London, Volume 6

Knight, Charles


CXXXIII.-Buckingham and Old Westminster Palaces.

CXXXIII.-Buckingham and Old Westminster Palaces.




Build me a palace,

said the King of Bavaria a few years ago to his architect, in words we have before had occasion slightly to refer to,

in which nothing within or without shall be of transient fashion or interest; a palace for my posterity, and my people, as well as myself; of which the decorations shall be durable as well as splendid, and shall appear




centuries hence as pleasing to the eye and taste as they do now.

Such was monarch's idea of what a royal palace should be, and grandly has the idea been realized: let us now glance at that of another.

George the



says Mrs. Jameson,

had a predilection for low ceilings, so all the future inhabitants of the


Palace must endure suffocation; and as his Majesty did not live on good terms with his wife, no accommodation was prepared for a future Queen of England;

and that monarch's views and tastes have also been done thorough justice to. Klenze, the architect of Munich, in his way, is not more worthy of the Bavarian sovereign than Nash, in his, of the English. Unfortunately, there is considerable difference


between the ways, and the result is, that whilst the capital of Bavaria possesses a palace of which it may well be proud, since the edifice is the admiration of Europe, London has that of Buckingham! There are some facts, so significant in their naked simplicity, that they only lose force by comment,--this is of them.

The Palace derives its name from the house that previously stood here, which was built, in , by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, who took the trouble to describe it at great length in a letter that has been frequently published, but somewhat unnecessarily, it appears, so far as its architectural value is concerned; the House is described as appearing, just before it was pulled down,

dull, dowdy, and decent, nothing more than a large, substantial, and respectable-looking red brick house.

[n.114.1]  The Duke at the same time gave us some particulars of his domestic life in it, none of which are half so interesting as that feature of it which he did not give-his

constant visit to the noted gaming-house at Marylebone, the place of assemblage of all the infamous sharpers of his time. His grace always gave them a dinner at the conclusion of the season, and his parting toast was,

May as many of us as remain unhanged next spring, meet here again.

[n.114.2]  Among the many sins laid to the authors of the Palace, it is curious to find the choice of the locality enumerated, seeing that the site is that of the once famous Mulberry Gardens, which used to be considered remarkable for


of situation, and seeing into how beautiful a place has been converted the meadow, with its formal canal, that formerly extended in front of the spot: we refer to the enclosure.

Buckingham Palace was commenced in , from the designs and under the superintendence of Mr. Nash, and completed only recently by Mr. Blore, who, after the former gentleman's death, in , assumed the direction. The general character of the structure, with all its merits or demerits, of course belongs to the original architect, whose successor, we have no doubt, has not the slightest desire to be invested with the reputation of the design. Perhaps the most forcible impression conveyed to the mind in examining the well-known eastern front, is that of wonder at the ingenuity--as we might almost call it-shown in preventing a pile of such large dimensions from appearing large, and in gently letting down, at it were, step by step, as the spectator moves to different points of aspect, the natural idea of grandeur with which he comes prepared to invest a building erected for the residence of the Sovereign of the British Empire. It is very pretty, no doubt; and Waagen says it looks

as if some wicked magician had suddenly transformed some capricious stage scenery into solid reality.

Would that the same magician could re-transform it, and at the same time return the many hundreds of thousands of pounds it has cost into ! If it is not grand, then, in its general effect, is it original? By no means, says critic, and an able (Mr. Leeds),

both the arrangement and the composition being often of the most common-place and hackneyed kind.

Well, if borrowed, is it well borrowed? has the artist shown a thorough appreciation of all the essential qualities of his original, and how they may be best adapted to his own purposes?

Oh, dear no,

replies another, smiling even at the question;

look at that

baldlooking Doric of the basement, so carefully stripped of its characteristic frieze, and then look at the elegant Corinthian of the upper order, a contrast without harmony in itself, and therefore, if for that reason alone, most un-Grecian.

Neither grand nor original, nor deeply versed in the classic lore of his art, the designer was of course a thorough practical architect, who, if you turn him to the mysteries of architectural arrangement with all its mighty maze of halls, and saloons, and chambers,

The Gordian knot of it le will unloose

Familiar as his garter?

Why, not exactly, remarks a critic;

for instance, these wings, when


built, were found too small, and in consequence had to be pulled down and enlarged; the attic from a similar cause had to be raised, and thus we lost what would have been the


picturesque feature of the pile, the pediment of the central portico standing out strongly relieved against the sky; and it may also be added, an architect of the class you describe would hardly have committed such a solecism as to build a dome which he should afterwards have to acknowledge he was not at all aware would be visible from the Park.

In the name of common sense, then, it is asked for the last time, and impatiently,

!Why was such an architect chosen?

to which it can only be replied, We cannot tell, unless it be that the choice lay with the

finest gentleman in Europe;

that George IV. was King. But let us now examine the interior. A sumptuous hall receives us, as we pass below the portico; a hall surrounded with an extensive range of double columns standing on an elevated continuous basement, every formed of a single piece of veined white (Carrara) marble, with gilded bases and capitals. The floor is also of variegated marble, and the steps of the grand staircase on the left solid masses of the same costly material, and the rail of mosaic gold. The reader may imagine the effect of such a combination, which is enhanced to a surprising degree by the play of the lights and shadows through the place, the former streaming down from the staircase, the latter produced by the depth within the columns. Directly facing the entrance, we have at times also another addition to the architectural picturesqueness of the scene, in the vista between the pillars directly facing the entrance,--through the sculpture gallery which it crosses,--and so on through the open door of the library, or council-room, with its semicircular termination (forming the inner portion of the projection seen in our view of the garden front), to the very windows that open on the opposite side of the building, The library, which is very large, is used as a waiting-room for deputations, which, as soon as the Queen is prepared to receive them, pass across the sculpture gallery into the hall, and thence ascend by the grand staircase through an ante-room, and the green drawing-room to the throne-room. The library, with the other rooms on each side of it, are furnished and decorated in a manner that happily combines elegance and luxury with simplicity and comfort, whilst their situation is truly delightful, opening as they do directly upon a terrace, having the conservatory at extremity, the new chapel on the other, whilst over the balustrade, with its elegant vases' of flowers, appears the beautifully varied and undulating surface (of course artificially made) of the park-like grounds,

a mimic Arcady embosomed in deep foliage,

as it has been called,

a gay delicious solitude

rescued from the

fumum strepitumque Romae


The sculpture in the gallery consists chiefly of busts of eminent statesmen, and members of the royal family, ranged on each side through the gallery, which extends the whole length of the central portion of the front of the edifice. Ascending the grand staircase towards the State apartments, we find these latter comprise--to mention the principal only--an ante-room, the green drawing-room, and the throne-room, in the eastern front of the palace; and a dining-room, music-room, and drawing-rooms in the western or garden front, with a picture gallery over the sculpture gallery, between the ranges. All that luxury can desire, or skill and wealth
accomplish, to make these apartments magnificent, in the ordinary modes of obtaining magnificence, is to be found here in an extraordinary degree. drawing-room well deserves its name, for it is continuous illustration of that colour in all its varieties of tints, from the walls with their striped satin hangings, down to the smallest article of the furniture, the whole beautifully relieved by gilded borders and mouldings. The play of the subdued light which enters through the slightly dimmed glass of the windows (from which looks through the pillars of the portico upon the marble arch, and the delicious little panorama of the inclosure), is peculiarly magical, caught and reflected back as it is in endless repetitions in the glazed pannels of the door, and in the pier glasses, or sportively dancing to and fro among the pendant drops of the richly cut lustres that hang at intervals from the ceiling. The height of this, as well as of all the other


apartments on this floor, is feet. The prevailing colour of the throne-room is crimson, the walls being hung with crimson striped satin, and the alcove with crimson velvet, both also relieved by a profusion of golden hues. The ceiling is richly carved and gilt; and the frieze below, adorned with bassi-relievi by Baily, after designs by Stothard, illustrative of the wars of the White and Red Roses. The scene presented in the throne-room on State occasions is as picturesque as it is splendid. Then her Her Majesty appears on the throne in her regal robes, with the Prince on her left, and a most brilliant group of attendant ladies on her right, whilst the members of the deputation, to whom audience is given, advance through a broad avenue formed by the gentlemen-at-arms, in their peculiarly rich and graceful costume, each bearing an axe on his shoulder: a relic of past times which is not quite in harmony with the glitter around. From the throne-room we pass to the picture gallery, which charms us at the glance by the admirable distribution and arrangement of the light, which is admitted by a treble range of skylights extending through the entire length of the gallery. There are, consequently, no bad places for pictures. The collection is very valuable, though, rightly considered; it should form but division of a complete regal picture gallery, since it comprises in the main works of the Flemish and Dutch schools. The chief exceptions are Reynolds'

Death of Dido,

and his

Cymon and Iphigenia,

a landscape by Gainsborough, with a few recent English works, some pictures by Watteau, and--an interesting evidence of Titian's versatility--a landscape, with herdsmen and cattle, by that master. Of the extraordinary wealth of the collection in the schools we have mentioned, some idea may be formed from the enumeration of the number of works by their chief artists :-- by Albert Durer, by Rembrandt, by Teniers, by Ostade, by Gerard Dow, by Cuyp, by Wouvermans, by Paul Potter, by Rubens, by Vandyke, in addition to his various portraits of children, and a great number of others by masters scarcely less famous. Among Rembrandt's pictures, we must specially mention the

Wise Men's Offering;

among Vandyke's, the

Marriage of St. Catherine;

among Albert Durer's, the


and, among Rubens', the portrait of his wife. Claude's


also enriches the collection. The history of the pictures here explains the great number of Dutch pictures found among them; they-belonged, for the most part, to George IV., who purchased them from Sir Francis Baring, and was proud enough ever afterwards of his acquisition.

From the pictures, we pass to the range of rooms that occupy the western or garden front of the same story, namely, the dining-room at the southern extremity, then the music-room with its orchestra, and other appropriate fittings up, next the bow drawing-room, in the centre, so called from the semicircular projection; whilst beyond, towards the northern extremity, we find the yellow drawing-room, the most superb of the whole. Full length portraits of members of the royal family, painted in pannels on the walls, form a conspicuous feature. As an illustration of the sumptuous character of the decorations of this and the other drawing. rooms, it may be mentioned that the floor is bordered with satin and holly-wood, inlaid with devices of rose and tulip-wood. The most interesting portion of these rooms, to our mind, however, is the series of sculptures in relief by Pitts. In the bow drawing-room, the frieze on the side, facing the bow, represents


Eloquence, that on the south Pleasure, that on the north Harmony. It is not difficult to perceive the artist had a noticeable and appropriate meaning in these works. In the yellow drawing-room he has given us a series of reliefs, descriptive of the origin and progress of pleasure, namely, Love awakening the Soul to Pleasure--the Soul in the bower of Fancy--the pleasure of Decoration--the invention of Music--the pleasure of Music--the Dance--the Masqueradethe Drama--the contest for the Palm--the Palm resigned--the struggle for the Laurel--the Laurel obtained. Lastly, in the drawing-room, within arches produced by the elliptical curving of the ceiling, immediately above the cornice, are reliefs representing the apotheoses of the poets Spenser, Shakspere, and Milton-each comprising numerous subordinate figures. The private apartments of Her Majesty extend along the whole of the northern front of the palace, and are therefore directly connected with the suite we have just noticed. almost invariable feature of the numerous rooms of the palace is a piano, in all places a pleasant and genial-looking instrument from its associations; here the very number of such instruments suggests more than ordinarily interesting fancies and speculations: some wandering and most magical touch, we have heard it whispered, will at times make such sweet sounds float to and from them, now here now there, now high now low, that the surprised and spell-bound listener, whom fortunate chance has accidentally brought within hearing, might almost ask in the words of Ferdinand, in the



Where should this music be? i' the air or earth?

and sigh to add--

It sounds no more.

It will be seen from the preceding pages that the interior of Buckingham Palace is truly superb; that marble pillars with gilded bases and capitals, marble and inlaid floors, gorgeous hangings and mirrors, sumptuously adorned ceilings, have been scattered about with a prodigal hand; your decorative builders, and painters, and upholsterers, are great here; but if we look beyond these matters, for that highest species of adornment to which all others in such mansions should be the mere subordinates, we are disappointed. We may look in vain at Buckingham Palace for what is the distinctive glory of the palace at Munich, a grand and harmonious system of decoration which, while affording opportunity for the development of the talents of the best artists of the time, and in that alone giving the structure a high and peculiarly suitable interest, also stamps upon every wall and ceiling, on every alcove and recess, their own appropriate expression, whether in painting or sculpture, of the uses of the hall or apartments to which they belong--of the elevating, or endearing, or fanciful associations with which particular history or general custom or feeling may have invested such places; or which, in the absence of definite uses and associations, opens to the artist a field for still greater triumphs, bidding him, in the words of the poet-

sweet fancy! let her loose

into the regions of the universal, to summon from thence whatever shapes or visions of power and loveliness most powerfully attract him. No fear but he will find some connexion between them and their future local habitation, however hidden from ordinary eyes--no fear, such is the magic of art, but he will make


them see it too.--And, if not, your great artist is himself a sufficient link of connexion, though he of all men will be the least inclined to rely upon that alone. To make these remarks clearer, let us glance for a moment at the Bavarian structure. At the very entrance, the key-note, as it were, of the lofty and harmonious spirit that pervades the whole, is struck, in the motto (the king's own), inscribed in golden letters,

Just and Firm,

and embodied also in the grandly modelled colossal caryatid figures that support the doorway, and, in a figurative sense, the palace itself. As we pass on, we find at every turn something to stimulate thought, and awaken noble emotions. In the series of chambers allotted to the king's use, the walls are painted with subjects from the poets of Greece, commencing with the

History of Orpheus,

from Linus, the earliest poet of that country, and ending with Theocritus. The Queen's apartments present a similar series from the German poets, arranged in a similarly artistical manner. Both form magnificent pictorial and poetical histories. But it is in the State apartments that the grandeur of the palace appears in its grandest shape. The principal rooms are decorated by paintings in fresco, on a colossal scale, representative of the national epic, the Niebelungen Lied, by Schnorr,


of the greatest living artists of Europe,

says Mrs. Jameson,

and these


rooms will form, when completed, the very triumph of the romantic school of painting.

Not only are the whole of the paintings of the palace by the greatest of the German painters, but the very decorations that accompany them are an everlasting study and delight: they are at once so graceful, so luxuriant, and so harmonious with the greater works they enfold, and with the place in which they appear. We can hardly resist transcribing another evidence of the high poetical and artistical feeling of the chief architect, Klenze, from the charming writer to whom we--are indebted for these notices of the palace; for, like the whole subject, it is filled with instruction for us. We have paid dearly for a failure, and it behoves us to know how success may be obtained before there is any danger of fresh experiments by incompetent men. Fortunately, too, there is a general interest awakening to these matters, that promises, rightly directed, to be attended with the happiest results. Mrs. Jameson is speaking in the passage in question of the Queen's throne-room.

On the ceiling, which is richly ornamented, are four medallions, exhibiting, under the effigies of four admirable women, the four feminine cardinal virtues. Constancy is represented by Maria Theresa ; Maternal Love by Cornelia; Charity by St. Elizabeth (the Margravine of Thuringia) The legend of this charming saint, one of the most popular in Germany, is but little known among us. She was the wife of a Margrave of Thuringia, who was a fierce avaricious man, while she herself was all made up of tenderness and melting pity. She lived with her husband in his castle on the Wartsburg, and was accustomed to go out every morning to distribute alms among the poor of the valley. Her husband, jealous and covetous, forbade her thus to exercise her bounty; but as she regarded her duty to God and to the poor, even as paramount to conjugal obedience, she secretly continued her charitable offices. Her husband encountered her one morning as she was leaving the castle with a covered basket containing meat, bread, and wine for a starving family. He demanded, angrily, what she had in her basket? Elizabeth, trembling, not for herself, but for her wretched proteges, replied with a faltering voice that she had been gathering roses in the garden. The fierce chieftain, not believing her, snatched off the napkin, and Elizabeth fell on her knee3. But, behold, a miracle had been operated in her favour! The basket was full of roses, fresh gathered, and wet with dew. and Filial Tenderness by Julia Pia Alpinula:-- And there O sweet and sacred be the name! Julia, the daughter, the devoted, gave Her youth to Heaven ; her heart, beneath a claim Nearest to Heaven's, broke o'er a father's grave. Lord Byron.

I always avoid emblematical and allegorical figures, wherever it is possible, for they are cold and arbitrary, and do not speak to the heart, said Baron Klenze, perceiving how much I was charmed with the idea of thus personifying the womanly virtues.Visits and Sketches at Home and Abroad, vol. i. P. 283.

Is not such a palace truly a palace for the people as well as the King? a home not merely for a Monarch to live in, but where he must be constantly reminded, in the most persuasive of modes, how to live? There remains to be noticed circumstance in connection with our chief metropolitan Palace, and it is of encouragement and promise. Under the auspices of her present Majesty and her consort, a new spirit is in progress of development there, which may yet work wonders even in a place so architecturally unsuitable. We allude to her Majesty's summer-house, which is in process of decoration, with fresco paintings, forming a series of subjects from Comus. The choice of subject for the place is admirable. The artists are Eastlake, Ross, Maclise, Stanfield, E. Landseer, and Uwins.

Buckingham Palace has, of course, no history of its own to recount, but as the residence of the descendants of the long line of Kings who have made the neighbouring Palace of a household word through the world, it has an intimate connection with that pile; so we have but to pass the few hundreds of yards of space that intervene, and give free play to the recollections that so fruitful a subject must arouse. And once within its precincts, almost every step we take we pass some spot that has been made memorable by the buildings that have existed on the site, or by the incidents or events that have there taken place. Here in were interesting structures, of which all vestige has long passed away,--the conduit or fountain, from whence, on occasions of great festivity, wine flowed forth for all to drink that pleased; and the lofty Clock Tower, which stood directly opposite the Hall, where now is the passage into . The history of this tower forms a choice story. Maitland thus relates it :--

A certain poor man, in an action of debt, being fined the sum of

thirteen shillings and four-pence

, Randolphus Ingham, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, commiserating his case, caused the court-roll to be erased, and the fine reduced to

six shillings

and eightpence; which being soon afterwards discovered, Ingham was amerced in a pecuniary mulct of

eight hundred marks

: which was employed in erecting the said bell-tower on the north side of the said enclosure, opposite


Hall gate

; in which tower was placed a bell and a clock, which, striking hourly, was to remind the Judges in the Hall of the fate of their brother, in order to prevent all dirty work for the future. However, this fact seems to have been forgotten by Catlyn, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, by his attempting the razure of a court-roll; but Southcote, his brother judge, instead of assenting to this, plainly told him that he had no inclination to build a clock-house.

In the Chapter House of the Abbey, here on our right, the Commons of England sat as a separate body from the Lords, and an amusing instance has been preserved of the very different position as to dignity and power they enjoyed then, compared with the pre sent time.



occasion the Commons, forgetting the solemn purposes of their assembling, became so riotous, and created so great a turmoil, that the abbot waxed indignant at the profanation, and, collecting a sufficiently strong party, turned the whole legislative wisdom out of his house, and swore lustily

that the place should not be again defiled with a like rabble.

[n.121.1]  It must have been a fine thing to have been an abbot in--those days. We are now in , where events so crowd upon us--that we can but refer, and that slightly, to the principal. In the north-east corner was the house that Percy, of the gunpowder conspirators, took for the furtherance of the plot, and the cellar in which the powder was deposited, and at the door of which Fawkes was suddenly arrested as he came out to look about him at midnight; and who was thus prevented from blowing up himself, his assailants, and the houses, as undoubtedly he would have done had he had the opportunity, on seeing that the plot was discovered. And here in the yard, Fawkes, Winter, Rookwood, and Keys were executed. Here again, a few years later, the all-accomplished Sir Walter Raleigh suffered death on a sentence passed many years before, saying, at the close of an exquisitely beautiful prayer,

Now I am going to God.

Taking up the axe he felt its edge, and smiling, observed,

This is a sharp medicine, but it will cure all diseases.

His behaviour seems to have moved even the executioner, for he paused when Raleigh, having laid his head on the block, was expecting the blow.

What dost thou fear?

said he;

strike, man!

and so he died.

The areas we have mentioned, with the road extending from to the other, and the river, mark pretty nearly the boundaries of the Old Palace. The Palace Yards were the courts of this edifice, and Palace Stairs still point out the spot where the monarchs of England were accustomed to pass to and from the river. The earliest notice of a royal residence at occurs during the reign of Canute, when Wulnoth was abbot, a man celebrated at once for his

great wisdom and fine elocution.

And Widmore, the historian of the Abbey, says,

that for his sake that Prince came frequently to the Abbey ;

and he also speaks of the Abbey as

being so near the

King's Palace


Norden even tells us, that


in the time of Edward the Confessor, a Palace at


was destroyed by fire, which had been inhabited by Canute, about the year



However this may have been, there is no doubt that the earliest parts of the building that has been so long denominated the Palace at , were the work of the Confessor, who is supposed to--have died in of its apartments, that known as St. Edward's Chamber, and subsequently as the Painted Chamber. The triangular arch that existed in the vaults beneath this apartment, make it tolerably certain that the walls and foundations were of the Confessor's erection, although the chamber w--as altered in its general appearance by Henry III., in accordance with the architecture of his time. By him also, no doubt, the paintings were placed on its walls that gave it the name of the Painted Chamber, though these were not discovered till the commencement of the present century, when the old tapestry that covered the walls was removed. The enthusiastic delight of antiquaries may be imagined when it was found that these paintings, so many centuries old, were of a masterly character, representing the battles of the Maccabees; the Brethren; St. John, as a pilgrim, presenting a ring to the Confessor, in reference to the well-known legend; the Canonization of the Confessor, with seraphim, &c. In the battle-scenes there were a great number of figures grouped with admirable skill, and representing, in many cases, individual character with a remarkable force of expression. Here is an example.-
Will it be believed that the authorities allowed the whole to be speedily coated over with whitewash? In this chamber the warrant was signed for the execution of Charles I. After the fire, the walls were raised and roofed over, and the whole fitted up for the accommodation of the during the building of the New Houses.

Another portion of the Confessor's building was the old , the


apartment mentioned by Stow, and the that Fawkes and his fellowconspirators sought to blow up; and, by the way, the cellar itself where the gunpowder was deposited beneath has been discovered to have been the kitchen of


King Edward, a fact the Earl of Northampton, who presided at the trial of Garnet the Jesuit, stated he had ascertained by ancient records; and when the building was pulled down, about , to make way for a royal gallery, the original buttery hatch of the kitchen, with an adjoining ambry or cupboard, was found near the south end. The recent , the destroyed by the fire, was also a part of the ancient building, and a curious variety of names and purposes it has known from the period of its erection to that of its destruction. , it formed, in all probability, the Hall, before the erection by Rufus of the vast structure now known by that name, and in consequence of which erection it was designated as the Little Hall. Here occurred the incident so characteristic of the Lion Heart, which Brompton mentions in his Chronicle:--

King Richard the


, being at dinner at


, in the hall which is entitled the Little Hall, received tidings that King Philip of France had entered Normandy, and besieged Verneuil; whereupon he swore that he would never turn away his face until he had met him and fought with him-; :and, having directed an opening to be made in the wall [the remains of which,, according to the chronicler, were visible when he wrote], he immediately made his way through it, and proceeded to Portsmouth.

By the time of the Richard, Little Hall had changed to White Hall, and John of Gaunt sat in it as seneschal for the determination of claims relating to the coronation of his nephew. Next we find it as the Court of Requests, instituted in the reign of Henry VII., when it was also, according to Stow, called

the Poor Man's Court, because there he could have right without paying any money.

Fortunate poor of the century! j From the Court of Requests it was converted into the , at the time of the parliamentary union with Ireland, when the old apartment was abandoned from want of size to accommodate the new members. This was the destroyed at the fire, with the beautiful tapestry in it, taken from the old House, representing the victories over the Spanish Armada. The order for the execution of this national memorial was given by the brave commander of the English fleet, the Earl of Nottingham, and the artists were Cornelius Vroom, the author of the design, and Francis Spiering, who executed it. Vroom had a pieces of gold, and the entire cost was The border was composed of the heads of the chief English commanders. The earl sold it to James I. Next to Chapel, the loss of this matchless specimen was the severest, because the most irremediable, result of the fire. The windows here represented, forming a part of the southern wall of the building we have just described, and which were almost the only vestiges left in recent times of the Confessor's work, were fully revealed during that event; what remains of the building constitutes part of the present . To all these apartments of the old palace may be added a cluster of smaller ones that hung as it were around them in the neighbourhood of , such as the Prince's Chamber; and many of which no designation has been preserved; with cellars innumerable, extending below every part of the Confessor's pile.

The Conqueror is said, but the statement is of doubtful character, to have continued what the Confessor had begun, by enlarging the palace to the north, whilst Rufus built the magnificent hall, which we shall have an opportunity of speaking of at length in our ensuing Number, on the New Houses of Parliament, and


shall not therefore dwell upon here. The next noticeable addition was Chapel, built by the king of that name, and afterwards rebuilt by Edward I., then burnt in the

vehement fire

of , once more rebuilt in the reigns of Edward II. and III., and completed in that of the latter about , in that exquisite style of architecture which can never be wearied of admiring, the Gothic in its purest form, divested of all the rudeness that accompanied it in its earlier stages, but not yet overlaid by the excess of ornament that marked it subsequently. But the decorations of this chapel form the most interesting part of its history now, as showing-what parts of the neighbouring Abbey and the Temple Church have also satisfactorily demonstrated--that the art of decorative painting, in the higher meaning of the term, like the arts of sculpture and architecture, was in those

dark ages

in a high state of development. When the chapel was fitted up for the Commons, in the reign of Edward VI., the walls were wainscotted, a new floor raised above, and a new ceiling below the original ones; in consequence, the artistical treasures were completely hidden-forgotten-lost. Their re-appearance caused no little sensation among antiquaries and lovers of art. The Commons, like the Lords, had to make fresh arrangements at the Union in , so the whole side walls of the beautiful chapel were taken down, except the buttresses that supported the old roof, and thus the paintings were discovered. Many of these were in oil. They comprised, in numerous compartments, the histories of Jonah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Job, Tobit, Judith, Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon, from the Old Testament; from the New there were the Ascension of Christ, and the miracles and martyrdom of the Apostles. At the same time it was found that the walls had been originally adorned with sculpture ( full-length statues of stone raised on piers are mentioned), gorgeously decorated in colour and gilding, and that the windows had been filled with stained glass, illustrating a similarly double series


of stories from the Bible. But it is impossible now to recal to the imagination in all their completeness of effect the original glories of Chapel; we are too little used to the contemplation of such scenes in reality. A curious circumstance must here be mentioned: there exists a royal order, dated , for the of painters and others for these very works. was not alone in its splendour: its vestibule-chapel or crypt beneath-its cloister-its small oratory, with chantry above, attached to the cloister, all were characterised by their architectural beauty. , indeed, having been rebuilt in the reign of Henry VIII., presented a scene of sumptuouness particularly on the roof, that might almost: vie with the neighbouring chapel of Henry VII. To lose all this either by the fire itself or by the necessary demolitions afterwards, was indeed a national calamity. As King Stephen had very little of the saint about him, whilst the name given to his chapel might make naturally conclude it is he who is referred to, we may remark that the king dedicated it to his namesake the martyr. The collegiate establishment of the chapel, as settled by Edward III., consisted of a dean, secular canons, vicars, clerks, choristers, a verger, and a chapel keeper; and so liberally was it endowed by him, that at the dissolution the yearly revenues amounted to nearly

We have thus noticed the periods at which the palace was begun, and from time to time increased; but that element which eventually caused so much ruin to the remains of the old palace, had more than once before played some exceedingly mischievous pranks of the same kind, and rendered extensive re-buildings necessary. Nothing, indeed, but the wonderful strength of the walls which the Confessor's workmen erected could have enabled those portions we have referred to of his structure to escape so long as they did. In the Little Hall, with many other houses adjoining, were consumed by fire, and had to be extensively repaired. The incidental injuries must have been serious. This fire occurred towards the end of the reign of Henry III., who, besides making some minor additions, greatly adorned the palace with the paintings which he caused to be executed in the Painted Chamber, and, no doubt, in other parts also. Only years later occurred the

vehement fire,

which caused so much destruction that the King, Edward I., was obliged to remove his Court to the Archbishop of York's Palace at , which he continued thenceforth to occupy occasionally till his death. The rebuildings necessitated by this event were of a most extensive character; so much so indeed that Edward left the greater part to his son, in whose reign, and principally during the years -, they were carried into effect. The Chapel alone seems to have been left unrestored, till Edward III. rebuilt it entirely in the splendid manner we have already described. These re-buildings of the Richard have an interest attached to them of a noticeable character. In Chaucer was appointed Clerk of the Works here, as well as at the Tower, and at near Charing Cross--a fact which naturally suggests the enquiry, Did the great poet really fulfil in person, or only by deputy, the duties of the position?-If the former, the very selection, for such a post, is something like evidence of a more than ordinary amount of architectural ability on the part of the author of the

Canterbury Tales.

Messrs. Britton and Brayley observe,[n.125.1] 

It seems probable that this office was granted to Chaucer

more with a view of providing him with a salary under the Crown than from any skill which he possessed in architectural science; yet, in the following year and exactly on that day twelvemonth upon which his appointment had been signed, he received the royal mandate to proceed to the restoration of the collegiate chapel of St. George, at Windsor, which is described as being in a state of ruin. By another precept (tested, like the latter


, at


, on the same day), William Hannay, the then Comptroller of the Works at the Palace of


, &c., was directed to verify the accounts of the said Geoffrey, for the repairs of the said Chapel, in order that the same should be discharged at the King's Exchequer.

Now, it is to be observed, in answer to the presumption with which this passage sets out, that not only do the facts following bear every mark of the regular business-like proceedings that would characterise the connection of the real architectural man of business and his employers, but it is also to be noted that in the division of our public men into classes-those useful to the public, and those useful to themselves only, it is not now the custom, and in all likelihood never has been, to permit


of any rank to luxuriate in the latter position, except where time and an altered state of things may have left none of the more important original duties of the office to be performed. That was evidently not the case with Chaucer's appointment. But the writers we have referred to, add that


January, 1391

, Chaucer was appointed Clerk of the Works; but he was himself superseded a few months afterwards by John Gedney, who, following his predecessor's example, appointed a deputy on the

16th of September

, in the same year, and who continued in office during the




years of Richard II.

That the said deputy was appointed before months had elapsed from the date of the appointment, and until, as we have seen, Chaucer had been certainly engaged in the restoration of Chapel, Windsor, either as virtual or nominal architect, seems to us to tell the entire character of the transaction, that the poet was theoretically, and in a lofty sense of the term, an architect, with just as much practical knowledge as was sufficient to develope his views when any important occasion called them forth. offers :--great reparations are going on in of the most important public buildings of the country, Chaucer's court connection causes his talents to be known, appreciated, and put in requisition; his plans are begun under his own inspection for many months, and then the poet, desiring to pursue his own proper vocation, meditating too at the very time, if not actually engaged in his glorious work, the

Canterbury Tales,

appoints his deputy to continue the course shaped out. The same hypothesis explains why, in that time of incessant turmoil and change, he, a man of action as well as reflection, might be dismissed from his office without any material injury to the work, and why his successor should so coolly follow his example by naming his deputy almost immediately after his own appointment. Chaucer, we may add; resided within the Palace precincts, in a house that stood in the garden of Chapel, on the very spot now occupied by Henry VII.'s Chapel. His duties as clerk of the works very probably led him to this house, which he afterwards leased for a long term, and there, it is presumed, he died. To the reputation of the illustrious scholar, ambassador, patriot, and poet, there should seem no need to endeavour thus to add that of the artist-architect, but the grandly built and

all sided

minds of some of these older worthies could not appreciate that


modern view of human nature, which demands mere poets in literature any more than mere heads of pin-makers in political economy, and it is pleasant to dwell upon the fruits of their faith.

A fire occurring in , was a very successful imitation of the ; again was immense damage done; again was the King (Henry VIII.) driven to . And there he stayed. From that time ceased the history of the Old Palace as a place of regal residence. The Great Hall, with the courts of law and some of the offices, were restored, but as to the rest, the act of parliament, annexing to the at for ever, speaks very plainly. It was then, and had for a long time been,

in utter ruin and decay.

It is not necessary, and would be far from interesting, to trace, step by step, the process of restoration from that period to the fire, as the different parts were found to be required for the accommodation of Parliament and the Courts of Law; we therefore conclude with a few notices of a more important character relating to the latter.

We need hardly say that the Courts of Law were originally considered in fact, as well as in name, the King's Courts, in which he personally presided; the was his seat,--and which courts, even at , moved about with him as he moved. The inconvenience of this arrangement seems to have caused their permanent settlement at his chief residence, the Palace of . So early as , we find a law court here, in which Elfric, Abbot of Peterborough, was tried before the King. The Courts of Chancery and King's Bench sat till within the last years or so in the Hall, whilst those of the Common Pleas and were accommodated in the old apartments of the Palace, ranged along the side of the Hall. These, with numerous others, were all swept away to make room for the new courts,--erected by Sir John Soane, -, in which all the courts are to be now found. Having already given amusing story in connection with the legal reminiscences of , we add another of a different character, and of higher interest. Our readers will remember the admirable scene in Shakspere's Part of Henry IV., between Henry V., immediately after his father's death, and the Chief Justice, who had once committed Henry to prison for striking him on the judgment seat; the incident to which this scene refers stands not alone, the Placita Roll of the of Edward I. furnishing incidentally an interesting parallel:--

Roger de Hexham complained to the King that whereas he was the justice appointed to determine a dispute between Mary, the wife of William de Brewes, plaintiff, and William de Brewes, defendant, respecting a sum of

800 marks

which she claimed from him, and that having decided in favour of the former, the said William, immediately after judgment was pronounced, contemptuously approached the bar, and asked the said Roger, in gross and upbraiding language, if he would defend that judgment; and he afterwards insulted him in bitter and taunting terms, as he was going through

the Exchequer

Chamber to the King, saying to him, Roger, Roger, thou hast now obtained thy will of that thou hast so long desired.

William de Brewes, when arraigned before the King and his council for this offence, acknowledged his guilt,

and because,

continues the record,

such contempt and disrespect, as well towards the King's ministers as towards the King himself or his court, are very odious to the King,

a, of late expressly clppeared when his Maljesty

expelled from his household, for nearly half a year, his dearly-beloved son, Edward, Prince of Wales, on account of certain improper words which he had addressed to one of his ministers

, and suffered him not to enter his presence until he had rendered satisfaction to the said officer for his offence; it was decreed by the King and council that the aforesaid William should proceed, unattired, bare-headed, and holding a torch in his hand, from the King's Bench in


Hall, during full court, to

the Exchequer

, and there ask pardon from the aforesaid Roger, and make an apology for his trespass.

And after that he was committed to the Tower during pleasure. The terrible Star Chamber may be here fittingly noticed as-what in effect it was--an irregular appendage to the Courts of Law, whose rules it contemned or overruled as it pleased. A time there was in England when even the courts could not satisfy the desires of the King, thirsting for arbitrary power over the lives and fortunes of his subjects. The building that was pulled down within the present century was of the date of Elizabeth; erected then, it should seem, with a kind of prophetic knowledge that there was a great increase of business coming, for from the close of her reign down to what might be almost called the close of that of Charles I. in , the Star Chamber became the peculiar dread and abhorrence of the people. We owe the Commonwealth some gratitude for putting down that frightful nuisance, whatever we may think of its other deeds. No doubt the Chamber of Elizabeth (the building shown below) was erected on the site of the older . The name has been explained in various ways. Star Chamber, according to Sir Thomas Smith's conjecture,

either because it was full of windows, or because at the


all the roof thereof was decked with images or stars gilded;

or, according to Blackstone's, from its being a place of deposit for the contracts of the Jews

called starra or starrs, from the Hebrew shetar.


[n.114.1] Leeds' Illustrations of Public Buildings-Buckingham Palace.

[n.114.2] Pennant's London ed. 1791, p. 132.

[n.121.1] Westminster Review, Oct. 1834.

[n.125.1] From Britton and Brayley's History of the Palace, a work to which we here beg to acknowledge our obligations.