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THE stages of no art have been more distinctly

marked than those of architecture in Britain. It is not probable that our masters the Romans ever taught us more than the construction of arches. Those, imposed on clusters of disproportioned pillars, composed the whole grammar of our Saxon ancestors. Churches and castles were the only buildings, I should suppose, they erected of stone. As no taste was bestowed on the former, no beauty was sought in the latter. Masses to resist, and uncouth towers for keeping watch, were all the conveniencies they demanded. As

even luxury was not secure but in a church, succeeding refinements were solely laid out on religious fabrics, till by degrees was perfected the bold scenery of Gothic architecture, with all its airy embroidery and pensile vaults. Holbein, as I have shewn, checked that false, yet venerable style, and first attempted to sober it to classic measures; but not having gone far enough, his imitators, without his taste, compounded a mungrel species, that had no boldness, no lightness, and no system. This lasted till Inigo Jones, like his countryman and cotemporary Milton, disclosed the beauties of ancient Greece, and established simplicity, harmony, and proportion. That school however was too chaste to flourish long.* Sir Christopher Wren lived to see it almost expire before him; and after a mixture of French and Dutch ugliness had expelled truth, without erecting any certain style in its stead, Vanbrugh with his ponderous and unmeaning masses over

* [The excellence and the beauties of the architecture of ancient Greece were then understood, in a very limited degree. In the present age Greece has been literally brought into England by the efforts of the graphic art, in the publications of Athenian Stuart, the Dilettanti Society, and individual travellers. It may be asserted, that Vanbrugh left no legitimate follower of his style or principles in architecture; but his immediate successors in Court favour and employment having been liberated by his example from all the rules of art, invented and practised all that seemed to be good in their own eyes."]

[How little does this note of criticism sound in harmony

whelmed architecture in meer masonry. Will posterity believe that such piles were erected in the very period when St. Paul's was finishing?

Vanbrugh's immediate successors had no taste; yet some of them did not forget that there was such a science as regular architecture. Still there was a Mr. Archer, the groom-porter, who built Hethrop, and a temple at Wrest and one Wakefield, who gave the design of Helmsley; each of whom seemed to think that Vanbrugh had delivered the art from shackles, and that they might build whatever seemed good in their own eyes. Yet before I mention the struggles made by the art to resume its just empire, there was a disciple of Sir Christopher Wren that ought not to be forgotten; his name was


At eighteen he became the scholar of Wren, under

with those of Messrs. Reynolds, Knight, Price, and others of the modern theory!]

St. Philip's church at Birmingham, Cliefden-house, and a house at Roehampton, (which as a specimen of his wretched taste may be seen in the Vitruvius Britannicus) were other works of the same person; but the chef d'œuvre of his absurdity was the church of St. John, with four belfrys, in Westminster.

[Now the seat of the Countess De Grey. The gardens were laid out by Henry, Duke of Kent, and have been since modernized by Brown]

["And Helmsley, once proud Buckingham's delight,
Slides to a scrivener, or a city knight."

Pope, Imit. Horace, Sat. 2.]

whom during his life, and on his own account after his master's death, he was concerned in erecting many public edifices. So early as Charles's reign he was supervisor of the palace at Winchester, and under the same eminent architect assisted in conducting the works at St. Paul's to their conclusion. He was deputy-surveyor at the building Chelsea-college, and clerk of the works at Greenwich, and was continued in the same post by King William, Queen Anne, and George the first, at Kensington, Whitehall, and St. James's; and under the latter Prince was first Surveyor of all the new churches and of Westminster-abbey from the death of Sir Christopher, and designed several of the temples that were erected in pursuance of the statute of Queen Anne for raising fifty new churches;* their names are, St. Mary Woolnoth, in Lombard-street; Christ-church, Spital-fields; St. George, Middlesex; St. Anne, Limehouse; and St. George, Bloomsbury; the steeple of which is a master-stroke of absurdity,

* [The front of the church of St. Mary Woolnoth, with two low towers lately made visible from the street, is an imitation in miniature, of that of St. Sulpice at Paris, by Servandoni.]

+ [St. Anne's, Limehouse, was finished in 1724. Hawksmoor has here mixed with the Grecian, a species of architecture, beyond the powers of accurate description. He has evidently repeated his plan in the towers of All Soul's College, Oxford. Limehouse, though so anomalous in a near view, is very picturesque in the distance, particularly, as it forms a termination to the grand colonnade of Greenwich Hospital.]

consisting of an obelisk, crowned with the statue of King George the First, and hugged by the royal supporters. A lion, an unicorn, and a king on such an eminence are very surprising :*

The things, we know, are neither rich nor rare,
But wonder how the devil they got there.

He also rebuilt some part of All-Souls College,† Oxford, the two towers over the gate of which are copies of his own steeple of St. Anne, Limehouse. At Blenheim and Castle-Howard he was associated with Vanbrugh, at the latter of which he was employed in erecting the magnificent mausoleum there when he died. He built several con

* [The wits of the Jacobite party indulged themselves in many sarcasms upon this extraordinary elevation of the Hanoverian King. Hogarth has likewise introduced the steeple.]

t Dr. Clarke, member for Oxford, and benefactor to that university, built three sides of the square called Peckwater, at Christ-church, and the church of All Saints in the high street there. [Dr. G. Clarke built the Library only-the three sides of the square and the church were designed by Dean Aldrich.] [This was the earliest instance of sepulchral splendour in England, unconnected with an ecclesiastical building, in which architecture has been called in to the aid of sculpture, by erecting a spacious structure over the ashes of the dead. The idea was originally suggested by the tombs and columbaria of the ancient Romans. This example during the last century has been followed, at an almost unlimited expence, in the following instances. At Brocklesby, Lincolnshire, for Lord Yarborough; and at Cobham, in Kent, for the Earl of Darnley, from designs by James Wyatt. At Bow-wood, Wiltshire, there is another upon a much smaller scale, built for Lord Shelburne.]

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