Page images
PDF
EPUB

feet, form a succession of available gal- race, we find ourselves in an underground leries for viewing the surrounding scenery. chamber, to which has been given the name There are broad basins of water between of Paxton's tunnel. We mentioned above the flights of steps leading from the upper that the ground slopes downward from the to the lower terrace, into which numerous rear to the front of the building ; the dedolphins, ranged in the vaulted niches of scent from one side to the other is as the terrace-wall, spout a continuous stream. much as twenty-five feet, and of this cirThe grand water-works are arranged at cumstance the architect has availed himthe bottom of the main avenue.

self in constructing a long tunnel or baseBefore entering the building for a brief ment story, extending the whole length of survey of its contents, we may as well the edifice. A portion of this long champerform what will be expected of us, by ber is allotted for the exhibition of working stating, as shortly as possible, the actual machinery, and another portion is fitted dimensions of the present structure, refer- up with boilers for the heating of the waring at the same time to that of the Hyde- ter designed to raise the temperature of park palace. The entire length of the the interior in cold weather. To effect new pile is 1608 feet, that of the former this, above fifty miles of iron piping, seven being 1848 feet; the entire length of the inches in diameter, are laid down beneath central transept is 384 feet, against 456 the floors, and connected with ventilators feet, the greatest depth in the first build- traversing the galleries, making together ing; the height from the floor to the roof a huge arterial system dispensing warmth of the nave is 110 feet, against 66 feet, to every part. The pipes are so arranged the height of the former nave; and the that the water, after circulating through height from the floor to the center of the them, and parting with its caloric, returns middle transept is 180 feet, against 108 to the boilers to be again heated. The feet, the height of the first transept. Ow- furnaces will consume their own smoke, ing to the fact that the ground upon which and thus there will be no visible effluvia the new palace is built shelves considerably projected through the central shafts of the toward the park, the elevation on that side water-towers at either end of the buildis 194 feet, an increase in height which ing. Experiments which have been made tells well upon the general appearance. with the warming apparatus have satisfacThe actual space inclosed by the new torily proved its efficiency. building is 542,592 feet, or about 134 acres, On ascending to the level floor-line, and against 767,150 feet, or about 19 acres, in proceeding to the end of the nave toward the old one. Thus it will be seen that the Dulwich Road, we are enabled to comwhile the inclosed area is nearly one-third pare the effect of the interior view with less in the new pile than in the old, the our recollections of the same effect in height is about two-thirds greater-and it the former structure. Indisputably, one will be readily imagined that proportions striking charm is nearly lost altogether. so entirely different give a new character We allude to that dim, mysterious, hazy, to the present undertaking. Add to this, and eminently picturesque effect which that what was formerly the side is now arose from the much greater length of the the front of the edifice—that the device of Hyde-park palace, which delighted, bebreaking the long flatness of the façade by cause it deluded the eye of the spectator deep recesses at the ends of the transepts with the idea of unfathomable depth and has been resorted to, and the immensely- distance. Here there is no mystery to improved effect is readily conceivable, deal with; the eye commands the entire even without the aid of pictorial repre- perspective, and, as it were, takes possentation. But without such aid, or a session of the whole with a glance. In personal visit, it is not easy to conceive all other respects, however, the interior what a really picturesque object the new aspect of the Sydenham Palace is infinitely palace becomes when seen from one of the superior to that of its predecessor. The many favorable points of view which the perspective of the long, lofty, arching park presents. Our engraving perpetuates nave excels the low, flat roof of the exhibut one aspect of the picture, which the bition as much as the vaulted arch of a spectator may contemplate with renewed Roman temple does the ceiling of a barpleasure from a hundred different spots. rack. The addition of forty-four feet to

On entering the building from the ter- | the height gives an air of sublimity and

[graphic][merged small]

grandeur to the new building wanting to works of art which form the principal feathe old. Again, the monotonous repetition tures of attraction to this realm of fairy of columns and girders, complained of as land. We enter first, as it happens to be wearisome to the eye in the first building, nearest at hand, what is called the Pomis avoided in the new one by the projection, peian Court, which is nothing more or less at regular intervals, of pairs of columns, than a fac-simile of a Roman mansion rewhich, advancing forward into the nave, stored to its beauty and brilliancy as it break the perspective lines on either side, existed in Pompeii nearly eighteen hundred and impart a degree of variety to the view. years ago. The building, as it stands On ascending to the galleries, where space here, complete in all its ornate elegance is allotted for the different classes of manu- and luxury, presents a spectacle which can factured goods, and viewing the area be- nowhere else be witnessed. In design it low from various points, the old idea of combines the most enchanting simplicity 'vastness grows upon us again, and by a with the most elaborate art, and, though judicious arrangement of the botanical and never overloaded with ornament, is yet an artistic specimens, that picturesque ele- example of all that ornamentation can acment of indefinite extent is fully restored. complish in the production of chaste archi

We must now turn our attention to the tectural effect. The apartments, which

are small, are adorned with exquisite paint- expects to see the Roman himself step ings, mostly of marine and mythological forth in the toga virilis, and take the place subjects-cupids, dolphins, satyrs, bac- of that policeman A 2001, as guardian of chantes, sea-bulls, tritons, and Venuses. the dulce domum. In looking around upon They open into the compluvium or open the delicate gorgeousness of the painted court, in the center of which is the foun- columns and ceilings, it is curious to note tain. Here all around tells of the Roman how colors which, less artistically comage and Roman customs, and one almost bined, would have produced a tawdry and

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

THE EGYPTIAN COURT.

ZINE

repulsive effect, are so learnedly employed | ing toward the other end of the building, as to harmonize thoroughly, and to sug- we advance through groups of busts, and gest, as they should do, the ideas of tran- statues, and colossal fragments, toward the quillity and repose. This has been the Fine Arts Courts. A colored plan of the work principally of foreign artists—the lower floor, exhibited on a boarding, shows ornamentation having been intrusted to us that the several courts have been arSignior Abbati.

ranged with a view to chronological order, Leaving behind us the collection of and that we are in the right direction for plants and botanical specimens, and turn- | the first, which is the Egyptian Court.

The entrance to this court is guarded by must hasten on to the Greek Court—the recumbent lions, and we proceed through next on our route. corridors lined with massive pillars of It is an assemblage of the most marvelevery kind of Egyptian architecture, crown- ous productions of human genius. Here ed with capitals of characteristic device, are the matchlesss sculptures from the among which the lotus leaf figures promi- pediments of the Parthenon ; the Theseus, nently. Sphinxes, memnons, monarchs, the idol of artists and sculptors, old and deities, or idols of various kinds, ranged young ; the Ceres and Proserpine, with beneath the cornices, rest upright against their inimitable draperies; the Ilissus, and the walls, or seated or couchant on slabs, the famous head of the horse from the greet the eye.

chariot of the goddess Nox. Here also is On the right hand-side of the court is the Niobe group, the Farnese Hercules seen a reproduction—little more than one and Flora, the Wrestlers, the Farnese third of the height of the original-of part Juno, the Dying Gladiator, and a number of the entrance-hall of columns of the of other unrivaled works copied from the palace at Karnak, the ruins of which are originals in the various museums and prithe most ancient and at the same time the vate galleries of Europe, which men in most gigantic and most splendid in the all countries have undertaken pilgrimages world. They stand on a portion of the to see, and which have revived the arts of site, and formed a part of the ancient city nations. Turning our eyes aloft, we see of Thebes, and date from at least fifteen the noble frieze of the Parthenon elevated hundred years before the Christian era. to an appropriate height; but we are puzThe portion of the temple at Karnak here zled to account for the strange tricks which represented is not the most colossal part some whimsical personage has been playof that structure. The largest columns ing with the famous basso relievos. It among these prodigious ruins are sixty-six would appear as though carte blanche had feet in height and of the diameter of twelve been given to some traveling showman to feet, and they are inclosed between rows do his best to improve them, and that he of columns forty-two feet high, and little had painted them as near as he could more than nine feet in diameter. It is guess in the colors of life. The result these smaller columns, reproduced upon a has been the transformation of the works scale little more than one-third of the size of the old Greek Phidiases into the works of the originals, which represent Karnak of Mrs. Glass or Mrs. Grundy, molded in in the Egyptian Court of the Sydenham colored sugar to ornament the top of a Palace. Too much praise cannot be be- twelfth-cake. Others of the figures, not stowed upon the manner in which this colored, are stuck into a bright blue backmagnificent assemblage of ponderous pil- ground, with a result so utterly and instanlars has been reared and elaborately fin- taneously destructive of the delicate effect ished off on every portion of their surface. of this species of sculpture, that the only Though so small, relatively to their orig- wonder is, that the hand which held the inals, they are yet vast enough to sym- brush with the blue paint in it did not bolize strongly the ideas of strength and drop it instinctively after the first touch. durability. The columns, as well as the This experiment, we should hope, will be walls, are covered profusely with hiero- conclusive as to the propriety of coloring glyphics, also reduced to the same scale, the works of the sculptor, whether ancient and colored with bright tints of red, green, or modern. blue, yellow, and black. If the coloring In the Roman Court is given the idea of these columns be as faithfully repro- of Roman palatial luxury at its greatest duced as the forms—and we have no height. The style of architecture is gorground for questioning that it is so—it is geous and solid, the ornamentation of the very certain that the ancient Egyptians most elaborate, and most expensive kind; knew but little of the art of the colorist, but all without heaviness. The Roman and were infinitely behind the lowest of sculpture differs from that of the Greek, civilized moderns in that respect. We much to the advantage of the latter. It must pass the rock tombs of Aboosimbel, is less graceful in design, less truthful in the columns from the temple of Denderah, form, less poetical in conception ; but is and fifty other things which the visitor more practically useful, being confined very will pause to examine for himself, and much to mythology, portraiture, and the

up

emblematizing of historical events. Among Ezekiel prophesied—a history written in the chief sculptures to be found here are pictures of stone, which, after being buried the Young Hercules, the Apollo Belvidere, beneath the dust of thirty centuries, are the Diana with the Fawn, the Tortonia drawn forth in our day to attest the vigor Hercules, together with a number of colos- and greatness of the world's youth, and sal busts, among which is the Jupiter Se- the truth of prophecy. In point of artisrapis, and a collection of Borghese and tic merit, the productions of the Assyrian Vatican vases. There are also some fine chisel stand midway between those of bassi-relievi, including those from the Arch Egypt and those of the early Greeks. In of Titus, which represent the leading of correctness of form, and in breadth and the Jews into captivity. There are also boldness of outline, with which mere size models of the Roman Forum, of the Colos- has nothing to do, they are many of them seum in its perfect state, and of the cele- infinitely superior to the best of the Egypbrated temple of Neptune at Pæstum. tian sculptures; and here and there we see

From the Roman Court we pass on to evidences of a lofty intellect striving not the court of the Alhambra, which consti- always in vain-struggling, as it were, in tutes the extreme northern refreshment- spite of its unacquaintance with the true room. The Alhambra, the ancient palace | principles of art, toward the imbodiment of the Moorish kings of Granada, is the of really grand and noble ideas. Had the most marvelous specimen extant of Moor- | Assyrian empire survived a few centuries ish architecture. The portion here repre- longer, it might have boasted its Praxiteles sented consists of the Court of Lions and and its Apelles, and perhaps its Socrates the Hall of Justice. In the center of the too, and an earlier Greece had changed Court of Lions stands the fountain, sup- the destinies of nations. ported upon the backs of twelve of those We pass into the Byzantine Court. royal animals. It is impossible to give an Byzantine art may be regarded as the idea by mere description of the amount of production of a semi-barbaric people, workmanual labor bestowed upon the getting- ing upon the basis of the Greeks. The

of this fac-simile of Moorish architec- Greek simplicity they did not understand ture. The whole erection from roof to -the Greek outline they were incapable floor is a real mechanical wonder, the of producing; they overloaded the one ceiling of the hall forming especially a with an eccentric kind of ornament, and puzzle not easily solved. Here and there, substituted for the poetical idealism of the on the walls and cornices, checkered with other a stiff, pedantic, and literal fidelity, minute patterns in gold and vivid color, which, wanting in the higher elements of are Arabic characters and mottoes. It art, has yet its historical and practical is well situated for a refreshment-room, value. With all its defects, however, and standing at the end of the nave, out of the its utter absence of the truly graceful, Byway of the stream of visitors, and, being zantine architecture is imposing from a free from sculptures and statuary, affords certain truthfulness of detail, and its sugample room for hungry and thirsty guests. gestiveness of a kind of wild power tamed,

Before crossing the building to the courts as it were, to sacrifice to the beautiful. on the other side of the nave, we spend a This court contains restorations of the few moments in the Assyrian Court, where, cloister of St. Mary in the capitol of under the direction of Mr. Fergusson, as- Cologne, and a portion of St. John the sisted, it is said, by suggestions from Mr. Lateran, with its gold mosaics. The founLayard, has been reproduced the audience- tain of Heislerback stands in the center, chamber of an Assyrian monarch, such as and remains of Romanesque art, collected it appeared in its bold and primitive gran- from various countries, adorn the walls. deur three thousand five hundred years The Mediæval Court is the repository ago. Enormous eagle-winged and human- of a series of fac-similes of the most beauheaded bulls stand guarding the entrance; tiful forms of early ecclesiastical architecthey appear to have been modeled exactly ture, and consists of various departments after the originals. The audience-cham- illustrative of the French, German, Italian, ber measures one hundred feet in length by and English schools, all of which are fifty in width, and around the walls are dis- characterized by their use of the pointed played the history of the first empire at arch. The examples of German gothic the period when Sennacherib ruled and are selected from the works of Peter

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »