supported ones) being to include much matter in little space, while a panel is a contrivance for making little matter fill much space. We regret also to see the deep circular apertures in the spandrils reduced to a flat shadowless surface; and the balconies over the crown of each arch are thin and poor. The paucity of window opening is (as was noticed last year) an advantage to the architectural beauty, but (we must now add) not to comfort or salubrity, and we cannot approve of these objects being ever so little sacrificed to the former. If any style or treatment of buildings has its character destroyed by much window surface (as the Florentine for instance undoubtedly has), such style should be abandoned as unfit for this country, because we know that there are plenty of modes of treatment in which the amount of opening may be great without producing any ill effect. Thus, all the buildings surrounding the Piazza and Piazzetta of St. Mark have at least as much aperture as solid surface, and many of our Gothic domestic buildings have still more; nor would it be difficult, if we had space, to show why one style is fitted to and requires much mass, and another much void. The removal of window-tax ought to revolutionize our building in this particular, were it not that half a century must have inured us to a false estimate of the amount of light proper in dwellings, and so inflicted an injury that will survive its cause, perhaps, for ages. The two extreme arches but one, of this design (which consists of eleven) are passages into a covered street at the back of the shops, having another row exactly similar to them beyond it. The space is to be covered by a glass roof.

Another panel of the pedestal to the Nelson column has been filled. It represents the scene at the Nile, and is treated in a style very different from that of the Death of Nelson, the figures being few, considerably larger, and disposed with more approach to autique simplicity. This, however, does not render it really a simpler work, but on the contrary more artificial, there being evidently more effort to affect an obsolete style, to fill the various parts of the panel equally, and to avoid the deformities of modern dress. The figures are attending more to their attitudes, if not less to the action. It is to be regretted that these bas-reliefs were not adapted to the depth of the panels containing them, or else the panels deepened sufficiently to hold them; though they are already deep enough to hold some of the most effective works of this kind. The projection of the figures beyond their frame entirely defeats the object and meaning of a panel, which in such cases is useless if not meant to prevent the sculptures interfering with the outlines of the mass. The south aspect of the first bas-relief renders this the less excusable, while the projection increasing from top to bottom, gives in a side view, the unpleasant effect of a heap of clothes slipping off a shelf.


It was observed on this subject, last year, that the construction of churches is now almost entirely taken out of the province of art or design, and become, for the present, merely a matter of antique repre

sentation. Though this may be to us (as there remarked) a great convenience, as releasing us from all necessity of noticing, in much detail, this large class of buildings, still we cannot but regret the occurrence of this strange freak of fashion just at the time when an unusual number of churches are being built. It cannot but have the effect, which indeed it has already had, of stamping a large portion of the ecclesiastical architecture of the country with a character, of which, when the fit is over, we shall perhaps be somewhat ashamed.

The main requisite in church building which is now insisted upon, is the imitation of what has been termed "Christian Art." Now it unfortunately happens that the more we learn of the history of art, the more indefinite will be the meaning conveyed by this term, or rather the more difficult to attach to it any meaning at all. Christianity has, since its foundation, enshrined itself in temples of every form and almost every architectural style ever used by other religions, besides several originating in its own pale; and what is very remarkable, its fabrics have been so equally divided among five or six of these styles, that it is impossible to say which predominates. It has also used art of every degree of merit from the highest to the lowest ; and we must particularly note (what no one would guess from the expressions used by ecclesiologists) that the Church arts in this country have never, from the time of the earliest remains to the present, or at least eight centuries, maintained a constant style for thirty years together. It is necessary therefore to observe, that the term Christian is now limited in place (if not to this country) at least to the Western half of Christendom; and in time to as little as three centuries out of the eighteen, viz., from the reign of John to that of Henry VII. Yet even this limited acceptation includes times of the most opposite artistic character, for the principles followed in the thirteenth century tended to continual improvement, and those in the fifteenth to continual decay of art. Among all the successive shades of style, then, which is it that we are to imitate? The ecclesiologist solves the question by allowing us to choose our "period," and then adhere to all the characteristics of that period, the merit of this new and singular art consisting in the freedom from admixture of anything belonging to an earlier or later date than that which we profess. We venture upon these remarks that the uninitiated reader may understand a peculiar feature in the authority we are about to quote-the thirtieth annual report of the Commissioners for building New Churches. In the table of places where new churches are building, besides a column stating the date when each was begun, and another, that on which it is expected to be finished, we have a third devoted to the "style and character," i. e. the date represented, whether in the 13th, 14th, or 15th century. Thus we find

Stockport, district

of Portwood.

Style and Character.
about 1420.

First stone laid.

22 Aug.


and so on through the schedule. Now a plain man naturally asks,

was this then the practice of those you profess to imitate? Did the designers, in the three centuries of "Christian Art" itself, take a review of some bygone system of art, then choose their period and adhere to it? No, they made use of all former experience, and erected buildings the best that the science and art of their own time permitted. They were in no difficulty about mixing the features of different dates, because all the features they used were suggested by the requirements of their own date,-none adopted to imitate the character of another age.

This will, we hope, guard the reader against the effect of a most erroneous expression now much used. We constantly hear of modern designs imitating the spirit of the ancient; and this is generally said of those whose spirit is most directly opposed to it. For the spirit of the thirteenth century designers was to do their best ; but that of the nineteenth is to ape the thirteenth century's worst. We say their worst, because modern means necessarily require us to seek out chiefly the simplest (as they are called), i. e. cheapest features of each kind, for which we can find precedent; so that the whole must needs be, after all, but a very poor imitation, very pinched and starved, with meanness stamped on everything. It cannot but be of that kind referred to by the poet, when he says, the apish nation limps after in base imitation." Again, the spirit of the early Gothic designers (or those we chiefly profess to imitate) was to decorate only with useful or necessary features, to make nothing merely for ornament-whereas in our imitations there is not a single ornamental feature, from the sham belfry that costs hundreds, down to the sham buttress, or waterspout, that is of any use whatever to the construction or purposes of the building; as, on the other hand, every useful or necessary object is so unsightly that we use every effort to dispense with or smuggle it away.


If then we admit the arts of the above named section and period of the Church to be right, and the only Christian art; the question still arises, how can our present imitation of them be right also? seeing that the two are diametrically opposed in their leading principles, objects, and spirit. We can only conclude that the truth now aimed at, consists in imitating the letter and outward form or dress of Gothicism (or rather of the Anglo-Romish church-building, for this is only one small branch of Gothicism). But yet, even confining ourselves to this external imitation, and measuring it by its own rule, we shall find some most important variations from the pattern, -of which we will only name two.

A large proportion of the Gothic buildings having roofs of a steeper pitch than is used in other styles, the notion has arisen, (ever since a remark dropped we believe by Dr. Moller some years ago) that this steepness is one essential point of Gothicism, or rather its most essential rule; though the flattest practicable roofs abound (in this country at least) in every period of the system, and there is not a cathedral aisle in England, except those at Salisbury, that has a roof steeper than Grecian buildings. However, we do not object to the conversion of a prevalent tendency into an universal

rule, unless it lead to the breach of some rule that was really universal; which in this case it constantly does, to the entire alteration of the character of the buildings. The reason is this-the Gothic churches were much higher than the pseudo-Gothic can afford to be, and the former had either no clerestory or a real clerestory, while the latter nearly always take a mean course between these two, by sporting a sham clerestory. Now, in the former buildings, the roofs could, in either case, be of a high proportion (as the building itself was) without overpowering it, or occupying more relative space than roofs do in the best works of all styles. In the pseudo-Gothic, on the contrary, the walls being cut down to suit modern economy, but the roofs obliged to conform to the supposed rule, we have the utterly new phenomenon of buildings with more roof (visible in every view) than wall;-a peculiarity so striking as to form the main characteristic by which we distinguish at once a modern church from all other buildings; yet a peculiarity utterly opposed to mediæval precedent. To such a ludicrous pitch has it run however, that most recent churches can only be described as a huge surface of slates, or irregular agglomeration of such surfaces, beneath or amongst which, we presently discover some bits of Gothic stone-work, so lost among or crushed under the heavy blue masses, that they had much better have been omitted, and the work honestly left to appear what it virtually is,-a church of timber and slates.

But a still more singular novelty in the mock-Early-English churches, and one which we can confidently affirm to be perfectly unprecedented, both among those of every past Christian age, and of every other religion in the world, is their studied disunity, or intentional patchwork. Want of unity indeed was common to many Egyptian, Hindu, and other semi-barbarous temples, but it was not designed. The artists plainly did their best to obviate it, but had not the art to do so. Everywhere, till within a few years, it was esteemed a fault; and it was reserved for the Victorian age to discover in it beauty or propriety (we have not heard which). It is now considered essential to a church to appear a congeries of disjointed parts, thrown together by chance, crippled, lop-sided, and having no apparent connexion, or as little as the unity of purpose inside will possibly permit; much less than in those mediæval churches that have been pieced and patched (or rather begun to be rebuilt) half a dozen times. Observe that we find no mediæval church which was ever begun to be either built or renovated on this principle; none for instance that was ever designed to have two aisles or two transept arms unequal, or the four roofs abutting against a central tower at different heights, or any horizontal member not either continued or repeated at equal heights all round the building. Disunion, therefore, as a primary principle, is entirely new. These remarks may appear strong, and perhaps uncalled for. Our bald Gothic churches may be more satisfactory than the barrack-like buildings of the age of George III. But nevertheless it is necessary to receive with extreme caution the boasts now trumpeted on every side about the

supposed revival of old church architecture; for we see that such revival in both the spirit and the letter at once is impossible, and that accordingly the former is not attempted; that, even confining ourselves to the letter, the more important peculiarities of the old art are reversed in the new; and thus that the resemblance between this revival and the thing said to be revived can only be found in the forms of minor details, into which we have no space to enter. Having attempted to give an idea of the present general tendencies observable in this class of buildings, we proceed, as usual, to the Report of the Church-Building Commissioners.

The churches erected by their aid during 1849 were 21, containing accommodation for 14,793 persons, of which 10,114 seats are free. The churches in progress during the present year to which they have contributed aid, on certain conditions, are these-Ashtonjuxta-Birmingham, pew-sittings 212, free 582, begun 24th October, 1848.-St. Austell, Cornwall (district of Charlestown), in pews 24, free 550, begun 27th November, 1849.-The same (district of Treverbyn), 308 seats, all free, begun 11th September, 1849.-Birmingham (district of St. Jude), in pews 300, free 1,082, begun in 1850.- Birstall, Yorkshire, in pews 125, free 341, begun 1st January, 1850.-Bradford, Yorkshire, in pews 210, free 592, begun 29th May, 1849.-St. Breage, Cornwall, 467 seats, all free, begun 4th July, 1849.—Bristol (district of Weir), 842 seats in all, 634 free, begun 8th March, 1850.-West Brompton, Middlesex, 500 seats, 167 free, begun 2nd August, 1849.-Bury, Lancashire, 528 seats, 210 free, begun December, 1849.—Cadoxton, Glamorganshire, 300 seats, 252 free, begun 27th June, 1849.—Chard, Somerset, 305 seats, all free, begun 18th June, 1850.-Charlton, Kent, 841 seats, 491 free, begun 4th October, 1849.—Chorley, Lancashire, 816 seats, 648 free, begun 5th September, 1849.—Croydon, Surrey, 786 seats, 493 free, begun 12th September, 1849.-West Derby, Lancashire, 1,000 seats, 500 free, begun 17th May, 1850.—Duffield, Derbyshire, 600 seats, 448 free, begun June, 1849.-Frodsham, Cheshire, 349 seats, 294 free, begun 7th August, 1849.-Gresford, Denbighshire, 384 seats, all free, begun in 1850.—Leeds (district of All Saints), 756 seats, all free, begun 9th October, 1849.-The same (district of Little London), 700 seats, all free, begun in 1850. --Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, 503 seats, all free, begun 5th December, 1849.-Manchester (Heaton Mersey), 497 seats, 248 free, begun November, 1846.-St. Pancras, London (Haverstock Hill), 1,425 seats, 979 free, begun August, 1849.-Rochdale, Lancashire, 600 seats, 350 free, begun 12th July, 1849.-Sheffield (district of Moorfields), 972 seats, 577 free, begun 29th October, 1849.—Stockport, 608 seats, 402 free, begun 22nd August, 1849.-Stoke Damerel (district of St. James's), Devonport, 1,098 seats, all free, begun 25th July, 1849.-The same (St. Mary's district), 809 seats, all free, begun 2nd April, 1850.-The same (St. Paul's district), 741 seats, all free, begun 25th July, 1849.—Wednesbury, Staffordshire, 635 seats, 446 free, begun 3rd May, 1850.-Westminster (Great Peter Street), 1,209 seats, 909 free, begun 8th November, 1849.

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