Walks in London, vol. 2Hare, Augustus J. C.
Chapter XII: South Kensington.
Chapter XII: South Kensington.
If we turn to the left at Tattersall's, the wide ugly will lead us to , where the , begun in , is perpetually extending. In its later buildings great use is made of the different tints of terra-cotta ornament so largely and advantageously employed in the Lombard cities.
The principal entrance to the Museum is in .[n.476.1] We enter the , which is divided by a central gallery. It is approached beneath a magnificent Roodloft of marble and alabaster, of , from the cathedral of Bois le Duc in North Brabant. In the centre is a copy of Trajan's Column at Rome. The magnificent collection
| of architectural casts and other objects in this court include --beginning from the left-
Passing the central of the court, we see-
From the central door at the end of the corridor beneath the screen we enter the , decorated with mosaic portraits of distinguished painters, sculptors, or workers in pottery. The west side of the area is entirely occupied by the ; the eastern side is filled with cases of precious objects. At the south-eastern angle is a model of a French boudoir of the time of Marie Antoinette-containing a harp supposed to have belonged to that queen.
Descending the central passage we enter the , devoted chiefly to architecture and sculpture. Over the entrance is a model of the Cantoria or Singing Gallery in Santa Maria Novella at Florence, by Baccio d'Agnolo, c. . On the opposite side is the tribune of Santa Chiara at Florence, . Most of the objects in this Hall are copies: we shall only notice a few of the precious originals.
Beneath the gallery on the eastern side of this court is a collection of ecclesiastical vestments, including (within the arch) the famous , which was worked in the reign of Henry III., and belonged to the nuns of Syon near Isleworth, by whom it was carried into Portugal at the Reformation. Brought back to England at the beginning of the century, it was bequeathed to the Earl of Shrewsbury by some poor nuns to whom he had given an asylum. Beneath the arch is a Portrait of Napoleon I., interesting as an example of the wonderful needlework of Miss Mary Linwood, whose exhibition excited so much interest at the beginning of this century. Built into the compartments below the east gallery are a number of noble chimney-pieces, rescued from decaying palaces at Como, Brescia, Venice, &c., and well worthy of study. The most magnificent, from Padua, is of : opposite to it are an
| altar-piece and tabernacle from the Church of S. Girolamo at Fiesole, by |
From the north-western angle of the a door leads to the , devoted to an exhibition of . Hence we reach the , devoted to ancient furniture. We had better return to the staircase at the north-western angle of the to ascend to the upper floor. The walls here are decorated with the cartoons executed for the frescoes in the Houses of Parliament. Passing through the rooms facing the stairs (devoted to Loan Exhibitions), a door on the right leads into Galleries devoted to , both English and Foreign. From the of the before-mentioned rooms a door on the left leads to the . That above the central screen contains many of the greatest treasures of the museum--
Entering the , the western portion is devoted to Carvings in Ivory. In a case at the entrance of the eastern portion is a beautiful Metallic Mirror made for a Duke of Savoy, c. .
(The door in the centre leads to the , containing noble specimens of ancient iron-work, chiefly German and Italian.)
The door at the east end of the Southern Gallery leads to the ,[n.481.1] through which we enter rooms almost entirely devoted to the collection of pictures illustrative of British Art which was given to the nation by Mr. John Sheepshanks in , and which is known as
We may especially notice-
Hence we reach the , which contains the celebrated , being the original designs (drawn with chalk upon strong paper and coloured in distemper) by Raffaelle and his scholars, especially Francesco Penni, for the tapestries ordered by Leo X. to cover the lower walls of the Sistine Chapel, the upper part being already clothed with the glorious frescoes which still adorn them. There were originally Cartoons, but are lost-The Stoning of Stephen, The Conversion of St. Paul, St. Paul in his Dungeon at Philippi, and the Coronation of the Virgin, which last was intended to fill the space above the altar. The tapestries were executed at Arras, and were hence called . They were worked under the superintendence of Bernard van Orley, a Dutch pupil of Raffaelle, and were hung up in the Sistine, on Day, . years after, they were carried off in the sack of Rome by the French, but were restored to Julius III. by the Constable Anne de Montmorency. In they were again carried off by the French, and passing through various hands, were repurchased by Pius VII. in from a Frenchman named Devaux, at Genoa. Though greatly faded and much injured by bad restoration, they still hang in the Vatican.
The Cartoons, which alone exist now, lay neglected in the manufactory at Arras till they were seen there in by Rubens, who advised Charles I. to purchase them for a tapestry manufactory which was established at Mortlake. On the death of Charles, Cromwell bought them for . They remained almost forgotten at till the time of William III., who removed them to , where a room was built for them by Wren, in which they hung till they were brought to South Kensington. Tapestry workers have twice cut them into strips and pricked the outlines with their needles, at Arras, and afterwards at Mortlake, where several copies were executed. A splendid set of tapestries worked from the Cartoons whilst they were at Arras (probably ordered by Henry VIII.) was in the collection of Charles I. at , and was purchased, after his death, by the Duke of Alva : they are now in the Royal Museum at Berlin.
The Cartoons require many visits to be properly understood. He who visits them often will agree with Steele:
On the opposite side of (reached from the North-western-i.e. Furniture Galleries-take a ticket of free admittance with you from the door as you go out) is the entrance to the Educational part of the Museum devoted to , and . A division in the long gallery devoted to machinery is interesting as containing-
The staircase on the right leads to the , of ever-increasing interest and importance, established; at the suggestion of Philip Henry, Earl
| Stanhope, its President. At present it occupies a suite of small rooms which are wholly inadequate, and, as it is constantly increasing, no arrangement as to dates or characters has been even attempted. It deserves the appropriation of some fine building in a central situation, such as the wantonly destroyed . Many of the earlier portraits, chiefly royal, are by unknown artists, and more curious than otherwise remarkable: the later portraits are not only interesting from those they commemorate, but are in many cases valuable as specimens of the English School of portrait-painters-Dobson, Riley, Richardson, Jervas, Michael Wright, Mary Beale, Godfrey Kneller, Wissing, Sarah Hoadley, Thomas Hudson, Hogarth, Hoare, Dance, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Romney, Opie, Hoppner, Wright of Derby, Hilton, Allan Ramsay, Hudson, Beachey, Raeburn, Lawrence, Phillips, and Landseer. It is impossible () to give more than an alphabetical guide to some of the more interesting pictures :
Sir Robert Walpole, Earl of Orford, the Prime Minister; - .-
Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, the author; -.-- , William Warburton, Bishop of Gloucester; -.-C.
General George Washington; - in crayons.-Mrs.
James Watt the engineer; -.-
Isaac Watts, author of the Hymns; -.-
The Duke of Wellington; -.-
Rev. John Wesley; -; aged .-
The same, aged .-
Benjamin West the historical painter; --.-
Rev. George Whitefield, preaching; -.-
William Wilberforce the philanthropist; -.-
Sir David Wilkie the painter; --.-
William III. as a boy of in a yellow dress; --..-.
Sir Ralph Winwood the diplomatist; -.--
General James Wolfe; -.-
William Wordsworth the poet; -.-
Sir Christopher Wren the architect; -.-
Joseph Wright of Derby the portrait painter; -.-BY
Anne Hyde, Duchess of York, mother of Mary II. and Anne; - .-
John Zoffany the painter; -.-
A room attached to this gallery contains a number of electrotype casts from the tombs in . A fine bronze bust of Charles I. is by ; a terra-cotta bust of Cromwell is by
A little higher up the is the entrance of
The galleries on the ground-floor are occupied by objects
|illustrative of the Natural Products. Minerals, and Zoology of India. On the upper-floor are specimens of Indian Manufactures. In Room IX. are the principal curiosities, which were formerly shown at the - Runjeet Singh's golden throne, and Tippoo Saib's Tiger, taken at Seringapatam, which was made by mechanism to growl, and the Englishman it is supposed to be devouring, to scream, for his amusement. The passage by which the lower galleries are reached is occupied by the curious sculptures brought in from the Amravati Tope on the river Kistna in the district of Guntoor in Madras.|
The dull occupy the site of those of Loudon and Wise, whose collection of trees and shrubs was so much eulogised by Evelyn. To the south-west of these, at the junction of and , stood Gloucester Lodge, built for the Duchess of Gloucester and inhabited by Princess Sophia, and afterwards by George Canning. It was pulled down in .
Returning to the , we find the running southwards. On the right is , which retains a portion of the fine avenue which once extended from the grounds of Cowper House to the , where it terminated opposite Hollis Place.
The , at the south-east corner of , occupies part of the grounds of Sydenham Edwards, the editor of the Botanical Register, which grounds existed till . The perfectly countrified aspect of Brompton at this time is described by Lord Lytton in his novel of
Streets are rapidly increasing along the , which a short time ago ran entirely through nursery-grounds.
| The famous Brompton Park Nursery lasted from the time of James II. to that of the Exhibition of .[n.497.1] Evelyn describes |
The Brompton Stock is a memorial of its celebrity.
On the right are , where years ago brace of partridges used to rise in a morning, now regularly laid out with villas, much frequented by artists.
[The road leads through Walham Green to , which, though miles from , requires a cursory mention here as the home of the Bishops of London.
Fulham, which, according to Camden, means
but, according to most authorities,
is a pretty antiquated village with a wooden bridge over the Thames. The Inn of the Golden Lion existed in the time of Henry VII., and was for some time the residence of Bishop Bonner. At another tavern, the King's Arms, the Fire of London was annually commemorated on September i, in honour of its having given refuge to a number of city fugitives. The perpendicular , which stands near the river, contains a great number of interesting monuments. We may especially notice that of John Viscount Mordaunt of Avalon, father of the great Earl of Peterborough, . , by Bushnell, sculptor of the figures on , with a statue by Bird; the noble monument by Gibbons to Dorothy Hyliard, , wife of Sir W. Clarke, Secretary at War to Charles II., and afterwards of Samuel Barrow, physician to the same, author of the Latin verses prefixed to the simple altar tomb of Sir William Butts, , the physician
|to Henry VIII., mentioned by Shakspeare; the quaint monument of Margaret, wife of Sir Peter Legh of Lyme, , and her babies; the mural monuments of Thomas Carlos, , son of the Colonel Careless who hid Charles II. in the oak, and was allowed to change his name to Carlos as a reward; of Thomas Smith, Master of Requests to James I., ; of Bishop Gibson, ; Bishop Porteus, ; and Bishop Blomfield, . An admirable Flemish brass commemorates Margaret Swanders, . In the churchyard are the monuments of Sir Francis Child, , and of Theodore Hook, . On the eastern side of the church are the tombs of a number of the bishops (beginning at the church wall)-Lowth, ; Terrick, ; Randolph, ; Gibson, ; Sherlock, ; Compton, ; Hayter, ; Robinson, . Near the tomb of his patron, Bishop Compton, lies Richard Fiddes, author of the Life of Cardinal Wolsey. In the grave of Bishop Lowth rests his friend Wilson, Bishop of Bristol, .|
A drive through an avenue, or (from the church) a raised causeway called
leads to , the ancient manor-house of the Bishops of London. A gateway is the approach to a quaint picturesque courtyard surrounded by low buildings of red and black bricks, erected by Bishop Fitzjames in the reign of Henry VII. The interior of the palace is unimportant, though the Library contains a number of episcopal portraits, including that of Bishop Ridley, whose years' residence here is of the most interesting periods in the history of the palace. Under his hospitable roof the mother and sister of his predecessor, Bonner, continued to reside, ever-welcome
| guests at his table, where the place of honour was always reserved for |
The palace gardens were filled with rare shrubs by Bishop Grindal, who was a great gardener: they still contain a very fine cork-tree. A picturesque garden-gateway bears the arms of Bishop Fitzjames. The , in the garden, was built by Butterfield for Bishop Tait, .
In the water-meadows and on the river banks, near Fulham Palace, may be recognised many of the familiar subjects in the pictures of De Wint, who repeated them over and over again. In ascending the river to Fulham a perfect gallery of De Wints is seen.
Near the palace is , much admired when it was built by Lady Craven, afterwards Margravine of Anspach. At , a hamlet of Fulham, lived
|Lord Mordaunt, whose tomb is in the church, and his son, the famous Earl of Peterborough. Peterborough House has been rebuilt. On the same side of the green Samuel Richardson lived from to his death in .]|
[n.476.1] In the garden is John Bell's statue of The Eagle Slayer.
[n.481.1] The best pictures here are the hundred works of art given by Mrs. Ellison of Sudbrooke near Lincoln. Especially beautiful is No. 1048, Conisborough Castle by G. F. Robson (1790-1833). Some of the pictures are interesting as representations of Old London--as that of old Buckingham House (No. 80) by E. Dayes.
[n.497.1] The Builder. September 4, 1875.