and under one bishop of London, Dr. Henry Compton whereas St. Peter's at Rome, the only structure that can come in competition with it, continued one hundred and fifty-five years in building, under twelve successive architects, including Bramante, Raphael, and Michael Angelo, assisted by the police and interests of the Roman see.

The principal entrance or front, which looks westward, is adorned with a rich and beautiful portico, consisting of twelve lofty Corinthian pillars below, and above are eight composite ones, ranged in pairs, supporting a triangular pediment, the entablature of which represents the conversion of St. Paul, sculptured by Bird, in low relief. On the apex of the pediment is a colossal figure of St. Paul, with two of equal size at each end, representing St. Peter and St. James; and along the summit of the front are similar statues of the four Evangelists. The angles are surmounted by bell towers, of a chaste and uniform character. The marble statue in front of the portico, and facing Ludgate-street, represents Queen Anne in her robes of state, holding in her hands the emblems of royalty.

There are two other entrances to the body of the church, facing north and south, at each end of the principal transept. They correspond in their architecture, which consists of a semicircular portico, of the Corinthian order, surrounded by statues of the apostles. The tympanum of the north entrance exhibits the royal arms and regalia, supported by angels; and that of the south entrance, à phonix rising from the flames, the work of Gabriel Cibber, in allusion to the reconstruction of the cathedral after the conflagration.

This cathedral is open for divine service three times every day i2 the year, the hours varying with the seasons. "At all other hours, when the building is closed, strangers may gain admittance by knocking at the doors of the northern portico; and on paying the stated fees,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

they are at liberty to view any or all the objects of curiosity which the place contains. From twelve to one is a very favourable time for visiting this building : for not only is the light stronger, and the atmosphere less chilly and damp, but at that time a person attends daily to wind up the clock, who can afford some curious explanations.

FEET. The dimensions of St. Paul's from east to west,

within the walls.. From north to south, within the doors of the

porticos. . . . . . . : : : : Its height within, from the centre of the floor to cross . . . : : : . · · · · · · ·

340 Ditto, from the vaults below . . . . . . . The circumference of the dome within is ... 300 The diameter of the ball . . . . . . . . . From the ball to the top of the cross . . . The breadth of the west entrance . . . . . . 100 The diameter of the columns of the porticos.. The height to the top of the west pediment under

the figure of St. Paul . . . . . . . . 120 The height of the towers of the west front .. 287 The circumference of the clock dial . . . . . 57 The length of the minute hand . . . . . 8 The length of the hour figures. . . . . 2ft. 2 in.



The general form of the building is that of a Greek cross, having a magnificent dome arising from the intersection of the nave and transept. From the external appearance the visitor is inadequately prepared for the effect of the interior; the unexpected loftiness of the vaulting, and of the long range of columns and piers which bursts unexpectedly on the sight, produces an effect of mingled wonder and surprise, which is increased as we come under the dome, and look up to the once gorgeous paintings of Sir James Thornhill illustrative

of the most remarkable occurrences in the life of St. Paul, on the spacious concave. At such a moment the


INTERIOR OF ST. PAUL'S. inscription over the entrance to the choir, commemmorating the architect, has the merit of striking simplicity and truth. It is in Latin, of which the following is a translation :

“ Beneath lies CHRISTOPHER WREN, the architect of this church and city, who lived more than ninety years, not for himself alone, but for the public. Reader, do you seek his monument? Look around!”

The choir is separated from the body of the church by handsome iron railings. Over the entranee to it is the organ gallery, and an organ erected in 1694, by Bernard Schmydt, or Smith, at a cost of £200, and supposed to be one of the first in the kirgdom. On the south side of the choir is a throne for the bishop, and on the north

side another for the lord mayor ; besides those there is on each side a long range of stalls. The whole are richly ornamented with carvings, by Grinley Gibbons, who was the first, according to Walpole, who succeeded in giving to wood “the loose and airy lightness of flowers; and chained together the various productions of the elements with a free disorder natural to each species." In the chancel, or semicircular recess, at the east end, stands the communion table.

Many of the monuments which are ranged around to the memory of distinguished men, particularly naval and military heroes, are of great merit; but there are some to which grave objections may be taken, both for inappropriate design and defective execution. Those which, for various reasons, are most likely to attract the attention of visitors, are the monuments of Nelson, Collingwood, Cornwallis, Abercrombie, Rodney, Bishops Heber and Middleton, Sir W. Jones, Sir J. Reynolds, Dr. Johnson, and Howard, the celebrated philanthropist. The inscription on the last-named monument is from the pen of the late Samuel Whitbread, Esq. M.P. and well deserves to be transcribed.

“ This extraordinary man had the fortune to be honoured while living in the manner which his virtues deserved. He received the thanks of both Houses of the British and Irish Parliaments, for his eminent services rendered to his country and to mankind. Our national prisons and hospitals, improved upon the suggestion of his wisdom, bear testimony to the solidity of his judgment, and to the estimation in which he was held. In every part of the civilised world, which he traversed to reduce the sum of human misery, from the throne to the dungeon, his name was mentioned with respect, gratitude, and admiration. His modesty alone defeated va. rious efforts which were made during his life to erect this statue, which the public has now consecrated to his memory. He was born at Hackney, in the county of Middlesex, Sept. 2nd, 1726. The early part of his life was spent in retirement, residing principally upon his paternal estate, at Car

dington, in Bedfordshire, for which county he served the office of Sheriff in the year 1773. He expired at Cherson, in Russian Tartary, on the 20th Jan. 1790, a victim to the perilous and benevolent attempt to ascertain the cause of, and find an efficacious remedy for, the plague. He trod an open but unfrequented path to immortality, in the ardent and unremitted exercise of Christian charity. May this tribute to his fame excite an emulation of his truly glorious achievements !"

Descending from the body of the church, the visitor is conducted to the crypt, used as the place of sepulture for such as are interred in the cathedral. It is a large, dry, and well-lighted space, with massive arches, some of the pillars of which are forty feet square; forcibly illustrating, by their solidity, the immense weight and magnitude of the fabric they help to sustain. Here, besides the remains of the illustrious men whose monumental records we have transcribed, are preserved some fragments of the wreck of the old cathedral, which, having been thrown aside after the great fire, have since been recovered and placed in a recess under the east window of this subterranean vault. Among them is the effigy of John Donne, D.D. author of the well-known Satires. The figure of the poet is in a winding-sheet, and was originally depicted rising from a vase. The sculptor was the celebrated Nicholas Stone, who executed it from a painting made by Donne's directions, who, it is said, when near death, wrapped himself in a shroud, and was so portrayed, as a corpse standing upon an urn. Here are also the effigies of Sir Nicholas Bacon, in full armour, with his head bare; Sir John Wolley, and his lady, in a sitting posture; Sir Christopner Hatton, Lord Chancellor, in armour, with the robe of the Order of the Garter over it; Sir Thomas Heneage, Knight, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, also in armour; Sir William Cockayne; and the mutilated bust of Dr. John Colett, of whom it was formerly inscribed on his tomb, that he was

« ElőzőTovább »