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REFECTORY OR GREAT PARLOUR.
CAT was drowned, with a label containing the first stanza of Mr. Gray's beautiful Ode on the occasion :
'Twas on this lofty vase's side,
The azure flow'rs that hluw;
Gaz'd on the lake below!
You first enter a small gloomy hall, paved with hex. agon tiles, and lighted by two narrow windows of painted glass, representing St.John and St.Francis. This ball is united with the staircase, and both are hung with Gothic paper, painted by one Tudor, from the screen of Prince Arthur's tomb in the cathedral of Worcester. The balustrade was designed by Mr. Bentley ; at every corner is an antelope (one of Lord Orford's supporters) holding a shield. In the well of the staircase, by a cord of black and yellow, hangs a Gothic lantern of tin japanned, designed by Mr. Bentley, and filled with painted glass ; the door of it has an old pane with the arms of Vere, Earl of Oxford. Turning to the left, through a small passage, over the entrance of which is an ancient carving, in wood, of the arms of Queen Elizabeth, 1567, and in it a window of painted glass, you enter
The Refectory or Great Parlour. It is thirty feet long, twenty wide, and twelve high, hung with paper in imitation of stucco. Amongst many beautiful productions of art there is, over the
WHIMSICAL BELGIC PAINTINGS.
chimney-1. A Conversation by Reynolds, (small life); Richard the Second; Lord Edgecumbe is drawing at a table in the library at Strawberry Hill; George James Williams is looking over him, and George Augustus Selwyn stands on the other side with a book in his hand. These gentlemen used to pass their Christmas and Easter at Strawberry Hill. 2. The top of the window has some fine painted glass. In one pane is a ridiculous Dutch piece, representing the triumph of Fame, who is accompanied by Cato, Cicero, and other great men, in square caps, and gowns of Masters of Arts ; whilst another Dutch emblematic pane exhibits Charles the Second riding uppermost on the wheel of Fortune, and Rebellion thrown down. A third Dutch påne is painted with a cobbler whistling to a bird in a cage. So strangely grotesque and whimsical are these Belgic pieces wherever they are found! You instantly recognise them by the singularity of their subject, and the neatness of their execution.
In the Waiting Room is, 1. A curious emblematic picture of a man standing, (small whole length), with a bust of Charles the Second, seemingly previous to his restoration, for a Cupid is weighing the broken arms of England, as a common-wealth against crowns and sceptres (but the sceptre is a French one, and therefore, probably, painted abroad) fragments of architecture—and the man holds a plan like St. Paul's; thence it has been supposed a portrait of Sir Christopher Wren, but it does not resemble him. 2. A striking bust of the vain, lively, good-natured Colley
THE CHINA ROOM.
Cibber, the Poet Laureate, given by him to Mrs. Clive, the celebrated actress, and after her death presented by her brother to Mr. Walpole. 3. Tradescant, junior, with a skull covered with moss for the powder of sympathy! Reading, some years ago, some account of London, by Pennant, he gives, I recollect, a very curious account of the TRADESCANT FAMILY, great naturalists, father and son, who lie buried in Lambeth church-yard, where their tomb is to be seen even at the present day.
The China Room has a floor having some ancient tiles with arms, from the cathedral of Gloucester. The upper part of the chimney-piece is taken from the window of an ancient farm-house, formerly Bradfield Hall, belonging to Lord Grimstone, in Essex ; the lower part from a chimney at Hurst Monceaux, in Sussex; it is adorned with the arms of Talbot, Bridges, Sackville and Walpole, the principal persons who have inhabited Strawberry Hill. The visitor will be gratified with the inspection of two Saxon tankards, one with Chinese, the other with European figures. Sir Robert Walpole drank ale; the Duchess of Kendal, mistress of George the First, gave him the former tankard. A dozen or more years afterwards the Countess of Yarmouth, mistress of King George the Second, without having seen the other, gave him the second, and they match exactly in form and size.
The Little Parlour is remarkable for the chimneypiece taken from the tomb of Thomas Ruthall, Bishop of Durham, in Westminster Abbey. Here are two
beautiful sleeping dogs, the original model in terra cotta, by the Hon. Mrs. Damer, which she afterwards executed in marble for the Duke of Richmond.
The Yellow Bed-chamber has a chimney-piece designed by Mr. Bentley. The room is hung with grey spotted paper, the bed and chairs of yellow silk and stuff damask. On the ebony table are two large curious old blue-and-white china candlesticks, and a writing-box of sandal wood, inlaid with ivory. The pictures here are mostly of ladies distinguished for their personal accomplishments.
The Staircase has a view of RichMOND HILL, the original drawing by Mr. Henry Bunbury, a present from himself. This leads to
The Breakfast Room, up one pair of stairs, where you find portraits of Sir Kenelm Digby and Lady Digby, and also a representation of the same Lady Digby as she was found dead in her bed, both by Vandyck. The former are set in the form of a book with covers of gold enamelled; the latter is set in gold enamelled black, on which, behind, is a sphere, seeming to mean that the world was in mourning for her. Sir Kenelm was passionately fond of this lady, who, according to Lord Clarendon, was of extraordinary beauty and as extraordinary fame! At Goathurst, in Buckinghamshire, where they lived, are two busts of Lady Digby in bronze; on the pedestal of one of them are inscribed these tender words:
Vxorem vivam amare voluptas, defunctam RBLIGIO!
LADY LUCY PERCY.
Another portrait is that of Lady Lucy Percy, the mother of Lady Digby, and more beautiful than the daughter. This is, perhaps, the finest and most perfect miniature in the world. These pictures and a few others cost Mr. Walpole three hundred guineas. They are wonderfully preserved, though found in a garret in an old house in Wales. They belonged to a Mr. Watkin Williams, probably descended from Sir Kenelm Digby, one of whose sons left only two daughters that were married into Welsh families. The next object worthy of attention is an exceedingly fine watch, given to GENERAL FAIRFAX by the Parliament after the battle of Naseby. On one side is Fairfax on horseback, on the other the House of Commons, behind the battle. It was bought at the sale of Throseby's Museum.
Here is also a curious picture of Rose, the royal gardener, presenting the first pine apple raised in England to Charles the Second, who is standing in a garden : the house seems to be Dawney-Court, near Windsor, the villa of the Duchess of Cleveland. Here is likewise a portrait of Cowley, by Sir Peter Lely; the fine original of Zincke's Cowley, in the cabinet, done in enamel. A description of a young shepherd from Britain's Ida, almost exactly delineates this portrait: the lines shall be introduced
Amongst the rest, that all the rest excell’d,