Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

into which they were cut, gave them a more elaborate and elegant appearance. The “ Early English” style has been considered to be the perfection of English architecture, because it thus retained the strength and simplicity of the original Norman, united with most of what was truly ornamental and free of the later styles. In Worcester Cathedral, for example, the choir is Early English, with highly-carved canopied stalls, and bold stone flower work. Those old artists seemed to have brought baskets-full of all the flowers of the field into the church, and flung them over the walls.

The best parts of Lincoln Cathedral, which, to our mind, is the most majestic of all the English Cathedrals, York not excepted, belong to the mature period of the early English and Pointed style. The “ Presbytery” or “ Lady Chapel" of this Church, contains some exquisite carving; and is sometimes called the “Angel Choir," from the figures of thirty angels in the spandrels of the triforium gallery, carved as if they were flying, and playing upon every kind of temple instrument, such as the harp, cittern, cymbal. The too great marigold windows in the principal transept, each twenty-two feet in diameter, and filled with glowing and deep-colored stained glass, give a rich tone to the central portion of the building. The “Chapter-house” is entirely distinct from the main edi fiče, and is in the form of a decagon, and flanked by boldly flying buttresses, as if tied to the ground by them like the cords of a tent. Its interior abounds in those strange and grotesque carvings that are so mysteriously suggestive in the older Gothic churches. The sagacious face of the hooded monk, who looks down from the ceiling, seems as if it were alive. Often there will be a really beautiful countenance, with wonderful purity and serenity of expression. Then appears a face as if in torment, with the mouth horribly extended, and the parched tongue lolling out. Here is a winged angel, and there a squat demon; animal heads, beaks, snouts, claws, images of the sensual passions and foul qualities of the human mind, mingle with the symbols of higher and celestial things. What did the old builders mean to represent by this,—the whole mixed world of good and evil,—the whole creation that groans and travails together awaiting the coming of a higher Redemption ?

But the most perfect example of “ Early English,” from foundation to spire, is Salisbury Cathedral. Its interior, compared with Winchester or Ely, appears bare and severe, but it is singularly harmonious and beautiful. It is the

It is the queen of the English cathedrals. It is not an astonishing and monstrous Gothic epic, but a pure English poein. The columns of the nave are clustered and slender. The windows are lancetshaped, and their mouldings plain. Its length is four hundred and forty-nine feet. Stretched along each side of the grand nave, lie the cross-legged effigies of crusaders and of those who struck at Crecy. Ileadless and handless, they are brave still in their wide-carved girdles, chain-armor, and shields, over their broad breasts. liere lies Ben Jonson's Countess of Pembroke. Here, also, Chillingworth and IIooker are buried. The " Chapter-house” has been most carefully renovated. Its hexagonal ceiling is supported by one slight springing column . of Purbeck marble, aud shines richly with modern gilding and colors.

The passion in England, already before noticed, to restore the old churches, and to reinstate every “sedilia” and “piscina” in its right place, has been undeniably one of the most powerful agencies in furthering the Tractarian Iligh Churchi movement, if not one of its originating causes. The intense desire to reproduce the spiritual church, in its most minute completeness of doctrine and ritual, has kept even pace with that antiquarian enthusiasm which is giving lectures in dim crypts and breezy bell-towers, and is leaving no stone unturned, and no nook unrummaged, to discover every lost fragment of the ancient Roman Church.* These modern renovations are

* The arrangement, order, and entire religious service of Exeter Cathedral, Devonshire, present, perhaps, the most persistent and ostentatious carrying out of the High Church ideal of worship, to be found in England. The following weekly " order of services,” and statement of the Cathedral establishment, are taken from a semi-official pamphlet obtained in Exeter:

the most conspicuous in Ely Cathedral, for this church comprises Cambridge in its ecclesiastical jurisdiction, and has thus all the learning, wealth, and zeal of the University to aid in this pious work. It absolutely glows with modern painted windows, costly marbles, exquisite sculpture, and rich brasses. The new bronze work of the gates and lamps of the choir, for grace and oriental luxuriance of fancy, might have belonged to Solomon's temple, and surpasses even the ancient brass work; in fact, for all that modern art and lavish expenditure can do for the perfect restoration and magnificent adorning of these old temples, Ely is the best example.

The third description of English architecture which followed the “Early English,” is termed the “Decorated style.” It prevailed about one hundred years from the reign of Edward I., in 1272, to the end of the reign of Edward III., in 1377. It may be called the style of the first three Edwards. The name " Decorated," describes this type of architecture. It is the former styles, only covered over with more abundant orna

I.

[ocr errors]

II.

III.

EARLY MORNING, DAILY. In the Lady Chapel, at 6 A. M., Morning Prayers; and the Litany on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

MORNING, DAILY. In the Choir, at 10.30 A. M., Full Services of the day. The Holy Communion celebrated every Sunday, and on Christmas day.

On the Wednesdays and Fridays in Ember-weeks, a Lecture from the Chancellor of the Cathedral.

The Lord Bishop holds his Ordination on the Sundays after Whitsun and September Ember-weeks.

EVENING, DAILY. In the Choir, at 3 P. M., except on the Sundays from November 1st to February 2d, when it is at 2.30 P. M. On Sundays the Service is followed by a Lecture.

The present Cathedral Establishment consists of the Lord Bishop; the Dean; the seven Canons; the twenty-four Prebendaries; the four Priest Vicars; the eight Choir-men, who are Lay Vicars; the six Secondaries; the ten Choir-boys; the two Vergers; and the one Dog-whipper.

The music at Exeter, and, indeed, in all the English cathedral services, is, according to our impressio finer than any continental religious music. The chants and chorals are purer and nobler than the famed music of the Sistine Chapel. If one is reminded of Rome, it is better than anything Rome furnishes.

a

[ocr errors]

ment, all parts being modified or inspired by this rich and elaborate idea. It shows slight, but as yet very slight, signs of decay and weakness. Ornament is not, as a general thing, made an end, but only a means of heightened effect. Two characters of lines are seen in the forms of windows, doors, arches, mouldings, etc.; these are the geometric and flowing lines. They present such figures as might be cut with the playful turnings of a pair of compasses, into semicircles, circles, ellipses, trefoils, quatrefoils, cinquefoils. The “ ogee,” which is a common form in this style, is a combination made by the meeting of a round and a hollow, a concave and a convex. The “ogee-arch" is one whose two sides are composed of two contrasted curves. There is a greater drawing out and a more striking pronunciation of all lines and angles, the hollow being deeper, the curves longer, the combinations more irregular and bold. The flower-work is no longer a stiff and thorn-bush foliage, but runs vine-like and flame-pointed (flamboyant) wreathing over and smothering every capital, and flowing along every groined arch in tropical profusion. The plain, bare shaft of the “Norman,” and “ Early English,” seems, like Aaron's rod, to have budded. One may see good specimens of the “diaper-work pattern,” which is a favorite ornament of this style, in the side-screen of Lincoln Cathedral, and upon the monument of William de Valence in Westminster Abbey. This ornament is a four-leaved flower cut in stone and enclosed in a little square; and multitudes of these squares are brought together, producing a rich and elaborate effect. The ornamental lines and flowing tracery of the windows of Merton College Chapel, Oxford, are instances of the large and splendid windows of the “Decorated” style, which are composed of two, three, or even more lights. The smallest corbel, or finial, is highly carved, and drops in a bunch of grapes or a handful of flowers.

Some of the finials and crosses of Winchester Cathedral, belonging to this epoch, are hardly describable, so woven over are they with shooting leaves and plants. It is as if they had stood out neglected in some Italian or Sicilian garden for half a century of summers, and then had been transplanted into

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

a

[ocr errors]

the temple with all their tangled wealth of nature hanging about them. Even the sturdy buttresses of this style are more highly adorned than the “Early English,” being broken up and fretted over with foliated points and pinnacles. Niches for statues, with carved lace-work tabernacles, are characteristic of this style. The little chapel-house of Yorkminster, in its vivid colors and profuse carvings, is, perhaps, the most consummate specimen of this period of architecture. But Lichfield Cathedral, taken as a whole, with its decorated west front, its deeply recessed and sumptuous doorway, around which stand the statues of the evangelists, and its superb “Lady Chapel,” is the finest example of the “Decorated style.” There are few sights more impressive and beautiful than the interior of this church at evening, just as the yellow moonlight shines in the lofty windows on one side, and the last faint crimson light of day faintly illumines the other; when parts of the heavy, round pillars and foliated capitals stand out in burnished light, while others are obscurely seen as trees in the depths of a forest, and irregular masses of dense black shadow stretch like giant hands across the pavement.

The last period of English ecclesiastical architecture, about which we would say a word, is the “Perpendicular style.” This arose during the reign of Richard II., in 1377, and continued one hundred and seventy years, to the end of the reign of Henry VIII. It culminated in the reign of Henry VII., about which time, or a little later, “King's College Chapel,” at Cambridge, and “Henry Seventh's Chapel,” in Westminster Abbey, were built. That great ecclesiastical artist and patron of learning, William of Wykeham, who founded “New College,” Oxford, is he whose genius most illustrates and marks this style. It is almost exclusively English, and is intimately associated with English history, scenery, and familiar memories. Its name forms, also, the key to its principal characteristic, viz. : its perpendicular lines. These run straight up to great height. They are likewise crossed by rectilinear lines, and the spaces of intersection are ornamented, so that there is an elegant simplicity produced which is peculiar to this style. The invariable accompaniments of this type of architecture are

« AnkstesnisTęsti »