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round his person. Towards the west, successful when he deviates from this a small octagonal tower rises from the arrangement. ground to a much greater elevation The Church of North Leith, with than the principal one ; next to this is the exception of its splendid Ionic a square one, half the height; next to- portico, taken from the temple on the wards the north, a semicircular and a İlyssus, offers nothing worthy of our square succeed each other; and towards commendation. Mr Burn, we bethe east, a square tower rising from lieve, is the first artist who adopted the ground to half the elevation
of the the massive character of the Grecian main one, resolves itself into a semi-oc. Doric order in an object of so light a tagonal ; and the wall which surrounds character as that of a spire, and in this the whole is furnished at proper inter- particular, as well as other points, we vals with other towers, of various consider this building to betray a want forms, from four to six or eight feet of taste, and a barrenness of resources, in diameter. The gateway of the Mr Burn is also the architect of St debtors prison, which is lately erected, John's Chapel, Edinburgh, a build. is another castellated building : the ing in the Gothic style, and of a seentrance is defended by towers, so pulchral monument, in the same styk, small, that even without making allow- in the Calton burying.ground, which ance for the thickness of the wall, makes a very singular figure, both they could serve no purpose of de- rom its design and puny dimensions, fence or accommodation, and too plain- particularly contrasted with the elely indicate that they are introduced gant form of Hume's mausoleum in solely for effect. Mr Elliot's Gothic. its immediate vicinity. chapel, in York Place, is as good as Mr Thomas Hamilton is an artist, most other attempts of this kind. who to an intimate acquaintance with
Mr W. Burn has distinguished him the various styles of classic antiself by many handsome buildings, exe, quity, adds, in an eminent degree, cuted in different parts of Scotland, soundness of judgment, a purity and which exhibit a devoted attachment elegance of taste, and strength of to the pure models of ancient art. imagination. We have just reason to The Custom-house at Greenock is regret that so few of Mr Hamilton's one of his greatest works, and is a re- designs have yet been executed ; but spectable specimen of the Grecian we may refer to his celebrated design Doric style, having a very fine porti for Burns's monument, now erecting co on the front next the Clyde, which at the place of his birth, which, when has an admirable effect. The Mer- finished, will be an example of the chants Maiden Hospital, at Edin Grecian style, unrivalled for elegance burgh, is another building containing and beauty by any structure Scotland the same distribution of parts, but of can at present produce. This beautithe Ionic order ; it is plain and simple ful gem, designed upon the model of in its composition. These two build the Choragic monument of Lysicrates ings, like the Court-houses at Glas- at Athens, is a circular building of gow, and Covent Garden Theatre, the Corinthian order, terminating in a consist of a portieo in the centre, and dome, and to be surmounted by a tripod wings at proper intervals, and as far of bronze. The Corinthian columns are as we can judge from the other de- nine in number, and in the finest taste, signs of this gentleman which we have and the circular part of the building seen, we are of opinion he is not so stands upon a triangular basement,
which contains a handsome chamber tion, of nearly two miles in length, lay suitably ornamented.
through many eminences, consisting Mr William Playfair has distin- of immense masses of solid rock, which guished himself as an artist of taste were to be cut away by the slow opeand genius; his principal works are, ration of mining, and of many declivi. the new parts of the College of Edin. ties, which required to be filled up by burgh, which is finishing after his de- embankments. Although we are willsigns, the new Academy of Dollar, ing to bestow due praise on this work, and the Observatory on the Calton- both in point of beauty and utility, hill, belonging to the Astronomical we cannot disguise the fact, that it Institution of Edinburgh. Mr Play- has been the scene of many expensive fair’s style displays a sound taste and experiments in architecture and engielegance of composition, which these neering, which might perhaps have as and many other of his designs strong. well been spared. In our animadverly attest ; but we have had frequent sions on the style of Mr Elliot, we occasion to regret his marked predi- have expressed our opinions without lection for the Roman, in preference to reserve on the defects which characthe Grecian style of architecture. terise his works, of which the improve.
ments, as they are called, on this new
road, form no inconsiderable part ; and SECT. XIV.
although we think that the commis
sioners have not exercised a sound dis. Architectural Improvements of Edin- cretion, in permitting so many of his burgk.
ideas to be carried into execution,
yet what we would wish to consider We shall now conclude our article at present is not a subject merely with a slight sketch of the architectu. of taste, which may admit a diral improvements of Edinburgh. versity of opinion, but a matter of
It had long been contemplated, as a arithmetical calculation, and of acmeasure of public utility, as well as tend- knowledged bungling and mismanagejog to improve the beauty of the town, ment. Å little to the eastward of to throw a bridge over the Calton, in the Debtors Jail, an embankment was continuation of the line of Prince's- raised to the height of nearly forty street, and thus connect the Calton- feet, faced by a substantial wall of hill more immediately with the city. excellent masonry, and extended in a The magnitude of the undertaking, right line to the length of several however, prevented its execution, till hundred feet, filling up the ground it was found necessary to take down to a proper level; this wall, which the old jail, and remove this establish. had been raised at a very great exment to the Calton-hill, as the most pense, was suddenly, and to the surconvenient scite which the city afford. prise of every one, carried away, and ed, and as the want of a better access replaced by another, the only difto the city by the east had long been ference in which was, its being three felt, these two objects in conjunction, or four feet farther in advance, having a scite for the jail and a convenient a slight degree of curvature, (about road, fully justified the undertaking the thirtieth part of the circle,) the It was accordingly entered upon with great inferiority of the materials, and spirit, and is now nearly completed. the very unique style of masonry. The The road itself was a work of infinite stones of the original work were roughlabour and expense, as its line of direc- ly hewn, disposed in courses of uniform depth, and of great size ; the cepted the gladdening prospect, and materials of the present embankment cast a gloom and sadness over the were the rough fragments of the rocks western horizon. To those who are of the hill, as they had been disenga. Unacquainted with the sinister turn ged by the miner, tumbled upon each which the undertakings of corporate other in imitation of grotto wo with bodies are apt to take, and even to the utmost attention to preserve the ourselves, whose opportunities of obasperities of surface of its various parts. servation afforded means of judging Now, as the highway is upon the top more accurately, it was matter of of this wall, its style of masonry can. wonder and astonishment, that two not be seen by passengers, and by reason undertakings, the one under the speof its particular situation, can, indeed, cial direction of commissioners aponly be seen at a very great distance ; pointed by parliament, the other unwe cannot divine, therefore, what could der that of the magistrates of Edin. have been the motive for so strange a burgh, some of whom formed part of structure, unless it were to encrease that commission, should have been so the number of the curiosities of Edin. completely at variance, and the cause burgh, and to form a sort of counter- of so much disappointment. We also part to a hermitage which had been recollect that the great tower of the some time before constructed on the jail, of which we have already spoken, rock at Nelson's Monument opposite, derived one of its greatest recommend. by one of the magistrates, but which ations from the fine effect it would had disappeared in the same sudden have as seen from Prince's-street, aland unaccountable manner. It does though nothing but the top of it can not appear that any public explana- be seen, owing to the obstruction of rion was given to the inhabitants, but this singular range of buildings on the it was generally understood that this bridge. The road on the Calton-hill, additional expense was incurred in or- a little to the eastward of this embank der to increase the interest which the ment, affords another instance of the prospect from this part of the road expensive manner in which architectugives, by opening to the eye of the ral experiments have been made ; the passenger a view of the New Town, New Road at this point is intersected particularly of the line of Prince's. by another, called the Easter Road, street, which would be seen by advan- nearly at right angles with it ; but as cing the road a few feet towards the their respective levels were considera south. Whether the attainment of ably different, a bridge was thrown this object was really the motive of across the Easter road, the one passing the commissioners, or worthy the ex. through the arch, the other along the pense thus incurred, we cannot pre. bridge. This arrangement being comtend to decide ; but no sooner was the pleted, to the astonishment of every road completed, according to the new one, the arch was suddenly built up, arrangement, and the much looked for and converted into an ice-house or celstreet rendered visible, than a very sin- lar,* and the road, which was originalgular phenomenon began to appear, ly destined to pass through the arch, namely, a range of buildings on the raised to the level of the new road, North Bridge, which completely intern crossing it at the end of the bridge.
We understand that this cellar is now let at the annual rent of ten pounds sterling, and as it must have cost six or eight hundred pounds, it must be rather an unprofitable speculation.
It had long been subject of regret, of any object whatever, which at first that the top of Leith-street, adjoining only obstructed the view of the wings, Shakespeare-square, and the Register even at a considerable distance ; but Office, which had become a very as an opportunity offered of encreasing crowded tharoughfare, was so narrow, the revenue of the city, by about two and it was hoped, that in the improve hundred and fifty pounds, it was conments then in contemplation, of which sidered unnecessary to give way to any the Regent Bridge formed a part, the feelings of delicacy where so importstreet front towards the west would ant an advantage could be obtained ; be kept considerably behind the ori. the magistrates accordingly consented ginal line ; but so far from this being to sacrifice this beautiful edifice, and the case, the new front was brought to permit the erection of a line of considerably in advance, and it was buildings, which, both as to its own only by the spirited interference of intrinsic demerits, and its encroachsome private individuals that the new ment on the beauty of the city, will fronts of the bridge were sent back to remain an indelible stain, we fear, on their present situation, after a consi- the character of the Northern Athens; derable part of the substructions had and the Register Office, a model of been built. As Leith-street and the general symmetry and individual eleRegent-bridge meet at a very acute an- gance, now appears with one wing engle, nearly in the same manner as Corn. tirely obscured, the other partially vihill and Lombard-street, in London, sible, a monument of any thing but the intervening houses dwindle into a good taste and liberality. very diminutive front, leaving but lit- Oi Mr Play fair's designs for finishtle scope for architectural decoration ing the College, we have already taken or effect. The vile contracted ap- some notice. pearance of the two porticoes that The improvements in Parliament terminate the bridge towards the west, Square are chiefly remarkable for a is not altogether to be attributed to very singular circumstance, namely, Mr Elliot, although we think that a the omission of a carriage entrance from much finer and more appropriate front the west, which has induced the nemight have been casily designed for the cessity of taking down the Tolbooth present limits of the ground.
Church, a fine Gothic building, a meaAnother of the boasted improve. sure, which, we understand, has been ments of Edinburgh isthe North Bridge resolved upon, in order to supply this Buildings, a work, we believe, originally deficiency. projected with a view solely to the en- We shall conclude with a few obcrease of the municipal treasury, with- servations on the proposed National out any reference to beauty or taste. Monument, or Church, now proposed As far back as the year 1774, the Re- to be erected in the Scottish metrogister Office was begun, from the de- polis, in commemoration of the naval signs of the celebrated Adam, in a si- and military achievements of the late tuation which terminated the vista war-a subject which has of late ocfrom the Old Town, at the end of cupied much of the public attention. the North Bridge ; and it had always The committee for conducting this been regretted that this edifice, to this business have published a report, conday the finest specimen of architecto- taining a plan for the proposed edifice nic composition, and of the taste of the from the designs of Mr Elliot, to artist, which the city possesses, should which we have several objections to have been obscured by the intervention offer ; and although it is professed. that nothing has been definitively fix- misphere, with a radius of course of ed upon, it would appear that it has 75 feet, occupying the upper half of obtained the approbation of the com- the whole altitude of the building ; mittee, and will, in all probability, the remainder forming the vertical wall form the basis of their ultimate deci- on which the dome rests, also 7.5 feet sion.
in height, has first a zone of the CoBefore discussing the plans them- rinthian order, with its entablature, selves, we shall offer a few general ob columns, and pilasters, to the number servations connected with the subject. of 28, rising from the pavement to the In the first place, in a great national ob. height of about 48 feet; and above ject like the present, it appears to us an this, another zone of the same order, act of injustice to the arts of the coun. but of about half the dimensions, and try, as well as tending greatly to ina having only pilasters at shorter disjure the undertaking, to give any limi- tances, to the number of about 64 in tation as to the persons who shall be the whole circumference, the entabla. permitted to offer plans, and we think ture of which marks the termioation it would have been much more be. of the vertical wall, and the line from coming to have renounced any ap- whence the dome springs. Now it pearance of favour, or rather of pre- appears to us, that the hemisphere is judgment, and announced by public an improper form for a dome, as either advertisement, a competition open to encroaching on the relative height of all the talents of the country; and al- the walls, or adding uonecessarily to though even none of the designs might the altitude of the whole; but what meet with the unqualified approba. we consider a greater defect, is the tion of the committee, it is obvious subdivision of the wall into two zones, that such a number of hints and sug- and the endless variety of small parts gestions would be given, as would be and insignificant features resulting of infinite value to a committee, who, from this arrangement'; not to menhaving, of course, no private partiality tion the arches, recesses, altars, and to gratify, only sought conscientiously. niches, which destroy the grandeur to discharge the duty they had taken and simplicity of its effect. We are on themselves.
therefore of opinion, with all our ad. The design of Mr Elliot is from miration for the ancients, and for this the Pantheon at Rome, an edifice specimen of their taste, that it would which had been recommended by the have had a much grander effect, had late Mr Opie * of the Royal Aca- one great order been substituted for demy, as a most appropriate model for the two lesser, and the dome, with its a national monument.
present diameter, been only half the The Pantheon, however, in our height. A greater conformity would humble apprehension, is not without thus have been obtained between the defects, which, in any imitation, we immense pannels, into which the dome should wish to see corrected, rather is divided, and the columns below; than in in any degree magnified. It while, by this reduction of height, the is a vast circular building, about 150 effect of it as a whole would have been feet in height, and nearly the same in more readily perceived by the spectadiameter, the roof is an exact he- tor without any painful effort, and
In a letter published in his works, and which originally appeared in a perialical work, called the “ Artist.” It contains many admirable suggestions, well deserving the attention of those proposing to superintend a work of this description,