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seat of all the mediaeval arts soon after the transference thither of the headquarters of the empire. The plastic arts of Byzantium were for a while dominated by the survival of the dull classic art of the extreme decadence, but soon fresh life and vigour of conception were gained by a people who were not without the germinating seeds of a new aesthetic development. The bronze statue of St Peter in his Roman basilica is an early work which shows some promise of what was to come in the far-off future; though classical in its main lines and stiff in treatment, it possesses a simple, dignity and force which were far beyond the powers of any mere copyist of classic sculpture.” Very early in the 5th or 6th century a school of decorative sculpture arose at Byzantium which produced work, such as carved foliage on capitals and bands of ornament, possessed of the very highest decorative power and executed with unrivalled spirit and vigour. The early Byzantine treatment of the acanthus or thistle, as seen in the capitals of S. Sophia at Constantinople, the Golden Gate at Jerusalem, and many other buildings in the East, has never since been surpassed in any purely decorative sculpture; and it is interesting to note how it grew out of the dull and lifeless ornamentation which covers the degraded Corinthian capital used so largely in Roman buildings of the time of Constantine and his sons. It was, however, especially in the production of METAL-work (q.v.) that the early Byzantines were so famous, and this notably in the manipulation of the precious metals, which were then used in the most lavish way to decorate and furnish the great churches of the empire. This extended use of gold and silver strongly influenced their sculpture, even when the material was marble or bronze, and caused an amount of delicate surface-ornament to be used which was sometimes injurious to the breadth and simplicity of their reliefs. For many centuries the art of Byzantium, at least in its higher forms, made little or no progress, mainly owing to the tyrannical influence of the church and its growing suspicion of anything like sensual beauty. A large party in the Eastern Church decided that all representations of Christ must be “without form or comeliness,” and that it was impious to carve or paint Him with any of the beauty and nobility of the pagan gods. Moreover, the artists of Byzantium were fettered by the strictest rules
as to the proper way in which to portray each sacred figure:
every saint had to be represented in a certain attitude, with one fixed cast of face and arrangement of drapery, and cven in certain definitely prescribed colours. No deviation from these rules was permitted, and thus stereotyped patterns were created and followed in the most rigid and conventional manner. Hence in Byzantine art from the 6th to the 12th century a miniature painting in an illuminated MS. looks like a reduced copy of a colossal glass mosaic; and no design had much special relation to the material it was to be executed in : it was much the same whether it was intended to be a large relief sculptured in stone or a minute piece of silver-work for the back of a textus. Till about the 12th century, and in some places much later, the art of Byzantium dominated that of the whole Christian world in a very remarkable way. From Russia to Ireland and from Norway to Spain any given work of art in one of the countries of Europe might almost equally well have been designed in any other. Little or no local peculiarities can be detected, except of course in the methods of execution, and even these were wonderfully similar everywhere. The dogmatic unity of the Catholic Church and its great monastic system, with constant interchange of monkish craftsmen between one country and another,
Influence of Byzan
* There is no ground for the popular impression that this is an antique statue of Jupiter transformed into that of St Peter by the addition of the keys.
were the chief causes of this widespread monotony of style. An additional reason was the unrivalled technical skill of the early Byzantines, which made their city widely resorted to by the artist-craftsmen of all Europe, the great school for learning any branch of the arts. The extensive use of the precious metals for the chief Works of plastic art in this early period is one of the reasons why so few examples still remain,_their great intrinsic value naturally causing their destruction. One of the most important existing examples, dating from the 8th century, is a series of colossal wall reliefs executed in hard stucco in the church of Cividale (Friuli) not far from Trieste. These represent rows of female saints bearing jewelled crosses, crowns, and wreaths, and closely resembling in costume, attitude, and arrangement the gift-bearing mosaic figures of Theodora and her ladies in S. Vitale at Ravenna. It is a striking instance of the almost petrified state of Byzantine art that so close a similarity should be possible between works executed at an interval of fully two hundred years. Some very interesting small plaques of ivory in the library of St Gall show a still later survival of early forms. The central relief is a figure of Christ in Majesty, and closely resembles those in the colossal apse mosaic of S. Apollinare in Classe and other churches of Ravenna; while the figures below the Christ are survivals of a still older time, dating back from the best eras of classic art. A river-god is represented as an old man holding an urn, from which a stream issues, and a reclining female figure with an infant and a cornucopia is the old Roman Tellus or Earth-goddess with her ancient attributes.” It will be convenient to discuss the sculpture of the mediaeval and modern periods under the heads of the chief countries of Europe. England.—During the Saxon period, when stone buildings were rare and even large cathedrals were built of wood, the plastic arts were mostly confined to the use of gold, silver, and gilt copper.
crosses, mostly in the northern provinces and apparently the work of Scandinavian sculptors. One very remarkable example is a tall monolithic cross, cut in sandstone, in the churchyard of Gosforth in Cumberland. It is covered with rudely carved reliefs, small in scale, which are of special interest as showing a transitional state from the worship of Odin to that of Christ. Some of the old Norse symbols and myths sculptured on it occur modified and altered into a semi-Christian form. Though rich in decorative effect and with a graceful outline, this sculptured cross shows a very primitive state of artistic development, as do the other crosses of this class in Cornwall, Ireland, and Scotland, which are mainly ornamented with those ingeniôusly intricate patterns of interlacing knotwork designed so skilfully by both the early Norse and the Celtic races.” They belong to a class of art which is not Christian in its origin, though it was afterwards largely used for Christian purposes, and so is thoroughly national in style, quite free from the usual widespread Byzantine influence. Of special interest from their early date—probably the 11th century —are two large stone reliefs now in Chichester cathedral, which are traditionally said to have come from the preNorman church at Selsey. They are thoroughly Byzantine in style, but evidently the work of some very ignorant sculptor; they represent two scenes in the Raising of
* On early and mediaeval sculpture in ivory consult Gori, Thesaurus Veterun Diptychorum, Florence, 1759; Westwood, Diptychs of Consuls, London, 1862; Didron, Images ouvrantes du Louvre, Paris, 1871; Maskell, Ivories in the South Kensington Museum, London, 1872; Wieseler, Diptychon Quirinianum zu Brescia, Göttingen, 1868; Wyatt and Oldfield, Sculpture in Ivory, London, 1856.
* See O'Neill, Sculptured Crosses of Ireland, London, 1857.
The earliest existing speci-Church. mens of sculpture in stone are a number of tall churchyard Yard
Lazarus 1; the figures are stiff, attenuated, and ugly, the pose very awkward, and the drapery of exaggerated
with painting (fig. 5). Most rapid progress in all the arts, especially that of sculpture, was made in England
Byzantine character, with long thin folds. To repre- in the second o
employed and and gilt.
handsomely rewarded a large number of English artists, and also imported others from Italy and Spain, though these foreigners took only a secondary position among the painters and sculptors of England. The end of the 13th century was in fact the culminating period of English art, and at this time a very high degree of excellence was reached by purely national means, quite equalling and even surpassing the general average of art on the Continent, except perhaps in France. Even Niccola Pisano could not have surpassed the beauty and technical excellence of the two bronze effigies in Westminster Abbey
modelled and cast by William Torell, a goldsmith and William citizen of London, shortly before the year 1300. These Torell
are on the tombs of Henry III. and Queen Eleanor, and, though the tomb itself of the former is an Italian work, of the Cosmati school, there is no trace of foreign influence in the figures. At this time portrait effigies had not come into general use, and both figures are treated in an ideal way. The crowned head of Henry III., with noble wellmodelled features and crisp wavy curks, resembles the conventional royal head on English coins of this and the following century, while the head of Eleanor is of remarkable, almost classic, beauty, and of great interest as showing the ideal type of the 13th century (see fig. 6).
FIG. G. —Ilead of the effigy of Queen Eleanor in Westminster Abbey; bronze gilt, by William Torell.
In both cases the drapery is well conceived in broad sculpturesque folds, graceful and yet simple in treatment. The casting of these figures, which was effected by the cire perdue process, is technically very perfect. The gold employed for the gilding was got from Lucca in the shape of the current florins of that time, which were famed for their purity. Torell was highly paid for this, as well as for two other bronze statues of Queen Eleanor, probably of the same design.
Much of the fine 13th-century sculpture was used to Archidecorate the façades of churches. The grandest example o! is the west end of Wells cathedral, of about the middle of." '
that of Robert, duke of Normandy (d. 1134), in Gloucester cathedral, carved with much spirit in oak, and decorated
1 One of these reliefs is imperfect and has been clumsily mende the century. It 1S covered with more. than 600 figures In with a fragment of a third relief, now lost. - the round or in relief, arranged in tiers, and of varying
* In Norway and Denmark during the 11th and 12th centuries carved ornament of the very highest merit was produced, especially the framework round the doors of the wooden churches ; these are formed of large pine planks, sculptured in slight relief with dragons and interlacing foliage in grand sweeping curves, perfect masterpieces of decorative art, full of the keenest inventive spirit and originality.
* See Richardson, Monumental Effigies of the Temple Church, London, 1843,
sizes. The tympana of the doorways are filled with reliefs, and above them stand rows of colossal statues of kings and queens, bishops and knights, and saints both male and
“The effigy of King John in Worcester cathedral of about 1216 is an exception to this rule; though rudely executed, the head appears to be a portrait.
female, all treated very skilfully with nobly arranged drapery, and graceful heads designed in a thoroughly architectonic way, with due regard to the main lines of the building they are meant to decorate. In this respect the early mediaeval sculptor inherited one of the great merits of the Greeks of the best period: his figures or reliefs form an essential part of the design of the building to which they are affixed, and are treated in a subordinate manner to their architectural surroundings—very different from the sculpture on modern buildings, which usually looks as if it had been stuck up as an afterthought, and frequently by its violent and incongruous lines is rather an impertinent excrescence than an ornament." Peterborough, Lichfield, and Salisbury cathedrals have fine examples of the sculpture of the 13th century: in the chapter-house of the last the spandrels of the wall-arcade are filled with sixty reliefs of subjects from Bible history, all treated with much grace and refinement. To the end of the same century belong the celebrated reliefs of angels in the spandrels of the choir arches at Lincoln, carved in a large massive way with great strength of decorative effect. Other fine reliefs of angels, executed about 1260, exist in the transepts of Westminster Abbey; being high from the ground, they are broadly treated without any high finish in the details.”
Tech- It may here be well to say a few words on the technical methods
nical employed in the execution of mediaeval sculpture, which in the
methods main were very similar in England, France, and Germany. When
bronze was used—in England as a rule only for the effigies of royal
an materials. persons or the richer nobles—the metal was cast by the delicate
now to realize the extreme splendour of this gilt, painted, and jewelled sculpture, as no perfect example exists, though in many cases traces remain of all these processes, and show that they were once very widely applied.” The architectural surroundings of the figures were treated in the same elaborate way. In the 14th century in England alabaster came into frequent use for. monumental sculpture; it too was decorated with gold and colour, though in some cases the whole surface does not appear to have been so treated. . In his wide use of coloured decoration, as in other respects, the mediaeval sculptor came far nearer to the ancient Greek than do any modern artists. Even the use of inlay of coloured lass was common at Athens during the 5th century B.C., as, or example, in the plait-band of some of the marble bases of the Erechtheum,-and five or six centuries earlier at Tiryns and Mycenae. Another material much used by mediæval sculptors was wood, though, from its perishable nature, comparatively few early examples survive;" the best specimen is the figure of George de Cantelupe (d. 1273) in Abergavenny church. This was decorated with gesso reliefs, gilt and coloured in the same way as the stone. The tomb of Prince John of Eltham (d. 1334) at Westminster is a very fine example of the early use of alabaster, both for the recumbent effigy and also for a number of small figures of mourners all round the arcading of the tomb. These little figures, well preserved on the side which is protected by the screen, are of very great beauty and are executed with the most delicate minuteness; some of the heads are equal to the best contemporary work of the son and pupils of Niccola Pisano. The tomb once had a high stone canopy of open work—arches, canopies, and pinnacles, a class of architectural sculpture of which many extremely rich examples exist, as, for instance, the tomb of Edward II. at Gloucester, the De Spencer tomb at Tewkesbury, and, of rather later style, the tomb of Lady Eleanor de Percy at Beverley. This last is remarkable for the great richness and beauty of its sculptured foliage, which is of the finest Decorated period and stands unrivalled by any Continental example.
In England purely decorative carving in stone reached Four. its highest point of excellence about the middle of the teenth 14th century, rather later, that is, than the best period **
cire perdue process, and the whole surface of the figure was then thickly gilded. At Limoges in France a large number of sepulchral effigies were produced, especially between 1300 and 1400, and ex
orted to distant places. These were not cast, but were made of food (repoussé) plates of copper, nailed on a wooden core and richly decorated with champlevé enamels in various bright colours. Westminster Abbe ssesses a fine example, executed about 1300, in the effigy of William of Valence (d. 1296).” The ground on which the figure lies, the shield, the border of the tunic, the pillow, and other parts are decorated with these enamels very, minutely treated. T. rest of the copper was gilt, and the helmet was surrounded with a coronet set with jewels, which are now missing. One royal effigy of later date at Westminster, that of Henry V. (d. 1422), was formed of beaten silver fixed to an oak core, with the exception of the head, which appears to have been cast. The whose of the silver disappeared in the time of Henry VIII., and nothing now remains but the rough wooden core; hence it is doubtful whether the silver was decorated with enamel or not; it was probably of English workmanship.
In most cases stone was used for all sorts of sculpture, being decorated in a very minute and elaborate way with gold, silver, and colours applied over the whole surface. In order to give additional richness to this colouring the surface of the stone, often even in the case of external sculpture, was covered with a thin skin of£. or fine plaster mixed with size; on this, while still soft, an minute patterns were stamped with wooden dies (see MURAL DEcoRATION, fig. 17), and upon this the gold and colours were applied; thus the gaudiness and monotony of flat smooth surfaces covered with gilding or bright colours were avoided.” In addition to this the borders of drapery and other parts of stone statues were fre}. ornamented with crystals and false jewels, or, in a more
borious way, with holes and sinkings filled with polished metallic:
foil, on which very minute patterns were painted in transparent varnish colours; the whole was then o from the air by small pieces of transparent glass, carefully shaped to the right size and fixed over the foil in the cavity cut in the stone. It is difficult
* The sculpture on the new Paris opera-house is a striking instance of this ; and so, in a small way, are the statues in the new reredos of Westminster Abbey and Gloucester cathedral. * On the whole, Westminster possesses the most completely representative collection of English mediaeval sculpture in an unbroken succession from the 13th to the 16th century. * Other effigies from Limoges were imported into England, but no other example now exists in the country. * In the modern attempts to reproduce the mediaeval polychromy these delicate surface reliefs have been omitted; hence the painful results of such colouring as that in Notre Dame and the Sainte Chapelle in Paris and many other “restored” churches, especially in France
over the drapery and other accessories, very delicate and .
of figure sculpture. WooD-CARVING (q.v.), on the other hand, reached its artistic climax a full century later under the influence of the fully developed Perpendicular style.”
The most important effigies of the 14th century are those Effigies,
in gilt, bronze of Edward III. (d. 1377) and of Richard II. and his queen (made in 1395), all at Westminster. They are all portraits, but are decidedly inferior to the earlier work of William Torell. The effigies of Richard II. and Anne of Bohemia were the work of Nicolas Broker and Godfred Prest, goldsmith citizens of London. Another fine bronze effigy is at Canterbury on the tomb of the Black Prince (d. 1376); though well cast and with carefully modelled armour, it is treated in a somewhat dull and conventional way. The recumbent stone figure of Lady Arundel, with two angels at her head, in Chichester cathe. dral is remarkable for its calm peaceful pose and the beauty of the drapery. A very fine but more realistic work is the tomb figure of William of Wykeham (d. 1404) in the cathedral at Winchester. The cathedrals at Rochester, Lichfield, York, Lincoln, Exeter, and many other ecclesiastical buildings in England are rich in examples of 14thcentury sculpture, used occasionally with great profusion and richness of effect, but treated in strict subordination to the architectural background. The finest piece of bronze sculpture of the 15th century is the effigy of Richard Beauchamp (d. 1439) in his family chapel at Warwick,--a noble portrait figure, richly decorated with engraved ornaments. The modelling and casting were done by William Austen of London, and the gilding and engraving by a Netherlands goldsmith who
* On the tomb of Aymer de Valence (d. 1326) at Westminster a good deal of the stamped gesso and coloured decoration is visible on close inspection. One of the cavities of the base retains a fragment of glass covering the painted foil, still brilliant and jewel-like in effect.
* The South Kensington Museum possesses a magnificent colossal wood figure of an angel, not English, but Italian work of the 14th century. A large stone statue of about the same date, of French workmanship, in the same museum is a most valuable example of the use of stamped gesso and inlay of painted and glazed foil.
had settled in London, named Bartholomew Lambespring,
reredos had a large relief of the
assisted by several other skilful artists. At the beginning of the 16th century sculpture in England was entering upon a period of rapid decadence, and to some extent had lost its native individuality. The finest series of statues of this period are those of life-size high up on the walls of Henry VII.'s chapel at Westminster and others over the various minor altars. These ninety-five figures, which represent saints and doctors of the church, vary very much in merit: some show German influence, others that of Italy, while a third class are, as it were, “archaistic” imitations of older English sculpturel (see fig. 7). In some cases the heads and general pose are graceful, and the drapery dignified, but in the main they are coarse both in design and in workmanship compared with the better plastic art of the 13th and 14th centuries. This decadence of English sculpture caused Henry VII. to invite the Florentine Torrigiano (14727-1522) to come to England to model and cast the bronze figures for his own magnificent tomb, which still exist in almost perfect preservation. The recumbent effigies of Henry VII. and his queen are fine specimens of Florentine art, well modelled with life-like portrait heads and of very fine technique, in the casting. *The altar-tomb on which the effigies lie is of black marble, decorated with large medallion reliefs in gilt bronze, each with a pair of saints—the patrons of Henry and Elizabeth of York—of very graceful design. The altar and its large bal-Fig. 7-statue (life-size) dacchino and reredos were the work of St Thomas of Canter. of Torrigiano, but were destroyed bury in Henry VII.'s
------ * - chapel, Westminster during, the 17th century. . The . richly colouri. "
Resurrection of Christ executed in painted terra-cotta, as were also a life-sized figure of the dead Christ under the altar-slab and four angels on the top angles of the baldacchino; a number of fragments of these figures have recently been found in the “pockets” of the nave vaulting, where they had been thrown after the destruction of the reredos. Torigiano's bronze effigy of Margaret of Richmond in the south aisle of the same chapel is a very skilful but too realistic portrait, apparently taken from a cast of the dead face and hands. Another terra-cotta effigy in the Rolls chapel is also, from internal evidence, attributed to the same able Florentine. Another talented Florentine sculptor, Benedetto da Maiano, was invited to England by Cardinal Wolsey to make his tomb; of this only the marble sarcophagus now exists and has been used to hold the body of Admiral Nelson in St. Paul's Cathedral. Another member of the same family, named Giovanni, was the sculptor of the colossal terra-cotta heads of the Caesars affixed to the walls of the older part of Hampton Court Palace. During the troublous times of the Reformation sculpture, like the other arts, continued to decline. Of 17th-century monumental effigies that of Sir Francis Were (d. 1607) in the north transept at Westminster is one of the best, though its design—a recumbent effigy overshadowed by a slab covered with armour, upborne by four kneeling * There were once no less than 107 statues in the interior of this
chapel, besides a large number on the exterior; see J. T. Micklethwaite in Archaeologia, vol. xlvii. pl. x.-xii.
figures of men-at-arms—is almost an exact copy of the tomb of Engelbert II. of Vianden-Nassau.” The finest bronze statues of this century are those of Charles Williers, duke of Buckingham (d. 1634), and his wife at the northeast of Henry VII.'s chapel. The effigy of the duke, in rich armour of the time of Charles I., lies with folded hands in the usual mediaeval pose. The face is fine and well modelled and the casting very good. The allegorical figures at the foot are caricatures of the style of Michelangelo, and are quite devoid of merit, but the kneeling statues of the duke's children are designed with grace and pathos. A large number of very handsome marble and alabaster tombs were erected throughout England during the 17th century. The effigies are poor and coarse, but the rich architectural ornaments are effective and often of beautiful materials, alabaster being mixed with various richly coloured marbles in a very skilful way. Nicholas Stone (d. 1647), who worked under the supervision of Inigo Jones, appears to have been the chief English sculptor of his time. The De Vere and Williers monuments are usually attributed to him.” One of the best public monuments of London is the bronzé equestrian statue of Charles I. at Charing Cross, which was overthrown and hidden during the protectorate of Cromwell, but replaced at the Restoration in 1660. It is very nobly modelled and was produced under Italian influence by a French sculptor called Hubert Le Soeur (d. 1670). The standing bronze statue of James II. behind the Whitehall banqueting room, very poorly designed but well executed, was the work of Griñling Gibbons (1648-1721), a native of Holland, who was chiefly famed for his extraordinary skill in carving realistic fruit and flowers in pear and other white woods. Many rich and elaborate works of his exist at Trinity College, Oxford, at Cambridge, Chatsworth, and several other places in England. In the early part of the 18th century he worked for Sir Christopher Wren, and carved the elaborate friezes of the stalls and screens in St Paul's Cathedral and in other London churches.
During the 18th century English sculpture was mostly in Eight | the hands of Flemish and other foreign artists, of whom ... Roubiliac (1605-1762), Schoemakers (1691-1773), and **
Rysbrack (1694-1770) were the chief. The ridiculous custom of representing Englishmen of the 18th and 19th centuries in the toga or in the armour of an ancient Roman was fatal alike to artistic merit and eikomic truth; and when, as was often the case, the periwig of the Georgian period was added to the costume of a Roman general the effect is supremely ludicrous. Nollekens (1737-1823), a pupil of Scheemakers, though one of the most popular sculptors of the 18th century, was a man of very little real ability." John Bacon (1740-1799) was in some respects an abler sculptor. John Flaxman" (1755-1826) was in England the chief initiator of the classical revival. For many years he worked for Josiah Wedgwood, the potter, and designed for him an immense mumber of vases covered with delicate cameo-like reliefs. Many of these, taken from antique gems and sculpture, are of great beauty, though hardly suited to the special necessities of fictile ware. Flaxman's large pieces of sculpture are of less merit, but some of his marble reliefs are designed with much spirit and classic purity. His illustrations in outline to the poems of Homer, Æschylus, and Dante, based on drawings on Greek vases, have been greatly admired, but
* See Arendt, Château de l'îanden, Paris, 1884. * The Williers monument is evidently the work of two sculptors working in very opposite styles. * An interesting account of many English sculptors of this time is given by Smith, Nollekens and his Time, London, 1829. * See Flaxman, Lectures at the Royal Academy, London, 1829. His designs on a small scale are the best of his works,—as, for example, the silver shield of Achilles covered with delicate and graceful reliefs.
they are unfortunately much injured by the use of a thicker outline on one side of the figures,-an unsuccessful attempt to give a suggestion of shadow. Flaxman's best pupil was Baily (1788-1867), chiefly celebrated for his nude marble figure of Eve. During the first half of the 19th century the prevalence of a cold lifeless pseudo-classic style was fatal to individual talent, and robbed the sculpture of England of all real vigour and spirit. Francis Chantrey (1782-1841) produced a great quantity of sculpture, especially sepulchral monuments, which were much admired in spite of their very limited merits. Allan Cunningham and Henry Weekes worked in some cases in conjunction with Chantrey, who was not wanting in technical skill, as is shown by his clever marble relief of two dead woodcocks. John Gibson (1790-1866) was perhaps after Flaxman the most successful of the English classic school, and produced some works of real merit. He strove eagerly to revive the polychromatic decoration of sculpture in imitation of the circumlitio of classical times. His Venus Victrix, shown at the exhibition in London of 1862 (a work of about six years earlier), was the first of his coloured statues which attracted much attention. The prejudice, however, in favour of white marble was too strong, and both the popular verdict and that of other sculptors were strongly adverse to the “tinted Venus.” The fact was that Gibson's colouring was timidly applied: it was a sort of compromise between the two systems, and thus his sculpture lost the special qualities of a pure marble surface, without gaining the richly decorative effect of the polychromy either of the Greeks or of the mediaeval period. The other chief sculptors of the same very inartistic period were Banks, the elder Westmacott (who modelled the Achilles in Hyde Park), R. Wyatt (who cast the equestrian statue of Wellington, lately removed from London), Macdowell, Campbell, Marshall, and Bell. During the last hundred years a large number of honorary statues have been set up in the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Hall and Abbey, and in other public places in London. Most of these, though modelled as a rule with some scholastic accuracy, are quite dull and spiritless, and, whilst free from the violently bad taste of such men as Bernini or Roubiliac, they lack the force and vigorous originality which go far to redeem what is offensive in the sculpture of the 17th and 18th centuries. The modern public statues of London and elsewhere are as a rule tamely respectable and quite uninteresting. One brilliant exception is the Wellington monument in St Paul's Cathedral, probably the finest plastic work of modern times. It was the work of Alfred Stevens (1817-1875), a sculptor of the highest talent, who lived and died almost unrecognized by the British public. The commission for this monument was given to Stevens after a public competition; and he agreed to carry it out for £20,000,—a quite inadequate sum, as it afterwards turned out. The greater part of his life Stevens devoted to this grand monument, constantly harassed and finally worn out by the interference of Government, want of money, and other difficulties. Though he completed the model, Stevens did not live to see the monument set up, perhaps fortunately for him, as it has been placed in a small side chapel, where the effect of the whole is utterly destroyed, and its magnificent bronze groups hidden from view. The monument consists of a sarcophagus supporting a recumbent bronze effigy of the duke, over which is an arched marble canopy of late Renaissance style on delicately enriched shafts. At each
by very stately female figures modelled with wonderful beauty and vigour; the vices are two nude male figures treated in a very massive way. The whole is composed with grèat skill and largeness of style. The vigorous strength and sculpturesque nobility of these groups recall the style of Michelangelo, but they are far from being a mere imitation of him or any other master. Stevens's work throughout is original and has a very distinct character of its own. He also designed an equestrian statue of the duke to stand on the summit of the monument, but in its present cramped position there is not sufficient room for this.” Owing to the many years he spent on this one work Stevens did not produce much other sculpture. In Dorchester House, Park Lane, there is some of his work, especially a very noble mantelpiece supported by nude female caryatids in a crouching attitude, modelled with great largeness of style. He also designed mosaics to fill the spandrels under the dome of St Paul's. The value of Stevens's work is all the more conspicuous from the feebleness of most of the sculpture of his contemporaries. In the present generation there are some signs of the development of a better state of the plastic arts. A bronze statue of an Athlete struggling with a Python, by Sir Frederick Leighton, is a work of great merit, almost
* The great merit of this work can now only be seen at the South Kensington Museum, which possesses Stevens's models and (on a small Scale) his design for the whole monument.