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architraves of the central parts of the brick fronts profusely sculptured over the whole surface, leave little repose for the eye, and offend in that respect no less than the palaces of Borromini and Mansart.”
The fault, indeed, of the great pediment not rising above the balustrade, and not standing out, as it should, with only the sky as a background, is one so palpable and gross, that it would be strange if an architect with the ability and training of Wren had perpetrated it of his own accord. Perhaps this was one of the points in which he had to submit to have his better judgment controlled and overruled by the whims and wishes of the King and Queen.
Another salient defect is the protrusion, above the balustrade, of the ugly and shapeless brick chimneys, appearing as incongruous excrescences, which the architect, as though ashamed of such features of mere use, had endeavoured in vain to conceal. This affords us an opportunity' of contrasting the pretentious artificialities of this style of architecture with the truth and flexibility of the old English Gothic close by, where the chimneys, instead of being a disfigurement to the building, are treated as indispensable adjuncts to it, and are arranged in pleasing clusters of delicately moulded shafts, which form harmonious ornaments to the whole design.
Similar criticisms apply, in a general way, to the South Front, which is on a like plan, only varying from the East Front in having wings, 56 feet 6 inches wide, projecting 8 feet 4 inches from the main frontage, and in having its centre differently treated and less highly embellished. This last, in fact, simply consists of four plain unfluted engaged Corinthian columns, supporting an entablature on which are inscribed the words : GVLIELMVS ET MARIA R.R.F."—that is, “William and Mary, King and Queen, built [this Palace]," the initials "R.R.F.” standing for the Latin words Rex Regina Fecerunt.
Above the entablature are continuations of the columns in the form of four decorated pilasters, which extend through the balustrade, and on the tops of which formerly stood statues. The small stone pediments over the two windows midway between the centre and the wings are very finely decorated with stone carvings, consisting of cupids support
VARIOUS WORKS AND DECORATIONS.
ing shields with the arms of William and Mary, surmounted by crowns. These and other decorative carvings, as we shall see shortly, were executed a year or two later than the time of which we are just now treating, and appear to have been from the hand of a sculptor of the name of Caius Gabriel Cibber, father of the celebrated actor.
Thus far as regards the East and South Fronts of the new palace.
But, in the meanwhile, the inward side of Wren's Quadrangle was also being completed, and here, though the general design of the elevation is much the same as that of the two great façades, it varies in having, on the ground floor, an open arcade of semicircular arches, supported on rectangular pillars or piers of stonework. The archesfrom the inner sides of which branch brickwork groinings, forming the roof of the cloister and supporting the floor of the State Rooms above-are twelve in number on the north and south sides, and eleven in number on the east and west. The height of the cloister is 12 feet.
Lest the architectural critic should be disposed to blame Sir Christopher Wren for making these cloisters so low, we must record the fact, as stated in Wren's “Parentalia,” that his Majesty “excused his surveyor for not raising the cloisters under the apartments higher; which were executed in that manner according to his express order."
Another portion of the work, perhaps the most creditable of all to Wren's genius, is the Colonnade in the Second or Clock Court, which was built across its south side to form an approach to the King's Great Staircase, and also to mask the irregular though picturesque range of buildings behind.
Though out of place amidst Tudor surroundings, it is in itself very handsome. It consists of seven couples of Ionic pillars, with pilasters of the same order at either end against the wall, supporting an entablature and balustrade at the top. Over the two middle couples stand two large carved vases of stone ; and below are ornaments of foliage, masks, and various trophies of war.
Its dimensions are: length, 89 feet 4 inches; internal height, from floor to ceiling, 20 feet 6 inches; external height, to the top of the parapet, 27 feet
inches. Throughout the years 1692 and 1693, though William and Mary were not often here, great activity prevailed in the new buildings, and the workmen were busily occupied in completing and filling in what had hitherto been little more than the outline and shell of the new palace. In the interior, staircases were being built, floors laid, and doorways, windows, wainscot, and ironwork fitted; while on the exterior, carvings and other decorative works were being executed by the most experienced hands. The old bills preserved in the Record Office afford us many curious particulars relating to these works, and the interest they possess in connection with the history of the palace, as well as the light they throw on the state of the decorative arts and the prices paid for artistic work, render some of them well worthy of notice here.
Thus we find that Louis Laguerre, the well-known assistant and imitator of Verrio, and the painter of the great staircase at Petworth, and many of the apartments at
DECORATION OF THE FOUNTAIN COURT.
Burleigh for Lord Exeter, was employed to decorate the twelve circular spaces of the round-window or half-storey on the south side of the Fountain Court, with frescoes, in chiaroscuro, of the Twelve Labours of Hercules. In this commission was also included the painting of four other similar spaces—doubtless those in the middle of the South Front—with representations of the Four Seasons. These last, however, though indicated in Sutton Nicholls's engrav
ing of this façade, have now disappeared-all the eight “dummies” of this façade being now painted in imitation of windows, as, indeed, four of them had originally been by Laguerre himself.
The “ Labours of Hercules are now much damaged by time and weather, although restored not very long ago, and their artistic merit can never have been very great. Yet £86, which was the sum Laguerre received for the whole job, was wretchedly inadequate remuneration for painting sixteen
frescoes, each five feet in diameter, on a scaffold some fifty feet from the ground! While he was engaged on this work, William III. gave him apartments in the palace; and he was also appointed, according to Horace Walpole, to repair Mantegna's nine splendid pictures of the “Triumph of Julius Cæsar,” which were at Hampton Court, and “had the judgment to imitate the style of the originals, instead of new-clothing them in vermilion and ultramarine.” We cannot, however, but wish that his somewhat coarse brush had never been suffered to touch them at all.
The carvers engaged to decorate the new palace were remunerated on a much more liberal scale—thus £91835.5d. was paid to William Emmett "for carving worke by him performed in and about sev" partes of the sd New Buildings.” It is not possible to identify precisely the portions of the work which he executed; but we may, with some probability, ascribe to him most of the subsidiary ornamental stonework, such as the garlands of flowers within the arches of the arcade in the Quadrangle, the stone framework of the round windows, which are carved to represent lions' skins, and the vases over the Communication Gallery. Other similar carvings, which we perhaps also owe to Emmett, are the vases and trophies over the cornice of the Ionic colonnade in the Clock Court, and the key-stones over the windows of the ground floor on the East and South Fronts, which key-stones are carved with heads and the initials of William and Mary in monogram.
All this work, however, was doubtless performed under the supervision of Grinling Gibbons, who-probably through the influence of Wren—had been appointed “master carver of the works at Hampton Court, and who seems to have been as competent an artist in stone, as in that exquisite wood-carving, for which he is so generally famous, and some of the finest specimens of which may be viewed in this palace.
Indeed, that he himself executed, with his own hand, a good deal of the ornamental stone-carving on the exterior of the new palace, seems evident from the entries in the old accounts, where we find that between the years 1691 and 1694, a debt of £744 165. od. was incurred towards “Grinlin Gibbons for carving by him performed in and about the