Billeder på siden

of middle frame, eleven inches from the ground, supported at the corners by four crouching lions on a bottom frame, or plinth. All around, on a level with the Stone, was originally ornamented with beautiful tracery, in quarterly divisions, each containing an heater shield (emblazoned with arms), in accordance with that fashion of the pointed arch which prevailed in the thirteenth century. There were originally ten of these divisions, and four of them, with the shields, remained till the late coronation ; but they were subsequently stolen, and even the tracery itself is entirely gone in front, so that the S'one is now fully exposed to view. The back is terminated by a high pediment, along each angle of which were five crockets on a scotia, or concave moulding. Below the latter, on each side of the pediment, is a smooth flat division, about three inches broad, that once contained decorations, presumed to be armorial bearings, emblazoned on small plates of metal of different sizes and forms, alterna:ely small and large, the cement for the adhesion of which still remains. The whole Chair has been completely covered with gilding and ornamental work; including a Regal figure, and a variety of birds, foliage, and diapering, much of which may yet be distinguished on a close inspection. The thickness of the whiting ground, laid on to receive the leaf gold, may be seen in almost every part. At the back of the seat, withinside, are some faint traces of a male figure, sitting, in a royal robe, a small portion of the bottom of which, together with a foot and shoe (the latter somewhat sharp-pointed) are still visible, but they were much more so within memory. Below the elbow, on the left side, is distinguishable a running pattern of oak leaves and acorns, with red breasts and falcons on the oaken sprays, in alternate order; a different pattern of a diapered work is shewn on the right, or opposite side, as well as within the tiers of pannelled arches which adorn the outer sides and back of the Chair. These rich adornments are so much discoloured by the rayages of time, or otherwise damaged by wanton mischief, that it requires an attentive eye to trace them with effect; the best way to do this is to place the head close to the seat, and then to look upwards with minute and fixed attention. Most of the above ornaments seem to have been wrought by means of minute punctures made in the whiting ground, after the flat gilding was executed ; other parts appear as though they had been impressed or stamped with an instrument. Within the spandrils, connected with the upper tier of arches at the back, were formerly, according to Mr. Carter, enamelled ornaments representing foliage:* but the ornaments thus alluded to were not enamelled ; they consisted of small sprigs, depicted on a metallic ground, either gilt or silvered, and covered with plain or coloured glass, as may yet be seen in three or four places. The diapering within the pannels, as far as

* Vide “ Ancient Architecture of England." vol. ii., in wbich, likewise, are several representations of the Chair and its orguments.


can now be traced, was composed of running patterns of vine and oak branches.

Among the other disfigurements of this Chair, many nails, large and small, with tacks and brass pins, have been driven in all over the angles, both on the inner and outer sides, most probably to fasten the cloth of gold, or tissue, with which it has been covered at the times of coronations. Sandford particularly mentions “the Scotch (Regal) Chair, cased with cloth of gold,” and cover of gold tissue for St. Edward's Chair,” in his account of the coronation of James II.; but it is not represented as so covered in the view which he has given of that ceremony.

The lions which appear to support the Chair, are but clumsily executed, and very defective in point of form; they were doubtless first attached after the original step, mentioned in the Wardrobe Account, had been destroyed : a new face was made to one of them prior to the coronation of his present Majesty, George IV. The entire height of the Chair is six feet nine inches and a half; its breadth, at bottom, three feet two inches; width, ditto, two feet ; breadth of the seat, two feet five inches; depth of ditto, one foot six inches; from the seat to the ground, two feet three inches and a half; height of elbows, from the seat, one foot two inches.

Notwithstanding the assertion of Walsingham, that Edward I.

this Chair for the use of the officiating priests at Westminster," fieri celebrantium Cathedram Sacerdotum," and which Hardyng has limited to the


“Mass Priest," there is every reason to presume that it has been regularly used as the coronation Chair of all our sovereigns, from the time of Edward II. In Strutt's "Hopda Angel-cýnɲan," is a representation of the latter monarch in a Chair of state, which was evidently intended for that under review.* Camden calls it "the Royal Chair or Throne ;† and Selden, speaking of this venerable remain, employs the words "on it are the Coronations of our Sovereigns. Ogilby, in his account of the coronation of Charles II., expressly designates it by the name of St. Edward's ancient Chair, which, he says (covered all over with cloth of gold), was first placed on the right side of the altar; and at a subse"the quent part of the ceremony, removed into middle of the isle, and set right over against the altar, whither the King went and sate down in it, and then the Archbishop brought St. Edward's crown from the altar and put it upon his head."§ James II. was

* Vol. iii. pl. 27. The engraving is from a fine MS. of the fourteenth century, preserved in the library of Benet College, Cambridge.

"Regis Reginæ," &c.

Vide Drayton's "Poly-Olbion," Song xvii.

§ "Coronation of Charles II." It appears from that work, that when the King retired into St. Edward's Chapel (after the ceremony) the crown and "all the rest of the regalia," together with St. Edward's robes, which the King had worn, were placed upon St. Edward's Allar: at what subsequent period that altar was destroyed does not appear, but there is not now the least part of it remaining.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsæt »