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Corsham House, Wiltshire:
THE SEAT OF
PAUL COBB METHUEN, ESQ.
This ancient, and at present highly interesting Mansion, is situated in a beautiful Park, distant four miles from Chippenham, and nine from Bath. It was originally erected in 1582, the twentyfifth year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by William Halliday, Esq., an Alderman and Sheriff of London, whose daughter and coheiress married Sir Edward Hungerford, Knt. The more ancient part of the building is shewn in our View of the South Front, where the Mansion environs three sides of a court, having the principal entrance in the centre. Over the door is an inscribed tablet, with the date of its erection. After the estate was purchased, about the middle of the last century, by Paul Methuen, Esq., very considerable alterations and enlargements of the Mansion were made, under the direction of the celebrated Brown, who also designed the improvements then made in the Park and Pleasure Grounds; these have subsequently undergone alteration, after plans by Humphrey Repton, who directed the formation of the Lake in the valley on the east side of the House, which is embosomed in fine woods, with the most pleasing prospects of distant country, and much judgment has certainly been displayed in the development of the most attractive home scenery in the more recent improvements.
A vast alteration has been made in the Mansion by the present proprietor, which now occupies a plot of ground more than double that of the original building, and has been constructed with so much attention to characteristic propriety, as to display all the exuberant richness of decoration for which the Elizabethan houses are so remarkable, combined with the comforts and elegances required by the refined taste of modern times. This new feature has been given to the building by Mr. Nash, and is represented in the View of the North Front. The centre of this Front is particularly light and elegant, not unlike the eastern extremity of Henry the Seventh's Chapel at Westminster, in its plan. From the turrets at the angles spring flying buttresses, which support the hexagonal tower with which it is crowned. The large windows between the turrets give light to the Saloon, which is nearly forty feet in diameter : on the east of the Saloon is the Music-room, which is lighted from above, and on the west is the Dining-room. The whole of the East Front, about one hundred feet, is occupied by the Picture Gallery and the Cabinet : in these and other rooms, the whole collection of Pictures originally formed by Sir Paul Methuen, now so exceedingly valuable as to be ranked amongst the first in the kingdom, is concentrated and displayed to every possible advantage. The Grand Hall, one hundred feet in length, of which we have also given a Plate, is upon the South Front, and it must be observed, that our View is taken from the centre of the Hall, which is panelled with oak; a flight of stairs is at each end, and a light Gallery extends the whole length on either side. Over the arch of the Staircase is the arms of Methuen, Argent, three wolves' heads erased, proper.
The Library, a very handsome room, is on the west side of the Court upon the South Front. It is forty-five feet long, and twenty-two feet wide, stored with the best ancient and modern authors.
Paul Methuen, Esq.,, married the eldest daughter of the late Sir Henry Paulet St. John Mildmay, Bart., and represented the county in Parliament for several years.
Boy blowing bubbles .............. A. Caracci.
A fine sketch .... ............N. Poussin.
......... S. Rosa.
Two small pictures copied by Teniers from those
in the Gallery of the Archduke Leopold,
by ............ P. Bourdon and Palma, jun. Angel conveying an Infant to Heaven..C. Dolci. A Barber-Surgeon's Shop, represented by a
Cat and Monkey................D. Teniers. An Ecce Homo ..................L. Caracci. Dutch Boors and Spaniards skirmish
ing ........ ..........P. Breughel. A Satyr squee A Satyr squeezing grapes ............ Rubens.
THE STATE BED-CHAMBER.
Poictieu, ob. 1156.
THE CABINET ROOM. A Battle-piece, a sketch...... ........F. Mola. I View of a Port in the Mediterranean Sea, Head of Old Bassan .............. by Himself. by.................... W. Vandervelde, jun. The Holy Family................P. Veronese. A Battle-piece. Fight with the Turks . . Ditto. St. Sebastian, &c............... Filippo Lauri. A Landscape, dawn of morning........ Claude. Christ and the Woman taken in Adultery, The Virgin and Child in the clouds,
by.............................. Axaretto. by .................. .......... Murillo. A Head, supposed by ...... Liornardo da Vinci. A Man's Head .......
..... Corregio. The Flight into Egypt.......... Filippo Lauri. Judith going to Holofernes's Tent.. P. Veronese. The Martyrdom of St. Lawrence...... Titian. Christ and Nicodemus.............. Guercino. St. Mark and St. John in consultation.. Strozzi. An Amphitheatre and other ruins at Rome, Lot and his Daughters.......... Lorenzo Lotto. I by .............................. Viviani. David and Solomon ................ Strozzi. I Jesus Christ with the Woman of Samaria, Portrait of Hernando Cortez.......... Titian. by ............................ Guercino. The Virgin and Child.......... Carlo Cignani. The Marriage of Jacob ............ Ciro Ferri. Judith about to cut off the Head of Holo The Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, and Saints,
fernes........................P. Veronese. by ............................ L. Caracci.
Wardour Castle, Wiltshire ;
THE SEAT OF
JAMES EVERARD ARUNDELL, LORD ARUNDELL, OF WARDOUR.
Arundeli, eldrested to the facute with him in it Somerset the restle of
Sir Thomas ARUNDELL, second son of Sir John Arundell, Knt. of Lanherne in Cornwall, lineal descendant of Roger de Arundell, recorded in Domesday Survey to be possessed of twenty-eight manors in the Counties of Dorset and Wilts, purchased the Castle of Wardour in the reign of Henry VIII. ; being engaged with the Duke of Somerset in the conspiracy against the Duke of Northumberland, he was executed with him in 1551. His estates were confiscated, and Wardour Castle was granted to the Earl of Pembroke, of whom it was soon after purchased by Sir Matthew Arundell, eldest son of Sir Thomas Arundell, whose son, Sir Thomas Arundell, distinguished himself by his heroic valour at the siege of Gran in Hungary, where with his own hand he seized the Turkish standard. His exploits were rewarded by the patent of the Emperor Rodolph II., dated Prague, 14th December, 1595, creating him and his descendants Counts of the empire. King James I., in 1605, elevated him to the English peerage, by the title of Baron Arundell of Wardour.
The old Castle, in early times the residence of the families of St. Martin, Lovel, Tuchet Lord Audley, and Willoughby de Broke, was greatly enlarged and embellished by Sir Matthew Arundell, in the reign of Elizabeth. During the Civil Wars, it was heroically defended by Blanche, Lady Arundell, against the superior Parliamentary forces, to whom she was at last compelled to surrender it, in May, 1643 ; when a garrison, under the command of General Ludlow, took possession of it, but was soon dislodged by the disinterested patriotism of Lord Arundell, who caused a mine to be sprung, and thus effected the destruction of his own Castle and residence, which from that period has ceased to be a Mansion.
In 1770, Henry, the eighth Lord Arundell, commenced the building of the present stately edifice, upon the designs of Paine; it was completed and inhabited in 1776.
The situation is on an eminence, distant about a mile from the old Castle, whose ivymantled ruins, rising from the level area at the foot of a beautiful amphitheatrical hill richly clothed with wood, now constitutes the most prominent and picturesque object from the eastern windows. The plan of the House, designed upon an Italian model, consists of a square centre and two wings, connected by a curvilinear corridor; a rusticated basement runs round the whole edifice.
The North Front contains four rows, of nine windows each, in the basement and first stories, the Mezzaninas, and Attics, and is decorated with a projecting cornice and modillions. In the centre, a pediment, embracing the three centre windows, relieves the uniform plainness of the surface by a projection of about a foot.
The Southern Front presents a richer character of architecture, having six three-quarter fluted Corinthian columns to support the entablature and pediment; the outer columns are coupled, the plinths nearly touching; niches for statues fill the intercolumniation on each side the centre, which is occupied by a large semicircular window.
The whole is built of a fine white calcarious stone found on the spot.
The entrance in the North Front admits into a vestibule, 30 feet by 40 feet, opening into the great staircase, which is of circular form, and possesses singular architectural beauty; it occupies the centre of the House; lofty fluted Corinthian columns support the cupola, which admits the light; heraldic cognizances of the family adorn the frieze ; musical trophies fill the dies of the soffit; a double flight of steps leads to the Corridor round the staircase 144 feet in circumference, which, through doors placed in deep recesses, opens a communication with a connected suite of ten principal apartments in the centre, and with a range of numerous rooms in the Wings. The Kitchen and Offices are in the East Wing ; the Western wing contains the Chapel, which measures 95 feet in length, 40 in breadth, and 40 in height; both extremities are semicircular. On the East, four Corinthian columns support the Tribune appropriated to the organ and choir. The Sanctuary,