Imágenes de página
PDF
[ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Mr. Urban, Feb. 2.

I SEND you a Sketch (see Plate I.) of an interesting antient stone building, which stands at a small disstance from Tewkesbury, on the road to Ledbury. There is a similarity in the architecture to the Abbot of Winchcombe's House; which leads to the supposition that the place in question might be the country lodgings, or farm, of the superior of Tewkesbury. Be that as it may, the structure is singular enough in itself to deserve a place amougst your collection of antique buildings.

Yours, &c. A Traveller.

On Sculpture in England, as applied to Sepulchral Monuments. (Continued from page 301.)

THE sera of Queen Elizabeth had its peculiarities in Sculpture, as well as in Architecture. A more perfect knowledge of architectural compositions, as taken from the works of Palladio, and the design* of the new Italian school, had, towards the conclusion of her reign, found its way into this country; and the rich chimney-pieces, consisting of columns and effigies piled upon each other, bad then first appeared in the sumptuous houses erected by her ministers and nobility *. Similar designs were soon transferred to Churches, and adopted as sepulchral monuments of the illustrious dead.

I will endeavour to discriminate the varieties of each particular style in each Bra, .'till it was totally abandoned by the introduction of anew one.

I am induced to conclude that, during the latter part of the sixteenth century, it was usual to procure monuments of great cost and dimensions to be made at Paris, or some other of the French schools of sculpture, either by French artists or Flemings, scholars of Jean Gougeon, slill regulated by the principles which their roaster had acquired from Primaticcio. There is indeed an exact analogy between the component parts of the tombs erected during this period in France and England +, more remarkably in the semi-recumbent or kneeling figures before desks, the sarcophagus, or altar table with basreliefs; and the personification of Virtues by emblematical female effigies, which rarely d~i rve the name of statues.

The most splendid and elaborate of the Elizabethan monuments J are composed of columns, generally of the Corinthian, or rather of the Composite .order, supporting a large superstructure or entablature, chequered with many different kinds of marble, usually vaneered. In the centre is placed an alcove, with a circular arch inclosing a mural tablet for the inscription, surrounded by escocheons. The whole is finished by a pyramid placed on balls; and upon a table tomb are recumbent figures, the male Jn armour, both with the robes and coronet of their nobility; and the lady in the dress of the times. In frequent instances insulated figures pf men aud women, representing the surviving children, kneel round the tomb, and infants are placed in

[graphic]

cradles upon a base. Sometimes the man and woman are upon tables, one above the other, and the whole superstructure attached against the wall.

The tombs of Queen Elizabeth and of Mary Queen of Scots have the same general design*. There is an entablature, with an arch in its ci litre, supported by ten Corinthian columns (live on either side), which is open like the peristyle of a Grecian temple. The figure of Elizabeth rests upon a plinth, which is characteristically placed on the backs of four Lions.

I have never remarked an instance in which the name of the artist appears upon any part of the tomb. Great professional merit it therefore deprived of its due fame, and we arc left to attribute these excellent performances solely by conjecture.

Although the general design above mentioned occurs in abundant instances, not only in Westminster Abbey, Old St.Fam's (destroyed, but admirably engraved by Hollar), but likewise in many Provincial Cathedrals and Churches, an occasional deviation is seen, which may claim a happy concetto or fancy, though little entitled to the praise of true taste.

The tombs of Sir John Norris and Sir Francis Verc + have great merit of this kind. The dead figure of Sir Francis is wrapped in a winding-sheet. Around it, four knights in the complete military costume, are represented kneeling, and bearing upon their shoulders a slab, upon which is placed his armour. The whole has a scenic

effect. Another instance is that of a young lady in the dress of the times, sitting upon a sculptured altar. She was a daughter of John Lord Mussel. Richard Steevens, a Fleming, was established about this time in London; and his best scholar, our first native artist, was Epirn.vNius Evesham \. The King's mastermason was William Cure, with whom contracts were made for these most expensive monuments by the executors of those most connected with the Court \. The Sculptors, probably chiefly foreigners, were engaged by him, as Maximilian Colte, otherwise Poultrain || (a Fleming) appears to have been. The monument of T. Kadclyffe, Earl of Sussex, at Boreham, in Suffolk, cost 292/. 12s. 8d. who had bequeathed 1500/. for that purpose, but Steevens was paid the first-mentioned sum for the figures only. Similar monuments were undertaken by architects who furnished the designs, the executive part only having been left to carvers of different skill and merit; from those who could finish a statue, to the mere workman of columns and capitals.

During the whole reign of King James I. the pride of these costly memorials was no less excessive than that of enormous houses, by which that a?ra was distinguished. There are few Counties which do not still exhibit these sumptuous tombs in obscure villages, where the former great mansion has totally disappeared, or is falling into rapid decay. More than a year's rental of the

* The figures of Queen Elizabeth and of Mary Queen of Scots, with those of some children of King James I. were contracted for with l(. Steevens, by a writ of Privy Seal, in 1607. Walpole's Anecdotes, vol. I. p. 288. Lodge's Illustrations, vol. III. p. 319. For these, and another, it appears that the whole sum paid was 3,400/. which will convey to us a certain idea of the costliness of these posthumous honours. Thomas Cecil, Earl of Exeter, has a mural monument composed of the greatest variety of marble in columns and pannels, and the whole design broken into many parts. It is not easy to discriminate between the style prevalent in either of these two reigns. Four emblematical figures round the monument of Lodowick Duke of Richmond are of bronze, whilst the rest is marble or alabaster.

•f- These are among the earliest instances in which Sculpture is detached from Architecture, and not encumbered by it. Here is no canopy nor superstructure. The artist is at liberty to describe all that he intended.

I Epiphanius Evesham made the bust of J. Owen, the Epigrammatist, in Westminster Abbey.

§ William Cure, master-mason of His Majesty's works, made the tomb of Sir Roger Aston, with seven kneeling figures, at Cranford in Middlesex, in 1612, far 180/. This was of alabaster, or chalk, painted and gilded ; and it is to be observed, that marble was beyond the reach of common expense.—Lysons's Middlesex.

|| .See Lodge's Illustrations, vol. 111. p. 319. Walpole's Anecdotes, vol. II. p. 39.

whole

whole eatale was frequently sacrificed to the memory of its deceased lord *. . The obligation which the Arts owe to King Charles I. for their introduction into this country is universally allowed to him.

Sepulchral sculpture then assumed a new character, and a bolder air. By means of attributes uuder the semblanceof female figures or genii, particularly the common representative of Fame, and weeping boys, a theatrical idea pervaded the whole composition. . The Master of the Works, or Court Architect, I have reason to believe, was still the contractor, if not the designer; and, from the greater freedom and correctness of the designs, many were probably given by Inigo Jones, though I have searched in vain for any document in confirmation.

In the early part of this reign, we had the first regular school of sculpture established in England. Under Isaac James, a successor of Steevens, Nicholas Stone (of whom we boast as a national artist) first lived and studied during three years. They were jointly employed upon the Earl of Northampton's monument at Greenwich. Stone afterwards perfected himself in Holland, under Peeler Keysar, whose daughter he married. He obtained the appointment of Master-mason; and Mr.Walpole has preserved extracts from his notehook of the monuments he executed, for whom, and the price he received^. In this catalogue, though there are some works of consequence, I do not observe several which are more magnificent, now in Westminster Abbey. J refer to those of Sir G. Villiers, his son the Ouke of Buckingham, and of

Francis Lord Cottington, and Dudley Lord Dorchester, which display much more of Italian taste and execution.'

About this time two foreigners of distinguished merit were greatly encouraged in England, both by the King and the Nobility, having been first invited here by Thomas Earl of Arundel.

These were, Hubert Le Sueur, who had studied under John of Bologna and Francesco Fanelli %. It does not appear that they were ever engaged together in the same work, but that each exhibited his talents in competition. Both enjoyed the favour of the Court, and completed Royal Statues. Still, as the custom prevailed of leaving their best works of art, especially sepulchral, unmarked by the Sculptor's name, I hazard a conjecture that the monuments of Sir G. Villiers and the Duke of Buckingham were by one of them. The first, of white marble, exhibits a plain table tomb, with a plinth of black marble, or touch-stone, upon which are extended the elaborately carved figures of Sir George and his lady; the sides are very richly embellished with tablet* and armorial bearings. It has no column nor superstructure. The other is upon a plan of less simplicity. Four emblematical figures are placed at the corners of a large table tomb bearing the effigies with the favourite figure of Fame, which is extremely light and elegant. The mural additions are in a bad taste. But a more simple and classical composition is the monument of Francis Lord Cottington, who leans gracefully upon one arm, and in a niche above him is a bronze bust of his lady. I do not hesitate to attri

* At Miserden in Gloucestershire is a table tomb of alabaster, painted and gilded, supporting two effigies larger than life, which cost 1000/. in 1625, intended for Sir W. Sandys and his lady, an expenditure exceeding the annual value of their estate at that time.

+ Anecdotes of Painting, 8vo. vol.11, p. 41. Stone is said to have received during the course of his life, for monuments, 10,889'. His highest prices are for Lord and Lady Spencer, at Althorpe, 6001. For Sir G. Villiers, 5601. For Lady Paston, at Paston in Norfolk, 3402.; and Sir C. Morrison and bis Lady at Watford, Herts, 400/. &c.

X Le Sueur is known for his equestrian statue of Charles I. now at Charing-cross, and one on foot of W. Earl of Pembroke at Oxford, where are also statues by Fanelli of that Monarch and his Queen Henrietta. Several exquisitely finished bronze busts by Fanelli are extant in the collections of the Nobility. At Welheck is a bronze bust of Charles I. inscribed "Franciscus Fanellius F'.urentinus f. Sculpt, Magn. Brit. Regis, 1640," which proves that he had an actual employment under the Royal protection.

At St. Alban's, Herts, the monument of the great Lord Verulam represents him as sitting, with his hat on, and in profound cogitation. The inscription has this characteristic expression: "Sic sedebat ;" and it is probably a perfect portrait.

but© bute this bust at least, to Fanelli, because there are two more in Westminster Abbey which are acknowledged to be of his hand) one of Sir Robert Acton, and the other .of Sir Robert Stapylton *.—Two other foreign artists, Francis Anguier, and Ambrose Du Val, obtained likewise (according to D'Argenville) great patronage and credit in England, which they are said to have quitted upon the breaking out of the civil war+.

In the Cathedral at Gloucester is the tomb of Alderman Blackleach and his wife, in white marble, upon a slab of touch-stone, the figures of which arc portraits, scrupulously copied from Vandyck, and very finely finished. At Campden, in that county, are others of similar execution, of Sir Baptist Hickes, and a bust of Lady Penelope Noel. The style of all these is better than any work of N. Stone; and there is reason to suspect that the large sums he received for contracts, of which he has left memoranda, afford no good proof that he was the sculptor of the figures and the superior parts. I am aware that he contracted for the Villiers' monuments above described, according to his

notes; but he was the contractor only—perhaps the architect; and I am led to this conclusion from the extreme inequality of his known works J, and that he was ready to avail himself of the aid of these foreigners.

As a general point of discrimination in the monuments which are dated in the early part of the reign of Charles I. we may notice the universal prevalence of the large table tomb, upon which one or two figures are extended, with the armorial crest carved and placed at the feet. Attached to the sides of the table, are sometimes kneeling effigies of the children, smaller than life, and at the end two large escocheons, containing all the quartering belonging both to the man and wife. This was an age of great heraldic exactness. Ecclesiastics are usually represented in their canonical habit) and, when not recumbent, as kneeling before an open book, placed upon a desk V The canopy and arcade were no longer retained. 1 must not omit to mention a sitting fig-ore in a Roman military ^ costume, upon a circular altar, erected for Francis Holies, a young officer, in Westminster Abbey The

* These are in a truly classical style, and worthy of the best sculptor of the cinque cento Italian school. Busts were first attached to sepulchral monuments in the early part of the seventeenth century.

f Francis Anguier visited Italy; and, upon his return to France, was patronized by Louis XIII. He was employed for many fine sepulchral monuments, among which was that of the last Duke of Montmorency at Molins (16.r>8.) The kneeling figure of the President De Thou, now in the Musee des Munumens Franc, at Paris, is his work. D'Argenville, torn. ii. p. 171.

Ambrose Du Val spent the early part of his life in England, where he was much employed by the Courl. He returned to France, being strongly solicited by the Minister Colbert. Le Noir, Monuru. Franc, torn. iii. and v.

% A greater contrast cannot be seen in the works of any sculptor than in the figure of Lord Dorchester in Westminster Abbey, and of the two sons of Sir T. Lyttelton in the cbapel of Magdalene Coll. Oxford. It appears to be impossible that they should have been the work of the same man, yet both are noted down in bis book. Yet he, or the sculptor he employed, sometimes deviated into fancy. At Barking, in Essex, Sir Charles-Montagu, in a basso-relievo, is represented as sitting in his tent, with his elbow reclining on a desk, on which are his helmet and gauntlets. Two centinels guard the door, and a page holds his horse! At Tavistock, Devon, is the monument of Henry Bourchier, the last Earl of Bath, a sarcophagus supported by four wolves.

§ Dean Nicholas Wootton at Canterbury. Bishop Bickley, at Chichester.— Other examples are very frequent. The monuments of ecclesiastical persons had often a more immediate and striking reference to the semblance of mortality., Dr. Donne (the Satirist Dean) was represented in his winding-sheet, and standing upon an urn carved in white marble, by N. Stone. This monument was destroyed with old St. Paul's Church (see Dugdale); but the figure is still preserved. Skulls and bones were sometimes given in bas-relief, upon the sides of the tomb which supported the figure in full canonicals.

§ This idea was taken from that above mentioned, of the attitude in which Elizabeth Russel is placed. It is repeated at Ross, in Herefordshire, in a military figure of one of the Rudhall family.

singularly

« AnteriorContinuar »