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1831.] Removal of the Screen at York Minster.

33 tion of classical taste along with ex wrong, six we will say, when there actness of critical knowledge. And are eight held up, the other repeating how far that object can be effected by the following formula, is obliged ima long Poem which is allowed to mediately to change the number of blend in one mass almost any thing them—“six you say and eight there and every thing, from Theocritus to are ; butt, butt, how many fingers do Homer, it must be left to older and I hold up?” While the under one higher Heads to determine.”

continues to guess wrong, the process Yours, &c.

R.S.Y. is repeated until he hits upon the

right number, when they both change Mr. URBAN,

places, and the other party becomes YOUR learned correspondent Mr. * butt” in his turn. This game, it Barker, in his account of the game of would seem, then, depends entirely “Micatio Digitorum,” which upon the degree of confidence which practised by the ancient Romans and the parties mutually place in each Greeks, and by the modern Italians other's integrity ; ;-whatever

may

have and Chinese, has omitted to state the taken place in that respect among the instance of a similar pastime practised Romans, whether according to the at this day among English youth, de commentator on Cicero, and perhaps rived probably from the above. Though even Adams himself, they are supposed it is not very common, I have seen it to have played their game occasionally pursued occasionally in schools after in the dark, or whether, according to the manner I am about to describe. Mr. Barker, they never did. That the When two lads agree upon playing, game I mention is in some manner the one mounts the back of the other, allied to the Italian, if not derived the latter generally resting his elbows from it, is rendered pretty evident, I on a bench, or some such supporter, think, from the coincidence of some while his hands cover his face and words made use of with those of Foreyes. The one who is mounted hold cellinus, as quoted by Mr. B. “ quod ing up a number of fingers cries out nos Longobardi dicimus fare, o givo

Butt, butt, how many fingers do I care, O BUTT are al tocco.' hold up?" If the under boy guesses Yours, &c.

T. GRIMES.

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PROPOSED REMOVAL OF THE SCREEN AT YORK MINSTER. THE meeting at York to decide the ques the Archbishop as chairman, refused to tion of the removal of the organ Screen took receive; but, at the last meeting, Mr. place on the 28th of December; and not Vernon, finding himself in a minority, withstanding all the ingenuity of the party brings forward 623 proxies, thus attempting opposed to good taste and the arrangement to quash the proceedings of the day; and of antiquity, the advocates for its preserva after a discussion of six hours, tacitly adtion in its ancient proportions and situation mitting that the question was already defeated their scheme, as at the former settled before the chairman took the chair, meeting in July ; but to turo victory into a by the overwhelming majority of proxies. defeat, if possible, the prince of modern in- Surely then, after so protracted a discussion, Dovators advanced suddenly with a list of and after their own decision against proxies, 623 proxies, collected, as Mr. Morritt ob- it was rather too bad to contend for the adserved, “ from the last place in the world mission of written opinions, obtained by from which he should expect to look for a means not the most likely to obtain the decision on Gothic architecture-the stand seuse of the subscribers on a question of at Doncaster !"' Ladies canvassed their part

taste.* Ders at a ball; a vote to deface the Minster At the meeting in York, in July, of 200 was the “ result of a bet made at Doncaster persoas present, about twenty or thirty only as to the issue of that meeting;" and clergy- voted for the measure ; of fifty-eight letters men canvassed fór votes in their respective read, fifty were for the Screen remaining as parishes. These proxies outoumbered the it now stands! The friends of antiquity, and above meeting, which consisted of 211, and of the Minster as it was, felt consoled and which was called to decide the question. comforted that this was finally settled, and The unfairness of the removalists in this settled it certainlyought to have been to all incase is very strongly evinced. At the meet teots and purposes; but, a few weeks after, to ing in July Mr. Scott, a staunch advocate their great astonishment and grief, this matter for the preservation of the Screen, produced two proxies, which the Dean, and afterwards

* Yorkshire Gazette. GENT. MAG. January, 1831.

36

Removal of the Screen at York Minster. [Jan. destroying them, what would become of the the lantern had been extolled, and every great pillars of the lantern tower themselves? thing most beautiful in the Minster must which were all of different shapes and di- give way to the setting them off to the mensions ; or of the leaning columns in the greater advantage. No person admired that transept, crushed by the superincumbent part of the fabric more than himself; but weight ? or of the leaning tower at Pisa ? he inust contend that it was not the finest or the Assinelli at Bologna ? (Applause.) part of the cathedral. (Hear.) The choir But there was another reason for pulling it unquestionably had the pre-eminence, and down. Mr. Smirke says,

" that a large had always been considered as the finest proportion of its enrichments are the work choir in Europe by all persons of taste in of a plasterer now living.” Why not men this as well as in all other countries. (Aption the name of this plasterer? Bernas- plause.) It surprised him too, to see the coni, a most ingenious artist, who had within composure with which the removal of the the last ten years erected an ornamental Altar altar Screen was contemplated; as if that Screen in Westminster Abbey of this same were not, in itself, a glaring innovation. plaster, under the direction of Benjamin That was deemed too trivial even to menWyatt; he believed there was also one in St. tion, as the removal of it one arch further George's Chapel, Windsor. “My brother," east, was considered nothing; it made not said the Rev. Speaker, “did introduce plaster the slightest difference to the eye; as they into the organ Screen, and he lived to see had before been told that the diminishing his error.

No sooner did he see it than ho the choir 30 feet in 220, would never be repented of it; and sincerely lamented that perceived. Supposing, however, that, as which the poverty of the Minster funds Mr. Smirke said, no one would miss 30 compelled him to do. If the meeting, then, feet in 220, that is one arch out of nine, saw the error of removing the Screen, which they surely would be able to detect the he hoped they would, let them imitate him, taking away of one arch out of three, benot in what he did amiss, but in acknow tween the altar Screen and the east window; ledging that they were wrong; and de if not, it showed him what he had always pend upon it," added the Rev. Gent. much thought, how incompeteat the generality of affected, “ if you never did more harın to people were to form correct opinions from the Minster than Dean Markhanı did, it looking at a plan. He would coptend that will still continue to stand unrivalled among it was the present situation of the altar the cathedrals of Europe." (Cheers.) No Screen which gave magnificence and granone, he presumed, would deny that the pre- deur to the whole choir. It was not the sent Screen was built for the spot where it space between the altar and organ Screen now stood; and that the architect built it which gave the grand effect, but the whole in proportion to the situation it occupied. length from the organ Screen to the east The Screen, being 23 feet six inches high, window; that noble waste of room, that was in the proportion of about one-eighth disregard of space between the altar Screen to the height of the tower, which was near and the east window which was so striking, 200 feet high : now, when brought east and which constituted that sublime effect ward to the first column in the choir, its which was so imposing. proportion would be about one-fourth to The Reverend Mr. Landon, of Aberford, the height of the canopy, which was not followed in a speech expressive of his utter 100 feet high. This was, he supposed, one contempt of the original design of the Minof Mr. Smirke's substantial restorations ; ster, and he called the Screen an

" incumany thing more contrary to architectural vrance which disgraced the finest part of the rules he could not conceive. (Applause.) If Minster," - the same Screen which immediit was an innovation, in its day, to place the ately after the fire was spoken of with admiScreen against the great pillars, it surely ration, and its escape from injury regarded must be equally an innovation now to place with unfeigned and universal delight. it against a column in the choir, for which Rich. Bethell, Esq. then moved, “That it was never intended. (Applause.) The the plan of Mr. Smirke for the removal of argument, “that the pillars concealed by the organ Screen be adopted.” the Screen were constructed with a view to Mr. Fawkes seconded the resolution. be seen on every side, and that their shafts Mr. Scott moved as an amendment, that and moulded bases were worked down to the “ It is the opinion of this meeting that the level of the pavement," proved nothing. decision of the meeting held in this place on The same thing would be found in different the 29th of July last, was, and ought to be parts of the Minster tabernacle-work itself; final.” and was also recently found to be the case in Mr. Slapylion was for the alteration, and removing an old screen in the cathedral at

marle a long speech, in which he invoked Norwich. It was a curious thing that, in disapprobation. He was frequently interall remarks that had been made in favour rupted by coughing, and other symptoms of of the removal of the Screen, not one word impatience and censure. had been said of its appearance when viewed Lord Morpeth asserted that it had been from the east end; but the great pillars of proved that “ the position of the Screen was

The scale upon

1831.] Removal of the Screen at York Minster.

33 party's conduct, and charged the newspapers inaccuracies of the drawing which has occawith exciting the irritation which existed sioned so much criticism, inaccuracies glarthroughout the county on the subject of the ing and perfectly indefensible. The model innovation. The Yorkshire Gazette has very was likewise jucorrect. ably refuted this vnjust charge, and adds, which it was executed was two inches to with truth, that if it had not been for the teu feet. Consequently, a person standing newspapers, the subscribers would have beard at the distance of four feet two inches from pothing of the matter till the Screen had the face of the model, was placed as far from been taken dowo. Mr. Vernon quoted in that Screen as the west door is from the favour of his opinion the names of several present Screen in the Minster. He had provincial architects, not celebrated for their often seen, however, people place themselves knowledge of our ancient architecture, but as far as ten or twelve feet froin the mo. known in their neighbourhood for their del; lictle thinking, that from the diminubuildings in the Gothic style ; which style, tive scale of the model, they were standing it is well known, contemns the authority of certainly far out of the Minster; probably such models of excellence as are exhibited without Bontham-bar, or perhaps on the in York Minster. Their opinion, no doubt, Manor Shore. Mr. Smirke took it for is as good as that of the majority of con granted, that every subscriber agrees that temporary architects, who have never studied the Mioster should be restored in the most the ancient architecture of England as they “ perfect and enlarged sense of the term ;" profess to have done that of Grecian and surely then, he ought to have kept to reRoman origin. They should, however, be storation alone; and not have brought fortold that it requires even more industry to ward dissertations from Mr. Wilkins on the become thoroughly acquainted with its prin nature of innovations, which he had himself ciples than any style which has fixed and distinctly declared he would avoid.

(Apcertain rules. Stuart has supplied the ma plause.) It had been asserted that the inner jority of architects with the greater part of porch of the Screen is of a later date than their knovledge of ancieot models; but the ornamental Screen front. Now it was there is no folio of taste for the use of the only necessary to look at it, to be convinced office, consequently the Barrys* of the day that this was not the case ; as the two are very few.

porches, and the ornamental fronting to the Mr. Veroon said: “With the drawings, Screen, were banded in together, so as to fifteen hundred copies of Mr. Smirke's re shew that the western Screen and the choir port had been circulated; and the opinion front of the porch were built at the same time. of the subscribers had been requested. A There were many reasons why this porch number of letters had, in consequence, been

should not be destroyed.

In the recent received; those in favour of the removal discoveries made of a Norman church below being upwards of 600 ; and those against it the pavement of the choir, the antiquity of bcing something more than 100. A meeting

the Mioster had been raised to the time of was held in Leeds on the subject, where 63 the conquest-(applause)

-so that they now persons were present ; and 60 of them had had a specimen of every change of Gothic set their names down in favour of the re- English architecture from that period to the moval, and only three against it."

period of Henry VII. when cathedral Gothic Mr. Vernon was followed by the vener

architecture suok never to rise again. It able Archdeacon Markham, a name which was a proud possession ;' and few cathedrals will for ever be revered by the admirers of could boast of such beautiful specimens as ancient English architecture, and of York they had. (Applause.) But the link of Minster in particular. This gentleman is this interesting series, which was pow comthe brother of the late Dean, who set an plete, would be broken by the demolition of example of care and regard for his ca nearly half the porch, where the only specithedral, which, it is to be regretted, is al men of fan-tracery in the Minster now exready forgotten, or remembered only by isted. (Hear, hear.) That porch, which those who cannot follow his adınirable pat now threw a shade between the broad light tern. The Archdeacon reflected in strong of the dave and the entrance of the choir, terms on the proceedings subsequent to the creating that gloom so productive of relimeeting in July, which he argued ought to gious feeling; and that mystic awe which, have been, as it was intended, final on the on other occasions, Mr. Smirke knew so well question. He read a letter from Lord Mans- how to appreciate, that porch would now be feld, declaring his opinion to be against the reduced tv paltry dimensions ! (Hear, hear.) removal of the Screen; and that, if he even And why these innovations! It had been entertained a different opinion on the sub discovered that the porch did not stand in ject, he would have condemned the pro- the centre of the nave. Wonderful dispriety of the present meeting. The Arch- covery! It was never intended it should do deacon poiated out, with peculiar skill, the 80; por could it ever be placed by Mr.

Smirke in the centre of the nave and of the Charles Barry, Esq. an architect of choir. If irregularity in ancient build'ngs elegant taste.

were an argument for altering, or rather

36

Removal of the Screen at York Minster. [Jan. destroying them, what would become of the the lantern had been extolled, and every great pillars of the lantern tower themselves? thing most beautiful in the Minster must which were all of different shapes and di- give way to the setting them off to the mensions ; or of the leaning columns in the greater advantage. No person admired that transept, crushed by the superincumbent part of the fabric more than himself; but weight? or of the leaning tower at Pisa ? he inust contend that it was not the finest or the Assinelli at Bologna ? (Applause.) part of the cathedral. (Hear.) The choir But there was another reason for pulling it unquestionably had the pre-eminence, and down. Mr. Smirke says,

" that a large had always been considered as the finest proportion of its enrichments are the work choir in Europe by all persons of taste in of a plasterer now living.” Why not men this as well as in all other countries. (Aption the name of this plasterer? Bernas- plause.) It surprised him too, to see the coni, a most ingenious artist, who had within composure with which the removal of the the last ten years erected an ornamental Altar altar Screen was contemplated; as if that Screen in Westminster Abbey of this same were not, in itself, a glaring innovation. plaster, under the direction of Benjamin That was deemed too trivial even to menWyatt; he believed there was also one in St. tion, as the removal of it one arch further George's Chapel, Windsor. “My brother," east, was considered nothing; it made not said the Rev. Speaker, "did introduce plaster the slightest difference to the eye; as they into the organ Screen, and he lived to see had before been told that the diminishing his error. No sooner did he see it than he the choir 30 feet in 220, would never be repented of it; and sincerely lamented that perceived. Supposing, however, that, as which the poverty of the Minster funds Mr. Smirke said, no one would miss 30 compelled him to do. If the meeting, then, feet in 220, that is one arch out of nine, saw the error of removing the Screen, which they surely would be able to detect the he hoped they would, let them imitate him, taking away of one arch out of three, benot in what he did amiss, but in acknow tween the altar Screen and the east window; ledging that they were wrong; and de- if not, it showed him what he had always pend upon it,” added the Rev. Gent. much thought, how incompeteat the generality of affected, “if you never did more harm to people were to form correct opinions from the Minster than Dean Markham did, it looking at a plan. He would contend that will still continue to stand unrivalled among it was the present situation of the altar the cathedrals of Europe.” (Cheers.) No Screen which gave magnificence and granone, he presumed, would deny that the pre- deur to the whole choir. It was not the sent Screen was built for the spot where it space between the altar and organ Screen now stood; and that the architect built it which gave the grand effect, but the whole in proportion to the situation it occupied. length from the organ Screen to the east The Screen, being 23 feet six inches high, window; that noble waste of room, that was in the proportion of about one-eighth disregard of space between the altar Screen to the height of the tower, which was near and the east window which was so striking, 200 feet high : now, when brought east and which constituted that sublime effect ward to the first column in the choir, its which was so imposing. proportion would be about one-fourth to The Reverend Mr. Landon, of Aberford, the height of the canopy, which was not followed in a speech expressive of his utter 100 feet high. This was, he supposed, one contempt of the original design of the Minof Mr. Smirke's substantial restorations ; ster, and he called the Screen an “ incumany thing more contrary to architectural brance which disgraced the finest part of the rules he could not conceive. (Applause.) If Minster,”- the same Screen which immediit was an innovation, in its day, to place the ately after the fire was spoken of with admiScreen against the great pillars, it surely ration, and its escape from injury regarded must be equally an innovation now to place with unfeigned and universal delight. it against a column in the choir, for which Rich. Bethell, Esq. then moved, “That it was never intended. (Applause.) The the plan of Mr. Smirke for the removal of argument, “that the pillars concealed by the organ Screen be adopted." the Screen were constructed with a view to Mr. Fawkes seconded the resolution. be seen on every side, and that their shafts Mr. Scott moved as an amendment, that and moulded bases were worked down to the “ It is the opinion of this meeting that the level of the pavement, proved nothing. decision of the meeting held in this place on The same thing would be found in different the 29th of July last, was, and ought to be parts of the Minster tabernacle-work itself; final.” and was also recently found to be the case in Mr. Slapylton was for the alteration, and removing an old screen in the cathedral at made a long speech, in which he invoked Norwich. It was a curious thing that, in disapprobation. He was frequently interall remarks that had been made in favour rupted by coughing, and other symptoms of of the removal of the Screen, not one word impatience and censure. had been said of its appearance when viewed Lord Morpeth asserted that it had been from the east end; but the great pillars of proved that " the position of the Screen was

were

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1831.] Removel of the Screen at York Minster.

37 not that which it originally occupied."' don. At that meeting strong disapproba(Mr. Morrilt, “No, no.”)–His Lordshiption was expressed at the hasty manner in owned, if it was made out that this was the which Mr. Smirke had been placed over the original and constant position of the Screen, heads of the admirable workmen who had and if it was also proved that this was hitherto conducted the repairs of York Minthe position of screens in all existing ca ster with such credit, such immortal credit thedrals, still if it could be proved to him to themselves ; so much so, that when other that neither the stability of the fabric, nor cathedrals wanted repairing, it was considered its utility for public worship, would be en that they could not be properly done unless dangered—and it appeared they would not some of those workmen

sent for he said if this could be shewn, and it could (Hear.) At that meeting the Dean, and be shewn too that the general appearance all who spoke on the part of the Chapter, would be improved, he should say let it be spoke only of perfect restoration; and the removed. (Applause, and cries of, No, no.) meeting was particularly congratulated upon Mr. Morritt talked of the destruction of the the fact that the Screen was so little inScreen ; but who thought of such a thing ? jured, and that so small a part of the subIt would merely be removed to a place where scriptions would be required for its reparait would stand in almost as good a light, tion. (Hear, hear.! Then came the meetand in BETTER PROPORTIONS. (Hear, and ing which was held in this room on the 5th applause.) If the Screen was brought into of March, 1829 ; previous to which a recompetition with the general effect of the port had been drawn up by Mr. Smirke, in pillars and the great tower, its minuter which he

says, “ it appears to me on every beauties must give way, if it were even to be

most desirable, that the work demolished entirely, instead of being re should be re-constructed in every part with moved further back 30 feet. He should materials of the same durable quality as say the same if the beauty of the Screen those employed in the original construction were ten times greater than it were, if its of the fabric; and that the same design, in materials were ten times richer, if all its all the ancient ornamental parts, should be statues were the work of Phidias or of strictly adhered to, as far as it can be ascerChantrey. Take a stranger to the Minster tained.” He hoped that the report which and, after all, first impressions were most had gone abroad was totally false, that the decisive in questions of taste--and which ornamental parts of the roof were made of would he have his attention rivetted by, the the cheap American pine, the softest, the beautiful littleness of the Screen, or the cheapest, and the most worthless of all wold and magnificent columns, the vast and

wood. This report was published in a springing arches of the lantern tower ? For pamphlet, and along with it a speech delihimself, he must always prefer the awfully vered by Mr. Vernon, in which he stated, vast to the elegantly little.”—This is the that " the Dean and Chapter entirely conkind of feeling and taste which is to decide curred in the prineiples of absolute and per. the fate of an ancient cathedral!

fect restoration which Mr. Smirke had reGeorge Strickland, Esq. combatted his commended." There was an absolute feeling Lordship’s arguments. He grappled at once of delight at this second declaration ; and at with the bad taste of the proposed alteration. the reflection that the persons in whom the He thought that the want of ornament and management of the money was vested, had high finish in the interior of the Minster now bound themselves by pledges which they was obviated by the elaborate Screen which could not depart from. The subscriptions was placed in the centre, in the full blaze of poured in; and the munificent sum of belight, and took away that feeling of voidness tween 50 and 60,0001. was

soon raised. which must meet the eye, if it had nothing Now, although Mr. Vernon might not conto rest upon but naked walls, and bare pile sider himself bound by this pledge, nor by lars. (Loud applause.) Then what con the decision of the meeting, yet he would „stituted the charm of that magnificent choir, state what the law was on the subject. It which was totally unequalled iu any part of was, that if money was subscribed for any the world. (Hear.) What was it but, to particular object, and if the person into use the language of the immortal Milton, whose hands that money comes use it for “ the long-drawn aisle," where was seen any other object whatever, then the subpillar after pillar, and arch after arch, in the scribers are entitled to recover their money vast perspective, till the eye

the back again. Or there was another mode. magnificent and gorgeous east window? If a design was manifested to make use of (Applause.) If this innovation be carried, money so subscribed in such an improper what will be the effect? Can we then stand manner, the subscribers might apply for an at the foot of the lantern tower and see at injunction to prevent it being gone on with. one view all the beauties of the choir ? No, (Hear.) No decision of a majority of the it will be broken; it will be two ; it will meeting in favour of a removal of the Screen not be one! (Applause.) He thought it im could bind the minority in the face of those possible to pass over the question of pledges. pledges; and himself, and the subscribers who He was present at the first meeting in Lon- thought with him, were bound not to give

rested upon

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