Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

several benefactors to the Hospital; and above, in a niche, is Charity. In the vestibule also is the model of an antique ship, presented by the late Lord Anson: the original, executed in marble, was found in the Villea Mattea in the sixteenth century, and now stands before the church of Santa Maria at Rome, from hence called Santa Maria in Navicella.

From this vestibule, a flight of steps leads to the grand Saloon, or Hall, which is about one hundred and six feet long, fifty-six wide, and fifty high; ornamented throughout with a range of Corinthian pilasters, standing on a basement, and 'supporting a rich entablature. Between these pilasters, on the south side, are the windows, in two rows, the jambs of which are ornamented with roses empanelled: and in the corresponding recesses opposite are painted, in chiaro-scuro, the allegorical figures Hospitalitas, Magnanimitas, Liberalitas, Miserecordia, Generositas, Bonitas, Benignitas, Humanitas. The frieze round the Hall bears the inscription-- ,

Pietas augusta ut habitent secure et publice alantur qui publicæ securitati invigilarunt regia Grenovoci Mariæ auspiciis sublevandis nautis destinata regnantibus Gulielmo f. Maria, MDCXCIV. · Over the great arch at the west end, are the British Arms, supported by Mars and Minerva, finely executed: and beneath this arch stands that mournful remembrance of British heroism, the Funeral Car of Nelson. The Ceiling is "so fully described by Sir Richard Steele, in his Lover, that it were impossible to do better than repeat his language :

"In the middle is a very large oval frame, painted and carved in imitation of gold; the oval is fastened to a great suffite, adorned with roses in imitation of copper. The whole is supported by eight gigantic figures of slaves, four on each side, as though carved in stone: between the figures, thrown in heaps into a covering, are all manner of maritime trophies' in metzo-relievo: as anchors, cables, rudders, masts, sails, blocks, sea-guns, seacarriages, boats, pinnaces, oars, stretchers, colours, ensigns, pemants, drums, trumpets, bombs, mortars, small-arms, grenades, powderbarrels, fire-arrows, grappling-irons, cross-staves, quadrants, compasses, &c., all in stone colours, to give the greater beauty to the rest of the ceiling, which is more significant. ...;

66 About the oval, in the inside, are placed the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The six northern signs, as Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, are placed on the north side of the oval; and the six southern signs, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces, ..to the south; with three of them

in a groupe, as composing a quarter of a year. The signs have their altitudes, and their draperies are varied and adapted to the seasons they possess, as the cool, the blue;—the tender green to the Spring, the yellow to the Summer, the red and flame-colour to the dog-days and Autumnal season, the white and cold to the Winter;-likewise the fruits and flowers of every season, as they succeed each other.

“ In the middle of the oval are represented King William and Queen Mary, sitting on a throne under a great pavilion, or purple canopy, attended by the cardinal virtues, as Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude, and Justice. .“ Over the Queen's head-is Concord, with the Fasces; at her feet. two doves, denoting mutual concord and innocent agreement; with Cupid holding the King's sceptre, while he is presenting Peace with the lamb and olive branch ; and Liberty, expressed by the Athenian cap, to Europe, who, laying her crowns at his feet, receives them with an air of respect and gratitude. The King tramples Tyranny under his feet; which is expressed by a French personage, with his leaden crown falling off; his chains, yoke, and iron sword, broken to pieces, cardinal's hat, triple-crowned mitres, &c., tumbling down. Just beneath, is Time bringing Truth to light: near which is a figure of Architecture, holding a large drawing of part of the Hospital, and pointing up to the Royal Founders, attended by the little Genii of her art. · Beneath her is Wisdom, and Heroic Virtue, represented by Pallas and Hercules, destroying Ambition, Envy, Covete ousness, Detraction, Calumny, with other vices, which seem to fall to the earth, the place of their more natural abode.

“ Over the royal pavilion is shewn, at a great height, Apollo in his golden chariot, drawn by four white horses, attended by the Horæ, and Morning dews falling before him, going his course through the twelve signs of the Zodiac; and from him the whole plafond, or ceiling, is enlightened.

“ Each end of the ceiling is raised in perspective, with a balustrade and elliptic arches, supported by groupes of stone figures, which form a gallery of the whole breadth of the Hall: in the middle of which gallery, (as though on the stocks,) is seen in perspective the tafferil of the Blenheim man of war, with all her galleries, port-holes open, &c.; to one side of which is Victory flying with spoils taken from the enemy, Before the ship is a figure representing the City of London, with the arms, sword, and cap of maintenance, supported by Thame and Isis, with other small rivers offering up their treasures

to her. In the gallery, on each side the ship, are the Arts and Sciences that relate to Navigation, with the great Archimedes, many old philosophers consulting the compass, &c.

“At the other end, as you return out of the Hall, is a gallery in the same manner, in the middle of which is a stern of a beautiful galley filled with Spanish trophies. Under which is the Humber, with his pigs of lead; the Severn, with the Avon falling into her; with other lesser rivers. At the north end of the gallery is the famous Ticho Brahe, that noble Danish knight, and great ornament of his profession, and human nature. Near him. is Copernicus, with his Pythagorean system in his hand: next to him is an old Mathematician holding a large table; and on it are described two principal figures of the incomparable Sir Isaac Newton, on which many extraordinary things in that art are built. At the other end of the gallery, to the south, is our learned Mr. Flamstead, Reg. Astron. Profess., with his ingenious disciple, Mr. Thomas Weston. In Mr. Flamstead's hand is a scroll of paper, on which is drawn the great eclipse of the sun that will happen in April — 1715:* near him is an

* It will be scarcely necessary to remind our readers, that Sir Richard Steele wrote towards the close of the seventeenth, and in the early part of the eighteenth centuries,

« ZurückWeiter »