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Youth's downie blossome thro' his cheeke appears;
The visitor also will have his attention attracted to the portrait of Margaret Smith, wife of Sir Charles Bingham, who in five months arrived at great perfection by copying in water-colours the enamels and miniatures in this collection : in that short period she copied forty pieces, imitating most exactly the manners of the several masters. Mr. Walpole wrote the following lines on this ingenious lady
Without a rival long on Painting's throne
Bingham but saw perfection and attain'd it! We shall only notice one portrait more in this apartment, that of the pious and benevolent Hannah More ; she was intimate with Mr. Walpole, between whom passed some pleasing letters, which are to be found in his works,
The Green Closet has in the windows some curious pieces of painted glass. One round pane represents the story of the Lawgiver, who having enacted a law for punishing adultery with blindness, and his own son being convicted of it, he gave up one of his own eyes to save one of his son's ! A fine proof this of parental tenderness and judicial severity. Here is a view of Pope's House at Twickenham, painted since the alterations made by Sir William Stanhope.
And on the same side of the room is a small picture of Sarah Malcolm, who was hanged for murdering her mistress and two other women in the Temple. She is sitting at a table in Newgate with Popish beads before her. This was drawn by Hogarth the very day before her execution, and it seems she had put on a red cloak to look the better. It is altogether a singular subject. The particulars of her crime afford an awful proof of her depravity. Nor must we forget to mention a portrait of Sir John Shorter, grandfather of Catherine, Lady Walpole; he was Lord Mayor in 1688, when receiving the Pope's nuncio in the city, James the Second gave him an additional quarter to his arms. Two years before, this gentleman had been one of the most distinguished Aldermen on the Whig side ! He died in his mayoralty. This happened opportunely, for he must have made a sorry appearance at the conclusion of the year, which introduced and established the glorious Revolution.
The Blue Bed-chamber, presents you, in a frame of black and gold, carved by Gibbons, Sir Robert
Walpole and Catherine Shorter, (small whole-lengths) by Eckard, after Zincke. Sir Robert is sitting; by hiin on a table is the purse of Chancellor of the Exchequer, leaning against busts of George the First and George the Second, to denote his being first minister to those kings. By Lady Walpole are flowers, shells, pallet and pencils, to mark her love of the arts.
You observe also a portrait of GRAY the poet, with this singular motto, alluding to his Ode on Eton, which, though one of his best productions, was his first published :
Nec licuit populus parvum te, Nile, videre!
Here is likewise a portrait of Mr. Horace Walpole, having in the back ground a view of Strawberry Hill.
The Red Bed-chamber has these pictures worthy of attention :-Gypsies telling a country maiden her fortune at the entrance of a beech wood, a most beautiful drawing in water colours, designed and executed by Lady Diana Beauclerk in 1781, the chef-d'ouvre of her works; an original drawing of Titus Oates, in black lead, by Robert White; the Father of Pope as he lay dead, drawn by his father-in-law, Samuel Cooper, bought by Richardson at the sale of Mrs. Martha Blount, to whom Pope had bequeathed this and the three following—Mrs. Editha Cooper, mother of Pope, Mr. Pope himself, and Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke. This Mrs. Blount was a great favourite of the poet; but according to Johnson she was an unfeeling woman, and treated his memory with
disrespect. She was even impatient for his dissolution,
The Staircase is handsomely decorated with shields and heads; and
The Armoury is enriched with suits of armour, swords, scymitars, lances, spears, maces, bows, hatchets, halberts, &c.; with a curious Head of Isis, a small model in terra-cotta by Mrs. Damer, which she executed in large, in stone, for the bridge flung across the Thames at Henley. I mụst not pass wholly unnoticed the Suit of Armour that belonged to Francis the First: it must have been only used in tilting; it is not strong enough for battle. Mr. Walpole, ascending the stairs, said to one of his friends with a smile, whilst pointing to this armour“ You see that little men may be GREAT MEN." He himself was a man of short stature.
The Library has the books ranged within Gothic arches of pierced work, taken from a side door case to the choir in Dugdale's St. Paul's. The chimneypiece is imitated from the tomb of John of Eltham, Earl of Cornwall, in Westminster Abbey ; the stone work from that of Thomas, Duke of Clarence, at Canterbury. In the middle of the ceiling is the Shield of Walpole, surrounded with the quarters borne by the family. At each end, in a round, is a knight on horseback, in the manner of ancient seals. At the four corners are shields, helmets and mantles. On one shield is a large H, on another a W, in imitation of ancient bearing of the Howards in Bloomfield's
Norfolk. On either side is the motto of the family, Fari quæ sentiat, and at the ends MDCCLIV, the year in which this room was finished, expressed in Gothic letters, the whole on a Mosaic ground. The large window and the two rose windows have a great deal of fine painted glass, particularly whole figures in colours, FAITH, Hope and CHARITY.
Amongst a profusion of pictures, is to be seen a Clock of silver-gilt, richly chased, engraved and ornamented with fleurs-de-lys, little heads, &c. : on the top sits a lion holding the arms of England, which are also on the sides. This was a present from Henry the Eighth to Anne Boleyn, and since from Lady Elizabeth Germaine to Mr. Walpole. On the weights are the initial letters of Henry and Ann, within true lovers' knots ; at the top, “ Dieu et mon Droit."
Nor can the attention but be excited by the FishING EAGLE, modelled in terra-cotta, the size of life. This bird was taken in Lord Melbourn's park at Brocket's Hall, and in taking it one of the wings was almost cut off, and Mrs. Damer saw it in that momentary rage, which she remembered and has executed exactly. She had written her name in Greek characters on the base, and Mr. W. added this line
Non me Praxiteles finxit, at Anna Damer, 1781.
Of rare Books of Prints and Drawings, you find a great number. Here is Thuanus, the large edition in fourteen volumes, enriched with beautiful prints, containing portraits of the principal personages ; and