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architect can never be admired too much, when the strength and majesty of the building are distinctly considered. He was under an absolute necessity of making a three-aisled ca. thedral ; and, to comply with the humour of the age, to build it in the form of a cross : he was limited for want of room to extend its site ; and constrained by the general expectations of the kingdom to make it exceed its height; and, above all things, his own reputation demanded it should be substantial.
As the disposition of the vaultings within is an essential beauty, without which all other ornaments would be of no avail, so the surveyor seems to have been particularly careful in this respect. The Romans, says the author of Parentalia, used hemispherical vaultings : Sir Christopher chose those as being demonstrably lighter than the diagonal cross-vaults: sothe whole vault of St. Paul's consists of twentyfour cupolas, cut off semicircularly, with segments to join to the great arches one way, and which are cut across the other way with eliptical cylinders, to let in the other lights of the nave; but in the aisles the lesser cupolas are both ways cut in semicircular sections, and all together make a graceful geometrical form, distinguished with circular wreaths, which is the horizontal section of the cupola ; for the hemisphere may be cut all manner of ways into circular sections; and the arches and wreaths being of stone carved, the spandrels between are of sound brick, invested with stucco of cockle-shell lime, which becomes as hard as Portland stone ; and which, having large planes between the -stone ribs, are capable of further ornaments of painting, if required. Besides these twenty-four cupolas, there is a half cupola at the east, and the great cupola, of one hundred and eight feet diameter, in the middle of the crossing at the great aisles. In this the architect imitated the Pantheon at Rome, excepting that the upper order is there only - umbratile, and distinguished by different coloured marbles;
in St. Paul's it is extant out of the wall. The Pantheon is no higher within than its diameter; St. Peter's is two diameters: this shews too high, the other too low: St. Paul's
is a mean proportion between both, which shews its con. cave every way, and is very lightsome by the windows of the upper order, which strike down the light through the great colonade that encircles the dome without, and serves for the butment of the dome, which is brick, of two bricks thick ; but, as it rises every way five feet high, has a course of excellent brick, of eighteen inches long, banding through the whole thickness: and ultimately, to make it still more secure, it is surrounded with a vast chain of iron, strongly linked together at every ten feet. This chain is let into a channel cut into the bandage of Portland stone, and defended from the weather by the groove filled with lead. The concave was turned upon a center; as being judged necessary to keep the work even and true; though a cupola might be built without a center; but this is observable, that the center was laid without any standards from below to support it; and, as it was both centering and scaffolding, it remained for the use of the painter. Every story of this scaffolding being circular, and the ends of all the ledgers meeting as so many rings, and truly wrought, it supported itself. This machine was an original of the kind, and will be an useful project for the like work to any future architect. It was necessary to give a greater height than the cupola would gracefully allow within, though it is considerably above the roof of the church; yet the old church having had before a very lofty spire of timber and lead, the world expected that the new work should not in this respecť fall short of the old : the architect was therefore obliged to comply with the humour of the age, and to raise another structure over the first cupola ; and this was a cone of brick, so built as to support a stone lantern of an elegant figure, and ending in ornaments of copper gilt.
As the whole church, above the vaulting, is covered with a substantial oaken roof, and lead (for no other covering is so durable in our climate) so he covered and hid out of sight the brick cone with another cupola of timber and lead; and between this and the cone are easy stairs that ascend to the lantern. Here the spectator may have a view 3 U 2
of such amazing contrivances as are indeed astonishing He forbore to inake little windows in the leaden cupola, as are done out of St. Peter's, because he had otherwise provided for light enough to the stairs from the lantern above, and round the pedestal of the same, which are not seen be. low; so that he only ribbed the outward cupola, which he thought less Gothic than to stick it full of such small lights in three stories, one above another, as in the cupola of St. Peter's, which could not without difficulty be mended, and, if neglected, would soon damage the timbers,
The inside of this cupola is painted, and richly decorated by that eminent English artist Sir James Thornhill, who in eight compartments has represented The principal passages in the history of St. Paul's life, namely, His Con. version; his punishing Elymas the sorcerer with blindness; his preaching at Athens ; his curing the poor cripple at Lystra; and the reverence there paid him by the priests of Jupiter as a god ; his conversion of the gaoler; his preaching at Ephesus; and the burning the magic books in consequence of the miracles he there wrought; his trial before Agrippa; his shipwreck on the island of Melita or Malta; and his miracle of the viper. These paintings are all advantageously seen by means of a circular opening, through which the light is transmitted from the lantern above with admirable effect.
The highest or last stone on the top of the lantern was laid by the hands of Christopher Wren, Esq. the surveyor's son, in the year 1710, in the presence of Mr. Strong (principal mason), his son, and other Free and Accepted Masons, who were chiefly employed in the execution of the work. Thus was this mighty fabric, lofty enough to be discerned at sea eastward, and at Windsor westward, in the space of thirtyfive years, begun and finished by one architect, Sir Christopher Wren; one principal mason, Mr, Strong; and une der one bishop of London, Dr. Henry Compton; and the charge supported chiefly by a small and easy imposition on sea-coal: whereas St. Peter's at Rome, the only edifice that can come in competition with it, continued in building one
hundred and forty-five years, under twelve successive architects; assisted by the police and interests of the Roman see; attended by the best artists of the world in sculpture, statuary, painting, and mosaic work; and facilitated by the ready acquisition of marble from the neighbouring quarries of Tivoli.
We have hitherto said nothing in particular of the in-, genions Mr. Hill, who was chiefly employed in the decorations; nor of those fine statues and carvings of bis, that add such spirit and beauty to the appearance of the whole. At a proper distance the eye is charmed with the lively representation of St. Paul's Conversion, carved by Mr. Bird, in relief, on the pediment of the principal front; for this he received 6501.; the majestic figure of St. Paul on the apex of the pediment, with St. Peter on his right, and St. James on his left, have a fine effect: the four Evangelists, with their proper emblems, on the front of the towers, are likewise very judiciously disposed and well exccuted: St. Matthew is distinguished by an angel, St. Mark by a lion, St. Luke by an ox, and St. John by an eagle. On the pediment, over the north portico, the royal arms with the regalia, supported by angels, are beautifully embossed; and, lest this view of the cathedral should appear barren, the statues of five of the apostles are placed at proper distances to relieve the sight. The device on the pediment, over the south portico, of a phænix rising out of the flames, with the word RESURGAM underneath it, had perhaps its orgin from an incident which happened at the beginning of the work, and which was particularly remarked by the architect as a favourable omen: the incident was this; when Sir Christopher himself had set out upon the place the dimensions of the building, and fixed upon the centre of the great dome, a common labourer was ordered to bring him a flat stone, the first he came at, from among the rubbish, to leave as a mark of direction to the inasons: the stone, which had been brought and laid down for this purpose, happened to be a piece of a grave-stone, with nothing remaining of the 'inscription but this single
word, in large capitals, RESURGAM, a circumstance which Sir Christopher never forgot *. On this side of the building are likewise five statues, which take their situation from that of St. Andrew on the apex of the pediment just mentioned.
The dimensions of this fabric from east to west within the walls are five hundred feet ; from north to south, within the doors of the porticos, two hụndred and twenty-three feet; the breadth at the entrance one hundred feet; its circuit two thousand two hundred and ninety-two feet; its height within, one hundred and ten feet; to the gallery of the dome, two hundred and eight feet; to the upper gallery, two hundred and seventy-six: the diameter of the dome one hundred and eight feet; from thence to the top of the cross, sixty-four feet; height of the cross from the ball thirty feet; the diameter of the ball six feet; the diameter of the columns of the porticos four feet; their height forty-eight feet; to the top of the west pediment under the figure of St. Paul, one hundred and twenty feet; of the towers at the west front two hundred and eighty feet ; and the extent of the ground plot whereon it stands, two acres, sixteen perches, twenty-three yards, and one foot.
The dimensions of the old cathedral of St. Paul compared with the new, and both with St. Peter's at Rome.
Old St./NewSt.(St. Pe-
Feet. Feet. Feet. Long within
500 669 Broad at the entrance
226 Front without
180 395 Broad at the cross
130 223 442 Cupola clear
OS 139 Height fron the level of the ground 520 440 578 Height of the three churches
146 Cupola and lanthern, high
432 This vast fabric is surrounded at a proper distance with strong iron pallisadoes, in number about two thousand five
* It is remarkable that this word Resurgam, was cut in the monument of bishop King, who had preached a sermon in the reign of James I. to solicit the repairs of the antient cathedral. See among the antient tombs of this cathedral.