Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 230 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1.

Of the churches here, that of St. Jaques is considerably the finest building, and is indeed an excellent specimen of what has been called the decorated English style of architecture, the style of this church nearly coinciding in its principal lines with that which prevailed in our own country during the reigns of the second and third Edward.  It was begun about the year 1260, but was little advanced at the commencement of the following century; nor were its nineteen chapels, the works of the piety of individuals, completed before 1350.  The roof of the choir remained imperfect till ninety years afterwards, whilst that of the transept is as recent as 1628[5].  The most ancient work is discernible in the transepts, but the lines are obscured by later additions.  A cloister gallery fronted by delicate mullions runs round the nave and choir, and the extent and arrangement of the exterior would induce a stranger, unacquainted with the history of the building, to suppose that he was entering a conventual or cathedral church.  The parts long most generally admired by the French, though they have always been miserable judges of gothic architecture, were the vaulted roof, and the pendants of the Lady-Chapel.  The latter were originally ornamented with female figures, representing the Sibyls, made of colored terra cotta, and of such excellent workmanship, that Cardinal Barberini, when he visited this chapel in 1647, declared he had seen nothing of the kind, not even in Italy, superior to them for the beauty and delicacy of their execution; but they are now gone, and, according to Noel[6], were destroyed at the time of the bombardment.  The state, however, of the roof does not seem to warrant this observation; and, contrary also to what he says, the pendants between the Lady-Chapel and the choir are still perfect, and serve, together with numerous small canopies in the chapel itself, to give a clear idea of what the whole must have been originally.  One of the most elegant of the decorations of the church is a spirally-twisted column, elaborately carved, with a peculiarly fanciful and beautiful capital, placed against a pillar that separates the two south-eastern chapels of the choir.  The richest object is a stone-screen to a chantry on the north side, which is divide into several canopies, whose upper part is still full of a profusion of sculpture, though the lower is sadly mutilated.  I could not ascertain its history or use; but I do not suppose it is of earlier date than the age of Francis Ist, as the Roman or Italian style is blended with the Gothic arch.  The Chapel of the Sepulchre, is not uncommonly pointed out as an object of admiration.  There is certainly some, handsome sculpture round the portal; but it is not this for which your admiration is required:  you are told that the chapel was made in 1612, at the expence of a traveller, then just returned from Palestine, and that it offers a faithful representation of the Holy Sepulchre itself at Jerusalem; by which if we

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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