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the north and south parts, and the pediments which af. fectedly cover each projection; to which may be added the profusion of embellishments, that altogether have destroyed the simplicity it would otherwise have possessed." *
After what has been advanced, it is but just, that we should allow the architect to speak for himself." The New Church in the Strand, called St. Mary le Strand, was the first building I was employed in after my arrival from Italy; which being situated in a very public place, the commissioners for building the fifty churches (of which this is one) spared no cost to beautify it. It consists of two orders, in the upper of which the lights are placed; the wall of the lower being solid, to keep out noises from the street, is adorned with niches.
“ There was at first no steeple designed for that church, only a small campanile, or turret for a bell, was to have been over the west end of it: but at the distance of eighty feet from the west front there was a column, two hundred and fifty feet high, intended to be erected in honour of queen Anne, on the top of which her statue was to be placed. My design for the column was approved by the commissioners, and a great quantity of stone was brought to the place for laying the foundation of it; but the thoughts of erecting that monument being laid aside upon the queen's death, I was ordered to erect a steeple instead of the campanile first proposed. The building being then advanced twenty feet above ground, and therefore admitLing of no alteration from east to west, which was only fourteen feet, I was obliged to spread it from south to north, which makes the plan oblong, which otherwise should have been square. I have given two plates of another design I made for this church, more capacious than that now built: but as it exceeded the dimensions of the ground allowed by act of parliament for that building, it was laid aside by the commissioners." +
* Picturesque Tour through London and Westminster, p. 52.
Book of Architecture, p. vii,
A most serious accident happened at this church on the proclamation of peace in 1802*.
SOMERSET PLACE. On this site formerly stood the extensive palace of So Eume merset House, built about the year 1549, by Edward Sey- Wales mour, duke of Somerset, uncle to Edward VI. and pro- P410
• Just as the heralds came abreast of this place, a stone railing which runs round the roof of the church, adorned with stone urns at equal distances; and on which a man on the outside, in the bow on the eastern end, happened to be leaning his hand upon the urn before him, fell off. Newcastle Street, the end of Holywell Street, and the southern side of the Strand, all commanded a view of the spot; and all the windows being crowded, and the attention being drawn to that quarter, several of the spectators saw the stone in the commencement of its fall, and raised a loud shriek. The church being very high, this notice excited an alarm before the stone reached the ground, and several of the people below ran from their situations ; but whether into or out of the danger, they did not know. Three young men were crushed in its fall. The one was struck upon the head, and killed upon the spot; the second so much wounded that he died on his way to the hospital; and the third died two days after. A young woman was also taken away apparently much injured, and several others were hurt; but whether by flying splinters or the pressure of their companions, they do not know. The urn, which weighs about two hundred pound, struck in its descent the cornice of the church, and carried part of it away; but this was the caly obstruction which it met in its fall. An officer of the church went up to ascertain the man whose hand was upon the urn when it tumbled over. He had fallen back and fainted upon its giving way. He was taken into custody; but no blame was imputable to him. The urn stood upon a socket; but, instead of being secured by a strong iron spike running up the centre, there was nothing but a wooden one, which was entirely decayed, and consequently broke off with the pressure of the man's hand, as he was in the act of leaning forward. The stone broke a large fag to pieces in the area below, and sunk nearly a foot into the ground.
We do not take upon us to censure the intention of the architect in placing the urns upon wooden sockets, till the comparative expansion and contraction of wood and metals is fully ascertained; for perished iron wonid have been equally destructive. The blame attached to those who had the care of the church; they ought to have employed able surveyors of the state of the fabric, to prevent any mischief that might
tector of England; who, to make room for it, besides demolishing St. Mary's church, and the episcopal mansions already mentioned, sacrificed part of the conventual church of St. John of Jerusalem, Clerkenwell, the tower and cloisters on the north side of St. Paul's, with the charnel houses and adjoining chapel, to furnish materials for the new structure;. even the beautiful pile of Westminster Abbey was only rescued from the sacrilegious delapidation by immense contributions. No recompence was made to the owners for these robberies; and, strange as it may appear, among the numerous articles exhibited on the duke's at. tainder, not one accused him of sacrilege ; his accusers and judges were deeply involved in the rapacious plunder, and therefore forbore to tax him of what must have recoiled on their own seared consciences.
The architect of the fabric is supposed to have been John of Padua, who was termed “ devisor" of buildings to Henry VIII. It seems that he was the cause of introducing regular architecture into these realms, about the same period as Hans Holbein, and his allowance was the grant of a fee of two shillings per diem. The architecture of Somerset House was one of the earliest specimens of the Italian style in this country; and displayed a mixture of barbarism and beauty. The back front, and the water-gate leading from the garden to the river, were of a different character, and erected from the designs of Inigo Jones about the year 1623, together with a chapel, intended for the use of the infanta of Spain, when the marriage between her and prince Charles was in contemplation. : Somerset House had devolved to the crown by protector Somerset's attainder ; and queen Elizabeth often resided here, and gave the use of it to her cousin lord Hunsdon. Here also Anne of Denmark, queen of James I. kept her court. " As Charles II. did not find it compatible with his gallantries that his queen should be resident at Whitehall, he lodged her during some part of his reign, in this palace. This made it the haunt of the Roman Catholics; and possibly, during the fanatic rage of the nation at that period
against the professors of her religion, occasioned it to have been made the pretended scene of the murder of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, in the year 1678. Queen Catharine remained here after Charles's decease, till her return to Lisbon. The buildings was afterwards appropriated to be the residence of the queens dowager; and very often appointed for the reception of ambassadors; the last who staid here any considerable time were the Venetian residents, who made their public entry in 1763.
“ Although the ancient building and garden occupied a considerable space, they did not, by any means, comprise the intended ground plan of the new erections. This palace had had a large addition made to it, which contained all the apartments fronting the garden dedicated to the purposes of the Royal Academy, the keeper's lodgings, those of the chaplain, the housekeeper, &c.; these, with the chapel, screen, and offices, were the works of Inigo Jones, though they probably rose upon the ruins of a very magnificent part of the old fabric.
“ At the extremity of the royal apartments, which might be termed semi-modern, two large folding doors connected the architecture of Jones with the ancient structure; these opened into a long gallery, on the first floor of a building which occupied one side of the water garden ; at the lower end of this was another gallery, or suite of apartments, which made an angle forming the original front toward the river, and extending to Strand Lane. This old part of the mansion had long been shut up (it was liaunted of course), when Sir William Chambers wishing, or being directed, to survey it, the folding doors of the royal bed. chamber (the keeper's drawing room) were opened ; a bumber of persons entered with the surveyor. The first of the apartments, the long gallery, we observed was lined with oak in small pannels; the heights of their mouldings had been touched with gold: it had an oaken floor and stuccoed ceiling, from which still depended part of the chains, &c. to which had hung chandeliers. Some of the
sconces remained against the sides, and the marks of the glasses were still to be distinguished upon the wainscot.
“ From several circumstances it was evident, that this gallery had been used as a ball room. The furniture which had decorated the royal apartments had, for the convenience of the academy, and perhaps prior to that establishment, with respect to some of the rooms, been removed to this and the adjoining suite of apartments. It was extremely curious to observe thrown together, in the utmost confusion, various articles, the fashion and forms of which shewed that they were the production of different periods. In one part there was the vestiges of a throne and canopy of state; in another, curtains for the audience chamber, which had once been crimson velvet fringed with gold. What remained of the fabric had, except in the deepest folds, faded to an olive colour; all the fringe and lace but a few threads and spangles had been ripped off; the ornaments of the chairs of state demolished; stools, couches, screens, and fire-dogs, broken and scattered about in a state of derangement which might have tempted a philosopher to moralize upon the transitory nature of sublunary splendour and human enjoyments.
“ In these rooms, which had been adorned in a style of splendour and magnificence which was creditable to the taste of the age of Edward the Sixth, part of the ancient furniture remained, and indeed, from the stability of its materials and construction, might have remained for centuries, had proper attention been paid to its preservation.
« The audience chamber had been hung with silk, which was in tatters, as were the curtains, gilt leather covers, and painted screens. There was in this and a much longer room a number of articles which had been removed from other apartments, and the same confusion and appearance of neglect was evident. Some of the sconces, though reversed, were still against the hangings; and I remember one of the brass gilt chandeliers still depended from the cieling. The general state of this building, its mouldering walls and decaying furniture, broken casements, falling