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.
with great flapping ears, or loll out an endless length of tongue.—­One is almost led to conceive that Schedel, the compiler of the Nuremberg Chronicle, had a set of Norman capitals before his eyes, when he published his inimitable series of monsters.  His “homines cynocephali,” and others with “aures tam magnas ut totum corpus contegant,” and those again whose under lips serve them as coverlids, may all find their prototypes, or nearly so, in the carvings of St. Georges.

The most curious sculptures, however, in the church, are two square bas-reliefs, opposite to one another, upon the spandrils of the arches, in the walls that divide the extremities of the transepts into different stories[4].  They are cut out of the solid stone, in the same manner as the subjects on the block of a wood-engraving:  one of these tablets represents a prelate holding a crosier in his left hand, while the two fore-fingers of the right are elevated in the act of giving the blessing; the other contains two knights on horseback, jousting at a tournament.  They are armed with lance and buckler, and each of them has his head covered with a pointed helmet, which terminates below in a nasal, like the figures upon the Bayeux tapestry.—­This coincidence is interesting, as deciding a point of some moment towards establishing the antiquity of that celebrated relic, by setting it beyond a doubt that such helmets were used anterior to the conquest; for it is certain that these basso-relievos are coeval with the building which contains them.

This church affords admirable subjects for the pencil.  It should be drawn in every part:  all is entire; all original; the corbel-stones that support the cornice on the exterior are perfect, as well along the choir and nave, as upon the square central steeple:  each of the sides of this latter is ornamented with a double tier of circular arches.  The buttresses to the church are, like those of the chapel of St. Julien, shallow and unbroken; and they are ranged, as there, between the windows.  At the east end alone they take the shape of small semi-cylindrical columns of disproportionate length.

[Illustration:  Sculpture upon a capital in the Chapter-House at St. Georges]

The monastic buildings, which were probably erected about the year 1700, now serve as a manufactory.  Between them and the church is situated the chapter-house, which was built towards the end of the twelfth century, at a period when the pointed architecture had already begun to take place of the circular style.  Its date is supplied in the Gallia Christiana, where we read, that Victor, the second abbot, “obiit longaevus dierum, idibus Martii, seu XVIII calendas Aprilis, ante annum 1211; sepultusque est sub tabula marmorea in capitulo quod erexerat.”

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