Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists - Vol. 2

By Horace Walpole | Go to book overview
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an architect, who built the staircase at Coudray, the Lord Montacute's; Pelegrini painted it.


is mentioned by Vertue, but not with much justice, for admirable execution of a ceiling in stucco, at Cashiobury, Lord Essex's seat. It represents Flora, and other figures, and boys in alto-relievo supporting festoons.


was bred a jeweller, which profession he changed for that of medallist. He worked for Harris ; and succeeding him graved all the medals from the end of King William's reign, of whom he struck one large one, all those of Queen Anne, and George I. and those of George II. though Croker died many years before him, but none of our victories in that reign were so recorded.

proper emblem of his style. Brown, when he laid out the grounds at Blenheim, conducted the lake under the arch, and spoiled the epigram.—D.

[Few now will agree with Walpole in his opinion of Vanbrugh. Among so many censures, it is but fair to record some praises. Sir Joshua Reynolds says"When I speak of Vanbrugh, I mean to speak of him in the language of our art. To speak, then of Vanbrugh in the language of a painter, he had originality of invention, he understood light and shadow, and had great skill in composition. To support his principal objects, he produced his second and third groups or masses ; he perfectly understood in his art what is the most difficult in ours, the conduct of the background ; by which the design and invention is set off to the greatest advantage. What the background is in painting, in architecture is the real ground on which the building is erected ; and no architect took greater care than he that his work should not appear crude and hard ; that is, it did not abruptly start out of the ground without expectation or preparation.

"This is a tribute which a painter owes to an architect, who composed like a painter, and was defrauded of the due reward of his merit by the wits of his time, who did not understand the principles of composition in poetry better than he; and who knew little or nothing of what he understood perfectly, the general ruling principles of architecture and painting. His fate was that of the great Perrault; both were the objects of the petulant sarcasms of factious men of letters; and both have left some of the fairest ornaments which to this day decorate their several countries; the façade of the Louvre, Blenheim, and Castle-Howard."—Discourse XIII.—W.]


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Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists - Vol. 2
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