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Account of the New Chapel at Stepney.
which prevailed at various periods when the style flourished in perfection. The judicious and discerning Antiquary, Dr. Milner, has remarked, * "that there are three orders of the Pointed style, as distinct from each other as are the orders of Grecian Architecture, having their respective members, ornaments, and proportions;" it must follow then, that if an Architect who builds in this style, confounds together two or all of these orders, his production would be as ridiculously incorrect, as if he had mounted a Doric entablature upon Composite columns, edifice professedly Grecian. Such a blunder would draw upon him the ridicule of the whole profession, and yet, in the generality of " modern Gothic" buildings of the Wyatt school, which are praised, and that highly, we see associations not less absurd or incorrect, set up as rivals of our ancient national architecture. Another blunder, and a favourite one of modern architects is, their attempting to give to a building for parochial purposes, the air of a Cathedral or Monastic Church. However they may embellish their work, without the accompaniment of nave, transepts, and minor chapels, it will rather resemble the ruin of the edifice they aim at representing, than the edifice itself. In the building I have named, these faults are, in a great measure, avoided. The third order (according to Dr. Milner's arrangement), which flourished in the 16th century, has been adopted by the Architect, who has borne in mind with great attention, its characteristic feature, the obtusely pointed arch; and in the simplicity of his building, has shewn that he never forgot he was erecting a Parochial Chapel.
The plan is a nave, with side aisles and a small chancel, without tower or steeple. The West elevation is made by octangular buttresses into three principal divisions. The central contains the principal entrance and the great west window, and is terminated with a. plain pedimental coping. The buttresses have loopholes at intervals, and rise above the church; the upper divisions are ornamented on each face with a quatrefoil pannel enclosing a shield, and an upright compartment with arched head above it; they are
* Preface to his Treatise on English Architecture, page vii.
surmounted by embattled cornices, and terminate in plain spires, in a style much too early to agree with the rest of the building. Cupolas, as at King's College, and Henry the Seventh's Chapel, would have been the correct finish, and would have possessed this advantage, that one might have answered the purpose of a bell turret, which the Chapel at present wants. The arch of the entrance is enriched with mouldings, and surmounted by a square-headed architrave, resting upon two neat columns with octangular bases and capitals; in the spandrils are shields in quatrefoils; the whole is surrounded by enriched pannelling, and enclosed within another architrave of a square form, resting upon two similar pillars, and bounded by a sweeping cornice. The window above has six mullions, divided by a transom enriched with a string of embattled moulding, as in the windows of Henry the Seventh's Chapel. The arch is occupied by tracery, consisting of two sub-arches and upright trefoil-headed divisions, and the whole is bounded by a sweeping cornice. Above this window, the Architect has introduced the cross as a loophole, instead of elevating this sacred emblem on the apex of the pediment; a fault common with modern architects, who imagine it is probably less offensive to weak understandings in this new situation, than it would be in the proper and most conspicuous place. The angles of the lateral divisions are flanked with open buttresses ending in crocketted pinnacles. In each division are entrances smaller than the centre, and not so highly enriched; their arches are enclosed in highly enriched architraves resting upon a pillar on each side, and bounded with pointed sweeping cornices. Above them are large hexagonal niches, the pedestals are ornamented with upright compartments, and rest upon corbels. The canopies are made by three cinquefoil arches with crocketted pediments, and finials, and two pinnacles. At the back of the niches, upright torus's in the angles support the interior ground-work of the canopies. The parapets are pierced with open quatrefoils, copied from the modern fantastic finish to the clerestory of Henry the Seventh's Chapel. With the exception of this senseless introduction, and the spires, there is much to admire in the West front. The
Account of the New Chapel at Stepney.
central entrance, an elegant and correct design, and the neat door cases to the side ones in due subordination to the principal, the tracery of the window and the niches, have been evidently formed upon the most rigid examination of original authorities.
The South and North fronts are made into six uniform divisions by well proportioned buttresses, from the upper stories of which are angular shafts terminated by crocketed pinnacles. The windows have two mullions divided
by a transom, ornamented by a similar moulding to the Western window, and the tracery is uniform with that; the heads of the arches are enriched with mouldings, and enclosed within sweeping cornices. The parapets are finished without battlements. There are no clerestorial windows, but the walls of the nave, which rise a trifling degree above the aisles, are ornamented by arched tracery work, rather too fantastic, and two pinnacles above the first and last divisions of the aisles, which standing alone, only break the unity of the design.
The East front, with the exception of the entrance, is a counterpart of the central division of the Western. The ailes have no eastern windows. Two small projections for vestries with loophole lights, having entrances, with square-headed architraves, and sweeping cornices, occupy the angles between the nave and chancel.
The Chapel is built entirely of brick covered with composition, which adds so greatly to the appearance of the houses in Regent-street, and the ornaments are cast in the same material.
The interior is greatly crowded by the necessary accommodations for the congregation; a gallery extends along the West end, and others occupy the aisles. The first divisions of the aisles from the West are petitioned off, and contain flights of stairs to the galleries. Beneath the Western gallery is a narrow passage, the whole breadth of the body of the church, in which are other entrances. Upon the ground work and vaulting of this passage, I cannot bestow unqualified approbation.
The ribs and bosses, and the attached pillars which support them, are not inelegant in themselves, but they are in a style too early to correspond with the surrounding architecture. The screens before the entrances are the first objects worthy of admiration within the body of the church; they are richly
ornamented with two series of upright compartments with cinquefoil heads, above which is a frieze charged with flowers and foliage, and the whole is finished with an embattled cornice. The nave and aisles are separated by five arches, more acutely pointed than those of the windows and doorways, and belong to a style three centuries earlier than the remainder of the building; the architraves are enriched with mouldings, and bounded by sweeping cornices, Festing upon corbels representing bustos. The pillars are composed of a cluster of four small ones, with octangular capitals and bases; two of these pillars support the mouldings of the arch, and the remainder the beams of the roof. The slender proportions of these columns and arches shew the Architect's genius was cramped by his limited finances. The roof is of timber, supported by arched beams in the style of the open worked roofs, so much admired in buildings of antiquity. Those belonging to the aisles rest upon stone corbels affixed to the walls, and are ornamented at the knees with octangular pedestals, and open upright divisions with trefoil heads. The ribs of the nave are arched; the spandrils are filled with divisions of the same description.
The pulpit exhibits a truly antique design; it is hexagonal, and rests upon a single pillar, surrounded by a cluster of toruses; each face of the hexagon is enriched with compartments and an embattled cornice, uniform with the screens of the doorways; it is placed close to one side of the nave; opposite to it, is the Reading and Clerk's desks, which are not smaller pulpits, as is usual in modern churches, but desks of a very simple design; the ends have arched heads terminated with a small pedestal, and the ends of the pews are similarly ornamented. The free-seats have sweeping elbows enriched with toruses; the design is common to our ancient churches, though very unusual in modern ones. The fronts of the galleries are adorned with cinquefoil compartments, in an inferior style to the rest of the ornaments, but the appropriate embattled cornice is continued along the whole front. The organ-case is very handsomely carved; the centre is occupied by a rich hexagonal niche and canopy. The pews being very low, and the pulpit and reading desk arranged so happily, that the view of the altar is not broken, as
Stepney Chapel.-North-west Expedition.
it usually is by the sectarian mode of fitting up churches in the present day, by placing a large pulpit and ponderous sounding board exactly before it. The altar-screen, however, is so very inferior, that I cannot believe it was designed by the Architect of the church, and in the present case, the uninterrupted view of it only serves to expose the poverty and meanness of its appearance. The whole of the last described particulars are executed in carved oak, with the exception of some of the smaller ornaments, which appear to be cast in composition.
The small entrances to the vestries and galleries evince the great attention which has been paid to the features of the style in the most minute parts. Each doorway has a squareheaded architrave and sweeping cornice. The spandrils contain trefoil pannels.
Upon the whole, this building, though not faultless, does great credit to the genius of its Architect, whose lamented death has deprived the profession of one who would have been an honour to it. The subscribers, who, sensible of the great want of church-room in this neighbourhood, voluntarily stepped forward and erected the present edifice, without the least assistance from the parliamentary fund, have raised a monument, I trust, to future ages of their piety and benevolence, and have set an example to the rich and wealthy in all populous parts of the kingdom, which I hope will be readily followed.
help lamenting that any paltry consi-
THE effects of the weather calling forth the feelings of our common nature, our ideas convey us to those inhospitable regions where frost and snow are continual; and as islanders and lovers of scientific knowledge, we trace on the map those northern regions where our brave countrymen are exploring a passage into the Atlantic. Perhaps M'Kenzie's Map is the best extant, that has become general to the public.
Sufferings more than even the perseverance of our nautical countrymen can bear, may have been the effect of the last expedition in which Captain Parry and his brave associates are attempting a North-west Passage. Several ideas have been presented, to forward relief and assistance to them, through the settlements belonging to the North-west Company, Hudson's Bay, &c.; and some kind of investigation might be made by our Davis's Straits ships, if they go earlier than usual, to seek for information within the limits of their fishing
The first stone was laid on the 17th of June 1818, by his Royal Highness grounds. * the Duke of York, and in the course of the year 1820, the building, with a a few exceptions, was completed, and in Oct. 1821, the architect, Mr. Walters, died. + For a period of two years and upwards it has remained unconsecrated. Sabbaths passed over, and no congregation assembled to join in the public worship of the National Church; its windows were broken by idle boys, and its walls made the repository of inflammatory inscriptions, evidently levelled by some ignorant Fanatic at the style of which it forms so beautiful a specimen. Of the occasion of this long delay in the dedication I am ignorant but in common with every wellwisher of our establishment, I cannot
* See our vol. LXXXVIII, pt. ii. p. 79. + See our vol. xcı, pt. ii. p. 374.
Another plan, of some importance, I beg to suggest, trusting it will meet the eye of those who can promote it. It is, to dispatch several vessels round Cape Horn, to proceed to Behring's Straits, and as far North-east as possible. Too much cannot be done to relieve the efforts of those who at the best must undergo privations and suffer hardships which the ingenuity of man can neither prevent or relieve. The vessels I propose in the present instance to send out with this object primarily in view, may have another, namely, " to range down" the coast of America, and look into the different ports from Panama to Valparaiso. Perhaps the events now so interesting in those countries may afford the British cruizers the happiness of relieving some of our countrymen who require protection, and we
The North-west Expedition.
At the monthly meeting of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle, on the 7th of January, an interesting paper was read, on the probable situation, condition, and prospects of Captain Parry and his fellow-adventurers. It showed the probability of their having succeeded in getting a passage through some inlet in the North-west of Hudson's Bay, since, if this had not been the case, they would have returned, or at least been heard of. If they should have got beyond the Copper Mine River the first summer, it is a subject of hope rather than expectation, that they may have passed Mackenzie's, and pushed through Behring's Straits, in which case we may expect intelligence very soon. But in this case probably Franklin would have heard of them. Or they may have been taken short by the climate before reaching the Pacific, and are now passing a second winter on this side of Behring's Straits: still a fair hope may be entertained of their ultimate safety; but it may be the end of this year, or the spring of the next, before we hear of them. Or, thirdly, they may not have been able to find a passage to the Pacific; and then the question is, can they get back to the Atlantic before the open weather closes! or have they the means of passing a third Polar winter? Various presumptions are in favour of this. But on a fourth, not improbable, supposition of damage to the ships, or deficiency of, or injury to, their resources, or sickness, disabling from exertion, their situation must indeed be wretched; and what ought the country, in contemplation even of its possibility, to do? First, to despatch directions to the Governors of Canada, Hudson's Bay, and the North West Company, directing them to equip different parties of natives, with proper supplies, to go in search, by the Copper Mine and Mackenzie's Rivers, and other routes, with a security of being rewarded at any rate, and munificently in case of success. Secondly, that two or three small vessels be sent in different directions. Thirdly, that the Davis's Straits ships be encouraged to sail a fortnight or more before the usual time, and ex
plore the coast before they come to tne fishing-ground. These or any other expedients should be adopted, rather than a single chance he lost of saving these brave men.
One probability of their success in obtaining a passage through some inlet on the North-west of Hudson's Bay, towards the Polar sea, is from their not having been heard of by any of the traders from that part of the world. Another probability is, if the Archipelago of Islands continues from Melville Island towards Behring's Straits, so as to have kept back the pressure of the Polar ice towards the South upon the Northern parts of America, it may have afforded a sailing passage. As all canoe traffic is narrowly circumscribed, and if islands, shoals, or circumstances kept them more off land, there was but little chance of Captain Franklin hearing of them; yet, at all the points he had visited, or from whatever he could learn, there was at the time he was on the coast a clear open sea. Again, if they cannot succeed the first year in finding a passage to the Pacific, they naturally would (rather than be discouraged by any apparently temporary impediment) pass another frozen winter where they were thus stopped. Their vessels are constructed upon the strongest principles, having been expressly built for, and having carried each an 18 inch mortar at the battle of Algiers; they are, in addition, strengthened by having above six feet of solid timber strongly bolted in their bows, which are well defended with the best wrought iron, and an outward defence all round their sides, above and below their water-mark, of a line of strong planks a foot thick, to resist the concussion and pressure of the ice. Besides their original complement of every possible necessary, the Nautilus transport, which accompanied them as far as the ice at the entrance of Hudson's Straits, there delivered to them above 20 additional chaldrons of coals, with numerous bullocks, sheep, and hogs. At the frozen season, the deer and other animals come in great quantities towards the sea; and when the water is open, there are the finest fish all along the coasts; these opportunities of gaining fresh supplies must be of the greatest advantage to their health.
We make these statements to allay those apprehensions which the want of intelligence from the expedition must naturally create.
Curious Altar-piece described.
Tthe Frontispiece) is a copy of an
antient painting, finely executed, which
The design is evidently an Oratory of the Virgin Mary, under which representation some living lady, as was usual *, was pourtrayed.
It is well known that foreign artists used to visit this country in search of employment. The Monk is probably the portrait of some Abbot of Leicester, painted by one of them. The Abbey of Leicester, seen in the distance through the door of the Oratory, confirms this supposition. As to the form of the arch, and other denota tions, founded upon the architecture, Mr. Haggit provest, that in paintings the artists used the most unlimited licence. The painting was probably the benefaction of the lady who is represented, and who by her sitting under an estate, was a person of very elevated rank. In Strutt's Dresses (Pl. LXIV.) is a very fine representation of the Virgin Mother, caressing the infant Jesus, with a nimbus round her head, which, from the present lady being without doubt a living mortal, was properly omitted. The only particularly observable coincidence is the long flowing hair in both the figures. The costume of the lady is more like that of the 12th or 13th centuries (the period at which the Abbey of Leicester was founded) than any other; yet the painting may not be of so early a date. The lady is in deep mourning; and could we peruse any antient Lives of the Abbots, very probably we should obtain an elucidation of the transaction, and full particulars. The costume of the Abbot does not appear to have been so much suited to his monastic profession, as to that of graduation; for his sleeves seem very much like those of the full dress of a Doctor; and the Monks of all ranks were, we know,
* Petrarch's Laura was painted at Sienna as a Modonna (Memoir, i. 402); and lovers had their mistresses frequently so drawn. + Letters on Gothic Architecture. GENT. MAG. January, 1823.
exceedingly vain of their degrees. There is nothing in the tapestry, of which coincident patterns may not be found in the 13th, 14th, and 15th centuries.
Over the altar is a painting representing the Castle of Emmaus, with Mary meeting Christ in a traveller's dress. As the Abbey de Pratis was moved from the Castle of Leicester, this picture may allude to the removal, and the Castle be that of Leicester...
But the most curious circumstance in the whole painting is the representation it affords of the old monastic Clock, with the bell and weights; thus proving, notwithstanding Professor Beckman*, that clocks with weights are more antient than he allows. On referring to Nichols's "Leicestershire," I perceive that the Abbey of St. Mary de Pratis was founded by Robert Bossu, Earl of Leicester (so named from his crooked make), into which house he became a canon regular professed by the space of 15 years, that he might expiate his former treasons. Now, I think I can perceive that the infant Jesus (un-nimbused) is in the painting very deformed about the legs. A query therefore arises, was this want of skill in the Painter, or did he intend by this deformity to personify the Founder of the Abbey, sitting in the lap of his mother, who prompted perhaps and urged him to the foundation? The rest of the Painting, in regard to the other figures, drapery, perspective, &c. is very fair as to drawing, especially for the age; and therefore there is justifiable room to infer that the infant Christ was so depicted, in order to personify the Founder. It is certain, that at this period women had portraits of their lovers, under the representation of Christ, or some Saintt. Yours, &c. S. Y. E.:
SPIRIT of inquiry, when pro
perly directed, and confined to legitimate objects, is, without doubt, very conducive to the increase of human learning; but such a spirit, when allowed to revel unconfined, rather tends to shake the foundations of