Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places. Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 4Thornbury, Walter
is described by Strype, in his edition of Stow, as
adorned with gardens on the south side, many with raised mounds and fine views of the royal gardens and beyond; nevertheless, centuries ago, the whole of the space between and was only a tract of fields. In the time of Charles II. it was sometimes styled Catharine Street, out of compliment to the king's unhappy and neglected consort, Catharine of Braganza. We know that at a far later period it was the favourite haunt of the beaux and dandies of the Regency in a summer afternoon; and few will have forgotten the popularity of the song of the jovial and genial Captain Morris-
In the days of Pepys, had really a
as there grew along it a row of elm-trees, a in number,
and the few houses which stood on the south side of it were
The north side was entirely open, and or hay-stacks might be seen on the spot now occupied, as has already been mentioned, by the Junior Carlton Club. At that time was the fashionable walk of the
who afterwards transferred their affections, when the trees were cut down, to the in Kensington Gardens.
Some celebrated characters have been remarkable for their fondness for London, and especially for the West-end. The reader may possibly remember that when Charles Lamb was invited by Wordsworth to come down and stay with him by the side of the Westmoreland Lakes, he sighed for the silversmiths' shops about , and the
On the south side, in a house which overlooked the Park and its gardens, resided George Bubb Dodington, afterwards Lord Melcombe, whom Pope immortalised as
Lord Hervey tells us in his
that his house
Dodington was a witty, generous, ostentatious, and, in a political sense, unprincipled man; but he was the kind patron of James Thomson (who dedicated to him his
), and also the early friend of Richard Cumberland. To him Dr. Young inscribed his Satire, and Lord Lyttelton his Eclogue. The unwarrantable publication of his
by a person to whom he had left his papers on condition of his printing such only as would do credit to his memory, reveals him to the light as politically the type of profligacy, though probably he was not worse than many of his cotemporaries, who were wise enough not to commit their thoughts to paper. Dodington is thus portrayed by Walpole :--
says his biographer,
writes Lady Hervey,
A good anecdote is told of Lord Melcombe; when his name was Bubb, he was appointed ambassador to Spain. Lord Chesterfield told him it would not do, as the Spaniards could not suppose a man to possess any dignity whose name was a monosyllable.
answered Lord Melcombe.
replied Lord Chesterfield,
As nearly as possible on the site of what is now , stood as lately as , if not much later, Cumberland House. It was a large brick mansion, retiring from the street. According to Thornton's
it was built for Edward, Duke of York, but afterwards became the residence of his brother, whose name it bore. Thornton describes it as
The house fell into a neglected state after the duke's death, in . When the union of England and Ireland was in agitation, it was resolved to establish a club in honour of the event; a number of gentlemen then purchased the house and fitted it up for an hotel. It bore the name of the
The houses Nos. and formed originally mansion, known as Schomberg House, which was built during the Commonwealth. Like the adjoining house of Nell Gwynne, it had in its rear a garden with a handsome raised terrace commanding a view of the royal gardens and of the Park beyond. At the Restoration it was tenanted by Edward Griffin, of the high officers of the court of Charles II. Here afterwards lived the [extra_illustrations.4.124.1] , of the Dutch generals brought over in his train by William, Prince of Orange, and who fell at the battle of the Boyne: the house was named after him. It was beautified for Frederick, the and last duke, for whom Peter Berchett painted the grand staircase with landscapes in lunettes. The rest of the history of the mansion shall be told in the words of the author of
The house is still remarkable for its foreign design, with wings, pediment, and caryatide porticos.
Many years after the duke's death it was bought from the Earl of Holdernesse, who then owned it, by a portrait painter named John Astley, who, as stated above, divided it into houses. Gainsborough and his works of art .have made of these houses known far and wide. Astley himself occupied the central house, and raised it by a storey. During the latter part of the eighteenth century it was hired by various speculators in succession as a gallery for the exhibition of
| pictures, &c., and it is said that more shillings were taken at its doors than at any other house in the time of George III. Early in the present century it was converted to more strictly literary uses, becoming the bookshop of Mr. Thomas Payne, whose father, |
had been for years a bookseller at Gate. . It was here that was concocted the dramatic scheme of the . It was originally proposed to Swift to be named the , as the thought of writing such a gross and immoral drama originated with him. Swift also, who was an ardent admirer of the poetic talents of Gay, delighted to quote his Devonshire pastorals, they being very characteristic of low, rustic life, and congenial to his taste; for the pen of the Dean revelled in vulgarity. Under the influence of such notions, he proposed to Gay to bestow his thoughts upon the subject, which he felt assured he would turn to good account, namely, that of writing a work to be entitled
This scheme was talked over at Queensberry House, and Gay commenced it, but soon dropped it, with something of disgust. It was ultimately determined that he should commence upon the . This proposal was approved, and the opera written forthwith, under the auspices of the Duchess of Queensberry, and performed at the theatre in , under the immediate influence of her Grace, who, to induce the manager, Rich, to bring it upon his stage, agreed to indemnify him all the expenses he might incur, providing that the speculation should fail.
No. , adjoining Schomberg House, was for very many years the head-quarters of the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, prior to its removal, about the year , to , . The house has been identified as that occupied by Nell Gwynne during the heyday of her career as the favourite of King Charles II. To the south side of it was attached a garden, adjoining that of the King; and we have already told our readers how Evelyn was a witness on this spot to
According to Mr. John Timbs, part of this
or raised mound of earth, is still to be seen
and the same authority tells us that a bill for erecting this very mound was found among Nell Gwynne's papers. It is interesting to learn that whilst basking in the sunshine of the royal favour Nelly did not forget her poor mother, and that the same doctor's bill which mentions the medicine sent for her own use and that of her little son, includes also
Maintained in decent comfort after the King's death, whose last words were
she died in in , and was buried in the church of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, the vicar, Dr. Tenison, preaching her funeral sermon.
With respect to this residence of Nell Gwynne, Mr. Peter Cunningham writes:--
The house rebuilt upon the site of that given by Charles II. to Nell Gwynne was some years since occupied by Dr. Heberden.
Previously to living on this side of , Nell Gwynne had occupied a house on the north side, whither she had removed in , soon after the birth of her eldest son by Charles II. That house is described by Pennant as the good on the left hand of , as we enter from . Its site is now covered by the Army and Navy Club. When Pennant wrote, it belonged to Mr. Thomas Brand, afterwards Lord Dacre; it subsequently was the town residence of Lord De Mauley. Pennant says,
Mr. John Timbs adds the fact that in Lord De Mauley's house was a relic of Nell Gwynne-namely, her looking-glass;
he tells us,
Bishop Burnet calls Nell Gwynne the indiscreetest and wildest creature that was ever in a king's court, and says she was maintained at a great expense. The Duke of Buckingham, he says, told him that at she asked only a year;
| but at the end of the year she had received from the King . Throughout her whole life she continued negligent in her dress, but that might have arisen from the acknowledged fact that whatever she wore became her. Her eldest son, by Charles II., was born in , and the tradition of his elevation to the peerage is as follows:--Charles day going to see Nell Gwynne, and the little boy being in the room, the King wanted to speak to him. |
said the King,
Upon this the King conferred upon him
|the name of Beauclerk, and created him Earl of Burford; and shortly before his death made him Duke of St. Albans. In the next house west to Schomberg House lived Mrs. Fitzherbert, of whom we have already spoken.|
is styled by Malcolm, in , a
It could not at this time have been well kept or watered, for he complains that
| as its chief attractions, Carlton House, Kelly's Opera Saloon, or rather music shop- |
--and lastly by Christie's Auction Room, which then stood on the south side, next to Schomberg House.
--George Robins, it may be observed by us in passing, was not then known to fame--
It may be added that the auction in London is said to have been held in .
Among the other various relics which here passed under the hammer of Messrs. Christie, was the famous Shakspeare Cup, which is thus described by Mr. J. T. Smith:--
It was sold early in the present century by Mr. Christie, who addressed the assembly, adjuring them
to offer biddings worthy of the occasion. The bid was guineas; and it was knocked down ultimately for guineas, the purchaser being Mr. J. Johnson, of , Covent Garden.
How thoroughly these rooms held their position not merely as a mart and market, but also as a criterion of the arts, may be inferred from the stanza of a poem by Mr. Richard Fenton, published just a century ago :
And so on. What happened does not much matter; but the lines certainly imply that there was at that time no other
in London where the special works of at least of the Muses would be likely to find competent critics. [extra_illustrations.4.128.1] was removed in the year to , .
It is mentioned incidentally by Miss Meteyard, in her
that in the great master of pottery was in treaty for some premises in , which had been formerly used as auction rooms, but were then occupied as an
and she gives a print of the house as it then stood. The negotiation, however, passed off.
On the south side also, nearly opposite to the entrance leading to the west side of , is a mansion of the last century, built by Sir John Soane, formerly belonging to Lord Temple, and afterwards to his son, the Marquis of Buckingham, and sometimes therefore called Buckingham House. night, if we may believe Sir N. W. Wraxall, Mr. (afterwards Lord) Nugent was at a party at Lord Temple's, when, in a foolish frolic, he laid a bet with his host that he would spit in Lord Bristol's hat. He coolly did so, then pretended to apologise for the indecorum, and asked to be allowed to wipe off the affront with his pocket-handkerchief. With a coolness and high breeding which marks the perfect gentleman, Lord Bristol took out his own handkerchief, and performed that office for himself, and then sat down to a rubber of whist. Next morning, however, Lord Bristol addressed him a note demanding an apology or instant satisfaction. Mr. Nugent, finding the matter serious, and not wishing to be made the laughing-stock of the town by fighting a duel for so silly a freak, found himself obliged to tender an apology, to which Lord Temple also was forced to subscribe, both asking his pardon at White's Club. Lord Bristol declared himself satisfied, and there the matter happily ended without blood being shed. This Lord Bristol was George, the eldest son of the famous Lord Hervey, whom Pope has most unjustly handed down to posterity as
and like his father, he had an effeminate manner, which led Mr. Nugent to take the liberty of insulting him-^ with what result we have seen.
Mr. Nugent is the same individual of whom the same writer tells us another capital story. When he was a member of the , in the early part of the reign of George III., a bill was introduced for the better watching of the streets of London and . of the clauses proposed that watchmen should be made to go to sleep in the day-time, so as to make them the more active
| at night. Mr. Nugent, with admirable humour, got up, and in his usual Irish accent, begged the Ministers to include him personally in the provisions of the bill, as he was frequently so tormented with the gout that he could sleep neither by day nor by night. Glover, in speaking of this Mr. Nugent, describes him in very just terms, as |
Singularly enough, a great part of his wealth in the end came to the son of this same Lord Temple, afterwards Marquis of Buckingham, by his marriage with Lord Nugent's daughter and heiress. [extra_illustrations.4.129.1] [extra_illustrations.4.129.2]
Buckingham House was the head-quarters of the Tory party in the eventful days of the struggles between Pitt and Fox. Accordingly it suffered some indignities from the mob who marched from Covent Garden to , carrying Mr. Fox in triumph on their shoulders as member for , in . years later, the mansion of Lord Buckingham was tenanted by the [extra_illustrations.4.129.3] , whom Pitt and Dundas put forward as the Tory
in opposition to the Duchess of Devonshire. With her unmarried daughters she brought together here the leaders of the
party, both Lords and Commons, summoning doubtful members to her receptions, questioning and remonstrating with them, and using all other feminine arts for confirming their allegiance to Pitt.
Buckingham House now forms part of the [extra_illustrations.4.129.4] , having been purchased by the [extra_illustrations.4.129.5] . The department of the Secretary for War, the duties of which were formerly performed at , was established in the year . Up to that time, as we learn from
the business had formed part of the duty of the Secretary of State; but the consolidation of the finance of the army in his department had become so inconvenient, that this separate office was then created. Since the remodelling of the administration of our military department after the Crimean war, the Secretary of State for War has been really the supreme controller of the army, assuming and exercising a power which essentially minimises that of the Commander-in-Chief.
writes the author of the
Before the War Office is a statue of [extra_illustrations.4.129.6] , its pedestal inscribed with the name by which he is better known,
observes the writer above quoted,
At the western end of , and on the south side, almost completely shut out from view by the walls and out-buildings which partially enclose it, and also by the buildings forming the southern side of the street, stands [extra_illustrations.4.129.7] , the town residence of the Prince of Wales. Built in -, by Sir Christopher Wren for John, Duke of Marlborough, on ground leased on easy terms to his Duchess by Queen Anne; it occupies the site of the old pheasantry of , and of the garden of Mr. Secretary Boyle, the latter of which was taken out of . The supplement to the of , says:--
The lease of the site was for years, at a low rental; and this was nearly the only boon which the haughty and grasping Duchess of Marlborough obtained from her royal mistress, as she boasts in a letter of Vindication which was published in her name. How true this statement is will be seen presently.
Marlborough House is thus described by Defoe in his
The building is a stately red-brick edifice, ornamented with Stone. The front is very extensive; and the wings on each side are decorated at the corners with stone rustic-work. A small colonnade
|extends on the side of the area next the wings; the opposite side of the area is occupied by sundry offices. The top of the house was originally finished with a balustrade, but that was subsequently altered, and the storey crowned by an attic raised above the cornice. The front towards the Park resembles the other; only instead of there being wings, there are niches for statues; and instead of the area as in front, there is a descent by a flight of steps into the gardens. The vestibule was painted with a representation of the battle of Hochstet, in which the most remarkable incident was the taking of Marshal Tallart, the French general, and several other officers of distinction, prisoners; the long series of battles in which the illustrious duke was engaged, including of course those of Malplaquet and Blenheim, were painted by La Guerre as ornaments for the house.|
If Marlborough House, even now, is quiet and retired, what must it have been when it was built, when it was shut in upon sides by a grove of chestnut-trees, its west front open to the gardens of the Palace, its south to the Park, then private?
It is well known to readers of history that the Duke of Marlborough outlived not only his fame but his reason, and during his latter years was reduced to a state of imbecility, of which he was so conscious that he never liked to be seen by strangers, becoming, as it has been said, a
though Archdeacon Coxe, in his
of the duke--the substance of which was inspired by the family-appears to represent him as having retained his powers to the last. day the witty Dr. Monsey being at Marlborough House, and wishing to get slily a view of the duke, hid himself behind a door in the hall, but did not manage to escape detection. Taylor tells us in his
Lord Sackville used to say that of his earliest memories was that of being carried, when a child of years old, to the gate of , in order to see the great Duke of Marlborough, as he came away from court.
adds Lord Sackville,
For the Duke of Marlborough's step on the ladder of advancement, as Macaulay hints in his
he was perhaps indebted to the fact of his sister Arabella Churchill being the mistress of James II., as this led to his introduction to the gay scenes of court life. Of the duke in his early days, Macaulay tells a story to the effect that he was day nearly surprised by the King in the chamber of the Duchess of Cleveland, but effected his escape by leaping out of the window in time to shield his paramour. The duchess rewarded her youthful lover with a present of , which the prudent young officer laid out in the purchase of a well-secured annuity. Pope adds, it is to be hoped untruly, though we know that the duke grew very avaricious in his old age:--
So intense was the avarice of the old duke, who at his death in left a million and a half behind him, that he would walk home from the Palace or from his neighbour's house, however cold the night, in order to save sixpence in the hire of a sedan chair.
Pope often satirised the Duke of Marlborough. In the early editions of the
the following lines were inserted, though subsequently suppressed:--
The satire here is general as respects the army --and nothing could be more lax or extravagant than the system of military accounts and
| suppliesbut the poet evidently points to Marlborough, whose avarice he frequently condemns. The general did not , but he had taken presents from army contractors. of the most striking illustrations of his penurious habits, and the best comment on Pope's verses, is an anecdote related by Warton, on the authority of Colonel Selwyn. The night before the battle of Blenheim, after a council of war had been held in Marlborough's tent, at which Prince Louis of Baden and Prince Eugene assisted, the latter, after the council had broken up, stepped back to the tent to communicate something he had forgotten, when he found the duke giving orders to his aide-de-camp at the table, on which there was now only a single light burning, all the others having been extinguished the moment the council was over. |
said Prince Eugene,
After her husband's death his widow, Sarah, continued to live here, and, as we know from the diaries of the time, delighted to speak of
as she styled the Hanoverian King who lived in St. James's.
The readers of English history, and of Mr. Harrison Ainsworth's historical romance of
will not need to be reminded of the character of this imperious and ambitious woman, who kept Queen Anne, as well as her court, in awe of her power. It may be well, however, to say that, from the day of that Queen's accession, she lost no opportunity of aggrandising her husband's family and her own at the cost of the patient and long-enduring public. She quickly obtained from the personage whom she styled
besides large pensions, the posts of Groom of the Stole, Keeper of the Great and Home Parks, and of the Privy Purse, and Mistress of the Robes, whilst she extended her female influence by uniting her eldest daughter, Lady Henrietta Churchill, to the eldest son of the Earl of Godolphin, the Lord High Treasurer; her daughter, Lady Anne, to the Earl of Sunderland; her , Lady Elizabeth, to the Earl of Bridgewater; and her youngest, Lady Mary, to the Marquis of Monthermoer, afterwards by her interest created Duke of Montagu. Hence the Marlborough and Godolphin party, having almost a monopoly of court influence and favour, were called by their opponents
The duchess was accustomed to give here an annual feast, to which she invited all her relations, many of whom were expectant legatees in case of her demise. At of these family gatherings, she exclaimed,
sighed Jack Spencer to a cousin next him,
Here, too, in , having survived all her children but , and her husband by more than years, the duke's haughty and imperious widow died at the age of . The youngest of the daughters of a plain country gentleman, Mr. Richard Jennings, of Holywell, on the outskirts of the town of St. Albans, she was sent to London at years old, to become the playmate of the Princess Anne at the court of James II., in each of whose wives she found a patroness in succession. At she married Colonel John Churchill,
whose merits Turenne had even then acknowledged. Though fond of her husband almost to a fault, she became so intimate a friend of the Princess that they agreed to call each other
respectively. She had apartments in the
at before the abdication of James, and so played her cards as to become a necessary adjunct to the courts of Mary and of Anne, in both of which successively she reigned as
at once a beauty and a wit. For the years of Anne's reign she governed the Queen herself without a rival, her husband's successes in war serving to consolidate her power. The accession of Harley and the Tory and High Church party to place and power to some extent shook her influence at Court, which was still further imperilled by her opposition to Queen Anne's wish to exclude the Hanoverian succession. She now became head of the opposition, and exerted in this capacity a really formidable power. She was attacked by Swift, and waged war to the knife with Sir John Vanbrugh, all the years during which he was building Blenheim, and also with Sir Robert Walpole, in spite of his Whig principles. To attempt to give an outline of her career, however, would be to write the history of reigns, which would be foreign to our purpose here.
Many anecdotes of the Duchess of Marlborough are to be gleaned from books of cotemporary memoirs; none, however, show her character more forcibly than the following:--After the death of her husband, the great Duke of Marlborough, her hand was solicited-partly, no doubt, on account of her wealth-by Charles Seymour, the
[extra_illustrations.4.132.1] , whose wife had been the heiress of the Percies, and who thought that he honoured her by making the offer of his hand.
was her haughty reply. Whilst she filled the of Marlborough House with the leaders of the Whig party, the
of the Jacobite Tory circles was the Duchess of Buckingham, a natural daughter of James II. For her rival she felt both contempt and aversion. Her Grace of Buckingham, on being left a widow, made for him a funeral just as splendid as that with which
Sarah had honoured her lord; and when her son died, she even sent to Marlborough House to borrow the funeral car on which the hero of Blenheim had been conveyed to his tomb.
cried the duchess fiercely,
retorted her Grace of Buckingham; |
Many good stories, as may easily be imagined, are current respecting the Duchess of Marlborough. It is said she once pressed the duke to take a medicine, adding, with her usual warmth,
Dr. Garth, who was present, exclaimed,
Among the duchess's constant guests was Bishop Burnet, whose absence of mind was notorious. Dining with her Grace after her husband's fall, he compared that great general to
| Belisarius. |
said the duchess, eagerly,
exclaimed the prelate,
Horace Walpole tells an amusing anecdote about the haughty duchess in her last days. He writes:--
Many Londoners, no doubt, have often wondered why the houses between Marlborough House and , which so obstruct the view, have
never been removed. The reason is given by Thornton in his |
The mansion was bought by the Crown, in the year , for the Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold, but the Princess died before the purchase was actually completed. Her widower, however (afterwards King of the Belgians), lived in it for several years.
In there was a talk, but only a talk, as we learn from the Correspondence of the Duke of Wellington, about pulling down Marlborough House and building a street upon its site. The question appears to have been discussed among the Lords of the Treasury on financial grounds, and then to have died away; probably their decision, if any was arrived at, was based on the experience gained at Carlton House.
In the mansion was thoroughly repaired, decorated, and furnished, and settled by Act of Parliament on [extra_illustrations.4.134.1] as a Dowager house. She occupied it till her death in .
Considering that Marlborough House has been the residence of the Prince and Princess of Wales ever since their marriage in , having been settled in on the Prince on his coming of age, it seems strange to find the following paragraph in the of :--
The mansion then lent to the Prince of Wales is now the property of the other.
Shortly after the settlement of Marlborough House upon the Prince of Wales, the lower part of the building was appropriated to the accommodation of the Vernon collection of pictures, and others of the English school, until they could be fitly hung in the . The upper rooms were set apart for the use of the Department of Practical Art, for a library, museum of manufactures, the ornamental casts of the School of Design, a lecture-room, &c. Here, in , was designed the Duke of Wellington's funeral car, which was subsequently exhibited to the public in a temporary building in the court-yard.
A few of the literary associations of in the last century are thus briefly recorded by Mr. John Timbs in his
was the resort of Pope, Chesterfield, Lyttelton, Shenstone, Johnson, and Glover, as also of Horace Walpole, the Wartons, and [extra_illustrations.4.134.2] .
The sign of Dodsley's house-which, by the way, was in an age before shops were designated by numbers--was set up out of his regard for Cicero. It is thus mentioned in a newspaper of the time :
At Dodsley's, in the winter of -, was held a meeting at which Warton, Moore, Garrick, Goldsmith, Dr. Johnson, and other literary men were present: on this occasion the title of the then newly intended periodical, the discussed.
--a name which, by a curious coincidence, was afterwards applied to himself by Goldsmith :--
Dodsley proposed that it should be called the , and at last the company parted without any suggestion of which they all approved being offered. Johnson, it is well known, the same night sat down by his bedside, and resolved that he would not go to sleep till he had fixed a title.
At Dodsley's shop was published in the volume of the , planned and prepared by Edmund Burke, whose name had recently become known to the world by his
To it Burke contributed for many years the department entitled
as well as some philosophical and other essays. The result was to, establish the reputation of the as a standard work of reference and general information, and for a century and more a fit companion for our library shelves to the
Dodsley's shop, as already remarked, was the
| recognised rendezvous and centre of all who were learned or who cultivated a literary taste. Hence when Burke anonymously published his |
as a satire on and imitation of Lord Bolingbroke, we read that the poet David Mallet rushed into Mr. Dodsley's when it was most crowded, and made an open disclaimer of its authorship on behalf of both Bolingbroke and himself.
In , Mr. H. Payne, whose shop, as we learn from his title-pages, stood
published for an unknown and unbefriended writer named [extra_illustrations.4.135.1] ,
Crabbe was poor; within a few weeks his publisher failed; and the young poet was plunged into great perplexity, which led him to seek aid-but in vain--in high circles, where afterwards, when he no longer needed it, he found ready assistance and support. So selfish and blind is human nature.
of the literary character or reputation of this locality in former times, it may be stated that has given a name to more than newspaper, all of which perhaps have almost passed clean out of memory. In was commenced the evening paper bearing the title of the ; this, however, has little or nothing to do with , except that it is supposed to retail much of Club talk and gossip. There was published in the reign of George II. a collection of loose tales and biographical sketches, mainly taken from West-end life, and named the
It went through several editions.
As a proof of the rural character of this part of the town, it may be mentioned that in the reign of Charles II. there was in Pall Mall--as at a later time in Piccadilly--an inn rejoicing in the name of the
denoting, of course, the very westernmost extremity of what then was the metropolis.
is, of course, the symbol of the Prince of Wales; and there can be no doubt that, considering the fact of the Prince and Princess of Wales being resident at Marlborough House, the sign of
would be by far the most popular now-a-days, if it were still the fashion to denote the houses in and elsewhere by signs instead of numbers.
There was a sign of
in during the time of the Great Plague, as is clear from the following advertisement in of the newspapers published at that time :--
On the north side of , a little to the east of , stood formerly the Shakespeare Gallery, the creation of that real and true patron of art, and especially of historical painting and engraving, Alderman Boydell, whose name is far less well known than it deserves to be among artists and men of taste. Beginning life as an engraver, he spent a larger sum than any nobleman had done up to that time in encouraging a British school of engraving; for, as he tells us in of his appeals,
The outbreak of the French Revolution seriously embarrassed his venture in this artistic business, and in he was obliged to make arrangements for disposing of his Gallery. He brought out, however, a costly edition of the works of Shakespeare, the profits of which, together with a Shakesperian lottery, saved him from bankruptcy. After his death, however, the Gallery was for some years vacant, and Malcolm in I speaks of it as
When Alderman Boydell proposed, in the interest of the fine arts, to issue his superb edition of Shakespeare, an envious cotemporary imputed his patriotism to sheer vanity, and the following lines appeared in at least of the journals :
In the last century, the pillory was occasionally set up here, as well as at ; of the last sufferers from this punishment in was a notorious lady, of the stamp of Mrs. Cornelys, who was pelted with rotten eggs by the gentry as well as by the rabble, and, if tradition may be
|believed, by the soldiery as well. She had probably been plying her trade in the neighbourhood of St. James's.|
John Timbs reminds us that had at an early date its notable sights and amusements.
In the old
house, westward of Carlton House, was exhibited, in , the Waterloo Museum of portraits and battle scenes, cuirasses, helmets, sabres, firearms, and trophies of Waterloo; besides a large picture of the battle painted by a Flemish artist. At No. Campanani exhibited his Etruscan and Greek Antiquities, in rooms fitted up as the
At No. , on the north side, now the Marlborough Club, the [extra_illustrations.4.136.1] was founded as far back as for the encouragement of native art, by affording to English artists facilities for the exhibition and sale of their productions. The Institution had exhibitions every year; the former from February to May for the works of living artists, and the latter from June to the end of the summer for the works of old masters, lent by their owners for the occasion. Here was exhibited West's large picture of
bought by the British Institution for guineas, and presented to the . has always been a place for exhibitions, especially of pictures. In the present year () here are or galleries devoted to the fine arts:--No. is the Institute of Painters in Water Colours; the British Gallery of Art is at No. ; and No. , further eastward, is the French Gallery.
On the site of the British Institution, in the early part of the reign of George III. (-), was
It was celebrated as the home of Macaronis and high play. It was afterwards known as
Club, and [extra_illustrations.4.136.2] was of its frequenters. It was here that he made the acquaintance of Wilberforce. Of the association so long known as
we shall have more to say when we come to . Mr. Timbs mentions here a club called the
Club, of which he says that the Prince of Wales, the Dukes of York, Clarence, Orleans, Norfolk, and Bedford, were members; but details of its history are known to exist.
Among the of , in the days of the Regency, was [extra_illustrations.4.136.3] , the eccentric
Mr. C. Redding says in his
In this street was living [extra_illustrations.4.136.4] , when Secretary of State for the American department in ; and here Sir N. W. Wraxall, Lord Walsingham, and a large party were dining in the November of that year, when a messenger arrived announcing the defeat and surrender of the forces in America under Lord Cornwallis. The tidings sent on to the King at Kew, Wraxall tells us, never disturbed the King's dignity nor affected his self-command, deeply as it grieved his heart.
At her residence in , in at the age of , died the celebrated [extra_illustrations.4.136.5] , the actress who played the part of in the
says Mr. Raikes, in his
About the year a gentleman named Backwell, of the partners in the banking-house of Messrs. Child, of , started on his own account a bank in , arid named it
It dragged on its existence, in anything but prosperity, for something less than years, when it closed its accounts, and its business was absorbed into other establishments. The exact site of the bank, however, is not known.
As of the leading thoroughfares in the neighbourhood of the Court and the aristocracy, is very naturally associated in our minds with the coaches and sedan chairs of our grandfathers' days. Nor will the English reader probably have forgotten how Gay alludes to the latter an his
But of these we have already spoken in our chapter on .
In this street was an old and fashionable hotel, now long forgotten, named the
Here, as we learn from the title-page of a small publication on the rules of that English game, were
are prefaced by a woodcut of the bat then in use, which appears to have been curved, and with a face perfectly flat, whereas the modern bat is quite straight, and has a face slightly convex. Perhaps the best information about the early history of the game is to be found in
who was for many years a celebrated member of the Hambledon Club.
In of the public rooms of the
in , was fought the fatal duel between William, Lord Byron, and his neighbour in Nottinghamshire, old Mr. Chaworth. The ground of the quarrel was a trivial , arising out of a heated argument over a dinner-table; but in little more than an hour from its commencement, Mr. Chaworth received a mortal wound from his opponent. Lord Byron- who was the great-uncle and immediate predecessor of the poet--was tried for the capital offence; but the found him guilty of manslaughter only, and, as he pleaded his privilege of peerage, he was let off, and discharged from custody on payment of the fees! The
was famous for its choice dinners and its exorbitant prices, as we learn from the of .
It may sound strange when we tell our readers that, as late as the year , a highway robbery was committed on of his Majesty's mails in . At all events, Horace Walpole writes in January of that year:
The Hon. Amelia Murray writes, in her
under the year :
Walker says, in his
To our disgrace, was the last public place in the West-end of London where gas was adopted.
Macaulay thus records the state of the metropolis, in respect to lighting, centuries ago:--
Those who may wish for further information on the subject of gas will find it in a work called
, sect. , entitled,
and in works on gas-lighting by the late Mr. Samuel Clegg, jun. (son of the inventor of the gas-meter), and by Mr. Samuel Hughes, both published some years ago in Weale's
[extra_illustrations.4.124.1] Duke of Schomberg
[extra_illustrations.4.128.1] Messrs. Christie's sale room
[extra_illustrations.4.129.1] Design for New War Office
[extra_illustrations.4.129.2] Fancy Dress Ball at Marlborough House
[extra_illustrations.4.129.3] Duchess of Gordon
[extra_illustrations.4.129.4] Government Offices
[extra_illustrations.4.129.5] War Department
[extra_illustrations.4.129.6] Lord Herbert of Lea
[extra_illustrations.4.129.7] Marlborough House
[extra_illustrations.4.132.1] Duke of Somerset
[extra_illustrations.4.134.1] Queen Adelaide
[extra_illustrations.4.134.2] Edmund Burke
[extra_illustrations.4.135.1] George Crabbe
[extra_illustrations.4.136.1] British Institution
[extra_illustrations.4.136.2] William Pitt
[extra_illustrations.4.136.3] George Hanger
[extra_illustrations.4.136.4] Lord George Germain
[extra_illustrations.4.136.5] Mrs. Abington