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VESTIGES,
COLLECTED AND RECOLLECTED,

BY JOSEPH MOSER, ESQ.

NUMBER II.

SOMERSET-HOUSE.

ries of ornamental or useful knowIt has been obferved by critics who ledge; Thefe aphorisms, though trite,

had probably heard, for I will not may in some degree be true ; but I give them credit for understanding conceive, as I have already hinted, lufficient to suggest the sentiment, that that there are few circumftances atit required a far greater portion of sub- tending local history, local manners, lime genius and elevated ideas to de- and by a regular gradation leading the sign the Cartoons than to delineate the mind to comparative reflections on inside of a Dutch kitchen ; and ex. morals, on the good and evil resulting tending their observation from paint. from peculiar characters, lituations, ing to architecture, that the mind and habits of life, that, when investisublimely intelligent could only receive gated, will be deemed trifling or unimpressions of the grand, while the important; I shall therefore make no sure criterion of a grovelling intellect further apology for the continuance of was a scrupulous attention to the mi- this speculation, but proceed to the nute. The idea that pervades these consideration of a palace which has propofitions has also been applied to funk and risen, as I may correctly such kind of investigation as forms the State, in fone degree, under my obserbasis of these Vettiges.

Researches vation. into antiquity (say they), when pro Somerset-house, the royal apartments perly directed, may certainly be pro- of which had, from about the year 1769 ductive of instruction as well as en until its final dilapidation, been contertainment ; but it is not every signed to the use of the two schools of triling memorial that is to be found design founded by his Majesty, and to in the rubbish of former ages that is the residence of the late G M. Moser, worthy of being preserved in reposito- Esq. the keeper, in fact the father, of

It may be necessary to Rate, with respect to my truly scientific and ingenious relation, that the arts dependant upon delign owe their revival in a great measure to his enthugaftic exertions for their support. It is known to every one that has cona. dered the subject, that in the reign of Charles the Second there was an academy for drawing the human figure from the life, eftablithed in London ; but the arts declining after the death of that Monarch, the Academy consequently fell into difuse, and was at length abandoned until about the year 1730, when Mr. Moser observing the difficulties their profesors had to encounter, and yet how much occafion the painters and sculptors of that period had to study the huinan figure, both from the antique and living models, with the affiftance of an artist of the name of Roby Marcus Tuscher, a painter of considerable eminence, the late James Stuart, Esq. and several others, raised a subscription, and established an academy in an apart. ment (as I have been informed) in Salisbury-court. The advantages which in point of improvement the Gentlemen concerned derived from this plan soon became so obvious in their works, and the candidates for admission, as lubicribers and ftudents, in consequence, so numerous, that the Managers were obliged to seek a situation where they could obtain greater accommodation. Peter court, St. Martin's-lane, was the place fixed upon, and a building of considerable fize, which had tormerly been a French chapel, and has since been converted into a Quaker's meeting, was adapted to academical purpoles ; the fubícription was annual, but the meetings were only held in the evening from fix to eight o'clock. Here Mr. Moser, for a long series of years, acted as Treafurer and Director ; and here chose artists whose genius forms an epoch in the history of the last century, and whose works will adora many of the succeeding, turned their attention from the chimerical and erratic pursuits of fancy to the audy of nature and truth.

the Vol. XLII. Aug. 1802.

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the academical establishment, was, as is modern, two large folding doors con. well known, originally built by Edward nected the architecture of Jones with Seyinour, Duke of Somerset, Protector the ancient structure ; these opened during the minority of Edward the into a long gallery, on the first Aoor of Sixth, upon the lite of an inn of chan a building which occupied one side of cery called Strand, or the Bishop of the water-garden ; at the lower end of Worcetter's, Inn, and also upon the this was another gallery, or luite of fites of the Bishop of Litchfield's and apartments, which made an angle Coventry's house, commonly called forming the original front toward Chester Inn, the Bishop of Landaff's the River, and extending to Strandhouse, and a church called St. Mary lane. This old part of the manlion in the Strand, which were all pulled had long been shut up (it was haunted down by his order, and made level with of course), when Sir William Chambers the ground, ann. 1549, 3 Edw. VI. wishing, or being directed, to survey it, and their materials applied to the pur- the folding doors of the royal bedposes of the new building *; also for chamber (the Keeper's drawing-room) å further supply of timber, lead, iron, were opened ; a number of persons and stone, he took down at St. Paul's entered with the Surveyor. The first a cloister, two chapels, a charnel-louse, of the apartments, the long gallery, and likewise most part of the church of we observed was lined with oak in St: John of Jerusalem, near Smith. finall pannels ; the heights of their

mouldings had been touched with gold : This ancient building, it will be it had an oaken floor and Ituccoed remembered, contained a Itrange archi- ceiling, from which still depended part tectural mixture, in which the Gothic of the chains, &c. to which had hung taste so long prevalent in this coun. chandeliers. Some of the sconces try seemed to be blended and united remained against the sides, and the with the first incorrect ideas of the marks of the glasses were still to be lately imported Grecian ; from which distinguished upon the wainscot. it has been conjectured, that the archi From several circumstances it was tect was an Englishman of confider: evident, that this gallery had been used able genius, as, from the union of as a ball-room. The furniture which there incoherent systems, he contrived had decorated the royal apartments to produce in the whole an effect had, for the convenience of the Acaexceedingly grand and picturesque. demy, and perhaps prior to that etab.

Although the ancient building and lishment, with respect to some of the garden occupied a considerable space, rooms, been removed to this and the they did not, by any means, comprise adjoining suite of apartments. It was the intended ground plan 1 of the new extremely curious to observe thrown erections. This palace had had a large together, in the utmolt confusion, va. addition made to it, which contained rious articles, the fashion and forms all the apartments fronting the garden of which thewed that they were the dedicated to the purposes of the Royal production of different periods. In Academy, the Keeper's lodgings, those one part there was the vestiges of a of the Chaplain, the Housekeeper, &c.; throne and canopy of state ; in anthese, with the chapel, screen, and other, curtains for the audience-chamoffices, were the works of Inigo Jones, ber, which had once been crimson though they probably rose upon the velvet fringed with gold. What reruins of a very magnificent part of the mained of the fabric had, except in old fabric.

the deepest folds, faded to an olive At the extremity of the royal apart., colour ; all the fringe and lace but ments, which might be termed semi a few threads and spangles had been * Stow's Survey of Lond. p.493. Ibid. 490. Videlis etiam regift. Inter Temp. † Hayward, p. 303. Stow, p. 596. 1

| The original plan of the new buildings Somerset-place, as I have been informed, comprebended a very large space indeed, taking in the far greater part, if not the whole, of the Savoy westward, and all the buildings in front from the present mansion nearly to the Talbot Inn ealt ward. Somerset-yard, i. e. the late Princess-Dowager of Wales' Stabling, abutting upon the Savoy Wall, was formerly the western extiemity of this palace and its appurtenances, as Strand-lane was the eastern.

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ripped off ; the ornaments of the and indeed, from the stability of its chairs of state demolished ; ftools, materials and construction, might have couches, screens, and fire-dogs, broken l'emained for centuries had proper atand scattered about in a state of de. tention been paid to its preservation. rangement which might have tempted The audience-chamber had been a philosopher to moralize upon the hung with lilk, which was in tatters, tranfitory nature of sublunary Splen- as were the curtains, gilt leather covers, dour and human enjoyments.

and painted (creens. There was in this With respect to the gold and silver and a much longer room a number of which were worked in the borders and articles which tad been removed from other parts of the tapettries with which other apartments, and the fame confuthe royal apartments were, even within son and appearance of neglect was my remembrance, hang, it had been evident. Some of the conces, though carefully picked out while those rooms reverfed, were ftillagainst the hangings; were used as barracks. Some very ele- and I remember one of the brass gic gant landscapes , beautifully wove in chandeliers ftill depended from the tapestry, adorned the library of tire ceiling. The generalitate of this Royal Academy until the dissolution building, its mouldering walls and of the building

decaying furniture, broken casements, To return from this Ahort digression falling roof, and the long ranges of its to the gallery; I must observe, that uninhabited and uninbabitable aparttreading in duit that had been for ages ments, prelented to the mind in strong, accumulating, we passed through the though gloomy colours, a correct piccollection of ruined furniture to the ture of thofe dilapidated catties, the fuite of apartments which I liave haunts of spectres and residence of already stated formed the other side of magicians and murderers, that have, the angle, and fronted the Thames f. fince the period to which I allude,

In these rooms, which had been made such a figure in romance; and adorned in a style of splendour and mag- I have often reflected, that there was nificence which was creditable to the matter enough in the winding stairs, taite of the age of Edward the Sixth, dark galleries, long arcades, cells, and part of the ancient furniture remained, dungeons, as they might have been

• I have frequently contemplated this tapestry with sensations of pleasure, arising from the elegance of the deligrs and the perfe&tion of the workmanship. It beauti. fully ornamented the building of Inigo Jones, and was, I have no doubt, the produciion of French looms. The componition of the landscapes seemed to be of the Ichool of Gaipar Pousling; but I do not think that they were direct copies of that mafter, at least I do not recollect any of his prints that exhibit the same subjects, The tapelry in the other apartments, which had been taken down long before the Royal Academy was established, I can just recolle&t displayed historical subjects.

† Whomicever remembers any thing of the old Palace of Somerset-house mult recollect, that the water-garden was formed by two sides of the building, the wall which ranged along Strand-lane, and a palisadoed front. It was a kind of large terrace, being ascended by a fight of iteps from the garden that was common to the whole. It had gates, and the railing extended from the building of Inigo Jones to Strand-lane. Formerly a ftatue food in the centre, and there were several others at the corners of parterres in the great garden, particularly one in brass of Cleopatra, with a snake environing her arm, and fixed upon her brealt ; in her other hand a cap. I can remember the pedestals of lume of these tatues itanding in their proper places ; the miferably mutilated remains of others were placed againit the weit wall, but so corroded and dilapidated that it was impoflible to discern what they had been, or to what the remains belonged. In the centre of the weltern quarter of the garden was a large bason; there had been a fountain, which was dried by the torch of the genius of improvement. The water gate, which tell in the general dissolution of the building, was efteemed a beautiful specimen of the union of grandeur with elegant fimplicity. It was appropriately adorned with the figures of Thames and Ilis.

The landscapes of this artift being peculiarly adapted to the process, were frequently copied in tapefry, many exquifite pieces of which formerly adorned the royal palaces of France : he was born ai Rome, of French parents, in the year 1600, and died in that city in 1663.

N.,

termed,

termed, « impervious to the solar. reflecting, as I have observed, upon
beam," of the ancient part of Somerset the brilliancy which these apartments
House, to have furnithed an author, had once exhibited, and upon the for.
whole imagination inclined to the, tune of several of their tenants, we
doleful and terrific, with apartments arrived at a pair of doors near the
and places properly adapted to “many eastern extremity, that were with diffi-
a foul and midnight murder." The culty opened, but which, when opened,
figures of ancient warriors might, were found to give access to a room
without “ a touch of the promethean which would have almost repaid any
torch," have itarted from their canvas difficulty that might have occurred in
in one room ; the statue ascended from obtaining a sight of it.
the garden, and danced the hays in This apartment w.s upon the first
another ; the massy doors were admi- floor of a sinall pile that formed a kind
rably calculated to be forced open by of tower at the end of the old building,
fupernatural means, though no mortal and the internal part of which was un
engine of less power than a battering questionably of the work of Inigo Jones.
rani would perhaps have effected it; It was known to have been afterwards
the dark passages seemed as if con. used as a breakfast or dressing room by
trived for ghosts or banditti with Catharine, the Queen of Charles the
gleaming torches ; and upon the Second, who refided and kept her Court
broken stairs any one might have in this palace many years ; in fact,
hung for hours without any danger from the death of that Monarch until
of being relieved. In thort, this spot her return to Lisbon. This closet had
leemed so well adapted to become the more the appearance of a small temple
scene of a modern novel, erected upon than a room ; it was of an octagonal
an ancient foundation, that I very form, and the ceiling role in a dome
much wonder fome eccentric genius from a beautiful cornice. The specta-
has not contracted for it, as it might tor was in an instant struck with the
have saved him or her the trouble and harmony of the parts which composed
expence of a flight to Italy or France. this exquisitely-formed building, and
Here they mighi, ad libitum, have called received a sensation of pleasure without
up the spirit of the ancient possellor of knowing whence it proceeded. Upon
this superb manfion, and perhaps have examination, there appeared such an
opposed him to the shades of a host of elegant fimplicity in ihe architecture,
his monastic enemies, who might have such a truly atric grace in the orna-
upbraided him with the destruction of ments, that I remember Sir William
their ckurches, thrines, and convents, Chambers, who was present, exceed-
rattled the windows, thook the walls, ing!y regretted the necessity there was
made the armour fall with a horrid for its dilapidation. The figures painted
crash, overturned the throne, dettroyed upon the pannels were in fresco, the
the furniture, and then have denarted, ornaments under the surbale were
leaving to the faithful recorders of such upon their heights touched with gold.
events materials for a tale of wonder, The few articles of furniture that re-
whose morality would have been nearly mained in this room were in the an-
equal to its probability,

tique style. There were several picPalling through these rooms, tures upon the ground, but, except flecting, that alihouglr they might he one, wbich seemed adapted to the made the scenes of romance and is soul- paunel over the chimney, they were harrowing woe,” they had once ac not judged to have belonged to this tually been the regions of splendour, apartment. Almall door of this room of festivity, of luxury, and hofpitality, opened upon the stair-case, and when such as would in more modern times, you descended to the ground floor on when the generous, the indigenous the right hand side of the passage, anfeelings of the Great were frittered other door opened into an apartment away in the pursuit of false taste, and of the octagon forn, lined entirely blunted by the operation of false re. with marble, in the interior closets of finement, have been deemed useless which were a hot and a cold-bath, and cumbersome appendages.of state ; The latter bad, I believe, been a short

time before used by the inhabitants " Yet hence the poor were cloath'd, of the palace, and was, I have no the hungry fed ;" doubt, supplied from the same spring,

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that was afterwards transferred to the I have just described, and who caused Surry street Baths, which were, and the whole building to be repaired, probably still are, within fifty yards beautified, and, among many other of this spot.

improvements, the reservoir to be conThe ftyle of internal architecture of structed, which was supplied with these small apartments, which were water from Hyde Park, appropriated to the use of the Queen, On Shrove Tuesday, in the year was so extremely, elegant, that, as I 1616, it appears that the Court first have observed, Sir William Chambers took pollellion of this palace : a splens regretted that it was not in his power did entertainment was upon this occato remove them entire. He, however, fion given by the Queen to the King I think, ordered specimens of their and Nobility, which concluded with a ornaments, &c. to be preserved, and, masque and ball in a Ityle superior to I believe, drawings of their plans and any that had before been exhibited, section to be made, which, if they were though these kind of private theatricals, executed, are unquestionably preserved were much the taste of the age of this in his collection. Mr. Moss, ibe archi.. Monarch and his fucceffor?. tect, when a ttudent, made a beautiful In the age immediately succeeding, drawing of the front of thiş palace (in this house became the scene of an exits ancient state) toward the Strand, hibition of another kind. It would be from which, I think, there is an en too extravagant an hypothesis to supgraying ; this drawing obtained a me- pose that the exuberant gaiety of dal in the Royal Academy. I hope one period was remotely the cause every part of the old building, which I of the extraordinary folemnuity of anconsider with respect and veneration, other; but be this as it may, it appears, has been delineated, and that a series that on the 26th of September 1658, of views of it will one day be pub. Somerset House, the seat of Kings, lished.

became the receptacle of the corpse Referring retrospectively to the do. of that arch-regicide Cromwell, which "mestic bistory of this once celebrated was, with the greatest privacy, reedifice, it will, as I have observed upon moved from Whitehall by night. another occasion, be found interwoven Here it lay in state until the 23d of and blended with the history of the November, whence, with such superb country. The many changes of occu. obsequies as had never before been pancy that have occurred are to be seen, even in those ages of magnificent traced in the fate of its different funerals, it was interred in Westmintenants, though there are local features ster-ahbey *. attached to every period, to every In the reign of Charles the Second, individual, which are seldom displayed the splendour of Somerset House, toge. upon the bistoric tablet, but the outline ther with its ancient name, were re. of which it would be both amusing and vived. In this reign, it was frequently instructive to contemplate. Of these, the scene of public entertainments, alas ! I fear in this initance every vef- and sometimes the residence of public tige is obliterated.

characters. After the death of this It will probably be recollected, that Monarch, it has already been observed, from the reign of James the First down his Queen kept her Court here. In to the Interregnum, this palace was the beginning of this century, it apidentified in records, deeds, warrants, pears to have been occasionally appro&c. by the appellation of Denmark priated to masquerades. Mr. Addison, House, in compliment to Ann of in the Freeholder, mentions one given Denmark, who, 'I believe, added the in honour of the birth of the Archoctagon tower at the east end, which duke. In the year 1753 or 4, the contained the bathis and apartments. Venetian Aniballador had a splendid

This circumstance, as indeed many other respecting this man, conspicuous for his talents, ftill rendered more conspicuous by his crimes, has been the lubjeet of inuch controversy. It has been said by some that his remains were thrown into the Thames, by others that they were buried in Naseby Field. Both these suggestions are equally improbable. Where his corpse was deposited is of little importance ; though, for an example to pofterity, it might have been wilhed, he had met a face Similar to that of many other regicides, and suffered the punishment which his atrocities merited.

entertainment

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