Page images
PDF
EPUB

glow, and gives to the whole an appearance of reality.; . 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. Among 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 Joshua 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 was restored in 1793 nearly to the same state that the Founder originally gave it. It consists of fifty niches, disposed 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. Wyat, the design of the present structure was made out

* and executed. By the same eminent architect the Chapel was new roofed, the choir enlarged in length and breadth, the seats decorated with canopies, 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 corresponding with the richness and beauty of the altar-piece. 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 Crozier of the Founder, 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 Dalham, and since improved by Mr. Green. Cathedral service is performed here twice every day, viz. at eight and six. Adjoining to the Chapel are the cloisters, which inclose an area of an hundred and thirty feet in length, and eighty-five in breadth, and which are well worth the attention of the antiquary. On the north side of the cloisters 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 Waynflete, the Founder of Magdalen College, who was Schoolmaster of Winchester College in the time of Henry VI.; Archbishop Chichele, the Founder of All Souls, a Fellow of this College in Wykeham's life-time; and over the screen is an original painting of the celebrated Annibal Carracci, presented to this College by the Earl of Radnor. The subject of this piece is the Shepherds coming to Christ immediately after his Nativity. The Virgin, Angels, and Shepherds are represented as jointly celebrating the Nativity in the divine hymn of "Glory to God in the Highest," 8tc. The composition and drawing is admirable. The force and spirit of the Shepherds is finely contrasted by the elegance and grace of the Virgin and attending Angels.

The Library (situated on the east side of the quadrangle) consists of two elegant rooms, one over the other, 70 feet long and 22 broad: both of them well furnished with books, and in the library are some valuable manuscripts.

From hence we pass through the middle gate into the Garden-court, which widens by breaks as we approach the garden. This court is separated from the garden by a very handsome iron gate and palisade, which extend 130 feet in length. In the garden is a beautiful mount, well disposed, and covered with a thick shrubbery. Great part of the garden, as well as some parts of the College, is encompassed by the city wall, which serves as a fence, and is to be traced with its battlements and bastions along the north and south boundaries of the College.

To the south-east of the garden is the spacious Bowling-green, with its handsome pavilion; on the right, flowering shrubs, and a row of elms to shade the green; and on the left a row of sycamores, which are a great curiosity, being nearly incorporated from one end of the row to the other.

Having conducted our reader to the furthest part of the College, we would recommend a view of the building from the garden, from whence the lower court has a very grand effect; as from thence the wings appear properly displayed, and the whole is seen at a convenient distance.

This College was founded by William of Wykeham, a native of Wykeham in Hampshire. His extraordinary integrity recommended him to the highest trust and favours of King Edward the Third. When young he was employed by that King in most of the buildings at that time carried on by the crown, particularly in the rebuilding Windsor Castle in the magnificent form in which it now appears. He was soon advanced to some of the most considerable preferments in the church, and in 1366 was consecrated Bishop of Winchester, in the 43d year of his age. His advancement in the state kept pace with his preferment in the church. He was constituted Chancellor of England, Sept. 17, 1367- Froissart says of Wykeham, that he was so much in favour with King Edward III. that every thing was done by him, and nothing was done without him. His munificence proceeded always from a constant generous principle, a true spirit of liberality. »

The foundation-stone was laid March 5th, 1379, and it was finished on April 14, 1386, when the Warden and Fellows took possession of it. In the year following, St. Mary's College near Winchester was begun, and was finished and inhabited in the year 1393, by a Warden,

« PreviousContinue »