Page images


Prophets, Saints, Martyrs, &c. to the number of 64, and 50 smaller above them: curious for their

antiquity, but for little else, being drawn without perspective, without the effect of light and shade, and ill proportioned ; yet in these are some remains which fhew the brilliancy of their colours, and some traces of fimplicity and beauty; particularly in the Heads of the female Figures in the window on the righthand of the entrance to the Chapel.

2. Of the second sort are the windows on the north fide of the Chapel. These are done in the common modern style by Mr. Peckitt of York. The three nearest the Organ contain, in the lower range, the chief persons recorded in the Old Testament, from Adam to Moses; in the upper, twelve of the Prophets. Mr. Rebecca gave the designs for these. The two other windows contain our Saviour, the Virgin Mary, and the twelve Apostles.

3. The third sort are on the south side of the Chapel. These were originally Flemish Windows; and done (as it is reported) from designs given by some scholars of Rubens. Being brought out of Flanders, they came into the poffeffion of Price the son, whofe skili inglass-painting is well known. Of him they were purchased by the Gentlemen of the College, who alsoemployed him to repair what injuries they had sustained, and to fit them for the places where they now ftand, A. D. 1740. In each window are eight Figures, of Saints, Martyrs and Prelates, with their respective symbols ; and for expreffion, colouring, and effect, they were esteemed equal, if not superior, to any painting executed on glass, till the appearance of the fourth fort, of which we now come to speak.

4. The west window of the Ante-chapel. This great window consists of seven compartments in the lower range, each near three feet wide and twelve

high. In these stand feven allegorical Figures, representing the four Cardinal, and three Christian Virtues, in the manner following:

TEMPERAnce, pouring water out of a larger veffel into a smaller one. Her common attribute, the Bridle, lies at her feet.

FORTITUDE, in armour; her hand resting on a broken column, which though half destroyed remains upright; her form robust, her look bold and resolute. A Lion, her attendant, couches below her,

FAITH, standing fixedly on both feet, and bearing a Cross, the symbol of her belief: her eyes and hand raised up to Heaven.

On the other side of the middle group (of which more hereafter) Hope, looking toward the fame Heaven, and springing forward to it so eagerly that her feet scarce touch the ground. Part of an Anchor, her attribute, is seen in the corner of her compartment.

Justice, looking with a steady and piercing eye through the dark shade which her arm casts over her face in her left hand the Steelyard, a kind of balance less cumbrous, if not less vulgar than the scales which are usually given her. Her right hand supports the sword.

PRUDENCE, beholding (as in a mirror) the actions and manners of others, for the purpose of regulating her own by observation thereon. Upon her right arm an Arrow joined with a Remora, the respective emblems of swiftness and flowness; Prudence being a medium between them.

The middle group, mentioned above, represents CHARITY, and deferves especial notice for the expression of the Figures therein contained. The fondling of the Infant, the importunity of the Boy, and the placid affection of the Girl, together with



[ocr errors]

the divided attention of the Mother, are all distinguishably and judiciously marked with a knowledge of character, for which the great Artist who gave this design is so justly celebrated.

Such are the Figures which fill the lower compartments ; yet they are but a subordinate part, and (as it were) a basis to the superb work erected over them. In a space ten feet wide and eighteen high, is represented the NATIVITY of JÉSUS CHRIST: a composition of thirteen human Figures, besides fome animals. 1. The blessed Virgin, whose attention is wholly engaged with her infant. 2. A group of Angels descended into the stable, and kneeling around him. The face of the least of these exhibits an idea of youthful beauty that perhaps was never furpaffed. 3. A company of Shepherds, whose de votion and rude eagerness to behold him are strongly expressed. 4. St. Joseph, looking on the fpectators, and pointing to the Child, as to the promised feed, the expectation and hope of all nations. 5. In the clouds above, an Angel contemplating the mystery of the Crofs; and near him a scroll, whereon is written the original Greek of this text, Mysteries which the Angels themselves desire to look into.

In this composition the Painter has taken for his light that which is supposed to proceed from the body of the Infant: herein imitating a famous picture now preserved in the Gallery at Dresden, and known by the name of the Notte of Corregio *. This beautiful idea has often been adopted, but never fo judiciously applied as in this instance; where the substance on which the Infant is delineated being transparent, and the light actually passing through him, his body thereby receives a higher glow; and gives to the whole an appearance of reality. A small copy of this picture is in the Collection at Christ Church.


[ocr errors]

The remaining parts of this grand design consist of groups of Shepherds and other persons who are approaching the Stable to pay their devotions to the new-born Saviour. Ainong these, the compartment next to the great picture on the south contains the portraits of the two artists by whom this admirable work was executed; viz. Sir J. Reynolds, and Mr. Jervais: the portrait of the latter, who is represented as looking upwards, is esteemed a very fine and strong resemblance.

For this work, which was begun about the year 1776, finished Cartoons were furnished by Sir Joshua Reynolds. These were copied by Mr. Jervais; to whose skill the world is indebted for a new style in glass-painting, which in beauty and truth of representation exceeds all that have hitherto been seen, as much as the common productions excel the first rude attempts of the art.

The Choir is 100 feet long, 35 broad, and 65 high. As we enter the inner Chapel the most striking object is the Altar-piece; which is now, A. D. 1793, restored nearly to the same state that the Founder originally gave it. It consists of fifty niches, difposed in four ranges over the whole east end of the Chapel ; ornamented with canopies, pinnacles, and tracery of the richest Gothic workmanship. These niches were filled by the Founder with the figures of divine and holy Personages; but soon after the Reformation they were all taken away and destroyed, and the architecture itself much broken and defaced. Some remains however were still discernible; and from these, by the skill and abilities of Mr. Wyatt, the design of the present structure was made out and executed. By the same eminent Architect the Chapel has lately been new roofed, the Choir enlarged in length and breadth, the Seats decorated with canopies,

C 2


and the Organ-loft erected : this last is a most superb. piece of Gothic architecture, raised over the entrance of the choir, at the west end; and very fitly correfponding with the richness and beauty of the Altarpiece. Over the Communion-table, in the wall below the niches, are five compartments of marble sculpture in alto relievo, representing these subjects: 1. The Salutation of the Virgin Mary. 2. "The Nativity of Jesus Christ. 3. The Taking Down from the Cross. 4. The Resurrection. 5. The Ascension. These were all finished by that excellent artist Mr. Westmacott: the Table or Altar itself is likewise furnished by him; it is 12 feet long and 3 broad, and is composed of dove-coloured marble.

On the north side of the chapel is preserved the Crosier of the Founder, which is usually shewn to strangers ; a well-preserved piece of antiquity, and almost the only one in the kingdom. It is near seven feet high, is of silver gilt, finely embellished with a. variety of rich Gothic architecture.

Here is an admirable Organ built by Dolham, and since improved by Mr. Green. Cathedral service is performed here twice every day, viz. at eight and fix, except Wednesdays and Fridays, when it commences at eleven. This Chapel is esteemed one of the best in England for Music; which probably is owing to its being spacious, and having no breaks to divide the sounds. Adjoining to the Chapel is a Cloyster, on the north side of which is a Tower with a peal of ten Bells.

The Hall is at the north-east corner of the quadrangle. It is handsomely wainscotted, and adorned with the portraits of the Founder, William of Wykeham; William of Wainfleet, the Founder of Magdalen College, who was Schoolmaster of Winchester College in the time of Henry VI; and Archbishop


« PreviousContinue »