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ride for the most part along the green marshes of Isaak Walton's Lea River, without a single cutting to hide the prospects on either side, which on the east, for nearly the whole distance, are bounded by the wooded heights of Epping Forest. Picturesque mills and groups accompany the tourist all the way. At Broxbourne the line diverges to Hertford, and passes very near to the Old Rye House.
It would not be unprofitable to have a day's meditation on the history of England, suggested by the materials which might be explored in the ancient town of Hertford. Here, as in other towns purely agricultural, the changes are so slow and gradual,
inghouwrensi p that evidences of the works of many centuries
Broxbourne Church. may be traced by those who will give themselves the trouble of investigation. Historical remains at Hertford carry us back to the time of the Danes, who ascended the River Lea as high as the town itself, and erected a fortress there; and the history of succeeding ages may be read in remains of its castle, its old water-mills, churches, streets, &c. At the present time we cannot stay
WI to expatiate on the town, and can do no more than advise the companions of our present day's excursion, being in search of works of art, not to pass
Old Rye House. unnoticed the Old Town Mill, with its waters first still, pent up, black, deeply shadowed, then roaring, struggling for exit, white, scattered into rainbow spray, recalling Hobbima and his magical skill in realizing such scenes. At the western end of the town the road branches northward and southward. The mill stands on the north, which is the road to Panshanger. After a few paces, the road again is divided, and here the tourist will take the south road, following the same until he arrives at the lodge of Panshanger grounds.
He will not pass the gates of the lodge without resolving whether he intends to dine before he returns to town; and if he settles into an affirmative, then let him, with proper foresight, pass on to the village of Hertin gfordbury, which is but a five minutes' walk, and, at the White
gallery. We can assure him that he will be well taken care of; and every one may judge for himself of the charges by the account of the accommodation. A roasted fowl, stuffed like a turkey—as all roasted fowls, in our judgment, ought to be—ham, broad beans, and other vegetables, with suitable accompaniments of melted butter, a salad dressed with cream, a black currant pudding, (which every artist at least must enjoy, were it only for its intensely rich colour,) custard, and homebrewed ale, will cost some 4s. per head-a charge not unreasonable, considering the cleanly style and excellent quality of the supplies. The inn is of a rustic character, but extremely well ordered.
Having thus insured due refreshment to follow the excitement of the Panshanger pictures, we retrace our steps to the lodge. The road is by a wood side for about three quarters of a mile, on high ground, overlooking pastures, through which the little river Maran meanders, and the views backwards on the village, with its church shooting above the trees, are most pleasant, and suggestive of national associations. About an equal distance of road across the park leads us to the house-not the house as built by Lord Chancellor Cowper, but a modernized structure of the Wyatt class, which may be described in a sentence, as a stuccoed jumble of gothic parts,-pointed windows with modern light sash-frames-square-headed windows, battlements, pinnacles, crockets, &c.—an assemblage of parts from buildings of different ages and different purposes, brought together without much reference to use or beauty. Of course everything is very trim and orderly, and in the bright sunshine on the terraced walks, surrounded by gently undulating lawns, and brilliant coloured flowers, the defects of the architecture pass comparatively unobserved.
From the entrance hall the visitor is at once conducted into the antechamber of the picture gallery, the two being open to each other through Ionic pillars. The ante-chamber is dark and gloomy, the picture gallery a blaze of brightness and rich colouring, enhanced greatly by the contrast. Direct before you, as the door opens, hangs the Fra Bartolomeo, seen under a flood of light in its greatest glory. The first impression of this scene is one not easily forgotten, for its singularly bright splendour. Again and again, as you wander about the gallery, you are drawn into the ante-chamber to recall the first impression you received on entrance. The effect of the other paintings—the most interesting in the gallery–which are hung on either side of the Fra Bartolomeo, is scarcely less striking at this point of view. Before we speak in detail of this focus of attraction, we will glance at the pictures which adorn the other sides of the gallery-first, however, saying a few words in praise of the gallery itself. It is an oblong spacious room, lighted by three lanterns, having besides a noble bay window, which overlooks a most picturesque luxuriance of lawn, foliage, water and distant hill. The walls are hung with scarlet, and though we might have preferred a more crimson hue, for the sake of some of the pictures, the majority do not suffer from the brightness of the scarlet, and the general effect is one of great brilliancy. The apartment is tastefully furnished—not for show merely, but substantial comfort—and abundantly supplied with ottomans, couches, easy chairs, &c., for enjoying a leisured examination of its artistic treasures. When the family are absent you are permitted to remain with the pictures as long as you
visit; besides, in their absence, you are freed from any sense of intrusion; therefore, previously to performing a pilgrimage, it is well worth making an inquiry, by penny post letter to the housekeeper, respecting the actual residence of the family.
This collection, mostly of good pictures, was made chiefly by the grandfather of the present Earl, when he was ambassador at Florence, and excepting the two Raffaelles, its choicest works are by Florentine masters. It may be more satisfactory to enumerate the less interesting portions of the collection first. Rembrandt has a large, vigorous, broadly treated portrait of Marshal Turenne, on a grey prancing horse, of the size of life. The painting is nearly ten feet square, and is thought to be the only equestrian portrait ever painted by him. The chiaroscuro of this picture is bright and very fine. There are four landscapes by Salvator Rosa-all painted with his vigorous mannerism ; but only one remarkable for any great similitude to nature. It is a sea-coast, with mountains, and a bright, clear, blue sea. Above it is a poetical landscape, by Wilson-a sunrise, with a castle on a rocky height; but it has unfortunately become so dark as to lose much of its value. Nicholas Poussin has here a portrait of the statuary Quesnoy, called
Il Fiamingo'; as a portrait, a rare work for him, and very well drawn. In the dining-room is one of Vandyke's finest and largest paintingsthe family group of John Count of Nassau, consisting of the Count, the Countess, and their four children. The painting is known by Baron's engraving of it. When the rooms are not in occupation, it is worth while asking for entrance to the library, in order to see Teniers's • Interior of an Oil Mill,' with its dexterous touches of silvery light illumining the gloom ; also Vansomer's dignified portrait of Lord Bacon of Verulam, and an equally fine portrait of a senator of Antwerp, ascribed to Willeborts, a Flemish painter of several altar-pieces at Antwerp, who lived in the middle of the seventeenth century, and not unworthy to rank with Rubens and Vandyke. Both these substantial portraits, it must be confessed, make Lawrence's portrait of the late Earl Cowper appear very chalky and flimsy. There is a sketch of the Romans and the Sabine women, by Vandyke, interesting only for its free and off-hand execution. Carlo Dolce is represented by a Nativity, rather suggestive of Correggio, whom he sometimes imitated—a bright, clear, and delicate picture, which provokes neither much criticism nor much interest. He has also a Holy Family'- figures the size of life; and a half-length animated portrait of his wife. In the library is one of the many copies of Correggio's “Virgin and Child,' with the rabbit. A fine head of • Christ crowned with Thorns,' by Correggio, in a glass case, has apparently formed part of a larger painting; and a Virgin and Child,' which hangs on the upper side of the gallery, has been assigned to him
-we should say on doubtful grounds. The • Cupid,' ascribed to Annibale Carracci, is thought by Dr. Waagen—who, in his · Arts and Artists in England,' has noticed the most remarkable of the pictures here—to be a decided work by Domenichino. A dark and powerful picture, with figures of life size, representing the ' Return of the Prodigal Son,'owns Guercino as the painter. A good picture of three young children in costume of the sixteenth century, evidently portraits, is called a Titian. It hangs too high for examination. Michael Angelo is libelled by a • Dead Christ supported by Angels'-a third-rate, clumsy, cool-looking It will have been obvious to the reader that the preceding enumeration does not offer much that is very tempting. He may, if he please, forget them all : and, indeed, he will find, after seeing the works that are in this gallery of the Florentine Tailor's Son, of the Florentine Monk, and the divine” Raffaelle, that his memory will not be overburthened with the recollection of them. We have therefore felt little inclination to dwell much upon them: and have rather reserved our space for a few works worth all the rest of the collection. But we must not omit to call attention to a capital Florentine portrait, un-named, in the ante-gallery, not unworthy the best period of Pordenone. Andrea del Sarto has three noble portraits, together with a series of three pictures, apparently relating to the history of Joseph. These latter paintings are held in much esteem by many artists. Without denying them merit as compositions, and a certain freshness of positive colouring, they appear to us deficient in telling their story (even Dr. Waagen confesses he could not understand two of them), without much defined expression, loose in their drawing and treatment, and somewhat mannered. Our want of appreciation of these must be excused by our admiration of Andrea's portraits, one of which is himself—" one of the finest portraits of his latest period.” He stands behind a table, and looks up from a letter which is before him. The face has a fine, noble, yet rather melancholy cast. By the side of this portrait is another, by the same master, of a lady clothed in a crimson dress. She, too, is behind a table. Books, one of which is a Petrarch, are lying upon it. Neither in point of beauty nor expression is this portrait very attractive; but it is interesting to the artist for the excellent secondary qualities of its execution. The third of Andrea's portraits is a three-quarters length of a young man in a caped coat, with his right hand thrust into his bosom, and his left resting in his girdles. There is very little positive colouring in this picture, and its powerful simplicity might teach even some of our best portrait painters a useful lesson in their department of art. In its mechanical execution, Andrea's practice, like that of most of the great painters of his time, seems the very reverse of modern general practice. The highest lights, for the most part, seem to be realized by a thin glaze on the original ground. Adjoining this noble conception is one of the loveliest of Raffaelle's works, a Madonna and Child. The Virgin holds the Child seated on her lap, with his left hand taking hold of the upper part of his mother's vest. "The Virgin has a modest unconscious look of the purest loveliness. The infant, though extremely beautiful, has, perhaps, too much the look of childish humour, a sort of mischievous joy. The whole picture excites far more a sense of refined beauty, than of devotion. Perfect as it is, it seems painted with no higher aim than that of realizing extreme maternal and infantine beauty. It is dated 1508, and affords an interesting specimen of the transition period of Raffaelle, when he was abandoning the strictly devotional aim of his early pictures to realize the beauty and refinement of nature for their own sakes alone. This exquisite picture is in excellent preservation, and a most useful study for its style of treatment, clear, brilliant and powerful, but very thinly painted. Waagen says, that this picture strongly resembles, in its principal qualities—of grace, beauty and spirited handling—the Madonna from the house of Colonna, in the Museum at Berlin. There
which, in the absence of the picture already noticed, would be a great treasure, but it loses its interest somewhat in company with the other painting. In this picture, the Virgin is seated on a bench, holding the Child, who is fondly seizing his mother's neck. The Virgin, with a sort of dream-like quiet unconsciousness, looks towards the spectator. The general colouring and character of many of the parts, particularly the upper part of the Virgin's face, brings to mind Perugino, Raffaelle's master. Waagen instances this work as “probably the oldest specimen of the lighter pictures, in which glaze colours are used, a style which Raffaelle had adopted from Fra Bartolomeo." And now we come, in due turn, to the magnet of the collection, the Fra Bartolomeo itself: not perhaps attaining to that pictorial perfection which we find in the first-named Raffaelle, but certainly, to our mind, superior for devotional sentiment, and more precious on account of the extreme rarity of its painter's works, not only in our country but in all Europe, except in his native city, Florence. It is a Holy Family, seated near the shadow of the fans of a palm tree. The Virgin, with the Child on her lap, is seated in the centre: on her right is Joseph, and on the left an infant St. John with the cross. Some slight architectural indications are in the extreme distance, whilst nearer there are rocks and foliage charmingly introduced. It is a finely arranged composition, very brilliant and full-toned in colour, with strong and powerful shadows; highly finished in treatment and carefully drawn; but the expression of the heads and figures generally does not partake of any very strongly marked character. The Virgin is beautiful and modest; Joseph rather thoughtful and grave; the Child unconsciously infantine and simple; and all are in a state of repose. The picture at once, and instantly, impresses you as the work of a strong man, putting forth his power in all parts—as well the most subordinate as the most important—as a work not painted for art itself, or to display any of its elements, but with a higher and venerated aim. You go from one part of the gallery to another, and anon find yourself drawn towards the Bartolomeo. Some few parts have been rather injured by cleaning, yet, on the whole, it is in a fine and perfect state. It is about five feet high and four wide. A word before leaving the picture on the life of its author, whose name was Baccio, the friend of Savonarola, student under Leonardo da Vinci, Raffaelle's master in colouring and his pupil in perspective. In the outset of his career he was the disciple of Cosimo Roselli; and residing near the gate of St. Peter, at Florence, obtained the name of Baccio della Portă. The execution of Savonarola is said to have induced him to become a Dominician monk, and to abandon his art for a time; but he resumed it, fortunately for art and our visit to Panshanger, and became known as Fra Bartolomeo di S. Marco, or Il Frate. He died before he reached his forty-ninth year, in 1517.
It will not be in discordance with the tone of mind which a study of this beautiful work must produce, to proceed to enjoy the grassy slopes and terraced walks of the hills, wood, lakes, and its flocks of swans immediately close to the mansion, and above all, the most majestic of oaks. At the first approach, the fine and well-balanced proportions of the noble tree, like those in a well made man, rather diminish its real size, but beneath the shadow of its huge branches it is an unparalleled specimen of size, strength, beauty and health.