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out being much approximated to the seat of government. The dying waste of so large a space, in St. Martin's le Grand, as has been cleared for its erection, and for such a length of time, must have caused a great loss in rents and taxes; and, of course, an enormous addition, in the end, to its expense will have been occásioned. · The revenue arising from this first of all conveniences, and the collection of which has never been objected to, is greater than some kingdoms, even in Europe, can boast of; while it forms a perfect criterion by which to judge of the affairs of this active and enterprising country : it seems, therefore, proper that it should make a more than ordinary figure amongst our public edifices. Why it was not transferred to a better and more central situation, I mean that which was offered in Furnival's Inn (now become a handsome building), in the middle of the broadest part of Holborn, and communicating easily with the City Road, northwards, is an enigma that I cannot explain. I have been assured that it might have been bought of the society of Lincoln's Inn for 20,0001.
The opening effected in this part of the town, by the way of Snow Hill, within these twenty years, has been very beneficial to the public; and we are now expecting the more material one that will take place by the removal of Fleet Market: a measure recommended, a long while ago, by that very eminent physician, Sir John Pringle, for the purpose of procuring a thorough ventilation of this low quarter to the Thames. • The public has also to congratulate itself on the improvement which took place some years ago round St. Clement's Church in the Strand. It was wished to enlarge the circle there ; but as I was informed by the late Recorder (Sylvester), that the flow of spirits was so fully proportioned to the flow of population through Temple Bar, that a retailer of gin, a little removed from the street thereabouts, proved from his books to the commissioners, that he derived a clear income of 1000l. per annum by his trade; and so the greater improvement was abandoned. It was, perhaps, on this very account that it should have been persevered in. But then the revenue-alas!
Being now on the aperient part of my subject, I am tempted to mention a circumstance which I remember was told me by the Baron de Breteuil, minister of Paris, before the revolution. Having determined on the demolition of the houses on the bridges over the Seine, as well as certain unsightly shops and workmen's sheds in the middle of the Carousel; he said he had received fifteen hundred visits, and a thousand letters to prevent his carrying his plan into execution. If such things were difficult under an arbitrary government, how much more so must
VOL. XXV. Pam. NO. L.
they be under our free one; and, in London, where the price of ground is so high, and when a full compensation must be given to every proprietor. It is true that our imperial parliament is imperious ; but it cannot control the expense, as the value must be awarded by juries, in every instance in which the owner holds out; and that these juries are not niggardly in their estimates in favor of the recalcitrant, we have had many notable proofs, during the formation of the Regent Street, and its continuations. These reflections ought to make us well satisfied, when any amelioration has been effected. And here, too, once for all, it is but justice to acknowlege, that architects, constrained very often by the caprice of their employers, and as often restrained by the local that they have to deal with, have rarely latitude enough allowed them to carry their best and most matured designs into execution. · Temple Bar, the only one of our city gates that I know of now remaining, and existing only, I suppose, for the maintenance of the etiquette, established of old, between the cities of London and Westminster, without the merit of great antiquity in itself, is with the wretched figures stuck on it a most deplorable object; though somewhat less so than when it was surmounted with the heads of the traitors of 1745. Granting it to be necessary for this purpose of etiquette (for it would not stand a siege), surely something more creditable as a gate-way might be substituted. An opportunity was offered at the peace of converting this barrier into a triumphal arch, more convenient for passengers, and with handsome niches formed for the reception of the statues of our two most distinguished commanders, Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. As it is, it has endured beyond all endurance, and is really the opprobrium of the city of London. But let us flatter ourselves, that that which is deferred is not lost; and that some lord mayor, at no great distance of time, may undertake to forward the object of this, not unworthy nor unreasonable suggestion. No ground would be to be appraised here ; and the expense of a handsome arch would be very moderate for the head of the commercial world to sustain.
Of our two principal theatres, one in Drury Lane and the other in Covent Garden, much might be said, as very prominent structures ; but there is nothing more remarkable in their exterior, than their contrast to each other; the first having very little or no pretensions to architecture at all, and the latter being very grand and imposing. It is a great pity that so handsome a front as that in Bow Street should not be seen to more advantage ; from the misfortune of its locality, it is almost lost to the town; and the merit of Mr. Smirke, its author, undeservedly passed by.' Drury Lane,
i It can hardly however be said to be a style of architecture suited to a theatre'; it is, perhaps, the most massy specimen of Doric in existence.
without any character at all, might represent any thing else as well as a theatre, if it were not for the statue of Shakspeare, set up like a sign over the principal entrance. Such a sign, in former times, and when our play-houses were on a 'moderate scale, would have been suitable enough; but enlargement has not produced improvement; and, at this day, a figure of Harlequin or Grimaldi would be much more indicative of what passes on the stage within. Garrick said, when he spoke of the size of his theatre, that, if it were a third larger, there would be no difference between him and Bransby; an actor who performed the most subordinate parts. He was well aware that his glances and his whispers, seen and heard through the whole house, were the main causes of his celebrity; and, although not neglectful of the receipts of his theatre, he wisely preferred the maintenance of his fame to the increase of his fortune by not attempting to extend it. Nothing can have tended more to the degeneracy of our theatres than their aggrandisement; for besides the loss of the expression of the countenances, and the sotto voce tones of the actors, those who sit in the distant and higher parts are liable to be defrauded of their money from not knowing what passes on the stage, unless the performer rants from the top of his voice, and gesticulates in proportion. Enlarged but a little more, and we should be obliged to have recourse to the masks of the ancients. This is felt; and the consequence is the introduction of pantomimic shows, singing, dancing, and horses in the place of the drama.' Surely this is not to be reckoned amongst the improvements of the British capital: but, natio non comoda est.
Our clubs, our coffee-houses, and our pot-houses increase, but not our play-houses, in proportion to the growth of the town; and, in the country, where they do exist, they are deserted..
It is remarkable that an ordinance has lately been promulgated in France for the encouragement of the histrionic art, and the reedification or repair of theatres, throughout the provinces of that kingdom. I think the French government shows great wisdom in
? That our stage has fallen to the lowest point in the scale of degradation, is manifest; for, two or three years ago, a new sort of anlæum or curtain was introduced at one or more of our theatres; and the spectators had the gratification of seeing themselves reflected, before the exhibitions on the stage began, and between the acts in large mirrors, extending from one side of the house to the other. This novelty deserved to be recorded, and was so, in the following metrical memorandum :
The stage, within due bounds confined,
in France, Gercely, halitecture are to be the only see in London
this measure ; for their stage, with all the defects it may have in our eyes, is a most respectable one ; and on which, both in tragedy and comedy, very excellent lessons are taught in morals and politics. Genius may be justly our boast ; but theirs is certainly taste and general propriety.
The preference given by the nobility and opulent classes of England to the residence of the country over the town, and for the greatest part of the year, is the chief cause of the little distinction given to the appearance of their houses in London. It is in the country, indeed, where almost the only specimens of decorated domestic architecture are to be found. In the metropolis there are scarcely half a dozen splendid hotels, as they are called in France, belonging to individuals ; and of these two or three are shut out from the view of the public, and therefore cannot be counted as ornamental. Lord Lansdown's palace is, however, an exception, and we are much obliged to him for having conferred this favor on us : but we have to regret, per contra, that another in Piccadilly (Burlington House), of which, some years ago, we had a glimpse through a handsome iron-gate, is now completely closed up by a couple of ponderous wooden ones, which, together with the brick-pointed wall, laced with scarlet, give it a very sombre, though highly aristocratic appearance. This high brickwall should at least have been covered with cement to make it accord with the interior, which is of stone. We might too have been indulged with a view of it from the street, as it is so far removed from thence by a spacious court-yard as not to cause (we might suppose) any inconvenience, on that account, to the owner.
I have often wondered that Lord George Cavendish's architect did not give him a Gothic design for his arcade close by. Instead of what has been done there, might it not have been made to resemble the aisle of some great church, groined and supported in that style, and with Gothic arches at each end, instead of the Grecian now there.
But what are we to think of the taste and (in this respect) public spirit of one of our Croesus's or Crassus's lower down in this same Piccadilly, where a handsome display of both, if not a gorgeous one, was to be expected ? Unfortunately for this fine end of the town, and especially for us Dilettanti, a big-bellied bowwindow protrudes itself in the centre of the front, from a piece of the vilest colored brick-work. No columns, not even their shadows in pilasters : not only no pilaster, but no plaster. Whether the honorable member for Taunton thought that he had enough of columns at his house in the country, or whether he meant to avoid ostentation, is not easy to guess; but to the latter cause it seems the most difficult to ascribe the total absence
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of all exterior decoration, because that house cannot be said to be without pretensions in our capital that occupies with its offices, the greater part of one side of a whole street.-No blame to the honorable gentleman: he has a right to spend his money as he pleases; but it is impossible not to express one's regret that he should not have treated us with a slight specimen of taste in the exterior of his residence.—No doubt his arrangement within has been well copied from the best plans in Paris, where he has such frequent opportunities of observing and comparing them. After all, non dominus domo, sed domus domino honestanda est.
On a par with this neglect of the disposition shown and encouraged by the government towards the embellishment of the town, is the pile of building on the north side of Berkeley Square, the highest and most eligible part of it. Ground, let there at between five and six guineas per foot, sustains a row of houses of the most monotonous and primitive simplicity.--Nothing to correspond with Lord Lansdown's house, on the opposite side, nor even to harmonise with any of the more stately on the western side. Surely Lord Grosvenor might have stipulated for a little unambitious cement for the public, here, at least.
The introduction of statues of individuals, however eminent and meritorious, into our squares and public places, is a novelty in this our metropolis, which, till of late years, seemed to be reserved for the sovereign and his family. We have however two, which, although not contrary to law, at least to any that I know of, are certainly deviations from long-established custom, and a sort of invasion or trespass on royal prerogative. They are both, I believe, by Mr. Westmacott. That of the late Duke of Bedford, the Triptolemus of his time, in Russel Square, is an erect figure, surrounded by the attributes of husbandry, and beneath it are some smaller figures, equally symbolical. The late Bishop of E., going with a friend to look at this statue, was asked by him, what he thought would be the fittest inscription for it. His answer was, BOVI. OPTIMO. MAXIMO. It seems extraordinary, that his Grace, with these emblems of agriculture about him, has not been made to look towards the country, instead of the town. But he looks towards Mr. Fox, the Demosthenes of our day, in Bedford Square, sitting in a lumpish manner, in a sort of curule chair, and habited in a toga, à la Romaine. His neck is exposed, and the drapery, passing over one of his shoulders across his breast, might very well give occasion, as it did, to one of his old Westminster constituents to say, “So, Charley, you are going to be shaved I see.” These are two very sharp remarks ; one from a very highly cultivated man, and a great scholar; and the other from a very coarse