elector Palatine, and now Warden of 
Wadham, and be it noted, nominee of the Puritans.^ ‘He 
was the first who show’d me the transparent apiaries which 
he had built like castles and palaces, and so order’d them one 
upon another as to take the honey without destroying the bees. 
These were adorned with a variety of dials, like statues, vases, 
etc., and he was so abundantly civil on finding me pleased 
with them as to present me with one of the hives. ... He had 
above in his lodgings and gallery variety of shadows of all 
perspectives, and many other artificial, mathematical, and 
magical curiosities . . . most of them of his owne and that 
prodigious young scholar Mr Chrs. Wren.’ Wren presented 
Evelyn with a piece of white marble, stained a lively red. It 
is tempting to tliink that, perhaps, the earliest playthings of his 
genius in architecture may have been the transparent beehives 
with tlreir columns, vases, and little statues. 

With Dr Wilkins to encourage him ‘the miracle of a youth’ 
was already at work upon a multitude of inventions. When 
only fifteen years old, in a letter to his father, he writes of: 
‘One of these inventions of mine, a Weather clock namely, 
with revolving cylinder, by means of which a record can be 
kept through the night’, and continues, ‘the other day I wrote 
a treatise on Trigonometry. . • . An Epitome of this I re-wrote 
on a brass Disk of about the size of one of King James’ Gold 
Pieces, and having snatched the Tool from the Engraver, I 
engraved much of it with my own Hand.’ At Oxford he was 
experimenting with a pavement, ‘harder, fairer and cheaper’ 
than marble, and according to the Parentalia or memoirs of 
his son, was investigating the different methods of etching 
and engraving, and was working upon divers new musical 
^ Dr Wilkins married the niece of Cromwell. 

82 



instruments, ways to perfect coaches for ease, easier ways of 
whaling, and an artificial eye, with the humours truly and 
diopticaily made. 

In 1657 he was made Professor of Astronomy at Gresham 
College, and four years later Savihan Professor of Astronomy 
at Oxford. He was not yet thirty years of age. His inaugural 
address to Gresham College, delivered in Latin, is preserved 
in a rough English draft, and as Miss Milman reminds us in 
her Life of Wren^ he speaks in this as a contemporary of Sir 
Thomas Browne. We quote a few passages to show his style : 
‘It was astronomy alone that of old undertook to guide the 
creeping Ships of the Ancients, whenever they would venture 
to leave the Land to find a neighbour Shore ; though then she 
was a humoursome guide and, often vailing the Face of 
Heaven with clouds, would cruelly leave them to the Giddy 
Protection of Fortune, and, for the most part, only tossed 
them up and down and sported herself with their ruin; but, 
if she deign’d to show them one glimpse of a Star, if but of 
Alcor, or the least Albicant Spot of Heaven, it was enough to 
pave a way for them homeward through the Horror of the 
Waves and Night.’ At the end he apostrophises London: 

‘ Lastly, the Moon, the Lady of the Waters, seems amorously 
to court this Place. For to what City does she invite the Ocean 
so far in Land as here? Communicating by the Thames 
whatever the Banks of Maragnon or Indus can produce and 
at the Reflux warming the frigid Zones with our Cloth . . 

At about this time, too. Wren solved the problem which Pascal 
sent from Port-Royal with a challenge to the mathematicians 
of England to solve it by a certain day. It was a problem that, 
let us admit it, nearly aU our readers would fail to understand; 
and we can only in comment add what Miss Milman tells 
us, that Pascal, just at tliat time, was considering how to 
determine the curve made in the air by a nail in a coach wheel, 
supposing the wheel to be in motion on a perfectly flat surface. 
Wren solved the problem, yet tlie prize of twenty pistoles never 
came his way. 

But the Restoration has arrived, with the pealing of bells 
from every church tower, and Charles the Second is on the 

83 



throne. Wren has been studying the moon^ particularly, and 
has composed a lunar globe representing ‘not only the spots 
and various degrees of Whiteness upon the surface, but the 
Hills, Eniinencies, and Cavities moulded in solid work’. 
Soon Wren, by Royal Command, is requested ‘to perfect the 
design wherein he is told you have already made some progress : 
to make a globe representing accurately the figures of the 
Moon . . . and to delineate by the Help of the Microscope the 
Figures of all the insects and small living creatures you can 
light upon, as you have done those you presented to his 
Majesty’. This lunar globe when completed was conducted 
to the Royal cabinet, where the following inscription could 
be read upon its pedestal: ‘To Charles the Second, King of 
Great Britain, France and Scotland, for the expansion of whose 
Dominions since no one Globe can suffice, Christopher Wren 
dedicates another in this Lunar Sphere. ’ 

Gresham College was by now transformed into the Royal 
Society, and Wren drew up the preamble to the charter: 
‘Charles, etc.: Whereas among our regal hereditary Titles 
(to which by Divine Providence and the Loyalty of our good 
Subjects we are now happily restor’d) nothing appears to Us 
more august or more suitable to Our Pious Disposition than 
tliat of Father of our Country, a Name of Indulgence as well 
as Dominion, wherein We would imitate the Benignity of 
Heaven, v;hich in the same Shower yields Thunder and 
Violets, and no sooner shakes the Cedars but, dissolving the 
Clouds, drops Fatness . . etc., etc..’ It is, perhaps, no matter 
for surprise that Wren was marked out for Royal preferment. 

The first offer was that Wren should proceed to Tangier, 
lately added to the Crown by Charles’s marriage with Catherine 
of Braganza, in order to survey the harbour and the fortifica- 
tions. But Wren declined tliis post on grounds of health, and 
was appointed, instead, assistant to the Surveyor-General. This 
is the official opening of his career as architect, and it may 
be remarked that even with this brief review of his other attain- 
ments, all that has been lacking in Wren is sign that he is an 
architect. Inventor, scientist, mathematician, astronomer, he 
has given proof of everything but this. Nor does he seem to 

84 



n 

have been interested, particularly, in what we intend by the 
arts. His tastes lay in the sciences. 

Before we proceed further certain points call for attention. 
We would stress, in the first place, how strongly Royalist were 
the sympathies of both Inigo Jones and Wren. There is little 
necessity, in this matter, to descend into the political arena. 
We need only ask where are the buildings, plays, or paintings, 
of the Commonwealth? But, it might be argued, how could 
the son of the Dean of Windsor, and nephew of the Bishop of 
Ely, be otherwise than Royalist and reactionary? The reply 
is that ‘this miracle of a youth’, in his twenties, was already 
one of the most famous scientists in Europe, and tliat after 
ten years of Puritan rule all classes of the community longed 
for a return to the monarchy. It is impossible even now to 
read of the Restoration in Pepys’ Diary and not hear the echo 
of the rejoicing at this end of bigotry and dawn of light. We 
must remind ourselves that the churches, as well as the 
theatres, were open again. Wren, as a glance at his features 
in his portrait by Knellcr wiU tell us, was the pure intellectual. 
Thin and slight and aquiline, with his extraordinary intelli- 
gence in his eyes, and those prominent, shadowed features 
that are still to be seen in his death mask after he died at 
ninety years of age. Charles the Second must be allowed some 
perspicacity in his choice of Wren. He had chosen, beyond 
question, the most brilliant intellect of the day.^ 

The first considerable work of Wren, as architect, was the 
chapel of Pembroke College, Cambridge, built on a commission 
from his uncle, the Bishop, who was later buried there, and 
who desired the chapel to be a thanksgiving for release from 
his eighteen years’ imprisonment in the Tower of London, 
It is a correct and charming building, with its engaged Corin- 
thian pilasters and the hexagon belfry with the dome above it, 

^ In his book on Caius Gabriel Cibber y Oxford, 1926, p. 6, Mr 
Harald Faber compares the wages of two shillings by the day for 
himself and sixpence for liis man paid to Wren on his appointment as 
King’s surveyor, in 1669, with the two shillings and sixpence by the 
day paid to the keeper of the King’s cormorants, out of which stim 
the latter had to pay for the feeding of the birds. 

85 



't 

but we would not compare it with Emmanuel, Cambridge, or 
Trinity, at Oxford. Those are more mature, and must be 
considered later. This is Wren’s first building. 

In 1663 the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford was begun, one 
of the most familiar and conspicuous buildings of the whole 
University, and of particular interest in the career of Wren 
for the reason that during the course of it he went for the only 
time in his life to the Continent, and spent six months in 
Paris. Not being intended for theatrical performances, but 
for the recitation of prize compositions and the conferring 
of honorary degrees, the interior galleries run right round the 
building, and it has been the concern of the architect to adhere 
to the plan of a Roman theatre, while so arranging the windows 
that ceremonies may take place by the light of day. The plan 
was derived by Wren from Serlio’s book of architecture, which 
had been translated into English in 1611, not that any transla- 
tion would be necessar>^ where Wren was concerned, but his 
plan for the Sheldonian Theatre is quite obviously inspired 
by Serho’s reconstruction of the Theatre of Marcellus. The 
flat wooden roof of the interior, with a span of seventy feet, 
was considered a wonder in its day and was certainly ingenious 
as a piece of carpentry. But as the classic theatres of the 
ancients had no roof, this is disguised as a velarium, or, in 
fact, the ceiling represents a painted canvas stretched over 
golden cordage, and this, the first tiling of its kind in England, 
was from the brush of Robert Streater, Sergeant-Painter to 
Charles the Second.^ So remarkable did this painted ceiling 

^ Robert Streater, 1624-1680, painted some ceilings, now perished, 
at Whitehall Palace; the Battle of the Giants at Morden Park, Surrey; 
an altarpiece of Moses and Aaron at St Michaefs, Cornhill; and a 
remarkable landscape of the Royal Oak and the field of Boscobel, 
now at Hampton Court. According to his friend Evelyn, Streater 
painted ‘ very glorious scenes and perspectives * for Dryden’s Conquest 
of Granada, produced in 1671, and the History of the Giants* War 
upon the cedar dining-room of Sir Robert Clayton’s house in Old 
Jewry. It is these same panels that were moved to the family seat of 
the Claytons at Morden, near Godstone, Surrey. The corpse of this 
forgotten painter, precursor of Thornhill and one of our few Baroque 
artists, has lately been exhumed and given decent burial by Dr 
Tancred Borenius — in a leaure and an article. 

86 



seem, that it drew forth a whole epic in its honour, a poem 
which it would be interesting but tiring to compare with that 
which greeted the no less curious Trasparente by Narciso 
Tome in the Cathedral at Toledo.^ 

While the Sheldonian was building Wren went to Paris, 
and it has been suggested that the terminal stone figures of the 
outside railing, Sages of Antiquity, the Twelve Caesars, or 
whoever they be, have been suggested by figures of the same 
description at Vaux-le-Vicomte, near Paris. I'hat magnificent 
chateau was brand new. It had been begun by Fouquet in 
1653; though we must add that similar terminal busts or 
‘ sponive masks ’ appear outside a building of the late sixteenth 
century at the University in Cracow, so that the clue to all 
tiiree sets of them may be in a hint from Serlio. 

It was in the stillness after the Great Plague of 1665 that 
Wren went to Paris, having secured an introduction to the 
British Ambassador, Lord St Albans, a favourite of the Queen 
Mother, Henrietta Maria, and even rumoured to be clandes- 
tinely married to her. There can be no doubt that it was 
architecture, and not science, that inspired his visit. He writes 
of hoping to meet ‘Monsieur Mansard and Signor Bernini 
within this fortnight’, for that great genius was in the French 
capital busied with liis projects to rebuilt the Louvre. Bernini 
had been welcomed at the frontier and given something of a 
Royal progress through tlte provinces. Wren saw the prepara- 
tions for the rebuilding of the Louvre, where a ‘thousand 
hands were constantly employ’d in the works ’ ; he visited no 
less than fourteen chateaux, admiring, in particular, Vaux-le- 
Vicomte and Maisons; saw the buildings of Mansard that 
were in progress; expressing to his correspondent his hope 
‘to bring you almost all France in paper”. He went also to 
Versailles. The great fete of 1664 was but just over. Versailles 

^ Urania : or a description of the Painting of the Top of the Theater 
at Oxford as the artist laid out his design^ by Robert Whitehall, 1669. 
The title of the Spanish epic to the Churriguerresque, is II Tras- 
parente, by Francisco Xavier de Castaneda, Toledo, 1732^ in midst 
of this ‘fricassee of marble’ San Rafael, head downwards, with his 
legs kicking out above him in the air, holds in his right hand a huge 
gilt fish. Compare also the poem mentioned in a footnote to p. 135. 

87 



was but a fragment, still; and Wren writes of it: ‘The Palace, 
or, if you please, the Cabinet of Versailles call’d me twice to 
view it, the Mixtures of brick, stone, blue tile and gold make it 
look like a rich livery.’ But the climax of his stay must have 
been his conversation with Bernini, the most famous sculptor 
and architect in Europe, and close on sixty-eight years old. 
‘Bernini’s design of the Louvre I would have given my skin 
for; but the old reserv’d Itahan gave me but a few minutes’ 
view, it was five little designs on paper, for which he hath 
received as many thousand pistoles. I had only time to copy it 
in my Fancy and Memory, and shall be able by Discourse and 
a Crayon to give you a tolerable Account of it.’ But Bernini’s 
plans were never put into execution. He made the famous bust 
of Louis quatorze at Versailles, and Claude Perrault built the 
Louvre instead. 

This is the only time Wren went abroad. It is the more 
remarkable that he did not go to Italy. He worked under 
French, Italian, and Dutch influences, and perhaps tlie influ- 
ence of France upon him is stronger than we might expect. 
When planning and decorating the apartments at Hampton 
Court he will have remembered Versailles, but that is late 
work of Wren, and by then his own individuality is assured. 

Upon his return to England his first completed work was 
the chapel of Emmanuel at Cambridge. A little removed 
from the other colleges, Emmanuel gives a shock of delight 
to the visitor from the moment he enters the court and sees, 
opposite to him, that delightful front with its four pilasters, the 
swags of fruit between them, the broken pediment above, and 
the ingenious belfry. More tlian this, the chapel has on either 
hand, flat with its facade, a gallery of five round arches raised 
upon a cloister; and, as though we were in some Italian town, 
we remember that in the interior the altarpiece is by the 
Venetian, Amigoni. Perhaps this is the place to contrast with 
Emmanuel the chapel of Trinity at Oxford, a much later work, 
for it was not finished until 1693. Wren was certainly con- 
sulted over Trinity, though Dean Aldrich of Christ Church may 
have drawn up the plans. The earlier chapel of Trinity, it is 
pleasant to remember, had been the scene of much music when 



Charles the First and the Cavaliers were in Oxford. We are 
told that ‘my Lady Thynne and fine Mistress Fanshawe were 
wont to come, mornings, half-dressed, like angels’, and that 
‘Trinity Grove was the Daphne for the ladies and gallants to 
walk in: and many times my Lady Isabella Thynne would 
make her entrys with a theorbo or a lute played before her’. 
This later chapel, whether by Dean Aldrich or by Wren, and 
it has Wren’s characteristics, has magnificent plasterwork upon 
the ceiling, and a screen and altarpiece which are among the 
finest works of Grinling Gibbons. The altarpiece is carved in 
limewood; tlie screen and lattices are of cedar, for the screen 
has pierced panels which are different on the two sides, they 
are, indeed, incomparable, while a pair of angels sit on tlie 
pediments, both above the altar and over the doorway in the 
screen, and a sculptured vase in each case stands between 
the angels. These works by Grinling Gibbons are, in fact, so 
splendid and exuberant that Trinity Chapel, Oxford, remains 
in memory as carving more than architecture, while this is 
our first mention of Grinling Gibbons who, with Tijou, was 
the most famous of the craftsmen that were employed by Wren. 

Their two names are in conjunction in tlie Library of 
Trinity, at Cambridge. This is one of the most loved of all 
Wren’s buildings ; as much, indeed, for its associations as for 
its actual beauties. For it is open to criticism. The first 
project was for a circular building with a dome, to which the 
access was to be by a double stairway, through a portico. 
Instead, it was decided to complete the second, or Nevile’s 
Court of Trinity, by which means, too, the Library would 
have arches under it, and damp would not destroy the books. 
But the front towards the Court is by far the happiest. Its 
flight of eleven windows, with their columns, suggest the 
magnificence that waits within. Yet the floor has been sunk 
so low, to gain interior height, that it blocks one-third of the 
arcades below, and makes dull and meaningless what should 
have been, in contemporary language, the ‘piazza’ undemeatli, 
which is in fact but wasted space. The four statues on the 
roof line, upon the balustrade, are from the hand of Gabriel 
Cibber, a sculptor from Denmark of whom there will be more 

89 



to say. Unfortunately the water front of the Library is a 
disappointment. The lower floor is monotonous with its 
three tall doorways and the blank space above the windows, nor 
is this redeemed by the flat pilasters between the windows on 
the upper storey. Wren failed in his opportunity. He did not 
anticipate the possibihties of this Cambridge water archi- 
tecture that was to make the slow journey by punt along tlie 
College Backs, by the soft lawns and weeping willow trees, 
into the only architectural experience of the kind that can 
compare to being rowed in a gondola down the Grand Canal. 
We enter the Library by a stair which has a splendid stucco 
ceiling, and find ourselves among the bookcases with their 
wreaths and cyphers carved in lime wood by Grinling Gibbons, 
and with busts by Roubiliac upon the pedestals above. Here 
is a splendid, enriched wooden doorway. The Library of 
Trinity has, of course, books and relics of the highest interest, 
and it is ungenerous to say that, personally, we prefer the 
Library of Queen’s, at Oxford, to which we shall come 
presently, even though its architecture is perhaps by Dean 
Aldrich, not by Wren, and its carvings, which we prefer again, 
are more probably by Grinling Gibbons’ pupils. 

The Honeyv^^ood Library, at Lincoln Cathedral, is plain and 
sensible with a pleasant doorway in tlie interior, but it is not 
important. It is perhaps of interest in passing to compare the 
delightful and appropriate Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, 
Dublin, Ireland, often attributed to Wren, but actually the 
work of Sir WiUiam Robinson, the Irish Surveyor-General, 
Wren’s opposite number across St George’s Channel. The 
richly modelled ceiling of its chapel is particularly outstanding. 
In its original state, before it was rough cast, the scarlet and 
white of this Hospital for Disabled Soldiers, suggesting the 
red coats and pipeclay of their uniform, must have been more 
attractive, by far, than the much vaster Chelsea Hospital. But 
we have a tribute to Chelsea Hospital that is worth quoting 
because it was the remark of Carlyle, who loved not architecture 
and had no understanding of aesthetic matters. " I had passed 
it almost daily for many years without tliinking much about it, 
and one day I began to reflect that it had always been a 

90 



pleasure to me to see it, and I looked at it more attentively and 
saw that it was quiet and dignified and the work of a gentleman* 
This is, perhaps, all that need be said of Chelsea Hospital. 

The red brick and white Portland stone Town Hall of 
Windsor, with its statues at either end of Queen Anne and 
of Prince George of Denmark, gives character to that town 
which, otherwise, would centre wholly in the Castle. At first 
glance the Town Hall is Dutch in style, till we remember 
that we have never seen anything that resembles it in Holland. 
The Great Schoolroom at Winchester College is of the same 
class of architecture, except for its long windows ; and perhaps 
it may be true to say that neither of these buildings could have 
existed without the Mauritshuis at The Hague, a town Wren 
never visited, but his genius absorbed the Dutch example and 
made it into his own. No less can be said, too, of Morden 
College, Blackheath, which has twiia statues of the founders 
standing in niches under the pediment, with foliage spraying 
upwards like the sides of a picture frame, and composing 
beautifully with the doorway in the centrepiece below. This 
belongs to the same order of Wren’s buildings. Morden 
College is the pattern almshouse, prototype to many others, 
and to a few houses of rest for old mariners, such as are found 
in old seaport towns, always with a mast or flagpole in the 
foreground, and that recall our historic dominion over the 
Seven Seas.^ 

Temple Bar, that used to stand in Fleet Street, and is now 
at Theobalds Park in Hertfordshire, is entirely in the Italian 
style, and could be given to Inigo Jones and not to Wren. 
The Monument in the City is unlike Wren also, but in 
another way, for it is as foreign to London as the ‘guglie’ 
of Naples. Originally he designed a Doric column with sprigs 
or tongues of flame burgeoning out of the shaft to hide the 
narrow stairway windows; but the sketch was rejected, and in 

^ The most typical specimen may be the hospital for old fishermen 
at Old Yarmouth. Windsor Town Hall was designed by Sir Thomas 
Fitch, and Wren was only called in to supervise its completion. It 
should be added that neither the Great Schoolroom at Winchester, 
nor Morden College, is positively by Wren, 

91 



the present scheme, as executed, a great statue was to stand 
upon the column, in place of the fiery um which Wren did not 
design. The bas-relief upon the pedestal, even with Charles 
the Second in his periwig, baton in hand, contrives to be 
Roman, and is, all things considered, the best work probably 
of Gabriel Cibber, making one think of the contemporary 
Trinity Column in the Graben at Vienna, with the more 
coincidence because the Kaiser Leopold the First, who 
appears among its sculptures, bore so strong a family resem- 
blance, Bourbon-Habsburg-Medici, to our Charles the Second. 
The Monument, with its plinth half-sunk into the ground, still 
stands in one of the most characteristic backwaters of the City, 
so undisturbed, except by bombs that have burst one way open 
into its square, tliat we look round, unconsciously, for the 
lodging house where Mr Pecksniff and his daughters stayed, 
as described by the City lover, Dickens. 

We have only a step or two to go, in any direction, and there 
stands St Paul’s. This wonderful masterpiece is as personal 
to London as the Doge’s Palace or the Rialto. We should be 
glad, one and all of us, that this structure comes down to us 
from the Age of Reason. Were it Old St Paul’s, it would be 
but another Westminster, while the Classical portico added 
to the West front by Inigo Jones during tlie reign of Charles 
the First so closely resembled the portico of All Saints Church, 
Northampton, that we may dismiss it with few regrets pre- 
ferring, indeed, the statue of Charles tlie Second in Roman 
armour and a periwig, at Northampton, to the pillars and 
statues that could only have spoiled the medieval fabric of 
Old St Paul’s. 

Wren had already been consulted upon the rebuilding, and 
had drawn up designs, when the Fire of London demolished 
the old Cathedral and made it necessary to begin again from 
the beginning. Three separate plans were prepared, over 
many years, or two designs besides that executed. These 
are known as the ‘rejected’ design, which was Wren’s own 
favourite, and the ‘warrant’ design, because it was accepted 
by Royal warrant. The three schemes are most curiously 
different. In addition, there is an earlier plan, dating from 

92 



before the Fire^ when Wren, comparatively, was inexperienced 
in architecture, and culminating in a dome consisting of an 
inner and outer shell, the outer dome to be sheathed in lead 
with a lantern at the top and above that an open-work pine- 
apple, sixty-eight feet in height. What is known as the first, 
or ‘rejected’ design was in the form of a Greek cross, ap- 
proached by a portico, and with a pair of domes, a lesser and a 
greater, one behind the other. Wren had set his heart upon 
this, and is said to have wept when he was told of its rejection. 
This would, in fact, have been an aisleless building, without 
chapels, and it was, in all probability, because of the novelty 
of this plan that it was refused. But the later ‘warrant’ design 
is more peculiar tlian original. It could be called, more aptly, 
tlie ‘pagoda’ plan, for it provides for a most extraordinary 
dome, that alters its mind, half way, starts to be a dome again, 
and then ends in a pagoda or steeple in six tiers or stages that 
diminish, like the steeple of St Bride’s, in Fleet Street. 

Old St Paul’s had fallen in the Great Fire with dramatic 
suddenness. In the words of Evelyn, ‘the Stones of St Paul’s 
flew like Grenades’. The clearing away of the fragments was 
a Herculean labour, made dangerous by tlie collapse of great 
portions of the ruins. At least one of the great piers w^as blown 
up by Wren with gunpowder; while in another place he 
improvised a battering ram. No less than forty-seven thousand 
waggon loads of rubbish were removed, during which time 
the architect stood on a platform in the middle of the ruins like 
a general with his staff around him looking at his plans. The 
foundation stone was laid at last, in 1675, and the new St 
Paul’s was opened for worship at the thanksgiving for the 
Peace of Ryswick, in 1694. The last stone of the cupola was 
laid in 1710. 

There can be no hesitation in the opinion that St Paul’s is 
the most magnificent domed building of the Renaissance. By 
comparison, Brunelleschi’s dome at Florence is coarse and 
clumsy. Michelangelo’s dome of St Peter’s is more gigantic. 
It dominates the entire air of Rome. All lovers of architecture 
must sigh for that moment, gone for ever, when the vetturino, 
reining in his horses, cried ‘Ecce Roma’ and there, jSfteen 

93 



miles away, hung the dome of St Peter’s. But the Vatican lies 
beside St Peter’s. Our eyes are dazzled by the splashing 
fountains, by Bernini’s colonnade, and by his splendid stair 
that mounts into the palace of the priest-king, past his parti- 
coloured halberdiers. St Paul’s is very different. It stands over 
the City of London and its merchandise. It presides over this 
meeting of the four ends of the earth. The fugue of its archi- 
tecture is more correct and classical. There is more imagina- 
tion in this colder architecture. The twin campanili of St 
Paul’s are fantastically elaborate in invention. The porch or 
frontispiece is rich and magnificent in its light and shadow. 
The North and South doors advance their pillars in a hem.i- 
cycle. We may walk all round St Paul’s and look at it from 
every angle, and its fugal structure is for ever moving. We 
may look up at the drum or peristyle, at the circle of pillars 
that stand below the dome, thinking with astonishment of the 
mathematical miracle of its construction, for the dome is 
supported on a cone of brick within. We may cast our eyes 
up to tlie beauty and delicacy of its white stone lantern. All 
this, we are thinking, is the work of one man, and he lived to 
see it finished. 

The interior of St Paul’s is Protestant, instantly, and from 
the entrance. It has Corinthian and Composite pilasters, and 
our eyes follow the stone vaulting to the gilt balcony, far up, 
and so into the enormous dome. We will not state that the 
interior of the dome is sesthetically beautiful, but it is over- 
whelming as a work of engineering and construction, and 
probably this is all that a Renaissance dome can be. The 
decorative work at St Paul’s is magnificent in quality, and due 
to four great craftsmen. Sir James Thornhill painted, origin- 
ally, the eight monochrome panels in the spandrels, but only 
his sketches have been preserved; Francis Bird, a sculptor 
who had worked in Rome, carved the Conversion of St Paul 
over the great pediment; Grinling Gibbons worked on the 
choir stalls (Plate i), though much of the carved woodwork 
is by other hands; and Jean Tijou made the wrought iron 
railings. But this vast building has other wonders. There 
are vaulted chambers or vestries for the Deans, the Minor 

94 



Canons, and the Lord Mayor; while the foot of the Geometrical 
Staircase, by the Dean’s door, is a most beautiful and satisfying 
composition, led up to by the curving stone wall of the balus- 
trade till it becomes a stone niche, framed in carving, with a 
really splendid rail above it by JeanTijou, after which the hand- 
rail of the stair goes up again. This little work of detail has 
the swing and balance that characterise the greatest masters of 
the Baroque, and it is completely satisfying.^ Finally, there is 
the library with its limewood bookcases in an upper chamber. St 
Paul’s is the most entire and unanimous of the great buildings. 

During all the years of its construction Wren was engaged 
upon the City churches. In all, fifty-four of these churches 
were designed by him, of which about one-third had been 
demolished long before the German bombs rained down on 
London and there was the second Fire. The variety of the 
steeples alone is perfectly extraordinary, and if we add to 
them the later churches built by Hawksmoor and by Gibbs 
we can understand how the London steeples of white Portland 
stone are so conspicuous a feature in the painting of London 
from the garden of Richmond House, by Canaletto.^ They 
formed nothing less than the architectural character of old 
London, and in the painting are as numerous as minarets in 
Cairo or in Istanbul. The steeples that were actually of 
Wren’s design can, of course, be classified under different 
forms. Many persons will have realised for themselves the 
exceeding cleverness of the spire of St Martin’s, Ludgate, to 
give contrast to the great mass of St Paul’s, beyond. The 
belfries of St Bride’s, Fleet Street (Plate 8), and St Mary-le- 
Bow are famous. The most beautiful London steeples of all, 

^ We would compare this work of Wren with the Escalera Dorada 
or golden stair of Burgos Cathedral by the great Diego de Siloe, a 
double flight of stairs in the North transept, built in 1519, an entrance 
down into a church by the late Gothic or Plateresco master. 

2 Amateurs of the curious will not resent this list of names; St 
Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, St Benet Fink, St Benet Sherehog, St 
Dionis Backchurch, St Margaret Moses, St Mary Bothaw, St Mary 
Monuthaw, St Michael Bassishaw, St Michael-le-Querne, St Mary 
Matfellon; while the numerous mediaeval churches of Norwich, York, 
and Lincoln are or were not less oddly named. 

95 



in our own opinion, are by James Gibbs, but that is another 
matter, and we have not come to Gibbs. The imagery, so to 
speak, of these belfries is that, appropriately, of the shedding 
of the sound of bells; from the diminishing tiers of St Bride’s, 
Fleet Street, like a pagoda, that in themselves suggest a peal 
of bells, to the type that is like a sugar castor that should be 
turned upside down and shaken and would then sprinkle forth 
the sound d There is, too, the stricter campanile type of bell 
turret, that, for instance, of St James Garlickhithe, or of St 
Michael Paternoster Royal. And there are as well Wren’s 
'Gothick’ steeples.^ 

The most famous, and rightly, of his City interiors is St 
Stephen Walbrook, with its panelled dome on sixteen pillars, 
eight of which support the arches. But another domed interior, 
St Mary Abchurch, is scarcely less remarkable; while it is 
necessary to mention St Antholin, Budge Row, a church 
demolished long ago, because of the peculiar octagonal arrange- 
ment of its pillars, like a Roman or Byzantine baptistery. 
What a contrast to St Benet’s, Upper Thames Street, in red 
brick, and like a Quaker or Moravian meeting house. St 
Lawrence Jewry, another contrast, could have been a church 
in Italy or Spain, with its picture by Spagnoletto and the 
stuccos and painted ceiling by Isaac Fuller in the vestry. It 
is the apotheosis of St Lawrence. An angel plays the gridiron 
as though it were a harp. We could be in Naples or Valencia 

^ 7'he spires of the nearly adjacent St Michael Paternoster Royal, 
and St James Garlickhithe, both in the shadow of St Paul’s, are of a 
different suggestion. They convey, in their shape, tlie sound-symbol- 
ism that tliey should turn round and grind. Not, then, a shedding or 
sprinkling of the bells, but a turning, turning, as of a musical box or 
merry-go-round. 

^ This is the place to mention Tom Tower at Christ Church, 
Oxford, which is by Wren, an architectural jumble or muddle, but it 
has endeared itself to many generations and no one sensible would 
have it otherwise than as it stands, with faults half committed but 
forgiven in advance, in harmony with the belated ‘Laudian’ Perpen- 
dicular of the staircase to the hall. 

^ St Lawrence Jewry hopelessly gutted in the blitz, has since been 
restored as far as is possible. 

96 




Fig. 2. St Bcnct, Paul’s Wharf. Drawn by W. Niven. 

till we remember this is the church to which the newly elected 
Lord Mayor of London and the Sheriffs used to come, in all 
the pomp of crystal coaches, coachmen in three-cornered hats, 
and the huge fur hat of the City sword-bearer, costumes and 
ceremony, indeed, that make the Lord Mayor of London into 
a figure not very different from the Doge of Venice, did he 
but survive into our day. The Wren churches have, of course, 

97 


D 



much other adventitious aid from carvings^, and even fonts, 
a few by Grinling Gibbons, or attributed to him, and from 
such characteristic and delightful details as the carved Lion 
and Unicorn of the Royal arms at St Mildred, Bread Street, 
or the gilded v/rought iron swordrests at All Hallows, Bark- 
ing. ^ 

But the steeples of white Portland stone lead on to Green- 
wich, down the Thames. Here we find the grandest of Wren’s 
secular buildings. Queen Elizabeth was born at Greenwich 
Palace. It is a site as splendid as an^^thing that Venice offers, 
looking between the pair of columns towards San Giorgio 
Maggiore, over the lifting gondolas. The Royal Elospital of 
Greenwich was a project of Queen Mary, and the conditions 
imposed upon Wren were that he should not interfere with the 
Queen’s House, built by Inigo Jones for her grandmother 
Queen Henrietta Maria, or with the block. He decided, 
therefore, to leave a clear vista from the Queen’s Plouse down 
to the river, and to co-ordinate the scheme of Inigo Jones by 
an extension of the palace built, originally, for Charles the 
Second. To this end he designed the colonnade of coupled 
Doric columns facing each other across the open vista, and 
down at their corners, by the river, he placed his pair of 
domes. One dome is above the Chapel, and the other above 
the entrance to the Painted Hall. In order to effect this, Wren 
completed the one building begun by Webb from the designs 
of Inigo Jones, and added another in exact facsimile. He is 
working, therefore, at Greenwich, in the Palladian manner not 
in the Classical Baroque, in which he built St Paul’s. Green- 
wich Hospital is, in fact, a double building in two separate 
wings that complete each other, and compose the whole, with 
the pair of domes at their nearest point, and the Queen’s 
House seen far back, and in between. The fapades of Inigo 
Jones face the river; the Doric colonnades of Wren run up, 
and along the vista, from the pair of domes. Even so, the 

^ The Spanish-Portuguesc synagogue in Bevis Marks, said to be 
copied from the synagogue of the Sephardic Jews in Amsterdam, is a 
plain but beautiful interior under Wren influence, and should be seen 
by all who are interested in the City churches. 

98 



Charles the Second block at Greenwich may prove to be 
wholly Webb and not by Wren. 

The purposes for which Greenwich Hospital was intended 
confine its interior magnificence to the Painted Hall. But there 
are the pair of cupolas that face each other across the open 
vista, v^^ith the clustered columns at their bases. There arc the 
twin fa(;:adcs of Inigo Jones and Webb, given completion from 
the hand of Wren. It is a splendid experience to walk between 
the architecture and the water, looking up at the windows and 
at the Composite pilasters of Portland stone, and watch the 
many merchantmen slipping anchor and gliding forth upon 
the Seven Seas. Nowhere else in England is there such archi- 
tecture close to the water. The pool of the river is not less 
glorious and maritime than the Adriatic seen from the Piazzetta. 
We arc prepared for the portraits of our Admirals, for the ship 
models, and for Nelson’s pigtail. Here the body of Lord 
Nelson lay in state till the burial in St Paul’s. Wren was not 
the last great architect who worked at Greenwich. There are 
additions and alterations by Vanbrugh, Hawksmoor, Ripley, 
Campbell. There is the Ship Inn, of the v/hitebait dinners, 
with the most splendid of bow windows. There are the terraces 
or parades of Vanbrugh. 

The Painted Hall cannot be mentioned otherwise than as 
the only frescoed room in England that can compare with the 
painted walls and ceilings of Italy. It is from the brush of 
Thornhill, who worked for nineteen years upon it, and though 
we shall have more of him to say later, this is the place to speak 
of his mas ter work, since we are at Greenwich. His scheme of 
fresco covers the Lower and the Upper Hall, and as it pro- 
gressed it became a dedication to or apotheosis of, respectively, 
William and Mary, Queen Anne, on the two ceilings, and 
George the First and the Hanoverian dynasty upon the 
West wall of the Upper Hall. We will quote some passages 
from the contemporary description by Sir Richard Steele: 

‘ In the centre is a large oval frame supported by eight gigantic 
figures of slaves . . . the King tramples tyranny under with 
his feet, which is expressed by a French personage with his 
leaden crown fallen oIF: cardinal’s cap, triple crowned mitres, 

99 



etc.;, tumbling down. Over the Royal canopy is Apollo in his 
golden chariot, attended by the Horse, the morning dews 
jfalling upon him. ... In the centre of the gallery going into 
the Upper Hall is seen, as though on the stocks, the taffrail 
of the Blenheim man-of-war, with her galleries and portholes 
open. ... In the centre of the opposite gallery is the stern of a 
beautiful galley, filled with Spanish trophies; underneath is 
the Humber, the Severn, with the Avon falling into her; and 
other rivers. In the North end of the gallery is the famous 
Tycho Brahe, a noble Danish knight; near him is Copernicus, 
with his Pythagorean system in his hand, and an old mathe- 
matician. In the South end are portraits of Mr Flamsteed, the 
first Astronomer Royal, and his disciple, Mr Thomas Weston. 
In Mr Flamsteed’s hand is a scroll of paper, on wliich is 
drawn the great eclipse of the sun which happened in April 
1715; near him is an old man with a pendulum, counting the 
seconds of time as Mr Flamsteed makes his observations of 
the descent of tlie moon on the Severn, which, at certain times, 
forms a roll of the tides, very dangerous to shipping, called 
the Eagre. This is also expressed by rivers falling, through the 
moon’s influence, into the Severn. The great rivers at each 
end of the Hall have their product of fish issuing out of their 
vases ’, etc., etc. In other places we see the four quarters of the 
world : a wall painting in gold and sepia, to imitate a bas-relief, 
of the landing of William the Third at Torbay; in another 
place, the disembarkation of George the First and his family 
at Greenwich; and, in one background, the dome of St 
Paul’s. Particularly appropriate arc the paintings of the men- 
of-war. We admire the panels in chiaroscuro. What is it all 
about? Copernicus, Archimedes, Tycho Brahe, and Mr 
Flamsteed? The Four Elements, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, 
represented by Cybele, Juno, Jupiter, and Neptune, who are 
accompanied by their lesser deities, namely, the Fauni, Iris, 
Vulcan, and Amphitrite, with their proper attributes? Fame 
descending, riding on the winds, sounding the praises of the 
Royal Founders ? We could see portraits of Frederick, Prince 
of Wales, the Queen of Prussia, the Duke of Cumberland and 
his five sisters, the Electress Sophia; and besides, the Lord 


100 



Mayor of London, with the Arms, Sword, and Cap of Main- 
tenance, supported by Thame and Isis, with other rivers 
offering up their treasures. What does it mean? We can but 
admire, and point to the Art of Fresco. 

Returning from Greenwich, if we like to imagine ourselves 
upon the river, we sec in their multitude the steeples of white 
Portland stone, and in their midst the dome of St PauFs. Let 
us not be led, though, into an exaggeration of that whiteness ! 
We have contemporary evidence to prove that the stone of 
St Paul’s was black with soot long before the last stone of 
the cupola was laid. The quality of Portland stone, however, 
is its depth of light and shade. As wc come nearer to the 
dome of St Paul’s it is the more astounding, from every angle, 
that one man, and one man only, lived to see it finished. This 
is he who, according to Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, 
‘suffered himself to be drawn up in a basket, two or three 
times a year, at no little danger’. We may begin to think of 
St Paul’s as marine architecture, being come from Greenwich. 
That superb dome has the perfection of the rarest seashell. 
Of the most spectacular, or the most ordinary, of the seashells. 
For the cockleshell is as beautiful. The nautilus is as ingenious. 
But the most elaborate of the molluscs in their porcelain 
houses are not more wonderful. Wren has rivalled with Nature 
in his architecture. More than this could not be said of the 
greatest architect of the human race. 

Our view from the Thames, in midst of London, calls for 
some mention of Wren’s project for rebuilding the City after 
the Fire. His plans are still in the Library of All Souls at 
Oxford. They were accepted by Charles the Second, but 
found impracticable for want of money. There was to be a 
broad quay or embankment all the way from the Tower to 
Blackfriars, and two streets, ninety feet wide, leading to St 
Paul’s. The Royal Exchange rebuilt, with the Post Office, 
Excise Office, Mint, and Goldsmiths’ Insurance office round 
it, was to occupy an open space, with ten streets opening from 
it, each sixty feet in width. There was to be a hemicycle 
opposite the end of London Bridge with four streets opening 
from it. St Paul’s was to stand in a space like a triangle, with 


lOI 



the streets that led to it. There was to be a large circular 
space on Fleet Street hill, with eight streets leading from it; 
and further back, connecting streets that formed an octagon. 
Numerous piazzas, too, appear upon the plan, while, in 
general, the houses were to be raised on arcades or arches. 
Perhaps we may console ourselves for the loss of Wren’s 
London and the Whitehall of Inigo Jones with the reflection 
that t(')o great perfections breed misfortunes. Were London a 
Rome, or Venice, in its architecture, what would be our 
present state? Perhaps our greatness survives because we 
have not tempted Providence. 

A very recent discovery in the Library of All Souls has been 
the plans and elevations for a new Whitehall Palace. The 
existing palace w^as burnt down in 1698, in a fire caused by a 
Dutch chambermaid, and Wren drew up two sets of plans for 
William the Third that, like those of Inigo Jones, his pre- 
decessor, arc present in a greater and a smaller version. These 
plans were lost, and only found again in 1930.^ The Banquet- 
ing House of Inigo Jones, so much admired by Wren, was to 
be centre and pattern of the projected building. A magnificent 
portico, a hundred feet high, was to face towards the river. 
In the second set of plans a huge Corinthian order was to be 
the feature of the whole building. Upon the rough plans, for 
they arc not elaborated, we may see the trophies of arms and 
cyphers that were beloved by Wren. Unfortunately, William 
the Third preferred Hampton Court, or we might have had 
Whitehall Palace and Hampton Court as well. 

Another disappointment is the palace at Winchester that 
was begun by Charles the Second. A street, two hundred feet 
in breadth, with nobles’ and gentlemen’s houses on both sides, 
was to lead from Winchester Cathedral to the palace. The 
frontispiece was of four Corinthian pillars and two pilasters. 
The centre was two hundred feet, and three hundred and thirty 
with the wings, which were joined by a colonnade. The stair- 
case led to the great guard hall, with a filade of sixteen rooms, 
nine of them to the ending of the wing. There were to be 
three cupolas, two on the wings and one on the middle, high 
^ Published in Volume VIII of the Wren Society, in 1931. 


102 



enough to see the men-of-war riding at Spithead. Two chapels, 
one for the King and one for the Queen ; two piazzas ; a terrace ; 
a park of eight miles in circumference; and, beyond that, a 
forest without hedge or ditch. It is all gone. The Duke of 
Bolton begged the marble pillars given by the Duke of Tuscany, 
and all that was left was made into barracks in the nineteenth 
century. 

The proposed mausoleum for Charles the First, at Windsor, 
proceeded no further than the sketches, though money was 
voted for it. Wren was to have designed the building, and 
two drawings are preserved in All Souls by Grinling Gibbons 
of the proposed sculptures. One of these, according to the 
Parentalia^ was ‘adapted for Brass work, the other for marble’. 
In both of them the King stands, crowned in one, and un- 
crowned in the other, upon a flat disk, by which a shield is 
intended. Cherubs arc flying down with laurel wreaths, and 
the shield is upheld by ‘ Fleroick Virtues who stand on a stone 
that crushes evil, shown by figures crouching. Neither mauso- 
leum nor statue was erected. Instead, the equestrian statue of 
Charles the First by Lc Sueur was set up in Charing Cross, 
where it stands today, and Wren may have designed the 
pedestal, which was carved by Joshua Marshall. 

Although London was not rebuilt by W'ren, his influence, if 
not his actual hand, appears in the brick buildings of the 
Temple; in the rubbed brick doors, models of quiet beauty, in 
King’s Bench Walk; and in a lovely composition, more Dutch 
than usual, with the wooden doorway of St Paul’s Deanery, 
with its double steps and railings. The Halls of the City 
Companies, which are so unique a feature of the City, do not 
seem in any instance to be directly due to Wren, though 
certainly, in ignorance, we would look here for him. The brick 
architecture of his school came after him ; or was the vernacular 
of his own time, studied and spoken by him, and left to his 
successors, who, in this branch, inclined to be builders more 
than architects. It is unfortunate, almost, from this point of 
view that Belton House, Grantham, the most important of his 
domestic buildings, if, indeed, it is by him, should be yellow 
Ancaster stone, and not of brick. This is a house, at any rate, 

103 



largely in the style of Wren. But the two little red brick houses 
at Chichester are incomparable. One, in West Street, has 
pineapple gate piers — ^the pineapple, we may remind ourselves, 
had just come to England. There is a delightful painting by 
Henry Danckerts of Mr Rose, the Royal gardener, on his knee, 
presenting the first pineapple ever grown in England to Charles 
the Second; it is now in the National Portrait Gallery. It is one 
of the best likenesses of Charles the Second, wearing the suit 
of brown that he affected, very tall and swarthy, much like a 
Habsburg or a Medici, with two of his black and white King 
Charles Spaniels or Cavaliers frolicking at his feet — the other 
house has a pair of dodos, they can be nothing else, upon its 
gate posts; while both houses arc of that red brick building 
that is one of the delights of England. The occasion for these 
two little houses, for which Wren probably gave the rough plan 
and nothing more, may have been his visit to Chichester to 
repair the Cathedral spire. 

But in red brick architecture we have Hampton Court, 
beyond argument the most historic and delightful of domestic 
buildings in the whole of England. Cardinal Wolsey’s palace 
had been enlarged by Henry the Eighth, but it must have 
become dilapidated when William and Mary decided to rebuild 
it. Several schemes were drawn up by Wren, and only the 
death of Queen Mary prevented the pulling down of the 
greater portion of the Tudor palace. The great Tudor 
gallery with its bay in the centre was demolished. On the 
other hand, the new palace w^as not finished when King William 
died, and it w^as completed by Queen Anne, and by George 
the First and Second. William Kent was employed here by 
the last of these monarchs, and after his death the palace has 
remained empty. Even so, in its two portions, the Tudor and 
the rooms by Wren, we may gather the sensation, respectively, 
of reading Shakespeare and then discovering the refinements 
and elegancies of Pope’s Rape of the Lock. 

The building material of Wren’s portion is a thin, mulberry 
brick, of exceptional quality, with coigns and ornaments in 
Portland stone. We first come upon the hand of Wren in the 
colonnade of the second or Clock Court, a stone colonnade of 

104 



coupled columns with a balustrade of urns and trophies, in 
fact, a guard room in which it is impossible not to post, in 
imagination, the grenadiers of King William’s reign, in their 
white gaiters, pipeclay, scarlet coats, and half sugarloaf hats, 
with powdered pigtails. A pair of sentries are on guard and, 
almost, we can hear their companions talking. How English is 
this classical architecture compared with Bernini’s Scala Regia 
at the Vatican, where the Swiss Guard are on duty! The 
doorway leads directly to the King’s Staircase, designed by 
Wren, with walls and ceiling all painted in one huge com- 
position by Antonio Verrio, and a wrought iron balustrade 
from designs by Tijou. 

But we continue into the Fountain Court, where we observe 
a certain monotony in the sameness of the windows, round 
three sides. This court is the nearest equivalent to an English 
cloister, and recalls Eton, or an Oxford college. The fourth 
side is lower in elevation, so as to allow more light, and being 
but a corridor, its two floors are given more fanciful treatment, 
as though it were an enclosed, or red brick version of the 
colonnade. This gallery connects the King’s and Queen’s 
apartments; and the set of portraits of the ladies of Charles 
the Second’s court by Lely known as the ‘ Windsor Beauties ’, 
hang upon the walls. The interior of Wren’s palace is divided 
in fact into two separate ranges of state apartments for the 
King and Queen, the King’s Side and the Queen’s Side, 
facing different aspects of the gardens, and each with its 
guard room, presence chamber, audience chamber, and state 
bedroom. 

But we have climbed the King’s Staircase, among the gods 
and goddesses of Verrio, and passing through the King’s 
Guard room, where the Yeomen of the Guard used to be on 
duty, traverse his state apartments, and find them uninteresting 
till we come to his State Bedroom and Dressing-room, both 
with ceilings by Verrio. On our way the ‘Hampton Court 
Beauties ’ by Kneller do not distract our attention like Lely’s 
beauties of an earlier reign. Passing into the Queen’s apart- 
ments we shall find two more painted rooms; the Queen’s 
Bedroom by Sir James Thornhill, painted for George the 

105 



First; and the Queen’s Drawing-room by Verrio, with painted 
ceiling and walls like huge tapestries, Prince George of Den- 
mark on the one, as Lord High Admiral of England pointing 
to the Fleet, while, opposite, Cupid is drawn by sea horses in 
a water chariot and the English Fleet rides at anchor in the 
distance. The Cartoon Gallery is the finest room by Wren, 
built for the cartoons of Raphael; and in the Queen’s Guard 
room there is a mantelpiece by William Kent where the sup- 
porters arc a pair of Beefeaters or Yeomen of the Guard. 
Kent has been most apt in this instance, for the Yeomen of the 
Guard in their Tudor uniforms must have been very appro- 
priate to Hampton Court, and perhaps we should note that 
George the Second, the last King to live here, took them with 
him as his bodyguard to the field of Dcttingen in 1743, the 
last occasion on which the monarch has appeared in person on 
the battlefield. 

There is an influence in the interior of Hampton Court that 
we have not met before. It is that of Daniel Marot, a French 
Huguenot craftsman who worked for William the Third in 
Holland, and was brought by him to England. Marot drew 
designs for almost everything that could be imagined, but his 
influence appears, particularly, in the shelved mantelpieces 
for the display of china. Marot, as we state, a Frenchman, had 
become Dutch in deference to his patron, as can be seen in his 
decorations at the chateau of Voorst, in Holland; while Wren, 
as we may see in his dclightfulty detailed drawings from the 
All Souls collection, contrives to give a frieze and cornice, to a 
doorway or a mantelpiece, much of the Dutch manner. This, 
with the help of Grinling Gibbons, for Grinling Gibbons 
worked here, as did Gabriel Cibber, but the chief works of the 
latter were the stone vases for the gardens. 

This brings us to the two garden fronts of Hampton Court. 
Both fronts have a centrepiece of Portland stone. The East 
facade, facing the Great Fountain Garden, shows ‘The 
Triumph of flercules over Envy’, in the pediment, by Gabriel 
Cibber. For ourselves we admire, in particular, the two 
enriched windows of the South facade, above the Orangery, 
lovely compositions and identical, with a bold stone surround 

106 



to the lower window and a carved mask as keystone, above 
which our pair of windows have a conventional ornament like 
a wreath or spray at their base, and then, above the window, 
there is a pediment heaped with flowers on which a pair of 
amorini are treading while they hold up an escutcheon, this 
being the work, again, of Gabriel Cibber (Plate 9). The 
wrought iron gates of Tijou, twelve in number, stand down 
by the river like an ornamented screen to remind us of such 
felicities as the river barge in The Rape of the Lock; or, indeed, 
of a band playing upon a barge as in the case of Handel’s 
Water Music. This ironwork is the absolute embodiment of 
its age. It is as personal as the tread of the courtiers, the cut of 
their clothes, or the accent of their voices. And dowm in this 
corner of the gardens, hidden, but looking on the river, is the 
Banqueting Room of William the Third, to which the public 
are not admitted, with walls and ceiling painted by Verrio and, 
it is said, a sloping floor for greater air and convenience to the 
drunken guests. 

Kensington Palace, like Marlborough House, presents the 
red brick Wren, but Kensington Palace was much altered under 
William Kent. It contains, however, two of his masterworks 
in little, a garden alcove and the Orangery. The garden alcove, 
which is by Wren, in its coupled columns and the niche and 
swags between them, and in the high panelling of its interior 
shaped like a hcmicycle, was not without influence upon the 
garden architecture of William Kent. But the Orangery, 
built for Queen Anne, and in which she often dined or drank 
her tea, in Defoe’s words ‘was pleased to make the Green 
House, which is very beautiful, her Summer Supper House’, 
is complete and perfect as a work of art. Some air about the 
exterior, its round topped doors and niches, has suggested to 
one writer the collaboration of Wren with Vanbrugh, and this 
may be true. The interior, at least, is wholly Wren. An 
Orangery was a new opportunity, as we may see in the Orangery 
at Versailles, or at Herrenhausen, the Hanoverian palace, 
where today there are more than fifty huge orange trees in 
their tubs that are three hundred years old. But Wren has 
made it into something as grand, in the classical sense, as an 

107 



interior by Palladio. No praise could be too high of its fluted 
pilasters, its carved cornice, the doors and round arched 
doorways, and their niches. We can only say of the Orangery, 
one of the last of Wren’s works, that in its way and for its 
special purpose, it is as beautiful as the Banqueting House of 
Inigo Jones at Whitehall. 

Like a true artist of the High Renaissance Wren lived to a 
tremendous age. It would be sad to follow Evelyn’s ‘miracle of 
a youth’ down to the loss of his office of Surveyor-General 
at the age of eighty-six, and to his troubles and the ingratitude 
shown him over the matter of St Paul’s, and we refrain from 
doing so. When, in February 1723, he was found in his house 
at Hampton Court, having dined, seated dead before an open 
window, he was ninety-one years old. We have to credit Wren 
with seventy-five years, at least, of intellectual activity, a 
phenomenon that is hardly paralleled in the life of another 
artist. Wren is, in fact, two generations in one. The trajectory 
from the Sheldonian at Oxford to the Orangery at Kensington 
depicts the change in style from Restoration to Queen Anne, 
so that in the case of Wren we arc dealing with two generations 
of architects, and not one. We have therefore, temporarily, 
to retrace our steps, taking leave of this great Englishman to 
whom the only equivalent is among the greatest Italians of the 
High Renaissance of a hundred years before. Yet Wren had 
never been to Italy. This would have been a defect in the 
training of any other architect. In the instance of Wren it 
was not necessary. For he was as great as any of the Italians, 
in intellect, and as an architect. 


108 



IV 


THE CRAFTSMEN 

T he reign of Charles the Second is the golden period of our 
architecture. But the great age begins, not in 1660 at the 
Restoration, but a little aiicr, and if we add in the reigns of 
William the Third and Queen Anne we get the golden seg- 
ment. This is the grand epoch; for we can apply to it the 
Italian word ‘epoca’, by which is denoted any work of art, 
great or small, which has come down from the High Renais- 
sance. In Italy this is taken as ending in about 1550. The 
corresponding period begins in England a hundred years 
later, more or less, and lasts till the accession of the Hanoverian, 
George the First. Then a century sets in, not of genius, but 
of riches and accomplishment. Perhaps the support or 
corroboration of our argument is in the English language. 
Till the death of the last of the Stuarts, Queen Anne, it lasts in 
its strength and purity. Nothing written, at that time, is not 
worth reading. But then it declined, and we had no more 
considerable poets for a century. But prose was on a high 
level: and so were architecture and the minor arts. 

The profusion of fine building has not yet begun. Were it 
possible for us to undertake a tour of England midway in 
the reign of Charles the Second, and another, say in the time 
of Marlborough’s wars, we would notice many more new 
houses building, but not, yet, a country mansion every mile 
or two. And the cold, Palladian portico would be entirely 
missing for that was the invention of the eighteenth century. 
Instead, in general, architecture would be warmer and more 
original. The gilt furniture, the eagles and dolphins of Kent, 
have not yet arrived. In their place we have walnut furniture 
and limewood carvings, while the stucco ceilings arc deeper 
and more exuberant than what is to follow. 


109 



For this was the epoch of great craftsmen. We may prefer, 
too, the formal garden and the avenue, the lead vase or statue 
and the long canal. For the landscape’d garden is not to the 
taste of everyone. We may prefer Thornhill and Verrio, bad 
painter though he be, to Angelica Kauffmann and her medal- 
hons. We may like Gabriel Cibber more than Flaxman, and 
a statue in a periwig more than a weeping figure and an urn. 
A bad statue, it comes to this, is better than the copy from a 
Greco-Roman model. We arc not to expect great paintings or 
great statuary, for those are not in the English genius. This is 
England and not Italy. But we expose our prime epoch in its 
weakness. We shall find, nevertheless, that there were painters 
and sculptors who were not indifferent. But the glory of the 
age lies in the architecture and the craftsmen. 

It is the signature of that epoch that a great house, like 
Chatsworth, with a splendid, though abused exterior, and 
apartments within that arc not to be surpassed in any house 
in Europe (Plate i6), should be by a forgotten architect, 
William Talnian, and that the ‘Grinling Gibbons’ carvings 
should be not by Grinling Gibbons but by a local craftsman, 
Samuel Watson. Talman, it is true, was well known in his 
time. He was the rival of Wren at Hampton Court, and in his 
capacity of Comptroller of the Works did all he could to spite 
him. Many persons may have thought Talman was the better 
architect than Wren, for such is an ever-recurring human 
situation. Such was the indefatigable Telemann to Johann 
Sebastian Bach. But the argument remains that Chatsworth, a 
worthy frame for the most superb collection of works of art in 
private hands, was accomplished by an architect of the second 
rank, and that the carvings where Grinling Gibbons would have 
seemed to be indispensable are by another hand. 

Not much more is known of Talman. He built Dyrham, in 
Gloucestershire, for William Blaythwayt, who was Secretary 
of State to William the Third. It is a smaller, compact 
Chatsworth, with an Orangery. The researches of Mr Nigel 
Stopford Sackville have just established that to Talman also 
may be ascribed the interior screen and great doorway at 
Drayton in Northamptonshire. The Dutchman, Captain 


no 



Winde, born at Bergen-op-Zoom, and pupil of Sir Balthazar 
Gerbier, built Hampstead Marshall, which we have mentioned 
earlier, and old Buckingham House on the site of the present 
Buckingham Palace, and the most splendid private house in 
London. Its double staircase, with frescoes by the Venetian 
artist Bcllucci, was pendant to the King’s Staircase at Hampton 
Court. But Winde’s buildings are all gone except Combe Abbey 
and Ashdown ; only his book of drawings at the Bodleian is left. 

Who, but the learned and pedantic, know of Sir Roger 
Pratt? He built Clarendon House, which was the wonder of 
London for a generation, till it was demolished. We can read 
of it in Pepys and Evelyn.^ Who knows of Robert Hooke? 
Pie built Bethlehem Hospital, long since pulled down, and 
Montagu Plouse, Bloomsbury, for the Duke of Montagu. 
Hooke was scientist and mathematician as well as architect. 
He had something of the universal genius of Wren. Pepys 
spCvaks of him, significantly, as 'Mr Hooke, who is the most, 
and promises the least, of any man in the world that ever I 
saw’. Who, we may ask, was the architect of Boughton, in 
Northamptonshire, for the Duke of Montagu; or of Petworth, 
the only other English house known to be of definitely French 
design? Boughton, it is certain, is under French influence, 
for the Duke of Montagu had been Ambassador at Versailles. 
We may admire its faded frescoes by Verrio, the flower 
pictures by Baptiste, and its furniture, while thinking of its 
former avenues. Who was the architect of Petworth, or of 
Badminton? Petworth, with its flight of nine state apartments 
and its magnificent picture frames by Grinling Gibbons 
(Plate ii)? Badminton, wLich for all its air of splendour in 
its twelve-mile belt of trees, has the tradition of being but a 
temporary residence, for the Somersets intended to build 
better? We can read, in Sir Roger North, of the extraordinary 
state kept by the first Duke of Beaufort. We can see Kip’s 
print of its formal gardens, and read of its long avenues laid 

^ The notebooks of Sir Roger Pratt are in the possession of his 
descendants at Ryston Plall, Norfolk, and they are described in an 
appendix to The English Home, by J. A. Gotch, B, T. Batsford Ltd, 
1918, vide ante, p. 38. 


Ill 



out, even, over the neighbouring estates. The answer to the 
riddle is that in this great period it was not necessary to 
employ a famous architect. The general level of accomplish- 
ment was higher than it has ever been in England. 

During the eighteenth century, and even for the first thirty 
years of the nineteenth, the technical height was more universal 
and persistent still, but less imaginative. In order to prove this 
we descend, at once, from grand houses to the proletariat of 
the reign of Charles the Second. The Feathers Inn at 
Ludlow can be our first example for its fancifulness in black 
and white; and for contrast, let us take Bishop Sparrowe’s 
House at Ipswich, or an old house at Saffron Walden. All 
three are old fashioned. Did we not know, we would take 
them to be earlier in date. The Feathers is a late and florid 
specimen of the magpie vernacular of Tudor times. But the 
house of the Sparrowes is more captivating and we must 
describe it, noting on the way, that the vault of the Sparrowe 
family in St Lawrence’s bears the inscription ‘Nidus Pas- 
serum’ or sparrow’s nest. The armorial bearings of Charles 
the Second on the front of the house betray the date. This 
type of house is peculiar to Essex and to Suffolk. It is quite 
different from anything that we have seen, being built of grey 
w^ood and yellow plaster. 

The ground floor has wooden balusters, richly carved, with 
brackets above them that support the projecting upper floor. 
This has four oriel windows, and another on the side, with as 
many gables corresponding; but the entire two fronts of this 
first floor have been treated to a fantastic decoration. There 
are pilasters between the windows and heavy swags between 
them; the lower part or embrasure of the oriels and the space 
between the pilasters being full of figures and devices. Those 
in front of the oriels represent the four quarters of the world ; 
while the oriels themselves are most delicate in conception, 
being set with small panes of glass with a central arched panel 
framed in carving, the whole effect being that of a carved and 
embossed casket, contrived of the materials of a nest or bower, 
but owing much also to the proximity of the sea. It is not 
uninfluenced by the shipbuilders, and its images are mariners’ 


II2 



or merchants’ images. There is nothing comparable across 
the North Sea^ in the Netherlands. It is indigenous, but 
breathes the adventures and romance of ocean. 

The little pargetted Sun Inn at Saffron Walden is not less 
imaginative. But Saffron Walden lies inland. It is further 
from the sea. The house in question has two overhanging 
gables and was the work, probably, of a village plasterer. One 
whole panel has the figures of two giants who arc holding up 
the sun. The other is an all-over decoration of birds and 
flowers. It is decoration and not, like the other house, neat 
construction. There must at one time have been a quantity of 
the pargetted houses in Suffolk and Essex, and no work on 
architecture must fail to take account of them, for they form 
so musical a dialect of our vernacular. The Sun Inn at 
Saffron Walden is as simple as the design on a smock or on a 
warming pan. The smocks, we do not digress, were worn in 
different colours, white or bleached in some counties, deep 
blue, black worked with white, or olive green in Cambridge, 
Essex, and some parts of Suffolk. In imagination we would 
have an entire street of such houses. They arc pleasures that 
are akin to needlework, to the birds and flowers and figures on 
a counterpane, and we would look at them on a sunny morning 
when the country folk are come in to market in their colours. 

Perhaps this is the place to speak of the Stoke Edith tapes- 
tries.^ Needlework, it is true, but folk architecture also, though 
in a different sphere. These panels, four in number, that 
used to hang at Stoke Edith in Herefordshire till it was burnt 
down, were embroidered according to the story by the five 
wives successively, of one of the Foley family, a most peculiar 
instance, if nothing more, of aesthetic continuity. But the 
tapestries are obsessed by formal architecture. They depict 
a red brick house of the latest fashion in front of which ladies 
and gentlemen are promenading in a formal garden. The 
conventions of the needlework betray a particular delight in 
the joints of white mortar between the red bricks of the 
terraces, and in the orange trees and bay trees that are set out 

^ The Stoke Edith tapestries may be as late in date as 1730-1740, but 
they belong, in spirit, to the earlier period. 

II3 



in big tubs of china. We may notice how the five wives of 
Mr Foley, or perhaps only one of them, in particular, had 
delighted in the shadows of the bay trees in their tubs, shadov/s 
attached by the stem to the tree root, but slanting at an angle, 
like the practice ball of the pugilist seen in simultaneous vision. 
Nowhere else, except on Tiepolo’s painted ceilings at Wiirz- 
burg and Madrid, do these vases or tubs of blue and white 
china appear in art, but the Stoke Edith tapestries in their 
humble category arc works of art of a high order. They 
communicate the health and sanity of a brand new, red brick 
Queen Anne building, and this in a convention or idiom as 
personal as a Douanier Rousseau painting. These needlework 
tapestries, aesthetically, are more valuable than the multitude 
of minor Dutch masters. But they are in fact only the master- 
pieces in a whole school of naifs, for similar scenes can be met 
with upon damasked tablecloths, where ladies and gentlemen, 
conditioned by the stiff convention of the damasking, pro- 
menade by formal parterres with box borders, past the facades 
of red brick palaces, and by a splashing fountain. 

During the interval between Inigo Jones and the maturity 
of Wren we are to assume that the craftsmen have at last 
appeared who can interpret the needs of the architect. Bishop 
Sparrowe’s house at Ipswich, the Sun Inn at Saffron Walden, 
the Stoke Edith tapestries are, after all, but the continuity 
of a folk art of popular tradition. Or, if we prefer, we can call 
them a spontaneous, an unsophisticated blossoming. We must 
remember that neither for Wilton, nor for Bolsover, not even 
for Whitehall Palace, had that been built, were there the 
craftsmen who could make the appropriate furniture. Arch- 
bishop Laud’s cabinet at Arbury, for the design of which 
Inigo Jones may have been personally responsible, is in aU 
probability the earliest specimen of fine English furniture, of 
a quality, that is to say, equal to the fine Italian.^ The stucco 

^ Miss M. Jourdain objects that there is no evidence that Jones had 
any hand in the Laud cabinet, and that it is in fact unlike his style. 
This is a matter of opinion, and greatly daring, wc beg to disagree. 
If not by Jones, could wc not say that it is by Amico di Inigo ^ and be 
content with that ? 


II4 



ceilings at Wilton, and the mantelpieces, had to be designed 
in detail by the architect, or his assistant, Webb. The classical 
language of architecture was only understood by Inigo Jones 
himself, and a handful of trained workmen. It would have 
been necessary to import tlie furniture and the painted 
ceilings. These defects are inherent, too, in Wren’s early 
buildings. They are implicit in the clumsiness, even uncouth- 
ness, of the Shcldonian. But by 1670, or soon after, the con- 
temporary craftsmen have appeared, and for works of more 
ambitious scope there are imported, or even native, painters 
and sculptors. Already, midway in the career of Grinling 
Gibbons, there are woodcarvers little inferior, and hardly to 
be distinguished from him. 

Gabriel Cibber, born in Denmark, but who studied in Rome, 
is an instance of the imported sculptor. Verrio and Laguerre 
are painters paid at a high price to remain in England. Francis 
Bird, on the other hand, is one of the earliest of our native 
sculptors. Born in 1667, he went to Brussels when a boy of 
eleven, and then proceeded to Rome where he became the 
pupil of Le Gros. He returned to carve the pediment of the 
new cathedral with the Conversion of St Paul. It has been 
pointed out, before, that this bas-relief shows the influence of 
Bernini’s equestrian bas-relief of Constantine, at St Peter’s. But 
a couple of monuments to Dr Grabe and to Robert Killigrew, 
in Westminster Abbey, do little to advance Bird’s reputation.* 

Our native born sculptors were worrying over the same 
problems that had beset Verrocchio and Donatello two 
hundred years before. Chief of these was how to cast an 
equestrian statue, and it is believed that, the Frenchman Le 
Sueur’s statue of Charles the First in Whitehall included, 
only four equestrian statues were cast in the whole of the 
seventeenth century. In tliis connection a curious figure, the 
sculptor Bushnell, comes to light. Indeed, the mere mention 
of him in Walpole’s Anecdotes of Painting is enough to whet 
the appetite. Flis few sentences on Bushnell, based on Vertue’s 

^ The mural monument to Sir Orlando Gee, at Isle worth, with its 
Hogarthian or Handelian bust, is a work of superb quality by Francis 
Bird. 


II5 



notebooks, have been expanded by Mrs Esdaile into a most 
tantalising description of a forgotten near-genius and his 
works. ^ Vertue, it may be added, was as curious as we are 
ourselves. For his object, for years, had been to gain entry, 
somehow, into the great house built by Bushnell in Park 
Lane. This, we learn from Vertue, was inhabited twenty 
years after the sculptor’s death by his two eccentric sons, of 
whom Walpole, in his turn, giving a fresh wealth of meaning 
to an outworn phrase, remarks that ‘they were as great 
humorists as their father’. 

Vertue entered when the two ‘Hermitts or Brutes’ were 
away. The house had neither staircase nor flooring. Vertue 
saw the plaster model for the equestrian statue of Charles the 
Second which Bushnell had intended to have cast in brass; a 
bust of our acquaintance, the architect Mr W. Talman,‘a long 
neck like a woman and the disposition of the hair strangely 
odd. In this he has, I don’t know, exaggerated from nature 
(surely) giving it a turn of the Cleopatra’. And, against the 
wall, a large piece of painting done by him on cloth represent- 
ing a triumph, ‘but not finished, or obliterated’. 

Later, after this peculiar experience, Vertue made friends 
with the younger of the two sons and took down notes from 
him. The sons, it would appear, lived as eccentrics, hoarding 
every fragment of their father’s works and holding that the 
world was unworthy of him. To conclude this strange tale we 
are told that BushneU, who had been haughty and quarrelsome 
all his life, died insane, and Mrs Esdaile adds the information 
that though he died in debt, his money lies in Chancery today 
to the value of above a hundred thousand pounds, awaiting a 
claimant. 

When we inquire into the works of Bushnell the results 
are not less curious and unusual. He had been apprenticed 
to the sculptor, Thomas Burman, and troubles began early 
for him. Burman had seduced his wife’s nurse, charged 
Bushnell with it, and made him marry her. Bushnell dis- 

^ Vol. XV of the Walpole Society, for 1927, contains an article on 
John Bushnell by Mrs Arundell Esdaile. Additional notes appear in 
Vol. XXI, for 1933. 

I16 



covered the deception too late, and fled abroad with some 
money of his master’s. This was the occasion of his remaining 
abroad during the whole period of the Commonwealth. 
According to his son, he spent two years in France, went to 
Rome, and then to Venice, where he was employed for six 
years on a ‘ vast monument in Basso Relievo for a Granduc or 
Procuratore di St Marc It sounds an improbable commission 
for an English sculptor, not less unlikely when it has been 
identified, with complete certainty, as the ultra-Baroque 
Mocenigo monument in the church of the Mendicanti, with 
statue of the Admiral and bas-reliefs of the naval battle 
between the Venetians and the Turks, and the relief of Candia. 
It is nearly impossible, seeing this monument, to believe that 
it is of English origin, so typical is it of the Venetian decadence. 
In fact, it is extremely ugly, being typical of the school that 
produced the fa(;:ade of San Moise. But the mid-seventeenth 
century was a dead time for Venice, in all but song and 
spectacle, Santa Maria Zobenigo, built twenty years later, 
with plans of Cretan and Dahnatian towns and naval battles on 
its facade, is, already, an improvement. The age of Canaletto, 
Guardi, Tiepolo, is dawning. But probably in his time Bush- 
nell was the best sculptor available in Venice. The Mocenigo 
monument consists of the statue of the Admiral, in his peculiar 
hat, standing in a niche formed by four pillars and a heavy 
cornice. To either side of him are obelisks, rising, respectively, 
from a land battle and a sea battle. 

Upon his return to London, soon after the Restoration, 
Bushnell was presented to Charles the Second, but soon took 
umbrage, ‘thus much was he Italianis’d’. He received, 
however, the commission to execute four statues for Temple 
Bar, which still adorn it (at Theobalds), and include a James 
the First that is the very image of Henri quatre ; together with 
other statues for the Royal Exchange, and now at the Old 
Bailey.^ The best of these is that of Sir Thomas Gresham in 
Elizabethan costume. His remaining works, briefly indicated, 
are the Ashburnham monument in the village church of 
that name in Sussex, and the statue to Lord Mordaunt in 
^ Identified by Mrs Arundell Esdaile. 

II7 



Fulham Church; both of these monuments characterised by 
the same device of four pedestals, like lamp burners, supporting 
globes and helms and coronets, while the statues stand up on 
black marble slabs. TheThomond monument at Great Billing, 
in Northamptonshire, is frankly very poor indeed, while his 
tablets to Mrs Pepys and Mrs Grew, in City churches, are quite 
ordinary. Other monuments may, of course, yet be discovered. 

What we would like to see of BushncU is the ‘large high 
room’ that Vertue entered, clandestinely, with the model of 
the equestrian statue, to be cast in brass, and the naked 
Alexander the Great holding a scroll in his hand ; the paint- 
ing on cloth of a triumph, but ‘ not finished or else obliterated ’, 
for he drew and painted ‘excellently well’, so Vertue assures 
us ; and his model of the wooden horse of Troy, so big that 
it held twelve men sitting at a table, while the two eyes served 
for windows. ‘One day’, Vertue tells us, ‘as he was at a dis- 
tance surveying it a strong blast of wind arose, and in instant 
Blew it all down before his face.’ Bushnell was so vexed by this 
that he refused five hundred pounds from two vintners who 
desired to make a tavern of it. So ends almost all that is known 
of this eccentric English follower of the Italians, who died in- 
sane; and perhaps not the least odd thing in his history, as Mrs 
Esdaile reminds us, is that his imaginary portrait appears among 
the Enghsh sculptors upon the Albert Memorial. This is as 
unlikely as his monument to Mocenigo in the Mendicanti. 
But the reason is that there were so few English sculptors. 

Less interesting characters than Buslmell have left behind 
them better statues. The majority of these, at their date, are 
so architectonic in treatment that they cannot be considered 
as other than a combination of sculpture and of architecture. 
But the corpus of these statues has not yet been published in 
a volume. A few other splendid sculptors await this treatment 
which has already embraced Roubiliac, but has not yet 
reached to Scheemakers or Rysbrack. Gabriel Cibber,^ a 
Dane, or rather a Schleswiger, who was born in Flensborg and 
trained in Rome, can be admired in his sculpture upon the 

^ Gabriel Cibber^ by Harald Faber, Clarendon Press, 1926. In The 
Antiquaries Journal, for July-October, 1942, Mrs Arundell Esdaile 

II8 



base of the Monument in its forsaken square between the 
river and St Paul’s, a work that Mrs Esdaile describes perfectly 
with the remark that ‘it recalls the illusionist reliefs of the age 
of the Flavian Emperors’. The chief actor is Charles the 
Second, periwigged, and in the costume of a Roman Emperor. 
Cibber’s most famous works were his figures of melancholy 
and raving madness, which were placed upon the gate piers 
of Bedlam and were moved, later, to the Guildhall: 

Close to those walls where Policy holds her throne 

And laughs to think Monroe would take her down, 

Where o’er the gates, by his fam’d father’s hand 

Great Cibber’s brazen, brainless brothers stand. 

These are Pope’s immortal lines from the first book of The 
Dunciad. The models for the statues were two of the patients 
of the hospital, one of whom is said to have been a servant of 
Oliver Cromwell. They arc lying, naked, with shaven heads, 
upon mattresses of rushes, and are so appalling a reminder of 
Bedlam’s horrors that it is with relief we turn from them to 
Hampton Court, where Cibber carved the sculpture in the 
pediment and that delightful composition of the arms of 
William and Mary held up by Cupids over two of the windows, 
in white stone upon the scarlet brick. But, also, a marble urn 
and a marble vase that stood in the gardens, but are now at 
Windsor. This vase and urn have another pair, as pendants, 
that were carved by Edward Pierce. Cibber’s vase has, for 
subject, Bacchus drawn in a chariot by leopards, with Cupid 
at the reins; while Pierce carved a Venus in a chariot with 
Cupids, and below, a festoon of different sorts of seashells. 
The great urns show the killing of the Calydonian boar by 
Meleager and Atlanta, and the Judgment of Paris. Both urns 

introduces us to three more sculptors, Thomas Green of Camberwell, 
James Hardy, and William Palmer. Among works by the first named 
are the tomb of Chief Justice Powell in Gloucester Cathedral, the 
Furnese monument at Waldershare, Kent, and the statue of Richard 
Welby, at Denton, Lincolnshire; by the second, the Reynolds Cal- 
thorpe bust and his wife’s at Elvetham, Hampshire ; and by the third, 
the beautiful erect statue of the Hon. Margaret Watson, at Rocking- 
ham, Northamptonshire, posed in the attitude of the Venus de Medici. 

II9 



have hgures of fauns to support them, but whereas the urn 
carved by Cibber has an eagle standing on a turtle for its top^ 
Pierce has carved a pineapple entwined by snakes. This pair 
of urns and pair of vases are among the most beautiful of 
garden ornaments. Pierce’s urn is, perhaps, the better of the 
two, and this is the occasion to say a few words about this 
forgotten sculptor who made, as well, a fountain, a stone chair 
with a canopy of drapery, and chairs and seats carved with 
dolphins for the gardens, all of which, unfortunately, have 
disappeared. But his best works are his busts. The bust, in 
the Ashmolean, of Sir Christopher Wren is worthy of Bernini, 
and a portrait of extraordinary interest of this great genius, 
giving, as is remarked by the only authority upon this sculptor, 
‘a Wren quite different from the thin-lipped mathematician 
in a heavy wig commonly painted’. Instead, we have a most 
vital personality, reminiscent, in the eyes and mouth, of Lord 
Nelson. Other busts by Pierce are of Cromwell and of Milton, 
and from these, and his great marble urn, it is apparent that 
he was the greatest of English portrait sculptors and an artist 
by far superior to Gabriel Cibber. 

Grinling Gibbons, we must remind ourselves, was sculptor 
as well as woodcarver. Most of our readers will know his 
statue of James the Second outside the National Gallery; not 
so many, his Charles the Second at Chelsea Hospital, a pair of 
statues fascinating, alike because of their classical costume 
and their Stuart physiognomy. The monument to Baptist 
Noel, Viscount Campden, at Exton, in Rutland, is by Grinling 
Gibbons, who was paid a thousand pounds for it. In its 
mutilated state we can still admire the two kneeling figures at 
an altar and the pair of winged cupids, poor memorial though 
this be, in numbers, to a nobleman who had four wives and 
nineteen children. Near to him, in wig and lace cravat, lies 
his fifth son, who died at eighteen, ‘free from the age’s grand 
debaucherys There is evidence, too, that Grinling Gibbons 
carved, not only tombs, but stone vases and ornaments at 
Hampton Court, and marble mantelpieces for Dalkeith Palace. 
Possibly, on rare occasion, furniture, too, for there is a small 
table that could be by him at Vaynol. 


120 



But the age had other sculptors. There is, for instance, 
Richard Crutcher, whose signature Mrs Esdaile has recovered 
from the dust of ages. The Cla5rton monument, at Bletchingley, 
in Surrey, other monuments by Crutcher at West Peckham, 
Kent, and Aldenham in Hertfordshire, show a fine and bold 
composer in the full Baroque manner. The Clayton tomb, in 
particular, is among the most splendid relics of the long past 
age of periwigs. There is more life in this statue than in all 
the copies from the dead antique.* John van Nost, a Fleming 
who is ignored by Walpole, but who opened a yard for lead 
garden urns and statues, some of which are still to be admired 
in the formal gardens of Leoni’s Carshalton, at Hardwick, 
and at Melbourne. This same van Nost made the periwigged 
figure of Sir Josiah Child at Wanstead, a work which rivals 
Crutcher and is equal to any sculptor of that age.- In a 
hundred village churches and private chapels, from end to 
end of England, there are the works of these forgotten men, 

’ 'Fhe Stantons of Holborn, three generations of sculptors, are the 
subject of a study by Mrs Arundell Esdaile in T/ic Arcfuvological 
Journal for 1928. William Stanton, d. 1705, carved the Coventry 
tomb at Croome d’ Abitot, Worcestershire, a superb periwigged, 
recumbent figure, pointing proudly to his coronet; his son, Edward 
Stanton, d. 1734, carved the two tombs of Sir George Strode and Sir 
William I.ytton, at Knebworth; and Sir Francis Russell, at Stren- 
sham, Worcestershire. His periwigged figures are little, if at all, 
inferior to those by his father, Richard Crutcher was Master of the 
Masons’ Company in 1713. 

Mrs Arundell Esdaile has drawm our attention to the terra-cotta 
model for the statue to William the Third, now in the Victoria and 
Albert Museum, but offered to them in the first place, as a statuette of 
Louis quatorze. This is a small masterpiece, nothing less. Mrs 
Esdaile, the supreme authority in the domain she has explored and 
made her own, gives the following monuments to van Nost: Digby, 
Earl of Bristol, and his two wives, at Sherborne, Dorset; the Spencer 
monument at Yarn ton, Oxon; the Queensberry monument, with 
twisted columns, at Durrisdeer, near Drumlanrig; Sir M. Richards, 
Master-General of the Ordnance, in armour, baton in hand, at 
Charlton, Kent; Sir Hugh Wyndham, at Silton, Dorset; a mural 
tablet, like the most elaborate of Baroque mirror frames, at Wilby, 
Suffolk. We are indebted to Mrs Esdaile for this information. She 
adds a tomb at Wroxton, Oxon. 


I2I 



and perhaps it is only the difficulty of comparing them, to- 
gether with the time involved in so many trivial journeys, that 
has delayed their recognition.^ This, we stress once more, was 
the golden age. For the eighteenth century, after its first 
three decades, is not so interesting. In general, it is the statue 
that wears a periwig that invites our admiration, while there 
are a hundred or a thousand pleasures in the curious heraldry, 
in the inscriptions, and the lettering. 

But the architecture of the age speaks, not less eloquently, 
in its silver. The silver toilet service of ‘La Belle Stuart’, at 
romantically named Lermoxlove, in Haddingtonshire, is as 
lovely and evocative as the silver wine cistern which is at 
Belvoir. But this silver toilet service, in its fitted casket, is as 
though we were transported suddenly into Madame d’ Auinoy’s 
pages and are reading her account, which was never written, of 
contemporary England. For Madame d’Aulnoy, that genius 
of the fairy story, had never been to Spain. We know that her 
Voyage en Espagne was compiled from the descriptions of her 
sister and her daughter. How often have we longed for an 
account of England from her pen! This Court lady of Louis 
quartorze could have written, to perfection, of the ladies 
painted by Lely, and loved by Charles the Second. She 
would not have ignored, we may be certain, such treasures as 
the silver furniture at Knole, which was to be found, of course, 
at Whitehall in even more profusion. As to this silver toilet 
service, how can it be that brush and comb, and box and little 
flask, can be assembled into the importance of a castle in a 
fairy story? Yet such is the secret of an age of wonders.^ 

^ John Hunt made the Boughton monument with two delightful 
standing figures, at Newbold-on-Avon, Warwickshire. Many memo- 
rial tablets from his hand are in the churches of Northamptonshire, 
and in this and tlie surrounding counties there may be tombs, by 
him, as well. 

^ We are assured by Miss Margaret Jourdain that the silver toilet 
service at Lennoxlove is French, and not English work. Nevertheless, 
we are persuaded to keep our reference m situ because this does not 
alter our contention ; indeed, it rather confirms our suggestion, which 
is the less far fetched and improbable when we are told that the silver 
toilet service in question is a work of Gallic fantasy imported into 
Scotland. 


122 



The silver cistern at Belvoir is accompanied by a tall, vase- 
shaped fountain, by another malter. It stands on four clavi^ 
feet, and is large enough to be a bath; while the fountain, in 
shape, is like one of the garden ornaments of Hampton Court, 
and has a dolphin spout. These silver cisterns exist also in 
other collections of plate, notably among the superb English 
silver in the Hermitage at St Petersburg, where the scries ends 
in a huge specimen by Paul de Lamerie. Then there are the 
silver ginger jars. It is a lesson in aesthetics to see how the 
inspiration derived from a china ginger jar has produced these 
masterpieces. In the Belvoir collection there arc three 
specimens engraved whth Chinese figures, and with birds and 
flowers ; but these yield in magnificence to the embossed jars, 
both large and small, which can only be described as bewilder- 
ing and dazzling in their richness. Yet the intoxication, as we 
have said, came from the cheapest form of imported china 
ginger jar. The covers and bases of the silver jars bear con- 
ventionalized palm and acanthus leaves, but the body of each 
jar depicts cupids playing and wrestling with the stems and 
foliage of such plants as never knew the light of day, but are 
purely imaginative, and seemed appropriate to that fabulous 
quarter of the world known, indifferently, as India or China to 
their minds. The whole effect of the jars, not in detail, but as 
a whole, is of a shimmering, tufted, floreated richness, through 
which, or is it our fantasy, we get the taste of spices and the 
breath of scented teas? 

But, if we take the Duke of Rutland’s collection as a whole, 
there are still other treasures.^ Pilgrim bottles with their 
chains attached to masks; and an incense burner with pierced 
flowers and foliage supported on three scrolled feet, work of 
the same exuberant fancy as the silver ginger jars. A gilt 

’ It will be understood by the reader that the Duke of Rutland’s 
collection at Belvoir Castle is described because it is accessible in 
photographs. It was made the subject of two articles by the late E. 
Alfred Jones in Country Life, for May ist and May 29th 1942. 7'he 
plate rooms at Wclbeck, Chatsworth, Dalkeith, Althorp, Knole, and 
elsewhere, contain other masterpieces by the goldsmiths and silver- 
smiths of Charles the Second’s reign. Note, also, the silver mirrors, 
grates, and toilet sets at Ham House. 

123 



beaker, also, of exquisite design, with uneven edge or profile, 
acanthus and palm leaves on its lip and base, and bold cornu- 
copias embossed upon its body; cornucopias that branch forth, 
themselves, in floreations as though they were sections of some 
flowering stem, with the whorlings of their horns protruding 
from out of that, stuffed or crammed with formal flowers, and 
with their bases joined by swags of the highest architectural 
tradition. Indeed, this gilt beaker with the conventional 
foliage of its base and lip, and the swags and cornucopias on 
its body, tells us in rich phrases of the architecture of its time. 

Certain other silver sweetmeat boxes, in the form of scallop 
shells, v^itlT marine rustication worthy of Neptune and his 
train of nymphs and tritons, arc among the most beautiful, 
simple goldsmith’s work of the age. They are nothing else 
than the ornaments of an enriched architecture. The forms 
of sugar castors take on the shapes of steeples, and their 
pierced openings or perforations are like the diminishing 
windows in the spires of Portland stone. Or it may be that 
the actual belfries, in their turn, v/ere alfected in shape by the 
works of the silversmiths. The white Portland stone, in the air 
of London, has some of the flat white quality of silver, while 
the shedding forth of the sound of bells may have suggested 
an analogy to the shifting and sprinkling from those silver 
towers or campanili, for that is the form, precisely, often taken 
by the sugar castors. But, also, the church towers of the City, 
in some examples, are as bizarre and capricious as a pagoda, 
while these pieces of silver, from the mere association of their 
normal uses, took on imaginary and Oriental forms. At any 
rate, in both categories, they carry upon them the signature 
and sign manual of their time, though we shall have occasion, 
at a later stage, to trace a Palladian influence among the 
silversmiths to correspond with the revival of Palladian 
architecture, and to contrast with that the Rococo of dc 
Lamerie and others of the later craftsmen. 

In general, something must be said of the wealth of plaster- 
work dating from the reign of Charles the Second. This is 
the school of high relief. Miss M. Jourdain quotes the sarcastic 
comment from Isaac Ware’s Complete Body of Architecture^ 

124 



I756> ‘We see boys (i.e. cupids) hung up whole by the back in 
some coarse old ceiling but they always look clumsy and seem 
in danger of falling ... it would be idle to represent what it 
would be improper to suppose^ men hanging in the air . . 
and she adds the remark of anotlicr old author, that the pendant 
flowers and fruit of the Royal Hospital, Kiimainham, ‘could 
be swung like a pendulum’. Such are remarks from a later age 
of arabesque and filigree, when the moulded figures of the 
Venetians were firmly in position. But the work of this earlier 
epoch, at its best, is incomparable and grand, and nowhere 
better than at Holyrood. Two Englishmen, Dimsterfield and 
Halbert, were the plasterers, and they worked on the ceilings 
of a long flight of rooms. Oak leaf and acanthus were their 
forte, but, perhaps, in accumulation, the heavy ceilings grow 
monotonous. The fruits and flowers of Belton are more 
graceful ; while special praise, because the work is exceptional, 
must be bestowed upon the hall ceiling at Eye Manor, Here- 
fordshire, work carried out, in 1680, for the curiously named 
owner, Ferdinando Gorges. This consists of an oblong panel, 
bordered by alternate swags of flowers and twisted scarves 
or napkins, knotted at their ends. Denham Place, Bucking- 
hamshire, has ceilings and friezes that are the premonitory 
ghosts of what is to follow, for some of the decorations are 
painted in bright colours, and there arc friezes of hunting 
and shooting that foreshadow the naturalistic stucco of the 
mid-eighteenth century. But does not stucco of the reign of 
Charles the Second, except in instances where it is exception- 
ally crisp and alive, remind us too much of the provincial 
Italian, of such Italian craftsmen as worked in Northern Ger- 
many, or even Poland, in which latter country we have seen 
church ceilings, in Cracow or far-off Vilna, that are nearly 
comparable, save for the English oak leaf? In England, the 
great age of the stuccoist is still to come. At present, it is grand 
and monotonous; or, hke the fruits and flowers of the Dutch 
painters, too much alive. 

It is, perhaps, unnecessary for us to conceal our preference 
for the later stucco ceilings of the Georgian era. But the 
same floral elements of design, the tulips, roses, and carnations, 

125 



are to be found engraved upon the dial faces and back plates 
of the unrivalled clocks of Charles the Second’s reign. This 
leads us to the great clockmakers, Daniel Quare and Thomas 
Tompion. Clockmaking was in fact an important English 
trade, though the masterworks of Quare and Tompion and 
their lesser rivals are to be regarded from different angles, as 
marvels of mechanism and applied mathematics, and then 
again as works of art, where their inlaid and veneered cases, 
their engraved surfaces and open or repousse metal panels are 
concerned. Thomas Tompion (1639-1713) seems to be marked 
as head of his profession in the mere music of his name, as its 
syllables chime slowly and solemnly upon the ear. He 
received scientific instruction from the celebrated Dr Hooke 
{vide ante p, in, where w^e mention him as architect) and is 
referred to in Hooke’s Diary: ‘Tompion here from 10 to 10. 
... At Tompions, scolded with him. ... 1 fell out wdth him 
for slowness, . . . Tompion a slug ... a clownish churlish Dog. 
I will never come neer him more . . it seems to have been a 
difficult relationship between them. The most famous of 
Tompion’s clocks is that made, originally, for tJie bedroom of 
William the Third at Hampton Court, and now in a private 
collection in America. Its movement continues for three 
months witliout rewinding, and it has a perpetual calendar 
that allows for leap year; but its involved ticking disturbed 
the repose of the monarch, and it was taken from his bedroom. 
Another longcase equation clock, made for Sir John Germain, 
was formerly at Drayton House, Northamptonshire; and a 
similar specimen is in the Royal Collection. At Buckingham 
Palace tlierc is a twelve-month clock in a case of burr walnut, 
and another made by Thomas Tompion for Queen Anne. 
His table clocks and watches were not less excellent, and at his 
death he left English clocks and watches the finest in the world 
(Plates 12, 14). Tompion is buried, worthily, in Westminster 
Abbey, from which shrine many more famous, but not greater 
artists, have been excluded. Daniel Quare — but we write, 
necessarily, of his clock cases, not his mechanism, a mathe- 
matical subject beyond our grasp, which has a special language 
of its own — like ballet — ^is little inferior to Tompion, and it 

126 



may be, even more varied in design. Quare, a Quaker, invented 
the repeating vi^atch; made the longcase twelve-month clock 
at Hampton Court, for Queen Anne; and was the maker of 
innumerable and beautiful table clocks and barometers. A 
Dutch family^ the Fromanteels, among whom the pleasing 
Christian name of Ahasuerus appears in three generations, 
were famous cloclonakcrs ; while Edward East, the Knibb 
family, John Ebs worth, Christopher Gould, and John Martin, 
are other well known names. 

Lockmaking was another, and parallel English craft, famous, 
even, upon the Continent. Evelyn writes of ‘all sorts of 
ironwork more exquisitely wrought and polished than in any 
part of Europe’. Birmingham and Wolverhampton were 
centres of the art, till it removed to London. Beautiful 
specimens of the locksmitli’s craft are to be found at Hampton 
Court, where the crabbing and interfering Talman, anxious 
that ‘ye locks should answer ye rest of ye furnishing’, com- 
mends the aptly-named Joshua Key, his nominee, ‘the most 
ingenious man in Europe’, comparing him with Greenway, 
‘His Ma^‘^ locksmith by warrant, a very dull smith, not 
brought up to that trade . . . there is’, concluding, ‘as much 
difference between the tv/o men in their art as betw^ecn Vulcan 
and Venus’. This art, with which is combined, as it were, the 
art of cypher and monogram, shows the influence of Daniel 
Marot, who made designs for locks and keys. In general, it 
compares in design with the watchcocks of old watches, where, 
again, Daniel Marot has left his mark. These are minor arts, 
we agree, but for grace and fertility of invention we prefer 
them to the Japanese inro or netsuke which have spoiled so 
many tastes. They are little, but lasting evidence of a great 
age of art, made more agreeable when we know it is English 
and our own.^ 

English tapestry and needlework are, by now, at their golden 

^ John Wilkes of Birmingham, Walter Beckford, and Philip Harris 
were other noted locksmiths. Signed examples by the first are at 
Dyrham, and at Arbury in Warwickshire. Cf Decoration in England 
from 1640-1 j60i by Francis Lenygon, London, B. T. Batsford, Ltd, 
1927. 


127 



age. The Mortlake tapestries have come and gone, for they 
belong in spirit to the age of Charles the First. Proprietor^ or 
patentee, was Sir Francis Crane, who imported Flemish 
workmen to Mortlake, in Surrey, during the last years of 
James the First, including such craftsmen as one ‘whose 
speciality was the weaving of faces, and another who worked 
the naked figures’. A draughtsman, Francis Cleyn, a native 
of Rostock, in Mecklenburg, who had been employed by 
Christian the Fourth of Denmark, was engaged and shortly 
after arrival was given a pension for life by King James. This 
artist, to whom the particular character of the Mortlake 
tapestries is due, drew the cartoons for the set of Flero and 
Leander, and for the Royal Horses, a deliglitful scries that 
illustrates the haute ccole and that may remind us of Velasquez 
and of the Riding School at Bolsover. But, also, the great 
painters were consulted. Sir P. P. Rubens (that most un- 
English of baronets) drew a set of six cartoons for the History 
of Achilles; while Sir Anthony Van Dyck drew new borders 
for Raphael’s cartoons of the Acts of the Apostles, which were 
carried out in tapestry, and furthermore, portraits of himself 
and of Sir Francis Crane. A huge series was projected for 
the great hall at Whitehall Palace, with the election of the 
King, the Institution of the Order of the Garter, and the Pro- 
cession of the Knights. But the expenses were too great, and 
a chalk drawing by Van Dyck of the last-named subject is all 
that remains. Later, in the next reign, Antonio Verrio was 
approached, wLo would have been better in needlework than 
on the painted wall, but nothing came of it, and the Mortlake 
tapestries languished to their end, reviving, momentarily for 
the naval tapestries of the battle of Solebay. ’ 

The Soho tapestries are a later venture, dating from the 
reign of William and Mary, and associated with John Vander- 
bank, a Fleming. We will only mention his ‘ Indian ’ tapestries. 

’ A set of ten tapestries of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, de- 
signed by Cornelius van Vroom, hung in the old House of Lords till 
its destruction by fire in 1834. John Pine made engravings from them 
in 1789. Admiral Lord Howard of Effingham had conferred with 
Cornelius van Vroom and furnished him with charts and maps. 

128 



In these, the figures are usually posed in little groups upon 
patches of earthy by which convention the artist represents 
the gold clouds and isles of lacquer. Sometimes the ‘Indian^ 
tapestries have a * Chinese^ border, and in all of them the 
uniform background is meant to suggest the black body of 
the lacquer. The figures are, of course, ‘ Indian ’ or ‘ Chinese 
at will, and belong to diat imaginary world of the chinoiseric 
figures upon Dresden china. To such, too, pertain many, if 
not most, of tlie needlework and embroidered quilts, and the 
fichus worked witJi tulips and carnations, which, in their rare 
examples, recapture for us the magical delicacy of TJie Rape 
of the Lock and of the Augustan age of elegance and wit. 

Let us, in this contingency, look for a moment at tlie bind- 
ings of Samuel Mearne, bookbinder to Charles the Second.^ 
To our own taste he is the supreme craftsman of his kind. No 
other bookbinder is to be named in the same breath. We have 
here an artist who was as much a mannerist as Aubrey Beards- 
ley, and who has never yet been accorded the place due to 
him in the history of art. In attempting to describe a few of 
the bindings of Samuel Mearne, we would indicate how the 
imagination of this Englishman triumphed over the superlative 
workmanship, and no more than that, of a Clovis Eve, or a 
Derome. First we would take a Prayer Book bound for Charles 
the Second, and an instance of his ‘Cottage’ style, though that 
name is anomalous, for his ‘Cottage’ bindings are only so 
called because, when inlaying with coloured leather upon a 
binding, it is desirable that the fillet of inlaid leather should 
not merely form a rectangle and follow down the edges cf 
the book, and so the fillet is broken to form a pediment or 
gable. This Prayer Book is bound in close-grained red 
morocco, and the fillet is of black leather, with projections at 
each side and gables at the top and bottom. A golden pattern, 

^ The bindings^ here described, are illustrated in Samuel Mearncy 
by Cyril Davenport, FSA, Chicago, published by the Caxton Club, 
1906. Books bound for the Royal Family could only leave the posses- 
sion of royalty by gift or theft, so that most of the Royal bindings are 
now in the Library of the British Museum. Books bound by Mearne 
for private owners have continued, by the same token, in private 
ownership. 

E 129 



like a fish scale, fills the interior spaces of the gables, while the 
whole red ground of the leather is ornamented with gold 
toolwork. It is in this that Meame approximates to Beardsley, 
for his dotted stems and flowers and pineapples, together with 
certain stamps that are peculiar to him, the head of an eagle, 
a little dotted human head, and a curious ornament, a double- 
horned curve that is like the curled feet and head and eye of 
an embryo, resemble exactly, in spirit and execution, the 
detail in Beardsley’s line drawings for The Rape of the Lock. 

We have no time to describe, in full, the lesser specimens of 
his binding. One, which is bound in black morocco, blind- 
to<fled, that is to say, the flowers and sprays are impressed into 
the leather as in the gauffrage in prints by Hokusai or Outa- 
maro, while the fillet is a broad band outlined in gold and filled 
in with silver, the double-hom appearing at each side and in the 
‘Cottage’ gables; another, in orange morocco, with gold 
loolwork and no fillet, but patterns of a golden lily, silver 
six-petalled flowers and silver tulips. A typical binding in 
Mearne’s ‘all-over’ style consists of panels filled up entirely, 
or alternately, tooled only, with sprays and arabesques on 
the blue leather, little inlays of yellow leather on the knots, and 
in the empty spaces, imitation spangles copied from those 
upon embroidered bookcovers ; another example, in red 
morocco, tooled in gold, and picked out with black stain and 
silver paint, has stamps of little flying birds, like doves, six- 
pointed stars, solid triangles of gold, eight-pctalled flowers, 
gold and silver acorns, and dots and spangles. 

But we reserve ourselves for Meame’s magnificence, begin- 
ning with a black morocco binding, quite fabulous in elegance, 
very plain and simple, with piles of the fish scale ornament, 
like little heaps of oyster shells, at the four centres of the 
boards or outer edges, and the central golden design taking 
the form, as it were, of an extravagant mirror frame floating, 
free, upon the black morocco. The eaves or comers are filled 
in with tool work, but the fascination of this specimen comes 
from tlie bosses of golden ornament that lie upon the eaves; 
while from the extreme corner of the gables there are short, 
curving stalks, with other bosses growing from them, like 

130 



formal bouquets, clipped bay trees, or spiced pomanders. 
This binding has the elegance of the most fantastic line 
drawings. We would contrast with it a Prayer Book bound in 
black morocco, and inlaid with red and cream and yellow 
leathers. For once, the fillet is a plain rectangle of yellow 
leather. The eaves or gables are of golden fish scales; tlierc 
are ornaments inside the panel like coral stalks, of ivor}% 
fringed with gold; but the beauty of this particular binding is 
in the pendant clusters or bosses that Meame has placed upon 
the sloping roofs of the gables, and that arc like swarms of 
golden bees, set on red morocco. 

There are others of Mearne’s bindings that are as compli- 
cated as a Persian carpet. One, bound for Charles the Second, 
is of red morocco inlaid with black and yellow. The central 
panel, shaped like a polygon, like the centre medallion of a 
Persian rug, is of black leather dotted witli gold filigree. In 
midst of this are the Royal Arms, within the Garter. Bunches 
of grapes, on dotted golden stalks or tendrils, outhne this oval, 
while beyond them are corner pieces in pale yellow leather. 
The outer spaces are filled, on the red ground, with sprays of 
flowers tliat come from little golden vases ; tulips, lilies, roses, 
some in blind gold, or inlaid in black or yellow. But his 
masterpiece is, probably, an atlas bound for the King, in dull 
red morocco. A fretted ribbon inlaid in yellow leather, tied, 
as it were, in open knots, and with a surround or ornament, in 
fact, a running arabesque of gold tooling, frames the central 
panel. Within the corners of this fretted ribbon are stamped, 
four times, CR, the King’s initials. The central panel is 
inlaid in compartments, left red, or inlaid with black or yellow, 
each compartment being filled with gold tooling, an interlaced 
fillet of the red morocco enclosed in lines of gold being the 
edging or border for each compartment. A last book, bound 
for a private owner, is a small red binding, superbly patterned 
with a black inlaid fillet, enclosed in heavy golden lines that 
vary in strength according to whether they are single or double, 
and that knot and intertwine in three crosses of whorls across 
the centre, making a bold black design of curves or rings upon 
the red morocco. The spaces are filled sparsely with gold 

i^i 



dotted flowers, and tliere are eight-petalled flowers in red and 
gold for the middle of the whorls, above and below the bigger 
oval of the centre. This last binding is no longer like a Persian 
carpet; instead, it is a splendid specimen of the interlacing of 
the late Renaissance. 

Mearne, wc suggest, is a great designer and craftsman in 
many different styles or manners who should be taken down 
from the bookshelf and brought forth into tlie general history 
of aesthetics. It is only in his presence, and in that of his peers, 
that the architecture of the age explains itself in its perfect 
health of mind and body. We look for such craftsmen, and 
when w^e find them we are not surprised. Such another 
case is that of Jean Tijou, but he is better loiown. His iron- 
work has been admired by tliousands, at Plampton Court and 
in St Paul’s. It is to be noticed, moreover, that his actual 
works are a great improvement upon the engravings in his 
book of designs.^ But Samuel Mearne was unique, whereas 
Jean Tijou like Grinling Gibbons had his rivals. Individual 
and beautiful ironwork w’hich, anywhere but in our land of 
understatement, w^ould be as famous as the grilles and balconies 
of Jean Lamour in the Place Stanislas at Nancy, is to be found 
in the screens at All Saints Church in Derby, now the 
Cathedral, from the hand of Robert Baltewell, and probably, 
too, at Staunton Harold, nearby, in Leicestershire.- The 
ironwork communion rail at Weston Church, Staffordshire, 
unique for its vast relief royal arms, might be by him ; that at 
Lydiard Tregoze, Wiltshire, is rich and elaborate as anything 
Tijou wrought, but may be by Edney, of Bristol. Another 
provincial ironsmith, Robert Davies, who worked at Wrexh^, 
wrought tlie ‘Golden Gates’ at Eaton Hall, and achieved an 
extraordinary tour de force in the immense iron screens and 

^ A New Book of Drawings, containing several sorts of Iron worke, 
by Jean Tijou, with a decorative titlepage and 19 plates, London, 
1693. The frontispiece is by Laguerre, who married Tijou’s daughter, 
and Tijou may be the short, swarthy man in the foreground of the 
engraving. 

® The entrance gates at Staunton Harold, the home of the Ferrers 
family, and the screen in the church may be by Robert Bakewell. 

132 



gates for Lccswood Hall^ New Mold, in Flintshire. But we 
would reserve the highest praise of all, Tijou apart, for William 
Edney and his ironwork in the Bristol churches. The chancel 
screen of St Mary Redclilfc, now in the Towner arch, is wholly 
admirable, one of the splendours of the ignored Baroque art 
of England, and not to be mistaken, w^c believe, or confused 
with Tijou, for the personality is quite diifcrent, more balanced 
and, it may be, less extravagant and rich. Others of the 
Bristol churches contained works by Edney. But the chancel 
screen and rails of the Temple Church have been destroyed 
by Nazi bombs, and so have the sw^ordrests at the Temple 
Church and at St Nicholas. These last were little masterpieces 
that expressed the age. The sw^ordrest of the Temple Church 
had for unit, as it were, a double column or baluster of 
acanthus leaves branching and diminishing in fabulous ele- 
gance up and down its height. That of St Nicholas was more 
lovely still, depending, we might describe it, from a single 
stalk, not a double column. It had curled leaves that branched 
upwards ; came again, in little, and once more, fuller, in reverse, 
and curhng dowm, but rising again to uphold the Royal crown 
in w^hose honour and for whose defence swords were worn. We 
should compare this swordrest, for its civic or urban elegance, 
with the rustic, wooden wigpost at Kedington Church, 
Suffolk, among the Barnardiston tombs. ^ 

^ It is remarkable that no one has devoted some small publication 
to these swordrests. Tliey were intended for the sword of the Lord 
Mayor when he visited the church in state. Autliorities differ as to 
whether each Lord Mayor came once in state to his own church, 
where he was a parishioner, during his year of ofhee, or whether until 
the middle of the last century it was customary for tlie Lord Mayor 
to attend in state one or other of the City churches every Sunday, 
which, if true, compares with the state visits of the Doge of Venice to 
the different parish churches of Venice. Earlier wooden swordrests 
remain in St Helen, Bishopsgate, St Mary Aldermar>% Southv/ark 
Cathedral (from St Olave’s, Tooley Street), and two in City Company 
Halls. I'he earhest, dated, iron swordrest (1708) is at St Magnus the 
Martyr. The most splendid examples are, or were, at All Hallows, 
Barking, while St Mary-at-Hill, near the Tower, has no fewer than 
six, one of them the gift of Alderman Beckford, father of the ‘ Caliph 
Vathek*. These delightful relics of eighteenth century grace and 

133 



Of the decorative painters of the time we speak lasty for they 
were least, except for Thornliill. Enough can be seen of 
Antonio Verrio at Hampton Court and Windsor Castle. 
Verrio came from Lecce in Southern Italy, and remembering 
the architecture of that little town we might anticipate a 
better artist. But the good Italian painters were born hundreds 
of miles from Lecce. Verrio was nothing more than a journey- 
man frescoist. His pupil, Lanscroon, is to be preferred to him, 
in a delightful, but ridiculous, staircase painting at Drayton, 
in Northamptonshire.^ The acres of walls and ceiling covered 
by Verrio at Chatsworth and at Burleigh are meaningless and 
insigniheant. Indeed, tjie Frenchman Louis Laguerre was 
more considerable as a painter. But the only good artist was 
Sir James Thornhill, which should be satisfactory to our 
English pride. His paintings, which contribute so much 
splendour to the Painted Flail at Greenwich, have roused little 
curiosity as to his otiier works. Thornhill varies, like many 
greater, and less, artists. He is dull in the History of Cyrus 
upon the stair at Easton Ncston, in Northamptonshire; 
tolerable in the chapel at Wimpole, Cambridge; bright in 
colour on tlie dome of St Mary Abchurch ; some of his better 
work may have perished at Canons, Edgware, for the Duke of 
Chandos; at old Burlington House; and at Wootton, in 
Buckinghamshire; he painted at Chatsworth and at Blenheim; 
at Moor Park the hall has four large panels of Jupiter and lo; 
but, probably, the hall and stair at Stoke Edith, in Flereford- 
shire, destroyed in a recent fire, showed Thornhill in his full 
:apacity as decorator. Both rooms had painted walls and 

^ l.anscroon painted, also, at Powis Castle, Welshpool, and at Burley- 
on-thc-Iiill, in Rutland. 

imagination may be followed into the provinces ; to Bristol, as we have 
shown, and among other cities, to Worcester, where there is a fine 
example in All Saints, and another at St Swithin^s. Cf The Old 
Churches of London, by Gerald Cobb, Batsford Ltd, 1941, and an 
article in Archceologia, Vol. 54, p. 41, by E. H. Freshfield, in wliich 
that writer enumerates, as existing in his time (1891), a total of sixty- 
three swordrests in the City churches, fifty-eight of which were of 
wrought iron. We refer again to these attractive little pieces of 
cTv.ftsmanship on pp. 136-7, and enumerate some further examples. 

134 



ceilings^ and here we couJd see Thornhill in allegory and still 
life, in portrait, in arabesque, and in sham perspective. At 
Kanbury Hall, Worcestershire, by all accounts, Thornhill is 
better still. Here, again, both hall and stair are from his hand, 
the subject being the liistory of Achilles, in which, according 
to legend, ‘to mark the folly of the age, Thornhill has drawn 
a picture of Dr Sacheverell carried away by the Classic Furies 
At Hanbury Hall, there is a sketch by Thornhill of the house 
as it was when just completed, with the owner, Mr Vernon, 
and his friends playing bowls in a long alley. Thornhill, in 
fact, is a neglected painter with a touch of genius.^ He was 
eminent, as we have suggested, in every branch of painting, 
not least in his portraits, which have begun now to be recog- 
nised, and he will emerge in all probabihty as a portrait painter 
with more character than the facile Kneller. His portraits of 
men are characterised by the extreme size of their wigs, and 
by something more solid in their expression tlian could be 
imparted to them by the Westphalian painter. Probably the 
best collection of his male portraits is to be found at All Souls, 
Oxford, where Thornhill worked, as weU, in fresco. 

This has been an account of craftsmen, but we must return 
to architecture. In the space of a couple of generations, from 
the time when Inigo Jones and Webb may have found it 
dilficult to assemble skilled workmen for tlicir projects, and 
had, in all probability, to attend to every detail themselves, 
there had arisen schools of expert craftsmen in all the minor 
arts. This balance had been made perfect under Wren. 
When we come to that solitary genius in architecture. Sir 
John Vanbrugh, we shall find that his schemes, which should 
only have found fruition in the painted scene or on tlie printed 
page, were executed down to the last detail. His grandiose 
visions, so far as they were realized, stand finished in hard 
stone. There is hardly another instance, in any of the arts, of 
so extreme an artist meeting with such a measure of accordance 

^ The Judgment of Paris upon the staircase ceiling at Charborough 
Park, Dorset, was the subject of a poem by Rev. Cliristopher Pitt, 
d. 1748, rector of Pimperne, and translator of the JEneid. Charborough 
Park is the property of the Erie Drax family. 

135 



to his plans. This is true even of Blenheim^ where, in the 
face of a most spirited opposition, Vanbrugh had liis designs 
carried out, nearly in their entirety, although he was forbid- 
den, himself, for a time at least, to appear upon the scene. 

When we consider the full eminence of the school of Wren, 
which we v/ould divide into three directions at his death, 
towards the Baroque of Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor, the 
Rococo of Gibbs, and the lesser red brick architecture of the 
late seven teentii and early eighteenth centuries, it is to compre- 
hend why Wren never found it necessary to visit Italy. This 
omission has always been tliought a mystery in his career. But 
the strength had gone out of the Italian Renaissance. England 
had overtaken Italy. Bernini was last of the great Italian 
architects; he was an old man when he showed Wren his 
sketches for tlie Louvre. Louis quatorze was monarch of the 
age. It was Paris, not Rome or Venice, that was the living city. 
The conditions of life had altered too. What had been conveni- 
ent in the Italy of PaUadio and Scamozzi, and could be 
transferred to an England innocent of such improvements, 
was no longer an innovation in tlie reign of Charles the 
Second. But the craftsmen are now assembled, and there will 
be no lack of them till the end of the ciglitecnth century, and 
beyond. We shall find, in fact, that during the last third of the 
eighteenth century, and for the first thirty years of the nine- 
teenth, English craftsmanship was supreme, and unmatched 
elsewhere. In the meantime, enough has been said to justify’ 
our title of a golden age of architecture, and of tlie attendant 
arts, for the reign of Charles the Second. 

As we have said, the fascinating subject of swordrests 
deserves a monograph to itself. Alderman Morrell, of York, 
has sent us details of the wooden swordrests in the York 
churches. Others, whether of wood or iron, may exist in the 
Lincoln churches, and our inclination would lead us to look 
for them in St Mary-le-Wigford or St Peter-at-Gowts. For 
any church situated in a borough may possess them; and 
recently a little book. Beautiful Norfolk Buildings^ by Stanley 
J. Wearing, FRIBA, Norwich, The Soman- Wherry Press, 
1944, comes to hand with details of the swordrests in tlie 

136 



Norwich churches. There are carved wooden swordrests, it 
appears, at Yarmouth, Thetford, and in St Margaret’s and 
St Nicholas at King’s Lynn, but the Norwich swordrests are 
in wrought iron. They are found in no fewer than thirteen of 
the Norwich churches, and there are two sets each in the 
Cathedral, the Castle Museum, and St Peter Hungate Museum. 
The majority are eighteenth century in date, and in most 
cases are combined with macercsts for the mace of the Mayor. 
There are specimens at St Saviour’s, St George’s Colegate, 
St John de Sepulchre, St Andrew, St Michael Coslany (of 
the wonderful flint and ashlar detail) where the author notices 
the boards of the names of ringers in the Ringing chamber of 
the Towner, framed on architectural lines as at St Peter 
Mancroft, St Giles, where they show to more advantage than 
in any other Norwich church, and at St Mary Coslany where 
they are the most ornate of any in the city, with delicately 
worked leaf sprays backing the name plates. We have to 
regret that it is too late to illustrate these Norwich swordrests, 
but it is our cue to bid farewell to the reader, and we part 
with an anticipatory flavour of turtle soup upon the Mayoral 
air. These swordrests are among the lesser wonders of a golden 
period of the arts. 

Mrs Gordon Woodhouse informs us of the magnificent 
Ivlayor’s pew and splendid swordrests, of Sussex iron, in the 
Garrison church at Portsmouth, now unhappily vanished. 

We are indebted to Mrs Esdaile for the last-minute observa- 
tion (vide p. 1 1 4) that though the tubs of blue and white china 
may only appear in English art on the Stoke Edith tapestries, 
they have a permanent place in English literature, since ‘the 
pensive Selima’ of Gray’s poem was drowned in what Walpole 
called ‘the cat’s vase’. 


137 



V 


SIR JOHN VANBRUGH 

I N TREATING of architects of any race or nation it is to be 
reckoned that, from the nature of their profession, they 
will be exempt from many of the fates that befall painters, 
poets, or musicians. We shall find no Watteau, no Keats, 
among the architects. The genius in architecture cannot burn 
out in his twenties. We shall discover neither the young genius 
starving in a garret, nor his older and disillusioned brother 
fallen victim to his disappointments. There is no de Quincey, 
no Baudelaire, no Verlaine among the architects. 

Their years of promise must extend, of necessity, into middle 
age. It follows from this, that in their lives, tliey are without 
both the faults and virtues attendant on tlie sister arts. It can 
be imagined of no heroine in fiction that she ill spent her youdi 
among the architects. Long years of training and the slow 
processes of building are the reason for this sober trend. But 
architecture is now about to have the impact of probably the 
most extraordinary genius in its history. This phenomenon 
is in the works and person of Sir John Vanbrugh. His is 
one of the three great personalities in our architeaure. The 
others are Inigo Jones and Sir Christopher Wren. In fact, he 
had more personality than either of them. Vanbrugh is one 
of the extreme cases in all tlie arts together, destined to be the 
subject of endless argument and discussion. But in peculiar 
company, for it is difficult to find his parallel. 

That Vanbrugh had genius for architecture is plainly evident. 
He was the master of effects that no other architect has 
achieved. But we feel of him, as we do of Berlioz, that it is 
of no use when he sets out to be ordinary or little. There 
could be no more apt criticism than that of Mr Geoffrey 
Webb: ‘Vanbrugh was never at case with small scale buildings 

138 



even in later life, though he improved in this respect. ’ This 
sentence could be applied in entirety to Berlioz. The op. 3 of 
Berlioz is the Symphonic Fantastique, surely the orchestral 
masterpiece of Romantic music. The op. i of Vanbrugh, in 
architecture, is Castle Howard. Vanbrugh was thirty-five 
years old: this was his first building. Berlioz was a younger 
man, but Berlioz had never written plays. 

Vanbrugh, after all, second to Congreve, is as good as any 
other of the later Restoration playwrights. There is nothing 
to choose between Vanbrugh, Otway, Wycherley. What 
became of Congreve after he reached the age of thirty- three? 
He retired into private life and played tlie English gentleman. 
He wrote no more. His silence is among the minor problems 
and mysteries of literature. There is no comparable instance. 
But Congreve stayed idle. He did not become an architect. 

Had Vanbrugh been born at another time; had he written 
tragedy or poetic drama, then his metamorphosis would not 
be so difficult to understand. But Vanbrugh wrote comedies 
for the stage, and built houses in an epic or heroic style. 
Nothing could be more improbable than that the buildings 
of his particular kind should spring up from the comedy of 
manners. That is not the whole mystery. While Vanbrugh, 
beyond question, is the one great English arcliitect of the 
Baroque, his buildings not only bear no resemblance to those 
of any other Baroque architect, in any clime or country, but 
they are lacking in most, if not all, of the accepted character- 
istics of tiiat style. Vanbrugh, in the first place, is Baroque 
without tlie ornament. He shows a particular love for bare 
walls and naked surfaces. He is no lover of tire painted ceiling. 
In his interiors, the hall apart (and the library at Blenheim), 
he avoids the grand apartment. His interior dispositions were 
of a different plan. He does not build the grand staircases of 
the Italians. He is indifferent to the accommodation on the 
upper floors. 

Had Vanbrugh turned from stage design to decoration this 
would be comprehensible. But Vanbrugh was no painter, and 
not particularly distinguished in his draughtsmanship. There 
is no evidence that he designed the scenery or costumes for 

139 



his plays. In his planes and masses he is more akin to abstract 
sculpture^ on a gigantic scale. Nor, although Blenheim^ Castle 
Howard, Seaton Delaval, are theatrical, in the sense that they 
are dramatic, can we agree that he is influenced by the great 
Italian scenographers. His name, with those of Wren and 
Hawksmoor, appears at the end of th« preface to the English 
translation of Eratel Pozzo’s book upon perspective; but in his 
buildings he shows neither the influence of Pozzo, nor that of 
the Bibiena, or other Italian masters of the painted scene. 
Vanbrugh never went to Italy. He is not of the school of 
Bernini or Borromini. The only certain influence is that of 
France, and then only in a few tricks or methods of technique. 

Sir John Vanbrugh was born in London in 1664. 
father, Giles Vanbrugh, was a rich man and owned a sugar re- 
finery, while his grandfather, Gillis van Brugg, a Dutchman or 
a Fleming, for those terms were indeterminate, had removed 
from Ghent to London at the time of Alba’s persecutions. The 
grandfather of Vanbrugh, therefore, was a Dutchman or a 
Fleming; but it is in vain, in our opinion, to search in Van- 
brugh for his Flemish traits. Flis mother was the daughter of 
Sir Dudley Carleton, the nephew and heir of the diplomat. 
Lord Dorchester. There were nineteen children. In a year 
or two the family moved to Chester, where they had set up 
their sugar refinery, and where John Vanbrugh went to school. 
Their house, in fact, was called the Sugar House. 

VCflien nineteen years old, Vanbrugh went to France, and 
during tlie three years that he stayed there may have had some 
training in architecture, but tliis is uncertain, and it is at least 
as probable that he went there to learn the sugar business. 
Early in 1686 he received a commission in the Earl of Hunting- 
don’s regiment of foot, but resigned when the regiment was 
threatened with a period of garrison in Guernsey. This was 
followed, not long after, by the famous episode of his imprison- 
ment in France. Vanbrugh had been sketching the forts of 
Calais ; or according to another version, he was arrested there 
on the information of a woman that he had left Paris without a 
passport, and he had introduced this same woman to an English 
peer. In any case, France and England were at war. After 

140 



some time, Vanbrugh was removed from Calais to the fortress 
of Vincennes, and then imprisoned in the Bastille. In all, he 
was two years in prison, and his release is only less mysterious 
than his arrest. On his return to England he seems to have 
gone to sea, being made, eventually, a captain of marines. 
Vanbrugh was never at the wars, but for all that he was 
Captain Vanbrook, henceforth, and by repute, and in his own 
imagination, a soldier of Marlborough’s wars. 

In 1697, Relapse^ by Vanbrugh, was given at the 
Theatre Royal, a play which he had written as a sequel to a 
comedy that failed, by Cibber, Colley Cibber, the sculptor 
Gabriel Cibber’s son. The Relapse was followed in the same 
year by The Provoked Wife^ which was even more succssful, 
and Vanbrugh was now established as a famous pla^^vright. 
He was, also, about to launch himself as architect, and his 
buildings are so much more interesting than his plays that, 
perhaps, we shall be forgiven for only mentioning that for 
some time he combined the two professions, for The False 
Friend came out in 1702, and The Confederacy three years 
later. The Provoked Husband ^ finished by Cibber, was pro- 
duced many years later, after Vanbrugh’s death. But v;e should 
notice that w^hen he became architect, Vanbrugh did not cease, 
for some years at least, to remain a playwright, too. In his 
stage career he profited, of course, by the excellent standard of 
acting of the time and the long tradition of the Restoration 
drama. 

But in 1699 the plans for Castle Howard were ready, and by 
the year following, or soon after, Hawksmoor had been ap- 
pointed clerk of the works, and building had begun. We 
would delay, therefore, no further but transport our readers 
immediately to the scene, using as vehicle the famous passage 
from Walpole: ‘Nobody had informed me that I should at one 
view see a palace, a town, a fortified city, temples on high 
places, woods wortliy of being each a metropolis of the Druids, 
the noblest lawn in the world fenced by half the horizon, and a 
mausoleum that would tempt one to be buried alive; in short, 
I have seen gigantic palaces before, but never a sublime one. ’ 
That this is true of Castle Howard with its temples and avenues 

141 



no one would contest who has had the good fortune to see this 
fantastic building before the recent fatal fire; or even only 
studied it in the perspective views in the third volume of 
Vitruvius Britannicus. Let us preface our remarks on Castle 
Howard with the statement that it stands in one of the most 
beautiful parts of England, unblackened, as yet, by industry, 
near the green woods and terraces of Rievaulx Abbey. Not far 
away, lies the Great Terrace of Buncombe Park, that supreme 
masterpiece of the art of the landscape gardener. 

There will always be argument between the advocates of 
Castle Howard and Blenheim. To Mr Geoffrey Webb, for 
instance, ‘ Castle Howard is definitely an immature and tenta- 
tive work, a work in which many of the later characteristic 
motifs and qualities are indeed present, but only just — in 
embryo’, and he continues that ‘the outstanding qualities of 
his later work appear falteringly in Castle Ploward’. In the 
opinion of the late Mr Gotch: ‘No modem person can be 
incessantly as grand as the grandeur of the building demands, ’ 
and he complains of the laundry court that ‘ It is in the nature 
of a shock to see laundrymaids at work amid surroundings 
almost massive enough for Diocletian himself’. But the in- 
discriminate admirers of Vanbrugh could even take Mr 
Gotch’s remarks for praise, not blame. The whole quality of 
Vanbrugh is that he transcends reality; while Mr Geoffrey 
Webb points out, nore tlian once, the unreasonableness of such 
complaints. ‘Vanbrugh himself claimed that his houses were 
the most convenient ever yet planned, and tliis is not un- 
reasonable.’ For his interior planning is in order to devise a 
set of separate suites for the family of the owner; while Blen- 
heim and Castle Howard, far from being, as Mr Gotch com- 
plains, only suited to a large museum or other public building, 
were intended for the residence of a public hero, in the one 
instance, and in the other of a local magnate, it is true, but a 
personage of much more than merely local importance. In 
fact it is surely better not to argue about the fitness, or other- 
wise, of their utihty and destination, but to admire Blenheim 
and Castle Howard as great works of art, and be thanldul for 
their existence. 


142 



It has been remarked by Mr Gotch of Blenheim, as of 
Castle Howard, that the eye cannot grasp it in its entirety, but 
this, curiously enough, is true of the eye of the camera, but 
not the human eye. The huge masses of this heroic architec- 
ture can only be photographed from too far away to do them 
justice. But the human eye can range from point to point. We 
can look from Castle Howard, down the green avenue of lime 
and beech to the great obelisk with its inscription in honour of 
Marlborough, the hero in periwig and armour who haunts all 
Vanbrugh’s architecture, and turn in another direction over 
the trees to Vanbrugh’s Temple, with Hawksmoor’s Mauso- 
leum behind it. We can move from front to front of Castle 
Howard and compare its architecture. We shall find the grand 
facade is French, and neither Italian, nor English, in feehng; 
that is to say, it is like no actual building in France, or Italy, or 
England, but that, in treatment, and this is typical of the whole 
Vanbrugh problem, there is a reminiscence of the Conde 
stables at Chantilly, for two hundred horses, by Germain 
Bolfrand, built after Castle Howard. Mr Geoffrey Webb cites, 
as well, the Porte dc Paris at Lille, by a provincial architect, 
Simon Volant, and this, which has at least the priority in time, 
does definitely exhibit some of the characteristics of the Van- 
brugh style, and in his Castle Howard, not his Blenheim 
manner. We conclude that in this, his first building, Vanbrugh 
was inspired by his instinct, by, indeed, his inspired ignorance, 
for during his imprisonment in Paris, he can have been no 
busier studying architecture than planning plays. At Castle 
Howard, we opine, Vanbrugh intended a French chateau, but 
it came out otherwise. Great artists in their immaturity, and 
this applies particularly to Vanbrugh, who was of the obsessed 
and not the learned kind, have often achieved remarkable 
works which have emerged differently from their intention. 
We may cite the Carnaval Romain of Berhoz, intoxicating in 
effect, but neither Roman nor a carnival; and we believe that 
every creative artist, however humble, has had this experience. 
We would certainly own to it, ourselves, even in works that 
have been two years or more in writing. In the case of Van- 
brugh, the extreme competence of his workmen in this, the 

143 



great epoch of the English craftsman, together with superlative 
help and interpretation on the part of Hawksmoor, his regisseur 
or assistant manager, have resulted in this deflection or ex- 
tension being carried to its extreme limits. But it is precisely 
when artists of this calibre divagate from their original con- 
ception and can be studied in the wanderings of their instinct 
that we recognise and learn their persons. With Vanbrugh 
especially, it is by his aberrations, not his conformity, that we 
know him. 

The perspective views of Castle Howard from Vitruvius 
Britannicus show the vastness of his original scheme (Plate 17). 
For it was not completed. Sir Thomas Robinson, the Palia- 
dian, altered it, left out the little domes at one end, and never 
built the stables. The forecourt w^as not enclosed, as it appears 
in tlie engraving; while the great entrance arch of four obelisks, 
like ancient Egypt, that were to carry a cupola, was not 
erected. But the huge body and high dome arc there, and the 
entrance wings with their colonnades and shallow steps. Such 
is the essential Vanbrugh planning, to be repeated at Blenheim 
and at Seaton Delaval. There are the two fronts, for pomp and 
pleasure, wiiile we shall recognise Vanbrugh instantly, as we 
step inside, from the stone hall seventy feet high with its huge 
fluted pilasters, and from the mouldings of the huge fireplace 
that becomes Italian Baroque above, perhaps to match the 
frescoes of Pellegrini upon the higher w^atls and ceiling. A fine 
composition is formed by a round arched door frame of dressed 
stone set between pairs of recessed and engaged pilasters, with 
a balcony of splendid ironwork running across above it, backed 
by a higher door upon the passage, of similar design, the whole 
framed in by the arch that arises from the inmost pair of pilas- 
ters. What are yet more characteristic of Vanbrugh are the 
corridors of naked stone with their smooth surfaces. It could 
be one of the passages at Blenheim. There is no difference. 
Castle Howard has, further, this advantage over Blenheim, 
that it has, or had till recently, its works of art, by Canaletto in 
particular, who is to be seen here as nowhere else. 

We have said that Vanbrugh never excelled in little, and this 
is contradicted, apparently, in the erections in the park at 

144 



Castle Howard, but only to be proved true. There is a point in 
the park from which the whole of the great building can be 
seen lying magnificently in the distance, fulfilling all that 
Walpole wrote of it. Vanbrugh’s bridge is in tlie foreground 
and, to the right, his Temple lies among the trees. We may 
have seen his Satyr Gate in the walled garden and been pre- 
pared, by that, for the grotesque mask on the keystone above 
the shallow water. The original of this bridge has been traced 
to Palladio, but Vanbrugh altered its meaning by his rustica- 
tion. To say that he has rendered it bucolic is not true, for this 
bridge is not pastoral in image. It consists of three arches, 
rising in the middle, and a balustrade, with a long ramp to it on 
cither hand. The two piers, in the water, have empty niches 
like the doors of tombs above them. This bridge is cyclopean 
and not pastoral. Not heroic, as the giant bridge at Blenheim, 
intended, as Reynolds understood it in his Discourses^ for the 
tramp of Roman legions, for a ghostly army. Pons Blenhimensis 
is written on the plan, and by that name should be known this 
wonderful work of the dramatic imagination, for it leads into 
the home or shrine of tlie hero. Its poetry is most tremendous, 
perhaps, at night, when the huge proportions, leading over 
nothing, loom upon the eye. But the bridge at Castle Howard 
is of another order. If it be not pastoral, we could caU it 
in Walpole’s phrase, Druidic, leading from one grove or 
metropolis of beech trees to another. But, in fact, its only 
equivdent is in Vignola’s enchanted world of Caprarola, where 
we would find river gods and mossgrown giants in plenty. But 
Vanbrugh is the master of these bridges that cross over noth- 
ing, and are only trodden in the imagination. 

His temple of the Four Winds^ is a little masterpiece, raised 
on steps, with four Ionic porticoes. Each porch, of four pillars, 
has its pediment that carries vases, while tlie square body of the 
Temple, with urns at its corners, rises into a cupola and lantern. 
This little building is entirely useless, and a waste of money, 
but nothing in our Classical architecture is more beautiful, or 
more correct. This is a strange contradiction, coming from the 
hand of Vanbrugh. The secret is that the Temple is an 
^ It has recently been restored. 

145 



intrinsic part of Castle Howard, and arising out of that, when his 
inspiration was already working smoothly. It is subsidiary to 
the whole domain of stones and trees. Had this not been so, 
knowing Vanbrugh, we may be certain the feeling and propor- 
tion would have gone astray. Hector Berlioz, the only artist 
we have found it possible to compare with Vanbrugh, was 
capable, too, of such lyrical moments, but never in isolation, 
only as a portion or component of the whole, the ‘Chasse 
Royale’, for example, from the opera of Les Troyens, His 
single songs, to prove our argument, are never far removed 
from bathos. So are Vanbrugh’s little buildings, ‘Goose Pie 
House ’, now pulled down, and Vanbrugh Castle, Blackheath. 
As against this, in his pavilions in the grounds at Stowe, he 
was caught up easily in the idyllic mood. His pair of domed 
pavilions,^ the size of Bernini’s smaller Roman churches, and 
the Rotunda, are the only works of art among the too many 
trivial garden buildings of the park at Stowe. 

Castle Howard as a domain, with its trees and waters, is as 
though the poetry in Vanbrugh which had no outlet in his 
plays, has found its expression in another art. We know little of 
Vanbrugh as a person. His letters do not tell us much. They 
run in a clipped colloquial, in the language of his plays, but 
they reveal neither the playwright nor the architect. There is 
seldom a phrase that is worth quotation. Apart from detailed 
instructions, Vanbrugh is either entirely reticent over questions 
of 3cthetic theory, or like many another artist he is ignorant. 
He was no great reader, it is evident. He writes in the language 
of his plays, or more still, of his audience. Sarah, Duchess of 
Marlborough, is by far the better letter writer. In his architec- 
tural works he could be of the kind who are obsessed by 
literature, who are never parted from their Virgil or their 
Shakespeare. But hardly a painter, author, architect, is men- 
tioned in his letters. It is inconceivable, almost, that The Re- 
lapse and The Provok'd Wife lead us to Blenheim and to Castle 
Howard. They are such curious products for a man of fashion, 
for architecturally, they are nothing less than instances of epical 

^ The ‘Boycott* pavilions, so called; but there is a charming rotunda, 
too, by William Kent. 


146 



obsession. It could be said that Blenheim and its extraordinary 
bridge are haunted, like Les Troyens, by the Trojan march. 
The whole disposition of Blenheim, and its ornaments, are 
drawn up for battle. Castle Howard is in a mood of pleasure, 
not of war, but interpreting poets whom Vanbrugh, we may 
think it probable, had never read. 



Fig. 3. A small house by Vanbrugh: Maze Hill, Greenwich, now 
destroyed. 


Probably we should know more of Vanbrugh could we have 
seen his Opera House in the Haymarket, but no print or draw- 
ing of its interior has been preserved. It comes, in date, be- 
tween Castle Howard and Blenheim, and we are left to imagine 
its interior for ourselves from Defoe’s opinion that ‘the Name 
of this Thing (for by its outside it is not to be Distinguish’d 
from a French Church, or a HaU, or a Meeting House, or any 
147 




«uch Publick Building) is a Theatre, or in English, a Play- 
House It must, therefore, have been plain and simple on the 
outside. Within, it was an affair of columns and much gilding 
with a huge proscenium, perhaps framed with pillars, a dome 
over all, and what would appear to have been a foyer of magni- 
ficent dimensions, the whole resembling, perhaps, as Mr 
Lawrence Whistler has suggested, the Painted Hall at Green- 
wich Hospital. It was tlie biggest theatre yet built in London, 
but impossible for acoustics. The actors could not make tlieir 
voices heard. This was the setting for which Vanbrugh, the 
playwright, wrote The Confederacy, But the true dramatic 
genius of Vanbrugli will have been visible more in the theatre 
than in the play, and wc can only wish it were possible to search 
in that for tlie springs of poetry that the comedy of manners 
could never cause to flow. However, there is another interest 
in Vanbrugh’s Opera House, for it was here that the great 
Italian singers were introduced to London, the acoustics being 
suited for music but not for drama. The castrati were im- 
ported for the first time into England. At first the operas 
given were mere pasticcios, but Handel produced Rimldoy the 
earliest of his English operatic ventures at the Elaymarket. 
Nicoiini, the great mime and singer, and Senesino, after 
Farinelli probably the greatest human singers there have ever 
been, made their debut at the Opera House. Nevertheless, it 
was unprofitable for Vanbrugh and he lost his money. Even- 
tually, it was taken over by Heidegger for operas and for mas- 
querades. The whole project had been unfortunate from the 
beginning, but in its setting and dimensions we might have 
found the clue or the link between this double personality. 

In the meantime. Lord Carlisle, who was Vanbrugh’s patron 
at Castle Howard, in his capacity as Deputy Earl Marshal 
appointed the architect Clarenceux King-at-Arms, or Senior 
Herald, and he proceeded to Hanover, in 1706, to invest the 
Electoral Prince of Brunswick-Luneburg, our future George 
the Second, with the Order of the Garter. The mission, 
headed by Lord Halifax, proceeded in state to the palace where, 
in the presence of his father, later George the First, the Prince 
was clothed with the Mantle, Hood, Great Collar, Diamond 

148 



Garter, Cap and Feathers; and in the evening there vras a 
Court Ball. These mediaeval trappings, however tav/dry, are 
important, for they are coincident with a change that is coming 
over Vanbrugh the architect, the sign of which is in his re- 
building of Kimbolton, in Huntingdon, for the Earl, later 
Dulce of Manchester, This nobleman had been Ambassador 
in Venice, Paris, and Vienna, and was something, therefore, of 
what tlie age called a virtuoso. Kimbolton was an old building. 
Katharine of Aragon had died in it. We find Vanbrugh writing, 
* I thought it w^as absolutely best to give it something of the 
Castle Air, though at the same time to make it Regular ... so I 
hope Your Lordship will not be discouraged if any Italian you 
may Shew it to, should find fault that it is not Roman. ... I am 
sure this will make a very noble and masculine show.’ Later, 
in another letter, he writes, ‘I shall be much deceived if 
People do not see a Manly Beauty in it . . Kimbolton is, in 
fact, a four-square building, typical of the new manner of 
Vanbrugh which was to lead him in the end to Seaton Delaval. 
The phrase that intrigues is his invention of the ‘Castle Air’. 

For there is nothing of tliat at Castle Howard, in spite of the 
opportunity. It is his new discovery or development. He was 
setting out for effects of early grandeur, but with modern 
means. His idea of medisevalism was not the pointed arch. He 
is never to be confounded with Batty Langley and the ‘ Go- 
thick’ poetasters of tlie eighteenth century. His inspiration 
was more akin to the Norman nave of Durham, and to those 
huge columns and round arches tliat made Dr Johnson talk of 
‘rocky solidity and indeterminate duration’. Vanbrugh must 
have despised the Perpendicular. His ideal was Macbeth’s 
castle, not the tourelles and walled gardens of the Roman de la 
Rose. But it is curious that in this new manner, to be developed 
later, directly or indirectly and under his influence, at Gilling, 
Duncombe, Lumley, all of which, characteristically, are in the 
North of England, he approached the scene painters of the 
early nineteenth century. Among the scenic designs of Gon- 
zaga, Sanquirico, and others of their school for forgotten 
operas, we come upon castles that could be by Vanbrugh and 
are reminded of stables, of gate piers, and other details in his 

149 



Northern houses. Therefore, in these lesser examples upon 
which he had not much time to spend, Vanbrugh is dramatic in 
the scenic meaning. But in his last works, Grimsthorpe, 
Seaton Delaval, the effects are of sculpture, not scenography. 
By that date this master of the Baroque is working in a style 
that retains hardly anything of the Baroque; a Palladian 
window, it may be, of gargantuan scale, a balustraded roof, an 
urn or two, perhaps a statue on the skyline, yet the front of 
Grimsthorpe, more still, of Seaton Delaval, remains as 
Baroque in language, which is to say in poetry, as the colon- 
nades of Bernini at St Peter’s. 

And now let us arrive at Blenheim Palace. We will enter the 
park through the triumphal arch from Woodstock and are in 
the Mall, so called. The lake is below and Vanbrugh's 
enormous bridge near by. lierc the abused hand of I.ancclot 
(‘Capability’) Brown takes up the water which, originally, 
was but a trickle, makes it flow like a great river under the 
iieroic arch, and carries it into the distance where, on the far 
side of Blenheim, its furtlier bank is a high hanging wood, in- 
credible in beauty during the autumn months. Well might 
‘Capability’ Brown boast that ‘the Thames would never 
forgive him for what he had done herc’.^ The lake at Blen- 
heim is the one great argument of the landscape gardner. 
There is nothing finer in Europe. In its way this is one of the 
wonders of the eighteenth century, when we hear the October 
guns firing in the far wood and the lights of an early sunset lie 
along the water. The place at wdiich we are standing must be, 
more or less, where Sir Joshua Reynolds meant when he wrote 
of Blenheim in liis Discourses, For in the distance, we catch 
our first sight of its walls and colonnades, its square towers, 
like stands of arms, and the ornaments like grenades upon the 
buttressed finials. We see the recessed centre, between the 
wings, the porch and pediment, the distant trophies, or so we 
imagine, and the statues. 

But it hides back between the trees. The road turns, and 
there fics the enormous building at another angle. We come to 

^ ‘Capability’ Brown repeated this remark, we arc told, at Castle 
Ashby. 


150 



a Doric doorway of yellow stone, set in a curtain wail of round 
arches with mock battlements above them, and walk through 
this into the courtyard; and out through another stone gate, of 
Vanbrugh’s typical ringed columns, with lions above them, and 
find ourselves before the front of Blenheim. We will walk to 
the centre, watching how die building moves widi us, and 
stand before the portico, but some distance from it. The head 
or body of the building is this portico; two pillars in the 
middle, two engaged pilasters to either hand, a sculptured 
pediment, and the body of the Great Hall set back beliind it, 
tlircc windows to cither side upon two floors, vdth tall com- 
posite pilasters between. We watch, in Reynolds’s phrase, the 
advance ‘of die second and third group of masses’, for the 
curtain wings spread outward to a pair of towers, widi pillared 
colonnades below them that give light and shadow, and that 
end with fine sculptured trophies, or piled arms, upon the 
cornices, above their tube-like corridors. Turning round, \ve 
see the great bridge before us, and looking back, admire the 
graded levels and the shallow steps, for these levels, on this 
front of Blenheim, are important as the pedals in a piece of 
piano music. Its meaning or expression would be entirely lost 
without them. The isolation of its parts, which stand quite 
still, or move at will, depending on how we look at them, makes 
this entrance front of Blenheim, whether we think it beautiful 
or not, one of the most extraordinary feats in architecture. 

But we will continue round the building, for it is architecture 
upon all four sides, looking first at the garden front of Blen- 
heim. This faces, now, on to a bare expanse of lawn and cedar 
trees, for the great parterre was swept away in the craze for 
landscape gardening that destroyed the formal garden, but 
left the lake instead. The South facade is to be seen, there- 
fore, under precisely the opposite conditions to those intended 
for it. A huge Corinthian order forms the centre, and together 
with the recessed pilasters to either hand it composes what 
could be termed a solid or static triumphal gateway, the monu- 
mental meaning of which is proved, when we examine it, by 
the colossal bust of Louis quatorze upon the plinth, a trophy 
taken in battle from the gate of Cambrai. An emblem of war 

151 



and victory upon a building in the heroic manner. Within this 
facade the state rooms of the palace extend in a long line^ and 
are hung with the tapestries of Marlborough’s wars, woven in 
Flanders. The four towers at the corners of Blenheim are 
solid as guard rooms and are crowned with those curious 
buttresses that suggest stands of arms and that support, in fact, 
four flaming stone grenades to each. But we can walk to the 
two ends for the two lesser fronts. To the West there is a small 
garden, flanked by an orangery, by what was, originally, the 
Titian gallery, and this garden was laid out again by the late 
Duke of Marlborough, who did much to restore the glories of 
the formal Blenheim. From this harmony of the elaborate 
‘broderie’ of flowers and coloured pebbles with Vanbrugh’s 
arcliitccture, we may imagine for ourselves that colossal Corin- 
thian order as it must have looked with the great parterre 
spread out before it. The windows of the great library take up 
the whole length of the remaining front of Blenheim, broken 
between the two towers, in the centre, by a protruding apse or 
bay which is continued on the upper floor witli caryatids, be- 
tween the windows, tliat must be a reminiscence of the ‘ Persian ’ 
court of Inigo Jones, designed for Whitehall. Below this, the 
late Dulte of Marlborough restored the fountain by Bernini, and 
laid out the garden and the shelves of water that lead down to 
the great lake and the hanging woods, beyond, of ‘ Capability ’ 
Brown. This is probably the most successful work of the for- 
mal gardener done in our time, and being conceived on the 
original lines is really in scale with the whole gigantic planning.^ 
In a book that deals more with architecture than the contents 
of houses we have only time to pass through the great hall, to 
note the typical corridors of Vanbrugh, admire the saloon with 
walls painted by Laguerre (a far better painter than Verrio), 
and traverse the state rooms, up and dowm, to either hand, 
lined with the tapestries of the French wars, ending with the 
library ; and thence to the chapel to see Marlborough’s monu- 
ment by Rysbrack and the carved figures by Gabriel Cibber 
that are above tlie altar. But the works of art, except the family 
portraits, are all gone. The collection of paintings that made 
^ The French garden architect Duchdne was employed. 

152 



Dr Waagen write: "If nothing were to be seen in England but 
Blenheim, with its park and treasures of art, there would be 
no reason to repent the journey to this country, ’ were sold at 
Christie’s, in 1886, among them many of the masterpieces of 
Rubens, for the towns of Flanders had offered Marlborough 
their finest paintings by that master. We see Blenheim, there- 
fore, diminished from its former splendour, but much that has 
been said about Vanbrugh can be refuted on the spot. The 
mythical inconvenience of his planning has sprung from the 
imagination of his critics. It is the houses of the strict Palla- 
dians in the generation after Vanbrugh that are ill built, 
draughty, and uncomfortable. Such are the buildings that 
Alexander Pope had in mind in his couplet : 

Shall call the winds thro’ long arcades to roar 

Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door. 

It has been said of Blenheim, by one of its late owmers, that so 
accurate is the detail, it is possible to look from end to end of 
the state rooms and see the daylight down the line of keyholes. 
Blenheim is a stone monument with rooms contrived within 
for the convenience of its custodians. There is not an excep- 
tional number of large rooms. Its importance is its monu- 
mental character and the maintenance of that, Vanbrugh 
must not be blamed, therefore, because there are few rooms 
upon the upper floors. To listen to such criticisms is to charge 
the architect because he did not make Blenheim bigger still. 
For this great architectural conception may be at its grandest 
and most magnificent in intimacy, as I have seen it upon a wet 
November evening, when the rain is splashing on the court and 
in the colonnades, when, looking out from a window in a 
corridor, we see a shadow like a level causeway in the distance, 
and know it must be tlie Roman bridge of Vanbrugh with its 
great arch and the square rooms within its piers,^ and in 

^ Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, in one of her best letters, com- 
plains of being able to count thirty-three rooms in the bridge at 
Blenheim and a house at each of the four comers, and continues, 
despairingly, ‘ but that which makes it so much prettier than London 
Bridge is that you may sit in six rooms and look out at a window into 
the high arch, while the coaches are driving over your head’. 

153 



imagination hear the clarions and watch the torches come 
nearer and throw their marching lights upon this heroic build- 
ing. It is this, certainly. Not less, on such an occasion as the 
last summer before the war, when the whole of Blenheim was 
floodlit for the ball, from panoramic court and scenic portico 
to the dark cedars on the lawn and the bust of ‘Le Roi Soleil’, 
a prisoner, upon the pediment; from the powdered hair and 
‘Padua’ scarlet of the state liveries, through the crowded 
ballrooms, down to the rooms hung with ‘Indian’ papers 
that look out upon Bernini’s fountain; to the shelves of water 
and the deep lake that seemed to move and flow. That was a 
galaxy of light upon this theatrical, but heroic building, upon 
tliis private monument that is a Roman triumph and a public 
pantomime; and amid those lights it was possible to admire 
Vanbrugh’s architecture as it may never be seen again. 

Too much, probably, has been written about the quarrels of 
this man of genius — who could deny genius, in the case of 
Vanbrugh? — with that most remarkable woman v/ho was 
married to his patron. Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, has 
been placed in front, so as to obscure the building, by critics 
who find it easier to discuss a pair of characters from their 
letters than to pass judgment upon an architecture that is 
unique and without parallel. There is a class of mind to whom 
Blenheim is nothing better than ‘a vulgar pile’. Decidedly, 
its character is that of selfish ostentation. But half-a-million 
had been voted by Parliament for this building, a sum 
equivalent to the cost of a cruiser, not a battleship, in modern 
money. Those engines of war, in spite of their patriotic uses, 
are built only for that, and for no other purpose. Blenheim is 
an instance of a private house that is, as well, a monument 
given by the nation. It has to be considered, therefore, in that 
particular character. But Vanbrugh will never be the popular 
architect. The grandiose conceptions, in which lay his genius, 
were only possible to a few private persons of cynical extrava- 
gance. Did only Vanbrugh’s buildings more resemble stage 
scenery, which they do not, we could write of him that his 
architecture is the only example of the theatrical vision become 
true to life. But in reality it is something far different. There 

154 



are no churches built by Vanbrugh; nor Baroque monasteries. 
No Melk, no St Florian, no Ottobeuren. But at Blenheim, at 
Castle Howard, at Seaton Delaval, he built houses upon the 
scale of the most grandiose of Piranesi’s visions. Wc must 
think of Vanbrugh as being obsessed by the gigantic. The 
string orchestra was neglected by him; or he had no feeling 
for it. He employed, like Berlioz in the Grand Messe dcs 
Marts four brass bands and the full orchestra. That is the 
significance of the four towers, the ringed columns, the Roman 
bridges of his planning. 

King’s Weston in Gloucestershire, the most compact of Van- 
brugh’s houses, for it is a single block, merely, without wings, 
betrays the architect by the huge dimensions of its Corinthian 
frontispiece built, apparently, for a patron who could not 
afford a portico, and by the characteristic device, used nowhere 
else, of linking together the chimney stacks and raising them 
into the air to form a square arcade, the effect of which is 
curious and singular more than beautiful. But drawings exist at 
King’s Weston for a more elaborate layout, with a forecourt and 
a Cyclopean archway bearing a stone pyramid upon it, reminis- 
cent of the destroyed pyramid in the grounds at Stowe. At 
King’s Weston, however, the huge hand of Vanbrugh had to stay 
its course, leaving us the avenues and the view over the Bristol 
Channel to the far hills of Wales. The huge simplifications of 
his later manner at Eastbury, in Dorset, built for Bubb Dod- 
ington, may have been so excessive that they justified the fate 
of this house, blown up by gunpowder after £200 a year had 
been offered to anyone who would live there, and there were no 
replies. Eastbury, in Vitruvius Britannicus^ is like a smaller and 
more solid Blenheim, with the wings cut off. The single block, 
that is to say, is a solid core of masonry, with a huge, rusticated 
Doric portico of ringed pillars, roundheaded rustic windows in 
the inevitable towers, and an attic with a balustrade. At East- 
bury, Vanbrugh has not advanced to the freedom of his last 
phase at Grimsthorpe and Seaton Delaval. The facade, in fact, 
is much as at Grimsthorpe, but less well contrived. It may be, 
though, that at Eastbury there were Vanbrugh’s finest rooms, 
for Bubb Dodington was the most spendthrift of his patrons. 

155 



Claremont, Esher, for the Duke of Newcastle, is another house 
by Vanbrugh that has been destroyed. It consisted of a re- 
cessed central body and two huge, solid wings, each with four 
towers, all in Vanbrugh’s round arched, round windowed 
manner, and from the engraving quite plain and without orn- 
ment. It contained at least one splendid room, but Claremont 
was perhaps more famous for its gardens and pavilions, some 
of the latter in plain classic, and others in this round arched 
mediaeval manner. Nothing is left of Vanbrugh’s Claremont; 
nor of Floors Castle (if, indeed by Vanbrugh at all), built in 
Scotland for the Duke of Roxburgh, ‘severely plain not to say 
heavy looking’ according to an old description; in the style, 
therefore, of Kimbolton or of Lumley. 

We are left with Seaton Dclaval (Plate lo), stranded in 
extraordinary and unpremeditated circumstances close to the 
Northumbrian seashore, but in a web of colliery lines, close 
to a mining village, and set in a landscape of clinker heaps that, 
by night, are lit up by flares. Ever>n;hing to do with this house 
and its history is dramatically romantic and extreme; not least 
the Dclavals themselves, their lives of debauchery and the 
violence of their ends. The males of the family drank to excess 
and fell down dead, but never died in bed, while the daughters 
were renowned for their beauty, among their number being 
Lady Tyrconncl, v/ho had hair so long and luxuriant that it 
floated behind her, upon her saddle, when she rode. The 
entire family, one night, with Garrick’s authority, took the 
boards at Drury Lane; and it needs little imagination, knowing 
the history of the family, to feel certain that Seaton Delaval, 
their home, would be burned out in a fire, caused, in actual 
fact, because the jackdaws had built their nests in the neg- 
lected chimneys. Such was the family of the Delavals, and 
Vanbrugh devised the appropriate setting for their beauty and 
folly, building this huge house with three rooms only on the 
ground floor facing the entrance side, and one other room to 
extend the whole length of the garden front, Tliis garden front 
has an immense Ionic portico, but the drama is interior, and 
plays its effects upon the forecourt side. Here we have a rusti- 
cated Doric front of Cyclopean scale, a flat entrance arch, and 

156 



another, above and echoing it, in gigangtic keystones, and at 
the comers ringed columns grouped in fours, flanked by 
octagonal towers. This front is lifted on a high flight of 
steps, so that the massive foundation piers, as it were, of the 
towers and columns are to be seen. 

But the peculiarity of the plan of Seaton Delaval is the depth 
of this forecourt, or in other words, the extreme length of its 
wings, each with its fa(;ade to match. The axis of the forecourt 
is different, thus, from those at Blenheim or Castle Howard, 
for their treatment does not open or curve towards the spec- 
tator, but faces directly inward at right angles to the main 
building. These wings, with the central block between them, 
give an effect that is magnificent, and to which none of the 
same criticisms can be applied that form the disparagement, to 
some minds, of the other principal buildings due to Vanbrugh.^ 
Seaton Delaval did not cost, altogether, an excessive sum of 
money; it is huge in scale and on purpose, more than in actual 
fact. It is a huge stone scene, of sculpture, not of painting, 
and as remote from the eighteenth century that gave it birth 
as are the temples of Angkor from their inhabitants, of whom 
there are no traces. In point of drama, Seaton Delaval may 
impress more than any other building in the Kingdom. It 
has now been completely restored (i960) and is lived in once 
more. 

After its extraordinary character of force and bleakness it is 
hardly less peculiar and unexpected that the last major work by 
Vanbrugh should be the most habitable of all his houses. 
Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire, for the Duke of Ancastcr, 
was to have been rebuilt entirely. Vanbrugh’s designs were 
published in Vitruvius Britannicus; the mediaeval and Tudor 

^ The endless arches, in perspective, of the wings of Seaton Delaval 
resemble nothing so much as a view of the ruined stibles and granaries 
of Moulay Ismail, at Meknes, in Morocco. It was this dusky tyrant 
who aspired to the hand of an illegitimate daughter of Louis quatorze. 
Here, in the Dar-cl-Makhzen, he kept his twelve thousand mules and 
horses; his ostriches from the Sahara; and the tawny nurseries in 
which he raised his Black Guard. The signature of time rests, alike, 
on ruined Seaton Delaval and on the ruins in the marigold fields of 
Meknes. 


157 



house was to have been destroyed, and nothing kept of it but 
the courtyard of its plan, with new buildings round that. But 
in the end only one front was built, comprising the forecourt 
and the entrance. Nevertheless, Grimsthorpe must be, 
humanly, the most considerate of Vanbrugh’s houses, for it 
imposes no burdens that arc difficult or even impossible to 
bear. His front of the house consists of a pair of two-storeyed 
towers with cyclopean blank windows on their ground floors, 
a low curtain wall with an iron railing, and a court enclosed by 
walls with recessed arches in them, that run back from the 
towers to the house. The fa9ade itself is composed of a pair 
of three-storeyed towers, the big brothers of that smaller pair, 
with augmentation of a full Palladian window on their middle 
floors. Between them lies the fabric or main body of the front; 
two floors of massive, rounded windows, a balustrade with urns 
and statues, and for the corners of this frontispiece pairs of 
plain ringed columns supporting heavy pedestals for sculp- 
tured figures. It is a compound of Vanbrugh’s cyclopean style 
with a deference to the new Palladians of the coming years. At 
the same time, the main body with its statues and balustrades, 
with identical balustrades and urns at the four corners of 
all four towers, is Baroque architecture. Inside, lies the 
two-storeyed hall with its round arcades that are blank, or 
frame ancestral portraits. This is the most splendid and simple 
of Vanbrugh’s interiors, with its monolith of a mantelpiece 
and the plain mouldings of the ceiling. Perhaps this one 
room and the staircases are enough. Probably it is to the good 
that Vanbrugh built this much, and no more, at Grimsthorpe. 

The last designs of Vanbrugh, here, and for the Temple or 
Belvedere at Castle Howard, show him moving in a new 
direction. The faults of this man of genius arc forgotten. 
They are gone, but fame has not forgiven him. Were it any- 
where but down the avenues, near to the obelisk and within 
sight of the gigantic Mausoleum, this Temple in the grounds 
of Castle Howard would be recognised for one of the most 
beautiful buildings of fantasy due to the age of reason. It 
would be that, had it a public purpose, or indeed any purpose 
at all but its dedication to abstract or poetic pleasures. But 

158 



neither has it associations in history. There has been no 
tragedy from this extravagance, and no moral lesson. But 
Anglo-Saxon character insists on this, and in its absence is not 
satisfied. The modern mind must know the reason for such 
private selfishness and only hesitatingly learns to forgive it. 
Vanbrugh, certainly, was one of the most costly executants 
there has ever been. His extravagances were committed on 
behalf of so few persons. His effects are so large in scale and so 
little complicated. But they had to be made of hard stone. 
Vanbrugh did not work in stucco. Never again in architecture 
do we find an imagination that is akin to his. Never again is 
there genius, unless it be in the person of Sir William Cham- 
bers. There is wonderful competence for more than a century 
to come, and a dazzling skill. But never chaos and disorder 
taking shape; never the sense that there is some deeper mean- 
ing which we do not understand. To some minds that is the 
test of genius. So let it be. For Vanbrugh, who will never be 
popular, is one of our three great architects, and our great 
master of the Baroque age. But unique, not only in England, 
for he has no parallel anywhere. If we will but take him as he 
meant, with no misgiving, Vanbrugh must be the one English 
genius of that eclectic age. 

Postscript 

Vide pp. 150, 21 1. Mrs Esdaile points to the statement of 
Repton {Observations upon Landscape Gardenings 1B03, p. 168) 
that on the authority of ‘the late Mr Henry Holland, to whom 
at his decease he (‘Capability’ Brown) left his drawings’, 
Croome Court, Worcestershire, house, offices, lodges, church, 
etc., ‘were designed by ‘Capability’ Brown for the Earl of 
Coventry. ’ This, as Mrs Esdaile observes, heads the long list 
of Brown’s works, and may entitle him to rank high among the 
architects of his time. Nevertheless Croome is a very complex 
house; part is earlier; Adam and Chippendale worked, and, it 
is said, quarrelled, there, and Sanderson Miller may have been 
connected with it. Holland’s own opinion is quoted and is 
very laudatory, and Brown may be unique in ‘never having 
had one single difference in dispute with any of his employers ’. 

159 



I.ord Coventry raised a monument to him at Croome, and 
wrote most warmly of him in a letter quoted on p. 169 of 
Repton’s book, ‘Capability’ Brown, therefore, was a con- 
siderable architect as well as landscape gardener,^ 

^ Cf ‘Capability* Brown by Dorothy Stroud, 1950. 


160 



7. Castle Howard, Yorkshire, by S,r John Vanbrugh: the (iardcn'l-W 
18. Queen's College Library, Oxiord, hy Nicholas Hawk.smoor. 





20. Mompesson House, Salisbury; the former Judges’ Lodgings in the 
C'athcdral Close. 

RADIO TIMES HUI-TON l.IHRARY 



BAT5FORD 

21. 'rho Senate House, Cambridge, by James Gibbs. 

22. Russborough, Co. Wicklow, by Richard Casscls 

and David Bindon: a Colonnade. 

BATSPOHD 





NATIONAI. RDILOINGS RECORD V 

23. Wilton Park, Wiltshire; the Palladian Bridge, I 

by Roger Morris and the Earl of Pembroke. i 


14. Wilton House, Wiltshire: the Double Cube Room (c. 1650) by Inigo Jones 
ind John Webb; the ceiling painted by Edward Pierce and Emanuel dc C>itz. 


COUNTRY LIFE J; 












VI 


HAWKSMOOR AND THE BAROQUE 

METAMORPHOSIS of Sir John Vanbrugh from play- 
A wright into architect was so abrupt and sudden that no 
one, precisely, can account for it. Vanbrugh had studied 
architecture as a youth in France: or had not, and was a native 
genius. Such are the obvious arguments. But when we recall 
that the English translation of Fratel Pozzo’s work on archi- 
tectural perspective had a preface signed by Hawksmoor, 
Wren, and Vanbrugh, we get the true dimensions of the mys- 
stery. For Hawksmoor was assistant to both Wren and Van- 
brugh. He was ‘scholar and domestic clerk’ to Wren from 
1679, when he was eighteen years old. But Sir Christopher 
Wren, it is certain, did not need his professional advice. Can 
as much be said of Vanbrugh? 

Hawksmoor worked for Wren at St Paul’s, at Chelsea 
Hospital, Kensington Palace, the unfinished palace at Win- 
chester, and at Greenwich. He assisted Vanbrugh at Castle 
Howard and Blenheim. Was he lent by Wren to Vanbrugh 
to help him and to correct his plans? If so, then, is not the 
mystery of Vanbrugh explained? But, on all the evidence, 
Hawksmoor was not the ‘ghost’ of Vanbrugh. A double 
mystery now begins. For Hawksmoor, who was working at 
Queen’s College, Oxford, in the complete Baroque manner 
before 1700,^ once Castle Howard and Blenheim were largely 
finished, changed over into Vanbrugh’s idiom. He even de- 
veloped that and built churches in it. So, in fact, he became 
haunted by the architect whom he had been charged to im- 
personate. But neither, for that matter, is Queen’s College in 
Wren’s manner. And what of the bastard ‘Gothick’ of All 
Souls? Where, and how, does that fit into the argument? 

^ This is now thought unlikely; see p. 90. 

F 161 



The truth would seem to be that Hawksmoor with his long 
professional training was the perfect technical assistant, but 
with an individuality of his own. He was what, in theatrical 
circles, would be called the regisseur of Wren and Vanbrugh, 
but, in the end, he managed a theatrical company of his own. 
That explains the association, but does not end the mystery. 
For it deepens still further. It is concerned with certain 
changes in Wren’s later style. The Orangery at Kensington 
Palace is an instance of this. Its doorway has the ringed 
Doric columns of Blenheim, Grimsthorpe, and Seaton Delaval. 
The ends of the Orangery have Vanbrugh’s familiar round 
arched windows. The interior shows his round arched door- 
ways and his shallow niches. Was the Orangery designed by 
Vanbrugh, and not by Wren? One of Vanbrugh’s published 
letters bears direct evidence that this was not the case. There 
is the question, too, of Greenwich Hospital. Here, it is not 
enough to define, in actual fact, which architect was re- 
sponsible, for it is a matter of their influence upon each other. 
There is no question that, except for a portion only, it was 
built by Wren. But it has been suggested that the two cupolas 
of Greenwich are more typical of Vanbrugh than they are of 
Wren, Again, the two schemes for Whitehall that were found 
in the Library of All Souls in 1930, though they are typical of 
Wren in their ornaments and in the carved monograms above 
the windows, reveal him in a strange, wild mood in the portico 
of a single order, ‘quite a hundred feet high’, and facing to 
the river. The truth may be that Wren, towards the end of his 
life, listened more and more to Vanbrugh. Or it could be that 
Wren himself was still developing. Or that Hawksmoor was 
‘ghost’ to both of them. 

The respective strengths of the triumvirate who signed 
their names to Fratel Pozzo’s preface were skill, originality, and 
power of execution. But these attributes did not always in- 
habit the same person to the same degree. They shifted their 
weight, so that Wren became more daring and more original, 
Vanbrugh acquired technical skill and was no more the 
amateur in architecture, while Hawksmoor turned creator and 
not mere executant. Wren was seventy years old at the turn of 

162 



the century when he came into association with Vanbrugh. 
Hawksmoor had worked for him, already, for more than 
twenty years. But Wren had still another twenty years of 
mental activity before him. The truth concerning this quasi- 
Baroquc phase in English architecture must lie in the cross- 
fertilisation of its three parents. As many of the new ideas 
may have come from Wren as originated in the mind of Van- 
brugh. But there is more, certainly, of Vanbrugh in the late 
Wren than there is of Wren in Vanbrugh. Perhaps, in his old 
age. Wren played at being the amateur of new ideas. This late 
fecundity has happened in the case of other artists. Verdi, in 
Falstaff and Otello; Renoir in his last paintings, are a pair of 
instances. The originality of the aged tends to visit those who 
were not original when they were young. With a person of 
Vanbrugh’s rare and peculiar genius the tendency is for it to 
move the other way. Vanbrugh was of the type who would be- 
come more sober and restrained as he grew older. Hawks- 
moor, on the other hand, only found his liberty in middle age. 

But there is a school of thought to v/hom Hawksmoor is not 
the least interesting of this trio of architects. He was the 
‘understudy’ to whom Wren allowed at last the taldng over 
of his part, upon occasion, when his hands were full. How- 
ever, this is not in the known character of Wren, who was the 
most generous and helpful of mortals. It seems likely, there- 
fore, that Wren would be the first to encourage an independent 
spirit in his ‘scholar and domestic clerk’, and its most pro- 
bable form would be that Hawksmoor brought to him his 
original drawings and designs. A man who has spent twenty 
years of his life working in the office of another will have felt 
misgiving and apprehension as to his own powers. We suggest, 
therefore, that Wren helped Hawksmoor with his advice, that 
the roles were reversed, and in the beginning Wren was 
‘ghost’ for Hawksmoor. Then came the term of his long 
years of work with Vanbrugh. During this time he developed 
his full originality under this other influence. It is true he felt 
this more strongly than the influence of Wren. But Wren was 
of the type of artist who expresses himself in full, who lets no 
crusts fkll from his table. He was the perfect and balanced 

163 



intellectual, whereas Vanbrugh was the man of temperament 
and impulse. More was to be gathered, or inherited from 
Vanbrugh, the more physical of the pair of parents. How 
much, though, did Vanbrugh get from Hawksmoor? Much 
assistance, it is probable, but no more. It is more likely, by far, 
that Hawksmoor had to restrain and curb this unpractised and 
unruly genius, in his early buildings, at Blenheim and at Castle 
Howard, than that Vanbrugh had to come to Hawksmoor for 
his ideas. But, indeed, a close degree of consultation between 
all three architects must be assumed, and is the true solution 
to the mystery. Wren, certainly, was consulted over Castle 
Howard. If we only knew the respective share of the three 
architects in the building of Greenwich Hospital the whole 
problem would be solved. It would seem that the character of 
Wren as architect has come down to us in distorted form. 
English criticism has been too apt to assume that the Baroque 
was, naturally, distasteful to Wren. St Paul’s has become so 
famous that it is forgiven, but we tend to think that the style he 
loved to build in was the plain red brick. Hampton Court, 
‘like an English country house’, is argued with much justice 
to be a more beautiful palace than Versailles. But it could be 
advanced also that only the extravagant habits of Charles the 
Second over his women, the furtive ways of William the Third 
who preferred dining in private with a few male friends, and 
the self-conscious closeness of Queen Anne, prevented White- 
hall and Winchester from being realised in all their splendour. 
Had that happened. Wren would have come down to us in a 
different picture. He would have been the Baroque architect, 
one of the greatest of that line, and not the builder of the red 
brick Queen Anne house. 

But we are to deal with Hawksmoor as another Baroque 
architect. Let us note that he was three years older than 
Vanbrugh, bom in Nottinghamshire, in i66i. Queen’s 
College, Oxford, was begun before the end of the century 
(Plate 1 8 ). This is absolutely Baroque in spirit, and could 
appear, to some tastes, the most admirable building in Oxford. 
If the ‘High’ be, as it is often said, one of the most splendid 
streets in the world in point of architecture, then Queen’s is, 

164 



on the whole, the most successful building in its whole length. 
Hawksmoor drew up plans, too, for Brasenose^ and for the 
Radcliffe Library, but these were rejected. His next venture, 
at Oxford, was the rebuilding of All Souls, This has been 
abused, indiscriminately, but besides being interesting, his- 
torically, as the earliest instance of all-over ‘Gotliick’, its 
bastard spires and crockets are a definite part of the beauty of 
that group of buildings. Are they not in some sort of harmony 
with the scrio-comical busts, with the curve of the Sheldonian, 
the late Gothic of the Divinity School, the Jacobean court of 
the Bodleian, and the Radcliffe Camera of Gibbs? Far from 
lamenting the work of Hawksmoor at Oxford, we could wish 
that he had been allowed his hand at Cambridge. For he was 
no Vandal. He pleaded for the preservation of the old build- 
ings at All Souls. His plan for the ‘reforming’ of Cambridge 
will have contained more good than bad; while, if we are to 
consider Hawksmoor as an eclectic, it is remarkable, to say the 
least of it, that the hall of All Souls, with its Thornhill portraits, 
should be contemporaneous with the High Street front of 
Queen’s, and with the Mausoleum at Castle Howard. 

The most considerable works of Hawksmoor are his City 
churches. Queen Anne’s Act for the building of fifty new 
churches had been passed, and Havv^ksmoor was among the 
architects. It is very evident, in these, that he was no mere 
imitator of Wren. St Mary Woolnoth must be a familiar sight 
to a public of many tens of thousands who have never heard of 
Hawksmoor. This curious church, in style, could be a frag- 
ment of Blenheim built again in Lombard Street, and the 
twelve Corinthian columns of the interior are in keeping, 
though so complete is the hand of degradation that if we follow 
down the street we may find it difficult to determine where the 
architecture of Queen Anne comes to an end and the Metro- 
politan Railway begins. The steeple of St Anne’s, Limehouse, 
is again in the style of Blenheim, but with ‘Gothick’ ftnials, 
and an interior that is more interesting than St Mary Wool- 
noth. The hand of Hawksmoor appears, too, in St Alphege, 

^ Plans for Brasenose, of monumental charaaer, are in Vitruvius 
Britannicus. 


165 



Greenwich, but not in the tower, which is by James of Green- 
wich. This church of Portland stone stands at the corner, 
before we come to the Hospital, and is a first intimation of the 
architectural and marine glories that lie beyond. St George’s- 
in-the-East is a church by Hawksmoor that is unknown to me. 
Christchurch, Spitalfields, is the finest of his City churches. 
The exterior is a work of the utmost originality, though a 
result of intellectual processes and not of inspiration. Its 
steeple and portico have been considered, and considered 
again, from every angle. No sculpture or ornament is em- 
ployed. The whole effect comes from its abstract planes and 
masses. The interior is no less deliberate with its projecting 
lateral arcades of Corinthian pillars. 

Hawksmoor did not repeat himself. Those persons, ana 
they would be the majority, who could not identify Queen’s 
and All Souls, on visual evidence, as works of the same 
architect, would hesitate to connect together Christchurch, 
Spitalfields, with St George’s, Bloomsbury. But to those who 
haunt the Reading Room and love the part of London that lies 
round Shaftesbury Avenue, two of the endearing monuments 
are the white steeples of St George’s, Bloomsbury, and St 
Giles-in-the-Field$. The stepped pyramid of St George’s is 
one of the curiosities of London, but it attracts no more 
attention than do the living curiosities who come to and fro, 
every day, from the Museum. A statue of George the Second 
sails aloft, through sun or fog, on top of what purports to be a 
model of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the ancient 
Seven Wonders of the World. The top of that was adorned 
with a chariot drawn by four horses, a sculptural animation 
that probably inspired Hawksmoor to the Lion and Unicorn 
that played at the base of his pyramid. A thousand pities that 
they were taken down ! The Unicorn sat upright at one comer 
of the pyramid, with its long tail curled up behind it. Probably 
the white Portland stone hinted that this heraldic animal was 
as much the white horse of Hanover as the British Unicorn. 
The Lion, more like a huge mastiff, was climbing, head first, 
down the pyramid at the other corner, lashing its great tail for 
some two or three steps towards the sunmiit. Between the 

i66 




Fig. 4. The Steeple of St George^s, Bloomsbury^ 
showing the lion and unicorn, since removed, 
probably represented too large. 


167 



front paws of both Lion and Unicorn stood, and still stands 
alone, the Royal crown. 

Of liis domestic architecture, Hawksmoor has left one im- 
portant example only, Easton Neston, in Northamptonshire, 
built for Lord Lempster, and its history is confused and puzzl- 
ing. Wren is said to have added wings, at an earlier date, to a 
house that was later pulled dovm, and then rebuilt by Elawks- 
moor. Wren may in fact have given plans for Easton Neston. 
But the wings in any case are now pulled down, and the house 
is in Vanbrugh-Hawksmoor manner, not in that of Wren. The 
interior rooms are high and narrow, with long windows that 
should look out on formal canal and avenue, and as we shall 
know later there is fine stuccowork. The absence of great 
houses built by Hawksmoor is the more to be regretted because 
he was an architect who arrived at originality by such pains- 
taking thought and logic that the Baroque school in England 
might not have been driven out by the revived Palladian. 

But we have left, till last, the one masterpiece of Hawks- 
moor, the Mausoleum at Castle Hov/ard. We would propose 
that the Mausoleum and Vanbrugh’s Temple, his last work — 
and we might add the Marino of Sir William Chambers, 
which we shall describe on another page — are greater works 
of art than many of our cathedrals. All three belong to the class 
of landscape buildings, and probably, of their kind, they are as 
beautiful as anything in Europe. A special essay, embodying 
Hawksmoor’s letters to Lord Carlisle concerning the Mauso- 
leum, has been printed by Mr Geoffrey Webb in a volume of 
the Walpole Society,^ and from this we quote two facts, or one 
fact, rather, and an observation. Castle Howard had cost 
£35,000 : the garden works, including the Temple or Belvedere, 
another £24,000; and the Mausoleum, £19,000. Mr Geoffrey 
Webb observes that in fact the Mausoleum was a major archi- 
tectural work, comparable in size and architectural importance 
with, say, one of Wren’s more ambitious City churches. As 
much must be stated, in order that neither Vanbrugh’s Temple 
nor Hawksmoor’s Mausoleum should be classed as summer 
houses or pavilions. 

' Vol. XIX for 1931. 

168 



The Mausoleum is approached by long flights of balustraded 
steps, and stands, itself, upon a huge stone platform. It is a 
circular domed building, with disengaged Doric columns. In 
the interior there is a vault, up to the level of the platform, and 
above that is the chapel, with Corinthian columns that up- 
hold a rich and splendid frieze of stone. The domed roof, of 
stone, is high above. The whole of the Mausoleum is ideally 
Roman, even Virgilian, in grandeur. Yet Hawksmoor was 
completing, at the same time, the High Street front of Queen's, 
in full Baroque, and the ‘Gothick’ spires and turrets of All 
Souls. During the course of his correspondence, the con- 
tinual changes of plan are to be noticed, the insistence on the 
Roman style, and his anxiety lest the younger generation of 
patrons, who were fed on Palladio, should think of him as 
Italianate and old-fashioned, or, in fact. Baroque. He was 
determined to be Roman in his Mausoleum, and one of the 
curiosities of architecture is that a man who could build so 
dehghtful an absurdity as St George's, Bloosmbury, and 
imagine that he was copying closely the Mausoleum of Hah- 
carnassus in so doing, had the poetical power and skill, and 
the cold intellect, as weU, to rise to t^s Virgihan wonder 
among the woods and lawns of Castle Howard.^ 

Perhaps we shall understand Hawksmoor if we look at his 
bust, at All Souls, for it shows him with close-cropped hair, 
not in the fashion of his age. He had become eminent, not 
through fame or genius, but only from hard work. He was as 
practised as Adam, Wyatt, Barry, or any other of the great 
architects. Perhaps, like them, his danger was that he could 
build in any style. He seems to have been a person who could 
work with equal determination on a good plan, or a bad; and 
with as much painstaking interest over the v/ork of another 
man, as on his own. Not a genius, not an assured instinct, 
even, for if we admire Christchurch, Spitalfields, we need not 
say that St Mary Woolnoth is a thing of beauty. His services 

^ The inventory of works of art in possession of Hawksmoor at 
his death, to be published shortly by Dr Tancred Borenius in The 
Burlington Magazine, will prove that he owned paintings by Rembrandt 
and by the Italian masters. 


169 



were invaluable at Castle Howard and Blenheim; his own 
published description shows the importance of Greenwich 
Hospital in his own mind, but is no clue to what share he had 
in it; we may be amused by him at St George’s, Bloomsbury, 
admire him at Queen’s, and discover, to our surprise, his 
talents at All Souls. But in the Mausoleum at Castle Howard 
Hawksmoor is altogether exceptional. No longer Baroque; or, 
indeed, anything else than Roman, but in the poetical, not the 
correct meaning of that term, for it applies only to the high 
dome and the drum of columns as we catch a sight of them 
from far away, through the trees or across the landscaped 
waters. In that setting the Mausoleum of Castle Howard is 
one of the poetical beauties of the Kingdom. 

But this is not the end of the Baroque influence in this island. 
There are one or two more persons, and instances, to be 
accounted for. Vanbrugh, and through him, Hawksmoor, had 
a particular following in the North, probably because the 
‘castle’ style was suited to the Yorkshire scene. But Lumlcy 
more than Castle Howard was the pattern. Vanbrugh writes 
from York in 1721 : ‘I return’d but last night from the North 

(for here you must know we are in the South) If I had had 

good weather in this Expedition, I shou’d have been well 
enough diverted in it; there being many more Valluable and 
Agreeable things and Places to be seen, than in the Tame 
Sneaking South of England.’ In this context we should 
consider the obscure architect, William Wakefield, to whom, 
according to an old inscription in a church in York, and upon 
the authority of Campbell in Vitruvius Britannicus^ Dun- 
combe and Gilling, tw^o houses near Castle Howard, must be 
attributed. Both houses are in the Vanbrugh-Hawksmoor 
style: Gilling, where the new work was on one front only, being 
an essay entirely in the Kimbolton-Lumley manner. William 
Wakefield is said, also, to have designed Atherton, in Lanca- 
shire, where an old guide book says that ‘the Atherton family 
built an enormous house, but it was never finished, and 
eventually was taken down by Lord Lilford’. 

Two more followers or neophytes were Thomas Archer and 
John James of Greenwich. But these worked in the Midlands 

170 



and in the South. Archer, since Heythrop, near Oxford, for 
the Duke of Shrewsbury was burnt down, must be judged by a 
little pavilion, all that remains, at Wrest, in Bedfordshire, for 
the Duke of Kent,^ and by a pair of churches one an absurdity 
and the other very fine. St John’s, Smith Square, with its four 
corner towers, would attract no attention in a street in Dresden, 
where we would dismiss it as of little moment beside the Court 
church by Chiaveri, an Italian architect of whom no one has 
ever heard, but of about Archer’s degree of eminence in the 
Baroque world. St John’s, before it was gutted, enlivened the 
brick streets of damp and dingy Westminster. But St Philip’s, 
Birmingham (it is now the cathedral), has the casuistical merit 
of being the only good building in a British city of a million 
souls. The belfry of St Philip’s is a careful and ingenious de- 
parture from the Wren steeple of diminishing tiers, for it begins 
with four concave sides, climbs into an oaagon, and continues 
into a belfry. Thomas Archer, a rich man who left a great 
f ortune at his death, was one of our earliest amateurs in archi- 
tecture. He held the post of Groom-Porter to Queen Anne, 
and to the two first Georges, travelled on the Continent for 
three years, and may be the only English architect to show the 
influence of Borromini. There remains John James of Green- 
wich. He may be noticed, in brief, as a professional architect 
who became clerk of the works at Greenwich under Wren and 
Vanbrugh; had a share in the design of Canons, Edgware; 
built the familiar St George’s, Hanover Square, and produced 
that English edition of Fratel Pozzo which is signed by Hawks- 
moor, Wren, and Vanbrugh. 

The current, emanating we believe from Wren, that changed 
Vanbrugh and Hawksmoor, had now spent itself. There was to 
be no more Baroque architecture in England. St Paul’s, once 
and for all, belongs to the same age which produced the Salute 
and the colonnades of St Peter’s. Something in the Protestant 
temperament would deny this, but it is true. In the hands of 
Vanbrugh the movement ran into new directions that had no 
precedent. We have the great houses that he built: Blenheim, 
Castle Howard, and Seaton Delaval. But it is impossible for 

^ Not, as the name might suggest, a member of the Royal family. 

171 



the admirers of his genius not to wish that his opera house 
might still be standing; while we would willingly sacrifice, let 
us admit it, any college in Oxford or Cambridge that he might 
rebuild it, or any of our mediseval cathedrals, only Durham and 
Ely excepted, in order that we could have an entire church 
from his hand. Probably the ideal would have been a collabora- 
tion between Wren and Vanbrugh. Greenwich Hospital, in- 
deed, may be more in this nature than we are told. But 
Greenwich, speaking broadly, is a Palladian building. What 
we could wish for is gigantic boldness, and forgive for that the 
passing of some of our rich heritage of Gothic. For no subse- 
quent architect have we such ambitions. We desire no great 
cathedral by Kent, or Adam, or Sir William Chambers. That 
.is the measure of Vanbrugh and of the Baroque. 

Taste altered and forbade it. But we have to follow the in- 
fluence of Wren among the little men; or, if not his influence, 
that contemporary trend which makes lesser works to resemble 
those of the great master, whoever he may be. There are the 
red brick country houses. Two examples, so far apart that 
they prove the ubiquity of the red brick style, are Ven House, 
near Yeovil, and Gunby Hall, Spilsby, in Lincolnshire. In an 
age of ignorance both these houses would be ascribed to Wren. 
It would not be difficult to find ten or twenty more, from all 
parts of England. But there is the urban architecture, too. 
There are the delightful buildings of King’s Lynn by Henry 
Bell; the Custom House (Plate 19), reminiscent, it is true, of 
Hoorn and Alkmaar, for Lynn is so near to Holland, of Port- 
land stone with a Doric and an Ionic order, a statue of Charles 
the Second, probably by Cibber, upon the front, and an open 
turret ending in an obelisk upon which a figure of Fame 
perched on one foot; the old Market House, unhappily pulled 
down, with a peristyle of sixteen Ionic columns and a ‘neat 
octagonal room ’ above, with four niches on the outside and 
statues of the Virtues ; a church at North Runcton, three miles 
from Lynn, with Ionic columns on high pedestals and a dome; 
and the house in Queen Street with its twisted Corintliian 
columns at the door. Bell, a competent engraver, as witness 
his own print of the Custom House, was a local architect of the 

172 




Fig. 5. Swaffham, Norfolk. 
Vide, Statue of Ceres ‘Old Serious’. 


type found in so many parts of Europe, unknown outside his 
native town, but forming for posterity the character of a par- 
ticular place. His doorway to the house in Queen Street — or 
do we imagine this? — is not entirely like a doorway in any other 
town. It bears the date 1708, and we remind ourselves that it 
belongs to the generation of the Fleming, John van Nost, who 

173 



Fig. 6. Bungay, Suffolk. 

Circular Classic market crosses in East Anglia, 
made use of twisted Corinthian columns in his tombs at Silton 
and at Durrisdcer.^ There can have been no personal contact 

^ Vide ante, p. 121. The delightful, pastoral market halls or butter 
markets of Swaffham, in Norfolk (Fig. 5, p. 173), and Bungay, in 
Suffolk (Fig. 6) deserve mention, but more particularly that at Bev- 
erley in Yorkshire, a pastoral affair befitting a town with a unique 
system of communal pastures all round it and in view from its church 
towers. 


174 





between the Flemish sculptor and the King’s Lynn architect, 
but such conceits were in the air. 

Blandford, in Dorset, had its dynasty of local architects, the 
Bastard family, who had their opportunity after the fire of 1 73 1 . 
In consequence, it is a red brick town; the slow pace of the 
provinces, particularly in Dorset, the most bucolic part of 
England with its rural and peculiar village names, making it 
that the style of architecture is old fashioned, and that, on 
appearances, any house could be antedated fifty years before 
its time. At Blandford again, were it not so typical of England, 
we might think ourselves abroad, remembering such a town as 
Noto, in Sicily, which was rebuilt in Rococo, after just such an 
occasion, of a fire. Mompesson House (Plate 20), in the quiet 
of the cathedral close at Salisbury, is a beautiful example of 
Bucolic style and manners. Is its name connected, one 
wonders, with Mr Mompesson and the ‘Drummer of Ted- 
worth’ in that most curious of poltergeist hauntings? In 
another part of the country we find a local architect as obscure 
as the Bastards, but who may have studied under Wren, the 
genius of the age. This was Thomas White, who built the 
Guildhall of Worcester, a fascinating, indeed entrancing, red 
brick building, with figures of Peace, Plenty, Justice, Labour, 
and — why? — Chastisement upon the roof, while, in niches, 
Charles the First, Charles the Second and Queen Anne stand 
upon the wall below. The Guildhall of Worcester pertains to 
that civic fantasy which has given us Gog and Magog, the 
Lord Mayor of London’s coachman, the curious dresses of 
his attendants, the vestry of St Lav/rence Jewry, and the 
swordrests of All Hallows, Barking, and of the Bristol 
churches.^ 

I believe that of the Georgian churches of Worcester 
White is responsible for All Saints and St Nicholas but not 
old St Martin’s or lovely St Swithin’s no longer threatened but 
under repair. But MLr Marcus Whiffen has established that 
White designed the church of Castle Bromwich ; particulars of 
the other churches which may be attributed to White or local 

^ Sure enough, the best of the iron swordrests out of London, the 
Bristol churches excepted, is to be seen in All Saints, Worcester. 

175 



builders are given in Mr Whiffen’s full study of Stuart and 
Georgian churches outside London. 

We are come to the climacteric of our architecture. Some- 
thing of that political commonsense that has preserved the 
balance in our politics, and kept the average, is now to inter- 
vene, We shall observe that it was headed by Lord Burlington, 
the founder, if we exaggerate our parallel, of the Palladian 
party. Under the direction of this aristocrat a band of archi- 
tects swept the country and carried opinion with them. Colin 
Campbell denounces the ‘affected and licentious works of 
Bernini and Fontana’, together with ‘the wildly Extravagant 
Designs of Borromini, who has endeavoured to debauch man- 
kind with his odd and chimerical beauties’. Instead, the 
new model was to be ‘the chaste cities of the North, Verona 
and Vicenza’. Mcreworth and Chiswick were to be adapta- 
tions of the Palladian villa, but without the vineyards or the 
Euganean hills. 


176 



PART TWO 


VII 

GIBBS AND THE ROCOCO 

AN ARGUMENT;, which need never end, would tell us that the 
iAPalladian style was forced upon the country. Whether we 
accepted this or not, will depend, as we shall find, upon what 
opinion we form of William Kent, whether we admire him, 
with Walpole, or do not accept him. For he was the arbiter 
of taste for half a century. He is an important figure in our 
history. To ourselves, we will state in advance, Kent was one 
of the great artists of our land. But we do not deny, for it 
would be futile, that his architecture and furniture were a 
foreign importation to these shores. The Adam style, by the 
same argument, is but a revival of the Classic, to be admired 
for as long as we feel certain that was the Golden Age. But 
Adam is so much better known than Kent, that he is seldom 
criticised. The artificiality of his style has passed into the 
air: the ‘filigraine and fan-painting’, condemned by Walpole, 
delight us in the London street when we pass a fanlight above 
an Adam door. Walpole, of course, admired Kent and despised 
Adam, He preferred Wyatt. It is too early to discuss that, but 
there were easier and more flowing talents that spoke the cur- 
rent language. There was a contemporary and manly architec- 
ture, needing little or no explanation, and offering no excuses 
from the Classics. 

This school allowed for the contemporary Rococo trend of 
stuccowork and decoration in its interiors. It even employed 
the best Venetian craftsmen of the time. If we enlarge it to 
include the furniture of Chippendale, or many of the works 
attributed to him and now removed by modern criticism, to- 
gether with such delights as the chinoiseries at Claydon, we 
can have the whole of the Rococo in England in one chapter. 
At the head of this school, it must be obvious, was an architect 



more lenient to his clients than Kent or Adam, who would not 
insist, as at Holkham, upon the frieze in the hall being taken 
from the temple of Fortuna Virilis in Rome. The English race, 
who invented comfort, would always prefer their own dining- 
rooms and drawing-rooms to cold adaptations from the Roman 
thermse. Instead, these more fortunate clients were allowed 
some of the fashionable improvements of their time. If we 
treat of this school of Rococo before we come to Kent and the 
Palladians, it is because it forms the continuous and unchecked 
flow. It is the main stream of English architecture, not yet 
dammed or stemmed, and still deriving, in a sense, from Wren. 
There is nothing strained or artificial in its course, and if it 
ends in fantasy, that is at least lighthearted, and does not call 
for solemn censure. 

James Gibbs is the architect in question, and two facts are 
to be noted at our first detailed mention of his name. He was a 
Scot, and, together with Charles Cameron and the brothers 
Adam, is, probably, among the only artists of his race. All 
these arc architects; and, perhaps, are greater men than 
Raeburn, Scott, or Robert Burns. Secondly, the buildings of 
Gibbs are more familiar to tens of millions of men and women 
than any other English buildings, St Paul’s and Westminster 
Abbey not excepted, and yet the vast majority of these persons 
have never heard his name. We refer to St Martin’s-in-the- 
Ficlds and to his churches in the Strand. 

Gibbs was bom near Aberdeen in 1682, as remote a prove- 
nance as could be imagined for so typical a product of the 
European eighteenth century. Thorv^aldscn and his Icelandic 
origin is not more unlikely in his turn. Gibbs was educated at 
Aberdeen, and then went to Holland, whence the Jacobite 
Lord Mar sent him, with advice, to Italy. These good services 
Gibbs repaid, later, on his deathbed, when the greater portion 
of his fortune went to the son of Mar, whose estates had been 
forfeited in the ’45. In Rome, Gibbs studied under Carlo 
Fontana, who had been a pupil of Bernini. It is necessary to 
expatiate upon what this means. Italian architecture was all 
but dead by now, except in Rome and Naples. Instead of 
studying in Paris, Gibbs went to Rome where he ‘conversed 

178 



with the best masters’. He belonged, therefore, by training 
to the Italian school. Had he been a painter, it is as though he 
had worked in the studio of Tiepolo or Sohmena; or a musi- 
cian, had he been the scholar of Domenico Scarlatti. We 
would infer that he was in the great tradition; trained while the 
teaching was still good and before decadence had set in. 
Gibbs returned to England in 1709 and w^as assisted by the 
Duke of Argyll and by Lord Alar, who was not yet in trouble 
as a Jacobite. He met and made friends with Wren, and before 
long was appointed one of the surveyors for Qjccn Anne’s 
fifty churches. This was his opportunity, and wc shall see that 
it took the form of a skilful blending of the Italian with the 
style of Wren. To the extent that we could almost say of 
Gibb’s churches, that it w^as as if Wren was young again and 
had been to Italy. 

St Mary-le- Strand is the first of Gibbs’s London churches. 
How many tens of millions of men and women have passed it 
by; more than ever floated under the arch of the Rialto! But, 
indeed, its situation in the flow of traffic of the Strand, broken 
again by St Clement Danes behind it, is as unique as any 
building on the Grand Canal. What echoes of old London we 
hear in Pope’s lines from The Dunciad: 

Where the tall Maypole once o’er looked the Strand 

But now (so Anne and Piety ordain) 

A church collects the saints of Drury Lane. 

Gibbs writes, himself, that ‘this church being situated in a 
very publick place, the Commissioners . . . spared no cost to 
beautify it . . And he continued, ‘It consists of two 
orders . . . tlie wall of the lower being solid, to keep out noises 
from the street’. Gibbs had, in the first place, designed a 
small campanile or turret, and no steeple. In front of the 
church there was to be a column, 250 feet high, with a statue 
of Queen Anne. But Queen Anne died, and Gibbs built the 
steeple. In his Book of Architecture he writes : ‘ Steeples are in- 
deed of a Gothic extraction, but they have their beauties when 
their parts are well disposed, and when the plans of the several 
degrees and orders of which they are composed gradually 

179 



diminish and pass from one form to another without con- 
fusion, and when every part has the appearance of a proper 
bearing.’ This aim he certainly accomplished in the steeple 
of St Mary-le- Strand. The interior of the church is too 
cramped and narrow to give him scope. Perhaps only the 
brothers Egid Quirin and Cosmas Damian Asam of Bavaria 
could have made the most of it. But the exterior is a lesson in 
good manners to the passing crowd. A year or two after St 
Mary-lc- Strand was finished, Gibbs completed Wren’s 
church of St Clement Danes by adding the steeple. So both 
island churches in the Strand had Gibbs’s steeples. They delight 
by contrast; that of St Mary-le- Strand being of the flat sort, 
like a canister, or the top tiers of a cabinet; and that of St 
Clement Danes, square, with cut off angles, and then octagonal, 
like an Oriental pagoda, in symbol of the fragrant teas, the 
golden sugars and the spices come up old Thames, by sail, and 
unloading at the City warehouses round St Paul’s, and beyond, 
to Wapping. 

Gibbs’s next project was St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, a splen- 
did masterpiece in the midst of London, and sesthetically the 
most successful of all London churches. If we look at this 
dispassionately, we may not feel certain there is a finer building 
in all Rome or Venice. His first two designs were for a circular 
church ; and we may wish that this had been realised, remem- 
bering his Radcliffe Camera. But the plans were too expensive. 
The present building was an alternative design. Its portico can 
be admired endlessly, and not found wanting, together with the 
manner in which Gibbs has combined portico and steeple in 
one unit or member. The steeple is of the sprinkler or sugar 
castor sort, ingeniously designed in a series of diminishing 
octagons, till it forms an obelisk pierced with openings, and 
points away. No other single London building, save St Paul’s, 
is so worthy of its situation. It is true, however, that the in- 
terior of this church is not particularly interesting, though it 
contains the first stucco or ‘fretwork’ of Artari and Bagutti, 
two Italian craftsmen imported by Gibbs from Italy, whom we 
shall meet again in various country houses. 

Perhaps the beautiful steeple of St Aiartin’s-in-the-Fields 

i8o 




Fig. 7. The Steeple of : 

Henry FlitcroJ 

IS 


may allow us to finish tliis London feature in a paragraph, for 
its history docs not end with Gibbs. A favourite specimen is 
that of St Gilcs-in-thc-Fields (Fig. 7), in the waste land be- 
tween New Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road. It can be 
viewed perfectly from the upper reaches of Shaftesbury 
Avenue. This church, one of the last examples of the style of 
Wren, is by Flitcroft, the architect of Woburn Abbey and the 
huge and ugly Wentworth Woodhouse. The tower has a de- 
lightful first storey, above the entablature, like a room in an 
arch put up to get the view, then an octagonal belfry with open 
windows, and a closed spire of stone. ' Light, airy, and gen- 
teel ’ describes it perfectly, and indeed nothing could be more 
elegant than that octagon, rising over the black slums of smoky 
BloomsbuI3^ St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, by the Elder Dance, 
must be our last example, a steeple modelled, obviously, upon 
St Mary-le-Bow, but in fact surpassing that, for its Classic 
elements are more defined and clearer. The actual belfry is yet 
another octagon, with balconies and curving buttresses below 
it. The London steeples of white Portland stone are to be seen, 
one and all, in the famous painting of London by Canaletto 
that belongs to the Duke of Richmond. 

The next of Gibbs’s churches was All Saints, or All Hallows, 
Derby, noticed earlier for its ironwork, but Gibbs designed 
other churches as well, such as PatshuU, in Staffordshire, and 
his steeple of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, with the alternative 
designs in The Book of Architecture^ had, as Mr Whiffen will 
point out, a great influence on country church design, both in 
England and across the Atlantic; Mereworth may be quoted 
as an instance in point. Now we follow our architect to 
Cambridge. Here, he made designs for three sides of a 
quadrangle, at King’s, the fourth side being the chapel, and 
the three blocks of buildings to stand separately, unlike the 
usual arrangement in college buildings. Only one wing was 
built, the fine, plain Fellows’ block of King’s, which is an 
epitome of good commonsense, but no more than that, when 
we realise of what Gibbs was capable. For he designed what is, 
after King’s College Chapel, the most beautiful of Cambridge 
buildings, the Senate House (Plate 21). King’s Parade, in 

182 



actual fact so much more architecturally rewarding than the 
High at Oxford, even if the good buildings be on one side 
only, has this delight which perpetually renews itself each time 
we see it. As usual, the Senate House is the curtailment of a 
larger plan, being one wing only of a three-sided group of 
buildings, of which the present Library was erected later, 
but not from Gibbs’s plans. The functions of the Senate 
House arc comparable to those of the Sheldonian Theatre at 
Oxford and it contains, therefore, a large hall for the conferring 
of degrees. Gibbs, it appears, was not entirely responsible for 
the design, which originated with the amateur Sir James 
Burroughs, Master of Caius, for the Syndics made the order 
that ‘Mr James Gibbs do take wdth him to London Mr 
Burroughs’ plan . . . and make what improvement he shall 
think necessary upon it’. In the result we have one of the 
supreme elegancies of the eighteenth century, and a building 
which, for Gibbs, is strangely feminine. The proportion 
of the Senate House is an unending pleasure; the coupled 
pilasters at the corners strike such a perfect balance with the 
engaged columns of the centre. Both the depth of the cornice 
and balustrade, and the height of the pediment, achieve a 
mathematical, or, we would have it, a musical perfection. The 
comparison of the Senate House at Cambridge is not with 
Italian, but with French architecture; with the Place Stanislas, 
at Nancy, and with the twin buildings by Gabriel at the corners 
of the Rue Royale, in Paris, facing the Place de la Concorde. 
But, in the case both of Here and of Gabriel, it is work of a 
generation later than Gibbs. The Englishman (or Scot), as we 
would expect, is more solid and less fashionable. There are 
differences, too, inherent in the different stone. But facade- 
making, that pastime or plaything of the eighteenth century, 
here reaches to its climax. We should compare Vardy’s front to 
Spencer House, St James’s. English architecture, on occasion, 
as in this pair of instances, can surpass the French in elegance, 
just as we shall find that English furniture designed by Adam 
and carried out by Chippendale, a rare occurrence, can be of a 
quality unmatched even by the greatest of the French ebenistes. 
It must be only in the natural order of events that Gibbs 

183 



should have worked at Oxford, too. But the Radcliffe Camera, 
though the largest of his works, is not the most successful. 
In its position in that group of buildings of which the Shel- 
donian and the Bodleian form part, we may pass it often, but 
It leaves no particular impression. It is a domed building that 
is a library, but no more than that. Hawksmoor, as so often at 
Oxford, had made the first design; but Gibbs’s library, as 
completed, consists of a rusticated plinth or ground floor, 
above which comes the rotunda with sixteen pairs of engaged 
Corinthian columns, capped with a balustrade and urns, and 
a dome above that. The defect of the Radcliffe Camera, the 
design of which may have been suggested by Wren’s sketches 
for a mausoleum for Charles the First (at Windsor), is that the 
plinth is so low and dull. The rotunda, thus, starts from too 
near the level of our eyes, and is so tall itself that it conceals 
the dome. This is, of course, the obvious difficulty in a domed 
building unsupported by wings and aisles, as at St Paul’s ; and, 
indeed, domed rotundas have only been achieved by the very 
greatest masters, as all will agree who have seen the stiU more 
beautiful, octagonal, ninth centur}^ Dome of the Rock at 
Jerusalem, or have but admired its image in the background of 
Raphael’s ‘ Sposalizio ’, in the Brera at Milan, or again in the 
fresco by Perugino in the Sistine Chapel. In that divine 
company Gibbs’s Radcliffe Camera burns with a little light, 
but does not shine. 

But the architecture of this lesser master partakes of most, if 
not all, of the domestic graces. We have seen that his London 
churches have every elegance, even if no deep religious feeling 
can be imputed to them. It is to be expected of Gibbs that he 
would plan and construct fine houses. The legendary Canons, 
for the Duke of Chandos, was largely by him. Nothing but a 
few scattered fragments survive of Canons. The house was 
pulled down and sold. Its only relics were the marble steps 
and wrought iron rail that were moved to Chesterfield House, 
and now are elsewhere; the fine brick portico, moved to 
Hendon Hall, nearby; and the two lodges, it may be, in 
Cavendish Square, that headed the avenue leading down to 
Edgware, or so it is said, and we would believe it true. Canons 

184 



had every embellishment the age could offer, precious marbles, 
woodcarvings by Grinling Gibbons, stucco or ‘fretwork’ by 
Bagutti, painted walls and ceilings by Bellucci and Laguerre, 
a private Swiss Guard of eight retired sergeants from Marl- 
borough’s wars, a string band — and Handel at the organ. 

Probably the most important of Gibbs’s surviving houses is 
Ditchley,^ Oxon. This has fine rooms, and a good saloon with 
plastcrwork by Artari, Vessali, and Serena. We put all their 
names because their handiwork is indistinguishable, until it is 
all published and compared. But we feel at Ditchley that 
English interior architecture is drawing to its close. Instead, 
we are approaching the great decorators, but architecture is 
another, and a greater thing, than decoration. The exceptions 
to this rule will only be with William Kent, and with Adam 
at Kedlcston and Syon. We may feel that James Wyatt was 
capable of it, and once or twice achieved it, and that Chambers 
could have done so had he been given the opportunity. There 
are the innumerable delights of decoration and furniture lying 
before us, but never again a Wren or Vanbrugh. There will 
be lesser masters beyond number, almost. But a house like 
Ditchley gives a fascinating, if shaming picture of the age, 
shaming because of our own deficiencies, for which our skill in 
copying is no recompense. In such a context Gibbs is great 
enough in all conscience, and we could follow him to a dozen 
houses, among which Milton House, near Peterborough, is 
another good example. It is to be noted, too, that some 
mixture or confusion is creeping in, for we shall find before 
long that Artari and Bagutti, Gibbs’s plasterers, worked for 
Colin Campbell, his rival architect, and we shall meet them at 
Houghton and at Mereworth. More could be said of Gibbs, 

^ The cube room at Sudbrook, Petersham, is one of the best interiors 
by Gibbs. It has five doors with architectural doorcases, coupled 
Corinthian pilasters, and a vaulted ceiling with osil-de-bceuf windows 
in the empty spaces. The detail is bold and noble, and there arc 
splendid stucco trophies. Sudbrook Park, which is Crown property 
and part of Richmond Park, is said to have been given by George the 
First to the Duke of Argyll. His arms are above the fireplace, and he 
was the early patron of James Gibbs. Gibbs designed the chairs in 
the Royal Pew at St Manin’s-in-the-Ficlds. 

185 



but we must content ourselves with mentioning his portrait 
by Hogarth; by stating that his last work was the church of 
St Nicholas at his native Aberdeen, designed by him, gratis; 
after which, in proof of versatility, he translated a history from 
the Portuguese; took the waters at Spa, but did not improve; 
and came home to die in 1754. At his death ended the great 
and long influence of Wren.^ 

An article by Mr Christopher Hussey appeared in Country 
Life for September 15th, 1944, on The Octagon, at Orleans 
House, Twickenham. Orleans House was rebuilt for the 
Scottish politician, James Johnston, by James of Greenwich 
{vide ante^ p. lyi), who about the same time (1710) rebuilt 
Twickenham church. Mr Hussey states that the designs 
for Orleans House appear in the first volume of Vitruvius 
Britannicus, But, in 1720, The Octagon was added by James 
Gibbs, and this is clearly among his master works. It was 
built for the entertainment of Caroline of Ansbach, then 
Princess of Wales, and was approached by a corridor, like an 
orangery, used for a music room. The Octagon, externally, is 
built of yellow stock brick, with pilasters of rubbed vermilion 
brick, and dressings of Portland stone. It has tall Palladian 
windows with rusticated blocks, and ceil-de-bceufs above. 
The dome is internal only, with lunettes and busts. There 
is a splendid chimneypiece with mirror over it, and a pediment 
with reclining figures, probably by Rysbrack, and a magnificent 
picture frame above. The two doorways support modelled 
puttie and medallions of George and Caroline. This Baroque 
masterpiece in little was rescued from destruction by the Hon. 
Mrs lonides in 1927, when Orleans House was pulled down. 
It is tempting to think that Queen Caroline may have come 
here by water to enjoy the cherry gardens and the vine terraces, 
on board her son’s barge. This State Barge, which was 

^ The Ashmolean Museum at Oxford contains a collection of 
drawings of designs for rooms and staircases by James Gibbs. These 
are executed most elaborately, with painstaking care, and show forcibly 
his Italian training. Sketches for mantelpieces, furniture, and sculp- 
tured monuments exist elsewhere, but are less interesting, both in 
drawing and in the finished specimen. 

186 



in use till 1849^ is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum. 
Kent’s original drawings are in the library of the RIBA, and 
are the subject of an article by Professor Richardson in the 
Journal of the RIBA for January 24th, 1931. The barge was 
built for Frederick, Prince of Wales, in 1732, and ‘The 
Queene came in the barge the first day it was upon ye water to 
Sommcrset House’. Originally there were to have been 
twelve rowers, but eventually it was made for twenty-two 
oarsmen, eleven a side. The drawings for the decorations of 
the barge were carried out with meticulous accuracy. One 
drawing for the decorated ceiling of the cabin was never 
executed. There is a sketch, too, for a waterman’s costume and 
helmet, while in the final drawing, a waterman can be seen 
standing on deck, oar in hand, in an attitude reminiscent of 
the Procession of Boats at Eton on the Fourth of June. 

The monumental or Paliadian style now becomes the main 
stream of our architecture and will flow on, unbroken, into the 
classic style of Adam. William Kent had to have his hand in 
everytliing, but, Kent apart, there is the tendency, already 
noticed in James Gibbs, for the architect to provide the house 
but leave the decoration largely to the ‘ fretworkers ’, or we may 
prefer Beckford’s phrase, the ‘stuccadors’. For as often as 
not, they were Italian, until the middle of the century. And, 
if not Italian, they conformed to the Italians in style. A great, 
and unsuspected, quantity of Rococo thus survives; but, in 
each case, it will form the decoration of a room or two only, 
perhaps in a Paliadian house. For in England there are no 
Rococo houses as we should understand that term in Italy or 
Spain. Nevertheless, the amateur of English Rococo will find 
much to satisfy him.^ But the search is compound of success 

^ Haglcy Park, Worcestershire, the home of the Lytteltons, has a 
hall with plasterwork by Vessali, an Italian who worked at Sutton 
Scarsdale, and at Ditchley. The mantelpiece with marble giants or 
Atlantes recalls the portals of palaces in Prague, where the figures 
are by Matthias Braun. Above, Pan offers a fleece to Diana, upon a 
stucco panel. The saloon, too, has stucco by Vessali, wloile the library 
has busts by Schcemakers and Rysbrack. Sanderson Miller was 
architect, and built a ruined castle which Horace Walpole says ‘has 
the true rust of the Barons’ wars’. 

187 



and failure and the personal adventures may be tantalising, 
in which connection we would recount our own experience 
of Sutton Scarsdale, only a few miles from my old home 
in Derbyshire, lying under the shadow of the great cliff of 
Bolsover. This story is in fact an extraordinary instance 
of what has been allowed to happen under our eyes, by way of 
destruction of our national heritage of works of art, with no 
redress, and no means of prevention. While spending the 
autumn at my old home, in 1920, or soon after, word was 
brought to us that there had been a sale at Sutton Scarsdalc, 
and that my brother and myself had better go there. I was 
recovering from a long illness, and having just turned writer, 
had in mind a book on the wonderful spectacle of eighteenth 
century Venice, during the phase of late Baroque and Rococo. 
This subject gave place, eventually, to Southern Baroque Arty 
my first prose book, but at the time of which I am speaking, 
I could think of nothing else but the paintings of Tiepolo, 
and can still taste the rare intoxication of his brush upon the 
plaster. Particularly I admired, and still do, the Banquet 
of Antony and Cleopatra at the Palazzo Labia. Never, never 
shall I forget, for it is my belief and faith, the only religion 
that I have ever had, the negro in green velvet holding a flask 
of wine; the chef or scullion in his white cap, standing by the 
silver dishes that are heaped, a la Veronese, upon a sideboard; 
another panel of white sails and rigging; the glorious, painted 
architecture ; the two great scenes, and the masked musicians 
playing upon the porticoes; the red-haired Turks or Albanians 
who look on at the disembarkation; Antony leading Cleopatra 
by the hand ; the fair-haired girl, dressed as a page, who comes 
down the gangway; the white pyramid of Egypt in the distance, 
and the cypresses, while Cleopatra dissolves the pearl in wine; 
or the naked daughters of the gondoliers painted on clouds, 
as goddesses, upon the ceiling. Only less did I love the white 
horses, in the clouds, at the Rezzonico; or the painted ceiling 
at Stra, upon the terra firma. But, as well, I was entranced by 
the beaked and masked figures of the Venetian carnival, in the 
bauta of black silk or gauze, over which they wore the white 
mask or volto, as seen in Guardi’s paintings of the parlatorio of 

188 



the convent, where the nuns behind the grille are talking to 
their masked lovers. Time and again I v/ould go to the 
Palazzo Dona dalle Rose, of the charming name, to see the 
little canvases by Pietrodonghi; or admire the carnival scenes, 
with the maskers drinking cups of chocolate, painted by his 
son, Alessandro, upon the walls of the staircase of the Palazzo 
Grassi. Venetian painted and laquered furniture was my 
obsession, and the stuccoed walls and inlaid marble floors of 
the little casinos or private gambling dens. I collected books 
with frontispieces by Piazzetta. The splash of the oar and 
the shadow of the balcony were my inspiration. I was living 
in a ferment of the imagination, and drawing such an intoxica- 
tion from architecture as I can never know again until I see 
the tiled mosques and minarets of Meshed and Isfahan. The 
spell lasted for many months ; and in this mood I set out for 
Sutton Scarsdale. 

This was the house, according to local legend, of the rake in 
The Rake's Progress. A large colliery village, with rows of 
outside lavatories, lies to the side of it. But when we got there 
the harm had been done already, and it was too late. Sutton 
Scarsdale is a long low building with a Corinthian, stone 
fa9ade, of supreme elegance by Smith of Warwick,^ architect of 
Stoneleigh Abbey. No purchaser would even buy the stone, 
and, later, it was proposed to blow it up with gunpowder. 
The interior was gutted, and a ruin. It contained a stair, 
with twisted balusters, and some splendid panelled rooms 
which have been removed, now, to an American museum. 
But the glory of Sutton Scarsdale was in the pair of Venetian 
saloons, on two floors, one above another, with fireplaces at 
each end ; all, fireplaces, walls, and ceilings, the work of Vessali, 
and of Artari, ‘gentleman plasterer’, as he is called by Gibbs. 
When we saw it, the ceiling of the lower room had fallen in, so 

^ The facade, which has aU the elegance of the amateur whom the 
late Sir Reginald Blomficld so disliked, but who is of such importance 
in our later architecture, is probably from a suggestion of Lord 
Scarsdale, a dilettante of distinction, who had been Ambassador in 
Vienna. In spite of his name he was not connected with the Curzon 
family. 


189 



that there was the extraordinary spectacle of four Venetian 
mantelpieces, all of the richest work imaginable, richer, far, 
than anything in a Venetian palace, hanging in the air, with the 
remains of the coloured stucco in panels and niches upon the 
walls, and some fragments of the figures on the higher stucco 
ceiling. One of the mantelpieces, only, in the upper saloon 
was still perfect, and we were told that an offer of ten shillings 
would be accepted for it. But some days went by before a 
farm cart could be sent over to fetch it, and during that 
interval it had collapsed entirely and lay in little pieces on the 
floor. Such was the fate of what was, certainly, the finest work 
of Artari or of any of the Italians in England, for in other 
houses, at Houghton or at Mereworth, they had to show 
restraint and work up to the Paliadian solemnity of their 
setting. Only at Sutton Scarsdale was it the full Venetian 
Rococo, and here, perhaps, at greater outlay than any Venetian 
family of the settecento could afiord. The violent force of this 
revelation of the Venetian eighteenth century may be imagined. 
Probably, if it had to declare itself, it could have found no more 
willing audience.^ 

There is an incomparable diversity in the Rococo, even in 
England. We have only to think of the French Rococo interiors 
of old Chesterfield House, built by Isaac Ware, and of which we 
find the great Lord Chesterfield wTiting that it is to be ‘finie 
a la Fran^oise avec force sculptures et dorures’. It had, in 
fact, some very gilded rooms. There were others, beside 
Italians, in the field of stucco. But, of the Italians, beside 
Artari and Bagutti, there were the brothers Franchini, who 
worked at Carton, in Ireland, for the Duke of Leinster, at the 
Rotunda Chapel in Dublin, and upon the authority of Miss M. 
Jourdain, on the very Rococo stair of N015 Queen’s Square, 
Bath, with its framed panel of St Cecilia under an archway, 
seated at the organ. Among other foreigners there is the Anglo- 
Danish Charles Stanley, whose rediscovery is due, like so much 

^ The white drawing-room at Moor Park, Hertfordshire, now a golf 
club, has a ceiling panel of Bacchus and Ceres, by Artari, with fauns 
playing pipes, and a cupid with a load of corn. The frame of tliis 
stucco panel has festoons of vines tied into sheaves of corn. 

190 



else, to Mrs Esdaile. He spent some twenty years of his life 
(1726-1746) in England, and works are ascribed to him at 
Compton Place, Eastbourne; at Langley Park, Norfolk; and 
at Honington Hall, Warwickshire; but above all in the beautiful 
ceiling panel of Venus and Adonis at Easton Neston, one of 
the most beautiful of all works in stucco, and deserving to be 
given some better name than stucco decoration. 

Drum House, Midlothian, takes us to another region and 
even, in its day, another nation, for this house v/ith its exuber- 
ant stuccowork was completed a year or two before the 1745 
Rebelhon. When we read the shadowy accounts of the court 
of the romantic, half-Polish, Young Chevalier at Hoiyrood, and 
see him in his Stuart tartan^ among the white and blue uniforms 
of his bodyguard, we may exaggerate in our minds the lingering 
mediae valism of the wynds of Edinburgh, and forget that the 
Rococo was in being. Drum House is the work of William 
Adam, father of the more famous brothers, and himself not 
inconsiderable as an architect. Had the Jacobite Rebellion 
succeeded, William Adam in all probability would have rebuilt 
Edinburgh, and his modest Rococo would have forestalled the 
Modern Athens. But the interest of Drum House is its interior 
stuccowork done by a Dutcliman, Enzer, whose hand is to 
be traced at Arniston, another house near by. The presence of 
this Dutchman in Scotland is explained by Mr Arthur Bolton, 
who reminds us how many Scots in the eighteenth century 
pursued their studies at the University of Leyden. But was 
Enzer a Dutchman, Dane, or German; for he could be all, or 
any? The hall has elaborate overdcors, and a mantelpiece 
between a pair of engaged pillars, the upper part of which 

^ On Ills first appearance in Edinburgh, the Young Chevalier wore a 
short Higliland coat of tartan, a blue velvet bonnet with a gold band 
in which was a white cockade and cross of St Andrew. He carried a 
silver sword and gold mounted pistols, and wore the stars of tlie 
Thistle and the Garter round his neck. He is reported from Glasgow 
'in a green plaid of the Highland fashion, with a silver hiked sword, 
a black velvet cap, and a white cockade’. Near Manchester, 'he was 
dressed in a light plaid, belted about witli a blue sash, with a blue 
bonnet, and a white rose in it’. His immediate Ibllowers wore the red 
Stuart tartan. 



forms a most elaborate stucco composition, with a shield of 
arms, plumed helm, spiked mace, flags and trumpets, spears 
and guns, everything, in fact, that Sir Max Beerbohm had in 
mind when he described a trophy as ‘a crowded umbrella 
stand’. Other similar trophies are over the side doors in the 
arch between the hall and stair. The dining-room is elaborate, 
but witiiout so many figures to distract the drunken eye. The 
upstairs drawing-room, on the other hand, has a ceiling with 
Jupiter and Juno with attendant animals and clouds and trees, 
and a mantelpiece with a beautiful panel over it of Neptune, 
trident in hand, driving his seahorses, while a triton blows upon 
a conch. ^ 

The Royal Fort, Gloucestershire, has a stair with an all-over 
scheme of vines, by Thomas Stocking, the Bristol stuccoist; 
while Kyre Park, Tenbury, wliich may also be by Stocking, 
has hops for motif, in the domed boudoir, where four groups 
of hop poles start the decoration, which is continued with 
flowers dropping out of cornucopias. One of the loveliest 
works in stucco is the panel of Diana and Actecon, at Langley 
Park, Norfolk, a house which was designed by Matthew 
Brettingham, and provides an instance of Rococo in a Palladian 
setting. The panel depicts Actaeon in Roman costume, in a 
warrior’s kilt, with leather jerkin and short sleeves, bow in 
hand, having just this instant been changed into a stag, and 

^ The trophy of arms above the mantelpiece in the entrance hall at 
Alawlcy Hall, Shropsliirc, much resembles that of Drum House, 
There is, also, a staircase with fine stucco panels, and a Chinese room 
with a delightful ceiling in delicate Rococo. Cf Decorative Plaster- 
work in Great Britain, by Laurence Turner, Country Life Ltd, 
1927, pp. 222, 223. The arcliitect was probably Smith of Warwick, 
who built Sutton Scarsdale. Attention must be drawn, too, to the 
handrail of the staircase, which is a serpent with a twisted tail, 
ending in a dragon’s head. The diary of Mrs. Philip Lybbe Powys 
gives a delightful account of Alawley Hall in 1771. She notes that 
‘the house has more chintz counterpanes than in one house I ever 
saw; not one bed without very fine ones’ . . . and ‘the three charming 
boys, the eldest not three years old, and a fourth coming. Never did 
three little creatures look so pretty; the two youngest in fine sprigg’d 
muslin Jams, the eldest in a vest and tunic of tambour (Lady Blount’s 
own work), large sprigs of gold on a thin muslin lin’d witli pink’. 

192 



averting his gaze from Diana and her nymphs as though mim- 
ing the part of the Prince in Le Lac des Cygnes. The three 
naked young women are bathing in a brimming basin from 
which the water overflows. We can see their nether limbs 
perfectly, under the water, and they have even entangled 
the huntsman in their garments, for a part of a scarf is round 
his chest and they are pulling him towards them in that 
gesture with which the Indian Rajahs have their waistbands 
wound, and unwound, by their attendants. This subject, 
by the Anglo-Dane, (diaries Stanley, is the beginning of the 
stucco landscape.^ Another Norfolk ceiling, at Gatcley Hall 
— is it by the same master? — shows a whole pastoral scene, 
with trees and hills and windmills, flocks and herds, a church 
spire, farm buildings, and the squire in a cocked hat looking 
on. But the most beautiful of such works may be in Ireland. 
A ceiling at Mespil House, Dublin, winch Miss Jourdain 
conjectures to be Italian, has Jupiter and the four winds of 
heaven, and in the corner the four elements, nude female 
figures, in their appropriate landscapes. This Irish-Italian 
school of the brothers iTanchini and their associatt‘S is to be 
seen at the two finest Irish houses of the eighteenth century, 
Carton (the Duke of Leinster) and Russborough. The names 
of several more plasterers arc known. William Lee and Robert 
and John West are given by Miss Jourdain, and their works 
arc to be admired in the old houses of Dublin. The Rococo 
chapel ceiling of the Rotunda Hospital is by Cramillion. 

Some traces of a regional style are to be traced in Ireland, 
and in the West of England." In the opinion of Miss Jourdain, 

’ Honington Hall, Warwickshire, a rod brick Charles the Second 
house, with busts of Roman Emperors above the windows, has a hall 
with Rococo stuccowork that may be by Stanley. The great octagonal 
saloon is as magnificent as the work at Houghton or at Holkham. 
The eight-sided cove, or dome, frames Venus rising from the sea by 
Luca Giordano, while the shutters of the windows and the sash bars 
are most richly carved. It is likely that Charles Stanley worked, too, 
on the saloon at the neighbouring Stoneleigh Abbey, for the classical 
motifs are much the same. 

^ York is another local centre of the Rococo. Stucco ceilings from 
various houses arc illustrated in The Art of the Plasterer, by George 

G 193 



floral ornament, the vines and hop poles that we have men- 
tioned, arc characteristic of this West country style, and it 
may not be too fanciful to connect with this the remark of 
another writer that 'as Rococo died in London, it sprang to 
life again in the West country’, quoting, for proof, the ‘apple- 
green and scalc-blue, the exotic birds and coruscating Japans’ 
of the old Worcester china factory which, he remarks, must 
have looked strangely out of place in an Adam drawing-room 
in the Etruscan manner. 

These provincial works may pertain to the same date, in 
spirit, as that brief spell of the Rococo which brought Watteau 
for a few months to England, and left behind it Bow and 
Chelsea porcelain and such fanciful decoration as the ‘sing- 
erics ’ of Clermont. This Frenchman, of a minor, but delightful 
order, according to Walpole, worked ‘on the ceiling of Lord 
Radnor’s gallery, on a ceiling for the Duke of Northumberland 
at Syon, on the sides of Lord Stratford’s eating room in St 
James’ Square’, and, inappropriately, but no matter, ‘on the 
ceiling of rny Gothick library at Twickenham’. All these are 
perished. So arc the ‘two small parlours, in one, panels 
painted with monkeys, in another scaramouches, which old 
Lord Baltimore used to call “Monkey and Scaramouch 
parlours’” in I.ord Baltimore’s villa. Belvedere, upon the 
Thames. But Clermont is still to be seen upon two ceilings 
at Alonkcy Island, in the Thames, painted for the Duke of 
Marlborough, and till recently in an old house in Burlington 
Street, now demolished, before the blitz! His monkey parlour 
still exists at Kirtlington, near Oxford, where his mannerisms 
may be studied. The oblong central panel has a rayed head 
in the middle, with owls and golden pheasants perched on the 
edges, and a number of masks which are really very pretty 

P. Bankart, London, B. T. Batsford. Somerset House, Halifix, and 
Wilberforce House, Hull, belong, we could say ethnically, to tlie same 
group of Rococo. The most typical examine of West country Rococo 
is the Royal I’ort, Gloucester, already referred to, with stucco vines 
upon the staircase walls, and dining-room with a door in the Chinese 
taste, Rococo overmantels, and wings of hunting subjects above the 
fireplace, all by the firm of 'Phomas Patey of Bristol. 

194 



human faces, like some of the Chelsea ‘toys’ of porcelain. 
The coves of the ceiling show the ‘singeries’, where there are 
monkeys shooting, riding, hunting, fishing. Clermont, indeed, 
is so minor an artist that it is a pleasure to write of him. 

And what are we to say, thereafter, of the chinoiseries of 
Claydon? But there is more to say, besides, of this house in 
Buckinghamshire, decorated for Lord Verney. First, the stair 
with its treads inlaid v/ith ebony, ivory, and mothcr-of-peaii 
(Plate 27), and its wrought iron balustrade, from top to 
bottom, perhaps of Italian workmanship, composed of wreaths 
and ears of corn that rattle together as you walk up the stair. 
The staircase and library at Claydon have stuccowork by 
Joseph Rose, long employed here. But tlicre were wood 
carvers, as w^cll, who made the magnificent overdoors to the 
North Hall, Palladian in shape, but enriched with Rococo. 
However, the most remarkable feature of Claydon is the 
Chinese room. The doorcases have ‘pagoda’ overdoors and 
Chinese masks or faces at the sides; the chimneypiece is 
elaborate, with more masks of Chinamen; but most complicated 
of all is the tremendous alcove, with niches to hold china 
mandarins and pagodas, and probably, originally, a bed 
which, as one authority reminds us, may have been such as 
found a place in Bubb Dodington’s ‘Managarith’ or Chinese 
bedroom at Eastbury, in Dorset. This bedroom at Claydon 
may be the most complete instance in England of chiiioiserie. 
But there is a Chinese room, too, at Mawley Hall, in Shrop- 
shire; while no account of these lively fantasies should omit 
the room at Badminton with its Chinese bed by Chippendale 
(now in the Victoria and Albert Museum), its chinoiserie 
furniture, and imported Chinese wallpaper. 

Indeed, the painted Chinese wallpapers are among the 
delights of the eighteenth century, and in their finest examples 
are almost peculiar to this island. Trade with the Celestial 
Kingdom being chiefly in our hands, we may read in Mrs 
Montagu’s letters, of her closet in her London house, ‘lined 
with painted paper of Pekin, and furnished with the choicest 
moveables of China’. There are the tw^o types, with and with- 
out the human figure. The former may have, for subject, the 

195 



cultivation of tea, or the pleasures of the Cliinese. They may 
contain hundreds of figures variously occupied, though we 
prefer for our taste those that have for subject birds and 
flowers. These painted papers were sent back as presents by 
merchants and ambassadors, and we may picture to ourselves 
the long voyage through the Indian seas, past the turtle isles 
of St Helena and Ascension, up the great Atlantic to the white 
Clifts of England, and then the pleasures of unpacking. So 
intense was the romance and poetry from these distant lands 
that wc shall find it perpetuated down to the middle of the 
nineteenth century, in the chinoiserie scenes engraved upon 
grocer’s bill-heads, even in provincial towns, a scries com- 
parable for fantasy and imagination to the Chinamen of Hcrold 
upon Dresden porcelain. 

One of the most beautiful of the painted papers done with 
birds and flowers is that upon a ground of blue, at Moor Park. 
Others arc at Coblmni, Bowood, Nostell, and they vary much 
in their set limits. I'hc blue ground is particularly rare. The 
boughs of the flowering trees may be hung with Chinese 
lanterns and with songbirds in cages. Chief flower is the 
pa:ony, which is the rose of Chinese gardens, while among the 
birds may be recognised the golden and tlie silver pheasant, 
already, by that date, domesticated for the aviary, but we 
would search in these wallpapers, were there opportunity, 
for the Arnherstian, wliich is the most magnifleent in plumage 
of all the pheasants, living in aviaries as readily as the gold and 
silver, but not known in Europe till Lord Amherst’s embassy 
of i8i6. No experience could be more delightful than to 
waken in a bedroom hung with ‘painted paper of Pekin’; 
unless it be to imagine ourselves, in pleasant company, drinlting 
fragrant hyson or orange pekoe out of cups of porcelain, 
while the clock chimes, the mandarin nods his head from side 
to side, and the false nightingale jumps out of his gilded box to 
sing. 

With Chinese Chippendale, speaking for our own personal 
taste, wc arc not so much in sympathy, though we have not 
seen what must be the best of its kind, the Chinese Dairy at 
Woburn, all complete. Of late years much expert research 

196 



has been devoted to the life and work of Thomas Chippendale,^ 
the main results of which may be presumed as proving that 
while many of the excesses, alike, of the Chinese and ‘Go thick* 
Rococo are due to other furniture makers or ‘upholders*, 
Hallet among them, the majority, even, of the plates in 
Chippendale’s Director (1754) were taken from other designers, 
such as Matthias Lock and H. Copland. The paradoxical 
situation thus arises that the finest pieces of Cliippendale 
furniture, in the accepted style, are by the firm of Vile and 
Cobb, and nor by Chippendale. But, on the other hand, m 
his later years from 1765 to 1785, under the influence of 
Robert Adam and v/orking in some cases directly to the 
designs of the latter, he made inlaid and marquetry furniture 
in the classical manner, with mounts of chased ormolu, that, 
in the words of one critic, ‘compares in technical brilliance 
with tlie finest achievements of the French cabinet makers 
of tlie eighteenth century’, and that can only be characterised 
as the ultimatum of English craftsmanship and finish. We 
refer to his pieces of furniture at Harewood which will be 
discussed later, when we come to Adam, for tlicy have no 
place in Rococo. It comes to this, that the typical Chippendale 
mirror, so called, is probably not by Chippendale at all, but 
by another firm. Long usage has, however, so sanctified his 
name that the term is likely to remain unaltered, even when 
inapplicable, though we may hope that, in time, tlie pubhc will 
become familiar with other names. 

The cult of the Rococo in England leads us to such diverse 
objects as the shell grotto or temple, ‘Carne’s Seat’, in the 
park at Goodwood, comparing with its German equivalent in 
the Neues Schloss at Potsdam, and at Pommersfeldcn, the 
magnificent castle of tlie Schonborn family, or with the grotto 

^ The Creators of the Chippendale Style^ by Fiske Kimball and E. 
Donnell, Metropolitan Museum Studies, New York, 1929. Mr 
Ralph Edwards and Miss M. Jourdain have published their researches 
on Georgian Cabinet Makers in a series of ten articles, so far, up to 
January 7th, 1944 in Country Life. My facts are taken entirely from the 
authorities in question, and this footnote is to acknowledge my 
indebtedness. Presumably their researches will be published, eventu- 
ally, in book form. 


197 



rooms of Isoia Bella; but also it takes us to such an example 
of extreme Rococo as the Coronation coach built to the designs 
of Sir William Chambers,^ to the coach of the Speaker of the 
House of Commons driven wiiJi the Mace protruding, side- 
ways, from the window so that the crowd can see it; and to 
the Lord Mayor’s coach and coachman. To the State liveries, 
also, and powdered wigs of the Peers’ footmen; of 'Padua’ 
scarlet, snuff colour and silver, pale blue and silver, lilac and 
white, and all the other colours; costumes which should have 
been drawn for a memorial at the time of the last Coronation, 
for they arc not likely to appear again, though tliey deserve a 
page, or even a chapter, to themselves, in the history of cos- 
tume. 

It would seem hardly probable that Hogarth should be 
included in the Rococo, but this is true in one solitary instance, 
his only fresco painting. The Pool of Bethesda, upon the 
staircase of vSt Bartholomew’s Hospital. This was painted in 
1739, five years after the death of his fatlier-in-law, Sir James 
Thornhill, and on his own confession was inspired by the 
Painted Hall at Greenwich. Did we not know tlie fresco at 
St Bartholomew’s to be by Hogarth, we would ascribe it to a 
Neapolitan, to Francesco di Mura, ‘Franceschiello’, the pupil 
of Sohmena, The fresco has elaborate scrollwork or fraining 
at the sides, and the whole conception is Rococo, not the 
grouping of the figures only, and their sentiment, but the 
hemicyclc of arches or ruins that forms the background, and is 
so theatrical that it may remind us of Bakst’s scenes for The 
Sleeping Beauty, This fresco is peculiar and unique in Flogarth. 
Never again did he attempt the Grand Style. Did he have the 
advice, in this instance, of his friend George Lambert, the 
scene painter of Covent Garden, of whose talents we cannot 
speak, for his works, of necessity, have perished long ago? 
This is, at least, possible. A minor painter, perpetually 
Rococo, is the delightful Arthur Devis, the exact English 

^ Horace Walpole to Sir Horace Mann: ‘I'licre is come forth a 
new State coach, which has cost £8000. It is a beautiful object, 
though crowded with improprieties. Its supports are tritons, not 
very well adapted to land carriage.’ 

198 



equivalent to Pietro Longhi, to be met witli on canvases of 
the same small dimensions^ and characterised, superficially, by 
an identical stiffness and woodenness which transform them- 
selves, on acquaintance, into grace and charm. And, of course, 
there are lesser painters, near to Devis, but unidentified.^ 

The amount of Rococo in daily life, towards the middle of 
the century, was not to be measured by a visit to Vauxhall or 
Ranelagh, where, as we can see in Canaletto’s paintings, the 
setting was that of the fairground or the masquerade. Instead, 
we may seek it in book illustration. Gravelot, later to become 
one of the most accomplished of French book illustrators, 
lived for twenty years in London, and taught Gainsborough 
drawing. The engravings of Gravelot arc pure Rococo, and so, 
we write in parenthesis, are tlie early portrait groups, such as 
Squire Andrews and his wife, by Gainsborough. Rococo 
was the prevailing style, be^^ond argument, of the engraved 
tradesmen’s cards, of which the total, for beauty and variety, 
is part of tlie testament of the eighteenth century. Typical 
examples are a card, by R. Clcc, for a quack or charlatan, in 
midst of liis elixirs and medicines, and another for an Italian 
who sold ices and confectionery. There are early specimens 
by Hogarth; while others, for upholsterers and clockmakers, 
are as Rococo as the plates from Chippendale’s Director:, some 
of the former even exhibiting objects in tlie Chinese and Gothic 
tastes, while all have scrolls and flourishes and lettering in the 
extreme mannerism of the Rococo.- 

^ Our survey of craftsmen, which has not room for all the works 
of Scheemakers and Rysbrack, cannot, however, omit a reference to 
Roubiliac. He is, in his person, an unexpected link between England 
and the German Baroque, for he had studied under Balthasar Permoser 
(1651-1732) who carved the apotheosis of Prince Eugene of Savoy, 
at Vienna, and worked on the decorations of the Zwingcr, at Dresden, 
The tomb of Mr Speaker Wright and his son at Gayhurst, Bucking- 
hamshire, with their two full-length figures in splendid wigs, standing 
side by side under a canopy, framed by Corinthian pilasters and a 
broken pediment, was long accepted as Roubihac’s masterpiece. 
However, information available since the last edition of this book 
was published suggests that it is the work of Thomas Carter. 

2 One of the liveliest and most beautiful specimens of the Rococo 
in England is Somerset House, Halifax, illustrated by Aliss M. 

199 



There remains the silver of Paul de Lamerie (Plate 13). He 
is, indeed, among the supreme craftsmen of the whole Rococo. 
It lias never been explained why it was that the Huguenots 
made such excellent silversmiths, but, of the whole group, 
de Lamerie, who was bom in Bois-le-Duc in 1688, is by far the 
most interesting, and in his forms neither quite French nor 
wholly English. He could never, for instance, be confused 
with the great Frenchman, Germain, who can be studied so 
perfectly in his great toilet and breakfast services in the museum 
at Lisbon; but, also, de I.amerie is too Rococo to be English. 
His invention is as astonishing as his powers of execution. 
We may admire him in his great silver wine cistern for St 
Petersburg; in one of his silver toilet services; or in a simple 
silver punch ladle at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. 
This last, for grace and beauty, in a simple form, could hardly 
be surpassed, unless it be by the silver sweetmeat dish or 
dessert shell of Lord Spencer. But we will take three more 
examples; a soup tureen in the form of a ‘green’ turtle, lying 
on its back, witli flippers reversed to form its feet. The 
abdomen of the turtle is the lid of the soup tureen, and a small 
baby turtle, ‘shambling’ along the body of tlie larger animal, 
is the handle. Or a pierced cake basket in the shape of a 
scallop shell with feet of three dolphin attached to the basket by 
their tails. The outer part of the rim of the scallop shell is 
elaborately pierced and diapered, while the handle of the 
cake basket is a female bust. Our last example must be a tea 
caddy, witli fantastic heads in plumed hats at the top comers, 
grotesque masks and bats’ wings for a comice, handles of cast 

Jourdain. It has an elaborate stucco ceiling, festoons upon the walls, 
and a panel over the fireplace of a hero in Roman armour, holding an 
olive branch, and surrounded in the approved style by flags and drums 
and cannon. Perhaps the improbable Rococo of Halifax is furtlier 
illustrated by the information, in an old edition of Murray’s Yorkshire, 
1874, that ‘fancy alpacas’ were made here, ‘varying with varying 
fashions, and distinguished by all sorts of fantastic names’, and that 
the traveller Pennant, passing through Halifax about 1770, says that 
rugs ‘of a blue colour’ were manufactured here expressly for Guinea, 
and were packed in pieces of I2i yards, and wrapped in an oilcloth 
painted with negroes and elephants ‘in order to captivate the natives’. 


200 



and chased flowers, and the four sides or panels embossed with 
Chinese agricultural scenes of an extraordinary fantasy, in 
one of which we see Chinamen in their wide, flopping hats 
reaping the corn under a windswept palm tree* We can 
imagine no more delightful experience than to have been 
admitted at stated intervals into the workshop of dc Lamerie 
in order to inspect what works he had in hand. He is to be 
classed, historically, wdth Jean Tijou, with Grinling Gibbons, 
and Roubiliac, among the foreigners who w^orked in England, 
but he is a greater man than they. Rather, his place is wdth 
Cuvillics, or J. J. Kandler, among the geniuses of the age of 
Rococo, but made more sensible, it may be, by his adopted 
Enghsh soil. There is not space here for the English silver- 
smiths, or for the otiier Huguenots. There is room, only, for 
de Lamerie, who may even be the forem^ t craftsman who 
has ever w orked in England, the assurance of which fact needs 
no more evidence than tlie view of a single piece, a coficc pot, 
a kettle, or a cream jug, from his fertile and ever flowering 
hand. But de Lamerie as we say, tvas Rococo, while it w^ould 
be possible to wTite in much detail of tlie Palladian trend in 
silver, perhaps a conscious accommodation to tlie English 
dining-room. Rococo silver by the same masters, we could 
argue, was for the boudoir or the drawang-room. This will 
explain the contrast between a silver kettle wdth a Chinaman 
sitting on the hd, beneath a parasol, and our Palladian cups and 
candlesticks. 

There could be no better ending to this chapter, which must 
return to architecture, than in an account of a recent visit to 
look at probably the only London shopfront of the mid- 
eighteenth century that has survived, by some miracle, into 
1946. There are but few of us, we are willing to believe, 
who would not give something valuable, or even a few days of 
our lives, to be able to take a walk in old London, or in one 
of the provincial towns. For we may tire of grand buildings, 
and want to see the houses of the merchants and shopkeepers, 
and look into their windows, and observe Vvhat objects they 
may have for sale. It can be little less than an intoxication to 
look at the shopfronts in old drawings. We may all be familiar 

201 



with Fribourg and Treyer, the tobacconist in the Haymarket, 
have admired his bow window, and bought at his counter one 
or more of the little round cam'stcrs of snuff, Dieppe, Bordeaux, 
or Macouba, and delighted in the engraved lettering that tells 
us he is an importer of Oriental Segars, and gives prominence 
to the Kings of Hanover and Belgium, and to their Royal 
Highnesses the Dukes of Sussex, Cambridge, and, curiousl}^ 
the Duchess of Kent. But the shopfront of Fribourg and 
Treyer is a late example. So is tlie fine shopfront of Oliver, 
the grocer’s in Bury St Edmunds. So is the hydrographer’s 
shop, now empty and dismantled, at the foot of St Margaret 
Pattens, near the Tower, and also the delightful long, low, 
many-windowed chemist’s shopfront in the market square at 
Knaresborough. All these date from tlie last third of the 
eighteenth century. 

What v/e v/ouid discover is an old shop of tlie reign of George 
the Second, before 1760, that is to say, when the old men and 
women in the street would remember the times of Charles the 
Second. And here we have it, in Artillery Lane, Spitalfields 
(Plate 39), a long winding thoroughfare, so narrov/ that a motor 
cannot drive down its length, which turns, and turns again, 
and takes us by decrepit houses and a synagogue, until we 
cannot think the old shop we have come this distance to see is 
still standing. But here it is, where Artillery Lane takes yet 
another turning so that the shopfront faces us, and we see 
the double bay windows, and the wooden engaged columns at 
the corners and on either side of the doorway in the middle. 
The old panes of glass are still in the windows. There are 
elaborate wrought iron rails in front, above the area or cellar, 
and a long later formal iron balcony above. The interior of 
the shop, alas! has nothing left but the view from the old 
windows. But the side door leads down a passage to tlie stair, 
which has twisted balusters, and tlie walls have stucco frames 
or panels. Upstairs, the back room, now the premises of a 
Jewish schoolcap maker, has a magnificent dado and cornice 
and a splendid Palladian window looking out upon the 
hopeless slums. This room had a carved mantelpiece that 
was taken to America many years ago. The front room is 


202 



divided into two by a partition. The smaller half of it, which 
is the storeroom of the schoolcap maker, has the original 
panelling. The other half is the bedroom of another tenant, 
Mrs Seago, who courteously, but in broken English, let us in 
to admire the Rococo panelling and high Pailadian door. 

Such is the old shop, and the house above it, in Aitiliery 
I.ane. Formerly it had been a grocer’s, but its original purpose 
and the name of the family arc forgotten. It is a peculiar 
sensation to find this old relic in tlrat poor and dingy street. 
But the old houses of the Spitalfields silk weavers are not 
far away, in a district tliat has particular interest for myself 
because of tlie Whitechapel murders of Jack the Ripper, and 



Fig. 8 . A double shopfront at Lewes, possibly only slightly later 
in date than that in Artillery Lane, Spitalfields. 


because of the hobbies of tlie old silk weavers who bred tlie 
red and yellow pouter pigeon to perfection and excelled, also, 
in tulips, auriculas, and other florists’ flowers, as well as in the 
breeding of small spaniels. Once, then, this was not the only 
fine house and there was much else to be admired. We get 
the impression that the style of the eighteenth century had 
penetrated so deep, by then, that, as at Pompeii or Hercu- 
laneum, even the contents of the smaller houses are living 
proofs that there has been a golden age. But, in fact, this old 

203 




house in Artillery Lane is as dead as though it had been 
covered with the lava stream. The sensation of looking at it 
is that of gazing upon the face of a dead person. By what 
miracle has it lasted through the demolitions and the German 
bombs? It is stiU inhabited, as are some of the rockcut tombs 
of antiquity. Let us not be deluded, though, into thinking 
that the eighteenth century was aU grace and beauty. The 
Beer Street and Gin Lane of Hogarth are nearby, and the 
nightmare of the ancient slums. But here were sugarloaves 
and fragrant bales of tea. Upstairs there were flowered silks 
and full-bottomed wigs. There were rule and architecture, 
even among humbler lives. Who could deny that, compared 
with our own, it was the golden age? Take a last look, and 
walk away! The January sky is lowering, and the ‘blackout’ 
coming down. 


204 



VIII 


KENT AND THE PALLADIANS 

I 

} F WE have somewhat neglected grand architecture in the 
last few pages, and turned to trivial things, it is to discover 
Oil our return the Palladian style established, and Inigo Jones 
and Palladio the heroes of the scene. This reaction in taste^ 
for it could not be called a revolution, was instigated and 
carried through by William Kent, a man of many and remark- 
able talents, working under the encouragement of Lord 
Burlington, his patron. Other architects, Colin Campbell, 
Flitcroft, Ripley, Vardy, the Italian Leoni, were associated, 
but Kent was apostle of the movement, and its chief practi- 
tioner. A certain pedestrianism, as of one who moves slowly 
with a heavy tread, may debar Kent from the name of genius, 
but his were among the most varied and solemn talents of our 
race. Probably only in England, where understatement is so 
loved and neglect is praise, could an artist of his stature not 
have provoked a single author in two hundred j^cars. For 
there is no book on Kent. Yet the architecture of the eighteenth 
century, in brief, is the work of two men, Kent and Adam. All 
that many of us know of Kent is the phrase of Walpole that he 
‘first leapt the fence and saw all Nature was a garden’. Or 
the stor}^ also in Walpole, of the two ladies for whom he 
designed birthday gowns: ‘the one he dressed in a petticoat 
decorated with columns of the five orders; the other, like a 
bronze, in a copper coloured satin, v/ith ornaments of gold. ’ 
Anecdotes, both of them, that might invite an appetite for 
more. 

When Kent is mentioned, which is unavoidable, he is nearly 
always mocked at or abused. ‘William Kent was one of those 

205 



generally accomplished persons who can do everything up to 

a certain point, and nothing well His designs for furniture 

and the handicrafts in general were about equally inappropri- 
ate. . . . Kent was the obedient servant of his public, and his 
public appears to have been rather frivolous and very ignorant.’ 
Thus, Sir Reginald Blomfield; and a score of other instances 
could be quoted. But such extracts are insulting, and they 
are not true. Are Sir Robert Walpole, Lord Burlington, 
Coke of Holkham, to be numbered with 'the frivolous and 
ignorant’? Kent, on occasion, when it was required, is hardly 
to be distinguished from Inigo Jones. Was the latter 'another 
of those who can do everytliing up to a certain point, and 
nothing well’? As to Kent’s furniture, it is of the utmost 
magnihccnce. Italy has nothing grander at its greatest epochs. 
We may find that Kent’s golden furniture is better made and 
more appropriate to a splendid setting than the furniture in 
Roman or Venetian palaces. His doorways and mantelpieces 
are superb, and infinitely varied in their Palladian manner. 
His paintings and book illustrations may be weak, but must 
we laugh at a composer when he conducts, or plays the piano? 
Are not his serious works enough in themselves? William 
Kent has so many facets. Is he not among the great garden 
masters at Rousham? Who is tlicre to deny that the Horse 
Guards is a masterpiece? Is he not a master, in little, at 
Worcester Lodge; or in the Royal barge, for George the 
Second, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum? Before 
we dismiss him, where he is most abused, do we know his 
illustrations to Gay’s Fables} Have we seen his painted 
decorations, and his pictures of masquerades? 

This protean talent first saw the w^orld at Bridlington, in 
1685, where he was apprenticed before long to a coach painter, 
but after five years, 'feeling the emotions of genius’, ran away 
to London, and thence to Rome by easy stages. Here he 
studied architecture and won a prize in painting. And, in 
Rome, he met Lord Burlington. This amateur — surely the 
greatest of the dilettanti? — with large estates in Yorkshire 
and in Southern Ireland, was eleven years younger dian Kent, 
and having come of age and succeeded to his properties, was 

206 



making tlie Grand Tour of Italy. Kent, for his part, seems to 
have spent some ten years in Rome and Venice on this, his 
first visit, and the presumption is that he supported himself 
by sketches and by portraits.^ As with Inigo Jones, the 
importance of this Italian training is not to be overlooked, 
for it has been the deciding factor in the lives of many artists. 
Among familiar names we may instance, in their different 
spheres, /viilton, Handel, Adam, Chambers, W^^att, Richard 
Wilson, Turner (late in life), Slidlcy, Ruskin, all of wliom 
drew inspiration from their 3^ears in Italy. Wc may even, 
humbly, lay claim ourselves to an Italian training, wliich we 
only mention because tlic Italian influence, probably, is now 
ended and artists on their rare appearance will drink from other 
fountains. Kent, during his ten years in Italy, met other 
patrons. Sir William Wenmorth among them, who made 
him a yearly allov^ance for no less tiian seven years. When he 
returned to England in 1719, Kent was thirty-four years old, 
and was given rooms in Burlington blouse. A series of 
buildings now begins in which tire names of Kent and Lord 
Burlington are associated, as professional and amateur. Most 
important of these is tlie villa at Chiswick, based upon a 
design wdiich was nothing less than the w^arhorse of the 
Palladians, being a variation or adaptation of Palladio’s ViUa 
Ahnerigo, or Rotonda, at Vicenza. Colin Campbell had already 
given his version at Mere worth Castle, to which we shall come 
presently; and it may be added that, so popular was this 
problem, there are, in all, four specimens in England, anotlicr 
at Foot’s Cray in Kent, lately burned down, and Nuttall 
Temple in Nottinghamshire, now demolished, but which was 
far more Rococo in decoration. This latter is, however, of 
much later date (1757). The domed octagonal hall, at Nuttall 
Temple, had a beautiful wrought iron balcony above, and on 
the walls, festoons of flov/ers and trophies framing medallions 
from iEsop’s Fables. Chiswick is much more solemn, and 
contains one of the first copies from a Roman ceiling. 
Our criticism of Chiswick, as of Mcreworth, is that the 

^ He was also helped by three patrons, one of whom. Sir W. 
Wentworth, allowed him £40 a year for seven years. 

207 



inconvenience and disregard for comfort laid at Vanbrugh’s 
door apply with more truth to these Palladian villas. The villeg^ 
giatura of a Venetian noble in the sixteenth century, of one of 
Titan’s senators, tempering magnificence with frugality by 
retiring for a few weeks in summer to a ‘Roman’ villa on the 
mainland, was not adaptable to an England that had little 
summer and no vines. And the villa at Chiswick is heavy and 
tlie ceilings arc too low. Yet it is fine in detail, or even splendid, 
if of low proportion. 

But there is anoilicr influence at Chiswick, reminding us in 
its gold and v/hite of the double cube room at Wilton. Kent 
had, in fact, just published The Designs of Inigo Jones ^ in two 
volumes, at Lord Burlington’s expense. Cohn Campbell had 
already published others of his drav/ings in Vitruvius Britan-- 
nicus. Giacomo Lconi, a Venetian, and foreign aide and 
neoph3^c of Lord Burlington, had brought out an English 
edition of Palladio. The Palladian reaction has set in. But, 
in the meantime, William Kent is kept busy as a painter. He 
took portraits (little is known of tlicsc) and carried out an 
altarpiecc for St Clement Danes. But, above all, he was 
employed upon walls and ceilings. He painted a stair at 
Raynham for Lord Townshend, another at Esher, and the 
halls at Wans read and at Stowe. He worked on several 
ceilings and the stair at Houghton, but ‘was restrained by Sir 
Robert Walpole to chiaroscuro’. 

More interesting are his arabesque ceilings in bright blues 
and reds at Rousham, and in the presence chamber at Kensing- 
ton Palace, for these arc grotesques in the style of Raphael’s 
I.oggic at the Vatican, which in their turn were modelled on 
the Roman excavations. This close attention to Classical detail 
will explain Kent’s cornices and doorways, and proves the 
thoroughness of his Italian training. The w^alls of the Kang’s 
staircase at Kensington Palace reveal Kent as not far inferior to 
the Italians. They are divided by painted pillars and a balcony 
into compartments, with a crowd of persons looking on; male 
courtiers, negro pages, women holding little spaniels, or fans. 
A young page stands, in trickery, on the near side of the 
balcony, and we should remark that there is a Beefeater, or 

208 



Yeoman of the Guard, in every panel. Their originals were, 
of course, on guard above the stair, but Kent had a particular 
liking for the Yeomen of the Guard. Certain paintings of 
masquerades which could be by a Venetian, are attributed to 
William Kent, because in each there is a Yeoman of the 
Guard among the masquers; while we must recall, too, the 
guard room at Hampton Court 'which has a mantelpiece with 
carved Beefeaters for supporters, designed by Kent. This 
predilection is also found, in curious form, in two oil paintings 
at Hampton Court, of Henry the Fifdi’s first meeting with 
Catherine and The Marriage of Henry the Fifth, subjects 
wliich, however weak in handling, point forw^ard to Bonington 
and Delacroix, and initiate a new kind of painting. During 
these same years Kent produced illustrations for Gay’s Fabksy 
for Pope’s poems, and for The Faerie Queene. He returned to 
Italy, too, a second and third lime, when he bought the 
collection of prints formed by his master, Benedetto Luti. 

His indefatigable talents now devolved on architecture, on 
the design of furniture, and on landscape gardening. Devon- 
shire House, now gone, was typical of Kent in his faults and 
virtues. The ceilings were low. Was Kent, like Hogarth, very 
small in stature?^ But the doors, the fireplaces, tlie formal 
furniture were superb. No 44 Berkeley Square, for I.ady 
Isabella Finch, as an enlargement of a small space into 
magnificence deserves tlie name of genius. The Venetian 
stair, and the drawing-room on the first floor with its coved 
ceiling, are in fact as splendid as the interior of any Roman 
or Venetian palace. How these have been contrived within 
the small area of a London house remains somctliing of a 
miracle, and it is the more absorbing because unsuspected 
from the outside. Lord Yarborough’s house in Arlington 
Street, and a house in Old Burlington Street, now pulled 

' Hogarth was scarcely five feet high. The border line for midgets 
is fixed at 4 ft ii ins, so Hogarth only missed it by an inch — in 
company with Schubert, Glinka, King Victor Emmanuel III of 
Italy, General Tom Thumb, and much, if not all, of General Franco. 

^ This house has also two rooms in white and gold by Henry 
Holland. 


209 



down in self-destruction, are two more of Kent’s London 
houses, but both revealed him more in heaviness than in 
imagination. 

Holldiam, in Norfolk, is Kent’s biggest work, though we 
admit that its exterior is no more prepossessing than that of 
the proposed palace in Hyde Park for George the Second, of 
which the wooden model is still shown at Hampton Court. 
The ground floor of Holkliam is treated with an ugly and 
mechanical rustication, a rustication without tlic Italian poetry 
or grandeur, while the white brick of which tlie house is built 
is inevitably depressing, and must ever be, even under tlie 
skies of Italy, The disposition of tlic windows is too bleak 
and formal, while tlie windows, again, are too small for their 
surrounding walls, so that the effect is blind and empty. There 
is a portico, but without light or shade, and dragged in like the 
‘fugal’ ]:>ortion of an overture or symphony. The fugue has 
been called, in such instances, ‘the composer’s friend’, for the 
tendency is to All up blanks with it. So it is with this portico ; 
it is quite unnecessary, but a large house, like Holkham, had 
to have one. As a whole, the exterior of Holkliam has a discon- 
certing Victorian air. It is dull and disappointing. 

But the interior of Holldiam is splendid from the start. The 
great hall, with its pillars raised upon a balustrade,^ its glorious 
frieze and coffered ceiling, is of Roman grandeur (Plate 25), 
only matched in England by the great halls of Kedleston and 
Syon, which are the masterworks of Robert Adam. All of 
them, not least Holkham, rank among the monumental 
instances of the whole Renaissance in Europe. They are 
strialy Classical, not tainted with their age, and worthy of 
what we may imagine the Golden House of Nero to have been, 
where the best craftsmen of the Greek decadence were 
employed. There is nothing to criticise in the great hall at 
Holkham. One can but admire, and admit that during his 
long years in Italy, Kent had learned his lesson. The other 

’ ‘Its stately ninge of fluted columns enriched with purple and 
white variegated alabaster/ as remarks Robert Brettingham in the 
Plans of Holkham Hall. He was the nephew of Matthew Brettingham, 
who assisted Kent at Holkham. 


210 



rooms at Holkham reveal him in masterly treatment of mantel- 
piece, doorway, and coffered ceiling. His doorcases are endless 
in their Classical variety, being perfect models of their sort, 
as are his chimneypieces and overmantels, one of which, with 
wonderful appropriateness, is frame to an antique mosaic. 

At Rousham, Oxon, for General Dormer, Kent was less 
magnificent in mood. Besides the painted arabesque ceiling 
tliat we have already mentioned, in the style of Raphael, we 
find him making experiments in ‘Gothickh But, at Rousham, 
we may appreciate Kent as landscape gardener in the uses to 
which he put the infant Cherwell. ‘The greatest pleasure we 
had was in seeing Sir Chas. Cottrell’s house at Rowsham ; it 
reinstated Kent with me, he has nowhere shown so much taste. 
. . . The house is old, and was bad : he has improved it, stuck 
as close as he could to Gothick. . . . The garden is Daphne in 
little, the sweetest little groves, streams, glades, porticoes, 
cascades, and river imaginable; all the scenes are perfectly 
classic,’ writes Horace Walpole. This is one of the beginnings 
of the English landscape garden, but the control is still in the 
hands of a Classical composer. Had he not seen the lichen 
creeping over the stone giants of Villa Lante and Caprarola; 
and the Classic order and decay of Villa d’Este! ‘Capability’ 
Brown and Repton, for all their ingenuities, were barbarians 
compared with Kent. The Italian in Kent is eloquent in a 
wooden garden bench, at Rousham, v hich is no less than a 
masterpiece in garden furniture; while his sketch, in water- 
colour, of the cascade betrays the follower of Claude and 
Poussin. 

The Horse Guards, at Whitehall, is far more imposing than 
the front of Holkham. But it possesses a kind of aristocratic 
aloofness and self-effacement, at the far end of the parade 
ground, that compels us to take it for granted, and pass by. 
Is it not as English as the officials who dress for dinner, every 
night, in the far provinces of the Sudan? And we may add 
that were the Horse Guards a building in Paris or Vienna we 
should be reminded, perpetually, to admire it. Here the rustica- 
tion is more ahve and bold; the cupola is set perfectly upon 
the main body; the Palladian windows on the first floor are in 


2II 



proper proportion to their space of wall; tlie side pavilions 
project just far enough and are of the right soUdity, in them- 
selves, with their three windows side by side. It is one of the 
last buildings by Kent, and was left unfinished at his death. 
Vardy completed it. How v/ell the white Portland stone 
matches, unintentionally, with the black chargers, the steel 
helmets and breastplates, white breeches, and scarlet or blue 
tmiics of the Life Guards or the Horse Guards Blue! How 
well it goes with the long-skirted yellow and gold surcoats and 
black Montcro caps, with the kettledrums and silver trumpets 
of their mounted band 1 But this is fortuitous and not inten- 
tional, being due to the perfect manners of that Palladian 
fa(,'ade. For the Horse Guards could, as well, be a country 
house in a great park with the hounds meeting at the door. 

In fact, the Horse Guards is reminiscent of the front of 
Badminton, built in the reign of Charles the Second, but 
probably altered or recased by Kent, who made some altera- 
tions in the interior. There are some mantelpieces from his 
designs ; the entrance hall, resembling that of Houghton, may 
be due in part to him; while it is tempting to identify his hand 
in the bold rustication of the entrance door.^ Three miles in a 
straight line from tiie house lies the Worcester Lodge of 
Badminton, set back in the great verge of trees. This is the 
open deer park down which wc sec the coaches driving in one 
of the pair of paintings by Canaletto, that were the first he 
ever did in England. The stone Lodge is the w^ork of Kent, and 
a triumiph of Palladian architecture in England. It consists of 
a room above an archw'ay, beautifully decorated with stucco 
mantelpiece and ceiling v.ithin, and intended for supper on 
summer evenings when the view led across the Bristol Channel 
to the Welsh hills. The arch has a short curtain wall on either 
hand, ending with a pair of httle cottages or pavilions that 
have roofs shaped into a pyramid, in rough, cyclopcan st 3 de, 
forming an exact and appropriate ornament among the trees.- 

^ Kent built the two side pavilions of Badminton facing towards the 
park. 

® The pyramidal roofs may be a reminiscence of Vanbrugh’s stables 
at Castle Howard. 


212 



The English genius for park buildings, in which tliey rivalled 
the Italians with their fountains and their statues, is proved in 
the Worcester Lodge; and should we continue but a mile or 
two further down the road on which it stands, will be exhibited 
again in the circular, piUared lodges to Dodington, designed by 
James Wyatt after the pattern of the Roman temple of Vesta at 
Tivoli. We look through the archway of the Worcester Lodge, 
across the misty park, to where the Pailadian bous:c lies in 
the distance, and perhaps n^ay imagine a typical scene in the 
last century, when its cold, aloof architecture would be en- 
livened by a joint meet of the Beaufort and Old Fcrkeley on 
the lawn before the house, when the blue and buir of the 
Beaufort followers would mingle w-ith an occasional red coat 
from a neighbouring pack, and with the canary of the Old 
Berkeley. The later Pailadian buildings with their porticoes 
tend to monotony. Perhaps both the I-lorsc Guards and Bad- 
minton owe their aloof beauty to their flat surfaces, w hich may 
have curving wings or colonnades, as at Pioughion, but no 
pillared portico to bar tlic suii from the windows, or to drip 
with rain. 

But the imagination of Kent is most conspicuous in his 
furniture. He is the master of the eagle and the dolphin. If 
his overdoors and coffered ceilings are at their best in Holk- 
ham, we should look, too, at his marble chimneypicce in the 
public dining-room at Hampton Court, plain in treatment, and 
in a mood we might almost say of Vanbrugh, it is so big in 
scale, with a splendid carving of the Ro^^al arms enclosed in 
it. But his finest marble chimneypieccs are at Houghton, 
where Colin Campbell was architect and Kent decorator. 
Both the stone hall and the dining-room have superb chimney- 
pieces, framing bas-reliefs by Rysbrack, and it is difficult to 
choose between them for magnificence. The former has a pair 
of terms or caryatids carrying baskets of flowers upon their 
heads, a bold projecting comice in three portions carrying a 
bust in the centre, and then the broad and splendid frame to 
the bas-relief, topped with a comice and a broken pediment. 
The other is more simple, without human figures, but has a 
pair of fabulous creatures above, in the opening of the pediment, 

213 



that are feeding from a bowl of grapes. The gilt furn- 
iture by Kent at Houghton must be among the wonders 
of English interior decoration. No Italian palace of the High 
Renaissance has such furniture. It is worthy of Mantua or 
Urbino; and it must always be a mystery as to why Kent's 
pre-eminent merits or even genius, in this matter is not 
recognised. ‘ It can only be because of the private uses of this 
furniture which, consequently, is never seen and never 
advertised. The only rival of Kent is Chippendale at his very 
finest, working under Adam, but tliat is superlative workman- 
ship with marquetry of rare woods and mounts of ormolu. 
This is gilded furniture, settees and chairs and tables, superbly 
carved, but the material is unimportant, it is but carving and 
then gilding. This Kent furniture, however, could stand in 
the Vatican or in the Doge’s Palace. It docs not need a setting 
of its own time. It requires the golden age of the High 
Renaissance. Adam and Chippendale in their delicate finish 
are typical of the eighteenth century. Their furniture pertains 
to the ‘filigraine and fan painting’ of the final age. 

The bi-ceiitcnary of Kent falls due in 1948. Should it be 
possible in that year to hold a complete cxliibition of his 
furniture, with his drawings, and with photographs of all his 
buildings and of his doorw^ays, frames, and mantelpieces, 
arranged together for comparison, then the real eminence of 
our great Palladian will emerge at last, and we would see him 
as well in his paintings, his frescoes, and his landscape gardens. 
Kent was arbiter of taste for most of the reign of George the 
Second. Much w^^rk remains to be done upon the craftsmen 
wlio were engaged by him. His interiors, in their doors and 
ceilings, show close study of Alessandro Vittoria and the 
Venetian sculptors who worked with Palladio. In general, 
except for the great hall at Holkham, his approach to the 
Classical antique lay through the Roman and Venetian 

^ The saloon at Houghton has a set of twelve armchairs, four stools 
and two settees in mahogany, part gilt, and covered with cut velvet. 
They have shell aprons and female masks upon the knees. The Kent 
furniture at Houghton, all told, is among the greatest splendours of 
interior decoration in England, and it is unmatched in any otlier 
country in the world. 


214 



Renaissance. Kent was more fortunate than Adam, with his 
decoration from the dead hand of antiquity, for he had to rely 
more on his imagination. In order to appreciate Kent it is 
necessary to regard him in something of that light in which we 
see Tiepolo, who also formed his style upon tlie Venetians of 
the cinquecento. Kent was Roman and Venetian, and the last 
of tlie masters of the Renaissance. 

Lord Burlington, whose amateur talents are insufficiently 
appreciated, is to be seen and admired at York in the splendid 
pillared interior of the Assembly Rooms and in the Mansion 
House, wffiich has at least one magnificent interior. The local 
school of architects at York is as yet comparatively unstudied, 
but attention may be drawn, among many other beauties, to 
the interior and splendid stair of the old Fairfax House, 
probably the finest of tlie old York houses. The well-known 
engraving of the terrace by the river, after Nathan Drake, 
gives a picture of early eighteenth century fashionable life at 
York. 

The other Palladians of Lord Burlington’s circle were upon 
a lesser scale, beginning with Colin Campbell. Helped by the 
Duke of Argyll, Colin Campbell is one more instance of the 
Scot who found his way as quickly as possible to I.ondon, 
where he met Lord Burlington, and began publication of 
Vitruvius Britannicus^ a work more useful than beautiful, 
showing little promise of Mereworth or Houghton. For Colin 
Campbell, in fact, w^as first in the Pailadian field, while Kent 
was stiU studying in Italy, or painting haUs and staircases in 
England. Walpole — it is inevitable to quote from him — 
writes of the wooded park of Mereworth, ‘ broke, like an Albano 
landscape, with an octagonal temple and a triumphal arch’. 
This is the earliest of the English copies of the Pailadian viUa, 
but it should be rememffiered that whereas Lord Burlington 
only intended Chiswick, outside London, not as a residence 
but to house his works of art, Mereworth was to be a country 
house, a full day’s journey from tlie capital. By some curious 
alchemy it is entirely appropriate to the Kentish scene, as 
much adapted as Castle Howard to its Yorkshire vale, and 
eloquent of the same great age of architecture. The exigencies 

215 



of the pJaii, a round domed building net into a square, have 
cramped the subsidiary rooms into the corners; but how 
delightful is Bagutti’s plasterwork in the hall, and how 
splendid are the porticoes I Upon a summer day, from June to 
August, you may look right through Mereworth, in at one 
portico and out through the pillars of the other, while the 
smaller rooms in the angles seem contrived for shade and cool. 
Unfortunately, we do not see the building as it was designed 
for Lord Westmorland, when it was moated and set in the 
water, when the grotto rooms were perfect, and the stables 
and lesser buildings were laid out to plan. 

Colin Campbell also contributed the parish church at 
Mereworth, a delicate and graceful design with, as Mrs Esdaile 
notes, its ‘lovely Wren-like spire, and amazing fan-like 
portico \ 

Wanstcad, in Essex, built for Sir Richard Child, is another 
of the great houses that have gone. It had nineteen rooms 
upon the ground floor, witli a vista through them ; a ballroom 
with ohvc and gold wainscot; painted and stucco ccihngs; 
and ‘a parlour finely adorn’d with China paper, the figures of 
men and women, birds and flowers, the liveliest I ever saw 
come from tliat country’. But Wanstead was pulled down in 
1822. It was tiie most complete v/ork of Colin Campbell. 
For Houghton is only his on paper ; it was carried out according 
to his plans by Ripley, while the interior decoration seems to 
have been left largely to Artari and to William Kent. The 
exterior of Houghton consists of a centre block with comer 
pavilions, of which Gibbs altered the attic stories into domes ; 
this building being flanked on either side with colomiades, 
curved on one face, rectangular upon tlie odier, that connect 
with other smaller blocks containing the kitchen and the 
laundry. The front with the curving colonnade has a frontis- 
piece of four engaged pillars, above a rusticated base, and 
statues at the three angles of the pediment. This exterior is 
curiously French in feeling, not least because Gibbs changed 
the attics into domes, and by that put another accent on the 
whole design. How then are we to tell the work of Colin 
Campbell? He did work at Baldersby, near Ripon, at one 

216 



time known as Newby Park (not to be confused with Newby 
Hall, also in Yorkshire, that was, later, added to by Robert 
Adam. Newby Hall, a red brick house, is not unlike \i^>iterton 
Hall in Norfolk, a brick house with stone dressings built by 
Ripley for the brother of Sir Robert Walpole). The architects, 
as they increase in number, are becoming diiiicuit to know one 
from the other. Nevertheless, Colin C'ampbell, a lesser man 
than Kent, has left a great house, Houghton Hall, Norfolk, 
that with its stone iia.U and its mahogany and gilt cjirichmcnts 
displays the grand manner to perfeclion — but Artari, Rysbrack, 
William Kent, were helping him. 

Among the lesser architects, one, a foreigner, is conspicuous 
— the Venetian, Giacomo Leoni, the Italian member c'f Lord 
Burlington’s Palladian circle. He built Lyme Hall and I.athom 
Hall in I.ancashire. Moor Park, long thought to be built by 
him, now appears to have been designed by Sir James Thorn- 
hill, the painter. This building, without its wings and colon- 
nades, and now become a golf club house, is still wonderful 
by reason of its hail, with marble doorcases, superb stucco- 
work, and paintings by Thornhill and by Amigoni. Of Ripley, 
having mentioned liis share of Houghton, there is little more 
that need be said. He built the Admiralty; and probably the 
contrast of the stone screen in front of it, by Robert Adam, is 
the measure of Ripley’s competent but undistinguislied talent. 
Both Campbell and Ripley, in their turn, succeeded Vanbrugh 
at Greenwich, thereby further complicating the attributions of 
the composite building. 

With Isaac Ware and Flitcroft we are on more interesting 
ground. The bust of Ware by Roubiliac shows a thin, pinched 
face, a character which we can corroborate from the Life of 
NollekenSy by J. T. Smitii, where we read that the father of 
Nollekcns told him the following story: ‘A thin, sicldy little 
boy, a chimney sweeper, was amusing himself one morning by 
drawing witli a piece of chalk tlie street front of Whitehall 
upon the basement stones of the building itself, carrying his 
delineations as high as his little arms could possibly reach . . . 
it happened that his operations caught tlie eye of a gentleman 
of considerable taste and fortune as he was riding by. He 

217 



checked the carriage:, and after a few minutes’ observation, 
called to the boy to come to him; who, upon being asked as 
to where he lived, burst into tears, and begged of the gentleman 
not to teU his master, assuring him that he would wipe it all 
off. ... His benefactor tiien went to his master in Charles 
Court, in the Strand, who gave him a good character, but 
declared he was of little use to him, on account of his being so 
bodily weak. He said he was fully aware of the boy’s fondness 
for chalking, and showed his visitor wdtat a state his w^alls 
were in from the young artist having drawn the portico of St 
Martin’s church in various places. . . . The gentleman pur- 
chased the remainder of ihe boy’s time, gave him an excellent 
education, then sent him to Italy; and upon his return, 
employed him, and introduced him to his friends as an 
architect.’ This story was told, too, by Isaac Ware to Roubiliac, 
when he was sitting for his bust, and we may fancy we see the 
same physiognomy in the engraving from tliat. 

Isaac Ware, then, was the complete Cockne^y and his best 
work tvas done in London. But he was employed, too, at 
Houghton and published some engravings of it, while his 
adherence to the Palladian movement is proved in a book of 
designs by Inigo Jones, and in his translation of Palladio. He 
refaced Chicksands Priory, in Bedfordshire, for the Osborn 
family, togetlier witli Wrotham Park, nearby, in Bedfordshire, 
for Admiral Byng, who w^as related to them, a house with 
typical portico and wings, but it has been much damaged 
in a fire. But, as we have said. Ware worked most and at his 
best in London; Chesterfield House with its Rococo decora- 
tions in the French taste being due to him, where, till a few 
years ago, could be seen the stair with marble steps and 
wrought iron balustrade from Canons, Edgware, a stairway 
tliat had known the tread of the great Handel. 

Upon the I.ondon houses of Isaac Ware there could be much 
argument and controversy. Engravings of a number of them 
are given in his Body of Architecture}, in Hanover Square, 
Bloomsbury Square, Berkeley Square, Burlington Gardens, 
Dover Street, Bruton Street, Albemarle Street, and South 
Audley Street. But we have arrived at tlie age of the ordinary 

218 



inconspicuous London exterior; and, also, the street numbers 
have been altered in the course of time. The problem explains 
itself if v/e take a pair of London houses. ‘The House of 
Charity,’ at the corner of Soho Square and Greek Street, a 
plain brick house disarmingly simple and undemonstrative, 
from outside, but containing a P.ococo staircase and a room on 
the first floor that would be exuberant even in Naples or 
Palermo. The stucco, indeed, is probably Italian, but the 
architect may have been Flitcroft, or Isaac Ware. If it be 
the latter, then who designed the extreme Palladian room at 
the back of No 12 North Audley Street, a house still smaller 
and more unpretentious from without? Was it Flitcroft, or 
Isaac Ware, or another?^ For the same architect cannot have 
been responsible for both. 

Flitcroft we have already admired for his steeple of St Giles- 
in-the-Fields. As a human person, he incurred the dislike of 
Sir Reginald Blomfield for an episode in which he fell down 
from a scaffolding and broke his leg, thus attracting tlie atten- 
tion of Lord Burlington, who employed him, kindly, on the 
drawings for The Designs of Inigo Jones. Flitcroft built two 
great houses, Wentworth Woodhouse and the main part of 
Woburn Abbey, tlie latter much more wonderful for its 
contents than as an edifice. Wentworth Woodhouse, the 
largest house in England, and six hundred feet long, it is diffi- 
cult to admire. There are many absurdities in the spun out 
faij^adc which may have been less ponderous when the air was 
brighter and before the mines came up to the park gates and 
the slag heaps rose like p^^amids in the distance, but the huge 
portico has dwarfed and crushed down the entire range of 
the ground floor, and the long wings are flat and empty with 
their balancing frontispieces and the square pavilions at the 

^ Mr Laurence Turner, in Decorative Plastcrwork in Great Britain, 
London, 1927, p. 209, suggests the name of Robert Harris as architect 
of No 12 North Audley Street, and compares it to the stuccowork 
at Compton Place, Eastbourne. This little London house is said to 
have been buiit by George the Second for his mistress, I.ady Suffolk, 
The Palladian room at the back, with its multiplicity of cornices and 
mouldings, according to Air Laurence Turner’s theory, is by the 
architect of Alarble Hill, Twickenham, associated with the same lady. 

219 



ends. But the consolation is the ‘Whistlejacket’ Room with 
its splendid horse paintings, great works of art in their kind by 
Stubbs. 

Vardy, who completed the Horse Guards when Kent died, 
will be remembered by Spencer House, St James’s, even 
though the fa(^ade towards the park be by Colonel Grey, the 
amateur and dilettante. Before this, Vardy had shown liis 
predilection in Some Designs by Mr Inigo Jones and Air Wm 
Kenty thus perpetuating himself as a Paliadian. There remains 
Matthew Brcttlngham of Norwich, who W'^orked with Kent at 
Holkham and buiit Langley Park, already mentioned for its 
stuccow^ork, in his native county. Brettingharn was also 
responsible for Cumberland House, Pall Mall, now pulled 
down, and for Norfolk liouse, St James’s Square. He had 
some share, too, in the original designs for Kedleston and his 
son w^as one of tlie first architects to go to Greece, in company 
with ‘Athenian’ Stuart, the result of which journey was The 
Antiquities of Athens of Stuart and Revett, a work of much 
influence on tlie yomiger generation and a determining factor 
in the taste and style of the later eightccntii century. The elder 
Brettingharn, as w^e grow more familiar with examples of his 
work, will prove to be the most interesting, with Isaac Ware, 
of the lesser Palladians. 

No account of Paliadian architecture in England is complete 
that does not mention the Paliadian bridge at Wilton (Plate 
23), one of the most beautiful ideal structures imaginable, for 
which credit must be given to the ninth Earl of Pembroke, an 
amateur, even tliough he had the assistance of Roger Morris, 
a professional. This must be compared, for beauty, with 
Vanbrugh’s Temple and Hawksmoor’s Mausoleum in the 
‘pyramidal woods’ of Castle Ploward; and for a state of mind, 
with Vanbrugh’s bridges at Castle Howard and Blenheim. 
Needless to sa}^ Lord Pembroke had formed his taste in 
Italy. There is an oft-quoted, probably apocryphal, remark 
made by Canova to the effect that he would return to England, 
at any time, if only to look upon St Paul’s, Somerset House, 
and tlie interior of St Stephen’s, Walbrook. The Paliadian 
bridge at Wilton would have made his journey worth while 


220 



from London into the country. It is the realisation of a project 
by Palladio tliat Palladio never executed; an architeaural 
problem in double profile^ as it were, the mysteiy^ consisting 
in how to accommodate a colomiadc, between a pair of 
porticoes, upon the three arches of a bridge. There were the 
frontal views to be considered, too, together with the archi- 
tectural sensibilities of the person standing on the balconies at 
either end, or among the pillars of the colonnades. The solu- 
tion is a structure so ideal that it has become mysterious, and 
far from being inhabited by Arcadian iiyrnpiis and shepherds 
its proper analogy is to Picasso’s Surrealist visions for the 
Metamorphoses of Ovid, wherein the bearded Ancient is a god 
reclining by a horizon that circumscribe ’s tlic vv^hole Mediter- 
ranean in a line of water, and the contour of the nymph could 
be blue-eyed Arcthusa or the cumulus of white cloud upon a 
Classic day. But this Paliadian bridge possesses, in itself, the 
gift of metamorphosis, for at Prior Park, where it has 
copied exactly, the poetry is quite other, and Virgilian. 
Another example of a Paliadian bridge is at Stowe, Bucking- 
hamshire. 

Neither Lord Pembroke nor Roger Morris achieved any 
other building upon such a scale. 'Pogether or separately, it is 
not certain, Marble Hill and the White I.oclgc, in Richmond 
Park, have been ascribed to them. But Morris lu-iilt Invcrary 
Castle for the Duke of Arg^dl in the ‘GothicIC manner, with 
an Italian model village by the w^aters of Loch Fync; and also 
Brandenburgh House at Hammersmith, for Mr Wyndham, 
long ago destroyed, with a gallery of gilding and frescoes, a pair 
of columns of Sicilian jasper and columjis for the doorcase of 
lapis lazuli. The Florentine Servandoni, theatrical artist and 
organiser of fetes and fireworks, who designed Saint Suipice in 
Paris, had a hand in this. Lord Pembroke in bis one master- 
piece surpassed that other amateur. Lord Burlington. But 
Lord Burlington, as a patron and an influence, was directly 
responsible for the Paliadian movement. He designed the 
York Assembly Rooms and probably Chiswick House; he 
inspired the Paliadian reaction and was the leading figure in it. 
His are the proper features of the aristocrat and the true 


221 



reason for that existence. As such^ Lord Burlington can 
never be forgotten in the history of taste. 


II 

Architecture of the mid-eighteenth century is to be found 
from end to end of England, and in Ireland, where the interiors 
are more Rococo. It may even have been difficult, if not 
impossible, to build badly. The era of the pattern book had 
come in, and it is typical of the age that Batty Langley, who 
was so silly in sham ‘Gothick’, should have been practical 
and sensible where ordinary building was concerned, but vve 
are arriving at a time when competence was so general that 
the tendency was to sicken of it and embark upon anything 
that was adventurous and floundering. The proof of this will 
come in the new generation with James Wyatt, an architect 
of genius, but he was determined to gainsay it. In the mean- 
time, talent of a high order had sprung up in the provinces. 
Carr of York, the Woods of Bath, are instances. Towns had 
begun to boast of squares and circuses, of parades and terraces, 
and under that general uniformity there was still room for the 
individual within. Masters of town architecture were to be 
Adam, Leverton, and the Woods of Bath. Country houses 
tended to be correct and cold, like a well-cut suit of clothes, 
and a portico was nearly as indispensable as tic and collar. 
We shall see towards the end of the century an extraordinary 
genius for grace and delicacy creeping in, so that ceilings, 
railings, fanlights, even grates, are incomparable in lightness 
and fantasy. That will be following in the footsteps of the 
great Robert Adam, and we must try to distinguish between 
him and his contemporaries. But it will be the last and final 
blossoming and then the leaves fall, one by one. For a long 
time, but, in the end, the tree is bare and has not flowered 
again. 

At present there is a spate of competence, or something 
more than that. The oldest of the new architects, before we 
go from town to country, is George Dance the Elder, who was 


222 



born in 1700. The Mansion House is familiar and typical of 
him. No less a person than Lord Burlington put in a design 
for this — by Palladio — ^but was unsuccessful. Besides this. 
Dance the Elder was responsible for four or five of the City 
churches, including St Luke’s, Old Street, with a fluted 
obelisk for spire, and St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, which we have 
adjnired already for its reminiscence of Wren’s St Mary-le 
Bow, being, indeed, a last essay in the style of Wren. 

Sir Robert Taylor, as architect, is a more conspicuous figure.^ 
He began as a sculptor in the studio of Cheere, went to Italy, 
and on his return carved the not unpleasing pediment to the 
Mansion House, then turned architect. His buildings are 
easily recognisable by certain mannerisms, by a method, in 
particular, of raising his columns upon exaggerated plinths. 
His country houses include Gopsall Hall, Derb}^, for Earl 
Howe; and Heveningham, in Suffolk, later to become one of 
the chief interiors of James Wyatt. But Sir Robert Taylor is 
familiar to all, that is to say, all have passed his work without 
looking, in Ely House, Dover Street, a plain stone front with a 
bishop’s mitre on it, and a most elegant interior. In addition, 
Taylor was architect to the Bank of England, and designed 
the Court Room there, a pattern of what might be, but will 
never be, architecturally, the official manner. Taylor had, at 
times, a fantasy that reminds one of the interiors of certain 
churches in Turin and must derive from his experiences in 
Italy. He must have looked long and intently upon the painted 
scene for, in fact, like those churches, he shows the influence 
of the Italian theatre. His columns are pillars of the panto- 
mime. Coming to architecture, out of sculpture, Taylor w^as 
not entirely ordinary in his approach, but was an amateur, not 
in technique, but in the first conception. His Court Room, 

^ But Sir Robert Taylor is, as well, a rather puzzling figure. Much 
of his interior decoration is upon distinctly Adam hncs. The interior 
of Ely House, Dover Street, is light, delicate and graceful, and a long 
way from the Palladians. Both Taylor and Sir William Chambers 
are transitional. But Chambers is nearer to Kent, Fiitcroft, Ripley; 
Taylor, though older, approaches Adam, Wyatt, Holland; and it will 
be necessary for us to refer to him again among the rivals of Robert 
Adam (p. 263). 


223 



at the Bank of England, is like a board room in a bank upon the 
eighteenth century stage (Plate 40),^ His walls and columns 
are not so solid that we could not lean against and shake them. 
Probably the theatrical tendency in Sir Robert Taylor could be 
followed through his buildings, where it would contrast with 
his alternate mood of sculptural sobriety. 

London was, by now, no longer the only great centre in the 
Kingdom. Dublin had become the third city in Europe, in 
point of population, which explains its splendid buildings. 
And Bath was rising, street by street, in circles, in hcmicycles, 
and in squares. The square had been, originally, a French 
invention. The red and white Place des Vosges, at Paris, dates 
from the reigns of Henri quatre or Louis treize, and compares 
with the Place Ducale at Charlcville with its pavilions and 
arcades, due to a member of the Gonzaga family who was 
governor of the province of Champagne The later, more 
familiar, Place Vendome, in Paris was built hi the last years 
of Louis quatorze, after the turn of the century, and was in 
its time a triumph of the modern architecture, much admired, 
if criticised, by all who saw it. After that, except for the Place 
Stanislas at Nancy, an instance more of palace architecture, the 
French abandoned these building schemes, but the idea took 
root in England. Street after street of fine houses arose in 
Dublin; later on will come the streets and squares of the new 
Edinburgh; London, in the last third of the century, had 
Portland Place and Fitzroy Square by Adam, and Bedford 
Square by Thomas Leverton; the movement ends with 
Carlton House Terrace and Nash’s terraces in Regent’s Park, 
or with the fanciful stucco squares of Brighton, that have one 
end left open to the sea. But Bath was the model city of the 
square and crescent, and the Woods, father and son, were the 
architects. 

^ The Assembly Rooms at Belfast is by Sir Robert Taylor and plainly 
by the same hand as the Court Room at tlie Bank of England. We 
must mention, too, the book of ttiirty-two engravings, after his 
designs, by James Malton, whose coloured aquatints of Dublin 
are among the most beautil'uj of eighteenth century works. Taylor, 
who died in 1788, left the greater part of his large fortune to found the 
Taylorian Institute at Oxford, for the study of modern languages. 

224 



The elder Wood, of Yorkshire origin, was working in Bath 
in 1725, or soon after, an early date for the construction of such 
buildings. Their uses had been foreshadowed by Wren in his 
scheme for the rebuilding of London, after the Fire, and 
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Pving’s Bench Walk, the Middle Temple, 
were really essays in this manner, the former having been 
schemed by Inigo Jones, who built the Doric Lindsay House, 
but in general their style was Dutch. Their pattern was the 
red brick houses along the canals of Amsterdam. At Bath, 
made use of the local stone, and his treatment was the 
strict Paliadian, or Classical. Queen's Square and the North 
and South Parades are among the earliest of these buildings, 
but space is lacking to follow up this architecture, bit by bit. 
Wood’s own house, No 15 Queen’s Square, has the stucco- 
work by the Franchini tliat wc have already noticed, with its 
staircase panel of St Cecilia seated at the organ, and, in odd 
contrast on the other wall, the flaying of the satyr Marsyas by 
Apollo. The elder Wood was master, also, of the grand manner, 
for which it is only necessary to see Prior Park, built for Ralph 
Allen, with its Corinthian portico, and the vale pouring down 
like a cornucopia to the Paliadian bridge below. ^ Far to the 
north he also designed the admirable offlcial residence of the 
Lord Mayor at Liverpool. 

The younger Wood built most, but not all, of the other 
monuments of Bath, for there were lesser architects like 
I'homas Baldwin. But he was responsible for the Fvoyal 
Crescent and the Assembly Rooms, and he finished the 
Circus (Plate 30) designed by the elder Wood. Lansdowne 
Crescent, however, was designed by John Palmer. The 
Crescent, high above the town, is well known from the 
Rowlandson print of fat men and women blown about in a 
high wind and chasing their wigs down the steep slope of the 
hill, also for its memories of Beckford, for his house stiU 
stands there, with its niche in the hall for the dv/arf Pedro. 

^ The fi^adc of Ral]'>h Allen’s town house at Bath compares 
curiously v/irh the Palazzo Guilio Porto or Casa del Diavolo at 
Vicenza, with its unfinished and very narrow storeys and Corintliian 
columns. There is a tradition that this house was built by Palladio for 
his own use. 

H 


225 



Bath is the pattern of an age of order, and of a spiritual state 
in which it was quite impossible for the horrors of our time 
to happen. The chaos and disorder of the nineteenth century 
have led down to the evils of our day. No person of an open 
mind could deny it, as he looks upon this architecture and the 
contagion of good building spread from Bath to Bristol, and to 
the smaller towns and villages nearby.^ 

Carr of York is another architect of local fame. Apart from 
Basildon, in Berkshire, he worked entirely in the North of 
England, and always in the correct Palladian manner. Various 
little edifices in Y ork itself are due to him, the Castle Museum 
and the Court House, dating from a period when the town 
was like a little Northern capital, and the local families spent 
their winters there. Carr neither made mistakes, nor showed 
originality, for the set rules allowed but few departures from 
the orthodox. The Royal Crescent, at Buxton, shows Carr 
working in the style of Bath. He was the architect of Horbury 
Church, Yorkshire, where the spire surmounts a circular 
drum after the fashion of Nash’s All Souls’, Langham Place. 
But his country houses, Tabley in Cheshire, Lytham in 
Lancashire, and numerous instances in Yorkshire only prove 
that the example of Vanbrugh had been forgotten. There are 
no traces of the ‘Castle* style of Gilling or of Lumley. The 
Northern School of Romantic building was carried no further. 
Carr was a local architect, but with no regional peculiarities. 
His buildings could stand, as well, in any part of England. 

Architecture, being set in its forms, was in the hands of the 
most prolific of composers. James Paine is an instance, who 
must have built as many houses as Boccherini wrote sym- 
phonies, or as the operas of Cimarosa. Yet his level of accom- 
plishment is astonishingly high. He never falters, never 
hesitates ; it was not necessary for Paine to wait to be inspired. 
His ideas must have come quickly on the drawing board. His 

^ Belcombe Court, Bradford-on-Avon, has an enchanting little 
octagonal anteroom (Plate 31) by the elder Wood, with corner cup- 
boards, swags of flowers upon the walls, an octagon cornice, and a 
ceiling of cupids holding wreaths of flowers. In tliis httlc room the 
elder Wood shows a delicate fantasy and imagination of a high order. 
He was master of both scales, in this httle octagon and at Prior Park. 

226 



early practice was in Yorkshire, beginning with the Mansion 
House at Doncaster, of which, for some reason, he published 
a book of more than twenty views, for a far more interesting 
work is Cusworth Park, a mile or two away, with its rusticated 
base, fine doors and windows, and Palladian pavilions to either 
hand. 

Nostcll Priory is another work by Paine, later added to by 
Adam. The dining-room with its Baroque stucco frames, 
redolent of Italy, may be a relic of the earlier decoration 
(Plate 32). It is to be noted that Cusworth and others of his 
first houses are more Italian in treatment. A later example 
like Wardour Castle, in Wiltshire, is comparatively big and 
bleak, as though the Palladian forms were wearing thin. 
Thorndon Hall, Essex, for Lord Petre, is a little earlier, and 
therefore better, of white brick with a Corinthian portico of 
six columns and circular corridors with wings; Bn^cket HaU, 
Hertfordshire, for Lord Melbourne, is another of Paine’s 
houses, and the river in front of it is crossed by one of Paine’s 
bridges, for he was a famous bridge designer. He built the 
bridge in the park at Chatsworth, and Chertscy, Walton, Kew, 
and Richmond, four Thames bridges. But it would be profit- 
less to follow him in a list of names, for Paine was employed in 
every part of England and in several London houses. Worksop 
Manor, had it been completed, was to have been the most 
considerable of all his works. This tremendous scheme, for the 
Duke of Norfolk, provided for a quadrangle with sides three 
hundred feet in length, and two interior courts. The interior 
wing between them was to contain the Egyptian Hall, a hun- 
dred and forty feet long and fifty-five feet high, approached 
through an outer hall and a Tribune, which was to be circular 
with a peristyle of eight columns, while from the wing on the 
far side of the Egyptian Hall the grand staircase was to rise. A 
vista led right through the building, somewhat after the 
example of Vanvitelli at Caserta. But the Duchess of Norfolk 
died, and work was discontinued when only one wing had 
been completed. The foundations are on the site of the pre- 
vious Worksop Manor, with five hundred rooms, that was 
burnt down, and the whole area, though a subsequent owner, 

227 



the Duke of Newcastle, cleared the ground, still contains 
stretches of wall and other traces of Paine’s plan. 

Our own age has to envy such an architect his fluency. But, 
at least, the style was established, and now there is no style at 
all. He was working in a convention, the very purposes of 
which were to make it easy. The parallel, we suggest again, 
lies in music, eg Haydn. Architecture had become a prosperous 
profession, more so than music. Sir Robert Taylor left a 
hundred and eighty thousand pounds ; Carr of York a hundred 
and fifty thousand pounds, amounting to large fortunes in 
those times. We know the features of James Paine from the 
portrait of him and his son by Reynolds, now in the Bodleian, 
and get the impression of an alive and vigorous personality, 
most intelligent in the eyes, and possessed of authority. He is 
wearing a wcarm overcoat with heavy sleeves, as about to 
climb into the work in progress, and we feel this is as much his 
uniform as the red or blue of any general or admiral. The 
amount of work undertaken by this architect was prodigious; 
two volumes of his drawings for mirrors, chimncypicces and 
other details, are in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It may 
be many centuries before such fluency comes back again, and 
we cannot but envy it. 

There were exceptions; and it may be significant that they 
are found just where our theories would discover them. 
‘Athenian’ Stuart is the perfect instance. He v/as a dilettante 
and a theorist, but his Antiquities of Athens did more harm 
than good, to the extent that it could be said the decay of our 
architecture dates from his explorations. They unsettled the 
convention, and i)i the end destroyed it. The humoiirlcss and 
quaint Sir John Soane has a passage in which he says: ‘The 
Ancients, with great propriety, decorated the temples and 
altars with the skulls of victims, rams’ heads, and other 
ornaments peculiar to their religious ceremonies, but w^hen the 
same ornaments are introduced in the decoration of English 
houses, they become puerile and disgusting.’ An absurd 
truism; but when ‘Athenian’ Stuart was given an opportunity 
to put his theories into practice in the ‘Painted’ drawing-room 
at Spencer House, St James’s, the results are a pretty setting 

228 



for the joint brushes of Angelica Kauffmann and her husband, 
Zucchi, and a far echo of Florence, or even Fontainebleau. 
These arc Italian arabesques; there is nothing Grecian about 
them. They are modelled on the painted decorations of the 
Renaissance, and arc amateur beside the work of Adam or of 
Wyatt. 

On the other liand, George Dance the Younger was a neo- 
classicist of m’ech training and scholarship; his output was 
limited if select and varied. He learned from his father and 
had a long Italian schooling. His church of All Hallows, 
London Wall, is a late essay in a style somewhat reminiscent 
of Wren, with a little cupola, but no steeple, and a strict but 
original and sensible interior.^ Fie did not die till 1825 and his 
output includes country houses, among them Cole Orton, in 
Leicestershire, for Sir George Beaumont, the collector of 
Claude’s paintir.gs, and the fine entrance hall at Laxton, 
Northamptonshire, since altered. Another of his houses, 
Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing, now a public library, exhibits 
Dance in a fantastic mood of elegance, as though wishing to 
compete with Adam. The dining-room has arched windows, 
with arched alcoves opposite; an apse at one end with doors 
on cither side and a ceiling of triangles and rectangles. On 
•the hrst floor, one of the rooms has a ceiling of astonishing 
delicacy, a sort of combination of the Classical and Rococo, 
like Adam at his lightest, with octagonal panels tracked 
alternately with fan-like ornaments, and in the middle of the 
octagon a round shape like the nimbus of a watcrlily, with a 
spread of arabesque and acanthus round it. This is one of 
the most delicate of all designs in stucco, and proves of what 
he was capable when he so wished it. He also designed among 
others St Luke’s Hosnital, Old Street, the College of Surgeons, 
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Boydell’s Gallery with the first ‘am- 
monite’ capitals and the Guildhall front. But he left, as well, 
one building, Old Newgate Prison, which was a masterpiece 
of the macabre, and in spite of its ultra-Palladianism belongs, 
in spirit, to the great Romantic Movement. It has been often 
stated, and is obvious, that his inspiration came from the 
^ St Bartholomew-the-Less is Dance in the sham Gothic. 

229 



Carceri of Piranesi, and it must be recalled that Dance was 
artist as well as architect, had lived long years in Rome, and 
may have been acquainted with the engraver. The Carceri 
are a set of dungeon fantasies, alone of their kind, and inspired, 
probably, by dreams or inhibitions. They show immense and 
horri:;! vaults, of Cyclopean building, with gigantic fetters, the 
ghosts of treadmills, and could be the barracks of the galley 
slaves. Old Nev/gate Prison was in this vein, entirely, and 
shows an extraordinary sadistic fancy. The main feature was 
an immense black wall, we call it black, but it was the white 
Portland blackened by the soot of London, three hundred feet 
in length, with a projecting bay in the centre, which was the 
keeper’s house, and with prison entrances to cither hand. The 
whole of this long wail was rusticated, but the tremendous 
features w'crc the prison doors with sculptured manacles above 
them, and a Daiitcsquc gloom and horror in the squaring of 
every stone. The cold, careful, Pailadian proportion chills the 
blood. We feel that Dance should have built the first prisons 
in the Antipodes; the ghastly Port Arthur, the children’s hell 
at Point Pucr, and the inferno of Norfolk Island.^ Dance was 
a consummate technician, and a curious figure verging on the 
Romantic. Beyond doubt his is the most interesting person- 
ality in the wLolc later movement. 

Pailadian architecture in England ends gloriously with Sir 
William Chambers. This, too, was his own opinion. He says, 
of the Pailadian: ‘That style, though somewhat heavy, w^as 
great, calculated to strike at the instant, and although the 
ornaments were not so varied or numerous as now, they had a 
more powerful effect . . . they were easily perceptible without 
a microscope, and could not be mistaken for filigraine toy 
work.’ He cared not for the decorative painting of Angelica 
Kauffmann and Cipriani : ‘ For one cannot suffer to go by so 
high a name the trifling gaudy ceilings, now in fashion, which, 
composed as they are of little rounds, squares, hexagons and 
ovals, excite no other idea than that of a dessert upon the 
plates of which are dished out bad copies of indifferent an- 

^ Dance built Giltspur Street Prison, long ago pulled down, and, I 
believe, never illustrated. 


230 



tiques.’ Such are the tones, nevertheless, of someone who has 
forgotten the excesses of his own youth, for this strict Pal- 
ladian, long ago, had brought the Chinese style to England. 
Chambers, the son of a Scotch merchant, was born in Stock- 
holm and brought back to England for his education. When 
sixteen years old, he was sent out to Canton as a supercargo, 
but spent Ills apprenticeship in drawing the pagodas and 
gardens of the mandarins. These exotic impressions were to 
make his fortune and form the background for Ins youthful 
fancies, enabling him to write of the Imperial gardens; 
‘Sometimes in this romantic excursion the passenger finds 
himself in extensive recesses surrounded with arbours of 
jessamine, vines and roses, where beauteous Tartarean damsels 
in loose transparent robes that flutter in the air present him 
with rich wines, mangostans, ananas and fruits of Quangfi; 
crown him with garlands, and invite him to taste the sweets of 
retirement on Persian carpets and beds of camosath skin 
down,’ It is curious reading from the architect of Somerset 
EIousc, a generation earlier than Lalla Rookh and Vathek^ but 
the path led past the pagoda of Kew Gardens. 

In the meantime. Chambers had returned from the Orient 
and gone to Paris, where he studied under Clerisseau, one of 
the greatest of the architectural draughtsmen, and made 
contact with J.-A. Gabriel and others of the French architects. 
This French influence remained with him and is to be noticed 
in the cutting of his ornament. The overdoors in the court of 
Somerset House, consisting of framed ‘oeil-de-boeuf’ windows, 
tied with laurel v/reaths and with naturalistic sprays of flowers, 
are entirely French in manner, as arc the bas-relief panels, also 
in the courtyard, of stone vases in which are sitting pairs of 
mermen with the same wreaths round their laps, and tails 
that arc floreated in the short, French proportion. From 
Paris, Chambers went to Italy and spent some years in Rome, 
though his subsequent buildings show little influence of the 
Italian Renaissance. What affected him was Roman archi- 
tecture. 

Upon his return to London, Chambers was brought to the 
notice of the Prince of Wales (afterwards George the Third) 

231 



by Lord Bute, an introduction which ended in the Pagoda and 
Orangery at Kew Gardens. Chambers was now launched 
upon a career of little buildings, including the entrance gates 
to Wilton and to Blenheim, both in the form of Roman 
arches, and the Town Hall at Woodstock. But also he built 
Carrington House, with its fine staircase, on the site of the 
hideous War Office. Wc may, however, limit ourselves to two 
buildings as typical of him, Somerset House, and the Casino 
at Marino, Clontarf, near Dublin. 

The Strand part of Somerset House is built, purposely as it 
were, not to be noticed. It is unobtrusive, flat, and Classical. 
The arcaded entrance is more interesting, because of the 
interplay of the vaults and columns. Neither is the courtyard 
remarkable, except for correctness and size. The opportunity 
of Somerset House has been the river front, but we have to 
imagine it before the Thames Embankment. The main features 
of its long flight of Portland stone are the rusticated basement, 
which used to rise up from the river, the three watergates to 
which barges were tied up, and the open colonnades above 
them, which give lightness to the long fagade. The official 
purposes of the building made it, necessarily, uninteresting in 
its interior, but, at least, Chambers has left an edifice that 
leads the eye without derogation to the dome of St Paul’s, 
down the curve of river. 

His other masterpiece is on the Lilhputian scale, with a 
railing put round it for all the w^orld as though it were a 
German tank on viev/, and with a red brick Roman Catholic 
college but a few yards away. This is the Casino at Marino, 
Clontarf, outside Dublin, built to the limits of extravagance by 
Lord Charicmont, the whole structure being no larger than a 
gamekeeper’s cottage, or one of the keeper's lodges in a London 
park. It is at the Casino, more than elsewhere, that we can 
observe the French influence upon Sir William Chambers, for 
it compares with the interior of the Petit Trianon, by Gabriel, 
and with the little apartments or cabinets of Marie Antoinette 
in the palace at Versailles. This rage for sets of rooms on a 
minute scale is a symptom of the age, due to the revolt against 
the Grand Siccle and to the teachings of the French philoso- 

232 



phers. It can be followed from end to end of Europe; in the 
interiors of Cameron at Tsarskoe Selo, for Catherine the 
Great, and in the Casa del Labrador at Araniuez and the earlier 
Casita del Principe at the Escorial. Here we have it, looking 
on to the waters of Dublin Bay. But the wonder of the Marino 
is the number of small rooms, ail exquisitely proportioned, that 
the ingenuity of the architect has contrived within its sculptured 
mass. For the Casino, externally, is one sculptural Mock, like 
the Marble Arch or the arch on Constitution iiiil. It is no 
more a house, external^, than the screen at Hyde Park Corner; 
but, within, it has this profusion of little rooms of a minute 
size, finished to the most refined delicacy of mantelpiece and 
cornice. 

The craftsmanship at the Casino is of the highest order 
possible, but the Dublin artisans at this date were second to 
none in Europe, and the reader need only glance through the 
volumes of The Georgian Society to feel certain of this. 
Examples range from the light Rococo of Belvedere, in West- 
meath, to Castletown, the home of Mr Conolly, who was 
Speaker of the Irish House of Commons in die reign of Queen 
Anne, a typical, overgrown house of its period with a centre 
and two wings joined by semicircular colonnades ; or to Carton, 
near by, built by Cassels for the Duke of Leinster, Russ- 
borough, for the Earl of Miiitown, may be the finest of all Irish 
houses;^ or there is Casdecoolc, in County Fermanagh, 
belonging more properly to the next chapter, for it was built 

^ Richard Castle or Cassels was a native of Hesse. Castletown, Co. 
Kildare, not to be confused with Castletown, Co. Kilkenny, has a 
fine staircase with Rococo plasterwork by the brothers Franchini, 
cf p. 190, a gallery with arabesques in the style of Raphael, painted 
on the walls by Thomas Rile}", a ‘little, delicate, deformed’ pupil of 
Reynolds, and a room with prints displayed upon the wails, similar 
to that at Woodhall Park, cf. p. 277, or to the room, now destroyed, 
arranged by Thomas Chippendale at Mcrsham-lc-Hatch, in Kent; 
Carton, where the architect Castle died, in 1751, has a saloon with a 
coved ceiling by the Franchini, and a Regency dining-room by 
Morrison; at Russborough, he was associated with David Rindon; 
with its colonnades (Plate 22), it has a riotous, exuberant staircase, 
ceilings in splendid Rococo, and mantelpieces unmatched elsewhere, 
including a uniquely beautiful specimen by Bossi. 

233 



by Wyatt. But Cassels is our first name of an architect 
practising in Ireland, and when we know his German origin 
the heavy ornate tendencies in some of the houses are ex- 
plained. Both Carton and Russborough have stuccowork in 
white and gold, the former known to be by the Italian Franchini 
brothers; the latter in its rich decorative rococo is of dissimilar 
style, and cannot at present be assigned to any plaster worker. 
Cassels built houses in Dublin for the Waterford and Leinster 
families; at Tyrone House, the stuccowork has been attributed 
to Robert West. There is Italian stuccowork in Dublin; and 
there were, as well, the native Irish plasterers; but the inter- 
esting question is, who were the architects? In an article Mr 
C. P. Curran suggests Robert West, Michael Stapleton, John 
Ensor, the Thorpes and Pemberton. 

Street after street in Dublin recalls, but surpasses, anything 
that is left in London. The great name of later Dublin building 
is Janies Gandoii, who was Chamberses pupil, and with whom 
we would close our account of the strict Palladians. He did 
not come to Dublin till 1781, and the Custom House and the 
Four Courts are his chief buildings. Of this pair the Custom 
Plouse is much to be preferred. Gandon refused an oficr from 
the Tsar Alexander the First to come to Russia as his architect, 
and in the light of this knowledge we may look upon the 
Custom House as pure architecture by an Englisliman that 
yet, according to the alchemy of time and place, is as different 
from London as though it had risen on the banks of the Neva. 
But our tour of Dublin and its old buildings is facihtated, or 
indeed inspired, by one of the most beautiful books of the art 
of aquatint. The artist was James Malton, a member of a 
family of architectural draughtsmen trained in the tradition 
of Paul Sandb}^, and at one remove, therefore, and no more, 
from Canaletto. This explains the accuracy and surpassing 
beauty of their work.^ 

A Picturesque View of the City of Dublin opens with a flour- 

‘ James Malton was employed as scene painter at Co vent Garden, 
and ran an evening drawing school at which Girtin and J. M. W. 
Turner were pupils. His brother, Thomas Malton, published archi- 
tectural aquatints of Oxford, Bath and London. 

234 



ished title page after Tomkins, the writing master, engraved 
on copper, and no mean example of his skill. 'Fhe aquatint 
plates that follow, arc found plain or coloured, though the 
latter state is excessively rare. There are also his original 
watercolour drawings, one or more of which are in the Victoria 
and Albert Aduscuin. We have, therefore, by James Malton, a 
complete picture of Dublin in its prime, for the book was 
published just after the Custom House and the Four Courts 
had been finished. The written descriptions accompanying 
the plates form our introduction to forgotten architects, 
Thomas Cooley, Robert Mack, or Francis Johnston, the first 
an Englishman, to whom are due the Dublin buildings. 

So we may come up the river Liffey from the sea, and moor 
at the Custom House, and have time to look at its Falla dian 
architecture and Doric portico before wc drive into the town, 
admiring, as we would, the Royal arms above the shops in old 
Regent Street, the bas-relief of England and Ireland in the 
pediment, seated on a shell and led by Neptune with bis trident 
who drives away Famine and Despair, and the arms of Ireland 
(with the harp of O'Carolan) above the doorways in the 
pavilions at cither end.^ But we continue into the town. It is 
an incomparable sensation to arrive in this city of Georgian 
buildings in the clear light of Ireland, upon a spring or autumn 
morning, for it has a quality of light that is found nowhere else, 
and that holds in suspension something of the character and 
tragedy of its population. Here, in Dublin, many poets, cynics, 
rebels, were born, or lived, or died. It is the city of Dean 
Swift, of Grattan, Thomas Moore; of Richard Brinsley 
Sheridan and Oscar Wilde. By the banks of the Liffey the 
Rev. Henry Maturin wrote Melmoth the Wafiderevy and James 
Joyce conceived Finnegan’s Wake and Ulysses. So many 
Anglo-Irish wits and spendthrifts in every class of life ruined 
themselves, or died of drink. For our part we are unwilling to 
believe that this city of eighteenth century architecture did not 
influence their genius for good or bad. 

We are in the great courtyard of Dublin Castle, where the 

^ The sculptor was Edward Smith of Dublin, a considerable and 
delightful artist of his kind. 


235 



book opens, with the guard drawn up before us for inspection, 
in their red coats and pipeclay in the bright morning, and a 
group of iadies wearing the high headdresses of the ‘seventeen 
nineties’, when Paris fashions were just abolished by the 
Revolution and our native fantasy, as now, had begun to 
plav. But this is no more than a visit of ceremony. There is 
nothing to detain us here. Wc have but come to write our 
names. And we waik through the town to the Ionic porticoes 
and colonnades of the old Irish House of Lords (now the Bank 
of Ireland). This is a most complicated formal building, of 
many fronts, erected at difterent periods by three arcliitects, 
but completed and made into a whole by Francis Johnston, 
Richard’s more distinguished brother. A delightful bas-relief, 
of the same school as those at the Custom House, is over the 
principal portico and represents the Royal Arms, above which 
stands a statue of Hibernia with Fidelity and Commerce at 
either hand by the same Dublin sculptor, Edward Smith. 
But the Ionic colonnades form the particular beauty of this 
building, especially where the circular screen wails, with 
niches and columns, connect the main front with the other 
faces, each with an Ionic portico, or in the one case, a guard 
room entered through an archway with Ionic columns. 

A city of lamps and iron railings and bright yellow carriages 
(in the coloured copy) and we End ourselves in front of Trinity 
College. A yellow barouche, led by a pair of white horses, 
crosses the foreground and gives colour to the building with 
its massive centrepiece and corner blocks or pavilions. But 
Trinity College slopes away from us. We look at its iron lamp 
posts and railings, and up at the near pavilion with its Paliadian 
windows on the first floor, on cither face framed by pairs of 
Corinthian pilasters, and wuth a swag of fruit or garland hang- 
ing over the arch of each window. The stone is parti-coloured, 
brand new from the quarry, not sooted as in London, and we 
see it in alternating courses like flakes of colour on the smooth 
faces of the pilasters and along the blank surfaces of wall, 
down to where, in the distance, there arc rusticated gate piers 
topped with urns before another building which is hidden 
down a s^de street. 


236 



This is the Provost’s Lodge of Trinity College, of Classic 
proportions, and in the pure Palladian manner, being a copy 
of a design by Lord Burlington for General Wade’s house in 
Piccadilly. It has the most beautiful stone facade in Dublin; 
and the question whether it would be the same, though 
identical, in Piccadilly as in Dublin, could be the subject of 
endless argument. For this modest, square block, standing 
back behind its gates, with its noble stuccoed saloon upon the 
first floor, is convincing evidence of the genius loci. But 
Palladian architecture must not blind us to the lesser Dublin 
of the leaded fanlight and shop window. A wonderful trio of 
young ladies out of Hcidclofi ’s Gallery of Fashion^ taking the 
air, stand outside the bow window of a shop, and intense 
pleasure comes from the lettering and the delicate and beautiful 
fanlight above the door. 

After this it is pathetic, but to be understood, that the artist 
is hopelessly bored by the Gothic of St Patrick’s Cathedral, 
but he recovers at the Royal Exchange by Thomas Cooley, a 
domed building with twelve fluted pillars (now tlic City Hall) 
shown down a descending street, and by that, more interesting 
in perspective. The bright newness and correct fantasy of its 
Classical facade speak well for Thomas Cooley, an Englishman 
with an Irish sounding name, of whom little more is known. 
The Custom House and Four Courts we pass by, for we saw 
them on arriving, and we mention, but no more, the old Tholsel 
and Elilmainham Hospital, in order to come to the Rotunda, 
a set of assembly rooms for concerts and masquerades by 
which money was raised for the Rotunda Plospital. The 
Rotunda is by Richard Cassels, and to Francis Johnston is due 
the Round Room and Long Room attached. In the interior 
there is fine stuccowork, and wc may read of its ‘ shields of cut 
glass, and other glittering ornaments that have a very brilliant 
appearance’. His spire of St George’s has been reckoned 
‘hardly less beautiful than the best of London’s spires’. And 
wc arrive at Powerscourt House, another ‘Venetian’ building 
by an unknown architect, Robert Mack. 

But we will end our tour of Malton’s Dubhn in Capel 
Street, by the bridge over the Liffey. We are looking from 

237 



the north bank of the river betv^cen the Four Courts and the 
Custom House. The domed building in front of us, over the 
bridge, is Thomas Cooley’s Royal Exchange. But the bridge 
rises in the centre, hiding much of the Corinthian portico; with 
a high parapet and lamps on either side, and hooded sentry- 
boxes for the nightwatchmen. The masts and rigging of a 
ship show up against the Georgian houses on the other bank. 
A man on a ladder cleans one of the lamps in the middle of the 
bridge. A pair of mounted dragoons, sword in hand, with a 
trumpeter riding behind them, come from the corner of 
Ormond Quay on to the bridge, passing a two-wheeled brewer’s 
dray. Their military punctuality gives point to the bright 
morning. 

On the right, with three floors of windows, and a young 
woman leaning from one of them, there is a boot and shoe 
warehouse. An old gentleman in black walks by, and a dog is 
scavenging in the gutter. But the old gentleman looks across 
the street. An Irish beggar v»^onian talks to a little boy, who 
holds his hoop and stick in one hand. A barefooted beggar 
accosts a man on horseback who is talking to a friend. Yet 
another beggar woman stands on the pavement with her back 
to us. We are outside the State Lottery office. How smooth 
the brickwork with its joints of mortar! A man in riding 
clothes, coming out of the door, quizzes a pair of ladies from 
the Gallery of Fashion, Here comes a fishwife with her basket 
on her head. But oh! the beauty of the brickwork. Of that 
one window with its lower half pushed up, and the feathering 
of the bricks along its edges; of the pair of round arched 
windows on the first floor. Of the oval painted sign between 
them ; of the street sign, Capel Street, on black, by the corner 
of that windowledge. Of the door with its fanlight and win- 
dows on either side, with leaded fans above them ; of the bow 
window next door, with gold lettering on black, and a gold 
frieze above it. The lamps that hang outside the windows; 
the satisfaction of the leaded panes. A precise moment, on a 
particular morning in 1791, when eighteenth century elegance 
has reached to its climax, and in a week, a month, a year, will 
go from the world for ever. 


238 



Even on that bright morning we may put a dark slide before 
our eyes. We may look on it through darkened glasses. We 
may take down Maxwell’s Irish Rebellion of ijgS from the 
bookshelf, with its wonderful but fearful Cruikshanks. George 
Cruikshank had never been to Ireland. He never crossed the 
English or the Irish Channels. He never set foot further than 
the end of Margate Pier. But we need only look at his ctcliing 
of the rebels impaling prisoners on their spikes on Wexford 
Bridge; or at the tatterdemalion encampment upon Vinegar 
Hill. In this mood we would walk along the banks of Liffey, 
and look for old houses in the decaying slums. For a mist of 
melancholy hangs to those waters and, perhaps, it affects us 
most who love old buildings. In Dublin not so much has been 
demolished as in London. But we see it in degradation. We 
feel the melancholy of its decay. I last saw it on the day of 
Munich, in the false sunset a year before the storm. Another 
world was dawning, but the fearful winds arc not dying yet. 
Their wings are not folded. The pinions still drip with blood. 
Perhaps the old buildings were never so beautiful as on that 
livid evening, although it foreshadowed and ushered in the 
Age of Lead. 


239 



Fig. 9. A typical Adam fanlight design, to be carried out partly 
in cast lead. 


IX 

ADAM 

I F WE can convert a few of our readers to our philosophy, and 
judge of a period or country not by its political history but 
by its art, assuming that no century can be healthy that has 
no art, then, together, we can find the clue to many mysteries. 
For we all have long enough memories to recall how, for a 
year or two before it started, we were treading in the shadow of 
the coming war. Many persons will recall a like period before 
1914. But such symptoms were but sporadic or inorganic 
growths upon the corpse of our times. They w^arned the 
dying body but they had sprung up in a night. We may think 
that this sign or anticipation was as nothing to the transient 
finality of the last decades of the eighteenth century. For it 
was, then, that the long-lived, normal body lay a-dying. 

Or did they know nothing? Did they not recognise the 
warnings? We have called it an old body, but the arts con- 

240 


tinually renew themselves and are for ever young. The last 
years of the eighteenth century grow fresher and more 
fastidiously elegant as the slums and collieries of the Industrial 
Age creep nearer to them. Certainty our theory can account 
for this last, vernal blossoming upon the brink of the common 
grave. The great body of the arts of Europe was dying for 
twenty, or even thirty years, before its end. Since then we have 
had, nearly entirely, the weed-like genius that is unhappy or 
diseased, because it has lived, neglected, and in isolation. Such 
are Keats and Baudelaire, Chopin and Beethoven ; and many, 
if not all, the rest. For we must state, in parenthesis, that an 
Elgar, Lutyens, Lavery, are not enough. We do not include 
them. But our theories, in their immediate application, can 
explain a Mozart, a Flaydn; even a Wyatt, or an Adam. For 
Robert Adam, like those two musicians, created so easily that 
difficulty must be coming. And, indeed, a few more years, and 
architecture was dead completely. 

It is a paradox that the ‘Adam style’ is known to an immense 
public that has no knowledge of its author and critical opinion 
of Adam has fluctuated severely, if, now, it has settled into 
calm but discriminate admiration. We can remember, in our 
childhood, when Adam was regarded not as an architect but a 
firm of decorators and, a few years earlier, when ever^lhing 
of the eighteenth century was designed by Adam. The know- 
ledge that there were four Adam brothers may have helped in 
this confusion. But for all purposes there is one only, Robert 
Adam. The other brothers were partners, or business associ- 
ates, not architects. And the more we know of Robert Adam, 
the deeper grows our admiration for his universal genius. 

But we will plunge into the period ! ‘ Next morning, walked 
out to sec the different buildings of Palladio with which this 
city (Vicenza) abounds, and of which I am no admirer. Ilis 
private houses are ill -adjusted both in their plans and eleva- 
tions, as is also the Theatre Olympic, which is looked upon here 
as a capo d' opera. The seats are not convenient for the 
spectators: the order of them is pitiful. . . . The scena is the 
most crowded and ill-adjusted thing I ever saw; and the alleys 
in perspective are perfectly childish. The Hotel de Ville is 

241 



abominably meagre in every respect. What pleased me most 
of all was Palladio’s Villa Capra or Rotunda. . . . However, 
there is somewhat to make a good thing of, which is more than 
can be said of most of Palladio’s buildings.’ Times have 
changed! It is James Adam writing in his diar^?^, and in his 
disparagement of Palladio w^c may fancy we hear the accent 
of the Lowland Scot. He was accompanied on his journey by 
Clerisseau, who bad already travelled in Italy with Robert 
Adam. This French draughtsman w^as mentor and guide to 
the youthful brothers Adam. It w^as under his influence that 
they admired the ‘ antique incrustations ’ of Pisa and Florence, 
and that Robert Adam set forth to draw the ruins of Diocletian’s 
palace at Spalato, in Dalmatia. But the importance of this 
diploma work of Robert Adam must not be exaggerated. It 
was his Newdigate poem, and wLat we would stress as of 
more influence was his study of the early Renaissance in Italy 
and his friendship with Piranesi. But more than all else his 
researches into the antique stucco decorations of the Romans. 
This taught him the use of colour in his ceilings; or it could 
not be better phrased than by Horace W^alpole, that, 'at least 
the discoveries at Herculaneum testify that a light and fantastic 
architecture of a very Indian air made a very common decora- 
tion of private apartments’. Later, the application of such 
lessons was to be called, in disparagement, by the same critic, 
‘filigraine or fan painting’, and to be characterised as ‘harle- 
quinades’, or ‘gingerbread and snippets of embroidery’; this 
was when Walpole was extolling the ‘chaste’ Wyatt at the 
expense of Adam, and, in our time, we may w^ell envy Walpole 
the luxury of such grumbles and complaints. 

But, at least, w^e may allow ourselves the privilege of seeing 
this great designer when he is inimitable and at his best; 
judge of him in that, and then come down to detail. For this 
purpose we take the tv/o houses which are, in part, his 
masterpieces, though the exterior and the planning of Kedies- 
ton, the first of them, is still in dispute between Matthew 
Brettingham and Paine. Adam was called in after the building 
was begun, and the only certainty is that the South front of 
Kedleston is due to him. This is coldly Roman, by a Lowdand 

242 



Scot, and like a triumphal arch with a dome above it in the 
middle of a square block of building; but, then, for our own 
taste, we would never admire Adam as an exterior architect. 
The great North portico is due to Paine, and as bleak and 
chilly as his portico at NostelL But the interior of Kedlcston 
has one room, by Adam, of truly Roman grandeur. This is 
the hall, with its twenty fluted columns of Derbyshire alabaster 
from a neighbouring quarry.^ Adam has lavished the utmost 
refinements of his skill upon the two fireplaces and upon the 
compositions of white stucco figures that are above them 
(Plate 26); but, more so still, upon the grates of burnished 
brass and steel, the fenders and the fire irons. These grates 
and fenders are real show pieces. Their technical perfection 
is that of the Japanese lacquerers and swordsmiihs, and it 
would not be surprising if, like the columns of Derbyshire 
alabaster, they are a local product, for steel or iron grates of 
superb workmanship are often found in Derbyshire. Before 
we leave Kedleston we may admire these grates more than 
anything else in its interior. For the domed rotunda behind 
this, with its cast iron stoves and delicate wall lights, is a 
serious and grim apartment. We may prefer the State bed 
with branching palm trees, the palm mirror, and gilt dolphin 
sofa with its tritons, all by Adam, but unlike him, and in the 
‘Venetian’ manner, though totally imlike any furniture to be 
seen in Venice. What can be done with the hall and rotunda? 
For they are quite unsuited to a private house, and we may 
find ourselves agreeing with Dr Johnson, on leaving, that ‘the 
house would do excellently well for a town hall; the large room 
with the piUars would do for the judges to sit in at the assizes ; 
the circular room for a jury chamber; and the room above for 
prisoners’. Adam, indeed, like many architects before, and 
after him, has made the house into a costly prison for its in- 
habitants. But the hall, for all that, is Roman in magnificence. 

^ ‘ The hall is very stately ... it has two rows of marble pillars, 
dug as I hear, from Langley, a quarry in Northamptonshire; the 
pillars are very large and massy, they take up too much room, they 
were better away.’ Dr Johnson’s Diary. But I know of no Langley 
in Northamptonshire. 


243 



The variety of Adam’s invention and imagination is shown 
in the contrast of this house with Syon. Here, in his own 
words, the ‘idea was to me a favourite one, the subject great, 
the expense unlimited’; and we would add that Syon, the plain 
exterior of which is so dull and unprepossessing and the 
interior so little known, and seldom seen, is among the greatest 
works of art in England. The white entrance hall we find 
uninteresting, but, perhaps, on purpose, for the ante-room 
leading out of it is as superb as any Roman interior in the 
palace of the Cscsars. Its decoration consists of twelve columns, 
and as many pilasters, of verdc antique, dredged, app^ropri- 
ately, from the bed of the Tiber, and ransomed by Sir Elugh 
Smithson, first Duke of Northumberland of the new creation, 
for a thousand pounds apiece. These verde antique columns 
have gilded Ionic capitals and neckings, and bases of white 
marble with gilt enrichments. The entablature above the 
columns lias a honeysuckle frieze in gold on blue, which 
brings out the yellows, reds ana blues of the scagliola floor. 
Another feature of this ante-room is the two gilded, military 
trophies upon the walls, like paintings by Chirico, but played 
in serious. In admiring this Roman vision of a room we must 
rcm.ember what Mr Bolton points out, in his great work on 
Adam, that the ante-room was never a living-room but a 
waiting room for servants out of livery, the hall being occupied 
by servants in livery in attendance. Walpole, inevitably, 
gives us further information: "they (the Northumberlands) 
live by the etiquette of the old peerage, have Swiss porters, and 
the Countess has her pipers,’^ and also, we could add, their 
fool or jester in his cap and bells, until 1798. 

The dining-room, in white and gold, has an apse at either 
end, with pillars in front of it, and a good Adam ceiling, not 
too light or filigrainc, in white and gold. This is the ordinary 
Adam; but the red drawing-room, next door, is a rich and 
beautiful masterpiece in another manner. The walls are 
hung with plum red silk, woven in Spitalficlds, on which the 
pattern of flowers and garlands makes an effect of silver. The 
coved ceiling, flat in the centre, and divided into octagons and 
^ The Northumbrian, not the Highland, bagpipe. 

244 



little diamonds, is painted by Angelica KaufFmann, like so 
many little cameos in gilt and coffered surrounds; and the 
pink and yellow carpet designed by Adam, woven and signed 
‘T. Moore’, is exactly appropriate to the walls and ceiling. 
There is a mantelpiece of ormolu and white marble, as fine, 
but different, in workmanship as the steel grates of Kedleston. 
iVr Bolton compares this To an overdress of brass lace thrown 
upon the white marble form’, and there are magnificent 
doorways (Plate 29) of mahogany with gilded panels, and 
pilasters and entablatures of gold on cream, in the Italian 
Renaissance manner, not unworthy of the doors in the Ducal 
Palace at Urbino. 

The gallery leading from this is Adam’s adaptation of the 
great gallery of Elizabethan or Jacobean houses, with bookcases 
along its length, low ceiling richly wrought, and arabesque 
panels in stucco upon the walls, entirely, here again, in the 
manner of the Renaissance. Few, indeed, arc the critics, 
brought blindfolded into this long gallery of Syon, who would 
know it for the work of Robert Adam. At each end of the 
gallery there is a little room contrived in the thickness of the 
turret; one of these little boudoirs or closets being circular, 
with a domed roof and columns, and with shelves for china; 
while the other is square, with Chinese paper on the walls, 
and held a collection of drawings and miniatures. From the 
centre of the dome, in the round closet or boudoir, there ha:igs 
a gilded bird cage of beautiful design. 

After Syon it is natural to move to Ostcrley, near by, than 
which nothing could be more different. At Ostericy, too, we 
find ourselves, for once, admiring an exterior by Adam, or, 
at least, it is his portico or ‘propylacum’, a screen in front of 
the courtyard and leading to the entrance. But the porticoes 
of Adam, when they arc not mere frontispieces, are often 
admirable, as at Compton Verney. At Stowe, where it is a 
frontispiece,^ it is as cold and heavy as Paine’s porticoes at 
Kedleston and Nostcll. The interior of Ostcrley is nothing 
comparable to Syon in fantasy or imagination. We may admire 

’ The South or garden part of Stowe was recased by Robert 
Adam. 


245 



the State bed by Adam, but not want to sleep in it, and be 
impressed by the suitability of his furniture in the room 
made for the Boucher tapestries, but, in our own time, we 
cannot be taken by the novelty of his Etruscan room, which 
was, in its day, an entirely new departure. Far preferable, to 
our Taste, is the Etruscan room at Hcveninghtim, designed by 
Wyatt and carried through by Biagio Rebecca. But the happy 
invention of Adam is proved at Osterley in a Doric Orangery 
and a scrnicircuiar conservatory with high, round arched 
Venetian windows and coupled columns in between them. 

Anotiier example of Adam at his best, near London, is the 
library at Ken wood, a room wLich has structural resemblance 
to the dining-room at Syon, for it has the same half-domed 
apses at each end, with screens of columns in. front of them, 
only this fcati.rc is on a bigger scale at Kenwood, and the 
ceiling is in colours, not in white and gold. This ceiling is, 
indeed, one of the ‘harlequinades' of Adam, and, as he des- 
cribes it in his own words, in liis W\)rh: ‘the grounds of the 
pannels and freeses aie coloured with light tints of pink and 
green, so as to take off the glare of the white, so common in 
every ceiling till of late.’ The stucco decoration of the half- 
domes in the apses and of the entablatures above the screens 
of columns in white and gold is richer and more elaborate 
than at Syon, the motif being a band of lions placed, heraldic- 
ally, lace to face, between (Classical urns and antlered deer’s 
heads. We must notice, too, the beautiful ornamentation of 
the bookcases along the walls, with their columns and the 
arched recesses tiiat are above them. Kenwood is one of our 
first instances of Adam at his coloured decoration, which 
from his own words was an innovation at the time; but, in 
general, after Kcdlcston and Syon, Adam had not the oppor- 
tunity to compose with precious materials. The fluted alabaster 
columns of Kedleston and the verde antique of Syon led him 
to design, in each case, a room upon the Roman scale. It is no 
exaggeration of his genius to remark that, in this pair of 
instances, his work is worthy of Imperial Rome and w^ould 
have not been inappropriate to the Golden House of Nero. 
They are little known and little appreciated by our country- 

246 



men; but now we come to the more ordinary, or stucco 
Adam. 

His early work, on his return from Italy, is to be seen at 
Shardeloes, in Buckinghamshire. This is contemporary with 
Kedleston ; the dining-room with its flat panels of decoration 
is conceived in the spirit of the Roman arabesque, and its 
tameness of imagination perhaps confirms the theory that 
Paine had planned the alabaster haU of Kedleston, that the 
columns were already cut and fluted, and that his purpose in 
so doing, as one critic has suggested, was in order to prevent 
Robert Adam from adopting any alternative treatment. 
Similar flat panels of arabesque, but a better frieze and ceiling, 
occur at Bo wood, Wiltshire, a house which, like Harewood, 
was altered, but not improved, by Barry. ^ The Marquess of 
Lansdowne, who owned Bowood, was anxious that Adam 
should reproduce some portion of Diocletian’s palace at 
Spalato, an awkward request of a sort that must be familiar 
to authors as well as architects, and Adam, selecting that 
portion of the palace which faced the harbour, complied with 
an Orangery which originally was a great portico upon the 
Adriatic. This is still called the Diocletian wing of Bowood; 
but its pictures and works of art apart, we may prefer the plain 
interior of the mausoleum by Adam. Croome Court, Worces- 
tershire, has a long gallery by Adam witli a ceiling in his 
‘mosaick’ manner of octagons and lozenges. The niches for 
statues resemble those in the dining-room at Syon, and there 
is an exceptional carved marble mantelpiece; but the most 
charming features of Croome, again, are the Doric Orangery 
with the carved basket of fruit and flow ers above the pediment, 
and the interior of the little ‘Go thick’ church which has been 
attributed, but on no certain grounds, to Adam.‘^ Saltram, 

^ The main block at Bowood has been demolished, though the 
Diocletian wing remains. 

^ The same Earl of Coventry who decorated Croome commissioned 
Adam to improve his London house. No io6 Piccadilly, now the 
St James’s Club, where there is a gold and white dining-room ceiling 
with paintings by Angelica Kauffmann. Drawings for carpets and 
mirrors are in the Soane Museum. 

247 



in Devon, is in the riciily coloured Adam style. It has a splen- 
did drawing-room with a coved ceiling, the cove being rose- 
pink, and the flat part green with pink segments, and blue 
grounds to the little paintings. Moulded, winged sphinxes 
face each other in the corners of this ceiling, and there is a 
fine Palladian window, but the most beautiful features of 
Saltrarn arc the Adam carpets, one here, and the other in the 
dining-room; that in tlie* drawing-room having red and yellow 
borders on a chocolate ground, a green lozenge in the centre, 
and blue corner squares with ornaments of pink and green. 
It is a room by Adam the decorator, not the architect. 

Harewood, near Leeds, is Adam at his most typical, hard 
and emotionless at times, and then superb and on the grandest 
scale. The entrance hah, for instance, is just Adam, and no 
more than that. Not so the splendid carpet; or the gilt picture 
frame above the mantelpiece. The gallery at Harewood is 
magnificent. It has wmdow pelmets and valances carved in 
wood from the hand of Thomas Chippendale, and tinted blue 
so as to tone in with the curtains, a Baroque, or even Bernin- 
esque device, but it succeeds admirably. Between the windows 
there are console tables and high, festooned mirrors over them. 
The finest of the Reynolds portraits on the walls have special 
Adam frames; while the ceiling, in many colours and most 
exact and minute in execution, is by the plasterer Joseph Rose, 
to the design of Adam. It could be argued, though, that the 
little panels of painting in the ceiling are aggravating and 
distracting, for in order to examine them it is necessary to 
turn the head this way and that, or if we ignore them they are 
of no purpose. But this is beside the point. The wonder of 
Harewood is the furniture by Adam, some pieces of it made by 
Chippendale; and to these we will return later. 

For we must deal with Robert Adam as architect and 
decorator of London houses. The exterior of Lansdowne 
House, even now, in its truncated form, shows the hand of an 
architect, but the interior is not to our taste. In the ante-room 
we have, once more, the arabesque wall panels of Harewood, 
Bo wood, Shardeloes. A drawing-room is decorated in gold 
and colours in Adam’s Renaissance manner, but how short it 

248 



falls of the gallery at Syon! As an example of the Adam we 
prefer, we would mention the porch of Chandos House, with 
its fluted pillars and neat neckings, the rams’ heads and garlands 
of the entablature, and the splendid cast iron railing and torch 
snuffers. No 20 St James’s Square, built for Sir Watkiii 
WilHams Wynn, shovv^s, for once more, the great architect in 
Robert Adam. The exterior is so correct and modest, with a 
lovely leaded fanlight over the door, that no one could suspect 
the courtyard at the back, or the architecture that hides witl^iin. 
We must mention the stair balusters of cast iron, and a pair 
of drawing-rooms, the second of them with an apsed end 
and a barrel ceiling, in bright colours; while the appointments 
of this Adam house were complete down to the sedan chair 
and the inkstand, silver dishes, and an escutcheon and 
knocker, ‘in brass water gilt’, for the outer door. 

No 20 Portman Square, now the Courtauld Institute, 
reveals Adam in anotlicr and more fanciful magnificence, the 
date being 1777, a year v;hen the elegance of feminine fashion 
for the whole of the eighteenth century reached to its height. 
Marie Antoinette had just become Queen of France and her 
towering headdresses had become the rage. This short period 
in history is immediately to be known and recognised in these 
details, and perhaps the most typical English relic or echo is 
to be found in the group of silhouettes by Thorond that date 
from just these years. It influenced Fuseli, too, in his mood of 
Beardsley, and the extremes of this fashion of hairdressing, 
dating from the time when he was a young man, haunted and 
obsessed him all his long life. It is curious, but not surprising, 
that No 20 Portman Square was built for a woman, the 
Countess of Home. A drawing, by Adam, gives us the precise 
detail of the doorway and cast iron railing. It is a plain London 
facade of brick, with five windows, offering no clue to its 
interior wonders. 

These can begin at the staircase, with a fine balustrade, 
rising, and then branching right and left, in a circular well 
which is elaborately painted. Most detailed drawings for this 
staircase are in the Soane Museum; but the stair, in effect, is 
somewhat dull and sombre from the sham marbling, which 

249 



has faded. The back parlour or dining-room, downstairs, is a 
fine Adam room, but the music-room on the first floor, and the 
drawing-room behind it, are most w^onderful in their elegance 
and minute detail. Drawings for this pair of rooms show the 
mirrors and girandoles that were designed for them. A httle 
round ante-room and an Etruscan bedroom complete the first 
floor. But the music-room is particularly remarkable by reason 
of its wonderful ceiling, as complex and fine drawn as a 
spider’s web upon a frosty morning, and because of the rich- 
ness and intricacy of the apses for the side doors, the beautiful 
frieze, and the fan-like ornaments of the upper walls, from 
which the eyes go to the rayed circles of the ceiling, that is 
among the most elaborate works of Robert Adam in this class. 
It is difficult to arrive at any explanation of the extraordinary 
riclmcss of this interior in Portman Square. The legend that 
Adam was in love with Lady Home is no more than a myth, 
for she was a middle aged widov/, and died as soon after the 
completion of the house as 1784. The true reason would seem 
to be rivalry with James Wyatt, wLo was working at Portman 
Piouse, only a few yards down the square. Wyatt was the 
most dangerous of Adam’s competitors, and under that 
stimulus he surpassed himself. 

But this is not entirely true. Old Derby House in Grosvenor 
Square, dating from a year or two earlier, was in the same vein 
of fantastic elegance. This w^as the finest and most sumptuous 
of all Adam’s London houses, ^ clinquant^ like aU tlie harle- 
quinades of Adam, which never let the eye repose a moment’, 
as Walpole phrases it, but his criticism in no way diminishes 
our longing to wander through the rooms. Our guide has to be 
Horace Walpole. The only other evidence comes from Adam’s 
drawings, or the engravings in his works, for the house was 
long ago destroyed. Adam had been called in by Lord Derby 
to redecorate this house in Grosvenor Square about the time 
of the marriage of his son. Lord Stanley, with the beautiful 
Lady Betty Plamilton, daughter of the still more famous 
beauty, Elizabeth Gunning. We have Walpole’s account of 
the ball given a year before the wedding, in one of his letters 
written to the Countess of Upper Ossory : ‘ The festival was 

250 



very expensive, for it is the fashion now to make romances 
rather than balls. In the hall was a band of French horns and 
clarionets in laced uniforms and feathers. The dome of the 
staircase was beautifully illuminated with coloured glass 
lanthorns; in the ante-room was a bevy of vestals in white 
habits, making tea. ... In six rooms below were magniheent 
suppers.’ Adam’s engravings of the second and third drawing- 
rooms upstairs give us some of the brilliance of the scene. The 
rooms are empty; but we find ceilings like those at No 20 
Portman Square; a wonderful mirror with caryatids, and 
sprightly figured arabesques for the overdoors, together with 
coloured ceilings, in lilac, pink, bright blue, and green and 
yellow. These harlequin coats and the spangled mirrors, w^ere 
then bright and new. One or two of Adam’s drawings for the 
ceilings arc dated only a month before the wedding day. That 
is to say, on this night of the party, the liousc was not finished. 
Lord Stanley had ‘ burst open the side of the wall to build an 
orchestra, with a pendant mirror to reflect the dancers, a la 
Guisnes : and the musicians were in scarlet robes, like the candle- 
snuffers who represent the senates of Venice at Drury Lane’. 

But there is to be another ball and supper, only a fortnight 
before the wedding; the Fete Pavilion for Thursday, June 9th, 
1774, given by Lord Stanley at The Oaks, Epsom. Horace 
Walpole was not present; but in a letter to Sir Horace Mann 
he repeats the gossip: ‘This m.onth Lord Stanley marries Lady 
Betty Hamilton. He gives her a most splendid entertainment 
tomorrow at his villa, in Surrey, and calls it a fete champ hr e. 
It will cost five thousand pounds. Everybody is to go in 
masquerade, but not in mask. He has bought all the orange 
trees round London, and the haycocks, I suppose, are to be 
made of straw coloured satin.’ Lord Stanley was dressed like 
Rubens, an^ Lady Betty Hamilton like Rubens’s wife. ‘The 
company’ (Mrs Delany, who was there, takes up the story) 
‘were received on the lawn before the house, which is scat- 
tered with trees and opens to the dowms. The company 
arriving, and partys of people of aU ranks that came to admire 
made the scene quite enchanting, which was greatly enlivened 
by a most beautiful setting sun breaking from a black cloud in 

251 



its greatest glory. . . . People in general ver>^ elegantly dressed; 
the very young as peasants, the next as Polonise : the matrons 
dominos : the men principally dominos, and many gardiners, 
as in Opera dances.’ 

The Fete Pavilion for Thursday, June 9th, I774:>is preserved 
for us in a pair of beautiful engravings, the original drawing 
for one of which is in the collection of Air Brinsley 
Ford. In plan^ it consisted of a vestibule or ante-room leading 
into the ballroom. But, for explanation, we must quote again 
from Mrs Delany : ‘ A welcome to the company was said, sung 
and danced by sixteen pairs of men and women from the 
Opera . . . after which swinging, jumping, archery and country 
sports filled up the time until it was dark. The band then 
preceded the company to the other side of the garden , where a 
magnificent saloon had been built . . . here’ (in the ball- 
room) They danced till supper, when curtains were drawn up, 
which shewed the supper in a most convenient and elegant 
apartment, which was built quite round tiic saloon, of a suffi- 
cient breadtii and height to correspond with the saloon.’ 
This passage gives the key to the two engravings. We see the 
hcmicyclc of the ballroom, with its columns on tall plinths, and 
the splendid gilded frieze above ; the brilliant lighting of the 
interior dancing floor, and a caryatid mirror on the far wall. 
There is a glorious coved and figured ceiling; and, on the left, 
through an outer colonnade, we see the supper room with its 
high Venetian windows. The companion engraving gives us 
tlie near, or right-hand supper room, and the ballroom to the 
left, beyond it. Each of these supper rooms has high arched, 
pillared apses at their ends, so that the eye is presented with a 
pair of decorated, pillared archways, rich with gilded stucco 
and with painting, to the far wall, where there is an arched 
ending, above what seems to be a painted transparency upon 
the wall. The inner wall of the supper room has niches that 
hold urns and statues. The supper tables are crowded; foot- 
men, in livery, are carrying dishes round; in the distance we 
hear the music of the dance, we sec the brilliant ballroom, its 
clinquant mirrors, and its painted ceiling. Which of us would 
not, in imagination, spend an hour here upon this summer 

252 



night, recognising faces and figures from the ball last spring, 
in Grosvenor Square, and seeing characters who, uncannily, 
but for good reason, may remind us of persons of our own 
times? Of all the works of Adam, we would choose this Fete 
Pavilion and its glittering detail in the candlelight, and to look 
on at the dancing and the supper. 

But we must turn from Adam’s private palaces to his street 
architecture, an excursion shorn of most of its pleasures since 
the Adelphi, wilfully, and of cupidity, was pulled down. 
Willing hands did more damage to London llian a German 
landmine. Adelphi Terrace, and its streets adioining, formed 
a building project into which all four brothers entered. A 
great mass of vaults and arches had to be raised upon the river 
bank to support the terrace; the project and the building opera- 
tions were entered upon too hastily, and the brothers Adam, 
the aSsAa^oi, were involved in litigation and financial worry 
from which even the recourse of a State Lottery barely rescued 
them. Adam, himscll', and David Garrick, were residents of 
the Terrace and occupied two of the more ciaboraiely linished 
of the houses. Many others contained fine ceilings and mantel- 
pieces; there were beautiful doorways, fanlights, balconies, and 
torchsnullers ; The Society of Arts, in John Street, had, or 
still has, its large paintings by James Barry, in one of which 
Dr Burney appears as a sea nymph; and, perhaps, it is possible 
to admire, and regret, the Adelphi, while remembering the 
words of lioracc Walpole: ‘What are the Adelphi Buildings? 
Warehouses laced down the seams, like a soldier’s trull in a 
regimental old coat.’ That may be true criticism; but the 
soldier’s trull, at least, needed no gas mask or steel helmet, and 
had not to descend into the Tube to sleep. 

Mansfield Street and Portland Place are instances of Adam 
houses built for sale, being, for that reason, in a different 
category from the Adelphi buildings. Mansfield Street has, 
still, at least one extremely beautiful fanlight and a fine pillared 
doorveay with a little balcony above it. The interiors have good 
stuccowork, especially upon the staircases. In general, the 
detail is better than in Portland Place, which is later in date 
and, on the strength of an obituary notice, the work of James, 

253 



and not of Robert Adam. The pairs of centre houses on each 
side, in yeilow stucco, are imposing; there is one beautiful 
Adam doorway and fanlight, and the chance visitor waiting to 
see the dentist or the doctor may find a plain, but simple 
mantelpiece, a ceiling, or an Adam door. Two blocks of Fitz- 
roy Square are by the brothers Adam, though built after the 
death ofRobert Adam, with fronts of Portland stone, good, but 
heavy, pavilions at the ends, and in fact, in the architect’s Edin- 
burgh, or final manner, for the houses much resemble those in 
Charlotte Square and St Andreev Square in the Scottish capital. 

Before we examine this last phase in his architecture we 
would stop, on tlie way, at Nostell Priory, Wakefield, for the 
sake of its tapestry room with a ceiling by Robert Adam con- 
trived out of an eight-pointed star, and as many painted 
lunettes to match, with a border of little painted cameos set in 
gilded scrollwork. Joseph Rose, the plasterer who worked at 
Syon, was employed upon this, and upon the saloon ceiling, 
which is worked out in another style, with pink, green, and 
white for colours, actual modelled cameos in white plaster 
being set on a blue ground, while the flat panel of the cove has 
a great cameo in the centre between rayed parhelions or heads 
of waterlilies, with ornaments of open fans spread in the 
corners. New^by Flail, Ripon, contains the same collaboration 
of Joseph Rose and Robert Adam.^ The front hall has a pam 
of military trophies, like those in the ante-room at Syon, only 
here they are in plain wdiite stucco, and are not gilded. A 
sculpture gallery, and a rotunda in the centre, were added in 
order to house the sculptures brought back from Rome by 
William Weddell, but the decoration is too stiff and dead, the 
red of the w^alls is too dead and ugly. Probably a gallery of 
Roman sculptures could not be otherwise ; but how great is the 
contrast wfien we come to the Boucher tapestries in the draw- 
ing-room! These arc roundels of Cupid and Psyche, by 

^ Joseph Rose, working on his own, carried out the splendid library 
at Slcdmere, near Malton, occupying the whole length of the house 
on the upper floor, a hundred and fifty feet in length, and rivalling 
Adam’s library at Luton Hoo. I'his Sledmcre library was burnt down 
in 1911, but has been skilfully restored, vide post:, p. 258. 

254 



Boucher^ on a rose-red ground with flowers and birds by 
Neilson. The needlework chairs and sofas match the tapes- 
tries; there is a fine, but not obtrusive, ceiling; and an Adam 
carpet in green, and pink, and brown, upon a ground of cream* 
This whole room is a vision of the age of leisure, and one look 
at it will tell us that this can never be again. 

Last, not far from Edinburgh, we come to McIIcrstain, in 
Berwickshire, a house which, in its exterior, shows some 
approach to the 'castle style’ of Culzean. McIIcrstain has a 
library by Adam with classical panels, rather in the Wedg- 
wood manner, over the bookcases. At the top of tlie house 
there is a long gallery with a colonnade of four I'illars, at both 
ends, and a barrel ceiling. This room is unfmished, but has a 
green colour scheme. The frieze, only, has been executed, but 
a drawing for the ceiling is in the Soane Museum. Perhaps the 
chief curiosity of Mellerstain is the Adam bathroom in the 
basement, with its raised design of reeds and spouting dolphins 
above the door.^ 

The Edinburgh work of Robert Adam belongs to his last 
phase, and is suitably solemn to accord with its destination. 
Charlotte Square, only built after his death, is in the style, as 
we have said, of Fitzroy Square. But the end pavilions have an 
attraction from their wide plainness and solidity. The house of 
Baron Orde, in Queen Street, has good but simple ceilings. 
St George’s church and manse, in York Place, in the ‘castle 
style', must be a kind of agony to all Englishmen. We may 
feel the cold winds of Edinburgh street corners, and its wet 
evenings, even in photographs of the Edinburgh University, 
or of the Register House. Yet these are serious and monu- 
mental structures. They could make us wish that Robert 
Adam had designed Imperial Delhi! They are the only build- 
ings by Adam in the official manner, for his ambitions in this 
respect were always thwarted. But the cloak of officialdom lay 
heavy on him. He is no longer Robert Adam. Instead, this is 

^ Compare with this, the tea-room at Moor Park, with its white 
walls, thin pilasters with branching palm leaf capitals, and vaulted 
ceiling. The library at Mellerstain compares with that at Shardeloes, 
which has similar paintings, in white on green, above the bookcases. 

255 



the anonymous architecture of the LCC. The designs for 
Edinburgh University provided for two quadrangles, but Play- 
fair, who gave its Doric character to the ‘Modem Athens’, 
substituted a single court, and otherwise modified the plans. 
None of the interior is by Adam. The University is, in fact, a 
shell by Adam, and retains but some outlines of his original 
conception. Even so, we may admire its entrance and quad- 
rant colonnades while contrasting them with the official 
architecture of our times. ^ 

We would end this account of Adam as an architect with 
Culzean, in Ayrshire, for it is the complete instance of his 
‘castle style’. The exterior might be a sham Gothic castle of 
the eighteen thirties; or the castle of Sir Giorion in the Eloxton 
pantomime. The site, on a tall, wooded cliff, is gloriously 
picturesque. But this is not Scotland of the Highlands, or the 
Hebrides. The limpid waters lead to Arran and its fuchsia 
hedges. Ulster and the Mourne Mountains lie across the Irish 
Sea. In the interior of tlic castle Adam docs not pretend to be 
Gothic, except that he has had to shape his rooms to fit the 
bastions. Thus, the round drawing-room with six windows is 
contained in a great round tower. The oval staircase behind 
it, with its great screen of columns upon two floors, appears to 
be a reminiscence of Vignola’s stair at Caprarola. But the stair 
rail is typical Adam; so are the ceilings, doors, and mantel- 
pieces in the castle; and the date of Culzean? The round 
drawing-room was finished in 1780. Not the least curious 
feature of this Gothic castle is that it was built five years before 
Mozart composed the music of the Nozze di Figaro. For our- 
selves, we prefer Adam, too, in his mood of elegance; in the 
Fete Pavilion, or at the ball in Grosvenor Square. His true 

’ This is probabl}’' the place to mention Headfort, Co. Meath, the 
only Irish house of Robert Adam. This house, the building of which 
must have been supervised by some Irish architect, as Adam never 
went to Ireland, contains an ‘eating room’ which Zvlr Hussey calls 
‘the finest room in Ireland*. It is in a colour scheme of green and 
white. Alternative designs for this room are preserved in the recently 
discovered drawings. They are still richer in effect than those ex- 
ecuted, and there arc drawings, also, for the main staircase which were 
never carried out. Cf Country Life^ for March 21st and 28th, 1936. 

256 







32. Nostell Priory, Yorkshire: the Dining-Room, decorated by James Paine 
except for the inset panels. The chairs and side tables are by Chippendale. 



BATSFORD 


33, Crichel, Dorset: the Dining-Room, probably by James Wyatt. 




CCn;NTRY LIFT 


34. Brooks’s Club, St. James’s Street; the Subscription Room, 

by Henry Holland. 

35. Heveningham Hall, Suffolk: the Orangery, by James Wyatt. 

c;OUNlRY LIH: 




NATIONAL BUILDINGS RECORD 

36. Carlton House Terrace, by John Nash. 








40. The Bank of England; detail of the original Court Room Screen, by Sir Robert Taylor. 


genius, in our opinion, lay not in the cold portico, but in the 
drawing-room. The street railing and torch-snuffers lead to the 
fanlight door; and up the front stairs to the gilt mirrors and 
painted ceilings. 

To this multiplicity of designs by Adam must be added 
work executed, but now destroyed, and work projected, but 
never carried out; in this latter class being included his many 
alternative designs, sometimes in duplicate, or even triplicate, 
for mantelpieces, ceilings, mirrors, and other details. The 
authority for most of these rests in the fifty-three great folio 
volumes of his sketches, nearly nine thousand in number, 
purchased by Sir John Soane from his heirs, and deposited in 
the Soane Museum, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. In happier times 
the day was, perhaps, approaching when it would have been 
possible to publish a selection from them in facsimile, and until 
this can be done no fair estimate can be made of the marvel- 
lously fertile talent of Robert Adam. 

The best of his work, now gone, w’^as probably at Northum- 
berland House, and Luton Hoo. The Prussian, Count 
Frederick Kielmansegge, in his diary, describes a party given 
for six hundred guests for the Coronation of King George the 
Third: ‘The house is well adapted for so large a party, and is 
rightly considered one of the best houses in London, particu- 
larly on account of its large saloon and gallery. . . . The great 
gallery . . . measures more than a hundred feet in length and 
he proceeds to notice the ceiling decorated in gilt stucco; the 
two marble mantelpieces supported by figures of Phrygian 
prisoners; and the nine windows on the garden side. A 
splendid and elaborate design, in colour, for the ceiling of the 
other room, or saloon, is reproduced by Mr Arthur T. Bolton, 
and from this we may gather that it was another example of 
Adam in his harlequin or parti-coloured manner. For the 
ceiling is in pink, and green, and gold; and the saloon, we are 
told, had four windows, with three great mirrors between 
them; wall pilasters with a frieze of gold on green; walls hung 
with silk spotted in two shades of pink; green doors with pink 
enrichments on the panels; architraves and cornice to the 
doors in gold, and the frieze in gold enrichment on a green 

I 257 



ground; main pilasters, gold with green and pink, the caps 
being solid gold; dado rail, solid gold with green filling, and 
the skirting gold with a pink plinth, the furniture being gold 
and crimson. Old Northumberland House, at Charing Cross, 
was pulled down in 1878 to make the Thames Embankment.^ 
Little is known, too, of Alnwick as it was redecorated by Adam 
in the ‘castle manner’, where incredible sums were spent, and 
one traveller notices: ‘a grand staircase, singular but beautiful 
in plan, expanding like a lady’s fan, and ornamented with a 
chain of escutcheons running round the cornices, displaying 
120 quarterings.’ But Ahiwick was remodelled, at even 
greater expense, in mid-Victorian times. 

Luton Hoo, in Bedfordshire, was a huge project undertaken 
for Lord Bute. It contained a circular hall or tribune, probably 
on the lines of that at Kedleston, and (we follow Mrs Delany) : 
‘then into the Library. ... It is, in effect, three or five rooms, 
one very large one well proportioned in the middle, each end 
divided off by pillars, in which recesses are chinmeys : and a 
large square room at each end, which, when the doors are open 
make it appear one large room or gallery.’ This library had 
30,000 books, and was 150 feet in length ; and Mrs Delany goes 
on to notice the beds, ‘damask, and rich satin, green, blue and 
crimson; mine was white satin’. Dr Johnson visited Luton 
Hoo with Boswell, and this is his comment: ‘The library is 
very splendid ; the dignity of the rooms is very great ; and the 
quantity of pictures is beyond expectation, beyond hope.’ 

^ Roxburghc, afterwards Harewood House, at the corner of Hanover 
Square, pulled down in 1908, was another important Adam house. 
Drawings in the Soane Museum give the decorations for a dining- 
room, two libraries, and three drawing-rooms ; and for details, includ- 
ing silver candlesticks, and cups, and a lanthorn. N031, now No 17 
Hill Street, for Sir Abraham Hume, had a great drawing-room at 
the back, by Adam. Cumberland House, Pall Mall, built by Matthew 
Brettingham, and decorated by Adam for the Duke of Cumberland 
after 1780, was the last big undertaking of the architect, before he 
fell out of fashion. The drawings for tliis lavish specimen of Hano- 
verian extravagance are in the Soane Museum. Cumberland House 
contained one of the Etruscan rooms, and the decoration of the draw- 
ing-rooms must have been among the most graceful and brilliant of 
the works of Robert Adam. 


258 



Luton Hoo has been altered out of recognition; but, perhaps, 
we should compare with this Adam’s proposed plans for 
Knowsley, at the time he was working on Lord Derby’s house 
in Grosvenor Square. This w^as a huge scheme to build a new 
centre to the house, and repeat the older house, as a wing, upon 
the other side. The plan included a ‘great eating room’, as 
Adam termed it, rounded at botli ends, and with four long 
windows, this room to form the centre of the new addition. 
Large plans for Lowther, in the ‘castle manner’, and for 
Eaton Hall, Cheshire, were proceeded with no further. Their 
only existence was in plan and elevation ; but it must be con- 
ceded that no architect, probably, was ever quicker than Adam 
at getting off the paper into action. 

There remain his screens and bridges, and his stables. The 
Admiralty screen is one of Adam’s earliest works, and so 
familiar that we need not describe it. At Syon, tlie gateway 
with its little colomiades and porter’s lodges is almost too 
elegant: ‘all lace and embroidery, and as croquant as his 
frames for tables’; this is Horace Walpole speaking. More 
solid is the gatehouse to Kimbolton, where Vanbrugh was his 
rival. Adam, as a builder of bridges, was as varied and fanciful 
as would be expected. Pulteney Bridge, at Bath, with shops on 
cither side, could be likened to a Classical interpretation of the 
Ponte Vecchio at Florence. Perhaps, curiously, there is no 
echo of the Rialto, The ‘Doric’ Dalkeith Bridge, on the road 
from Edinburgh, is another of the public bridges of the 
brothers Adam. The rest were park ornaments, or private 
playthings. One of the most graceful is the three-arched 
bridge at Compton Verney, with a stone balustrade and four 
sphinxes, at the ends, in lead. A three-arched bridge of more 
severe and massive type is that at Kedleston; but the full 
fantasy of Adam is apparent in a project for a bridge over the 
canal at Syon, of which there is an engraving in the Works. 
This is a bridge of three arches, with a balustrade and lamps, 
and caryatids at every bridge pier who are holding up a long 
stone garland in their hands. Of his stables, we have only 
space to mention those at Nostell, and a less elaborate version, 
without the balustraded roof, at Newby. 

259 



To judge from the choice of engravings for their Works^ the 
brothers Adam took a particular pride in their versatility. 
They published illustrations of a sedan chair for Queen Char- 
lotte, with elegant painted panels, decorated poles, and 
sphinxes at the rests ; and for a magnificent harpsichord, with 
supports of female fauns, for Catherine the Great, who hated 
music. They give a plate, also, of The British Coifee House, 
in Cockspur Street, which, with its shopfront and pillared 
entrances on each side, and salons above flanked with 
urns in niches that suggest coffee roasting, must have been 
among the most delightful lesser buildings in the whole of 
London. 

In closing our account of this great master of design, we 
would admire him in his furniture of the best period, where he 
is inimitable, at Harewood and at Syon; instancing, in the 
latter house, his gilt console tables in the drawing-room with 
their ram’s head masks and fretted legs, and the tops of two 
card tables in the gallery, the latter being wonderful examples 
of marquetry. At Harewood there is his superb sideboard 
with umed pedestals and wine cooler in the dining-room, 
carried out in rosewood, satinwood, tulipwood, and ormolu. 
This is among the group of pieces designed by Adam, and 
made by Chippendale. These include sidetables with tops of 
marquetry, and a magnificent inlaid satinwood commode, 
with concave ends, and ormolu mounts, to which the com- 
panion piece exists at Renishaw. The latter, with its more 
elaborate mounts of ormolu, topped with rams’ heads, and 
with oval panels portraying Sculpture and Architecture, may, 
even, be the finer of the pair. The date of this group of pieces 
is around 1775, the years of the Fete Pavihon and of Lord 
Derby’s house in Grosvenor Square. No drawings by Robert 
Adam for this furniture have been preserved, probably for the 
reason that Mr Arthur T. Bolton gives, that they were sent to 
Chippendale’s workshops, and not returned.^ There is no 

^ A drawing for a commode in this style exists, however, for * the 
second drawing-room at Apsley House*. We may presume, therefore, 
that this piece of furniture was never carried out. Cf The Architecture 
of Robert and James Adam, by Arthur T. Bolton, Vol. II, p. 303. 

260 



question that these satinwood commodes are the supreme 
masterpieces of English cabinetmaking. 

The picture is complete, but not the portrait of Robert Adam, 
at work, for which we have recourse to Mrs Montagu in her 
letter to the Duchess of Portland, under date July 20th, 1779, at 
a time when she was decorating Portman House and indulging 
herself in what, writing in 1944, we would call the luxury of 
pitting together the rival talents of Robert Adam and James 
Wyatt. ‘ Mr Adam came at the head of a regiment of artificers, 
an hour after tlie time he had promised. The bricklayer talked 
about tlie alterations to be made in a wall, the stonemason was 
as eloquent about the coping of the said wall; the carpenter 
thought the internal fitting-up of the house not less important; 
then came the painter, who is painting my ceiling in various 
colours, according to tlie present fashion.’ Robert Adam died 
in 1792; his brother James, two years later; while the last 
brother lingered until 1822. But we would leave the architect 
at his best period, in the middle of his schemes, hurrying back 
to his office to sketch a mirror or a carpet. And, indeed, it is 
time, now, to turn from Robert Adam to his contemporaries 
and rivals. For he had dangerous competitors in the fields of 
gilt and stucco. 


261 



X 


NON-ADAM 

T here are many fascinating pages in English eighteenth cen- 
tury architecture, but none more so than those which have 
for subject the contemporaries and rivals of Robert Adam. To 
one school of critics these are but his servile imitators. To an- 
otlier, the ‘Adam st3dc’ is flat and trivial, and in comparison 
with James Wyatt or Henry Holland the detail is mechanical 
and meaningless. But the arguments are not so simple tliat we 
can choose our places easily on the one side or the other. On 
the contrary, the more we study it the more complicated and 
interesting it becomes. 

For in spite of the obvious differences, Wyatt and Holland, 
in sensibility, were inhabitants of the modern world. They 
could not, we may imagine, create ceaselessly like Adam with- 
out a cliange of conscience. Their personalities, compared 
with his, were both deeper and more superficial. Their work, 
that is to say, will be less fussy in detail, but more nervous, 
warmer, and more comprehending. Adam is lacking, con- 
spicuously, in drama and in understanding. He never sug- 
gests, for instance, in his ‘eating rooms’, the drinking and 
gambling of his clients. Yet, in order to know that such pur- 
poses can be expressed in architecture it is only necessary to 
see the subscription room at Brooks’s Club, by Henry Holland 
(Plate 34). Adam is businesslike and inhuman. Wyatt and 
Holland have more human genius, and the human failings. We 
read in Farington’s Diary that: ‘Beckford is much dissatisfied 
with Wyatt, who perpetually disappoints him. He said if 
Wyatt can get near a big fire and have a bottle by him, he cares 
for nothing else.’ And we add this postscript from William 
Windham: ‘PS. Am I to expect the metal frames which you 
ordered in Sheffield will come at last when they are no longer 

262 



wanted: or am I to understand only that what you told me is 
untrue, and that no such order was ever given?’ Such dila- 
toriness on the part of the architect was so different, we may 
feel, from tlie diligent, untiring Adam, whose plans, perhaps 
even whose finished ceilings, would be ready almost before you 
realised you had ordered them. 

Our present concern, it will be evident from this, is with a 
younger and more flagging generation. But in fact the purpose 
of this chapter is to break the monopoly of Adam. Both Wyatt 
and Holland, in their art, w^crc consummate and inborn 
teclmicians. That Wyatt had architecture in his blood is 
proved by the thirteen members of his family who were 
architects. But neither Holland, Wyatt, nor Thomas Leverton, 
their contemporary, are yet known or published in entirety. 
We know enough of them to tell their styles, but all the docu- 
ments are not forthcoming. Much of their work has not been 
illustrated. It is further compheated because of the curious 
break or duality in Wyatt, who is still famous, or infamous, 
chiefly for his sham Gotltic. Holland, historically, is more 
simple and more cynical, for he did not change his style. He 
stayed Classical, and was contented to experiment within those 
limits. Leverton was more restricted still, and is still less 
known. Many, indeed, are the lovers of fine architecture who 
have not heard of him. 

At their best we hope to prove these lesser architects to have 
been equal, sometimes superior, to the more famous Adam. 

It is undeniable that Sir Robert Taylor, though fourteen 
years his senior, should appear among his rivals. This is to 
presume that Taylor evolved, and did not remain fixed in his 
interior detail. His later work is not P^dladian, but English 
Louis seize, to use a horrid phrase. Nothing could be lighter 
or more fanciful, yet less Rococo, than the interior of Ely 
House. But Taylor had been a sculptor. Unlike Wyatt, 
Holland, Leverton, he worked in line and not in colour. 

We understand that Mrs ArundeU Esdaile may shortly 
publish her researches and conclusions upon a collection of 
drawings that have lately come to light, by Sir Robert Taylor, 
for monuments of varying types at the Institute he founded at 

263 



Oxford. Originally there were two large folio volumes of draw- 
ings mounted on a fine blue-grey laid paper and a smaller 
volume of designs for mantelpieces, but one of the large folio 
volumes has been temporarily mislaid. The large book of 
drawings contains some forty designs, some highly finished in 
wash, and others slight but pervasive pencil sketches. Mrs 
Esdaile has been able to identify several of the mural tablets. 
The larger volume contains three outstanding drawings : a tall 
composition with draperies and a weeping cupid, in red chalk ; 
another of figures grouped round a circular drum; and a huge 
drawing of many figures, including a female blowing a trumpet 
at the base of a rostral column, which has galley beaks, re- 
peated three times, jutting out upon each side. The last draw- 
ing is for a monument to an, as yet unidentified, admiral. This 
collection of drawings by Sir Robert Taylor throws further 
light upon his activities, and reveals him, in Mrs Esdaile’s 
words, as ‘an original and interesting exponent of Baroque’. 
His progress and development upon lighter classical lines are 
to be seen in the graceful and delicate interior of the Bishop of 
Ely’s former residence in Dover Street, cf p. 223. 

To continue, we shall find interiors by Leverton more grace- 
ful and delicate than No 20 Portman Square. The strange 
‘double life’ of Wyatt will be contrasted at Fonthill Abbey 
and at Dodington, works which were in course of execution at 
the same time but in entirely different styles. His astonisliing 
Classical interiors, light and elegant in his youthful days, and 
more severe and monumental as he grew older, may be little 
less than a revelation to some readers. Henry Holland, for his 
part, will prove to be the most bold and intellectual of our 
designers. The association of this man of taste with George 
the Fourth, then Prince of Wales, at Carlton House, will 
illustrate this most extravagant patron of the arts since Charles 
the First, but if he could afford to spend so much of public 
money, he employed, at least, the best minds of that last and 
final age, before the arts were dead. 

There are so many instances, in all the arts, where some 
outstanding genius stands quite alone, without a rival. The 
lover of Bach will find little to satisfy him in the over-fertile 

264 



Telemann. The prolific Dittersdorf is no compensation for 
the short life of Mozart. We should find that Velasquez, 
Greco, Goya, stood alone. It is of no use to search in the slums 
of Lambeth for another William Blake. But there are a score 
or more of lesser Elizabethan dramatists and poets. There are 
a like number of Bavarian and Austrian exponents of the 
Rococo. Their talents, and not Telemann or Dittersdorf, are 
clue and parallel to Kaydn and Mozart. The mental and 
spiritual decline of Europe, England leading, into the misery 
and prosperity of the industrial nineteenth century have, for 
their evening of enlightenment and taste, the fastidious bril- 
liance and elegance of these last architects, who lived to see the 
change. 

James Wyatt, most important of the antagonists of Adam, 
son of aji architect and brother of three more, was bom in 
Staffordshire in 1746. When sixteen years old, having shown 
signs of ability, he was taken to Italy by one of the Bagot 
family who was travelling as secretary to Lord Northampton 
on his appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipo- 
tentiary to the Republic of Venice, La Serenissimay the most 
beautiful city in Europe, but then fast declining into decay. 
Wyatt stayed two years in Venice and four years in Rome. He 
showed promise in music as well as architecture, v/hile his 
architectural painting was in the manner of Pannini. In order 
to make measured drawings of St Peter’s and the Pantheon, 
Wyatt lay flat upon his back in midst of the crowd, was 
lashed to a ladder and hfted bodily without rail or cradle into 
the dome, emulating, in fact, Deucahon, a music hall hero of 
our youth, who used to play the violin standing upright on a 
ladder in the middle of the stage. But Deucalion came to tlie 
obvious and imtimely end, wliile Wyatt returned to London 
and built the Pantheon, in Oxford Street. This was, immed- 
diately, the architectural sensation of London; but there is 
somewhat of a mystery as to how Wyatt, a young man of 
twenty-five, got the commission. It has been suggested tliat it 
was through Joseph Smith, the English Consul in Venice, a 
dealer and connoisseur who collected paintings by Canaletto 
for King George the Third. 

265 



The Pantheon, which was erected by subscription and 
opened to the public for concerts and masquerades in 1772, 
consisted of a main hall under a cupola, a tearoom below it 
(this could only be in England) of the same size, and in all a 
suite of fourteen rooms, ‘each aifording a striking instance of 
the splendour and profusion of modem times Walpole was 
ecstatic in his admiration; the more solemn Gibbon writes 
that: ‘The Pantheon, in point of ennui and magnificence, is 
the wonder of the eighteenth century, and the British Empire’, 
two phrases which, coming out of that time, fall curiously upon 
the ear. And the Pantheon, with varying fortunes, remained a 
place of entertainment for another twenty years. 

As a result of the success of the Pantheon or ‘new winter 
Ranelagh’, in Horace Walpole’s phrase, Wyatt became, almost 
overnight, the most popular architect of the time. From this 
moment dates the decline of Adam, who, though engaged 
then on his most brilliant works, the Fete Pavilion and the 
houses in Grosvenor and Portman Squares, lost the patronage 
of the great families. One of the first commissions that came 
to Wyatt was the rebuilding of Heaton Hall for Lord Grey de 
Wilton. It is one of his three important houses in the Classic 
style. This structure, less than four miles as the crow flies 
from the centre of the town of Manchester, consists of a centre 
block with a bay, connecting by colonnades with octagonal 
pavilions. These octagons contain the kitchen and the library. 
But the interest, at Heaton Hall, is the saloon in the bay, the 
staircase, the billiard room; and, above all, the cupola room up- 
stairs in the upper storey of the bay. We would instance the 
splendid mahogany doors of the billiard room, the overdoors 
and ormolu door fittings, superb models of their kind; and the 
plaster wall ornaments and overdoors upon the staircase land- 
ing. These last are beautiful designs, suggesting, somehow, 
the crystal drops of a wall light or a chandeher. 

The cupola room, upstairs, is in the Etruscan style, with 
walls and ceiling painted entirely by the Italian, Biagio Re- 
becca. The decoration in fact is given over to Rebecca, and 
painted largely upon strips of paper, though, of course, the 
form of the room and the doors and pilasters are by Wyatt. 

266 



But the Etruscan style, so called, was the invention of Robert 
Adam. His Etruscan room which so much irritated Walpole 
was at Ostcrley; and there were Etruscan rooms at Hare- 
wood, at Lord Derby’s house in Grosvenor Square, and at 
No 20 Portman Square. Wyatt, therefore, was treading 
dangerously and could be accused of plagiarism. Neither the 
Etruscan room, nor Heaton Hall generally, can be seen now 
at their best, because the Corporation of Manchester, who 


Fig. 10. Design for a supper room ceiling with paintings of 
Antony and Cleopatra. By George Richardson, 1776. 

267 






bought the house some forty years ago, allowed, incredibly, 
much of the specially designed furniture and many of the 
fittings to be sold ‘quietly and quickly at the Coal Exchange ^ 
Nevertheless, Heaton retains the marks of genius, and helps to 
explain how Wyatt sprang to fame out of the theatre and 
promenade of the Pantheon, 

We follow Wyatt to Heveningham Hall, Suffolk, a later 
work, for it was undertaken after 1790, but the most important 
example of ]iis Classic style. It took the form of the decoration 
of an earlier house by Sir Robert Taylor, though the North 
front with its great columns raised upon rusticated arches in 
the style, it seems to us, of Chambers, was but just completed 
when Mr Vanneck, the Dutch merchant settled in London, 
called in Wyatt and ‘Capability’ Brown. The serpentine 
paths and winding waters and the great group of cedar trees 
are due to the landscape gardener, while the beautiful Orangery 
(Plate 35) with its semicircular pillared portico, its niches for 
sculpture, and high windows is the work of Wyatt. Mr Van- 
neck, later to become Lord Huntingfield, allowed Wyatt his 
opportunity in the interior, which is of unusual interest be- 
cause it retains some of the furniture designed by him. 

We enter by a magnificent hall, with no fewer than eight 
doors of mahogany, and scagliola pillars in imitation of yellow 
Siena marble. The walls are pale green, and the floor is of 
stone with inlays of red marble and black marble lines. Behind 
this hall lies the staircase, simpler and less grand than those of 
Heaton Hall or Dodington, with a baluster painted blue and 
white and with lead enrichments like the Flaxman-Wedg- 
wood cameos. Close to the foot of this staircase is another of 
the Etruscan rooms, the work, again, as at Heaton, of Biagio 
Rebecca, with pale green waUs and white doors and stucco. 
Upon this background Rebecca (he can have been no Aryan 
Italian!)^ painted his figure subjects in the approved Etruscan 
red of the vases, the women paler in hue than the Etruscan 
men. This is closer to the original than any others of the 
Etruscan rooms; but Wyatt had a more personal share in it 
than at Heaton, for he designed the furniture and the painted 
^ Not, however, if his name was Rebacca, not Rebecca. 

268 



wooden candelabra. Out of this leads the painted saloon, 
entirely by Rebecca, a room with paired apses at the ends, and 
perhaps too much of Rebecca’s delicate brushwork in green 
upon a biscuit ground. The decorations by Wyatt are com- 
pleted by a dining-room and library, both in the same wing as 
the saloon and the Etruscan room. In the dining-room, Re- 
becca has submitted to control and Wyatt has taken most of the 
trouble to himself. The result is one of the enchantments of 
the late eighteenth century. 

The double mahogany door into the dining-room may be the 
most sumptuous of all these English ornaments from the West 
Indies, inlaid and veneered, with strips at the edges that shine 
like ribbons of watered silk, and panels that are as rich as 
damask. But the doorway, in itself, is superb in composition, 
with its painted lunette by Rebecca, and its fan-shaped sur- 
round of stucco. The whole wall, indeed, is an architectural 
composition, with painted roundels in square frames on each 
side of the door, above oblong niches in which stand Wyatt’s 
candelabra, delicate tripods with term legs, above wliich rise, 
like little rostral columns, serpent-coiled columns ending in a 
pineapple. The wall opposite, similar in composition, but 
with two lesser serving doors, and tlie space in the middle for a 
sideboard, has a wall or mural candelabrum in the form of a 
stucco ornament, a bowl with ram’s head corners, from which 
project ormolu candle branches. The fireplace wall has two 
hemicycle niches, while the mantelpiece has a painted panel 
and over it, a great oval painting by Rebecca. The dado and 
deal sideboards of this dining-room have been specially de- 
signed by Wyatt, the tapering legs of the latter to match those 
of the mahogany chairs. A beautiful but simple frieze, and 
delicate stucco ceiling complete the scheme of decoration. 
The library is a beautiful room, with pillars at each end of 
porphyry scagliola, a colour which is repeated in the mantel- 
piece, and as background for Rebecca’s painted heads, in 
roundels, of the famous poets. The same colour occurs again 
on the prevailing white of the library, along the dado, and on 
the comice and the ceiling. This latter has painted medallions 
or cameos by Rebecca in a graceful stucco setting, while the 

269 



scheme of decoration includes a pair of tables for the display of 
drawings and engravings carried out in mahogany, with swags 
and garlands in satinwood. 

Dodington, in Gloucestershire, the third of Wyatt’s great 
Classic houses, is late in date, being finished, largely, after the 
turn of the century. We have already mentioned the circular 
lodges quite typical of his Classic manner, but Dodington, 
with its enormous Corinthian portico, is neo-Greek, and no 
longer eighteenth century. It has a great hall and staircase 
with ingeniously inlaid marble floor; most of the rooms, which 
have fine doors and friezes, are carried out in gold and white ; 
and Christopher Codrington, the wealthy West Indian land- 
owner who was his patron, built a chapel attached to the house 
in an early Italian Renaissance manner, where Wyatt shows 
reminiscences, too, of St Mary-at-Hill, or other of Wren’s City 
churches which have a Greek cross for plan, with a dome at the 
intersection. Another feature of Dodington is the dairy and 
stables by Wyatt; indeed the whole scheme, which involved its 
owner in enormous expense, shows Wyatt attending to the 
smallest detail.^ 

What a curious contrast were Lee Priory, Fonthill, Ashridge, 
Wyatt’s three houses in Plantagenct style! In order to appre- 
ciate the extraordinary nature of this transformation it is per- 
haps necessary to have visited Strawberry Hill and seen the 
Holbein chamber, the gimcrack gallery with its fan vaulting, 

^ Castlccoole, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, for the Earl of 
Belmore, was designed by James Wyatt between 1788 and 1798 and 
is liis chief house in Ireland. It was built at enormous expense of 
imported Portland stone, and a whole colony of craftsmen was 
brought from England. The entrance or front has splendid Doric 
colonnades, and corner pavilions that are models of elegance with 
their Palladian windows. The interior stuccowork was supervised by 
the famous Joseph Rose, and the finest room is the circular saloon, 
with scagliola pilasters, gilt furniture, and curtains of crimson silk. 
Compare other oval or circular rooms in Irish houses, one particularly 
in a house on the Blackwater. For Castlccoole, cf Country Life, 
December 19th and 25th, 1935. In Ireland Wyatt was connected with 
Cooley, Stapleton and Penrose. Plans and detail drawings arc extant; 
possibly his work did not go beyond them, but he may have worked 
at Ardbraccan, Avondale, Slane Castle and Mount Kennedy House. 

270 



and the tribune, the veined ceiling of which resembles the 
tracery upon a frozen cabbage. These are the works, in great 
part, of Walpole’s friend, Richard Bentley, whose illustrations 
to Gray’s poems are one of the rare instances of English Ro- 
coco. But it is difficult to admire Strawberry Hill, in spite of 
every affection for the owner, Beckford, we may recall, de- 
scribed it as a species of Gothic mousetrap. The sham Gothic 
Arbury, in Warwickshire, is more pleasant with its fan vaulted, 
but not too crowded, dining-room, and its Gothic library" that, 
unrepentant, has a painted Classic ceiling in Rebecca’s style. 
However, these gimcrack abbeys are now to be made solid and 
expensive by James Wyatt. Ashridge and Fonthill were built 
for two of the richest men in England. Wyatt had a grasp of all 
the effects, but not the detail. There can have been few houses 
more worth visiting than Fonthill Abbey — if only for its per- 
fumed coal in gilded baskets !— -but how cold and haunted it must 
have been ! — haunted, when brand new, and while the gangs of 
workmen were employed night and day upon the walls ! Haun- 
ted, when Nelson came to visit it ; haunted the day the great tower 
fell down! Little more, or less, can be said of the enormous 
Ashridge. It is like so many more, Eastnor, Lowther; perhaps 
neither Fonthill nor Ashbridge are among the best of them.^ 

We should note the following anecedote in Farington, as 
told to him by Benjamin West. Wyatt had told the King that 
‘there had been no regular architecture since Sir William 
Chambers — that when he came from Italy he found the public 
taste corrupted by the Adams, and he was obhged to comply 
with it’. It may remind us, sadly, of the story of Sir John 
Millais when an old man. There had been a retrospective 
exhibition of his paintings, and the successful painter of ‘ Bub- 
bles ’ and the ‘North West Passage’ was met leaving the 
gallery in tears. He had been looking once more, after half a 
lifetime, at ‘Lorenzo and Isabella’ and ‘The Blind Girl’. 

^ No account of James Wyatt is complete witliout a mention of the 
Radcliffe Observatory at Oxford (Fig. ii), an octagonal tower with 
wings in his Classic manner, a beautiful work, and obviously by the 
same hand as Heaton Hall. About the same time, 1788, he designed 
the library and common room at Oriel. 

271 



Fig. II. The Raddiffc Observatory, Oxford. 

James Wyatt, architect. Drawn by E. L. Wratten. 

Much of Wyatt’s enormous output is still not known or 
recognised. And he can be confused, sometimes, with his 
brother. Doddington, in Cheshire, and Trinity House, Tower 
Hill, the latter gutted in this ‘ total ’ war, were the work of Samuel 
Wyatt. But we must mention as among the best of his Qassic 
works, before the change, a boudoir and its ceiling at Belton; 
and among his pavilions or lesser buildings the mausoleum 
in the park at Brocklesby, in Lincolnshire, a domed building 
with a colonnade of twelve Doric pillars, and to mark its 
period, the statue by Canova that is found within. To end, 

272 







however, upon a note of fantasy and enchantment, we de- 
scribe a work of art which is only attributed, on no certain 
evidence but that of style, to Wyatt. This is the dining-room at 
Crichel, Dorset (Plate 33), It is, indeed, one of the loveliest of 
eighteenth century rooms, not only in England, but of the whole 
of Europe. It is the doorways in the dining-room that yield the 
name of Wyatt, for with the painted lunettes over them they so 
much resemble the doors at Heveningham. But this is a higher 
and bigger room. The walls have large painted ovals by Re- 
becca, framed in stucco garlands, light and graceful, that reach 
from dado to ceiling. And it is the painted and stucco ceihng 
that is superlative, in the soft Atlantic, quasi-Celtic light of 
Dorset. The corners of the coved ceiling have umbrella-like 
ornaments, like the section of a tent or parasol; and thence the 
cove continues with painted medallions between moulded 
candelabrum ornaments, in relief, that are Joined by garlands. 
The flat of the ceiling has a large central garland, with inter- 
secting circles and diamonds, and httle painted medallions, as 
subjects to themselves, with little pairs of moulded sphinxes, 
back to back, above them. The walls of the room are a pale 
straw colour. The wall paintings are in blue-grey; and the 
colours of that exquisitely beautiful ceiling are green and white, 
with purple for the background of the painted medallions, and 
white for the stucco ornaments and the moulded candela- 
brum.^ 

Is it the symptom of an age, or only of a person, for the artist 
to throw away every advantage and run counter to his genius? 
A parallel and modem instance is with Igor Strawinsky who 

^ The saloon at Ribston Hall, Yorkshire, a name made famous by 
one of the most delicious of all eating apples, is a magnificent room 
that much resembles the work of Wyatt, but its designer is nor known 
for certain. Ribston was the old home of the Goodricke family. The 
saloon has splendid doors and overdoors, there are paintings magnifi- 
cently framed and spaced upon the walls, and a polychrome ceiling 
that is one of the richest specimens of the ‘harlequin’ or colouied 
manner. It is a flat ceiling, with a cove, and has the characteristic 
fans of Wyatt, groups of musical instruments, and his paired white 
sphinxes. It is much in the style of Wyatt, yet not entirely, and it 
would be interesting to know the name of the person responsible for 
this very brilliant work of art. 


273 



renounced his Russian birthright, or was deprived of it by the 
Revolution, at the same time sacrificing, voluntarily, aU the 
subtleties of the modern orchestra and his vocation for the 
Dance, in order to compose his abstract music of the last thirty 
years. UOiseaii du Feu^ Petrouchka, Le Sucre du Printemps^ in 
this sense, were his Heaton, Heveningham, and Dodington. 
Or we have Nijinsky throwing away his Classical technique and 
his gift of elevation ; or Picasso painting, at the same time, in 
his realistic and his abstract manners. Such are the symptoms, 
we conclude, of nervous and spiritual disturbance, and Revolu- 
tion. Few artists, of their own will, have blunted such fine and 
delicate instruments of precision as in the case of Wyatt. We 
have to believe that the craftsmen whom he employed were 
incapable of transforming themselves into the sham Gothic. 
But it argues, too, certain weaknesses of character on the part 
of the architect. These may be illustrated in an anecdote of 
Wyatt and King George the Third. Farington tells us, in his 
Diary ^ that Wyatt, who had an appointment one morning to be 
in attendance at 7 am, arrived at half past seven. The King 
asked him how many hours he stayed in bed. ‘About eight 
an’ please your Majesty.’ ‘It is a maxim with me,’ said the 
King, ‘ to allow six hours for a man, seven for a woman, and 
eight for a fool. Think of this, Wyatt, think of this ! ’ 

Wyatt died, in 1813, as the result of a carriage accident when 
he was returning from Dodington with his patron, Codrington. 
Upon an earlier occasion, while driving across Salisbury Plain, 
in January 1792, he saw the glare of a great fire in the sky, and 
said to Dixon, his clerk: ‘That vast light is in the direction of 
London; surely, Dixon, the whole city is on fire!’ The glare 
that they saw was the burning down of the Pantheon, where 
Wyatt’s reputation was first made. The architect was tired and 
exhausted from the strain of carrying on two lives at once. His 
natural genius, surely, was Classic and not Gothic. The 
beautiful, but mysterious, because unproven instance, is at 
Crichel. Can that be identified, we wonder, with the design for 
a ceiling exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1773, just at the 
time the Pantheon was built, for it belongs to that date? It is 
sad that his exquisite talents, at their best, can no longer be 

274 




Fig. 12. Design for a bedroom ceiling. By George Richardson^, 
1776. 


appreciated in the small house that he built for himself in 
Foley Place, but this was pulled down some ten years ago, 
more shamefully, therefore, than if it had perished in the blitz. 
We might be puzzled as to the exterior, whether it was by 
Wyatt or by Robert Adam; but the staircase was pure Wyatt, 
with its fan-like stucco decorations in the vaulting, the stair 
rail of simple and peculiar personality, and the moulded gar- 
lands and candelabrum upon the walls. And there, perfunc- 
torily, we must leave this most delicate of craftsmen, upon 
occasion, of the eighteenth century. 

There remains one considerable artist, Thomas Leverton, 
unduly forgotten or ignored, but who, for many tastes, will 
rank only after Wyatt, according to whether we like the epoch 

275 




in Sili its fanciful delicacy of gilt and stucco, or declining into 
the last period before the fall.^ Leverton, moreover, is of 
particular interest for his London houses. He can show us, in a 
single London square, all the resources of the Classic style. 
Levcrton may be the last of our architects of the golden age, 
and the gilding has come down to an acorn, or the sharp leaf 
of a laurel. The fan, the grape, the tulips, and the hop vine, are 
his ornaments. His stairs are models for grace and lightness. 
Bom within a year or two of Wyatt and Holland, in 1743, he 
lived till 1824, but practised little, if at all, after the last decade 
of the century ; either because he fell out of sympathy, or because 
he had made his fortune and could leave fifty thousand pounds 
to friends and relations and twelve thousand pounds in charity. 
His houses in Bedford Square were built about 1775, a lovely 
moment in our architecture, and with the appropriate volume 
of The Survey of London (St Giles-in-the-Fields, Vol. II) as 
guide, we may go round the square from house to house, 
beginning at No i. 

This has an oval dome, in the front half that is Levcrton, 
not Wyatt, nor Adam. The design is fluted or umbrella ribbed, 
with an alternating ornament of formal scrolls and antique 
lamps. Wc shall find that Levcrton, in stucco, is master of the 
fan. The staircase is contrived with masterly ingenuity out of 
the small front hall. In a back room, on the ground floor, there 
is an oval plaque above the mantelpiece, beautifully garlanded 
with ears of corn and hop vines, on a ground of blue, while the 
mantelpiece, itself, is carved with tripods and festoons of hops 
and ivy. The ceiling of the room above this has his character- 

^ This is, perhaps, the appropriate moment for Charles Cameron 
(1740-1812), a Scot of mysterious, probably Jacobite connection, 
who worked for Catherine the Great in Russia. He had studied in 
Rome, and attracted her interest by his publication of The Baths of 
the Romatis, London, 1772, a diploma work similar to that of Adam 
on the palace of Diocletian. By 1779, Cameron was in Russia, to which 
Catherine had attempted, too, to attract James Wyatt. The chief 
works of Cameron were at Tsarskoe Selo and at Pavlovsk. He was a 
decorator of genius, not inferior to Adam or Wyatt at their best, but 
we can only refer the reader to the recently published monograph 
upon him by Georges Loukomski. 

276 



istic fans in the comers, arabesques and moulded sphinxes, and 
painted medallions, perhaps by Zucchi, the frieze consisting of 
female figures holding garlands, and between fans. No 6 has a 
fine staircase lantern; N09 beautiful wall plaques, one of 
which, in particular, has an exquisite garland round it. No 10, 
on the first floor, has a ceiling with paintings by Angelica 
Kauffmann, or by Zucchi. We cannot pass by Non, at the 
corner, and not admire its admirable, plain exterior. The 
arcliitect lived in No 13 ; but there is a better ceiling next door. 
No 15 has a rusticated Palladian door and a lovely fanlight; No 
25 a ceiling by Angelica Kauffmann and the fans of Leverton 
in the four comers. At No 30 a ceiling, on the first floor, is 
exceptional with its outer panels of tripods and garlands, its 
centre fluting with sprays of hops, and the cameo paintings 
that surround it. At Nos 32 and 40 there are exquisite stucco 
ceilings; another, at No 44; and we come to the double houses. 
Nos 46 and 47, that have facades of stucco. No 47 has one of 
the best of the ceilings, with fans and urns and sphinxes; No 
50 a superb fanlight in the haU. We could continue round the 
corner, and admire the fanlights in Gower Street, at Nos 68 
and 84; or, were there time, we could walk to 65 Lincoln’s Inn 
Fields for another of Leverton’s ceilings, with the fans in the 
corners, his typical running, formal scrolls of foliage, his 
moulded sphinxes and antique lamps, and the ahnost finicking 
detail of his garlands tied with ribbons. 

Leverton, who was working during the most exquisite 
period of the eighteenth century, was able to avail himself of 
the talents, as modeller, of the young Fiaxman, and of the 
Italian, Jacopo Bonomi, who had come to London in the train 
of Adam. By this time the services of plasterers such as Pap- 
worth were available, who employed a staff of no fewer than 
five hundred men. But, already, we can recognise the indi- 
vidual hand of Leverton. It can be seen, in less restricted 
opportunity, in the most important of his country houses that 
has come down to us: Woodhall Park, in Hertfordshire, built 
for the ‘Nabob’, Sir Thomas Rumbold, Governor of 
Madras. Like Broadlands and Althorp, by Henry Holland, it 
is a white brick house. The entrance hall is yet another of the 

277 



Etruscan rooms, with a ribbed or fluted ceiling to be known, 
immediately, as the work of Leverton, and white walls with 
garlands and painted medallions in chocolate, and red, and 
yellow. Behind this, a staircase of altogether exceptional 
dexterity and lightness rises in a spiral curve, with a balustrade 
somewhat like that of Noi Bedford Square, and fully equal to 
any of Adam’s stair rails in elegance and finish. The walls of 
the stair have elaborate stucco panels, the fans of Leverton 
spread open under the spandrels of the dome, while we can 
attest his hand in the mouldings of the doorcases, in the book- 
cases of the library, and in the characteristic ornament of a 
‘ Bossi ’ mantelpiece of inlaid, coloured marbles. But perhaps 
the most beautiful object at Woodhall is the carpet in the draw- 
ing-room. This will have been drawn by Leverton, and carried 
out at Moorfields or at Axminstcr. The ribbed or fluted centre, 
so dear to the architect, with the wreaths of grapes and vines 
upon a yellow ground, recall the carpets at Syon and Saltram. 
This is as good an example as any of the Adam carpets, of that 
English style which verges on the Russian-Bessarabian, and 
only proves the existence of another art that is lost, and un- 
likely in modern conditions ever to be born again. 

Henry Holland, the darling of the cognoscenti, is an archi- 
tect whom it is next to impossible for the public to appreciate 
at all. It is not even a case of walking round the exteriors of 
Bedford Square. The public, in the case of Henry Holland, 
has only one resource, to walk, observantly, along St James’s 
Street. There, at least, they may see the fa9ade of Brooks’s 
Club. Can it be correct, though, what Mr Avray Tipping tells 
us, that Brooks’s is built of Holland’vS favourite white brick 
with stone dressings? For the brick has gone black, even when 
cleaned and renovated a few years ago. But it is of brick, 
certainly, with stone dressings, and we may admire the 
elegance and balance of its proportions, and the discreet 
ornaments upon its roof line. It contains one fine interior, the 
subscription room upon the first floor, haunted, still, by ghosts 
of Fox and Sheridan, a room drawn to the life by Rowlandson. 
Later, Georgian architects, Holland and Wyatt among them, 
no longer favoured the elaborate and costly mantelpiece of 

278 



Adam and the older men,^ and this, and the restraint in stucco 
ornament, are to be noticed in the subscription room. We may 
find, too, that it is more personal and has more character than 
the Adam dining-room at io6 Piccadily (St James’s Club). 
Wyatt, too, would have made a greater feature of the stucco 
ceiling. Henry Holland is more modern. He is moving from 
the eighteenth century into the Regency. 

Brooks’s is an early specimen of Holland, built in 1776, but, 
its facade apart, this arcliitect, as we have said, is nearly inacces- 
sible. In any case, we can no longer visit his chief work, Carlton 
House, continued at intervals for the Prince Regent after 1783, 
the year he came of age. It is an omission, however, that can be 
made good to some degree from the plates of Pyne’s Royal 
Residences^ and we propose, under that authority, to walk 
through its rooms. But East India House has gone completely, 
and so has Drury Lane Theatre. It is but little better where his 
existing buildings or interiors are concerned. Woburn Abbey 
was redesigned by Flitcroft except for the south wing, the sculp- 
ture gallery and the Chinese dairy, which arc by Holland. It 
was all but unknown and had never, we believe, been sub- 
mitted to the photographer until very recent years. Holland’s 
other houses, Broadlands, Soutbill, Althorp, arc comfortable 
and in refined taste, but have notliing sensational to offer us. 
It needed the extravagance of the Prince Regent, who cared 
not what he spent of public money, to draw forth Holland. 

At Broadlands, on the lest, wc find this architect using his 
characteristic white brick for casing. Holkham, it will be re- 
membered, was built of this material, after, according to the 
legend, a white Roman brick had been found among some 
antiques just arrived from Rome, After experiment, Kent con- 
trived to have similar bricks made in East Anglia, and the 
white brick used by Holland at Althorp, and probably at 
Broadlands, was baked near Ipswich. White brick, it cannot be 
denied, is depressing in effect, even though it be our own fault, 
because it may remind us of some Victorian seaside villa. 

^ A carved marble mantelpiece sometimes cost as much as fifteen 
hundred pounds, Rysbrack, Cheere, Wilton, Bacon, Westmacott, 
were among the sculptors employed. 

279 



What, at Broadlaiids, no one could fail to admire is the lofty 
Doric portico, and the other portico facing to the river. The 
rooms are simple and elegant; the saloon, especially, with its 
painted wall panels. There is a pretty gilt frieze, but the effect 
of the whole is quiet and unsensational. It has been suggested 
with much truth that Holland was by this time under French 
influence, though, to our knowledge, there is no evidence that 
he ever went to France. But it would be in accord, at least, 
with the Gallic sympathies of his Whig patrons. This tendency 
appears again at Althorp, in the interior.^ The outside of 
Althorp as wc stated is of white brick, and the effect of this, as 
at Holkham, is to dwarf or minimise the scale. Holland was 
not a great architect so far as fa9ades are concerned. He seems, 
indeed, to have been bored by a fa9ade. The blue boudoir at 
Althorp, fitted up with what had been, formerly, the decora- 
tions of Lady Spencer’s dressing-room, is a channing specimen 
of Holland in his French mood, and reflects the French taste of 
1790. The painted panels are the work of a Frenchman, 
Pernotin, who was employed by Holland at Carlton House. 
All the detail is admirable in taste and thought; but architec- 
ture, we may feel, is nearly at an end. So little less and it will 
have gone, for ever? 

Southill, Bedfordshire, for Mr Samuel Whitbread, is the 
more complete specimen of Holland, tasteful and discreet 
almost to extinction. How much the architect has altered since 
the subscription room at Brooks’s! But there has been the 
Revolution; the endless years, the whole generation of the 
Napoleonic wars has come. We should know more of Henry 
Holland were it possible to discuss his work at Woburn, which 
he remodelled for the Duke of Bedford. But also in his smaller 
houses he perfected the Grasco-Roman or Directoire style. 
Surviving examples are Wimbledon House, a stucco villa with 
semicircular or bow porch and pillared conservatory, and 
Avenue House, Ampthill, with fine, late Classic door and 
pillared porch. The first Pavilion at Brighton was another 
instance of the Graeco-Roman style, and ready for occupation 

^ Only the recasing of the exterior, and a few rooms of the interior 
of Althorp, are by Henry Holland. 

280 



about 1787. Two years later, in An Excursion to Brighthelm- 
stone, with drawings by Rowlandson, we read of ‘ The Marine 
Pavilion of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales . . . whose 
Munificence and Affability endear him to all who are not 
biassed by Party, blinded by Prejudice, or hostile to digni- 
fied Merit. , . . The grand Saloon is beautifully decorated 
with paintings by Rebecca, executed in his best Manner/ 
But the transition from the eighteenth century into the Re- 
gency is already a fact accomplished. Another contem- 
porary tells us that ‘The apartment in which the Prince sleeps 
is hung with quilted chintz, bordered with gimp; the bed 
hanging is of silk, chequered green and white; and near it is a 
glass, so situated as to afford the Prince an extensive view of 
the sea and Steine as he lies in bed’. The ceiling of the din- 
ing-room, Professor Richardson tells us, was sky blue, the walls 
dark maroon, with yellow furniture and decorations. But 
Henry Holland is so important a figure during the Regency 
that he should not be treated elsewhere than in a chapter that 
opens with the interior of Carlton House. 

In the meantime, the eighteenth century lies dying. The 
wonderful efiiorescence of its end would be entirely impossible 
to describe in detail. Everyone who loves the period must 
know of examples to which, often enough, no name of an 
architect can be attached. We will give one mstance only out 
of many. At the back of the Lion Hotel, in Shrewsbury, stands 
the Assembly Room, which is one of the most fanciful and 
delicate eighteenth century interiors in the country, decorated 
in a scheme of green and white, with gilded mirrors upon the 
walls, and a gallery at one end raised upon pillars. It was in 
this Assembly Room that the great Paganini gave two concerts 
on his way to and from Dublin, in 1831, a circumstance that 
gives this room a special flavour. No name of an architect is 
known, though, certainly, it should be possible to identify him 
from other works in the neighbourhood. Not Adam, nor Wyatt, 
nor Leverton, show more of grace and imagination than in this 
room. When Paganini played here, the death of architecture 
was recent, or even not yet certain. The Assembly Room 
must date from about 1775. It was then barely sixty years old. 

281 



The architect could even have been present, as an old man, at 
the concerts. More than a hundred years have gone by now, 
and little of good is done in our time except to take photo- 
graphs of the fast diminishing total of what is left. 

But, before we tread the new pile carpets and are dazed by 
the curtains and pelmets of Carlton House, let us take leave of 
the eighteenth century in a last paragraph. For wars are be- 
ginning, and alas 1 we know the symptoms. More flimsy sorts 
of building are coming in, and the last age will be the age of 
stucco. Even so, for the whole of another generation, architec- 
ture will still be alive. But we shall come down through stucco 
villas to the parades and terraces of seaside towns. In the end, 
by 1850, we must take our pleasures from glass paperweights 
and papier-mache. But not yet. We have still to explore the 
sham Gothic castles, and the stucco palaces of Nash’s London. 
Looking back, the architecture of the eighteenth century in 
England reveals itself as a consolation for future ages, and as a 
sign of what the world has been, and of what it still could be. 
For the world in v/hich wc live depends on ourselves, and on us 
alone. It is by taking the past as an example, but not copying 
it, that we can shape the future, not in slums or palaces, but 
for a world in which none are too rich, and none are poor. But 
we are at the period of the Regency. A more modern type of 
person, for good or bad, is in process of evolving. We may 
consider that stucco ceilings were no longer appropriate after 
powdered wigs had gone out of fashion. The fan and the fan- 
light will make their exit together. Soon the streets will be lit 
by gaslight, and there will be no need for the torchsnuffer on the 
railing at the door. Beau Brummel is typical of the new age of 
taste. What models of style are his letters, just what the letters 
of a Beau should be ! To read a page or two of The Rape of the 
Locky and then a letter of Beau Brummel, is to hold a hundred 
years of history in one’s hand! But the girandoles of Adam are 
flickering and guttering down; the tremendous chandeliers of 
Carlton House are lit, and the new mirrors are plated and re- 
flect the ‘lackered’ brass. Come to the Corinthian portico and 
walk inside! ‘The First Gentleman in Europe ’ is out of Lon- 
don, and tasting the sea breezes in his new Pavilion at Brighton. 

282 



XI 


THE REGENCY 

C ARLTON HOUSE, we havc already stated, was allotted to the 
Prince of Wales, not yet Prince Regent, as his residence 
when he came of age in 1783, and the alterations and improve- 
ments were sufficiently advanced for a state levee to be held 
there on February 8th, 1790. Henry Holland was principal 
architect until his death in 1806, after which date Wyatt and 
then Nash were employed; so were we allowed our entry, and 
we propose to take that liberty, we would choose a moment, 
perhaps in 1812, when Carlton House was in the completed 
state in wdiich we see it in Pyne’s Royal Residences. A few 
years later it was demolished, and Buckingham Palace was 
begun. It is, therefore, a unique opportunity, for Carlton 
House in its interior represents the utmost of which the archi- 
tects and craftsmen of the Regency were capable. We would 
enter it, too, remembering the w^ardrobes full of once-worn 
suits of clothes with pockets full of billets-doux, found at 
Windsor Castle in 1830 after the King had died, for Carlton 
House, even in the aquatints that are to be our guide, forms a 
completely furnished musuem of the strange, monstrous, but 
lovable being who inhabited it, and often, in imagination, we 
could wish ourselves, as wc are about to do, able to wallt about 
in its garish and much-gilt apartments. 

Wc find ourselves, therefore, on a fine spring morning 
coming down St James’s Street. It is 1812, and the touch of 
George Cruikshank is in the morning air. Flistorically, it is a 
time of dread and intoxication like our own, for great events are 
impending. The Grande Armee is assembling while the King 
of Rome still rocks in his elaborate cradle, that cradle which, 
later, without discrepancy, was placed with the robes and 
crown of Charlemagne in the Schatzkammer at Viemia. The 
time and place are familiar. Boodle’s, Whites and Brooks’s are 

283 



as we know them. But we pass bright yellow curricles, a chariot 
painted a beautiful rich lake colour, and others with green, or 
mulberry, or crimson bodies. The Monstrosities of Fashion are 
on foot. The beautiful young women of Thomas Rowlandson, 
of the Prince of Wales’s youth, are gone, or grown middle aged. 
There is even a difference in the way this younger generation 
walks. We pass a pair of Hussar officers, with moustachios, 
and across the street there is a Life Guard in a Grecian helm. 
The young women are tall and thin, with puffed sleeves and 
bonnets. This is a year, like 1944, ^^at all will remember, but 
we have only this brief glimpse of it, for we enter under the 
Ionic screen from Pall Mall and find ourselves in front of 
Carlton House. It has only the one floor, this side, of state 
apartments, but two floors, the other, facing on St James’s 
Park; in fact, ‘the elevation is one story higher in the garden 
front, which accounts for the greater number of apartments 
contained within its walls, than it appears to possess when 
viewed from its principal aspect, in Pall MalT. But we are 
under the Corinthian porch, where the carriages drive in, and 
a footman in Royal livery of scarlet, with powdered hair, opens 
the door, takes our card of invitation, and lets us in. 

The colours of the entrance hall, by Henry Holland, are 
porphyry, granite-green, bronze, and yellow Siena. That is 
to say, it has pillars of yellow Siena marble, with bronze capi- 
tals and bases, to frame the four doors, and the walls are 
stained a granite green. The heavy entablatures of these 
pillars support bronze busts and vases; the ceiling is coffered, 
and we note the mahogany and gilt chairs and settles designed 
by Henry Holland, with the Prince Regent’s cypher,* ^ and the 
six hanging lanterns of ‘lackered’ brass. But we leave behind 
this impression of verde antique and porphyry, and are in an 
octangular vestibule, lit by another chandelier of ‘lackered’ 
brass, through which we reach the grand staircase, and climb 
its stairs until we reach an ante-room, a waiting room, we are 
warned, on state occasions, for those who have not attained the 
privilege of the entree. 

^An asterisk on this, and the following pages, denotes that the 
objects described are now at Buckingham Palace. 

284 



Hcre^ during a necessary pause, we may look upon a por- 
trait by Sir Joshua Reynolds of the Duke of Cumberland, 
‘uncle of his present Majesty^ . . . and it is read to us that 
‘the countenance of His Royal Highness was open and digni- 
fied, and his port eminently grand and easy ... It is known 
that His Royal Highness was remarkable for corpulency . . . 
but the superior tastes of Reynolds could portray the grand 
abstract characteristics of his subject. Reynolds has preserved 
in his portrait these noble traits. . . .’ But the gilt doors are 
flung open, and we enter the crimson drawing-room. 

This room, hung from top to bottom, walls and curtains, 
with crimson satin damask and gold fringes, and with its gold 
and white ceiling, seems to us to be the work of Nash, not 
Holland, for it is a conspicuous instance of what a contem- 
porary calls ‘his flutter, multiplicity of mouldings, filigrain, 
and leaf gold’. The festoons are draped from rayed heads of 
Apollo and other gilt ornaments, and we notice the heavy, 
gilt sofas* and armchairs that face each other across the floor, 
the gilt console table with winged gryphons,* and tripods of 
the same animals supporting bronze candelabra in the win- 
dows.* A carpet of light bluish velvet has the star and in- 
signia of the Garter in the middle, and there is a tremendous 
fender of brass before the fireplace, and a mantelpiece of black 
marble, with figures of satyrs in bronze, ‘each presenting two 
infants to the comforts of the fire’. Upon this mantelpiece 
stand the ‘Horatii’ clock,* with bronze figures depicting the 
three Horatii vowing fidelity at the altar and being handed 
swords by their father, taken from the great Classical painting by 
David in the Louvre. From the centre of the ceiling hangs one of 
the chandeliers of the Prince Regent, ‘ considered among the 
finest in Europe’, our guide tells us, and composed of three cir- 
cles of lights, surmounted by a magnificent display of brilliant 
cut glass. But the door opens into the circular drawing-room, 
and we are admitted into the masterpiece of Henry Holland. 

We are in the most beautiful interior of Carlton House, and 
must not be hurried. It is a rotunda of the Ionic order. 
The ceiling is painted like a sky; and the colours, below, are 
lavender and light blue, porphyry, and silver. The scagliola 

285 



columns, painted like porphyry, have silvered capitals, and the 
cornice is silvered on a ground of lavender, while the recesses 
of the doors and windows are hung with Roman tent draperies 
of light blue silk, with silver ornaments. The door panels, the 
panels above the looking glass, and portions of the walls, are 
painted with arabesques on a silver ground by the Frenchman, 
Pernotin. By the doors, and above the fireplaces, are candela- 
bra with pedestals of Breccia violet marble ; and we admire the 
low settees of Roman pattern, with bronze chimcrac or legs, 
covered with the light blue silk and with fringes and lace of 
silver threads ‘and other materials of dazzling brightness’. 
But the climax of this circular drawing-room is tlie cut glass 
chandelier, of immense length, representing the jet d'eau of a 
fountain, and playing from the centre of the room up into the 
painted sky, reflected in the four pier glasses opposite, which 
repeat each other, and the lesser chandeliers, in endless re- 
petition. The chandelier, we may remark, was an article of 
furniture dear to the Prince Regent, and characteristic of him. 
We have not yet arrived at the fabulous chandeliers of tlie 
Pavilion, supplied by Messrs Perry & Co. of 178 New Bond 
Street for fantastic sums, and portraying wateriilies or nelum- 
biums and Chinese dragons, but already, chandeliers are 
described in their own particular language : ‘ Superbly elegant 
16 light lustre richly mounted in ormolu and ornamented with 
paste spangles and Chinese bells ^ 16 chased ormolu brackets 
supported with rich cut nozzles — the lower part of the lustre 
forming a vase of spangles. ’ Another, in the great drawing-room 
at Carlton House, ‘ designed to represent a fountain falling into 
a large reservoir’, or ‘an elegant Grecian lustre . . . the upper 
part a tent, and flounce with two tiers of icicles pendant’. . . . 
‘A pagoda of drops ’, at 280 guineas ... or another ‘in the form 
of a tent . . . with a concave canopy of paste ornaments ’. 

After this rotunda in its silvery colours, and its chandelier, 
we may have little patience for the throne room, unless it be to 
note the massive fender that forms a balustrade, in brass, to 
support the eagle of Jupiter subduing prostrate dragons; or 
the pair of gold armchairs, not the throne, with back and sides 
like an antique bronze chariot. These gold chairs may have 

286 



been designed by Charles Heathcote Tatham, probably the 
most important figure in the whole of the Greek revival. Their 
backs are solid to the ground and carved with acanthus orna- 
ments, while the fronts are formed by sphinxes with great up- 
curving wings. The ante-room, beyond this, is due to Nash, 
in our opinion. There follow more ante-rooms, a rose-satin 
drawing-room and a blue velvet room, huge Boulle cabinets in- 
laid with brass and tortoiseshell, and many of the Dutch 
paintings from the Royal collection. Weltje, the Prince’s con- 
fectioner at Carlton House, bought many of these, and much 
of the French furniture. 

We now come down to the state apartments on the ground 
floor, giving on to the garden and St James’s Park. This set of 
rooms presented many difficulties, for their low ceihngs made 
them dark and gloomy, and their improvements were due to 
Wyatt and Nash, the hand of the first of whom may, perhaps, 
be traced in the vestibule, where a wall has been removed, and 
a double colonnade of Corinthian columns and pilasters of 
scagliola, painted to resemble verde antique, with gilt capitals, 
has been inserted in its place. The doors are ebony black, 
with arabesque panels bordered with narrow scarlet lines; the 
walls are hung with scarlet flock, and the sofas are scarlet with 
black velvet borders. This room is hung, too, with Dutch 
paintings; the voice of our guide intones that 'Jan Steen was a 
humorist and painted what he sought; Teniers was a gentle- 
man, and painted what he saw’. 

Coming through a library, we enter the golden drawing-room, 
with fluted Corinthian pillars, entirely gilt in matted gold. 
The frieze, under the gold cornice, is in imitation rosewood, 
with a honeysuckle pattern. The perspective of this room has 
been enlarged by mirrors that reflect and reduplicate each 
other, endlessly; but the features of the room arc the projecting 
alcoves, framed in pillars, with deep sofas, and standing by 
them, huge china jars of light sage green on pedestals, of three 
steps each, rising from a chased base or cup of leaves. Sir 
Thomas Lawrence painted the Prince Regent in this alcove, 
with the round Boulle table of rosewood, tortoiseshell, and 
ormolu before him. 


287 



The folding doors lead into the Gothic dining-room, which 
is divided into five divisions or compartments by Gothic arches. 
The pillars are clustered, with capitals of ostrich feathers, and 
above each a bracket or projection juts out into the ceiling, on 
both sides of the room, while from the brackets depend Gothic 
chandeliers. The dining table is a mass of golden candlesticks, 
and more of the Windsor gold plate is standing on the side- 
boards. We walk through a bow room and an ante-room filled 
with Dutch cabinet pictures by Terborch, Ostade, and Gerard 
Dou, with sea pieces and a group of turbot boats by Van der 
Velde, into another dining-room, with a ceiling painted to re- 
present a light summer sky, scagliola pillars of porphyry, and 
many wax lights, and so into the cast iron Gothic conservatory. 
This fan vaulted structure, which cannot be denied its perverse 
notoriety, was designed by a certain Thomas Hopper, but it 
seems that this individual was responsible for much of Carlton 
House. Was it Hopper who designed the golden drawing- 
room? The whole of this ground floor, with the Gothic 
dining-room, may be due to him. Pyne tells us that ‘on this 
floor, Mr Wyatt and Mr Nash have made some splendid and 
interesting additions’, and after seeing the interior of Carlton 
House we may be inclined to think that the front hall of por- 
phyry and granite-green, and the circular drawing-room, are 
all that remain of Henry Holland. Alterations and improve- 
ments were always in progress at Carlton House during the 
quarter of a century of its existence. These two rooms are so 
conspicuously better than the others, the decorations of which 
could have been, and probably were, designed and supplied by 
firms of tradesmen, as in the Pavilion at Brighton. 

We emerge from Carlton House only wishing it were pos- 
sible to visit the Prince Regent in his brand new Cottage, or 
Royal Lodge, in Windsor Great Park. This was the most 
splendid specimen of the cottage ome; ‘though called a 
cottage, because it happened to be thatched, it was still a very 
comfortable residence for a family’, remarked Lord Broug- 
ham, the ‘family’ consisting of Lady Conyngham and her sons 
and daughters, who stayed mostly at the Royal Fort, near by. 
Even Princess Lieven, no kind critic, noticed ‘in everyftung a 

288 



habit of unspoiled magnificence, which left behind the senti- 
ment of me charmante beatitude^ An aquatint of the Royal 
Lodge, in Ackermann’s Repository^ shows us the modest 
entrance with a two-gabled front, but behind that we can see 
the garden front with its thatched porches and bow windows, 
wreathed with honeysuckle, and count twenty or thirty 
chimneystacks in the distance. Peacocks tread the lawns: 
what we do not see is the cast iron conservatory, painted green, 
with ‘a trellised temple’ in the centre. The Royal Lodge, 
now the residence of the King and Queen, preserves little, 
if anything, of Nash’s work, but it became more and more the 
favourite home of George the Fourth in the years when he 
grew to shun public appearance, no longer stayed at Brighton, 
and was content with driving in his curricle to his Chinese 
fishing temple at Virginia Water. Here, in a rustic setting, 
with every comfort round him, and the richest of foods and 
wines and cherry brandy, we arc to imagine the ageing and 
perfumed beau, with his curled hair, surely one of the more 
fantastic characters in histor}^* The Prince Charming of the 
eighteenth century, in his sunset, can still draw upon his 
memories of fifty years in his imitations, while he spends the 
long evenings vacillating between umbrage, tears, and laughter. 

Or we may follow him for a brief moment, for a breath of 
sea air, to his Pavilion at Brighton. There is not time, alas! 
to trace the permutations of its domes and cupolas. We can 
only remind ourselves that the inspiration for a ‘Hindu’ 
building came from Sezincote, in Gloucestershire. This was a 
house built by Samuel Pepys Cockerell for his brother, ‘an 
eminent servant of the East India Company’, and adapted, 
with that artist’s assistance, from Daniell’s Oriental Scenery ?■ 
Humphrey Repton, who designed the gardens at Sezincote, 
was quick to realise the possibilities of this ‘Hindu’ style and 
submitted drawings and plans to the Prince Regent, which 

^ Outside Stow-on-the-Wold, on the road to Cheltenham, there is 
a curious stone cottage in the chinoiserie or Mogul style of Sezincote. 
The Quinta de Monserrate at Cintra, in Portugal, is in the style of 
Brighton Pavilion, but in a setting of tropical vegetation. Beckford, 
certainly unjusdy, has been accused of this. 

K 289 



were published in a folio volume with beautiful aquatint plates 
in 1808. But Repton’s projeas were carried no further. When 
the new Pavilion was begun, in the year of Waterloo, Nash was 
appointed architect of this Oriental pleasure dome. But how 
is it to be described? For we have all heard, once too often, 
the joke of Sydney Smith’s, ‘that the dome of St Paul’s must 
have come down to Brighton and pupped’. We prefer this, of 
Hazlitt, that ‘the pavilion at Brighton is like a collection of 
stone pumpkins and pepper boxes. It seems as if the genius of 
architecture has at once the dropsy and the megrims’. Better 
still, is Cobbett: ‘Take a considerable number of bulbs of the 
crown imperial, the narcissus, the hyacinth, the tulip, the 
crocus, and others; let the leaves of each have sprouted to about 
an inch . . . then stand off and look at your architecture. There 1 
That’s “ a Kremlin ! ” Only you must cut some church-looking 
windows in the side of the box. As to what you ought to put 
into the box, that is a subject far above my cut.’ Even Princess 
Lieven, a Russian, describes it as a ‘palace or pavilion, or 
Kremlin, or mosque — for it bears all these names and deserves 
them’. What is lost sight of in these adverse criticisms is its 
purpose, to be a pleasure pavilion in midst of a popular seaside 
resort, so that there is little reason for the Pavilion to be re- 
proached for what is admitted on a seaside pier. The architec- 
tural style was, according to inclination, either Chinese or 
Hindu, while the allusions to the Kremlin may remind us of 
another epoch of crisis, before and after Waterloo, when the 
Tartar domes of Moscow were subjects for endless speculation 
and the intentions of a former, total autocrat were under dis- 
cussion, far and wide. 

Perhaps, as we wander through the Pavilion, we shall have 
eyes chiefly for the chandeliers. Indeed, in the phrase of 
Croker, ‘the rooms are as full of lamps as Hancock’s shop’. 
It is a tour that can be accomplished, once again, by means of 
the aquatint illustrations in a book, in this instance, leash’s 
Views of the Royal Pavilion^ Brighton^ 1826, sold, originally, at 
twenty guineas a copy, but of which ninety-eight copies in all, 
at full price, were reserved by the King, to be given as presents 
to his fcends. The majority of the plates are from watercolour 

290 



drawings by the elder Pugin, and the volume includes, also, 
his outline drawings which are marvels of painstaking accuracy 
and care. Pugin, we may add, seems to have been as dazzled 
and puzzled, as we are ourselves, by the chandeliers. Do not 
let us pay a detailed visit! Rather, let us lose ourselves among 
the bamboos and the Mandarins. We surrender our prejudices, 
completely, in the corridor, a place of real enchantment, albeit 
this is the chinoiserie of the tea merchant, and find ourselves 
in the Music Room with its four coloured and gilt pagodas 
between the windows, fifteen feet and ten storeys high, and 
with the red and gold pictures on cambric linen upon the walls 
by Lambelet. From the ceiling hangs a chandeHer in pagoda 
style, consisting of an immense lamp ‘in the form of the 
nelumhium or waterlily’, and golden dragons below it ‘in 
attitudes of flight a chandelier that with its eight similar, but 
smaller sisters, was supplied for 12s by Messrs Perry. 

And so, into the still more splendid Banqueting Room, lit by 
enormous candelabra standing upon the floor, with paintings 
of Chinese subjects by Robert Jones upon the walls, and a 
perfectly extraordinary chandelier, described by Princess 
Lieven as in the form of a tulip held by a dragon, but, in fact, 
there are several tulips upheld by as many dragons, and what 
Princess Lieven has omitted is the huge plantain or banana 
foliage, from which the chandelier hangs down, in the middle 
of the ceiling. What must the meals have been 1 In the Pavilion, 
generally ; from breakfasts, that we should aU love to eat, served 
in one’s bedroom, to a supper for the servants in the Pavilion 
kitchen, when ‘a scarlet cloth was thrown upon the pavement; 
a splendid repast was provided, and the good-humoured Prince 
sat down, with a select party of his friends, and spent a joyous 
hour. The whole of the servants, particularly the female por- 
tion, were delighted at this mark of Royal condescension’. 

We could wish that the Prince Regent had persevered in his 
intention to build a ‘guingette’ in the midst of Regent’s Park, 
by a straight canal, near a proposed lake bigger than the 
Serpentine, and close to a double circus with houses looking 
outwards as well as inwards, surrounded by a ha-ha, the 
word ‘guingette’, as Mr Summerson reminds us in his book 

291 



on Nash, ‘meaning a pleasure resort outside the jurisdiction 
of municipal housing authorities’, and suggesting, therefore, 
that ‘the Prince’s intentions were of a holiday nature’. But 
the ‘guingette’ came to nothing, although it was provided for 
in the two panoramas prepared by Nash and still preserved in 
the office of the Commissioners of Crown Lands. Instead, the 
present Regent’s Park and its terraces were built, terraces that 
can be seen quite new, and at their best, in some among the 
wonderful series of Regency fashion plates drawn for a Blooms- 
bury tailor, B. Read, of Hart Street, by the hand of Robert 
Cruikshank, and in that one, in particular, where the fashion- 
able world is skating on the frozen lake in front of the Turkish 
domes of Sussex Place.^ Some of these terraces are due to 
Decimus Burton, the architect of the Ionic screen at Hyde 
Park Corner, who laid out the Regency squares and terraces 
of St Leonard’s. Nash’s Regent Street is gone completely, 
mourned by the vast majority who remember it, and find no 
solace in what stands there in its place. 

Nash’s cottages could form a subject to themselves, divided 
into those that were really and truly intended for gardeners or 
gamekeepers, and those that were the cottage ornee of the 
Regency. To the former category belong the group of nine 
cottages, all different, in the grounds of Blaise Castle, near 
Bristol, though several of them reproduce his designs elsewhere. 
But there were many contemporary architects for cottage 
architecture. It was, in fact, one of the manias of the time. Of 
Nash’s architecture, in large, the two best specimens are to 
be found in Ireland. Rockingham, Co. Roscommon, is 
reminiscent of Henry Holland’s Pavilion at Brighton. It 
consists of a circular, domed library with drawing-rooms on 
either side, but unfortunately, a few years later, the dome was 
destroyed and two more storeys were added on. Caledon, 

^ The original gouache drawings for these fashion plates, or some 
of them, for there are twelve in all, are in the Bethnal Green Museum. 
Robert, we may add, is the less known elder brother (1790-1856) of 
George Cruikshank. His work was chiefly of a theatrical and sporting 
nature, leading him into convivial circles, whence, it is to be observed, 
for good or bad, he did not, like his brother, emerge to join the teetotal 
movement, but remained unrepentant to the end. 

292 



Co. Tyrone (in Northern Ireland)^ must be the most beautiful 
extant specimen of a country house by Nash. It was begun, 
earlier, by Thomas Cooley, the English architect who built 
the Royal Exchange in Dublin, and to whom is due, on evidence 
of date, the boudoir with a Chinese wallpaper of apple-green, 
with white bamboos and coloured birds, and an astounding 
ceiling in ‘ Harlequin ’ style, reminiscent of James Wyatt, with 
fans at the corners, a cove of apple-green with white festoons, 
a chocolate band with pink lozenges or squares, a painted 
medalhon in the centre in a white square with a frame of 
chocolate, broken by four scarlet panels with white tripods in 
relief, the frieze and cornice of the whole being painted like 
tortoiseshell with white enrichments. The oval drawing-room 
of Caledon by John Nash is no less than a masterpiece of cut 
paper, for all the mouldings and the gilt Classical figures in 
panels in the friezes are of that material, while w^e must admire 
the beautiful, and typical, draped pelmets to the windows. 
The effect of this oval drawing-room must be lovely in the soft 
light of Ireland. 

The fast diminishing total of what is left of Nash hes, now, 
in Carlton House Terrace, from which the paint is peeling, 
and in the terraces of Regent’s Park (Plate 36). Aubrey 
Beardsley showed an extraordinary prescience in his drawing 
in The Yellow Book^ of Messalina carried in her litter past that 
long facade of stucco. For it was Roman in intention, but it 
belonged in spirit to the decadence. Beardsley, we should 
remember, had spent his youth in Brighton, among the stucco 
terraces and squares, wandering precociously through the 
deserted pavilion, that reminded him of the tawdry tunes of 
Rossini’s Stahat Mater ^ and along the marine Rococo of the 
Brighton piers. Certain of the terraces in Regent’s Park recall the 
St Petersburg of Nicholas the First. But this stucco architecture 
was peculiarly adapted to the London weather. Nash was an 
artist of the third or fourth order, and in parting with him we 
cannot believe that our own age has not his equal, or superior. 

It is Sir John Soane who is generally admitted as ultimate 
architect, or Tast of the Romans’, a title more applicable in 
actual fact to Barry, but obscured by tlie mirage of the Houses 

293 



of Parliament on the banks of Thames. "It is impossible’, 
Soane solemnly told his pupils, "for me to impress too much 
upon your minds that modillions, mutules, dentils, and 
tryglyphs cannot be admitted into the interior of any edifice 
with even a shadow of propriety.’ Soane, quarrelling with both 
his sons, because the elder of them would not make "Restora- 
tions’ of the ‘Ruins’ at Ealing during his spare time at 
Cambridge, an offence which he carried a stage further by 
"becoming engaged’ as a result of an excursion "to one of those 
watering places where young ladies are to be found who are in 
haste to be married’, dedicated his Memoirs, despairingly, to 
his grandson: "To you, my dear child, I dedicate these 
“Memoirs” trusting that my success will be to you a stimulus 
and my mortifications serve you as beacons.’^ None of the 
family, of course, became architeas. Mr Bolton recognises 
Mr Pecksniff in Sir John Soane; and it could, indeed, be 
Soane, and not Pecksniff, whom Dickens makes address his 
new pupil as follows: “There are a cartload of loose bricks, 
and a score or two of old flower pots in the back yard. If you 
could pile them up, my dear Martin, into any form which 
would remind me on my return, say, of St Peter’s at Rome, or 
the Mosque of St Sophia at Constantinople, it would be at 
once improving to you and agreeable to my feelings.” The 
‘Ruins’ w^ere in the grounds of Pit2hanger Manor, and Soane 
continues, mournfully: ‘They were sources of amusement to 
the numerous persons visiting this place, particularly on the 
three days of the Ealing Fair. ... On those days it was the 
custom for our friends to visit us by a general invitation, and 
it was not unusual to entertain two hundred persons to a 
dSjeuner d la fourchette; many of whom, after contemplating 
the ruins and drawings, communicated their sentiments on the 
subject, which created a constant source of intellectual enjoy- 

^ We are indebted for these quotations to the extraordinarily 
entertaining little guide to Pitzhanger Manor, by Mr Arthur T. 
Bolton, late Curator of the Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. 
Only rarely can so much information and amusement have been 
combined in a sevenpenny guide. Holy Trinity, Marylebonc, and 
St John, Bethnal Green, are by Soane. 

294 



ment. , . / But ‘the character of the place has been destroyed 
and the former Gothic scenes and intellectual banquets of 
Pitzhanger are no more’. Pitzhanger Manor, where, previ- 
ously, we have admired, as did Soane, a pair of stucco ceilings 
by George Dance the Younger, is now tlie Ealing Public 
Library. It was the country villa of Soane, with an entrance 
front that recalls Adam’s garden front of Kedleston, while his 
London house was No 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields where the 
pernickety old gentleman, the Cherubini of architecture, may 
be studied in his careful and eccentric ingenuity. The Bank 
of England and Tyringham are the chief of his other works. 
Soane, for all his inward growing mannerisms, belonged to 
an order to which Nash could not attain. He could compose, 
and he had intellect. As architect, Soane was predestined to be 
last, not first. 

If we would study the picture of London in its rebuilding 
after Waterloo, we must consult Metropolitan Improvements y 
by J. Elmes, 1827, with engraved plates by Shepherd, and 
ecstatic descriptions of the terraces of Regent’s Park. ‘But, 
hark, at that delightful harp,’ in York Terrace, ‘it comes from 
the open window, with the tamboured muslin curtains . . • and 

I cannot tear myself away The lovely musician is revelling 

in all the brilliancy of Arpeggio variations upon the beautiful 
Venetian air sul margine del rio\ and Mr Elmes conducts us, 
by easy steps, down the town to the new Regent Street where 
‘a splendid carriage, with an armed hey-duke behind it, coming 
out of Duchess Street, is Prince Esterhazy’s, on his way to the 
last drawing-room of the season’, in all his diamonds. Every- 
thing is bright and new, and we enter into the spirit of the 
long summer morning. Putting a hand into our pocket, we 
pull out the new coins of the reign, fresh from the mint. They 
are the shillings, half-crowns, and sixpences of Pistrucci, the 
great Roman gem engraver. The head of George the Fourth 
is a miracle of the art of the lapidary, with its crisped hair 
through which the wreath of laurel winds, and we admire the 
shields on the backs, enclosed neatly in the garter, or in a 
Rococo frame, and may find in our hand, as well, the shilling 
with the head of George the Fourth by Chantrey, or that 

295 



strange production the ‘bull-necked’ half-crown of George 
the Third. This was minted in iSiy, when the King was old 
and blind and mad, and wore a long white beard, but it shows 
him in the guise of Domitian or of Vespasian, with his huge 
neck turned sideways, and a suggestion in profile of his Hano- 
verian blue eye. 

But architecture, despite appearances, lies dying. Regent 
Street, or a stucco terrace, are not enough, and ‘tamboured 
curtains’ are mere drapery, not decoration. This, alas! is 
true: in spite of one of the most ‘amusing’ books of coloured 
plates that was ever published, the Cabinet-makers^ and Up-- 
holsterers^ Drawing Book, by George Smith, describing himself 
characteristically, as Upholder to the Prince Regent, It is, in 
fact, a book of pelmets and of curtains generally. The ingenuity 
is astounding. It is an art which must begin with folding 
linen napkins, or making boats or hats from sheets of paper. 
Yet it is an art.^ In the hands of G. Smith, the possibilities 
are astonishing and beyond computation. But it is a specimen 
of the Zeitgeist^ or spirit of the age; at no other time could there 
have been those loops and folds, or those exact angles of the 
golden spears. Here is a precision that is as typical of its 
moment as the greatest wonders of the Rococo. 

Beautiful instances of the art of pelmet, together with chan- 
deliers only less glittering by a carat than those of the Prince 
Regent, and what must amount to some furlongs in length of 
bright red pile carpet, appear in Views of Eaton Hall, Chester, 
by J. and J. C. Buckler, a book published in 1826, dealing with 
the great sham Gothic edifice that, to our taste, is far more 
interesting than Beckford’s Fonthill. The architect was 
Porden, who was employed on the stables and the riding school 
for Brighton Pavilion, and then was set to work by the first 
Marquess Grosvenor. Eaton, as it now stands, was rebuilt by 
Alfred Waterhouse in the eighteen-seventies in a manner so 
much the antithesis of modem taste that, sooner or later, it is 
certain to be admired. Batalha in Portugal seems to have been 
the pattern for the earlier, or second, Eaton, which was built 

^ One of the most beautiful examples is the bedroom of the lovely 
Queen Louise of Prussia in the Stadt-Schloss at Potsdam. 

296 



during the l^eninsular Wars at a time when the Gothic of 
France or Germany was inaccessible. It is a curious and 
fantastic vision, in the coloured drawings. The gimcrack 
Fonthill is not comparable, inside or out. How well suited 
are its crockets and pinnacles to the flat Cheshire plain, like a 
great abbey risen, and fallen, in a night! But, in the interior, 
it is not less fanciful. We can but admire the fan vaulting and 
the traceries upon the ceilings. The drawing-room with its 
chandelier and cusped pelmets is the complete instance of the 
sham Gothic. A most curious comparison can be established 
between this drawing-room at Eaton and the earlier dining- 
room in the Gothic of 1780 at Arbury, in Warwickshire 
(Plate 37). The latter is a specimen of Strawberry HiU 
Gothic, though late in its day, but, between the two of them, 
we may see the possibilities in sham Gothic, channels of 
imagination which were only blocked when we arrive at such 
hideous structures as St Pancras station, or the Natural History 
Museum in Cromwell Road. 

What of the parks and gardens, while w^e still linger in the 
fading light? The lead statues and urns of Melbourne, the 
canals and clipped trees of Bramham, were not yet a hundred 
years old. Those are the two most beautiful formal gardens 
still existing. Now, after another hundred years have passed 
by, we wonder how they ever survived into our time. For the 
school of English landscape gardeners had swept away the 
French parterres and canals and the Dutch clipped trees. 
Gone is the Dutch topiary garden of William the Tliird which 
portrayed some feat of arms, with artillery in position and 
squares of infantry in correct alignment. By what miracle 
has the topiary garden survived at Packwood House, near the 
Forest of Arden, which represents, in yew^, the Sermon on the 
Mount? For what ‘ Capability’ Brown did not destroy was not 
spared by Humphrey Repton. On tlie other hand, his ‘ improve- 
ments ’ are now at their best. The trees are a hundred and fifty 
years old. His plantings are in the proportion that was planned 
for them. The surprise is not how little of an artist is Repton, 
but rather, how much he belongs in instinct to the great tradition, 
to the Chinese masters, and to Qaude and Poussin. 

297 



Neither the garden, nor the park, form our province in 
these pages, but it lies within our imposed frontiers if we 
pause at Milton Abbas, in Dorset, to look at the two rows of 
cottages with high thatched roofs, the houses standing 
separate, with a chestnut planted in between, a formal village 
that dates from 1786; or admire, for a passing moment, the 
rows of stone houses at Aynho, in Northamptonshire, with 
their fronts planted with peach and apricot trees. There are 
many model villages. There is Badminton, at the entrance to 
the park, with its deer and Old Gloucester cattle and its belt 
of trees; there is Lowther, in Westmorland, with its square 
stone cottages that are in contrast to the pinnacles and battle- 
ments of sham Gothic Lo^vther Castle. Those are instances 
of the formal village. But the school of the picturesque has 
its examples, and these are to be preferred, for this is an 
English art in origin and we shall not be reminded, at a 
remove, of France, or Italy, or Holland. Model villages of 
both sorts are found in Ireland. Portarlington, in Queen’s 
County (once called Cooltetooderal), was a colony of French 
and Flemish Huguenots brought over by Ruvigny, Earl of 
Galway, under a grant from William the Third. Its formal 
street or Mall, planted with trees, with fanlights over the doors, 
is a foreign settlement. The Huguenots took with them to 
Ireland their tulips and auriculas. The white, black crested 
Poland fowl, now extinct, was last seen here. Old soldiers of 
Marlborough’s wars, who fought for the Spanish Succession, 
smoked their clay pipes and wore their red coats. It could 
have been a setting for the old Romantic ballet of La Jolie 
Fille de Gand, For contrast, here are the dingles and combes 
of Somerset and the thatched roofs of Selworthy. The group 
of almshouses is as picturesque as the fuchsia-clad fishermen’s 
cottages (and tearooms) from top to bottom of the steps at 
Qovelly. Here are villages, like Castle Combe, so sleepy that 
it is nearly impossible to determine when they were built. 
All we care is that its Arcadian valley should not hear the rattle 
of the tank and lorry. We are at the beginning of the Cots- 
wolds, but our searching after the purposeful, not haphazard 
picturesque, must carry us without pausing through the most 

298 



beautifill regional architecture of England, to Great Tew, 
Oxfordshire, laid out by John Claudius Loudon early in the 
last century, during the first contagion of our modem wars. 
This village, with its memories of the Cavalier Lucius Cary, 
Lord Falkland, is a pattern book of the picturesque. Coming 
down past the long church wall with its red flowering currants 
{Ribes sanguineum) we wind deeper and deeper among clipped 
yews and laurels, to find cottage after cottage in that descending 
valley with high-pitched roof and mullioned window. The 
thatched roofs become more fantastic as the valley narrows 
into a winding lane. Only the leaded windows give away the 
date; or golden stone and mouse fur thatch could be timeless. 
This is a village of enchantment. We could wish that John 
Claudius Loudon had left other memorials than a row of 
books. Not far away across the fields of red plough and the 
rough stone walls, past Broughton Castle in its moat; by 
Gold Street and Silver Lane of Bloxham, now gone (but we 
all know the council houses that will take their place), with the 
spires of Adderbury and King’s Sutton pointing in the lark- 
full summer sky, we could come to the old houses of Wroxton, 
of golden local stone, with purple clematis upon the w^alls and 
Madonna lilies in the little gardens. Our journey need not 
end there. It could be continued all over England, and these 
country pleasures will take us to the smaller country towns. 

But w?^e choose, instead, the seaside and the inland spa. 
Cheltenham is a model town, laid out largely by J. B. Papworth 
(1775-1847), who is well known for his books of cottages and 
rustic or suburban villas, with plates in aquatint. There are 
endless terraces and villas in Cheltenham; the Montpellier 
Rotunda, and the shops of Montpellier Walk with caryatids 
in white stucco between the shops. There are the seaside 
terraces of Weymouth, earlier in date, for the impetus was 
given by the Royal visits of King George the Third. There 
are the yellow stucco parades and squares of Brighton, Regency 
buildings, but by unknown architects, and of different treat- 
ment from the terraces of Regent’s Park. There is no tendency 
to group the buildings into one huge Classical fa9ade. The 
emphasis is upon the bow window; and one end of the square 

299 



is left open to the sea. It is this feature that makes a walk 
through old Brighton, and a reverie upon the inhabitants of 
its houses during the last hundred years or more, into an 
experience as full of strange fantasy as reading the Illuminations 
of Rimbaud. ‘There are Horatian nymphs with their hair 
dressed in the style of the First Empire, Siberian roundelays, 
and Chinese ladies painted by Boucher’; such fantasies do not 
apply to Brighton only, they are those of everyone who has 
passed his childhood or kept his imagination alive in any 
seaside town. Take, for instance, the terraces of Hastings, due, 
in part, to Decimus Burton, the architect of the Ionic screen 
at Hyde Park Corner. Upon some engraved sheets of Victorian 
writing paper we find a view of Pelham Place; an immense 
Crimean gun from Sebastopol, guarded by a railing, points 
straight out to sea. We are on the promenade. There are 
ladies in crinolines and small children dressed in the fashions 
of the ’fifties. A group of persons admiring the Crimean 
trophy stand immediately above the blue sea and the fishing 
boats. At the left are the Regency houses, with bow windows, 
long balconies, and verandahs. In the distance, beyond the 
cabs, are the yellow sandstone cKffs of this httle stretch of 
Sussex and the masts of shipping in the little harbour. Behind 
the houses, we know from an old guide, there are archery 
grounds and subscription gardens. Or we choose another 
sheet of writing paper and have Pelham Place in reverse, with 
Pelham Crescent at the end of it. A flagpole rises at the edge 
of the promenade out of the sand. Ladies in white crinolines, 
for summer wear, are talking over the railings. A britschka or 
open carriage comes quickly past, and we arc to imagine the 
shining leather of its hood, put back, and glistening in the hot 
sun. On the other side of the road, by the houses, a lady and 
gentleman are walking along. We see the line of his arm and 
walking stick, and the outline of her mantle swelling down into 
her crinoline, a line of beauty once as familiar as the snood and 
trousers of our shelter dress. In the distance, a wooded hill 
behind the houses, more sandstone cliffs, and the raised Arcade 
of shops below the Crescent. In a third, and last sheet, Pelham 
Crescent lies straight in front of us. We are looking at it from 

300 



the sea. There are a row of the old bathing machines, horse- 
drawn into the waves, and many ladies and gentlemen walking 
by the salt margin of the sands, at high tide near the houses. 
A carriage passes along the foreshore. We see the characteristic 
lamp posts, the area railings and verandahs, while Pelham 
Crescent opens before us with wings or arms outstretched, of 
bow windows, and a high Classical portico for head or centre, 
the whole lying under the golden cliff behind, and displayed 
like a fantastic vision in the little space between the cliffs and 
sea. It is curious to think that Hastings was the haunt of 
artists. W. H. Hunt, who painted birds’ nests and primroses 
in watercolour with such fidelity to natural appearances, and 
was a cripple, came to Hastings for his health, and ' found many 
of his rustic subjects in its neighbourhood’. It was favoured, 
too, by the Pre-Raphaelites. Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Miss 
Siddal were married here. We feel tempted to cross the English 
Channel and land at Trouville, for on the far side of those 
fabulous waters lies a world of fashion that is more fantastic 
still. It was, according to legend, Isabey, who painted the 
portrait of the King of Rome as an infant Grenadier, in a 
little bearskin, tapping at his drum, who suggested to Boudin 
that hfff should take for his subject the fantastic improbability 
of the crowd of fashion on the summer sands. The villas were 
in polychrome or Pompeian style, but Boudin is only interested 
in the skies, the summer elegancies, and fiat sands. We see the 
Empress Eugenie in her short scarlet crinoline, with a walking 
stick to help her on the treacherous sands, and surrounded by 
her ladies, but it is no more than a fleeting and fantastic vision, 
and as soon as we look closely at them, they are gone.^ 

^ Offenbach, who lived at the Villa Orphee, only a few miles from 
Trouville, at fitretat, across the estuary of the Seine, wrote the music 
for a one-act comedy, the Romance de la Rose^ which is entirely in the 
‘atmosphere’ of Trouville in the Second Empire. It was given at the 
Bouffes on December nth, 1869. Here is the plot. An American 
widow hears, sighed or whispered forth, at the seaside, the famous 
romance. The Last Rose of Summer , which Flotow put into his opera 
Martha. She would like to know who is the singer. It must be 
beyond doubt the musician who lives close by with an artist. But, no, 
the musician sings badly and out of tune; it is the artist who has the 

301 



The English seaside town nearly always possesses a parade, 
or terrace, or a chemist’s shop, dating from the early nineteenth 
century. The seaside town that I know best, where I was bom, 
has a splendid example in the gold and white Regency staircase 
of the Royal Hotel. This particular town was famous for the 
jockey carriages that drove along the sands; but when I was 
last at Scarborough I found that the memory of the fantastic 
characters of my childhood outweighed the architecture. I 
could have waited, hardly daring to move, as in a trance, 
outside certain houses that I remembered. Character, as well 
as architecture, is a dying art. This, at least, must be the 
opinion of Sir Max Beerbohm, a survivor from another age, 
who remarks that in his youth one would have referred to 
London as ‘she* or ‘her*, whereas, now, one mentions London, 
instinctively, as ‘it*. 

But the fost third of the nineteenth century, until 1830 or a 
little later, cannot be characterised as other than one of the 
flourishing periods in England for the arts. The portraits of 
Sir Thomas Lawrence, the landscapes of Constable and 
Turner, the greatest of William Blake’s watercolours and 
engravings, these are the painters of the age of Byron, Keats, 
and Shelley. Architecture has no great names. Neither Nash, 
nor Papworth, nor even Barry, are on the first or second line 
of genius. But just as it was a great age of illustration, as the 
art of aquatint produced some of the most beautiful of English 
books, and a great age of lettering, whether in printed books, 
or in the names and ornaments above the shops, so the genius 
of the age is found in a single piece of Regency or Empire 
furniture, in the simple lines of a particular room, or in some 

charming voice. But the artist, unfortunately, is not in search of 
adventure; for he has an extremely pretty mistress, and so he leads 
on the American widow by having the Last Rose of Summer blared 
forth on a clarionet that is out of tune, by a badly strung guitar, etc., 
etc. We may imagine for ourselves how Offenbach has given free 
rein to his comic genius in this little comedy. We will conclude in 
the words of M. Louis Schneider, without attempting to translate: 
*11 y a dans sa partition unc chanson “le Chien du colonel”, accom- 
pagn^ d’aboiements, qui est d’une inenarrable fantaisie et dont le 
succ^s a 6t^ complet. * Offenbachy by Louis Schneider, Paris, 1923. 

302 



detail that is imbued with all the character of its time and 
epoch. Individuals, like Thomas Hope, or Augustus Welby 
Pugin, in their different spheres, are more personal than 
anything that has come down to us from the age of taste. 
There is no longer the fluency of an age when the hand of man 
could not go wrong. All the styles were in the field together, 
‘and the devil took the hindmost’. The Prince Regent could 
build in the Classical manner of Henry Holland, and in the 
Mogul, and the Gothic manners. He, even: ‘seeking to 
impart artistic effect wherever he thought it possible, sent 
Monsieur Vilmet, his chef de cuisine^ to the elder Pugin, that 
he might instruct him in the art of drawing and design — 
wishing his table to be decked with taste, and the confectionery, 
etc., built up in artistic forms. ’ Or, in fact, the Gothic dining- 
room of Carlton House had set pieces and confectionery in the 
Gothic taste. ^ 

As late as 1830 it was still possible to build a charming house. 

^ We may be permitted to hope that Monsieur Vilmet was not 
subjected to the rigid discipline of Mrs Pugin. The elder Pugin, a 
refugee from France, married Miss Catherine Welby, the ‘Belle of 
Islington*, a district at that day the headquarters of the RoyaUst 
Emigration. After his marriage, his articled pupils were inmates of 
his house. ‘A discipline was enforced in the social system of the 
establishment which owed its origin to Mrs Pugin. It was severe and 
restrictive in the extreme . . . and the smallest want of pimctuality 
or infringement of domestic rules excited the marked displeasure of 
the lady. Mrs Pugin usually retired to rest at nine o’clock and rose 
in the morning at fourj she therefore thought it salutary that the 
pupils should commence their studies at six o’clock in winter as well 
as in summer; indeed, from the moment the mistress of the house 
awoke no one was ever permitted to get any rest. First came the loud 
ringing of the bell to rouse the maids, then in quick succession the 
bell to summon the pupils from their beds, and the final peal requiring 
their presence in the office by eight o’clock. ... At half past eight 
they were summoned to breakfast, and on entering the room Madame 
was already seen at the head of the table; on approaching it each 
youth made a profound bow, the neglect of which would quickly 
have been visited with reproof. A short prayer was then said, and 
breakfast despatched in constrained silence. . . . After dinner, the 
pupils continued to work incessantly at the desk till eight o’clock. 
The only leisure afforded them was from that hour till ten, when 
they retired to rest. Nothing could exceed the stem manner in which 

303 



Willey Hall^ near Bridgnorth, by one of the nephews of James 
Wyatt, and Grimston Park, Tadcaster, probably by Decimus 
Burton, are two last instances. Another example is Bure 
Homage, built in Hampshire by the Baroness de Feuch^res, 
Sophia Dawes, the daughter of a fisherman in the Isle of Wight, 
who retired to England with a fortune after the mysterious 
death of 'her senile lover, the last Cond6. This latter house 
might be described as a Regency counterpart to Lees Court, 
for the intention is the same, a simple Classical villa in 
reminiscence of another clime. There are one or two houses 
in the strict Grecian manner, Wallington, in Northumberland, 
the home of the Trevelyans, being typical, and drawing 
strength, it may be, from the proximity of Grainger’s New- 
castle, and from the Modern Athens of Playfair and the 
‘Greeks’. There was even a Boeotian manner; while the Neo- 
Greek style gave occasion for some extraordinary churches in 
London and in Glasgow. St Pancras church, by the Inwoods, 
reproduced the caryatids of the Erectheum. We are arriving 
at the last architects; at William Wilkins, who designed 
University College, London, and the National Gallery, St 
George’s Hall, Liverpool, by H. L. Elmes, is a reconstruction 
of the tepidarium of the Thermae of Caracalla. In the same 
paragraph we have to put St Luke’s, Chelsea, the first church 
of the ‘Revival’. The sham Gothic Toddington, in Glouces- 
tershire, once attributed to Barry, is now proved to have been 
designed by its owner. Lord Sudeley. Barry was soon to begin 
work on the Houses of Parliament, with Augustus Welby 
Pugin to draw the ornaments. The most complete specimen 
of this latter is Alton Towers, Staffordshire, built for his 
Catholic patron. Lord Shrewsbury, ‘ a vast ill-connected series 
of galleries and towers’, with an entrance through a lofty 
tower, up a flight of steps guarded by the family supporters, 

this routine was carried out. The cold, cheerless and unvarying round 
of duty was wretched and discouraging.* Recollections of A, N, 
Welby Pugin, by Benjamin Ferrey, London, i86i. 

Is it any wonder that Augustus Welby Pugin, brought up in such a 
household, was happiest in his sailing boat, alone? He died, insane, 
at the age of forty. 


304 



two tall rampant Talbot dogs, each holding a gilt banner; 
an octagon like a chapter house, and a Gothic conservatory. 
The fountains, whether by Pugin or not, were most curious, 
at least in the description. ‘The War fountain’, we are told, 
‘is so named from the numerous jets crossing each other like 
spears ; the screw fountain is a short pillar with deeply grooved 
sides, in which the water flashes like bands of silver; and the 
Chinese fountain consists of a jet of water that streams like a 
flag from the gilt pinnacle of a pagoda.’ (Most of Alton was pre- 
Pugin. He built the hall, and redecorated the chapel and some 
interiors. The house is now gutted, the gardens maintained and 
the fountain still there, though not by Pugin. — Author's Note.') 

Barry could build the neo-Perpendicular Houses of Parlia- 
ment, and at the same time, the Reform Club with an exterior 
taken from a Venetian palace, and an interior court copied 
from the Palazzo Massimi at Rome. Perhaps the Reform, with 
the adjacent United Services and the Athena::um, are the last 
of our good buildings. The mid-Victorian architects are often 
magnificent in their measured drawings. Burges, particularly, 
is quite remarkable in this respect. But we find it impossible, 
for our part, to share in the craze for the sham Gothic churches 
of the mid-Victorian ‘Revival’. That can only be a pastime 
for minds that have not tasted the beauties of the past. Their 
only pleasure in such buildings must be the despair of hope- 
lessness. Probably the most horrible experience of this nature 
is a visit to St Mary’s Cathedral, at Edinburgh, the ‘Early 
English masterpiece’ of Sir Gilbert Scott, built in the most 
barren period of the ‘seventies’, and peerless for ugliness, 
unless it be for its own sister, Scott’s chapel of St Jolm’s, at 
Cambridge. The prospect is bleak indeed, though Sir Gilbert 
Scott and his contemporaries were certain, nevertheless, that 
they were living in a period of Christian architecture second 
to none. Ruskin, himself, seems to have deplored the excesses 
committed in his name. Probably the only tolerable interiors 
were those, as at the Marlborough Club, in Pall Mall, given 
over to Landseer prints and horsehair chairs and sofas. And 
the charm of prettiness cannot be denied to Balmoral with its 
carpets and curtains of Stuart tartan. 

305 



But rescue is not far off. Less than fifteen years separate 
Balmoral and the Red House, Bexley Heath, built by Philip 
Webb for William Morris. Soon Norman Shaw and the more 
original Charles Annesley Voysey are at work. The first house 
by Lutyens was built in 1889, and the story of English archi- 
tects and craftsmen is brought down to our own times. That 
we have living architects in our day is certain; but that they 
will be given their opportunity is not sure at all. The new 
Waterloo Bridge is not a good augury for the future of the art. 
A competition for the new bridge among intelligent children 
would have produced designs more expressive of the functions 
and the pleasures of a bridge over a great river, and of the 
entrance into one of the great capitals of the world. Or a 
sculptor like Henry Moore, who is so powerful in his drawings, 
could have been asked for his suggestions. Instead, we have a 
bridge which means nothing, leads nowhere, and has no status 
and no nationality. 

For the triumphs of our architecture, old and, new, are 
eloquent of the English language. We have a prose, and poetry, 
that are incomparable. English architecture, if it has not the 
early Renaissance of Italy or Spain, was bom a generation 
later, and lasted through the decadence of the Latin countries. 
Eighteenth century France had its great names ; but as Euro- 
peans, not Englishmen, we must prefer our own buildings of 
the later period. We shall even find that our architecture and 
our language are the arts of England. But the art is impractic- 
able without its craftsmen. It is this that gives to architecture 
its corporate body. The art is not personified in a single figure. 
We have no Christopher Smart or William Blake, but the entire 
tree loads with fruit on every branch. The minor arts are all 
flourishing, and all fall together. The leaves wither, and the 
long winter comes. We may conclude that it is unlikely it 
will flower in our lifetime. Our days and nights are not 
propitious. But, where the genius of architecture has once 
lingered, it may come again. Of that genius, and its fruits, 
none can doubt who know our buildings from the Norman and 
the Gothic down to nearly modem times. They are the glory 
of England, second only to the written word. 

306 



PROPERTIES OPEN TO THE PUBLIC 
WHICH ARE REFERRED TO IN THIS BOOK 


A LA RONDE Exmouth, Devon Miss M. L, R. Tudor 

ALNWICK CASTLE In Alnwick, Northumberland The Duke of 
Northumberland 

ALTHORP 5 N.W. of Northampton The Earl Spencer 

ARBURY HALL 3 m. W. of Nuneaton, Warwickshire F, H, M. 
Fitzroy Newdegate^ Esq. 

ASHDOWN HOUSE 3J m, N. of Lamboume, Berkshire The 
National Trust 

ASTON HALL 2^ m. from centre of Birmingham Corporation of 
Birmingham 

AUDLEY END HOUSE i m. W. of Saffron Walden, Essex 
Ministry of Works 

BADMINTON HOUSE In Badminton, Gloucestershire The Duke 
of Beaufort, KG, GCVO 

BELTON HOUSE 2J m. N.E. of Grantham, Lincolnshire Lord 
Brozonlow 

BELVOIR CASTLE 7 m. W.S.W. of Grantham, Lincolnshire The 
Duke of Rutland 

BLENHEIM PALACE In Woodstock, Oxfordshire The Duke of 
Marlborough 

BURGHLEY HOUSE i m. S.E. of Stamford, Lincolnshire The 
Marquess of Exeter, KCMG, LLD 

BURLEY ON THE HILL 2 m N.E. of Oakham, Rutland Lt-Col 
and Mrs J. R. H anbury 

BURTON AGNES HALL 6 m. S. of Bridlington, Yorkshire Marcus 
Wickham Boynton, Esq. 

CASTLECOOLE Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, Ireland The National 
Trust 

CASTLE HOWARD 6 m. W. of Malton, Yorkshire Geoffrey 
Howard, Esq. 

CHASTLETON HOUSE 4 ra. S.E. of Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxford- 
shire Alan Glutton Brock, Esq. 

CHATS WORTH 4 m. E. of Bakewell, Derbyshire The Trustees of 
the Chatsworth Settlement 

CHISWICK HOUSE Chiswick, Middlesex Ministry of Works 

CLAYDON HOUSE 3J m. S.W. of Winslow, Buckinghamshire 
The National Trust 

COMPTON WYNYATES ii m. W. of Banbury, just off the Ship- 
ston road The Marquess of Northampton, DSO 

CULZEAN CASTLE 10 m. S.W. of Ayr The National Trust for 
Scotland 

DENHAM PLACE N.W. end of Denham village, Buckinghamshire 
Lady Vansittart 

DITCHLEY PARK 2 m. N.E. of Charlbury, Oxfordshire Ditchley 
Foundation Ltd 

307 



DODINGTON HOUSE 12 m. N. of Bath Sir Christopher Codring- 
ton, Bart, 

DORFOLD HALL i m. H. of Nantwich, Cheshire Charles W, 
RoundelU Bsq. 

BUNCOMBE PARK i m. W. of Hclmsley^ Yorkshire The Rt Hon. 
the Earl of Feversham, DSO 

EASTNOR CASTLE 2 m. E. of Ledbury, Herefordshire The Hon. 
Mrs Hervey-Bathurst 

EYE MANOR 3 m. N. of Leominster, Herefordshire Mr and Mrs 
Christopher Sandford 

GOODWOOD HOUSE 3^ m. N.E. of Cliichestcr, Sussex Good- 
wood Estate Company Ltd 

GUNBY HALL 7 m. W. of Skegness, Lincolnsiiire The National 
Trust 

HADDON HALL 2 m. S.E. of Bakewell, Derbysliire The Duke of 
Rutland 

HAGLEY HALL 3 m. S. of Stourbridge, Worcestershire The 
Viscount Cohham 

HAMPTON COURT PALACE Hampton Court, Middlesex Min- 
istry of Works 

HARDWICK HALL 7 m. S.E. of Chesterfield, Derbyshire The 
National Trust 

HAREWOOD HOUSE 8 m. N. of Leeds HRH The Princess Royal 
and the Earl of Harewood 

HEATON PARK 4 m. N. of Manchester Corporation of Manchester 

HOLDENBY HOUSE 5 m. N.W. of Northampton Captain G, H. 
Lowther 

HOLKHAM HALL 2 m. W, of Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk The 
Earl of Leicester, MVO, DL 

HOLYROODHOUSE Canongate, Edinburgh Ministry of Works 

INVERARY CASTLE i m. N.E. of Inverary, Argyll The Duke of 
Argyll 

KEDLESTON HALL 4} m. N.W. of Derby The Viscount Scars- 
dale, TD 

KIMBOLTON CASTLE 8 m. N.W. of St Neots, Huntingdonshire 
Governors of Kimbolton School 

KIRBY HALL 10 m. N. of Kettering, off A43 to Stamford Ministry 
of Works 

KNOLE Outskirts of Sevenoaks, Kent The National Trust 

LENNOXLOVE 18 m. E. of Edinburgh The Duke of Hamilton, KT 

LEVENS HALL 5^ m. S. of Kendal, Wesunorland O. R.Bagot,Esq. 

LONGFORD CASTLE 3^ m. S. of Salisbury, Wiltshire The Earl 
and Countess of Radnor 

LONGLEAT HOUSE 4 m. S.W. of Warminster, Wiltshire The 
Marquess of Bath 

LUMLEY CASTLE J m. E. of Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham The 
University of Durham 

LUTON HOO 2I m. S.E. of Luton, Bedfordshire Sir Harold 
Wernher, Bt, GCVO 

308 



LYDIARD MANSION 5 m. W. of Swindon, Wiltshire Corporation 
of Swindon 

LYME PARK 4 m. S.W, of Congleton, Chesliire The National Trust 
{administered hy Stockport Corporation) 

MELLERSTAIN 6 m. N.W. of Kelso, Roxburghshire The Earl of 
Haddington 

MEREWORTH CASTLE 6 m. W. of Maidstone, Kent Mr Michael 
and Lady Anne Tree 

MOMPESSON HOUSE In the Cathedral Close, Salisbury, Wilt- 
shire The National Trust 

MONTACUTE HOUSE 4 m. W. of Yeovil, Somerset The National 
Trust 

NEWBY HALL 4 m, S.E. of Ripon, Yorkshire Major E. R. F. 
Compton 

NOSTELL PRIORY 6 m. S.E. of Wakefield, Yorkshire The 
National Trust 

OSTERLEY PARK Osterley, Middlesex The National Trust 
{administered by the Victoria and Albert Museum) 

PETWORTH HOUSE In Petworth, Sussex The National Trust 

POWIS CASTLE On western outskirts of Welshpool, Montgomery- 
shire The National Trust 

ROUSHAM HOUSE 12 m. N. of Oxford T. Cottrell-Dormer, Esq. 

ROYAL PAVILION, BRIGHTON In Brighton, Sussex Coimty 
Borough of Brighton 

SALTRAM HOUSE 3| m.E. of Plymouth, Devon The National Trust 

SEATON DELAY AL HALL 10 m. N.E. of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 
Northumberland Lord Hastings 

SPEKE HALL 8 m. S.E. of Liverpool The National Trust {adminis^ 
tered hy Liverpool Corporation) 

STONELEIGH ABBEY 2| m. E, of Kenilworth, Warwickshire 
The Lord Leigh 

STOWE 3 m. N. of Buckingham Governors of Stowe School 

SYON HOUSE Brentford, Middlesex The Duke of Northumberland 

WEST WYCOMBE PARK At W. end of West Wycombe, Bucking- 
hamshire. The National Trust 

WILTON HOUSE 2^ m. W. of Salisbury, Wiltsliire The Earl of 
Pembroke and Montgomery 

WOBURN ABBEY 8i m. N.W. of Dunstable, Bedfordshire The 
Duke of Bedford 

WOLLATON HALL Western outskirts of Nottingham Corporation 
of Nottingham 

WREST PARK 10 m. N. of Luton, Bedfordshire National Institute 
of Agricultural Engineering 

The dates and times of opening and many other details of all 
properties open to the public are listed in Historic Houses and 
Castles in Great Britain and Northern Ireland^ issued yearly by 
Index Publishers Ltd, 69, Victoria Street, London, S.W.i, price 
3s 6d. 


309 



INDEX 


(The numerals in italics refer to the figure numbers of illustrations 
in photogravure.) 


Adam, Robert, 26-8, 177 
carpets by: 245, 248, 255, 278, 
285 

furniture by: 244, 258-9, 260 
silver by: 249, 258 
works by: 

Adelphi, Strand, 253 
Chandos House, 249 
Charlotte Square, Edin- 
burgh, 254, 255 
Culzean Castle, 255, 256 
Kedleston, 26, 242-3; 26 
Mellerstain, 255 
Newby, 217, 254, 259 
Nostell, 227, 254, 259 
(Old) Northumberland 
House, 257, 258 
Portman Square, No 20, 27, 
249 

Shardeloes, 247 
St James’s Square, No 20, 
249 

Stowe, 26, 146, 221, 245 
Syon House, 26, 244-5, 254, 
259; 29 

Adam, William, architect, 191 
Adelphi Terrace, Strand, 253 
A La Ronde, near Exmouth, 28, 

307 

All Hallows, Barking, 98, 133, 175 
— London Wall, 229 
Alnwick Castle, Northumber- 
land, 258, 307 

Althorp, Northamptonshire, 277, 
279, 280, 307 

Alton Towers, Staffordshire, 304 
Ampthill, Bedfordshire, 39, 43 
‘Angel’ ceilings of Norfolk, 31 
Arbury, Warwickshire, 114, 127, 
27I3 297, 307; 37 
Archer, Thomas, architect, 170-1 
Artari, ‘ gentleman * plasterer, 1 80, 
185, 189, 190, 216 
Artillery Lane, Spitalfields^ 
202-4; 39 

Asam, Cosrnas Damian and Egid 
Quirin, 19, 180 

Ashburnham House, Westmin- 
ster, 71 


Ashdown House, Berkshire, 74, 
76, III, 307 

Ashridge, Hertfordshire, 27, 270, 
271 

Aston Hall, Birmingham, 37, 307 
Audley End, Essex, 38, 43, 307 
Avila, walls and towers of, 17 
Aynho, Northamptonshire, 298 

Badminton, Gloucestershire, 
III, 195, 212-13, 298, 307 
Bagutti, Italian plasterer, 180, 
185, 216 

Bakewell, Robert^ ironsmith, 132 
Bank of England, 223, 295 ; 40 
Barry, Sir Charles, architect, 
293, 302, 304, 305 
Bastard Brothers, of Blandford, 
Dorset, 175 

Bath, 190, 224-6, 259; 30 
Bathroom, by Adam, at AleUer- 
stain, 255 

Beckford, W’alter, clockmaker, 
127 

Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, 
276 

Bedlam Hospital, 119 
Beeliives, to design of Sir 
Christopher Wren, 82 
Beerbohm, Max, quoted, 192, 302 
Belcombe Court, Bradford-on- 
Avon, 226; 31 

Beil, Henry, architect at King’s 
Lynn, 172-5; 19 
Bella, Stefano della, 21 
BeUucci, Venetian artist, 185 
Belton House, Grantham, 103, 
125, 272, 307 

Bel voir Castle, Rutland, 123, 307 
Berkeley Square, Mayfair, No 44, 
24, 29, 72, 209 

Berlioz, Hector, compared to 
Vanburgh, 138-9^ 143 ? I46> 155 
Bernini, 18, 20, 22, 25, 88, 136, 
152 

‘Bess’ of Hardwick, 51, 53 
Beverley, 174 

Bevis Marks, synagogue in, 98 
Bibiena family, architects, 66 


310 



Bird, Francis, sculptor, 94, 115 
Birmingham, St Philip’s, 171 
Blaise HamJet, near Bristol, 292 
Blandford, Dorset, 175 
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, 1 34, 
136, 142, 144. i 50 - 5 > 158, 307 
Bletchingley, Surrey, tomb by 
Crutcher, 121 

Boffrand, Germain, French arch- 
itect, 143 

Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire, 
5i-3> 74 

Venus of, 52 

Bookbindings, 61, 1 29-32; 2S 
Book illustration, 199 
Borromini, Italian architect, 176 
Boston House, Brentford, 46 
Boucher, tapestries by, at Newby^ 

254 

Boudin, paintings of the sands, 
301 

Boughton, Northants, in 
Bowood, Wiltshire, 196, 247 
Brandenburgh House, Hammer- 
smith, 221 

Brcttingham, Matthew, archi- 
tect, 25, 192, 210, 220, 242 
Bridport, Dorset, 38 
Bridges, by Adam, 259 

— by Paine, 227 

— by Vanbrugh, 145, 150, 153 
Brighton Pavilion, 280-1, 289-91, 

509 

Bristol, churches of, 133 
Broadlands, Hampshire, 277, 279 
Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire, 227 
Brocklesby Park, Lincolnshire, 
Mausoleum by Wyatt, 272 
Brooks’s Club, St James’s Street, 
262, 278-9; 34 

Brown, Lancelot or ‘Capability’, 
26, 150, 152, 159, 268 
Buckhurst House, 38, 43 
Buckingham House (Old), St. 

James’s Park, in 
Bungay, market house, 174 
Bure Homage, Hants, 304 
Burghley House, 40, 43, 307 
Burgos Cathedral, golden stair, 95 
Burley-on-the-Hill, Rutland, 134, 

« 307 

Burhngton, Lord, 176, 206-8, 
215, 221-2, 223 

Burney, Dr, painted for a sea 
nymph, 253 


Burton, Decimus, architect, 292, 
300 

Burton Agnes Hall, Yorkshire, 
3075 3 

Bushnell, John, sculptor, 115-18 

Caledon, Co. Tyrone, 292-3 
Callot, Jacques, 21, 63 
Cambridge : 

Caius College, 43 
Emmanuel College Chapel, 88 
Pembroke „ „ 22, 85 

St John’s College, 33 
Senate House, 182-3; 

Trinity College, 33, 46, 89-90 
Cameron, Charles, architect to 
Catherine the Great, 178, 276 
Campbell, Colin, architect, 68, 
69, 176, 185, 207, 213, 215-16 
Canaletto, paintings by, 95, 144, 
182, 199, 212 

Canons, Edgware, 134, 171, 184, 
218 

Canova, Italian sculptor, 220, 272 
Caprarola, Palazzo Farnese, 49, 

58. 145 

Carlton House, Pall Mall, 264 
279, 280, 281, 283-8, 293, 303; 
36 

Carlyle, Thomas, on Chelsea 
Hospital, 90 

Carpets, 245, 248, 255, 278, 285, 
296 

Carr of York, architect, 226 
Carter, Thomas, sculptor, 199 
Cassels, Richard, Dublin archi- 
tect, 233; 22 

Castlecooie, Co. Fermanagh, 233, 
270, 307 

Castle Howard, near Malton, 139, 
141-7, 155. 158, 212, 307; ly 

Mausoleum at, 165, 168-70 

Cawston, Norfolk, ‘angel’ roof 
at, 32 

Ceilings, 46, 47, 73, 115, 125, 
190, 192, 193, 208, 246, 247, 
25 1, 2735 275. 277, 284, 293 ; 24 
Chambers, Sir William, 25, 159, 
198, 223, 230-2 

Chandeliers of the Prince Regent, 
285, 286, 288, 291 
Chandos House, Portland Place, 
249 

Charborough Park, Dorset, 135 
Charles II, portrait of, 104 


3II 



Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, Cooley, Thomas, Dublin archi- 
254^ 255 tect, 237, 238, 293 

Chartres, 16 Coronation coach, by Sir William 

Chastleton House, Oxon, 38, 40, Chambers, 198 

307 Crewe Hall, Cheshire, 36, 37, 38 

Chatsworth, Derbyshire, 56, 64, Crichel, Dorset, 273, 274; 33 
iiO; 134, 227, 308 j 16 Croome Court, Worcestershire, 

Chelsea Hospital, 90 159-60, 247 

Cheltenham, 299 Cruikshank, George^ 239 

Chesterfield House, 190, 218 — Robert, 292 

Chevalier, the Young, 191 Crutcher, Richard, sculptor, 121 

Chichester, red brick houses Culzean Castle, Ayrsliire, 255, 
attributed to Wren, 80, 104 256, 307 

Chicksands Priory, Beds, 218 Cumberland House, Pall Mall, 
Chinoiseries, 177, 195-6 258 

Chippendale, Thomas, 25, 195, Cusworth Park, Yorkshire, 227 
197, 214, 233, 248, 260 Cuvillies, Bavarian court dwarf 

Chiswick House, 176, 207, 221, and architect, 19, 201 

307 

Christchurch, Spitalfields, 166, Dale, Richard, carpenter, 37 
169 Dance, George, the Elder, 182, 

Christian IV of Denmark, 60, 61, 222 

128 the Younger, 229-30, 295 

Churches, 32, 70, 79, 80, 93-8, Davies, Robert, ironsmith, 132 
119, 121, 132-3, 134, 136-7, Decker, Paulus, the Elder, 66 
165-7, 171, 172, 178, 179-82, Delany, Mrs, quoted^ 251-2, 258 
219, 223, 270, 304 Denham Place, Buckingham- 

Cibber, Caius Gabriel, 89, 92, shire, 125, 307 

106, 115, 118-20, 152, 172; 9 Derby, All Saints or All Hallows, 
City churches by Wren, 80, 95-8 132, 182 

— Company Halls, 103 Deucalion, music hall eccentric, 

Claremont, Esher, 156 265 

Claydon, Buckinghamshire, 177, Devis, Arthur, the ‘EngHsh 
195, 307; 27 Pietro I^onghi’, 198-9 

Clcrisseau, French architectural Devonshire House, Piccadilly, 
draughtsman, 231, 242 209 

Clermont, painter of ‘ Singeries Diessen, altar paintings by Tie- 
194-5 polo and Piazerta, 19 

Cleyn, Francis, artist, 128 Dietterlein, Wendel, 39 

Clockmakers, 126-7 Dininckhoff, Bernard, 46 

Cobbett, on Brighton Pavilion, Ditchley Park, Oxon, 185^ 307 
290 Doddington, Cheshire, 272 

Coinage, new. of George III and Dodington, Gloucestershire, 28, 
IV, 295 213, 264, 270, 307 

Cole Orton, Leicestershire, 229 Doncaster, Mansion House at, 
Coleshill, Berksliire, 71, 72; 7 227 

Combe Abbey, 75, 1 1 1 Doorways, 73, 103, 213, 269, 273 ; 

Compton Place, Eastbourne, 191, 29 

219 Dorfold Hall, Cheshire, 46, 308 

Compton Verney, Warwickshire, Dowland, John, English lutenist, 
245, 259 39, 60 

Compton Wynyates, Warwick- Drayton, Northamptonshire, 
shire, 40, 307 no, 126, 134 

Congreve, compared to Van- Drum House, Midlothian, 1 9 1-2 
brugb> 139 Dublin, 90, 190, 193, 232-9, 293 

312 



Duncombe Park, YorkSj 14% 
170, 308 

Dyrham, Gloucestershire, no, 
127 

East, Edward, clockmaker, 127 
Eastnor Castle, Herefordshire, 
308 

Eastbury, Dorset, 155, 195 
Easton IsTeston, Northampton- 
shire, 134, 168 

Eaton Hall, Chester, 132, 259, 
296-7 

Ebsworth, John, clockmaker, 127 
Edinburgh, 255-6, 305 
Edney, William, ironsmith, 132, 

133 

Esdaile, Mrs Arundell, 116-19, 
121, 137, 159, 216, 263 
Eton College, Founder’s Tower, 

32 

Etruscan rooms, 246, 250, 258, 
266, 267, 268, 278 
Evelyn, on Nonesuch Palace, 34 
Eye Manor, Herefordshire, 125, 
308 

Fansaga, Cosimo, architecture 
of, 18 

Farinelli, castrate singer, 18, 148 
Fete Pavilion for Thursday, 9 
June, 1774, 251-2 
Fireplaces, 243 
Fischer, J, M., 19 
Fitzroy Square, Soho, 254 
Flitcroft, Henry, architect, 25, 
181, 182, 219, 279 
Foley Place, Portland Place, 275 
Fonthill Abbey, Wiltshire, 27, 
28, 264, 270 

Franchini brothers, Italian plas- 
terers, 190, 193, 234 
Frauenzell, abbey of, in forest, 19 
Fresco paintings, 99-101, 134-5, 
198 

Fromanteel family, cloclonakers. 

Furniture, 46, 55-6, 114, 197, 
206, 213-14, 244-8, 258, 260, 
268, 269, 273, 286-8,; 32 

Galleries in Elizabethan houses, 
^ 38, 245 

Gandon, James, Dublin archi- 
tect, 234 


Gateley Hall, Norfolk, 193 
Gerbicr, Sir Balthazar, 75-6, in 
Gibbon, Edward, on the Pan- 
theon in Oxford Street, 266 
Gibbons, Grinling, 22, 89, 90, 
94, 98, 103, 106, no, III, 1 15, 
120, 185; II 

Gibbs, James, 24-5, 95^ 216 
works by: 

Book of Architecture, 179, 
182 

Ditchley Park, Oxon, 185 

Octagon, Orleans House, 
Twickenham, 186 

Patshull Church, Stafford- 
shire, 182 

RadclifFc Camera, Oxford, 
180, 184 

Senate tiouse, Cambridge, 
182-3; 21 

St Martin ’s-in-the-Fields, 
180, 185 

St Mary-le- Strand, 179-80 

Sudbrook, Petersham, 185 
Gilling Castle, Yorkshire, 46, 
149, 170 

Glyn, Mrs Elinor, 41 
Goodwood Park, Sussex, 1 97, 308 
Gopsall Hall, Derby, 223 
Gould, Christopher, clockmaker, 
127 

Grantham, Belton House at, 103, 
125, 272 

Great Tew, Oxon, 299 
Green, Thomas, sculptor, 119 
Greene, Roberto, madrigal by, 
56 

Greenwich Palace, 71, 76, 79, 80, 
98-101, 164, 172 

Painted Hall at, 29, 99, 

134, 148 

Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincoln- 
shire, 150, 155, I57’-8 
Grimston Park, 304 
Grosvenor Square, Old Derby 
House, 250-1, 260, 267 
‘Guingette’ in Regent’s Park 
for the Prince Regent, 291 
Gunby Hall, Lincolnshire, 127, 
308 

Haddon Hall, Derbyshire, 38, 
308 

Hagley Hall, Worcestershire, 
187, 308 


313 



Halifax, Yorkshire, Rococo in, 
199 

Hampstead Marshall, 75, 76, in 
Hampton Court Palace, 22, 23, 
295 33 > 36, 385 79 j 104-75 11I5 
1 19, 209, 308; 9 
Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire, 
frescoes by Sir James Thorn- 
hill, 135 

Handel, George Frederick, 18, 
33, 63, 148, 185 

Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, 20, 
38, 46, 53“8, 121, 308; 2 
Hardy, James, sculptor, 119 
Harefield, Middlesex, tomb of 
the Countess of Derby, 48 
Harewood House, Hanover 
Square, 258 

Leeds, 197, 247, 248, 260, 

308 

‘Harlequin’ ceilings, 27, 246, 
250, 251, 257, 293 
Harris, Philip, locksmith, 127 
Harris, Robert, architect, 219 
Hastings, marine terraces at, 
300-1 

Hawksmoor, Nicholas, 95, 141, 
184 

works by: 

All Souls College, Oxford, 

165, 169 

Brasenose College, Oxford, 
165 

Christchurch, Spitalfields, 

166, 169 

Easton Neston, 168 

Mausoleum, Castle Howard, 
165, 168-70 

Queen’s College, Oxford, 
161, 164, 169; 18 

St George’s, Bloomsbury, 
166-7 

St Mary Woolnoth, 165, 169 
Hazlitt, on Brighton Pavilion, 290 
Headfort, Co. Meath, 256 
Heaton Park, Lancashire, 27, 
266, 267, 308 
Helmiagham, Suffolk, 39 
Hengrave Hail, Suffolk, 33 
Hei^, Prince of Wales, book- 
bindings for, 61 

Hen^ VII Chapel, at West- 
minster Abbey, 31, 33 
Herringstone, Dorset, plaster 
ceiling, 46 


Hcveningham Hailj Suffolk, 27, 
223, 246, 268-70, 2735 ss 
Hogarth, fresco at St Bartholo* 
mew’s Hospital, 198 
Holbein, 33 

Holdenby, Northants, 43, 308 
Holkham Hall, Norfolk, 24, 178, 
193, 210, 214, 279, 308 s 2$ 
Holland, Henry 
works by: 

Althorp, 279, 280 

Brighton Pavilion, 280-1, 
292 

Brooks’s Club, 262, 278-9; 
34 

Carlton House, 264, 279, 
280, 283-88 

Southill, 279, 280 
Holland House, 43, 45 
Holt, Thomas, architect, 45 
Holjrood Palace, 125, 308 
Honington Hall, Warwickshire, 
I 9 L 193 

Hooke, Robert, architect and 
mathematician, iii, 126 
Hope, Thomas, of Deepdene, 28 
Hopper, I'homas, decorator, 288 
Horse Guards, Whitehall, 206, 
211 

Houghton Hall, Norfolk, 193, 
213, 216 

Kent furniture at, 208, 

213-14 

‘House of Charity’, Soho, 219 
Hunt, John, mason, 122 
Htmting tapestries of Hardwick 
HaU, 57 

Inverary Castle, 221, 308 
Ipswich, Bishop Sparrowe’s 
House, 1 12, 1 14 

Irish houses, 193, 224, 232-9> 
292 

Ironwork, 22, 94, 105, 107, 132 
Isabey’s advice to Boudin, 301 

James of Greenwich, John, archi- 
tect, 166, 170-1, 186 
Johnson, Dr: 

on Durham Cathedral, 149 
on Kedleston, 243 
on Luton Hoo, 258 
Johnston, Francis, Dublin archi* 
tect, 235, 236, 237 


314 



Jones, Inigo, 20-21, 25, 47, 49, 
52. 59^8 

works by: 

Ashbumham House stair- 
case, 71-2 

Queen’s House, Greenwich, 
71; 6 

St Paul’s, Covent Garden, 71 
Whitehall, plans for, 68-70 
Wilton House, 72-4; 24 
Jonson, Ben, describes The Mas- 
que of Blackness^ 64 
Jourdain, Miss Margaret, 46, 56, 
114, 122, 124, 190, 193, 197, 200 
Joyce, James, author of Ulysses 
and Finnegan's Wake, 235 
Juvara, Filippo, Italian architect, 
66 

Kandler, J. J., 25, 201 
Kauffinann, Angelica, 229, 230, 
245, 277 

Kedleston Hall, Derby, 26, 220, 
242-3, 258, 259, 295, 308; 26 
Kensington Palace, Orangery 
and Alcove, 22, 80, 107, 162 

painted stair, by William 

Kent, 208 

Kent, William, 24, 68, 69, 104, 177 
frescoes by: 208-9 
furniture by : 73, 206, 213-14 
mantelpieces by, 106,209,214 
State barge by: 186-7 
works by: 

Berkeley Square, No 44, 72 
Chiswick House, 207 
Houghton, 213, 216 
Holkham, 210, 214; 25 
Horse Guards, 21 1 
Worcester Lodge, Badmin- 
ton, 212-13 

Kenwood, Hampstead, 246 
Kew Gardens, pagoda at, 26 
Key, Joshua, lockmaker, 127 
Kielmansegge Coimt, German 
traveller, 257 

Kilmainham Hospital, Dublin^ 

.90, 125 

Kimbolton, Huntingdon, 149, 
»^?59, 308 

King’s Lynn, Norfolk, 172; 19 
King’s Weston, Gloucestershire, 

Hall, Northamptonshire, 
43 » 44 . 48-5 L 308; 4, s 


Kirtlington Park, Oxon, 194 
Knibb family, clockmakers,^i27 
Knole, Sevenoaks, 46, 122, 308 
Knowsley Hall, Lancashire,^259 
Kyre Park, Tenbury, 192 

Laguerre, Louis, fresco painter, 
^ 23 115, 134, 152, 185 
Lamerie, Paul de, silversmith, 
25, 123, 200; 13 

Langley Park, Norfolk, 191, 192, 
220 

Lanscroon, fresco painter, 134 
Lansdowne House, Berkeley 
Square, 248 

La thorn Hall, Lancashire, 217 
Layer Mamey Tower, Essex, 33 
Leeswood Hall, Flintshire, 133 
Lely, Hampton Court Beauties 
of, 23, 105 

Lennoxlove, Haddingtonshire, 
122 308 

Leoni, Giacomo, Venetian archi- 
tect, 208, 217 

Levens Hall, Westmorland, 40, 
308 

Leverton, Thomas, architect, 
224, 263, 275-8 

Lieven, Princess, on Royal Lodge 
and I?avilion, 288-9, 290, 291 
‘ Lilack ’ treesat None such Palace, 
34 

Lincoln Cathedral, 90 
Lockmakers, 127 
Lohg Itchington, Warwickshire, 
‘magpie’ house, 36 
Longford Castle, Wiltshire, 40, 
43 > 308 

Longleat House, Wilts, 40, 308 
Loudon, John Claudius, 299 
Lowther, Westmorland, 259, 271, 
298 

Ludlow, the ‘Feathers’ Inn, 112 
Lumley Castle, Yorkshire, 170, 
308 

Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire, 254, 
257, 258, 308 

Lydiard Tregoze, Wiltshire, 132, 
308 

Lyme Park, Cheshire, 217, 309 
Lyveden New Build, Northants, 
41, 42 

Mack, Richard, Dublin archi- 
tect, 2^5, 237 

‘Magpie houses, 36, 37, 112 


315 



Maltonj James, Views of Dublin, 
224, 234-8 

— Thomas, Views of London 234 
Mansfield Street, 253 
Mantelpieces, 46, 73, 106, 187, 
190, 209, 245, 269, 278 
Marino, Clontarf, Dublin, the 
Casino, 232-3 

Market crosses. East Anglian, 

173-4 

Marot, Daniel, influence of, 106, 
127 

Marshall, Joshua, 103 
Martin, John, clockmaker, 127 
Mary, Queen of Scots, needle- 
work of, 55 

Maturin, Rev. Henry, author of 
Melmoth the Wanderer:, 235 
MawleyHall, Shropshire, 192,195 
Maze Hill, Greenwich, 147 
Meame, Samuel, bookbindings 
by, II, 23, 129-32; 28 
MeUerstain, Berwick, 255, 309 
Mereworth Castle, Kent, 176, 
182, 185, 207, 215-16, 309 
Metropolitan Improvements, by J. 
Elmes, 295 

Midgets, a miscellany of, 209 
Millais, Sir John, 271 
Mills, Peter, architect, 74 
Milton Abbas, Dorset, 298 
Milton House, Peterborough 185, 
Monkey Island, paintings by 
Clermont at, 194 
Montacute, Somerset, 38, 40, 41, 

309 

Monument, the Fire, 91-2 
Monuments, 25, 70, 115-22, 199 
Moor Park, Hertfordshire, 134, 
190, 196, 217, 255 
Morden College, Blackheath, 91 
Moreton Old Hall, Cheshire, 36, 
37 

Morris, Roger, architect, 220; 23 
Mortlake tapestries, 128 
Moulay Ismail, his buildings at 
Meknes, 157 

Naples, convent of Santa Chiara, 
18 

Nash, John 
works by: 

Blaise Hamlet, 292 
Brighton Pavilion, 289-91 
Caledon, 292-3 


Regent’s Park Terraces, 292 
Royal Lodge, 288-9 
Rockingham, Co. Roscom- 
mon, 292 

Nash, Joseph, lithographs of, 36, 
37 

Needlework at Hardwick Hall, 

55. 56 

Nether Lypiatt Manor, Glouces- 
tershire, 75; 

Newby Hall, Ripon, 217, 255, 
259; 309 

Newgate Prison, Old, 229-30 
Nonesuch Palace, Surrey, 33, 35 
Northampton, All Saints Church, 
92 

Northumberland House, Strand, 
257, 25g 

Norwich churches, swordrests in, 

137 

Nost, John van, sculptor, 121, 
173 

Nostell Priory, Wakefield, 196, 
227, 243, 254, 259, 309; 32 
Noto, Sicily, 29, 175 
NuttaU Temple, Nottingham- 
shire, 207 

Offenbach, plot of a one-act 
comedy, 301 

Opera House, Haymarket, by 
Vanbrugh, 147-8 
Orangeries, 106, 107, 152, 162, 
232, 246, 247, 258 ;i5 
Orleans House, Twickenham, 
Octagon by Gibbs, 186 
Osterhofen, Bavaria, Asam 
church at, 19 

Osterley Park, Middlesex, 245-6, 
267, 309 

Ottobeuren, Abbey of, altars at, 1 8 
Oxford : 

All Souls College, 135, 165, 169 
Botanical Gardens, 70 
Brasenose College, 165 
Christ Church, 96 
New College, iron gate at, ij 
Oriel College, 271 
Queen’s College, 161, 164, 169; 
18 

Radcliffe Camera, 165, 180, 184 
— Observatory, 271, 272 
Sheldonian Theatre, 21, 86-7, 
108, 115, 165, 183 
Trinity College Chapel, 88 


316 



pACKWOOD House, Forest of 
Arden, topiary garden, 297 
Paganini, in Shrewsbury, 281 
Paine, James, architect, 25, 226-8, 
242, 243; 52 

Palladian bridges at Wilton and 
Prior Park, 220 ; 23 
Palmer, John, architect, 225 
Palmer, William, sculptor, 119 
Palomino, ceiling painting by, 18 
Pantheon, Oxford Street, 265, 
266, 274 

Pap worth, J. B., architect, 299 
Pargetting, 113 
Passe, Crispin van de, 56 
Patey, Thomas, Bristol plasterer, 

194 

Patshull Church, Staffordshire, 
182 

Pepys, on Nonesuch Palace, 35 
— on Somerset dialect, 41 
Pernotin, French decorative 
painter, 280 

Petworth House, Sussex, iii, 
309; II 

Picasso, Pablo, Metamorphoses of 
Ovid, 221 
Pienza, 21 

Pierce, Edward, sculptor, 1 19 ; 24 
Pineapple, presentation of, to 
Charles II, 104 
Pipers, Northumbrian, 244 
Piranesi, Carceri of, 230 
Pistrucci, coins by, 295 
Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing, 229. 

294-5 

Plasterwork, 46, 47, 55, 89, 124-5 
180, 185, 191, 192, 195, 234, 
276-7 

Pope, Alexander, quoted^ 1 19, 

^ 1533 179 

Porden, William, architect, 296 
Portarlington, Queen’s Co., 298 
Portland Place, 253-4 
Portman House, 250, 260 
Portman Square, No 20, 27, 249, 
264, 267 

Powis Castle, Welshpool, 134, 309 
Powys, Airs Philip Lybbe, diary, 
quoted, 192 

Pozzo, Fratel, work on perspec- 
tive, 140, 162, 171 
Pratt, Sir Roger, 72, iii 
Prior Park, Bath, 221, 225 
Pugin, Augustus Welby, 303, 204 


Pugin, Augustus the elder, 28, 

291^ 303 

Pugin, Mrs, rigid domestic dis- 
cipline ofj 303 

Quake, Daniel, clockmaker, 
T26-7 

Ravenna, San Vitale, 17 
Ravenna, . Sant’ Apollinare in 
Classe fuori, 17 

Rebecca, Biagio, Italian painter, 
246, 266, 268, 269, 273, 281 
Red brick buildings, 79-80, 104, 
136, 172 

Regent’s Park Terraces, 291-2, 
293 

Renishaw Hall, Derbyshire, 
Adam — Chippendale com- 
mode, 260 

Repton, Humphrey, 159, 21 1, 
289, 297 

Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 145, 150, 
285 

Ribston Hall, Yorkshire, 273 
Richardson, C. J., works on 
Elizabethan architecture, 37, 38 
Ripley, Thomas, architect, 217 
Robinson, Sir Thomas, 144 
Rockingham, Co. Roscommon, 
292 

Rose, John, lutemaker, 39 
Rose, Joseph, plasterer, 195, 248, 
254, 270 

Rosscllino, Bernardo, buildings 
at Pienza, 21 

Rothwell, Northamptonshire, 
market house at, 41, 42 
Roubiliac, sculptor, 199 
Rousham, Oxon, 206, 208, 21 1, 

309 

Royal Fort, Gloucestershire, 192, 
194 

Royal Lodge, Windsor Great 
Park, 288-9 

Ruckers, Flemish harpsichord 
maker, 39 

Rushton, Northamptonshire, 41, 
42, 43, 45 

Russborough, Co. Wicklow, 193, 
233 i 22 

Sacheverell, Dr, carried away 
by the Classic Furies, 135 
Saffron Walden, Sun Inn, 113, 

114 . 


317 



St Alphegc, Grccnwidi> 165 
St Anne’s, Limehousc, 165 
St Antholin, Budge Row 96 
St Bartholomew-the-Less, 229 
St Benet’s, Paul’s Wharf, 80, 96 
St Bride’s, Fleet Street, 93, 95, 
96 ; 8 

St Clement Danes, 179, 180, 208 
St George’s, Bloomsbury, 166-7 
St George’s, Hanover Square, 171 
St Giles-in-the-Fields, 166, 18 1, 
182, 219 

St James, Garlickhithe, 96 
St James’s Square, No 20, 249 
St John’s, Smith Square, 171 
St Lawrence Jewry, 96, 175 
St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, 182, 
223 

St Luke’s, Chelsea, 304 
St Luke’s, Old Street, 223 
St Mark’s, Venice, 17 
St Martin’s-in-the-Fields, 180, 
182, 185 

St Mary Abchurch, 96, 134 
St Mary-at-Hill, 133, 270 
St Mary-le-Bow, 95^ 182, 223 
St Mary-le-Strand, 25, 179 
St Mary Woolnoth, 165, 169 
St Michael Paternoster Royal, 96 
St Mildred, Bread Street, 98 
St Paul’s Cathedral, 29, 79, 92-5, 
loi, 164; 7 

St Paul’s, Covent Garden, 71 
St Stephen, Wal brook, 96 
Salisbury, Mompesson House at, 
175^ 309; 

Sail, Norfolk, ‘angel* roof at, 32 
Saltram, Devon, 247-8, 309 
San Miniato, Florence, 17 
Sandby, Paul and Thomas, 
painters, 69 

Sant| Ambrogio, Milan, 17 
Santiago da Compostela, 18 
Scamozzi, Vincenzo, talks with 
Inigo Jones in Venice, 63 
Scarborough, 302 
Scarlatti, Domenico, 179 
Scott, Sir Gilbert, 305 
Sculpture, 32, 48, 57, 70, 94, 103, 
115-22, 199 

Seaton Delaval, Northumber- 
land, 140, 144, 149, 150, 155, 
156-7, 309; JO 

Serlio, Book of Architecture, 86, 

87 


Sezincote, Gloucestershire, 289 
Shardeloes, Buckinghamshire, 
247» 255 

Shaw, Norman, architect, 306 
Shopfronts, 201-3; 39 
Shrewsbury, Assembly Rooixv, 
at Lion Hotel, 281 
Silversmiths, work of, 122-4, 
200-1, 249, 258; 73 
Sledmere, Yorkshire, library at. 


254 

Smith, Abraham, 56 
Smith, Edward, Dublin sculptor, 
235, 236 

— G., ‘Upholder to the Prince 
Regent’, 296 

Smithson, Robert, John, and 
Htmtingdon, arcWtects, 40, 45, 


52, 53 

Soane, Sir John, architect, 228, 
293-5 

Soho tapestries, 128 
Somerset House, Strand, 26, 231, 
232 

Somerset House, Halifax, 199-2QP 
Southill, Bedfordshire, 279, 280 
Southwold fishermen, 32 
Spalato, Dalmatia, Diocletian’s 
Palace at, 242, 247 
Speke Hall, I-ancashire, 36, 37, 


309 

Spencer House, St James’s, 183, 
220, 228 

Spitalfields silk, 203, 244 
Stables, by Robert Adam, 259 
Stanley, Charles, Anglo-Danish 
plasterer, 190-1, 193 
Stanton family, sculptors of 
Holbom, 12 1 

Steele, Sir Richard, on Groenr 
wich Painted Hall, 99 
Steeples of London churches, 22, 
81, 93> 95-6, 165, 179-82 
Stoke Edith, 134; tapestries, 
Ii 3 -i 4 > 137 

Stone, Nicholas, sculptor, 49, 70 
Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwick, 189, 


193. 309 

Stowe, Buckinghamshire, 26, 
146, 221, 245, 309 
Straubing, Bavaria, chapel of 
Ursuline nuns, 19 
Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, 
270 

Streater, Robert, painter, 86 


jxS 





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