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Removal of the Screen at York Minster. [Jan, their sanction to this wanton and faithless inheritance from past ages, pay less atteninnovation. (Applause.) It was not in this tion to grandeur of effect, and durability of city and county alone that monuments of material, than was bestowed on these great ancient art had been uselessly and wantonly objects in its original construction." He destroyed; and such destruction had always would ask this meeting whether it conveyed been followed by feelings of sorrow, repente any other meaning than, that in effecting ance, and regret. He would ask them to the restoration the same regard should be travel with him to Rome, or to Athens, and paid to the durability of materials as had when there, to view the devastation which been shewn in the ancient fabric, and also the spoiler had committed on the monu to the pattern ! ments of their ancient greatness, the re Jo the midst of clamour the Lord Mayor mains of their ancient art? Did they never (The Hon. Edward Petre), was heard to hear around them a murmur, that these speak in favour of the alteration. His respoliations were committed by Goths, by mark, however, in reference to the Minster, Vandals, by barbarians ? And if British commenced with a mistake, he said, “ alt hands had been stained by such offensive had the same object;" i. e. " THE MOST PERacts of plunder, there were not wanting im FECT RESTORATION of what might be conmortal British poets to hand down with in sidered the pride of England; let them come dignation to posterity the wanton spoilers. to such a decision then as would show the Let them hope the example would not be world their determination to effect that obfollowed here i
ject." This was hitting his own party a “ Dull is the eye that would not weep to see
very hard blow. In fact, he spoke with the The walls defaced, the mouldering shrines
best taste and voted with the worst.
quesBy British hands, which it had best be tion;" and Lord Harewood read the original To guard those relics, ne'er to be restored." motion and the amendment, and then said, The Rev. W. V Vernon said, he held in
There is a matter connected with this dis.
cussion which I will submit to the meeting his hand a full refutation of all that was said on the subject of the pledge. (Hear.) He
now. I consider this meeting to be for the admitted that the question of the Screen was
purpose of collecting the sense of the subnever called to his mind till he received a
scribers to the fund. Some of the subletter from Lord Egremont offering a most
scribers have sent their opinions in writing, munificent subscription, if the Screen was
containing their objections to the measure,
or otherwise; and it seems reasonable to me entirely renoved. He replied, that this was a measure that had never been considered; opinions should be considered as parties
that those persons who have so sent their and that there appeared many objections to it. (Hear.) The pledge he gave to the
present. meeting was in accordance with Mr. Smirke's
A long discussion then offered on the report. Now, in consequence of an offer right of the dissentients to the removal of
the Screen, or to withdraw their money, munificently made by the Government, of
should that innovatiou take place. a quantity of teak for the roof, that wood
Mr. Morritt could not consent to the had been actually employed in the construction of it. Luckily the words “or teak”
receptiun of the opinions of the absent subhad been introduced into Mr. Smirke's re
scribers, because they are founded on prints
which are deceptive, and many persons who port, or the use of this wood would have been made a matter of charge. Of this
had formed an opinion in favour of removal wood the ribs and frame-work of the roof from those prints, altered it when on the were made; and on them were laid 'orna
The Rev. W. V. Vernon.-There are dements of that light American wood which had been so erroneously described, and so
putations here from Leeds and from Shefurjustly reprobated. If the passage so often
tield, who have brought over the written alluded to, was taken with its context, it opinions of the subscribers in those towns. would be seen that he was pledged to no
I wish they should be heard as to the mathing respecting the Screen. li ran thus,
per in which these opinions were obtained. "Upon the report I have only to remark, (Astounding cries of No, no !) that the Dean and Chapter entirely concur
A long conversativa then followed on the in the principles of absolute and perfect re
propriety of receiving the written opinions. storation which Mr. Smirke has recom
A very general call for “Question,” now mended ; and that, should the means of
The Lord Mayor and Mr. finishing the work immediately on these
Scott were nominated Tellers; the numbers principles be withheld from them, they would appeared to be,
For Mr. Scott's Amendment ...119 even prefer prutracting its completion to abandoning them in any respect. They will
For the Original Resolution ... 92 not depart from a model more excellent and The Earl of Harewood. --If the Chair is beautiful than any thing which they cau called upon, the Chair is here to answer it; substitute in its place; they will not, in
and I shall do it in the same tone in which the reparation of this noble and veuerable I have spoken throughout ; and I say, that
1831.] Removal of the Screen at York Minster.
39 if there is any desire to deal fairly towards much difference exists; it is alteration and the absent subscribers, their proxies will mutilation, it is the taking down of an anbe taken. They were iuvited to send them; cient and perfect part of the building from and if they thought that they would uot its original and proper situation, and rehave been received, they would have been moving it to a place where no screen ever here. It will be a delusion to them if they stood in an ancient church, for obvious reaare not, and a proceeding to which I will soos; Ist. because it would not have stood be no party.
at the boundary of the choir; 2d. because A considerable confusion took place, in it would have destroyed the unity of the which the different parties loudly contended design across the transepts; 3d. because for their respective opinions.
there would have been & striking inconThe Chairman was agaio called upon to gruity in the effect when viewed from the declare the numbers ; but he still urged the choir, owing to the Screen standing twenty reception of the written opinions.
or more feet before the great arch of the George Strickland, Esq. then moved the lautern, the intended westera limit of the thanks of the meeting to the Chairman ; choir. which being seconded, three cheers were “ I consider (says Mr. Etty) that the called for by the victorious party, and being mutilation of the chuir-screen, which from given, they were leaving the room; but its most intricate and elaborate ornament were called upon to stay, as the Chairman must necessarily attend its removal (notdid not feel iuclined to dissolve the ineeting withstanding what may be said to the cou
Thanks were again moved to the Chair- trary), to be the least part of the injury our man ; who said, he would not allow the cathedral would receive. It would, in its proxies to be neglected, but should go new situation, be mostly in shadow, and straight frosward to do what was right. They some of it lost altogether ; but the vital might do with thein what they pleased; blow, by these alterations, given to its grauthey might place them where they pleased ; deur, would be in the choir! tható mnighty but he should recognize them. His Lord heart' of our temple. Imagine twenty or ship theri, amidst loud cries of " shame," thirty feet cut off its majestic length, and gave out the numhers as follows:
will any une telline that will not diminish its Present. For Mr. Scott's Amendment 119 grandeur? It carries its owa cundemnation
For the Original Resolution 92 along with it. Grandeur and magnificence Proxies. For Mr. Scott's Amendment 106 arise not only froin a just proportiou of parts
For the Original Motion ., 823 in relation to each other, but also uot a Thanks were now a third time moved to little belong to length and magnitude. the Earl of Harewood; but this time the • The long drawn aisle' is spokea of with proposal was received with overwhelming delight by Milton, that model of all that is disapprobation; and loud cries of “ No, grand and elevated. The advocates of the Do!" aud " He deserves a vote of censure.” pleasure tell you the choir will out be shortThe meeting thus broke up at half-past six ened, because what is lost at one end is tu o'clock.; both parties claiming the victory. be taken off • vure Ladye's Chapelle,'
Thus concluded the meeting of the 28th where the tombs are. Believe them not; of December. The Chairman entered on the length of the choir is from the present the subject with the strictest inrpartiality, situation of the organ screen to the graud but at the conclusion, when it was ascer east window, and any diiniuution of that tained that the majority were opposed to great and leathened space would, I maia. the scheme of innovation, he determined to tain, be a diminution of the choir to the du that which ought not in fairness to have eye, and consequently fail to fill the mind beeu dune; gainely, to receive the proxies with those inixed sensations of vastness, for the purpose of throwing the preponder awe, and delight, which all of any feeling ance vo the other side of the questiva. But must have experienced on entering that it is useless to particularise : the removalists divine place. All who recollect it before have gone all leagths to carry their point, the fatal blow struck at it by the cunning they are bent on deforming and defacing the and cowardly incendiary who set it on fire, Minster which was spared by the barharians and stabbed the peace of millions at e of the sixteeuth and seventeenth centuries. struke, must have been forcibly struck with They despise the cathedral as it was before these things, with the graud aud noble prowe fire, and wish to make it sunething portions of its parts, the effect these ar
This is their votion of “ perfect re rangeinents of distance had on the mind, sloration,” '-a terms which certainly did uut and consequently the heart, lifting up the include a noa-descript pulpit and throne, imagination, and by that the soul to Him seats, or rails, ur che chequered floor, but who made and sustains us. First, on the a perfect restoration of its aucient features, entrance through this beautiful Screen, for nune but the ancient forins and orna which, like the gate which was calied • Beau
were ever admired, or alluded to tiful" of the Temple of Jerusalem, was in the first report, or otherwise. But re but the threshold of greater, more “sacred stilution is not the question ou which so and hume-felt delights” and glories. Then
Removal of the Screen at York Minster. [Jan. its receding length to the foot of the first of the lantern, or central tower, the natural flight of steps ; then a platform ; and then boundary of the choir in churches built after another flight of steps to another broad the change of taste of which I have spoken. platform. The gradual approach to the But there is no example of a Screen being altar in its beautiful simplicity behind it; situated further east than the line I have the elegant altar Screep (when I think of all mentioned. Bristol is quite out of the this lost, my wounds bleed afresh, my heart question, the pave of that church having and my eyes are full); and when an ample been destroyed, and the Screen removed to space beyond, till the eye in the distance
its present position within the ancient choir, is filled with the magnificence of the great subsequently to the Reformation.” * east window, forming altogether a coup He is a bold innovator who would first lay ďæil unequalled in the world, a space, a bis hand on York Minster to disorder the combination in which the eye and the mind harmony of its arrangement and destroy its are filled with images of majesty, splendour, principal Screen. Mr. Vernon is labouring beauty, and extent beyond any thing I ever to distinguish himself in this way; but he witnessed, and I have seen many of the has encountered difficulties which he did not most celebrated cathedrals in Europe. foresee. He undervalued the veneration
“ Cut off the space proposed, you throw which the inhabitants of the county, and back the steps, the platforms, the altar those of the “good city” especially, feel under the east window, at least twenty for their glorious Minster; and it is to be feet. The altar now forms, as it should, a "hoped that no lawful means to defeat this prominent, elegant, and delightful medium, daring scheme of sacrilege will be left unPetween the choir and that splendid mass of tried. Opposed to it is a constellation of light; put it under the east window and the Dames which will for ever be associated with matchless beauty and harmony of these correct taste, and with those of the preserparts are destroyed, and unillumined. The vers of our ancient architecture; of Morritt, Arab proverb says, Under the lamp it is Markham, Wellbeloved, Strickland, Currer, dark; under that splendid window its Etty, and Scott, whose observations on the beauties must be eclipsed, and the whole distinctive characteristics of the style of the balance of the choir overthrown."
choir; on the propriety and beauty of the “ The alteration of an ancient cathedral is position of the Screen ; on the sublimity of justifiable only on one ground, viz. the im the effect produced by the combination of provement of the choir for the purposes of just and elegant proportion and occasional religion. This was not the reason for the enrichment; on the utter disregard of analterations at Salisbury and Lichfield, or the cient authority evinced by the removalists ; dilapidations of Durham: nor can it be and on the use of an inferior material in the alledged by Mr. Vernon in support of his ornamental work of the roof; t should be proposed innovations at York. Thirty-five read and treasured by all who wish to form years have made considerable changes in a correct taste on the subject of our ancient taste as to architecture ; and the capricious architecture. It is certain that the pamphfancy of an individual is not sufficieut now, lets and speeches of these gentlemen are as it was formerly, to command the dis among the most valuable essays on archiarrangement of the interior of a cathedral, tectural innovation. to demolish or dilapidate whatever his whim “ Were I to offer (writes the highly disapproves, or to lengthen views and vistas gifted artist Mr. Etty), to repaint and imin a church as he would cut down hedges in prove the Cartoons of Raffaelle, or the Last a landscape. One would have thought that Judgment of Michael Angelo, would it not the innovators would have made good use be regarded as a piece of madness, folly, or of their time since July in collecting ac presumption; and most justly so ? Now, curate and useful information from other I say the case is a parallel one : York Mincathedrals and aucient churches in support ster is as perfect in its kind, or more, than of their measure, but they gave no proofs of the great work in question is of the same their researches in this way; they did not, epoch, the fifteenth century; has the same of course, ascertain that “the screens of our hallowed feeling of antiquity to make all but Norman churches were commonly placed Vandals respect, venerate, and hallow it.” across the second or third division of the nave, owing to the plan or proportions of * Private Letter. the constituent members of the building, + Mr. Smirke stated that he had heard resembling in shape the Christian cross.
of a building partly composed of American But when the change of taste -in architec. pine remaining solid and perfect after the ture took place the plan also was altered ; assaults of forty seasons; but to convince the the choir, as at York, being elongated, and ineeting of the indestructible property of the the pave shortened; and by these altera said material, he stated that he had seen a tions a sufficient space for the purpose was building composed of it quite perfect after obtained, and the choir became a distinct sıxly years' standing! This is indeed a date portion of the building. The Screen was worthy of being compared with the antiquity removed from the nave to the eastero pillars of York Minster!