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UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
No. VI. Statue Of H. 11. II. The Duke Of York,
In Carlton Gardens, St. James's Park.
The Statue of the Duke of York has been erected at the expense of several of His Royal Highness's admirers and friends. The direction of the work was originally vested in a Committee, consisting of the following distinguished persons :—
The late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury; The Right Rev. Dr. Howley, then Bishop of London; The Lord Bishop of Durham; The Duke of Rutland; The Duke of Wellington; The Marquis of Hertford; The Marquis of lAnslesey; The Marquis of Londonderry; The Karl of Ludlow; The Karl of Rosslyn; The Earl of Aberdeen; The Earl of Verulam; The Earl of Lauderdale; Viscount Cathcart; Viscount Exmouth; Lord Earuborough; (Lord G. H. Cavendish; Right Hon. Charles Arbuthnot, M.P.; Sir Thomas Lawrence; Sir John Doyle, Bart.; Sir William Curtis,' Bart.; Sir George Cockburn; Sir Graham Moore; Sir Benjamin Hallowellj Alexander Baring, Esq., M.l\; John l'earsc, Esq., M.P.; Lieut.-General Frederick Maitland, Honorary Secretary.
The work, to be executed in bronze, was intrusted to Richard Wcstmacott, Esq., R.A., in August, 1831; and we must say, after viewing it in a finished state in the Foundry at Pimlico, as well as since it has been fixed on its lofty pedestal, that we consider it a splendid specimen of art, worthy of this country, and of the eminent artist by whom it was modelled and cast.
In a former volume of this Magazine*, it was stated that the height of the York Doric column is that of Trajan's Pillar at Rome, namely, 1 24 feet; that, the height of the figure being about 1-1 feet, the whole altitude from the ground-line, at the top of the steps which lead to St. James's Park, to the summit of the figure would be 138 feet: if viewed from the bottom of the steps, the height is 156 feet. The foundation on which this enormous weight of column and statue rests, is in form about two-thirds of a pyramid, the base of ,this pyramidal mass being a square of 56 feet, and its top a square of 30 feet.
The laborious and responsible task of raising the statue to its present position, was safely performed on Tuesday, the 8th of April, 1834. A vast quantity of scafTolding had been fixed round the pillar, and to some height above it: strong cordage and chains were fastened under the arms, and about the body of the statue. It was then gradually elevated by ropes which went round pulleys at the top, and were worked by four machines below, on the principle of the windlass; but as the ascent, which occupied from ten in the morning till six in the evening, took place between the column and the scaffolding, little could be seen by those who were drawn together by the rarity of such a spectacle. Indeed, the mode in which this operation was executed, had nothing in it particularly worthy of remark. The statue, on reaching the top of the column, was powerfully secured by bars. Strong iron cramps, which had been fixed throughout the body, and projected to some length from each heel, were let into holes prepared to receive them, and were there firmly soldered.
We are now enabled to furnish a correct description of the Statue. The height is 13 feet 9 inches. The greatest width from the right hand, which leans upon the sword, is 8 feet. The Duke is represented, as he should be, in the modern costume, with a cuirass and military boots. Over his left shoulder is thrown an ample mantle, on which is emblazoned the Order of the Garter. The weight of the figure is about seven tons. It is cast hollow, gradually varying in its thickness from the lower part; and at a mean, may be taken at three-fourths of an inch.
Though not cast entirely at one jet, but iu separate •Vol. II., p. 42.
pieces, the parts are so thoroughly amalgamated by bringing the separate portions of metal together into fusion, that they not only form one mass, but even the discerning \ eye of the artist himself, when the metal is cleaned off, is unable to discover the junction. This latter process, known only to the moderns, and we believe, exclusively to this country, is as important as it is curious. It reduces the risk in casting; for, in case of a failure in a single jet, it is necessary to reconstruct the whole mould. By the present plan, therefore, which is adopted in large works in bronze, th« expense is materially diminished.
The figure, placed in one of the best situations which could have been selected in the metropolis for such an object, faces the south; the countenance which is somewhat turned round and raised, being towards the.south-east. This aspect is judiciously chosen; the front of the statue thus receiving far more light than if it had been placed North, opposite to Waterloo Place, where it would have been much in the shade. Besides this, which is itself a satisfactory reason, it may be observed, as a becoming and appropriate circumstance, that a Commander-in-Chief and eminent officer should look towards the Horse-Guards, and to the head-quarters of that great department over which he so efficiently presided. For it is but common justice to the memory of the Duke, when adverting to his public character, to observe, that he conferred extraordinary benefits on the army, and therefore, on the country. With the heroic story of Britain's victories, under her matchless Wellington, the name of the Duke of York is inseparably connected. He had been forty-six years a soldier. When he came into office as Commander-in-Chief, he declared that he would, as far as it was in his power, improve the condition of the army.
To recount all the advantages rendered by the Duke of York, in his ollicial capacity, it would be necessary to go through many particulars connected with points of discipline; regulations respecting military schools; personal attention to the conduct of individuals; the enforcement of order and punctuality. It is, indeed) allowed, even by those who as impartial chroniclers have deemed it just to touch upon his faults, that, as a public man, he identified himself with the welfare of the service; and by unceasing diligence in his situation, gave to the common soldier comfort and respectability. It is not too much to say, that his exertions contributed towards forming those armies that trampled down our country's enemies; while by their state of discipline, a point to which he had directed his great care, they generally gained the good will even of foreign lands.
ON THE ART OF CASTING FIGURES
The casting of bronze statues is a nice and difficult art, requiring long experience, and the careful management of a large plan of works. In modern times, bronze is generally composed of two-thirds of copper and one-third of brass; and sometimes small quantities of lead and zinc are added: these latter make together an inferior metal called composition metal. The union of the various substances makes the whole more fusible than when separate. Tlte ancient Greek and Roman bronzes were evidently compounded in proportions different from these, being, in most instances, nearly two-thirds of brass, and one-third of copper, with the addition of tin and small portions of silver and lead. The specimens preserved to these days, which are probably some of the best t^ic respective artists executed, furnish ample proof of the perfection of art, in the "high and palmy" periods of Greece and Rome.
We believe the following account of the process at present adopted will be found generally accurate. An exact model is made in clay, or plaster, of the figure to be cast, and coated over with wax not less than an inch thick, on which the artist works the impression meant to be taken. A mould is then formed, consisting of several hollow pieces of wood, or other resisting substance, filled with a mixture of clay and fine sand, which is applied soft to the model, that its outline may be received. The mould having become perfectly dry, and strongly fastened together by iron bands, is pierced by various channels; and the melted metal, which is discharged from a furnace by means of these into the interior, produces the cast. Where the cast is intended to be hollow, as in the statue of the Duke of York, described above, and in almost all large masses, a core or body, formed of clay, is put within the mould, to take up such room as is required to be left vacant: when the cast is made and become cold, this is picked out piece-meal. On the mould being taken off, the statue appears as if covered with spikes, which are the channels filled with metal: they are removed by saws, files, and chisels; and any imperfections on the surface having been corrected, the whole is finished. It is the beauty of the form and the delicacy of workmanship by which bronzes must be estimated, and not the colour, as the shade of dark green, which sometimes approaches to black, may, in a great degree, be regulated by the taste of the artist afterwards.
The account given by the clever, gossiping, Benvenuto Cellini*, of the execution of his figure of Perseus in bronze, at a single jet, conveys a striking idea of the difficulties as well as of the triumph of the art: and it is at the same time a curious picture of the manners of the times. We see, as it were, the enthusiastic artist in his studio at Florence, watching with anxious eye, every symptom in the progress of his favourite work. Under many difficulties, without money, discouraged by an uncertain patron, and frequently called away to court trifles, he still proceeded; and, with that warmth of temper which marked his character, and too often hurried him into acts of criminal violence, employed all imaginable means to procure a successful result. After preparing his furnace, carefully letting down the mould of the statue to the bottom, and adopting measures ■which he describes in his memoirs with amusing precision;
"Then" says he, " I excited my men to lay on the pinewood, which because of the oiliness of its resinous matter, and that my furnace was admirably well made, burned at such a rate, that I was continually obliged to run to and fro, which greatly fatigued me. To add to my misfortune, the shop took fire, and we were all afraid that the roof would fall in and crash us. From another quarter, the sky poured in so much rain and wind that it cooled my furnace! Thus did I struggle with these cross accidents for several hours, and excited myself to such a degree, that my constitution though robust, could no longer bear such severe hardship. Suddenly attacked by a most violent intermittent fever, I was so ill that I was obliged to lie down upon my bed."
He, however, gave his directions in this state, and, to keep up the spirits of his assistants, ordered meat and drink into the shop for all the men.
"In this manner did I continue for two hours in a violent fever, incessantly crying out, 'I am dying, I am dying.' In the midst of my deep affliction, I saw a man enter the room, who in his person appeared to be as crooked and distorted as the letter S. In a tone of voice as dismal and melancholy as those who exhort and pray with culprits
* A celebiatcd sculptor and engraver of Florence, who was born in 1.500, and died in 1570.
about to be executed, he exclaimed,' Akis, poor Benvenuto, your work is spoiled,and the misfortune admitsof no remedy.' No sooner had I heard the words of this messenger of evil, but I cried out so loud that my voice might be beard to the skies, and I got out of bed. I began immediately to dress, and giving plenty of kicks and cuffs to the maidservants and the boys, as they offered to help me, I complained bitterly, ' O you envious and treacherous wretches, this is a piece of villauy contrived for the purpose: but I will sift it to the bottom, and before I die, give such proofs who I am, as shall not fail to astonish the whole world.'
Having.huddled on his clothes ' with a mind boding evil,' he hastened into the shop, where all was confusion and astonishment. The attendants thought their master dying; but he, iosing not an instant, examined the furnace, found, to his dismay, the metal clogged, and sent for a load of young dry oak, and then filling the grate, he soon observed with delight, the clogged metal brighten and glitter. "This," says he, "made every man work enough for three. Then I caused a mass of pewter, about sixty pounds, to bo thrown upon the metal in the furnace, which was speedily dissohed. Finding that I bad effected this, I recovered my vigour to such a degree, that I no longer perceived that I had any fever, nor had I the least idea of death. Suddenly a loud and frightful noise was heard, and a glittering of fire (lashed before our eyes, as if it had been the darting of a thunder-bolt. The cover of the furnace had burst and flown off, so that the bronze began to run! I immediatelycaused the mouths of my mould to be opened, but finding the metal did not run with its usnal velocity, I ordered all my dishes and porringers, about two hundred, to be placed one by one beftjre my tubes, and part of them to be thrown into the furnace, all about me obeying my orders with joy and alacrity: I, for my part, was sometimes in one place, sometimes in another, &c."
After expressing his gratitude for the change that had taken place in the appearance of things," I took, he adds, "a plate of meat wdiich stood upon a little bench, and ate with a great appetite; I then drank with all my journeymen and assistants, and went joyful and in good health to bed, and rested as well as if I had been troubled with no manner of disorder. When I arose, which was not till about noon the next day, my good house-keeper, who, without my having given any orders, had provided a youn^r capon for my dinner, said, merrdy, 'Is this the man that thought himself dying? I firmly believe that the cuffs and kicks you gave us last night frightened away your fever." So my whole poor family t having got over the panic, procured earthen vessels to supply the place of the pewter dishes and porringers, and we all dined together very cheerfully; indeed I do not remember having ever in my fife eaten a meal with greater satisfaction, or a better appetite. I also thought it allowable to boast a little of my knowledge and skill in this fine art of casting: and.'pulling out my purse, I satisfied all my workmen for their labour.
The conclusion of the story of the Perseus may be easily guessed. It came out beautifully; the right foot, indeed, which supports the figure, was, as Benvenuto had told Duke Cosmo would be the case, defective, but it was easily supplied; and this charming and memorable statue is, at the present day, one of the greatest ornaments of that rich treasure-house of the arts, the City of Florence. The young hero is represented with the head of the Mrtlusa in his hand, just after he has severed it from the body.
t Benvenuto toiled partly for the support of six orphan nieces.
MtTRMUR at nothing: if our ills are reparable, it is ungrateful; if remediless, it is vain. But a Christian builds bis fortitude on a better foundation than stoicism; he is pleased with every thing that happens, because he knows it could not happen, unless it had first pleased God, and that which pleases Him must be the best. He is assured that no new thing can befall him, and that he is in the hands of a Father who will prove him with no affliction that resignation cannot conquer, or that death cannot cure. C.
Thb Emperor Augustus was advised by a friend, not to grieve for the death of a person whom he loved, because his grief could not fetch him back again. It is for that very reason, said the Emperor, that I grieve.
AN OLD OAK, IK ITS DECAYED STATE
That some old trees have a power of renewal, which seems scarcely consistent with the usual operations of nature, is a circumstance that has been sometimes observed, and the following remarks extracted from a little book, entitled, A Week at Christmas, may be relied upon as a fact. The trees there mentioned, are still growing on the Banks of the Wear, a few miles from Durham, and the annexed drawings were made by a lady, who had frequent opportunities of examining these trees in various stages of their growth. That, in its decayed state, is done chiefly from the recollection of what it was fifty years ago: the renewed tree, as it appeared last summer (1833). This old oak is always the first in the neighbourhood to put forth its leaves, and it remains green in the autumn, after all others are either brown and withered, or even entirely stripped of their foliage.
I will relate some curious circumstances respecting the growth of trees that have fallen under my own eyes. I recollect when a child, an old oak that grew in a hedge near my father's house: it was decayed and quite hollow within. Many a time my sisters and I used to climb to the top of the hollow, to examine a nest that a little bird had built there, and where she reared her young family.
In time, this hollow was filled up with sound wood, and when I was last at my father's house, instead of our old hollow oak, I saw a fine sound tree, with just a scar remaining up one side, where the latest growth had taken place.
Some years ago, I remarked an old alder that seemed to have been decayed and hollow for a great length of time, and I observed from a flourishing branch in the upper part of the tree, a sort of roots coming down, as if in search of the earth for nourishment. Mr. Nicholson and I have frequently visited it, and found that the roots crept down the hollow amongst the decayed wood, till they reached the ground; and there deriving nourishment, swelled, united, and became as the bole of the tree, filling up the great cavity, and displacing all the mouldering wood, till the whole is now nearly a solid tree. T. J.
Mr. Jesse, also, thus speaks of some fine old trees in Windsor Forest:—
It ;g impossible to view some of these 'Sires of the
Forest,' without feeling a mixture of admiration and
wonder. Tl10 size of some of them is enormous; one
beech-tree near Sawyer's Lodge in Windsor Great Park,
THE RENEWED TKXB.
measuring, at six feet from the ground, thirty-six fuel round. It is now protected from injury, and nature seems to be doing her best towards repairing the damage which its exposure to the attacks of man and beast have produced. It must once have been almost hollow, but the vacuum, has been nearly filled up. One might almost fancy that liquid wood, which had afterwards hardened, had been poured into the tree. The twistings and distortions of this huge substance have a curious and striking effect, and one might almost imagine them to have been produced by a convulsive throe of nature. There is no bark on this extraneous substance, but the surface is smooth, harJ, and without any appearance of decay.
There are two magnificent old oaks near Cranbourne Lodge in Windsor Great Park,—one of them is just within the park paling and about 300 yards from the Lodge, and the other stands at the point of the road leading up to it. The former, at six feet from the ground, measures thirty-eight feet round. The venerable appearance of this fine old oak, 'his high top buld with dry antiquity,"—the size and expanse of its branches—the gnarled and rugged appearance of its portly trunk, anil the large projecting roots which emanate from it, fill the mind at once with admiration and astonishment.
The other tree nearer to Cranbourne Lodge, is thirty-six feet in circumference at four feet from the ground, and may be considered as almost coeval with the one I have just been attempting to describe. Departing from her usual practice, Nature, in this instance, seems only in some respects to have resumed her vigour. This may be seen by a number of little feathering branches which have been thrown out of the stem. Another old pollard, not far from it, has only one live branch left; a branch which seems to flourish amidst decay. Hollies, thorns, and here and there a stunted hornbeam, look as if they might have been placed there for the purpose of keeping off any unhallowed intruders on the retirement of these venerable patriarchs, who, in return, seem to stretch forth the horizontal twistings of their large extended branches, to afford protection and shelter to their more bumble brethren of the forest.
The most interesting tree, however, at Windsor, for there can be little doubt of its identity, is the celebrated Heme's oak. In following the footpath which leads from the Windsor road to Queen Adelaide's Lodge, in the Little Park, about half way on the right, a dead tree may be seen close to an avenue of elms. This is what is pointed out as Heme's Oak. I can almost fancy it the very picture of death. NQt a leaf—not a particle of vitality appears about it. • The hunter must have blasted it.' It stretches out it» VMC nnt* sapless branches, like the skeleton arras of some enormous giant, and is almost fearful in its decay. None of the delightful associations connected with it have however vanished. Among many appropriate passages which it brought to my recollection was the following:—
there want not many that do fear
In deep of night to walk by this Heme's Oak.
Its spectral branches might indeed deter many from coming near it' "twixt twelve and one.'
■The footpath which leads across the park is stated to have passed in former times close to Heme's oak. The path is now at a little distance from it, and was probably altered in order to protect the tree from injury.
The last acorn I believe which was found on Heme's Oak, was given to the late Sir David Dundas of Richmond, and was planted by him on his estate in Wales, where it now flourishes, and has a suitable inscription near it. 1 have reason to think that Sir David Dundas never entertained a doubt of the tree I have referred to, being Heme's Oak, and he had the best opportunities of ascertaining it. In digging holes near the tree lately, for the purpose of fixing the present fence round it, several old coins were found, ^is if they had been deposited there as future memorials of the interest this tree had excited.
The inhabitants of the country over which we hunted are all Arabs. They live, like their brethren in other parts, almost entirely on camels' milk and dates. Their care appears limited to the preservation of the animal and the propagation of the tree, which yield what fhey account the best of this world's luxuries; and these not only furnish this lively race of men with food, but with almost all the metaphors in which their language abounds. Of this we had an amusing instance: amongst others who accompanied the Ambassador on a sporting expedition, was a young officer, who measured six feet seven inches; he, like others, had lain down to take an hour's repose, between our morning and evening hunt. An old Arab who was desired to awake him, smiling, said to his servant, "Entreat your date-tree to rise." We had a hearty laugh at our friend, who was not at first quite reconciled to this comparison of his commanding stature to the pride of the desert.—Sketches
ON WILLS. No. I. § 1. On The Difficulty Of Making A Will.
There are some acts for which people think themselves qualified by Nature, and that Common Sense is a sufficient guide, without any necessity for Learning. The making a Will is one of these acts. Every man conceives himself able to make his own Will; it is as easy as writing a letter; any man may express his mind, without calling in a lawyer to help him. Yet the disputes which arise out of Wills, and the numerous law-suits they occasion, seem to prove, that the task is not really an easy one, and that in general it is very badly performed
If it were to be proposed in Parliament, that no Will should be considered valid, which was not prepared by a lawyer, what a job in favour of the legal profession would it be thought! What a harvest it would be supposed to promise to counsel and attornies! We, on the contrary, believe that such an Act would be one of the most unfortunate for those learned bodies that could well be passed. Whether it would be good or bad for the Public, we do not pretend to decide; but there is little doubt that it would tend to ruin the lawyers.
The greatest gains of lawyers are not made out of the Wills which are prepared by themselves: such Wills, in comparison with others, arc but seldom questioned. The lawyer gets his fee for drawing the document, and that is all he gets out of it. The ejectments at law, the never-ending suits in chancery, the issues, the trials, the hearings, the re-hearings, the appeals, which form his profit, arise, nine times out of ten, out of a Will drawn by the testator himself, according to (what he would call) the dictates of Common Sense.
To a certain extent, however, the advocates of Common Sense are right. Common Sense would be sufficient for making a Will, if the testator had enough of it, and used it properly. It is not a man's ignorance of law that generally stands in the way of his making a good Will, so much as his want of Common Sense and Reflection, or his not being in the habit of applying his Common Sense and Reflection to such subjects. The courts for the most part construe Wills according to Common Sense, and will give effect to a testator's wishes, if they can be discovered, in however unlawyerlike language they may be expressed. The difficulty is in discovering what the intentions of the testator really are.
Strange as it may seem, by far the greater number of the disputes which arise out of Wills, are caused by the deceased having expressed himself so carelessly, or so doubtfully, that, laying all law out of the question, no two sensible men can agree in saying with certainty what his real meaning was. His relations are sharpened by interest to scan every word of the instrument, and will thus often find a clause capable of two meanings, both of which may be supported by plausible arguments.
In fact, it often happens that a man, who is not accustomed to deep reflection, and who regards making a Will as an easier task than it really is, has not clearly made up his own mind at the very time when he is professing to reduce his intentions to writing. He provides only for those events which he thinks likely to happen; he does not consider how differently things may possibly turn up; and the consequence perhaps is, that a state of things occurs after his death, for which he has made no provision, and for which you must try to guess what provision he would have made, if he had foreseen it. Lawyers make better Wills than other people, not so much