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Sir John Malcolm, of James Watt the engineer, of Horner, and others. There is always merit about them, there is never anything to offend. The likenesses are good, there is dignity and good taste; but, on the other hand, there is an absence of the highest qualities, and a certain commonplace air amounting to insipidity. Compare his George Canning, one of his best, with the statue of Canning's great son Earl Canning by Foley, standing next to it in the North Transept; both are evidently likenesses, both have dignity, but there is a something in Foley's which makes all the difference between a work of genius and the work of a highly cultivated artist without the sacred fire.
After Chantrey come Gibson, Foley, and Stevens. The only statue by Gibson in the Abbey is that of Sir Robert Peel, represented in a Roman costume, very inappropriate to the subject. The statue is anything but a success. It is said that Gibson refused to undertake the work unless he was permitted to represent the statesman in a toga. There is also the beautiful statue of the Queen by Gibson, with the figures of Justice and Mercy, in the Robing Room behind the Throne in the House of Lords.
Of Foley we have but a single work in the Abbey, the statue of Lord Canning already alluded to. In St. Stephen's Hall, the gallery leading to the Central Hall of the Houses of Parliament, there are the statues of Selden and Hampden by this artist, works of great merit. His best works, however, are at Dublin and Calcutta, and it is greatly to be regretted that Foley was not more in request for statues in London, for his work was of the highest order, uniting the rare quality of imagination with delicacy of treatment and purity of style. Of Stevens we have also a single work at St. Paul's, the magnificent monument of the Duke of Wellington, a recumbent figure with a lofty canopy, adorned with groups of allegorical figures. It is in the purest Italian style, and there has been nothing equal to it in this country since Torregiano. This closes the list of sculptors it is necessary to refer to without dealing with the works of living artists. It is not pretended that this short summary is either exhaustive or complete. There are many excellent works which have not been alluded to—there is, for instance, a noble bust of Sir T. Richardson, 1635, the jeering chief justice of Charles the First, by Hubert Le Sueur; there is the statue of Lady Walpole by Valori, 1737, suggested by the well-known figure of Modesty at Rome; there is the monument of Townsend, 1737, by Eckstein, 1757, representing a sarcophagus borne on backs of two Indians a work of great beauty; there is the monument to the unfortunate Major André; an excellent statue of Wilberforce by Joseph ; and many others could be mentioned. It has not been intended, however, to do more than suggest the succession of works which are to be found in the Abbey and St. Paul'a.
Of the monuments thus referred to in the Abbey, many are
little seen, or are seen to great disadvantage owing to its crowded state. The most pleasing monument in the building, that of Vere, is hidden behind the gigantic monument of Wolfe, in the aisle of the North Transept, whose entrance from the aisle of the choir it completely blocks up; and the Vere monument itself shuts out from view to a great extent the monument to Sir George Holles, which is also one of the most interesting in the building. It would be the greatest improvement if the monument to Wolfe could be moved so as to open up the aisle and enable the Vere monument to be brought forward. This would at once improve the architectural effect of that part of the Abbey and bring into view both the Vere and Holles monuments. That of Wolfe is valuable from its associations, and should on no account be removed from the Abbey. Again, the intrusion of the gigantic monument to Watt in the chapel of St. Paul's, among so many monuments of the Elizabethan era, and where it is so incongruous, is an outrage on good taste. The monument to Craggs, an extremely interesting one, is hidden away in a dark corner at the end of the nare, behind the colossal monument of Cornwallis. Many illustrations of the same kind could be given, where by judicious removals other monuments of great interest could be brought into the prominence they deserve. The fact is, that the available space in the Abbey is too small for what already exists there ; and it is certain that in the future, monuments must either be reduced to the smallest busts, to be stuck up wherever a vacant corner can be found, and irrespective of their surroundings, as is now too often the case, or the demand for this national recognition must be refused altogether.
On the other hand, it would be a most serious misfortune that a break should be made in the continuity of this splendid roll of monuments to the great and illustrious men of the Empire, or in the gallery of monumental sculpture, in which so far all that are eminent in that line of art bave hitherto been represented. The subject is one which has long occupied the attention of those most interested in the Abbey. It was one in which Dean Stanley felt the deepest concern. He felt, as all have done who are cognisant of the facts, and who appreciate the Abbey in its various functions, that an effort must be made to extend its limits and to give greater space for monuments, if not for burials, in the future. Of the burials in the Abbey much might here be said. If it be advisable to continue them at all at Westminster, it is certainly most desirable that they should no longer be carried out within the Abbey proper, and that another and more fitting place should be found for them.
It is in this view that a proposal made by Sir Gilbert Scott found favour. I have already alluded to it in a former article on London Improvements' in this Review. The proposal of Scott was to build
7. London Improrements,' Nineteenth century, Norember 1882.
a cloister, or rather a monumental chapel, to the north-east of the Abbey, along the line of the houses in Old Palace Yard and Abingdon Street, and communicating by a covered passage passing under the buttresses of the Chapter House. The proposal would involve the demolition of all the houses in Old Palace Yard and in Abingdon Street as far as Great College Street, and the purchase of this property would cost about 200,0001., a very large sum to expend in demolition.
For my own part I think that Scott's plan is open to some ohjection; the frontage of the chapel or cloister which he proposes would extend eastward beyond the extreme end of the Chapel of Henry the Seventh, and the interesting old Jewel Tower, at the back of Old Palace Yard, would again be hidden behind it. I incline to think that any addition to the Abbey in this quarter should not extend beyond the east end of Henry the Seventh's Chapel. : This would bring it into a line with the Jewel Tower. A monumental chapel might be constructed in conformity with this view on the site of the houses on the east side of the Little Cloisters, and united to the Abbey in the manner proposed by Scott. This would involve the demolition of the houses in Old Palace Yard only, at a cost of about 80,0001.
Supposing the chapel to cost about 50,0001. the total sum required would be 130,0001. Of this the main portion, it seems to me, should be subscribed by the public, if some wealthy benefactor could not be found to undertake it; and upon this condition, and speaking unofficially, I cannot but think there would be a strong claim for assistance to so great a cause, national, metropolitan, and ecclesiastical, upon the three bodies who represent these interests, Parliament, the Metropolitan Board, or whatever body may represent the whole metropolis, and the Ecclesiastical Commission, in which body the estates of the Chapter of Westminster, now producing an immense revenue, are vested. It is then in a joint operation between the public, in its capacity of subscribers to a great and necessary and beautiful work, and the three bodies I have named, that the ultimate solution of this difficulty may be looked for.
Lastly, it is to be observed that such a plan, involving as it would the clearing away of the houses in Oid Palace Yard and Poets' Corner, would be one of the most splendid improvements that could be carried out in this part of London. It would open out the south side of the Abbey, and disclose to view the beautiful Chapter House, now almost completely hidden. It is not many years since the north front of the Abbey, or a great part of it, was similarly hidden from view ; old prints show that there was a row of buildings on either side of St. Margaret's Church, opposite to the old Law Courts, from Bridge Street to the Abbey. In fact the greater part of Parliament Square was covered with houses. These have all been demolished,
and the Square has been completely cleared within the last thirty years. The Abbey now stands out in all its beauty on this side. The removal of the old Law Courts, and the opening to view of Westminster Hall, effected during the past year, has been another improvement of the same kind.
It is not too much to say that the panorama of buildings now seen from a point at the end of Great George Street, near to the statue of Peel, is one of the finest in Europe. On the extreme right stand the Towers of the Abbey, then the whole range of its nave, transept, and Henry the Seventh's Chapel, against which St. Margaret's Church stands, not without advantage in breaking this long line, in supplying another tower, and in giving the means of appreciating the size of the Abbey. The Victoria Tower is then seen in full, down to its base, which was formerly scarcely visible from any point; then comes Westminster Hall, with its ancient buttresses, the contrast of whose simplicity and grandeur with the ornate frontage of the new palace, and with Henry the Seventh's Chapel, is very striking, and not ungrateful to the eye. The picture ends on the extreme left with the graceful Clock Tower. What can be more beautiful or more full of interest than this range of buildings !
Parliament Square will be further improved when the street leading to it is widened uniformly with Whitehall, as is now proposed, and when a handsome block of buildings is erected along the new line with a frontage to the Square.
Little will then remain to be done in this quarter, except to open out the view of the Abbey on its south side. The proposed monumental chapel, the Chapter House, and the Abbey will then stand opposite to Barry's beautiful front of the House of Lords, and the Victoria Tower, and the place on this side of the Abbey will be not less striking than that on the other side.
When the wealthy people of London rise to a conception of the dignity and beauty of the great city in which they live, and from whence many of them derive their great incomes, and of their duties as citizens, so far better understood and acted upon in other great cities, it is certain that this improvement will be one of the first which will be accomplished. The Abbey, with its wealth of monuments, the Hall, and the Parliament House of Westminster will then form a group worthy of this, the pecóubalos of the British Empire.
G. SHAW LEFEVRE.
LORD MELBOURNE: A SKETCH.
THERE never probably was a time when a larger number of the community was interested in politics than now. The articles and speeches bearing upon any measure likely to be brought before Parliament become daily more numerous, and are devoured by the public with daily increasing appetite. There are few thinking men of any class who are not tolerably well versed at least in the outlines of the principal questions of the hour. The characters also and the careers of our leading statesmen are pretty generally known. It has, however, often occurred to me that there is, comparatively speaking, great ignorance of the past, particularly of those times which lie just beyond the memory of persons now living. It has struck me that at this moment some advantage might be taken of the temporary lull which seems to exist, while men on both sides are drawing breath before plunging into new struggles, to call attention to some of those who took a leading part in the earlier years of the present century. As a small contribution towards this object I have ventured to ask space in this Review for a slight sketch of my relation, Lord Melbourne. His life has not long ago been admirably written by Mr. M‘Cullagh Torrens, but, for the sake of clearness, and for the instruction of those who have not been able to read this work, I have cast my few remarks upon his career into the form of a biographical notice.
William, second Lord Melbourne, was born on the 15th of March, 1779. His father and mother were friends of the Prince of Wales, and lived in that brilliant Whig circle of which Fox and Sheridan were the political ornaments and the Duchess of Devonshire the Queen of Beauty.
It is difficult now to realise the spirit of that society, in which dissipation and intellectual refinement were so singularly combined. Drunkenness among the men was too frequent to be considered disgraceful, and even those who passed for being sober took their two or three bottles a day. Conversation was habitually interlarded with oaths. Gambling to such an extent as to cripple the largest fortunes was the common amusement of both sexes; and morality, in other respects, was in a low state. But joined with this there was that high sense of personal honour, which in England, and still oftener in VOL. XV.-No. 83.