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
This splendid mansion, now the home of the Royal Academy, the Royal Society, and other learned and scientific associations, dates its existence from the time of Charles II., having been erected by Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, on the site of a house built by Sir John Denham, the poet, whose wife was the mistress of James II. when Duke of York, and is said to have been poisoned. Lord Burlington was a man actuated by a fine public spirit. He was at the expense of repairing , Covent Garden, the work of Inigo Jones; and by his publication of the
of that great architect, and of the
by Palladio, he contributed to form a taste for classical architecture in England. To this Pope alludes in his Epistle, at the same time expressing his fear that the public will be slow to profit by such works :--
Lord Burlington also deserves to be held in honour for having helped that pure and simpleminded philosopher, Dr. Berkeley, by his powerful recommendation, to attain the dignity of an Irish bishopric.
It is to this Lord Burlington that the author of the
most appropriately dedicated his work, as of those few persons who
We have already mentioned instance of this public spirit in the part which he took towards the rebuilding of the great dormitory at School.
At the time when Pope dedicated his
to Lord Burlington, his lordship was in his year. He was then engaged in ornamenting his gardens, and building his villa at Chiswick. The celebrated [extra_illustrations.4.262.2] and [extra_illustrations.4.262.3] at [extra_illustrations.4.262.4] had been erected some years before, in . . There is reason to believe that, in this splendid improvement, his lordship, then very young, had the assistance of a practical architect, Colin Campbell, though Walpole considers that the
| design is too good for the latter. The same lively and picturesque writer thus describes the effect which the Burlington colonnade had upon him when he beheld it:-- |
The author of the
above mentioned, observes that
This he criticises, and, on the whole, favourably.
He complains, however, of the columns of the gate, as
The colonnade remained till the last, but the dead wall in front concealed from the public all view of the fine architecture within.
During the life of Lord Burlington, the town mansion which bore his name was the haunt of all the wits, poets, and learned men of his day. Pope was a frequent visitor; and it was in allusion to his noble host's talents as an architect that he wrote-
In satire of Pope's adulation of Lord Burlington, and his fierce onslaught on the
Duke of Chandos, under the character of
Hogarth made a humorous design, in which the poet was represented as standing on a builder's stage or platform, engaged in whitewashing the gate of , and at the same time bespattering the coach of the duke as it passed by along .
Dr. King, in his
tells a story about Pope, which shows that, at all events, he was not a tea-totaler, and had no idea of sinking down into of those water-drinkers whose poems, according to Horace, have no chance immortality. He writes:
Sir John Hawkins tells us, in his
that Handel lived for years an honoured guest here.
Swift also was a frequent guest here, and he did not always carry to the table of its hospitable owner the manners of a gentleman. For instance, in Scott's
an anecdote is related, to the effect, that on the last occasion of the Dean being in London, he went to dine with the Earl of Burlington, then recently married. The earl, it is supposed, being willing to have a little diversion, did not introduce him to his lady, nor mention his name. After dinner, said the Dean,
The lady looked on this unceremonious manner of asking a favour with distaste, and positively refused. He said
As the earl did nothing but laugh at this freedom, the lady was so vexed that she burst into tears, and retired. His compliment to her when he saw her again was,
To which she answered, with great goodhumour,
From which time he conceived a great esteem for her ladyship.
Lord Burlington died in the year , and with his demise a title honoured and ennobled through generations by genius, virtue, and public spirit, became extinct. It was afterwards revived in the person of a member of the ducal house of Cavendish, who had inherited part of his fortune. Nightingale says that the mansion was left to the Cavendishes on the express condition that it should not be pulled down, but the statement, is questioned.
Pennant says, that long after the year , was the last house westwards in ; but the statement may be questioned. It will be remembered that the nobleman who had built the mansion in the century, had placed it there,
This aim, however, if it was ever true in fact, was speedily frustrated, for shortly afterwards we read that to the west of rose Clarges House, named after Sir Thomas Clarges, and others, inhabited, according to Strype, by
, in , was tenanted by the Earl of Harrington, who gave there a grand ball. Under the Regency and in the reign of George IV., the mansion became occasionally the rallying-point of the Liberal party. In . as Lord Russell tells us in his
there was held here a meeting, at which Lord Grey, as the leader of the party, sketched out the policy of Lord Liverpool's ministry, and his own plan of opposition tactics. The Honourable Miss Amelia Murray tells us in her
that about the year there was an intention of pulling down Burlington
House, and of building a crescent of houses on its site. |
alluding, probably, to the University of London.
At were exhibited the Elgin marbles, on their arrival from the East, till they could find a permanent home at the . Cyrus Redding, in his
records his visit to them here, in company with Haydon the painter.
In , the mansion was purchased by the Government, and some years later Lord John
| Manners (then Commissioner of Works) instructed Messrs. Banks and Barry to prepare a plan for buildings covering the entire site, which were then intended to comprise |
The design consisted of spacious quadrangles, each communicating with the other, and having arched gateways in the centre of the facades' to and , thus connecting all together internally, and giving a thoroughfare through the building from the part to the other. By this arrangement the Royal Academy would have had allotted to it nearly the whole of the facade, and the whole side of the quadrangle on the west. This appropriation of the site, however, involved the removal of Old , and, as the remarks,
It was subsequently proposed by the Government to remove the national collection of pictures from , giving up the whole building there to the Royal Academy only, and to construct a on the lands. Accordingly, in , fresh plans were prepared to meet this arrangement, by which the old mansion was to remain, the screen-wall in was to be replaced by a handsome open railing, the colonnades being retained, and, with the old building, being made to furnish the access to the new galleries. Again their plans. met with the approval of the trustees of the , after most careful deliberation, and also of the Government; but the vote for carrying this scheme into effect was refused by Parliament, partly on the same grounds as before-namely, the muchfeared interference with the architectural glories of Old .
says the ,
The grounds in the rear, extending to , were to be given as a site for the University of London, and their new edifice has been erected accordingly, under the direction of Sir James (then Mr.) Pennethorne. The wingbuildings, the colonnades, and the wall to were to be removed, and Messrs. Banks and Barry were again called upon to prepare designs for the erection of the new buildings, which were to accommodate of the learned and scientific societies, namely, the Royal Society, the Linnaean Society, and the Chemical Society, who had hitherto occupied Old ,. and the [extra_illustrations.4.266.2] , the Geological Society, and the Astronomical Society, who at that time were occupying parts of . Arrangements having once more been made with the governing bodies of each society, as to the accommodation which they considered would be necessary for them respectively, and the plans having been finally approved by the then Government and by Parliament, and obtaining the Royal assent, the foundations for the present buildings were commenced in .
The space now occupied by extends from northwards into , having a frontage to. each of about feet, and a depth between them of nearly feet. The old mansion, which still remains, stands at a distance of about feet back from . The site of the south wall and the colonnades and wings .is now covered with lofty and spacious buildings, forming sides of a quadrangle, which, in the shape of an oblong square, has replaced the old court-yard. In the new facade towards , the most peculiar feature is the grand central archway leading into the court-yard; it is probably the largest archway of the sort in London, being feet clear in width and about feet in height. The facade of (now the Royal Academy of Arts) is fully seen from through this. archway; but it has had an additional storey added to it, in order to assimilate it to the height of the new buildings.
The style of architecture adopted by Messrs. Banks and Barry is pure Italian; and, as the authority above quoted observes,
On the completion of the new building intended for the learned societies, those which at that time occupied the old mansion vacated their apartments, and that building was wholly made over to the Royal Academy, with the proviso that the. Academy should, at their own expense, heighten their building by the addition of an upper storey. The portions of the buildings occupied by the members of the several societies are arranged on floors, on the upper of which are situated the libraries--with the exception of that of the Geological Society, which is on the ground flooreach fitted with galleries, and lighted from the roof as well as at the sides. The Geological Society has its museum on the floor, and this is fitted with tiers of galleries.
The Royal Society has on the floor a noble suite of reception-rooms, available for the annual of the president, and a library which it is computed will give room for nearly volumes, enabling it to continue what it now is, of the most perfect scientific libraries in the world. The libraries of the Linnaean and Antiquarian Societies are very spacious, and all of them storeys in height, with internal galleries.
The resident officers of the various societies located here have their apartments on the and floors of the building, . in positions convenient to the scene of their daily labours. Dispersed throughout the rooms occupied by the Royal Society are the portraits of the presidents, distinguished Fellows, and other great luminaries of science, painted by Van Somer, Sir Peter Lely, Sir Godfrey Kneller, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and other great artists.
It will not be out of place to introduce in this place a brief mention of some of our chief learned societies which have the advantage of free quarters here.
and foremost, of course, stands the Royal Society. This is the oldest scientific society, with a consecutive history, in Europe, and stands with the French Institute at the head of the science of the world. As stated already (Vol. I., page ), it dates its existence from the year , and its early meetings were held sometimes at the lodgings of Dr. Goddard ( of its originators) in , sometimes in , and on other occasions in Gresham College. In I and the following year, some of the supporters of these meetings became connected with the University of Oxford, and instituted a similar society in that city. years later, several of the members of this philosophical society came to London, and held their meetings at Gresham College, where they were joined by Lord Brouncher, John Evelyn, and others; but owing to the political troubles of the times, their meetings were not long continued. In , it was agreed to constitute a society for the study of science, when, in accordance. with this resolve, a president, secretary, and registrar were elected; the president was Sir Robert Moray.
During the centuries of the society's life it has occupied several dwellings. at Gresham College; then at Arundel House, which was lent by Henry Howard, afterwards Duke of Norfolk; and again at Gresham College, where the society remained until , when it removed to [extra_illustrations.4.267.1] - It continued here, in its own house, until , when apartments in were provided for it; and in these it remained till its removal to [extra_illustrations.4.267.2] , but its annual dinners were held at the
until the latter was taken down.
In , the dinner party of the Royal Society would appear to have been remarkably cosmopolitan; the Electric Telegraph having been represented by Professor Wheatstone, the Railway System by Mr. Robert Stephenson, the Penny Post by Rowland Hill, and Astronomy by Sir Thomas Maclear, now Astronomer Royal at the .
Charles II. presented the society with a silvergilt mace, which is still placed on the table whenever the council or society meets, and without which no meeting can be legally held. This mace was for long supposed to be the
that Cromwell so unceremoniously ordered to be taken away from the table of the , but Mr. Weld unluckily proved that it was made expressly for the society by command of the king. Another benefactor was Henry Howard, who presented the Arundel Library, which is still in the possession of the society; but the collection of antiquities and curiosities was presented to the when the apartments at were found to be too contracted for its reception. The society still possesses several relics of Newton; as. the sun-dial which he cut in the wall of his father's house when he was a boy; the reflecting telescope, made, in , with his own hands; and the original mask of his face, taken by Roubiliac.
The meetings of the society take place once a week, from the Thursday in November to the Thursday in June. A record of these meetings is published in the octavo
and a selection of the best papers is printed in the quarto
These last. were printed in , under the title of
and the series now extends to upwards of volumes.
The society has at its disposal medals, in the distribution of which it is able to mark its appreciation of scientific investigations and distinguished discoveries. The award of the Copley medal was made in , and of the Rumford medal in . to the founder himself (Benjamin, Count Rumford) for his various discoveries respecting light and heat. In the year , George IV. communicated through Sir Robert Peel his intention
These medals were awarded, in the year , to John Dalton and James Ivory. William IV. and Queen Victoria have continued the gift of these royal medals, and they are, therefore, annually awarded. Besides these, the society undertakes the distribution of the annual grant of , which is voted by Parliament to be employed in aiding the promotion of science in the United Kingdom; and it also performs the office of scientific adviser to the Government on the difficult questions that arise in the various public departments. Through a committee of its Fellows, the Royal Society has made itself gratuitously useful to Her Majesty's Government for many years by directing the business of the Meteorological Department, which was formerly part of the duty of the Board of Trade.
In , an attempt was made, though unsuccessfully, to limit the number of fellows to be elected in each year to . The proposal was carefully considered by a committee, to whom it was referred; but after a long discussion, a resolution was passed by the Council not to make any change in the existing rules.
Many particulars about the society and its convivial meetings, &c., may be learnt from a privately printed history of the club by the late Admiral Smyth, of its most active and zealous members.
The following story of the merry monarch and of the learned society, though often told before, will bear being told again in the present chapter:-- When King Charles II. dined with the members on the occasion of constituting them a Royal Society, towards the close of the evening he expressed his satisfaction at being the English monarch who had laid a foundation for a society which proposed that their whole studies should be directed to the investigation of the arcana of nature, and added, with that peculiar gravity of countenance he usually wore on such occasions, that among such. learned men he now hoped for a solution to a question which had long puzzled him. The case he thus stated :--Suppose pails of water were fixed in different scales that were equally poised, and which weighed equally alike, and live bream, or small fish, were put into either of the pails; he wanted to know the reason why that pail, with such addition, should not weigh more than the other pail which was against it. Every was ready to set at quiet the royal curiosity; but it appeared that every was giving a different opinion. at length offered so ridiculous a solution, that another of the members could not refrain from a loud laugh; when the king, turning to him, insisted that he should give his sentiments as well as the rest. This he did without hesitation ; and told his Majesty, in plain terms, that he denied the fact; on which the king, in high mirth, exclaimed:
The jest was not ill designed, and the story is often useful to cool the enthusiasm of the scientific visionary, who is apt to account for what never existed.
All sorts of scientific experiments have been made from time to time under the auspices of the Royal Society. The following may be taken as a specimen :--ZZZ
The following is Sir David Brewster's account, in the , of the circumstances under which the great Sir Isaac Newton became a member of the society:--
The most remarkable events connected with the society during the last century were the bequest of by Sir George Copley in , which resulted in the institution of the Copley medal; the measures taken for observing the transit of Venus, which, according to Halley, was to occur in and , and the grand discovery of the composition of water in , by some attributed to Cavendish, by others to Watt. In the early part of the present century [extra_illustrations.4.269.2] commenced his well-known scientific career, and after having had all the honours of the Royal Society showered upon him, in took his seat as president in the chair previously occupied by Wren, Sir Isaac Newton, Sloane, and Banks.
The list of Fellows includes such names as Sir Kenelm Digby, Sir William Petty (of whom we have spoken in the preceding chapter ), Matthew Wren, Robert Boyle, John Dryden, and Isaac Barrow. The signatures of all the Fellows, from the time of Charles II., when the society received the royal charter, down to the latest elected, are preserved in a vellum charter-book, which is a treasure of the highest interest. The number of presidents of the society, from Lord Brouncker--the after its incorporation-down to Dr. Hooker, who was chosen in -is , among whom have been Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Hans Sloane, Sir Isaac Newton, Samuel Pepys, Lord Chancellor Somers, Sir John Pringle, Sir Joseph Banks, Sir Humphry Davy, Sir Benjamin Brodie, the Duke of Sussex, and the Earl of Rosse. The list of secretaries is specially rich in great names, such as John Evelyn, Dr. Halley, Sir John Herschel, Bishop Wilkins, Robert Hooke, Sir Humphry Davy, and many others.
The Society of Antiquaries of London, already mentioned in our account of ,See Vol. III., page . was founded by Archbishop Parker, in . The members assembled at the house of Sir Robert Cotton, near , for years. They applied to Elizabeth for a charter and a public building; but their hopes were frustrated by the queen's death. James I. took umbrage at some of the society's proceedings, and dissolved it. It would appear, however, to have existed privately during the century, for in Ashmole's
we read of the
probably their annual dinner, which has now fallen into desuetude.
In , we hear of their resuming their meetings in a more public form, and under the presidency of Le N eve. With him were associated Dr. William Stukeley, Humphrey Wanley, Roger Gale, Vertue, Browne Willis, and many others well known to fame. The minutes of the society commence in , and in the same year they resolved to issue the of that great series of prints which grew up into the work known as the
We may here mention that the society has recently () issued some of great interest in completion of the volume of this valuable collection.
In , a royal charter of incorporation was granted to the society. In , the king gave orders, when was rebuilt, that the society should be accommodated with apartments in the new building. The whole of the fittings were put up at the expense of the Government, and in the society was formally inducted into possession of their new apartments.
The Society of Antiquaries was no favourite, strange to say, in spite of his antiquarian tastes, with Horace Walpole, who writes:
When the Royal Society removed to , some changes were effected as to the rooms occupied by this society. In , a scheme was submitted to the society by Her Majesty's Government for accommodating the society in . To this scheme the society acceded, not without some reluctance, and only on the understanding that adequate accommodation should be provided, and that the expense of the fittings should be borne by the Government.
The services which the society has rendered are patent to the world. Its
| be compared with the |
of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres for range and depth. Among the more recent and public services rendered by the society may be mentioned the restoration of the Chapter House at , which was undertaken mainly at the instance and through the zeal of its council. The late Lord Stanhope, better known by his former title of Lord Mahon, held. the presidential chair of the Society of Antiquaries from down to his death at the close of .
The Linnaean Society, so called after the great naturalist, Linnaeus, was founded, as stated in our account of , in , for the study of natural history, more especially that of the British Islands, and was incorporated by royal charter in . It was the earliest offset of the Royal Society, the separation taking place with the ready assent and concurrence of the parent body, it being felt that natural. history was a science of sufficient extent and importance to demand the entire attention of a distinct society. The infant society was warmly aided by the then president of
|the Royal Society, Sir Joseph Banks, to whom it was indebted for pecuniary assistance, and for large additions to its library and collections.|
From an early period of its existence, the Linnaean Society took a high station in the world of science, and it stands now, as it always has done, at the head of the natural history societies of the United Kingdom, and on a level with the most distinguished of similar societies abroad.
now include about copiously-illustrated quarto volumes, and form, unquestionably, the most important series of memoirs on natural history which this country has produced. In addition, it has now for many years published an octavo journal in sections,. Zoology and Botany, where those papers appear which have less need of illustration.
The library and collections of the society are very extensive, including those of Linnaeus (invaluable in themselves, and in illustration of the works of the great Swedish naturalist), which, together with the additions made by its founder, Sir J. E. Smith, were purchased by the society, in , for , and the extensive herbarium of Indian plants, munificently presented by the
|Court of Directors of the East India Company in .|
The funds of the society, with the exception of a very small return, in proportion to the outlay, from the sale of its publications, are wholly derived from the contributions of its Fellows, to whom the
are distributed without further payment.
By the cost of printing and illustrating these publications, and in other necessary expenses, the society was, for a long period, seriously cramped in its operations. When, therefore, in , the Government offered to put the Royal Society in possession of the main building of , on the understanding that suitable accommodation therein should be assigned to the Linnaean and Chemical Societies, the Linnaean, although it had recently renewed, for a long term, its lease of the house in , availed itself of the proposal, which, in the place, promised to place its library and collections out of danger from fire, and would relieve the funds of the society from the outlay for rent.
The Geological Society was established in , and incorporated by royal charter in . In
|, the late Sir Robert Peel, then Secretary of the Treasury, assigned to it the apartments in which it continued to occupy till its removal to in . Previously it had occupied a house in , Strand. The charter says: |
A charter was accordingly granted, Dr. Buckland being appointed president. The early
| publications of the society consisted of |
in octavo, and
in quarto: of the former, volumes were published; and of the latter, volumes in series (of and ). The
ceased in , but in a quarterly journal was started, and has been carried on ever since in their place. The society also publishes Mr. Greenough's Geological Map of England. The society possesses an extensive library, and a museum consisting of fossils, minerals, &c.; the collection of foreign fossils being particularly interesting.
The Royal Astronomical Society was founded in the year by the exertions of the Rev. Dr. Pearson, Mr. Francis Baily, and other gentlemen at that time eminent in the science of astronomy, its objects being
We need scarcely add that it has been eminently successful in carrying out these objects, having published volumes of
and volumes of
which are held in much estimation both by English and foreign astronomers.
The only remaining learned body located here is the Chemical Society. This was founded in , and incorporated under royal charter in . Its objects are defined to be
The society holds fortnightly meetings during months of the year, and publishes a journal in monthly numbers. Its management is vested in a president and a council, chosen, for the most part, annually by ballot.
Of the rise and progress of the Royal Academy we have already spoken in our notice of the , . It only remains to add that, since the removal hither, the exhibitions of the Royal Academy have gone on steadily increasing in popularity, and that during
not only are the spacious apartments here crowded with the of society, but the exhibitions have become sufficiently attractive to induce artisans and others belonging more to the working classes to flock thither, and in such numbers as to warrant the council in allowing the works of art annually brought together to be exhibited during the evening by gas-light. of the good work achieved by the Royal Academy, it may be stated that the choice of Angelica Kauffmann and Mrs. Montague among its members gave an impetus to female education, and helped to keep alive till a more enlightened period the claims of women to take their place side by side with men in the battle of life, and in following the professions. As a proof that their example was not without effect, we may add that, in the year , the publisher of
gave, as a frontispiece, a group of ladies celebrated in art or in literature, namely, Miss Carter, Mrs. Barbauld, [extra_illustrations.4.272.1] , Mrs. Sheridan, Mrs. Lennox, Mrs. Montague, Miss Moore, Mrs. Macaulay, and Miss Griffith, each lady in the fanciful character of of the Muses.
On the west side of is the [extra_illustrations.4.272.2] , which was built as a bazaar by Lord George Cavendish, afterwards Earl of Burlington, in . This arcade, upwards of yards in length, forms a covered pathway between and ; it has shops on each side for the sale of millinery, jewellery, and, in fact, almost every article of fashionable demand. It is closed at night by gates at each end under the charge of a beadle in livery. It is stated by Mr. Peter Cunningham that the rents of the shops in this arcade amount to upwards of a year, only about half of which finds its way into the pockets of its owners, the Cavendishes.
We have given on page a view of the original , with its gardens in the rear, laid out on the square formal French fashion. It shows the little temporary church or chapel in , standing quite isolated from every other building. There is also a view, by Kip, of the , built by Sir John Denham, the author of the poem called
and also Surveyor of Buildings under the Crown.
With reference to the old court-yard and colonnade, of which we have already spoken, we may add that it is represented in the of the abovementioned views, and that to it Sir William Chambers thus alludes:--
 See Vol. III., p. 469.
[extra_illustrations.4.262.4] Burlington House
[extra_illustrations.4.266.1] Demolition of Burlington House
[extra_illustrations.4.266.2] Society of Antiquaries
[extra_illustrations.4.267.1] Crane Court
[extra_illustrations.4.267.2] Burlington House
[extra_illustrations.4.269.1] Dr. Schliemann before Society of Antiquaries
[extra_illustrations.4.269.2] Sir Humphry Davy
 See ante, p. 256.
 See Vol. III., p. 191.
 See Vol. III., pp. 146--149.
[extra_illustrations.4.272.1] Angelica Kauffmann
[extra_illustrations.4.272.2] Burlington Arcade