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as large as the Pantheon ;—raising, as he expressed it, the Pantheon on the Temple of Peace; and in the completion of this great work, Michel Angelo was occupied till his death.
After the nomination of the commission for the building St. Paul's, much discussion arose as to the plan. Wren's first design was to have but one order instead of two, and without any side oratories or aisles, these being only necessary for the ceremonies of the church of Rome : and this noble design appears in the beautiful model made by Wren, and kept in the present cathedral. The side aisles, however, were added either because their omission was considered too great a departure from the usual form of cathedrals, or (as is supposed by Mr. Spence in his anecdotes) because the suggestion of the Duke of York (James II.) was followed, and he was willing tohave them ready for the Roman Catholic service as soon as an occasion should arise. The addition of the side aisles is to be lamented, as they narrowed the building and broke in upon the beauty of the design; and the architect (ob serves Spence) insisted so strongly on the prejudice they were to the building, that he actually shed tears on speaking of it; but he remonstrated in vain. It would seem that this sort of interference is a misfortune peculiarly incidental to architects. Few would pretend to have a voice in the composition of a picture or the arrangement of a group of statuary; yet there is scarcely the work of any great architect, in the execution of which he has not in a great measure been compelled to abandon his original design, and adopt the suggestions (often incongruous) of his employers. Michael Angelo, in particular, was exposed to a like persecution, in his great work of St. Peter's, and alike had the harmony and beauty of his design impaired. After much calling the different objections were removed; Wren received an express order from the king to proceed according to his own plans; he was allowed to make what variations he pleased, and the whole was left to his own management. In thirty-five years from the commencement of the building, the highest and last stone was laid by Christopher, the son of the architect. Thus
was this splendid edifice, admitted to be the second for grandeur in Europe, completed in thirty-five years by one architect, under one bishop of London, costing only 736,000^., which was raised by a small impost on coals brought to London; whilst St. Peter's, the work of twelve architects, took one hundred and forty-five years to build, during the pontificate of nineteen popes. One of the principal objections to the edifice is, that Wren chose two orders instead of one and an attic story, as in St. Peter's. That he intended to have adopted the single order (going from the top to the bottom) appears from what we have before stated. But whilst Bramante, for the erection of St. Peter's, had the quarries of Tivoli at his command, which yielded blocks of nine feet in diameter, amply sufficient for his columns, Wren had only the quarries of Portland, and from them he could not reckon on blocks greater than four feet in diameter, nor were even these readily
Erocured; on which account, and that e might keep the just proportions of his cornice, (which Bramante, by the failure of the stone, had been compelled to diminish,) he finally determined on the use of two orders.
The dome of the Pantheon is no higher within than its diameter; the dome of St. Peter's is two diameters; and this appears too high, the other too low: Wren took a mean proportion, which shows its concave every way, and is lighted by the windows of the upper order, which permit the light to strike down through the great colonnade that encircles the dome without, and serves at the same time for the abutment of the dome itself, which is of two bricks thick, every five feet high having a course of bricks eighteen inches long bonding through the whole thickness. In consequence of the prejudice in favour of steeples, and that no disappointment might arise of the new church falling short of the old one, Wren, to give a greater height than the cupola would gracefully admit of, felt compelled to raise another structure over the first cupola. For this purpose he constructed a cone of brick, so as to support the vast stone lantern which surmounts it. This cone was covered with an oak roof, and this again with lead, in the same manner as the other parts of the church. Between this outside covering and the brick cone there are stairs to ascend to the lantern, lighted
from the lantern above, which did away with the necessity of making the small ugly windows m the dome, as at St. Peter's. The inside of the whole cupola is painted by Sir James Thornhill, in eight compartments. In the crown of the vault, as in the Pantheon, there is a circular opening, by which not only the lantern transmits light, but the inside ornaments of the painted and gilded cone display a new and agreeable scene. Instead, however, of painting the dome, Wren had proposed it should, like that of St. Peter's, be enriched with the more durable and appropriate ornament of Mosaic, and had procured artists from Italy for its execution; but the ignorance and the prejudice of the persons employed as commissioners, in this, as in other cases, thwarted his views. The ornaments at the East end he designed should-only be temporary, till the materials for the completion of a magnificent altar which he had planned could be procured.
In scale* and beauty of internal ornament, as well as material, situation, and climate, the work of Wren cannot come in competition with its great rival; but in architectural excellence it has fair claims to be placed on an equality; surpassing it in some things, if in others it falls short. The portico in front of St. Peter's, both for its beauty of proportion and vast size, is admitted to be a feature of high excellence and without any match in St. Paul's; yet the whole flat front of St. Peter's, terminating in a straight line at the top, cannot be said to afford such a pleasing variety as is bestowed by the elevation of the pediment in the middle, and the beautiful campanile towers at each end of the front of St. Paul's. One of the happiest parts of the invention is in the intersection of the three vistos of the nave, the aisles, and the cross and transept, attained by the rectangular arrangement of the piers, which is as beautiful as it is novel, giving four additional views to the usual arrangement, and with an effect remarkable for its boldness and lightness. Fi
gures 4 and 5, exhibit the ground plans of the two buildings drawn on
i is highly picturesque, the different returns and facades affording endless variety of views; no patching, no incongruous additions disfigure the unity of the composition, which, as a whole, for j harmony of design and justness of pro1 portion, has certainly never been surpassed.
With respect to the charge of plagiarism from the work of Michael Angel o, the two buildings are sufficiently different utterly to rebut this. The Romans adapted to their purposes the beauties of the architecture of Greece, combining them so as to suit their intentions; and Palladio, abandoning the barbarous taste of the middle ages, adapted the great remains both of Greek and Roman antiquity to the genius of the times, but did not repeat or copy them. Michael Angelo availed himself of the Pantheon in his cupola, and Wren, again, availed himself of the knowledge of M. Angelo; but there is nothing like servile copying, or unmeaning adaptation, in any one part of his work. To form a just idea of the relative sizes of the two buildings, we have added an outline, showing the comparative size of St. Peter's and St. Paul's, and the vacant spaces have been filled up with the outlines of some of the most remarkable buildings now existing, all on the same base and all drawn on the same scale, but unfortunately, owing to an error, the height of St. Paul's in the figure is a little less than it should have been. The buildings have principally been taken from the work of Mons. Durand, The Parallel of Architecture, by far the most important production of the kind which has yet been published, and affording great facility for the consideration of the general prmciples of architecture. It consists of ninety large folio plates, containing elevations and plans of the principal ancient and modern buildings and monuments, all drawn on the same scale. It is a matter of regret, that it is defective, inasmuch as, (either from jealousy or ignorance,) among the ninety plates, neither Westminster Abbey, York Cathedral, Greenwich and Chelsea Hospitals, our bridges, nor even our docks, (the largest in the world,) are inserted; and amongst the plans of English theatres, the only one given is that in the Haymarket.
In addition to the total want of the rich ornaments and the costly materials which adorn the interior of the church
of St. Peter, it also far surpasses the building of Wren in the nature of the materials with which it is constructed. It has been a matter of regret that the quality of the stone used in the publie buildings of this country has been hitherto but little attended to. Many of the public edifices of London, Edin- . burgh, Bath, and Oxford, furnish melancholy instances of the want of judgment in this choice of materials. It is obvious that the stone which is most porous, will, when exposed to the weather, be least durable: water lodges in its pores and penetrates the crevices, and by the mere change of temperature does mischief; but during frost the expansion is so great, that in a single winter the sharp parts often entirely crumble away. The fitness of the different species of sandstone for the purpose of building, may in a great measure be judged of by immersing the specimens in water, each being previously weighed, and all of one size; the excellence of the stone will be inversely to the quan- j \ tity of water absorbed. The magnesian limestone, so abundant in England, is considered the best adapted for architectural purposes; it is far preferable to that termed the Oolite of Somersetshire and the Isle of Portland, of which the most important buildings have hitherto been constructed. Rain water always contains carbonic acid, which acts chemically on limestone, but less on those kinds which are fine grained and mag. nesian, than those which are coarse and free from magnesia; and although this often produces an external hardening, as in the Bath stone, it is only the forerunner of a more quick peeling off and destruction. It is obvious, that for durability, the granites, sienites, whinstones, and porphyries, are most to be preferred. The Strand Bridge is a magnificent example of the use of granite; the exterior being entirely constructed of two sorts, the coarse-grained granite of Devon and Cornwall, and the fine-grained and harder sort from Aberdeen, used for the balustrades, and stronger than that from Cornwall, as 22 to 14. The only means of proving the respective durability of them is from the effect of time; and the Cornish granite evidently appears to have suffered more decay than the harder stone of the North. Granite, however, independently of the great increase of expense incurred in the working it, is unfitted for all the finer parts of ornamental work;
in that case it would be well to adopt the marble or dolomite of Scotland, or the magnesian limestones, so much to be preferred to the perishable sand and lime stones of the west of England." But the subject has not yet received its due share of attention from those whose pursuits and knowledge best enable them to form an accurate judgment upon it.
Although Wren's new employments occupied much of his time, his zeal for the advancement of science, never forsook him; but, as he employed himself in the practical parts of building, his communications to the Royal Society became more technical, and applied principally to his own art. A very interesting letter to Lord Brcunker.the first president of the Royal Society, is given by Mr. Elmes: it is in answer to a request to provide something for the suitable entertainment of his majesty, who had purposed visiting the Society. Upon this Wren observes, "The experiments for the establishment of natural philosophy are seldom pompous ; it is upon billiard and tennis balls, upon the purling of sticks and tops, upon a vial of water, a wedge of glass, that the great Des Cartes has built the most refined and accurate theories that human wit ever reached to; and certainly nature, in the best of her works, is apparent enough in obvious things, were they but curiously observed; and the key that opens treasures is often plain and rusty, but unless it be gilt, the key alone will make no show at court. It does not appear how the philosophers succeeded in entertaining their royal guest. Wren in 1673 resigned the Savillian professorship, which he had held so long with credit. He was twice in Parliament, though it does not appear that he took any active part in the debates. In 1680 he was elected President of the Royal Society, and before that period he had been knighted by Charles
The delight one can well conceive a person of Wren's genius to have enjoyed, in the contemplation of the rise ot the vast edifice which his creative genius had called into existence, was not undisturbed or unalloyed. Many improper persons were joined with him in the commission; and they, having private interests to serve, and selfish
* Bnndo'i Journal, vol. iii. 381.
feelings to indulge, were thwarted by the inflexibility of Wren, who exposed at once their meanness and their ignorance. This, it may be supposed, was neither forgotten nor forgiven; and they joined in a cabal, persecuting him with every species of bitter malevolence. It will scarcely be supposed that one of Wren's genius and talent, of his gentle bearing towards all, his high patriotic feeling, at once the judge and the patron of every thing that was useful either in the arts or sciences, should have been subjected to the petty cavilling of a few interested persons without greatly retarding the progress of the building. But this was not all; the party having procured a clause to be inserted in an act of parliament, suspending a moiety of his pittance (200/. a year) till the building was finished, Wren was kept out of his money long after it was due, under the pretence that the building was not complete, whereas the cavillers themselves, by their impediments, alone hindered its completion. He was in consequence obliged to petition Queen Anne; and in his memorial he states, that the arbitrary proceedings of some of the commissioners had alone obstructed his measures for the completion of the work. This was handed over to the commissioners themselves for their answer, who replied by mean and paltry excuses. Wren, however, was not to be borne down by fl low cabal: he next addressed the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London, and the document itself affords ample testimony of the treatment he had received.
"The design of the parliament (he states) in granting the coal duty for the said cathedral, being to have the building completed with all possible speed, they did, to encourage ana oblige the surveyor's diligence in carrying on the work, suspend half his allowance till all should be done. Whereby, I humbly conceive, it may justly from thence be implied, that they thought the building, and every thing belonging to it, was wholly under my management and direction, and that it was in my power to hasten or protract it. How far it has been so your lordships know; as also how far I have been limited and restrained. However, it has pleased God so to bless my sincere endeavours, as that I have brought the building to a conclusion, so far as is in my power; and I think nothing can be said now to remain imperfect, but the iron fence