Imagens da página

more, because they pretended to the gift of divination, and foretelling future events. An opinion long prevailed that they were forbidden to remain longer than three days in one place, and that they had a privia lege from the Pope of providing themselves with necessary food where ever they should be.

The time in which these Zingani or Zingari first made their appear ance in Italy may be collected from the Miscella Bolognese," published in the 18th vol. of the “Rerum Italicar.” It contains thé. following notice. “On July 18th, 1422, there came to Bologna a duke of Egypt, named duke Andrew, together with men, women, and children of his country, in number about a hundred. They had a decree from the king of Hungary, who was emperor, authorizing them to rob wheresoever they should go for the space of seven years, without being amenable to justice. When they arrived at Bologna they lodged within and without the Porta di Galliera, and slept under portiooes, except the duke, who was lodged at the king's hotel. They remained here Gfteen days, during which time many persons visited them, on account of the duke's wife, who understood divination, and could tell what was to be a person's fortune, 'what was his present condition, how many children he was to have, if a woman was good or bad, and the like. In many things she spoke the truth; and when people went to have their fortunes told, few escaped without having their pockets picked, or, if woinen, their cloaths stripped of their ors naments. Their women went by six or eight together through the city, entering the houses of the citizens, and prating with them, at the same time hlching what they could lay their hands upon. They also went into the shops, pretending to buy something, whilst some of the party were employed in pilfering.'

Italy did not suffice for this crew, which was gradually augmented by accessions from the men and women of the countries through which they passed.' Krantz, in his history of Saxony, writes that they began to be seen in that country in the year 1417, and he gives a live, ly description of their customs and cheats, under the name of Zigeni or Zigeuni. Aventine also mentions their arrival in Bavaria, and their misdeeds, in 1411. They spread in like manner through Flanders, and France, in which country they were called Egyplians and Bohemians; and in Spain, where they were named Gillanos. They are also found in the Turkish dominions, Although they have been frequently banished from various districts, and severe edicts have been issued against them, they still contrive to keep up the race, and carry on their trade of petty pillage and deception.


To the Editor of the Atheneum.


I READ in your 4th Number a paper by Mr. Walker, ad. dressed to Patentees, Manufacturers, and Mechanics, on the subject of



Patents, which I am at a loss to understand. I am not disposed 10. cavil, but to feel obliged when the ingenious and scientific choose to commit their ideas to the public; at the same time it is becoming that those ideas should at least convey something which may be under-, stood, whether advantage be the result or not, otherwise your work is crainmed with useless lumber, which was never the object of the Athenæum.

This gentleman laments that the ideas of the ingenious and scien, tific are too frequently lost to the world for the want of sufficient publicity and introduction," and then speaks of a plan, “which it has long been his wish to suggest, for rescuing the mechanic from the oblivion which envelopes him."

He goes on to state, that his lectures are pretty generally known, that the lovers of science are their best friends, and the satisfaction with which many of them enter into some mechanical inventions of late date which he has introduced to them, assures him that by exhibiting, exa plaining, or working the models, plans, or designs of ingenious men, much good would be gained, and means suggested of forwarding the interests of those whose labours are now so frequently lost.

Now, Sir, I wish to call upon this ingenious gentleman to explain what he means by this curious paragraph. It appears to savour more of the puff indirect than any thing else, and that sa clumsily expressed as to make confusion more confused. How the satisfaction with which many of the lovers of science have entered into some of the mechani, cal inventions which he has introduced, can assure the author that his exhibiting their models can suggest means of forwarding the interest of the inventor, if such be his idea, the world, I believe, will be at a loss to find out. It reminds one of the fable of the Fly on the Chariot wheel.

We now.come to the concluding part of this communication. The author states, that patents are of little service, and are almost as generally avoided as obtained, and that the only means of securing to inventors the benefit of their ingenuity is to inform the world who really is the author, and where the machine is to be had ;” and here, again, I confess, the idea of this ingenious gentleman is lost to mę. What he means—what is his plan-or how the world is to be informed who is the author, and where the invention is to be had, seems to require explanation.

That patents are of little service I deny; that they are often useless, or, as this gentleman says, evaded, I grant, and I will tell him why. The act of Parliament to prevent monopolies will only protect patents to the “true and first inventor of a new manufacture." If the invention be new, and the specification skilfully prepared and enrolled, the patent will be protected; but I will venture to affirm, that out of every hundred patents that pass the great seal, ninety-nine are not of a description within the act. It is therefore fitting they should be evaded, to prevent quacking and imposition, which fanciful mechanics and ignorant projectors are perpetually foisting upon the public. To obtain a patent, the inventor must upon oath state his place of resi


dence, and shew himself entitled to the privilege; the patent follows of course, and the specification completes it ; and there being but one place in the kingdom froin whence it can be obtained, is sufficient publication where the invention is to be had. Every man for a shilliug may satisfy his utmost curiosity; and, by reading the daily papers, we pretty well know the privilege a patentee has of annoying us with information which all cannot help seeing, and most, if possible, would wish to avoid. I am, Sir, your admirer,

CORRECTOR Chapter Coffee-house,

iith May 1807,

For the Atheneum.



By a Gentleman of Literary eminence--/ continued.)

About midway between Lechlade and Cirencester is Fairford, a place well known to the admirers of ancient stained glass as being the repository of some of the most perfect in England. If that which was so generally destroyed at the Reformation, and by the Puritans, was in any degree equal to it, antiquaries have the more to regret.

It is recorded, that John Tame, an opulent merchant of London, took a vessel bound from a Flemish port for Italy, laden with this treasure, and, according to the expensive piety of those days, founded a church of very regular Gothic for its reception. There are twenty-five of these highly embellished windows, the best of which is the third in the north aisle. The subject is the Salutation of the Virgin, in which is a fine architectural perspective of the Temple. The great windows, both east and west, retain their original perfection ; of the first the subject is Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, in which the effect of the crimson velvet and gilding is truly surprising; and the design of the other is the Last Judgment. Gothic fancy has been indulged to an extreme in these exhibitions of the horrible and the ludicrous. So brilliant are the colours and so delicate the drapery of the smaller figures in this assemblage, that a more pleasing specimen of ancient art will rarely be found in England or on the continent. If the invention of stained glass has been traced by learned antiquaries to the Greeks of Constantinople, it was undoubtedly introduced into England from Flanders. In Italy, the walls of their great churches are adorned with mosaic or paintings in fresco, and the windows are in general small, and a minor part only of the internal architecture. But in that style which the Italians denominate “ll gottico Tedesco," universally prevalent in England, they occupy the principal division of the whole structure, and therefore became the receptacles of the most


splendid ornament they could receive. For some time the stained glass used in England was imported from Flanders; it appears, however, that a manufactory of it was established at Coventry, London, and Bristol, subsequently to the reign of Edward the second.

It seems probable, upon examining the contracts made between benefactors to ecclesiastical buildings in the early centuries after the conquest, noticed by Mr. Walpole, that the glaziers furnished the stained glass, which was cut into various shapes, and inclosed with lead, as the colours were required. The pattern or design from which the windows were composed were first given by the same artists who painted the walls in fresco. Our modern artists in this species of enamel excel any in Europe, and are equally assisted by painters.

I neglected no opportunity of examining great churches as they occurred on my journey. At Brussels and at Ratisbon the stained glass is particularly fine. Neither at Rome nor in any of the Italian cities could I discover any sacred decorations of this kind, which had any great degree of merit, excepting the convent of Santa Maria Novella, at Florence, where they very nearly resemble these at Fairford, both in design and execution. Some have conjectured, that the fainous Albert Durer furnished the latter drawings, which will not bear the test of chronology, for he was but twenty years old when these windows were put up, nor is it probable that he had then attained to sach proficiency.

An uninteresting road of eight miles brought us to Cirencester, a provincial town of consequence in every æra of this kingdom, more especially whilst it remained a colony of the Roman empire.

Upon this eligible spot the Romans, during a peaceful residence of nearly four centuries, had employed some of the fine arts of their own countries, and had doubtless embellished this great colonial city, then the metropolis of the Dobuni, with the splendour, as well as the accommodations of architecture. So imperfect are the remains of what are acknowledged to have been Roman edifices, that we have scarcely indulged our imagination with ideas of their probable extent or magmificence when inhabited by military commanders. No sculptured fragments have been found; tesselated pavements and hypocausts, bronze statues, particularly one of Apollo, the size of small life, and coins only, have been accidentally brought to light. It may be hoped that continued investigations, conducted with spirit and judgment, upon a plan which has been proposed, may discover foundations of temples and the implements of their national worship.

But a Roman pavement discovered at Woodchester, about fourteen miles distant, is greatly superior both in extent and workmanship to any as yet discovered at Cirencester. This circumstance should awaken curiosity, and encourage farther researches. If it be a fact that the Saxons, a rude and warlike people, when immediately succeeding the Romans, adopted from them the mode of building houses with timber, and did not introduce it from their own country, we canpot wonder that, from the fragility of the materials, nothing like a Roman ruin remains to be seen. The ancient Corinium occupies the site of some gardens on the south-east side of the present town, which was built in the early Norman centuries, nearer to its richly endowed abbey, of which the minutest vestige has disappeared, a circumstance owing to the immediate sale of its materials. King Henry the First established both this and the abbey' of Reading, in Berkshire, and the style of architecture was doubtless that prevalent soon after the conquest, and now called Saxon, in contradiction to the lighter Gothick. W. Wyrcester, whose MS. Itinerary was made in the reign of Henry VI., and Leland, whose account was written previously to the dissolution of monasteries, speak of the great church as being of the Saxon style, of which the ruins of Reading offer a contemporary specímen. The abbot's house was first rebuilt by Dr. George Master, Queen Elizabeth's physician, and a few years since by his lineal descendant. As a bold feature in the distant view, we surveyed the handsome parish church, with its lofty tower, both which were completed a few years only before the dissolution of the abbey. The regular style of the 15th century is prevalent in every part. One of the chapels in its pendent roof, and the noble portal towards the market-place, exhibit the extremely elaborate masonry which distinguished the reign of Henry the Seventh. "The antiquary will be gratified in this church by the sight of several very rich sepulchral brasses. In others of the towns in that district called Coteswold, they are seen in equal perfection. The merchants in wool, for which it was so celebrated, traded with the manufacturers in Flanders in the fifteenth century, where these brasses were made, and given in exchange. Though as portraits of the persons they commemorate they are of course imaginary, it is curious to observe the strict costume of habits according to the rank they held in life. The great east and west wiridows have been lately refitted with the stained glass, collected from others in the church which had been mutilated or misplaced. The new arrangement exceeds the former in taste and beauty. Under the parapet of the north aisle is some curious sculpture in a series of twelve figures, habited as minstrels, with various instruments of music practised in the 15th century. This is an extremely interesting specimen, if it be remembered that we have no accurate knowledge of the musical instruments of the Greeks and Romans, but that collected from the bas= reliefs and statues. Of the same æra likewise are twenty-three statues. of minstrels, with their instruments, placed over the columns on either side of the nave in the cathedral of York, of greater variety and superior execution. Lord Bathurst's mansion and park lie close to the . town. The house is large and commodious, but can boast neither style nor beauty of architecture.

When Pope associated Lord Bathurst with Lord Burlington, he sould not in justice to his own taste draw, any comparison between them as architects, he therefore judiciously' attributed to each his peculiar merit.. “Who plants like Bathurst--and who builds like Boyle.”


« AnteriorContinuar »