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who had seen the slowly moving procession glide along the lengthened ailes, and sweeping among the clustered pillars fill the choir, amidst the splendour of glimmering tapers, fumes of incense, peals of music, and the pomp of magnificent vestments. Ceremonies so superstitious, especially as associated with the cruelties of persecution, indelibly defiled these sanctuaries, in the opinion of the victorious party; and like the leprosy in the house, according to the Mosaic regulations, could only be cured by absolute dilapidation.
A cause no less powerful, though much less to be regretted, in the ruin of our domestic Edifices, was the national change of manners and modes of life. In the days of Elizabeth, and of James, a nobleman was no longer that proud baron, who considered himself as condescending when he acknowledged the King as his superior, and whose embattled habitation frowned over the adjacent domain, demonstrating at once the apprehension and confidence of its master; but he now valued himself on associating, with a long recorded descent, the refined and embellished manners of later generations. In proportion as internal warfare subsided, and personal security prevailed, the mansion arose instead of the castle; and the illustrious inhabitaut no longer trusted for protection to the strength of his own walls, but to the efficacy of the general establishment of the
The same causes operating more extensively produced that interesting description of buildings which, to the inexpressible honour and happiness of Britain, decorates every county, and town; comprizing not only the gentleman's house, but the capital tradesman's villa, and the substantial farmer's abode. These are the glories of our isle; our decus et tutamen; our strength and dignity. The middle classes of people are the nerves and sinews of our realm; and nothing gives greater pleasure to a reflecting mind, than to see them so comfortably and respectably accommodated, that every convenience of life contributes to bind them the more closely to their native land.
We read a little and but little, of Cottages in antient times; but history still more rarely mentions the intermediate rank of residences, between these humble sheds and lordly fortifications; or, if a few huts huddled together attempt to constitute a town, it infallibly adjoins the Castle-yard; and is no further removed from seignorial protection, than consists with the convenience of flight, on the alarm of danger. Cottages might then be forsaken with little loss to the owner, and less profit to the invader, or if destroyed the damage might be compensated; but how incalculable would be the loss, and how irreparable the mischief, if those innumerable buildings, which class between the extremes
of affluence and of penury in the present day, were abandoned by their inhabitants and destroyed by the enemy!
Such is the general history of British architecture. That it branched out into various styles, to meet the almost innumerable requests of its employers, that it conformed to the peculiar tastes of its professors, as well as of its patrons, and that it was influenced by proposed improvements, and systems recommended by novelty, admits of no contradiction. Foreign importations commanded respect, if not submission; and Britain received its Architecture as well as its Religion from the east. Whether we
have always done wisely in adopting extensively the principles of foreigners, we shall not determine. To prohibit the skilful of whatever country from exercising their art among us, is to exclude improvements not originating with ourselves. Nevertheless, what may be perfectly suitable to foreign parts, may be very ill adapted to us; and to suppose that we should appropriate only the excellent, and reject only the inapplicable, is to compliment our countrymen, for a correctness of discrimination, which no doubt, they may attain in time, but at what period of time we shall not venture to predict.
Mr. D. has taken pains to recover the names of those Architects, whose skill we admire in the remains of their labours. These he finds, for the most part, among the ecclesiastics of the times. Cardinal Wolsey was an Architect, as well as a Statesman; and Archbishops, Bishops, and Abbots, employed themselves in designing and constructing their Halls, their Colleges, and their Cathedrals. Few, indeed, comparatively, of the antient Architects are known to us; as only a few of the most eminent of modern days are likely to be known to posterity. Every work, therefore which investigates this art and commemorates its practitioners, confers an obligation, not only on those who peruse it immediately, but on those who may hereafter wish for information, which, without such assistance, it must be impossible to procure. Such is the nature and merit of this performance.
As specimens of the author's style and researches, we shall offer a few extracts, arranged nearly in chronological order, referring those who wish for fuller information to the work itself, in which they will find a collection of scientific memoranda, which we do not recollect to have seen comprized in any other single volume,
Mr. D. characterizes Saxon Architecture in the following
'Our Saxon progenitors, from their intercourse with Rome upon ecclesiastical concerns, adopted, with however rude an imitation, the Roman plan of churches. We have likewise a fair presumption, that
many temples and palaces of the Romans remained, at that period, at least undemolished in Britain.
The western front of their churches had a portico or ambulatory, and the eastern was semicircular, and resembled the tribune in Roman basilica. The principal door-case was formed by pilasters with sculptured capitals; and the head of the round arch contained bas-reliefs, and was encircled by mouldings of great variety, imitated, with imperfect success, from many then existing at Rome, and not without great probability, in England. These mouldings may be more particularly specified and classed, as the indented, the zig-zig like the Etruscan scroll the small squares, some alternately deeper than others and the flourished, with small beads, usually on the capitals of pilasters. The latest device which became common just before the Saxon style was abandoned, was a carving round the heads of arches, like trellis placed in broad lozenges, and considerably projecting
pp. 14, 15.
The Saxon large churches were divided into three tiers or stories, consisting of the arcade, galleries, and windows. Such was the solidity of the walls and bulkiness of the pillars, that buttresses were neither necessary nor in usage.' p. 17.
"After the Norman conquest, that style, called by the monks Opus Romanum,' because an imitation of the debased architecture of Italy, was still continued in England. The extent and dimensions of churches were greatly increased, the ornamental carvings on the circular arches and the capitals of pillars and pilasters became more frequent and elaborately finished. Of the more remarkable specimens of what is confounded under the general term of Saxon architecture, the true æra will be found to be immediately subsequent to the Saxons themselves, and to have extended not more than a century and a half below the Norman conquest. The two churches at Caen in Normandy, built by William and his queen, are the archetypes of many now remaining in England; but the most magnificent work of this kind was the nave of old St. Paul's, London. The vaults were void of tracery, and the towers without pinnacles, but ornamented with arcades, in tiers, of small intersected arches, on the outside walls.
The Norman æra may be stated to be from 1066 to 1154, that is, from the Conquest to the death of Stephen.' pp. 17, 18.
The principal discrimination between the Saxon and the Norman, appears to be that of much larger dimensions, in every part; plain, but more lofty vaulting; circular pillars of greater diameter; round arches and capitals having ornamental carvings much more elaborate and various, adapted to them; but a total absence of pediments or pinnacles, which are decidedly peculiar to the pointed or Gothic style.' p. 19.
In the reign of Henry III. this beautiful architecture had gained its perfect completion. Salisbury and Ely cathedrals, and Westminster abbey, have been generally adduced as the most perfect examples."
The following scale not only affords a comparative view of the dimensions of our national cathedrals, but also manifests the labour and attention of the author.
L. B. H.
A Scale of the CATHEDRALS in ENGLAND, comparing the Dimensions of their several internal Parts.
Naves & Ailes.
Spires and Towers.
Proceeding to Edifices calculated for common life, and to meet the exigences of the times, Mr. D. observes, that,
In the construction of a castle, no ordinary skill was required, The subsistence and comfort of those who were enclosed within it, were not less to be provided for by the architect than mere defence, or the devices by which the assailants might be misled or defeated. Most of the keeps, of which an account is now offered, had four distinct stories, and the walls were not unfrequently from twelve to twenty feet thick, at the base. In the souterrain of vaulted stone, the military engines and stores were deposited. In the thickness of the walls were placed winding staircases, the well for water, the vast oven, enclosed galleries and chimnies, with an aperture open to the sky, and communicating with the dungeon, in which the prisoners were confined, and to whom it gave all the light and air they could receive. There was likewise a kind of flue, for conveying sound to every part, not more than eight inches in diameter. The state apartment occupied the whole third story, and the staircases leading to it were made much more commodiously than the others, some of which were even large enough to admit military engines. Adjoining to the great chamber was an oratory.' p. 89.
As to Domestic Architecture, properly so called, Chaucer in his descriptive poem of the Assemblie of Ladies,' gives his idea of its perfection, in his imaginary palace of pleasaunt regarde.'
The chamberis and parlers of a sorte,
With bay windows goodlie as may be thought,
As for dauncinge and otherwise disporte.' v. 162.
Without doubt, this is a true picture of many of the houses of the nobility and gentry in the reign of Edward III., when the growing fashion of large entertainments required spacious apartments.' p. 104.
Speaking of later times, our author remarks, that,
Inigo Jones will be ever considered as the father of classical architecture in England, and after the many innovations of his immediate predecessors, the most successful designer, to whom the superior convenience and elegance of modern English houses are to be attributed.'
The domestic architecture both of France and Germany, even in the mansions of the higher nobility, is inferior to our own. Most of the German palaces which I have seen, are very large, very white, and very ugly. The Germans have but one idea of magnificence, which is magnitude; where they have attempted ornament in architecture, it is a mere curling up of small and discordant parts multiplied to absolute confusion, and more capricious than the worst examples of Borromini. Such may be observed in every capital of the German states, and it is not uncandid to include those of Schonbrun and Belvidere, near Vienna, in this remark. Candour must allow, that some of the palaces and public buildings at Paris are more magnificent than those in England.'