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Progress of the Nation page 12


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In engraving, much was done during the reigns of queen Anne and George I. by Frenchmen. Gribelin engraved the Cartoons with much ability, but without giving any idea of the greatness of the originals; Nicholas Dorigny also engraved them in 1719, but with still less success. Dubosc, Du Guernier, Bauvais, Baron, and others, were employed on a series of engravings of the victories of Marlborough. Gravelot and Scotin assisted Dubosc in producing an edition of "Picart's Religious Ceremonies." Gravelot also, as a draughtsman, drew many of the designs for the monuments engraved by Vertue. Baron ably engraved many pictures, and, with Ravenet and Sullivan, assisted Hogarth.

In the early part of the era Leonard Knyff designed a series of the palaces and mansiöns of England, which were engraved by another Dutchman, John Kip. Houbraken copied the principal works of Vandyck for Van Gunst to engrave in Holland, and the two Van der Gutches executed the plates for the engravings of Sir James Thornhill's paintings, in the cupola of St. Paul's. Besides these, they find a great deal of work in this country, the younger one being employed a good deal on anatomical plates. Hulsberg and Foudriniere distinguished themselves as engravers of architectural subjects; John Pine engraved the ceremonies of the Order of the Bath, and the tapestry of the house of lords, the originals of which are now destroyed. Pines illustrations of books are of great merit. Arthur Pond is known for having had a share in engraving the "Illustrious Is," by Houbraken, one of the great works of the time, and Thomas Worlidge for the engraving of "Worlidge's Gems," a perfect chef-cttceuvre. On the whole, engraving at this period was respectable, in particular instances superb, but produced no name which stands as a possession of the nation, rather than of the time. By far the most meritorious name of the whole class is that of George Vertue, who combined with great talent as an engraver the labours of the antiquary. He did not content himself with executing engravings from works of his own time, but sought to perpetuate ill this form the best paintings of the country of all ages, and to preserve the accompanying facts fast fading into oblivion. For this purpose he made numerous journeys about the country, frequently accompanied by Robert Harley, the second earl of Oxford, Heneage Finch, earl of Winchelsea, and lord Coleraine, who paid the expenses. In these journeys he collected all kinds of information for a "History of the Arts in England," and took measures for engraving the pictures and portraits necessary for the work. He commenced this collection in 1713, and it amounted at his death to nearly forty volumes, large and small. He visited and made catalogues of every collection of paintings, attended sales, copied all papers relative to the arts, searched registers, examined all English authors, and translated much from foreign languages relative to his subject. On this rich mass of materials, which he purchased from Vertue's widow, Horace Walpole entirely composed his "Anecdotes of Painting in England," only referring to the authors that Vertue quoted to verify his extracts. To the fidelity and industry of Vertue, and the wit and literary ability of Walpole, we owe this great work.

Vertue was employed by Sir Godfrey Kneller, and was one of the first members of the Academy of Painting, of which Kneller was president. During the reign of queen Anne he was chiefly employed in engraving the portraits of Kneller, Dahl, Richardson, Jervase, Gibson, and others. In 1730 he published a set of twelve engraved portraits of the poets, namely, Gower, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Milton, Butler, Cowley, Waller, and Dryden; the first collection of illustrious heads made in England, and one of Vertue's best works. He next engraved ten heads of Charles I., and of distinguished sufferers in his cause, with their characters added from Clarendon; and afterwards the portraits of the kings of England, with letter-press from Rapin's "History," published in weekly numbers. He also executed some of the heads for Houbraken's series, which, though not equalling in artistic excellence those of Houbraken, are far superior in truth as portraits, for Vertue's great characteristic was his veracity.

Coins and Coinage

Under William III., as we have stated, our coins, debased to a most scandalous and dishonest degree by the Stuarts, and still further reduced by clipping and sweating, were restored substantially and handsomely. The English coins of William and Mary consist of five-pound pieces, two-pound pieces, guineas, half-guineas, and all the usual silver and copper pieces. In the English ones, the king and queen's heads in profile look to the left; in the Scotch ones, to the right. Others were minted after the queen's death, and bear the king's head only. In 1690 some tin halfpence and farthings were coined, but were so often counterfeited that they were called in and replaced by copper ones.

The coins of queen Anne were still more beautiful. They were chiefly designed and coined by Croker, the celebrated English medallist, second only to Simon, the coiner of Cromwell. On the union taking place, the arms on the reverse were altered - instead of those of England being in the upper shield and France in the lower, Scotland on the left, and Ireland on the right one, Scotland took the place of France under England, and France occupied the sinister shield which Scotland had before. The most celebrated of all queen Anne's coins are her farthings, which are the most rare of coins, having only been executed as patterns, but never issued. They bear very different reverses. The farthings were coined in 1713 and 1714, and those of the former year, bearing on the reverse Britannia under an arch, and the one with Peace in a chariot, and the legend, "Pax missa per orbem," are the most valued by collectors. Her halfpence after the union have on the reverse Britannia holding in her hand a branch bearing a rose and thistle. Such of her coins as were minted at Edinburgh, where the mint was continued for some time, have the letter "E" under the queen's bust.

The coins of George I. were also by Croker. In them we see the shield of Scotland removed altogether, and that of Hanover introduced instead, occupying the dexter side of the reverse, and Ireland the lower shield; and this arrangement was continued by George II., who also adorned the intervals betwixt the cross formed by the shields with the rose and the fleur-de-lis, but no thistle - probably expressive of the feeling of these monarchs towards Scotland, on account of the Jacobitism and rebellions there. The most remarkable coins of George I.'s reign, however, were the Irish halfpence coined by Wood, and against which, as we have related, dean Swift, as a means of popularity, raised such a storm. To such a condition had the Irish been reduced for small coin, that they were obliged to circulate counterfeits called "raps," of so base a metal that they were not worth a fifth of the value they passed for; and even these were so scarce, that manufacturers and tradesmen paid their workmen and gave change to customers in tallies, and even cards with their nominal value written on them. A greater boon to Ireland could scarcely have been given than a good copper coinage; and this was not merely good, it was confessedly much superior in value and beauty to that of England. "They were," says Leake, "undoubtedly the best copper coin ever made for Ireland; " so also says Ruding, in his "Annals of Coinage;" yet Swift, by his unblushing lies, persuaded the Irish to reject them, and they almost deified him for the serious mischief he did them. During the reign of George IL, upon the gold coin the arms were not placed as on the silver ones - in a cross - but united in one shield. Silver groats, threepenny, twopenny, and even penny pieces were coiüed. The condition of the shillings and sixpences was deplorable, being worn down to mere thin blank bits of metal. As for the crowns and half-crowns, they were melted down and disappeared, and foreign money was obliged to "be used in lack of these.

Furniture and Decorations

The houses of the wealthy at this period were furnished in a style of luxuriance to which succeeding times have been able to add little, except in point of convenience and completeness, and that chiefly in hardware and glass. The style was almost wholly French, of the reigns of Louis XIV. and Louis XV., and abounded in such elegant and picturesque forms and richness of inlaying, and of cushions and drapery, that no succeeding fashion has been able to surpass it. The inlaying of cabinets, the flowing lines of the legs of chairs, tables, fauteuils, and the graceful designs of candelabras, framing of mirrors, brackets, girandoles, mantelpieces, &c., gave a peculiarly rich and artistic air to finely-furnished rooms. And this was greatly increased by the introduction of fine porcelain, and Japan cabinets and screens, embellished with the brightest colours and with much gilding. The rage for china and porcelain of all kinds, as teacups, large and extremely expensive dishes, jars, teapots of the quaintest forms, animals and birds, and even monsters, became so extravagant as to be the constant source of satire on the stage. Besides the genuine Chinese porcelain, France, Germany, and Holland produced each their own manufacture, some of which became almost as much esteemed. Glass was manufactured in England now, and was becoming used in much greater profusion in the houses of the moderately wealthy, in the shape of drinking-glasses, decanters, saltcellars, &c. A manufacture of plate-glass, founded by the duke of Buckingham in 1673 at Lambeth, had not succeeded, and we still bought that article from Venice. Carpets were now extensively woven at Kidderminster, and by the end of the reign of George II. were in use in almost all houses of any respectability.

Mahogany was also introduced at the commencement of this period, and wonderfully took the public fancy. It rapidly came into general use, and has maintained its place as the favourite material of furniture in this country to our time, when rose, walnut, maple, and other woods have contended with it for pre-eminence of favour.

Costume

The costume of the reign of William and Mary remained very much the same as that of the reign of James H. The petticoat breeches were discarded, and some close-fitting ones, gathered below the knee, were substituted, but the stockings were still drawn over them to the middle of the thigh. The coats were square-cut with full skirts, and the waistcoats of a length reaching to the knee. Long neckcloths, of rich Flanders or Spanish lace, were worn by the nobles and gentlemen, the ends often passing through the button-holes of the waistcoat. Those who wore bands, instead of the broad-falling ones, used small Geneva ones, such as our clergymen and barrister wear. The full-bottomed wig was grown monstrous, and the beaux used to carry large combs of ivory or tortoise-shell, curiously chased and ornamented, with which they combed them out as they walked on the mall, or appeared in the boxes of the theatre, or whilst engaged in conversation or flirtation, just as our modern dandies twirl their moustaches. The broad-brimmed hats were now cocked up, either all round and trimmed with feathers, or on three sides. Others followed the particular cock of some leader of fashion, as one cock was called the Monmouth cock, after the unfortunate duke of Monmouth. The shoes were cut high in the instep, and were fastened by a strap, which passed over the instep, and buckled somewhat on one side with a small buckle.

The dress of the common people underwent little change. The military costume also remained much the same. The carbineers of William III. still wore the breast and back- plates, and had iron skull-caps sewn into the crowns of their hats. William himself appears with his steel breastplate, his hat turned up at the sides and feathered, and the locks of his flowing wig falling on his armour.

The costume of the ladies felt the influence of some Dutch fashions. The bosom, which had been indelicately exposed, was again concealed by the kerchief. The elegant full sleeve of the gown gave way to a tight one, with a hanging cuff above the elbow, as was the case with the coats of the gentlemen; but whilst the arms of the gentlemen were clothed by an under-sleeve to the wrist, finished by a lace frill, those of the ladies had a profusion of lace, in the shape of ruffles or lappets falling from the short sleeve. In other cases, as is seen in the portrait of queen Mary by Visscher, the ladies wore long gloves oil their arms. Their gowns were carefully looped back to display a rich petticoat, ornamented with several rows of flounces and furbelows - or, as they were called, "falbalas". Their hair was once more raised into a lofty fabric, as in queen Elizabeth's time, being combed upward from the forehead, and surmounted by piles of ribbon and lace in a succession of tiers, the ribbons being formed into high stiffened bows, a la giraffe, crowned sometimes with rich lace, which streamed down each side of the tower, as it was termed-» - or more generally the commode - being a most incommodious affair. Muffs, which were Very small, frequently of leopard-skin, were worn fey both sexes. The clergy, who had hitherto worn their hair short, and had often made rude onslaught on the long hair of their auditors, now assumed the flowing wig, and archbishop Tillotson set the example.

In the reign of queen Anne, says Planche, vanished every relic of our chivalric costume except the sword, which still completes the full dress of the court of St. James's. The square-cut coats and long-flapped Waistcoats with pockets in them were still the mode, with the large hanging cuffs and lace ruffles. The skirts of the coat were stiffened out with wire or buckram, from betwixt which peeped the hilt of the sword, deprived of the broad and splendid belt in which it swung in the preceding reigns. Blue and scarlet stockings, now frequently worn under instead of over the breeches' knees, and with gold or silver clocks, lace neckcloths, square- toed, short-quartered shoes, with high, red heels and small buckles, very long and formally-curled perukes, black riding wigs, bag-wigs, and nightcap-wigs, small, three-cornered hats, laced with gold or silver galloon, and sometimes trimmed with feathers, were the fashion of noblemen and gentlemen. The wigs were enormously expensive; one is mentioned in the "Tatler" worth forty guineas, and five guineas was a common price. The materials of dress were altogether extremely luxurious. A Mr. John Osheal was robbed, in 1714, of a scarlet cloth suit, laced with broad gold lace, lined and faced with blue; a fine cinnamon cloth suit, with plate buttons, the waistcoat fringed with a silk fringe of the same colour, and a rich, yellow-flowered, satin morning gown, lined with cherry-coloured satin. Dancing- shoes are described as having heels four inches in height, and periwig boxes were not allowed to be carried in the coachbox gratis, of more than three feet in length. Some who had fine hair now wore it, but long and combed, like the wigs, and there were already dyes for converting red or grey hair into brown or black.

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Pictures for Progress of the Nation page 12

Old House of Peers
Old House of Peers >>>>
Old East India House
Old East India House >>>>
Medal of the Seven Bishops
Medal of the Seven Bishops >>>>
William III
William III >>>>
Whitefield preaching
Whitefield preaching >>>>
Convocation house, St. Pauls
Convocation house, St. Pauls >>>>
Addisons walk at Oxford
Addisons walk at Oxford >>>>
The residence of Richardson
The residence of Richardson >>>>
Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope >>>>
St. Pauls cathedral
St. Pauls cathedral >>>>
Harpsichord
Harpsichord >>>>
Tomb of Sir Christopher Wren
Tomb of Sir Christopher Wren >>>>
St. Pauls cathedral
St. Pauls cathedral >>>>
Greenwich hospital
Greenwich hospital >>>>
William Hogarth
William Hogarth >>>>
Coins
Coins >>>>
Costumes
Costumes >>>>
Ladies
Ladies >>>>
Gentlemens
Gentlemens >>>>
London street
London street >>>>

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