BLTC Press Titles


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The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner


The Revolt of the Netherlands

Friedrich Schiller


The Characters of Theophrastus

Theophrastus


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


Anecdotes of painting in England;

by Horace Walpole

Excerpt:

41

CHAP. I.

Painters and other Artists in the Reign of
James L

IT was well for the arts that King James
had no disposition to them : He let them
take their own course. Had he felt any
inclination for them, he would probably
have introduced as bad a taste as he did
into literature. A Prince who thought -
puns and quibbles the perfection of elo-
quence, would have been charmed with the
rnonkies of Hemskirk and the drunken
boors of Ostade. James loved his ease and
his pleasures, and hated novelties. He gave
himself up to hunting, and hunted in the
most cumbrous and inconvenient of all
dresses, a ruff and trowser breeches. The
nobility kept up the magnificence they
found established by Queen Elizabeth, in
which predominated a want of taste, rather
than a bad one. In more ancient times the
mansions of the great lords, were, as I have
mentioned before, built for defence and
Vol. II, A strength

strength rather than convenience. The walls thick, the windows pierced wherever it was most necessary for them to look abroad, instead of being contrived for symmetry or to* illuminate the chambers. To that style succeeded the richness and delicacy of the Gothic. As this declined, before the Grecian. taste was established, space and vastness seem to have made their whole ideas of grandeur. The palaces erected in the reign of Elizabeth by the memorable * Countess of Shrewsbury, Elizabeth of Hardwicke, are exactly in this style. The apartments are lofty and enormous, and they knew not how to furnish them- Pictures, had they had good ones, would be lost in chambers of such height: Tapestry, their chief moveable, was not commonly perfect enough to be real magnificence. Fretted cielings, graceful! mouldings of windows, and painted glass, the ornaments of the preceding

' * It is a tradition in the family of Cavendifli that a fortune.teller had told her, that she should not die while (he was building; accordingly she bestowed a great deal of the wealth (he had obtained from three husbands in erecting large seats at Hardwicke, Chatfworth, Bolfover, and Oldcotes, and I think, at Worksop; and died in 'a hard frost when the workmen could not laTrour, .

age, were fallen into disuse. Immense lights composed of bad glass in diamond panes, cast an air of poverty on their most costly apartments. That at Hardwicke, still preserved as it was furnished for the reception and emprisonment of the Queen of Scots, is a curious picture of that age and style. Nothing can exceed the expence in the bed of state, in the hangings of the fame chamber, and of the coverings for the tables. The first is cloth of gold, cloth of silver, velvets of different colours, lace, fringes and embroidery. The hangings consist of figures, large as life, representing the virtues and vices, embroidered on grounds of white and black velvet. The cloths to cast over the tables are embroidered and embossed with gold on velvets and damasks. The only moveables of any taste are the cabinets and tables themselves, carved in oak. The chimnies are wide enough for a hall or kitchen, and over the arras are freezes of many feet deep with miserable relievos in stucco representing huntings. There and in all the great mansions of that age is a gallery, remarkable only for its extent. That at Hardwicke is of sixty yards.

A 2 James

James built no palace himself. Tho& erected by the Nobles in his reign are much like what I have been describing. Audleyinn, * one of the wonders of that age, deserved little notice but for the prodigious space it covered. Towards the end of that monarch's reign genius was called out and appeared. The magnificent temper or taste of the Duke of Buckingham led him to collect pictures, and pointed out the study of them to Prince Charles. Rubens came over, Inigo Jones arose, and architecture broke forth in all the lustre and purity of Rome and Athens — But before I come to that period, I must clear my way by some account of the preceding artists. The first


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