Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 eBook

Dawson Turner
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2.
comparatively modern.—­The western front is of a debased Palladian style, singularly ill adapted to a Gothic cathedral.  It is flanked with two towers, one of which ends in a cupola, the other in a short cone.—­The central tower, which is comparatively plain and surmounted by a high spire, was built about the middle of the fifteenth century, during the bishopric of the celebrated John de Balue, who was in high favor with Louis XIth, and obtained from that monarch great assistance towards repairing, enlarging, and beautifying his church.  The roof, the transept towards the palace, the sacristy, the library, and a portion of the cloisters, are all said to have been erected by him[38].—­The northern transept is the only part that can now lay claim to beauty or uniformity in its architecture:  it is of late and bastard Gothic; yet the portal is not destitute of merit:  it is evidently copied from the western portal of the cathedral at Rouen, though far inferior in every respect, and with a decided tendency towards the Italian style.  Almost every part of it still appears full of elaborate ornaments, though all the saints and bishops have fled from the arched door-way, and the bas-relief which was over the entrance has equally disappeared.

Ducarel[39] notices four statues of canons, attached to a couple of pillars at the back of the chancel.—­We were desirous of seeing authentic specimens of sculpture of a period at least as remote as the conquest; and, as the garden belonging to the prefect, the Comte de Goyon, incloses this portion of the church, we requested to be allowed to enter his grounds.  Leave was most obligingly granted, and we received every attention from the prefect and his lady; but we could find no traces of the objects of our search.  They were probably destroyed during the revolution; at which time, the count told us that the statues at the north portal were also broken to pieces.  At Evreux, the democrats had full scope for the exercise of their iconoclastic fury.  Little or no previous injury had been done by the Calvinists, who appear to have been unable to gain any ascendency in this town or diocese, at the same time that they lorded it over the rest of Normandy.  Evreux had been fortified against heresy, by the piety and good sense of two of her bishops:  they foresaw the coming storm, and they took steps to redress the grievances which were objects of complaint, as well as to reform the church-establishment, and to revise the breviary and the mass-book.—­Conduct like this seldom fails in its effect; and the tranquil by-stander may regret that it is not more frequently adopted by contending parties.

The interior of the cathedral is handsome, though not peculiar.  Some good specimens of painted glass remain in the windows; and, in various parts of the church, there are elegant tabernacles and detached pieces of sculpture, as well in stone as in wood.  The pulpit, in particular, is deserving of this praise:  it is supported on cherubs’ heads, and is well designed and executed.

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Account of a Tour in Normandy, Volume 2 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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