Imágenes de páginas

as large as the Pantheon ;-raising, as was this splendid edifice, admitted to be he expressed it, the Pantheon on the the second for grandeur in Europe, Temple of Peace; and in the comple- completed in thirty-five years by one tion of this great work, Michsel Angelo architect, under one bishop of London, was occupied till his death.

costing only 736,0001., which was raised

by a small impost on coals brought CHAPTER V.

to London; whilst St. Peter's, the

work of twelve architects, took one St. Paul's.

hundred and forty-five years to buildi, AFTER the nomination of the commis- during the pontificate of nineteen popes. sion for the building St. Paul's, much One of the principal objections to the discussion arose as to the plan. Wren's edifice is, that Wren chose two orders first design was to have but one order instead of one and an attic story, as instead of two, and without any side in St. Peter's. That he intended to liave oratories or aisles, these being only ne- adopted the single order (going from the cessary for the ceremonies of the church top to the bottom) appears from what of Rome: and this noble design appears we have before stated. But whilst Brain the beautiful model made by Wren, mante, for the erection of St. Peter's, and kept in the present cathedral. The had the quarries of Tivoli at his comside aisles, however, were added either mand, which yielded blocks of nine feet because their omission was considered in diameter, amply sufficient for his too great a departure from the usual columns, Wren had only the quarries of form of cathedrals, or (as is supposed Portland, and from them he could not by Mr. Spence in his anecdotes) because reckon on blocks greater than four feet the suggestion of the Duke of York in diameter, nor were even these readily (James 11.) was followed, and he was procured; on which account, and that willing to have them ready for the Roman he might keep the just proportions of catholic service as soon as an occasion his cornice, (which Bramante, by the should arise. The addition of the side failure of the stone, had been compelled aisles is to be lamented, as they narrowed to diminish,) he finally determined on the building and broke in upon the beauty the use of two orders. of the design; and the architect (ob The dome of the Pantheon is no serves Spence) insisted so strongly on higher within than its diameter; the the prejudice they were to the build- dome of St. Peter's is two diameters; ing, that he actually shed tears on and this appears too high, the other speaking of it; but he remonstrated too low : Wren took a mean proportion, in vain. It would seem that this sort which shows its concave every way, and of interference is a misfortune pecu- is lighted by the windows of the upper liarly incidental to architects. Few order, which permit the light to strike would pretend to have a voice in the down through the great colonnade that composition of a picture or the ar encircles the dome without, and serves rangement of a group of statuary; yet at the same time for the abutment of the there is scarcely the work of any great dome itself, which is of two bricks thick, architect, in the execution of which he

every five feet high having a course of has not in a great measure been com bricks eighteen inches long bonding pelled to abandon his original design, through the whole thickness. In conand adopt the suggestions (often in sequence of the prejudice in favour of congruous) of his employers. Michael steeples, and that no disappointment Angelo, in particular, was exposed to might arise of the new church falla like persecution, in his great work of ing short of the old one, Wren, to St. Peter's, and alike had the har

give a greater height than the cupola mony and beauty of his design impaired. would gracefully admit of, felt comAfter much cavilling the different objec- pelled to raise another structure over tions were removed; Wren received the first cupola. For this purpose he an express order from the king to pro- constructed a cone of brick, so as to supceed according to his own plans; he was port the vast stone lantern which surallowed to make what variations he mounts it. This cone was covered with pleased, and the whole was left to his own an oak roof, and this again with lead, management. In thirty-five years from in the same manner as the other parts the cummencement of the building, the of the church. Between this outside highest and last stone was laid by Chris- covering and the brick cone there are topher, the son of the architect, Thus stairs to ascend to the lantern, lighted

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from the lantern above, which did away gures 4 and 5, exhibit the ground with the necessity of making the small plans of the two buildings drawn on ugly, windows in the dome, as at St. Peter's. The inside of the whole Fig. 4. 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

mg. 5. 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 octangular 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


Relative Sizes,

St. Peter's, St. Paul's. Long within

669 500 Broad at the entrance


100 Front, withont

395 180 Broad at the cross

442 223 Cupola, diameter

139 Cupola and lantern, high

432 Church, high

146 110 Height of pillars in front .91 10

the same scale; the peculiarity noticed in the ground plan of St. Paul's is pointed out by the dotted lines. In St. Peter's the whole building is surrounded by a repetition of vast pilasters. In St. Paul's, however, take the building in any point of vicw, it

. 108

• 330



is highly picturesque, the different re of St. Peter, it also far surpasses the turns and façades affording endless va building of Wren in the nature of the riety of views; no patching, no incon- materials with which it is constructed. gruous additions disfigure the unity of It has been a matter of regret that the the composition, which, as a whole, for quality of the stone used in the public harmony of design and justness of pro- buildings of this country has been portion, has certainly never been sur hitherto but little attended to. Many passed.

of the public edifices of London, EdinWith respect to the charge of pla- burgh, Bath, and Oxford, furnish giarism from the work of Michael An- melancholy instances of the want of gelo, the two buildings are sufficiently judgment in this choice of materials. different utterly to rebut this. The “It is obvious that the stone which is Romans adapted to their purposes the most porous, will, when exposed to the beauties of the architecture of Greece, weather, be least durable : water lodges combining them so as to suit their inten- in its pores and penetrates the crevices, tions; and Palladio, abandoning the and by the mere change of temperature barbarous taste of the middle ages, does mischief; but during frost the adapted the great remains both of Greek expansion is so great, that in a single and Roman antiquity to the genius of winter the sharp parts often entirely the times, but did not repeat or copy crumble away. The fitness of the differthem. Michael Angelo availed himself ent species of sandstone for the purpose of the Pantheon in his cupola, and Wren, of building, may in a great measure be again, availed himself of the knowledge judged of by immersing the specimens of M. Angelo; but there is nothing in water, each being previously weighed, like servile copying, or unmeaning and all of one size; the excellence of adaptation, in any one part of his work. the stone will be inversely to the quanTo form a just idea of the relative tity of water absorbed.' The magnesizes of the two buildings, we have sian limestone, so abundant in England, added an outline, showing the compa- is considered the best adapted for archirative size of St. Peter's and St. tectural purposes; it is far preferable to Paul's, and the vacant spaces have been that termed the Colite of Somersetshire filled up with the outlines of some of the and the Isle of Portland, of which the most remarkable buildings now exist- most important buildings have hitherto ing, all on the same base and all drawn been constructed. Rain water always on the same scale, but unfortunately, contains carbonic acid, which acts cheowing to an error, the height of St. mically on limestone, but less on those Paul's in the figure is a little less than kinds which are fine grained and mag.. it should have been. The buildings have nesian, than those which are coarse principally been taken from the work of and free from magnesia; and although Mons. Durand, The Parallel of Archi this often produces an external hardentecture, by far the most important pro ing, as in the Bath stone, it is only duction of the kind which has yet been the forerunner of a more quick peeling published, and affording great facility for off and destruction. It is obvious, that the consideration of the general princi for durability, the granites, sienites, ples of architecture. It consists of ninety whinstones, and porphyries, are most large folio plates, containing elevations to be preferred. The Strand Bridge is and plans of the principal ancient and a magnificent example of the use of modern buildings and monuments, all granite; the exterior being entirely condrawn on the same scale. It is a

structed of two sorts, the coarse-grained matter of regret, that it is defective, granite of Devon and Cornwall, and inasmuch as, (either from jealousy or the fine-grained and harder sort from ignorance,) among the ninety plates, Aberdeen, used for the balustrades, neither Westminster Abbey, York Ca. and stronger than that from Cornwall, thedral, Greenwich and Chelsea Hos as 22 to 14. The only means of proving pitals, our bridges, nor even our docks, the respective durability of them is (the largest in the world,) are inserted; from the effect of time; and the Cornish and amongst the plans of English thea granite evidently appears to have suftres, the only one given is that in the fered more decay than the harder stone Haymarket.

of the North. Granite, however, indepenIn addition to the total want of the dently of the great increase of expense rich ornaments and the costly materials incurred in the working it, is unfitted for which adorn the interior of the church all the finer parts of ornamental work;


in that case it would be well to adopt the feelings to indulge, were thwarted marble or dolomite of Scotland, or the by the inflexibility of Wren, who exmagnesian limestones, so much to be posed at once their meanness and their preferred to the perishable sand and ignorance. This, it may be supposed, Îime stones of the west of England.* was neither forgotten nor forgiven; But the subject has not yet re and they joined in a cabal, persecuting ceived its due share of attention from him with every species of bitter those whose pursuits and knowledge malevolence. It will scarcely be sup. best enable them to form an accurate posed that one of Wren's genius and judgment upon it.

talent, of his gentle bearing towards all, Although Wren's employ- his high patriotic feeling, at once the ments occupied much of his time, his judge and the patron of every thing that zeal for the advancement of science was useful either in the arts or sciences, never forsook him; but, as he em should have been subjected to the petty ployed himself in the practical parts of cavilling of a few interested persons withbuilding, his communications to the out greatly retarding the progress of the Royal Society became more technical, building. But this was not all; the party and applied principally to his own art. having procured a clause to be inserted A very interesting letter to Lord in an act of parliament, suspending a Brcunker, the first president of the Royal moiety of his pittance (2001. a year) Society, is given by Mr. Elmes : it is till the building was finished, Wren was in answer to a request to provide some. kept out of his money long after it was thing for the suitable entertainment of due, under the pretence that the buildhis majesty, who had purposed visiting ing was not complete, whereas the cathe Society. Upon this Wren observes, villers themselves, by their impe“ The experiments for the establishment diments, alone hindered its completion. of natural philosophy are seldom pomp- He was in consequence obliged to petious; it is upon billiard and tennis balls, tion Queen Anne; and in his memorial upon the purling of sticks and tops, he states, that the arbitrary proceedings upon a vial of water, a wedge of glass, of some of the commissioners had alone that the great Des Cartes has built the obstructed his measures for the complemost refined and accurate theories tion ofthe work. This was handed over to that human wit ever reached to; and the commissioners themselves for their certainly nature, in the best of her answer, who replied by mean and paltry works, is apparent enough in obvious

Wren, however, was not to things, were they but curiously ob- be borne down by a low cabal: he next served; and the key that opens treasures addressed the Archbishop of Canterbury is often plain and rusty, but unless it and the Bishop of London, and the be gilt, the key alone will make no document itself affords ample testimony show at court.” It does not appear of the treatment he had received. how the philosophers succeeded in “ The design of the parliament (he entertaining their royal guest. Wren states) in granting the coal duty for in 1673 resigned the Savillian pro- the said cathedral, being to have the fessorship, which he had held so long building completed with all possible with credit. He was twice in Parlia- speed, they did, to encourage and oblige ment, though it does not appear that the surveyor's diligence in carrying on he took any active part in the debates. the work, suspend half his allowance In 1680 he was elected President of till all should be done. Whereby, I the Royal Society, and before that pe- humbly conceive, it may justly from riod he had been knighted by Charles thence be implied, that they thought II.

the building, and every thing belonging The delight one can well conceive a to it, was wholly under my management person of Wren's genius to have en- and direction, and that it was in my joyed, in the contemplation of the rise power to hasten or protract it. How of the vast edifice which his creative far it has been so your lordships know, genius had called into existence, was not as also how far I have been limited and undisturbed or unalloyed. Many im- restrained. However, it has ple sed proper persons were joined with him God so to bless my sincere endeavours, in the commission; and they, having as that I have brought the building to private interests to serve, and selfish a conclusion, so far as is in my power;

and I think nothing can be said now to • Brande's Journal, vol. ii. 381.

remain imperfected, but the iron fence


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