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(^lAP.

rii
GEORGE III.
227
518. ricvious to the accession of George III. it had been considered by his tutors
necessary to complete liis education by the study re<|uisite to give him some ac(iuaintance
with the art. We venerate the memory of that monarch as an lionest good man, but are
compelled to say that the experiment of inoculating him with a taste for it was unsuccess-
ful, for during his reign all the hizareries introduced by Adam received no check, and
seeing that Adam and Bute were both from the north, we are rather surprised that his
education was not in this respect committed to the former instead of Sir William Chambers,
whom, as one of the first architects of the day, it is incumbent upon us now to introduce.
We l)elieve that whatever was done to forward tlie arts, owes a large portion of its eHect
to that celebrated man
;
and it is probable, with the worthy motives that actuated the
monarch, and the direction of his taste by that individual, much more would have been
accomjilished, ))ut for the heavy and disastrous wars which occurred during his rein-n, and
the load of debt with wliich it became burthened. The works of Chambers are foutid in
almost every part of England, and even extended to Ireland; but we intend here chief! v to
restrict ourselves to a short account of Somerset House, his largest work, in which, tiio"i.<'-ii
there be many faults, so well did he understand his art, that it is a matter of no orriinarv
difficulty, and indeed requires hypercriticism, to find anything oflTensive to good taste in tlie
detail.
519. This work was commenced in 1776, and stands on an area of 500 ft. in depth, and
800 ft. in width. The general interior distribution consists of a quadrangular court,
34:^ ft. in length, and 21 Oft. in width, with a street or wide way running from north to
south, on its eastern and western sides. The general termination towards the river is a
terrace,
50 ft. wide, whose level is 50 ft. above that of the river, and this occupies the whole
lengtli of the facade in that direction. The front towards the Strand is only 135 ft. long.
It is com))osed with a rustic basement, supporting ten Corinthian columns' on pedestals,
crowned by an attii^*. extending over the three central intercolumniations, flanked by a
balustrade on each side. The order embraces two stories. Nine large arches are assigned
to the basement, whereof the three central ones are open for the purpose of attordiu^r an
entrance to the great court. On each side of them, these arches are occupied by win-
Aovs of the Doric order, decorated with pilasters, entablatures, and pediments. The key
ston>;s are carved in alto-relievo, with nine colossal masks, representing the ocean, and the
eight princijjal rivers of Great Britain. The three open arches of entrance befi)re men-
tioned lead to a vestibule, which connects the Strand with the large quadrangular court,
and serves also as the access to tliose parts of the building, till lately occupied by the Royal
-Academy, (18:>6'). and on the eastern side (lately to the Royal Society and) to "the Society
of Antiquaries, the entrances tliereto are within the vestibule. This is decorated with
columns of the Doric order, whose entablature supports a vaulted ceiling. We insert a
reduced woodcut
{f;u
223) of INIalton's view of this "magnificent Doric arcade leading to
tlie great court, which conveys to the spectator a more ample idea than words can possibly
furnish, of this piece of grand and picturesque scenery." 'i"he front of this jiile of
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