Anecdotes of Painting in England: With Some Account of the Principal Artists - Vol. 3

By Horace Walpole | Go to book overview
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His capital work was the façade of St. Sulpice, but the enormous masses of stone which he has heaped on the tops of the towers, and which are considerable enough to disfigure the view of the city itself, destroy the result of so superb a frontispiece.


THOMAS RIPLEY 1

was born in Yorkshire, and executed such considerable works that he must not be omitted, though he wanted taste and fell under the lash of lasting satire. Pope 2 has twice mentioned him—

"Who builds a bridge, that never drove a pile?
Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile,"

Imit. Horace, Ep. ii. v. 186.

And again,

"And needs no rod but Ripley with a rule."

Essay on Taste, p. 18.

The truth is, politics and partiality concurred to help on these censures. Ripley was employed by the minister, and had not the countenance of Lord Burlington, the patron of Pope. It is no less true, that the Admiralty is a most ugly edifice, and deservedly veiled by Mr. Adam's handsome screen. Yet Ripley, in the mechanic part, and in the disposition of apartments and conveniences, was unluckily superior to the earl himself. Lord Orford's, at Houghton, of which Campbell gave the original design, but which was much improved by Ripley; 3 and Lord Walpole's at Wool-

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the size and number of its columns, certainly very far exceeding any in London. The architects have, it must be allowed, a great advantage over ours, in consequence of the larger blocks of stone, and the greater facility by which, from their soft nature, they can be worked into form.—D.
1
Thomas Ripley, comptroller of the Board of Works, buried at Hampton, Middlesex, 1758. Par. Regist.—D.
2
Ripley was elevated from a house carpenter into an architect, by the patronage of Sir Robert Walpole. Pope's ridicule of him was agreeable to Lord Burlington, who reserved all his favour for Kent; and who treated Ripley as an unworthy rival.—D.
3
Ripley's Plans and Elevations of Houghton, fol. 2 vols. 1755—1760.

"Houghton is a stately heavy building, joined by colonnades to large wings— the whole extending 250 feet."—Gilpin. It offers an example of a front lengthened by two wings connected with the main building by porticos or corridors. Several of these wings standing before the line of the main building, formed a kind of crescent. Kent burrowed this plan, and Thorndon, in Essex, by Payne, is a late instance. The original idea occurs in Palladio's works.

Walpole complimented his father, and published an account of his palace and his collection of pictures. (Ædes Walpolianœ, 4to. 1752.) In the dedication he

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