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CathoNOTES:-Westminster Portrait of Richard II., 1lic Periodicals, 2- Broken Pottery of Ancient Times, 4 — Original Letters of Leigh Hunt, 1b - Aelivs Donatvs Septem Sapientibvs Scholarvm Angliæ Pvblicarvm S. P. D., 6- Morkin, or Mortkin, 7- Christmas Day, Ib. Inedited Letter of King James VI. to the King of NavarreLunar Influence Errors in Parish Registers: the Dal mahoy Family Old Recollections - Vessel-cup GirlsLiterary Mystification, 8. QUERIES:- Irish Pamphlets, 9- Extraordinary Assem
blies of Birds Burning of the Jesuits' Books - Callabre A Christening Sermon- Lord Coke and the Court of Star-Chamber-French Topography-Jenyns Queries Sir Godfrey Kneller - Hannah Lightfoot - Mary Queen of Scots Large Silver Medal - Morocco Edward Norgate: a Chain Organ - Papal Bulls in favour of Freemasons Petrarch: Himultruda- Scot, a Local Prefix
Shakespeare's Bible - Stricken in Years - Wedderburn
and Franklin, 10.
QUERIES WITH ANSWERS: Cyriack Skinner
the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, &c., 16- Roundels:
Verses on Fruit Trenchers, 18-Dutch Ballad, 19 - The Dawson Family, 20-Americanisms-The Pipe of Tobacco, &c. - Eglinton Tournament - Lord Braxfield - Agudeza -Illuminated Missal - Inscription at Champéry - Cheese Well- Gold pronounced " Goold "-"Hamlet:" "House the Devil"— Degrees, when first conferred - Picture "Shakespeare said it First "-Dante-America and Caricatures - Heraldic Queries - Arms of Prussia-Book dedicated to the Virgin Mary, &c., 21. Notes on Books, &c.
WESTMINSTER PORTRAIT OF RICHARD II.
The pages of "N. & Q." are such a natural depositary for records of historical events, both in art and literature, that, although the subject has already been made known elsewhere, I feel desirous to secure in these columns a brief statement respecting the change that has recently come over the well-known Jerusalem-Chamber portrait of Richard II. Ever since the time of the Manchester Exhibition in 1857, when it was first seen during the present century in open daylight, artists and judges competent to form a fair opinion upon it, agreed that the picture had been grossly painted over, and that the surface of the painting no longer presented a trustworthy appearance. These opinions were renewed in the course of the recent Portrait Exhibition at South Kensington; and Mr. George Richmond, R.A., the excellent portrait-painter, at length offered to the Dean of Westminster to not only superintend, but actually to work upon the cleaning and restoration of this precious relic. The Dean and Chapter readily consented; and the picture was accordingly conveyed, at the close of the Exhibition, to the studio of Mr. Henry Merritt, an experienced picture-cleaner and restorer, who was to carry on all operations under Mr. Richmond's immediate direction. Having
already expressed to the Dean my opinion of the unsatisfactory condition of the picture-not only that it was encumbered with masses of dirt and false paint, but that the original portrait still lay dormant underneath-I naturally took great interest in each step of the proceedings as they were put into execution. As a spectator, taking a careful cognizance of all that went on, I can perhaps render a more impartial statement than even those more immediately concerned in the operation. Before anything was done to remove the old paint, I took an opportunity of making a careful tracing of the head, hands, crown, and sceptre, with various details of the dress, that might serve as an accurate record of what the picture had been up to that period. I obtained a faithful transcript of the projecting patterns of the diapered background, by rubbing the surface of my tracing paper with soft leather sprinkled with black-lead. As this diaper was very irregularly constructed, it would have been quite insufficient for me to copy a single portion and repeat it mechanically to serve for the rest.
The picture is painted on an enormous block of oak; composed, in fact, of several smaller planks most skilfully joined together. The coatings of paint covering the picture were very difficult to remove; but, at length, Mr. Richmond's labour was rewarded by the discovery of the real picture underneath a genuine tempera painting of Richard's own time; revealing a perfectly different face from that which had been removed. In lieu of dark staring eyes of a rich brown colour, massive brown eyebrows, dark hair, and a ruddy smiling mouth, with deep solid shadows to the features, they recovered a mild, soft, youthful face, with gold-brown waving hair, blue-grey eyes, heavy eyelids, and a sorrowful drooping mouth-all of which accord with the celebrated Diptych at Wilton House, and correspond with the known weak and vacillating character of the timid and misguided monarch himself. The ermine cape had been overlaid with repeated coats of colour, and the originally delicate ermine spots had been distorted into strange twisted masses of solid black paint, that had neither heraldic nor any other significance to justify them. The folds of the crimson robe had been overlaid and perverted by the brush of some clumsy house-painter; and not only the drawing but the action of the fingers had been ruthlessly altered. On examining the gilded surface of the ball, decorated with most un-Gothiclike acanthus leaves. it was found to be laid over a highly polished coating of plain gold on a mass of composition or cement; and the richly ornamented crown had been treated in the same manner. The stucco pattern of the raised diaper on the background was found to have overlapped some beautifully painted foliage, which evidently belonged to the original design of the flore