The life and works of Sir Charles Barry

By Alfred Barry

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Title: The life and works of Sir Charles Barry

Author: Alfred Barry

Release date: September 16, 2023 [eBook #71663]

Language: English

Original publication: London: John Murray, 1867

Credits: Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This book was produced from images made available by the HathiTrust Digital Library.)


       [Illustration: Image of and signature of _Charles Barry_]


                            LIFE AND WORKS


                   SIR CHARLES BARRY, R.A., F.R.S.,

                             _&c.    &c._

                      BY REV. ALFRED BARRY, D.D.,



                    JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.


                _The right of Translation is reserved_

                          AND CHARING CROSS.


The objects which I have had in view in the following pages, and the
spirit in which I have endeavoured to pursue them, are referred to in
the opening paragraphs of the first chapter. It remains to say a few
words on the nature of the materials at my command, and the authorities
on which my statements of fact and opinion are based.

For all narrative purposes, I have found an abundance of excellent and
trustworthy materials. My father’s architectural life is written in
outline in his own professional journals, and, in its more important
periods, has left its memorials in public and official documents of
unquestionable authority. Some of these I have quoted in the Appendix;
in other cases I have given summaries of their contents, and references
to the original documents. In all cases I may venture to profess, that I
have taken the greatest pains to ascertain clearly the facts which I
have here recorded. When I could not consult official documents, I have
depended only on personal recollection and the testimony of
eye-witnesses. Of any errors, which may still have crept in, I shall
thankfully receive correction.

I could indeed have wished to present to my readers more original
letters and extracts from Journals. These form the most valuable part of
many biographies; for, independently of any intrinsic excellence of
their own, they are full of interest, as bearing the marked impress of
personal character, and enabling the subject of the biography to speak
for himself. But here my materials fail me. My father was no great
letter-writer. His pen was indeed constantly busy in valuable
professional notes and official reports, clear in style and
comprehensive in scope, of which specimens are given in the Appendix.
But I find few characteristic letters, embodying his personal opinions
and feelings; and he does not appear to have preserved, except in a few
cases, the numerous letters from eminent persons, which he must have
received. I have had therefore to rely on personal recollection to
supply the deficiency, and to endeavour in the last chapter to describe
his private life and character, as it appeared to those who knew him and
loved him best. Nor are his Journals altogether fit for reproduction.
They are indeed invaluable as authorities. During his foreign tours they
were copious and detailed, and almost the whole of Chapter II. is drawn
from them. But they were mostly notes for practical use, and, before
they could be published, they would need alterations and developments,
which he alone had the right to give them. During his professional life
they contained simply brief memoranda of every day’s work. I could not
therefore quote them with advantage, but I have found them of the
greatest value in ascertaining facts and fixing dates, which otherwise
might have escaped me.

For all professional information and opinion,--for all, in fact, which
may give any value to the work,--I have been able to refer to my
brothers, in regard to the later part of my father’s career, with every
fact of which they were intimately acquainted. For the earlier portion I
have depended mainly on J. L. Wolfe, Esq., who was to my father the true
friend of a lifetime, almost the only person who knew well his opinions
and principles, and to whose aid and criticism he was materially
indebted. He has given me notes and information, which I have found
invaluable, especially in regard of the story of the New Palace at
Westminster, which must be the central feature of the biography. For all
the letterpress, however, I hold myself responsible. The choice of the
illustrations is due to my eldest brother. We have to acknowledge with
thanks the permission given us to use in some cases illustrations which
have already appeared. Believing that an architectural record must speak
mainly to the eye, we should gladly have given further illustrations;
instead of some which are here found, we should have wished to represent
more of the unexecuted designs, had authentic drawings been at hand; but
we conceive that those actually given, especially the large
illustrations of the Westminster Improvements, will be of great
interest, both to the profession and to the public.

With these materials at command, and with these authorities to refer to,
I have tried to tell my story, without tincturing the record with undue
partiality, or introducing into it those merely private details, either
of fact or of feeling, which appear to me to be utterly out of place in
a published narrative.

I trust also, that, in speaking of controversies, and in dwelling on
some parts of my father’s life, on which I cannot but feel strongly, I
shall be thought to have observed due moderation of expression, and due
respect for the reputation of others. In some cases I have simply stated
facts, and left it to others to draw inferences and make comments upon
them. It will not, I hope, be supposed that reticence in such cases
implies any want of strong conviction or strong feeling on my own part.
In fact, as the work has proceeded, I have felt more and more that such
reticence is forced upon a son, when he is writing his father’s life,
and I do not think that it need necessarily interfere with the
impression which the record ought to create.

The story itself may perhaps be mainly one of professional interest. But
this is a time in which Art is beginning to be recognised as an
important subject to the public; and the record of a career not
unimportant in regard of artistic progress, of the erection of one of
the largest and most important buildings of modern times, and of designs
and opinions bearing upon most public improvements now actually in
contemplation, may therefore commend itself to general notice.

I have only to say in conclusion, that the inevitable difficulties in
the task of preparation, the duty of wading through long official
documents, and the necessity of seeking in many quarters information
(which, even now, has occasionally arrived too late for use),[1] have
delayed the publication of this Memoir to a period far later than that
originally contemplated. I am far, however, from regretting this
enforced delay. Whatever interest there may be in the record of works
and opinions here given, it is not of a temporary character; and it is
clear, from many indications, that even the time, which has already
elapsed, has served to bring out public opinion more clearly, and has
tended to the formation of a true estimate of Sir Charles Barry’s
architectural genius, and of the position which his works must hold in
the progress of English Art.

                                                                  A. B.

_Cheltenham, April, 1867._


Since this work was printed, the risk alluded to in page 195, as likely
to arise from the employment of the late Mr. A. W. Pugin on the New
Palace at Westminster, has been unexpectedly realized fifteen years
after his death by some extraordinary claims put forward by his son.
These claims, referring as they do to a question raised and settled in
the life-time of those concerned, have not appeared to me to require any
notice in these pages. I have therefore left the whole passage in pp.
194-198 precisely as it was originally written, without the alteration
of a single word. It contains the exact account of the connexion which
existed between Mr. A. W. Pugin and my father, and which, I repeat, so
far as Sir Charles Barry’s knowledge and feeling were concerned, was
never broken by any dispute or estrangement, from the day when Mr. Pugin
(then a young man of 23) was first employed on the drawings of the New
Palace, until the day of his death in 1852.

A. B.

_October 22nd, 1867._





Object of the work--Birth of Charles Barry--His childhood,
schooldays, and apprenticeship--His early efforts and amusements--His
self-education and its effects on his character--His determination to
travel--His matrimonial engagement                               Page  1




I. FRANCE AND ITALY.--General effects of travel--Study of classical
architecture--Observation of natural scenery--Universality and
accuracy of examination. II. GREECE AND CONSTANTINOPLE.--Growth of
artistic power--Impressions of Athens and Constantinople--Contrast
of the Turkish and Greek characters. III. EGYPT AND THE EAST.--Great
effect of Egyptian architecture upon him--Mehemet Ali’s
government--Dendera, Esneh, Edfou, Philæ, Abousimbel, Thebes--Return
to Cairo--Palestine--Jerash--Baalbec--Damascus--Palmyra. IV. SICILY
AND ITALY.--Syracuse, Messina, Agrigentum, and Palermo--Return
to Rome--Meeting with Mr. J. L. Wolfe--Systematic architectural
study--Effects of Egyptian impressions--Italian palaces at Rome,
Florence, Vicenza, and Venice--Italian churches--St. Peter’s, the
Pantheon, the cathedrals at Florence and Milan--The bridge of La Santa
Trinita at Florence--The growth of his architectural principles--Return
to England                                                            15




Early difficulties and failures--Thought of emigration--Non-publication
of his sketches--Holland House--Revival of Gothic--His Manchester
churches, and their peculiarities--Marriage--Church at Oldham--Alarm
at Prestwich Church--Designs for King’s College, Cambridge--Royal
Institution at Manchester--Gradual relinquishment of Greek
architecture--St. Peter’s Church, Brighton--Sussex County
Hospital--Petworth Church--Queen’s Park, Brighton, his first Italian
design--Islington churches--His relations to church architecture
generally--Removal to Foley Place--Subsidiary work--Travellers’
Club--General character of his life at this period                    64



Plan of the Chapter. (A.) ORIGINAL BUILDINGS--Varieties of his
Italian style--First manner--Reform Club--Manchester Athenæum--New
wing at Trentham--Second manner--Bridgewater House--Third
manner--Halifax Town Hall. (B.) CONVERSIONS AND ALTERATIONS--College of
Surgeons--Walton House--Highclere House--Board of Trade--Architectural
gardening--Trentham Hall--Duncombe Park--Harewood House--Shrubland
Park--Cliefden House--Laying out of Trafalgar Square. (C.) DESIGNS
CARRIED OUT BY OTHERS--Keyham Factory--Ambassador’s Palace at
Constantinople--General remarks on his Italian architecture           89



Progress of the Gothic revival--Birmingham Grammar School--First
acquaintance with Mr. Pugin and Mr. Thomas--Alterations at Dulwich
College--Unitarian chapel at Manchester--Additions to University
College, Oxford--Hurstpierpoint Church--Canford Manor--Gawthorpe
Hall--Designs for Dunrobin Castle                                    128



Plan of the Chapter. Section I. HISTORY OF THE COMPETITION--Burning
of the old Houses of Parliament--Opening of the Competition for
the New Building--Award of the Commissioners--Approved by the
Select Committee of the Houses--Protest of the advocates of
Classical Architecture--Critical controversy--Personal attacks on
Mr. Barry--Meeting of unsuccessful Competitors--Presentation of
Petition by Mr. Hume--Opposition quashed by Sir Robert Peel--Protest
against it by Professor Donaldson and others. Section II. PROGRESS
OF THE BUILDING--Difficulties as to the Foundation--Commission of
Inquiry as to the Stone to be used--First Stone laid--Unavoidable
delays--Committee of the Peers--Generous support of Earl of
Lincoln--Committee of the Commons--Appointment of New Palace
Commissioners--Appointment of Dr. Reid--Difficulties arising therefrom,
and arbitration of Mr. Gwilt--The Great Clock--Competition and success
of Mr. Dent--Professor Airy and Mr. E. B. Denison referees--Mr.
Denison the chief Director--His tone and method of controversy--The
Great Bell and its disasters--The Fine Arts Commission--The
Architect’s exclusion from it--His scheme for the Decoration of the
Building--The scheme of the Commissioners--Its ideal excellence and
practical drawbacks--Connection with Mr. Pugin--Real nature of the aid
given by him--Mr. Thomas and the stone carving--Mr. Meeson and the
practical engineering--Other assistants in the work--Opening of the
House of Peers--Opening and alteration of the House of Commons--The
Architect knighted in 1852--The Great Tower hardly completed at
his death. Section III. THE REMUNERATION QUESTION--Its points of
public interest--General question of architectural percentage--Its
bearing on the particular work--Original attempt at a bargain by Lord
Bessborough--Accepted under protest--Re-opening of the question--First
Minute of the Treasury, and reply--Mr. White acts for Sir C.
Barry--Second Minute of the Treasury--Counter statement--Third Minute
of the Treasury--Submitted to by Sir C. Barry--Protest of the Royal
Institute of British Architects, and reply--Practice of the Government
after Sir C. Barry’s death--General reference to the question of
expenditure--Summing up of the chief points of the controversy       143



I. HISTORY OF THE GROWTH OF THE DESIGN.--Influence of external
circumstances on the design--Lowness and irregularity of
site--Limitation of choice to Elizabethan and Gothic styles--Choice
of Perpendicular style--Original conception of the Plan--Question
of restoration of St. Stephen’s Chapel--Use of Westminster Hall as
the grand Entrance to the building--Simplicity of plan--Principle
of symmetry and regularity dominant--Enlargement of Plan after
its adoption--Conception of St. Stephen’s porch--The Central
Hall--The Royal entrance and Royal Gallery--The House of Lords,
its construction and decoration--The House of Commons, and its
alteration--Great difficulty of the acoustic problem--Enlargement of
public requirements--Alterations of design in the River Front--The
Land Fronts--The Victoria Tower--The Clock Tower--General inclination
to increase the upward tendency of the design, and the amount of
dimensions--Its main lines of approach; the public approach--The
Royal approach--The private approaches of Peers and Commons--General
character of the plan--The external fronts--The towers--Criticisms on
the building by independent authorities                              236



Large number of designs not executed--Views of Metropolitan
Improvement--Reasons for notice of such designs--Clumber Park--New
Law Courts--National Gallery--Horse Guards--British Museum--General
scheme laid before the late Prince Consort--Design for new Royal
Academy--Crystal Palace--Alterations of Piccadilly and the Green
Park--Prolongation of Pall Mall into the Green Park--Westminster
Bridge--Extension of the New Palace at Westminster round New
description--General remarks thereon                                 266



Public action--His natural dislike of publicity--His characteristics
as a Commissioner--Royal Academy--Scheme for Architectural
Education--Royal Institute of British Architects--Scientific
Societies--Royal Commission of 1851--Exposition Universelle of
1855--Professional arbitrations at Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Leeds--St.
Paul’s Cathedral Committee                                           302



Leading events of his life--General habits of work--Domesticity
and privacy of life--Acquaintances and friendships--Distaste of
publicity--Leading features of character--Personal appearance--Failure
of health--Death--Funeral in Westminster Abbey--Erection of Memorial
Statue--Conclusion                                                   323


(A.) List of Architectural Designs                                   355

(B.) Letter to his Royal Highness the Prince Consort as to the South
Kensington Scheme                                                    358

(C.) Papers on the Remuneration Controversy                          369

(D.) List of Subscribers to the Memorial Statue                      405

(Corrections made by etext transcriber.)

     Page 109, line 23, _for_ “Berkshire” _read_ “Hampshire.”

     Page 147, line 12, _for_ “November” _read_ “December.”

     Pages 195, 196, transpose paragraphs beginning “As soon as,” &c.,
     and “The first aid,” &c.

     Page 259, line 32, _for_ “twenty-five” _read_ “twenty-nine,” and
     _for_ “thirty” _read_ “forty-three.”


PORTRAIT OF SIR CHARLES BARRY                              _Frontispiece._


1. Plan of Travellers’ Club                                           82

2. View of Travellers’ Club                                           82

3. Plan of Reform Club                                                93

4. View of Reform Club                                                95

5. Plan of Bridgewater House                                          97

6. View of Bridgewater House                                          98

7. View of Halifax Town Hall                                         103

8. College of Surgeons (as altered)                                  106

9. Plan of Walton House                                              109

10. Highclere House before alteration                                110

11. Highclere House after alteration                                 110

12. Board of Trade before alteration                                 111

13. Board of Trade after alteration                                  112

14. Plan of Trentham Hall                                            113

15. View of Trentham Hall                                            114

16, 17. Views of Shrubland Park and Gardens                          119

18. Plan of Cliefden House                                           121

19. View of Cliefden House                                           121

20. View of Birmingham Grammar School                                130

21. Plan of Birmingham Grammar School                                131

22. Plan of Canford Manor                                            137

23. View of Canford Manor                                            137

24. View of Gawthorpe Hall                                           139

25. Plan of New Palace of Westminster                                238

26. General View of River Front                                      251

27. View of Victoria Tower                                           254

28, 29, 30. Plans of Clumber House                                   269

31, 32. Views of Clumber House (as existing, and as proposed)        270

33. View of Crystal Palace (as existing)                             284

34. View of Crystal Palace (as proposed)                             284

35. Plan of Pall Mall Continuation (as proposed)                     286

36. Plan of proposed Extension of New Palace at Westminster, to enclose
New Palace Yard                                                      292

37. View of the same from Great George Street                        292

38. Lithographed Plan of proposed Westminster
      Improvements (_in pocket_)                           _see_ 294-299

39. Facsimile of drawing of the same (_in pocket_)         _see_ 294-299







     Object of the work--Birth of Charles Barry--His childhood,
     schooldays, and apprenticeship--His early efforts and
     amusements--His self-education and its effects on his
     character--His determination to travel--His matrimonial engagement.

In the compilation of this memoir of my late father I have endeavoured
to keep two objects in view. It is desired, on the one hand, to preserve
for his family and his many personal friends some record of his private
life and character. It is thought, on the other, that there will be some
public value and interest in a notice of his opinions, designs, and
works, and a general record of his professional career.

Even to the public at large it is conceived that his life, though it
presents but little variety of incident, may yet be worth telling. He
started with no advantages of birth, and with an imperfect education;
he was supported by no influential connection or school of art, and was
aided by no patronage except that which his own merit commanded. He won
for himself a place among the foremost architects of Europe, not more by
his talents than by a life-long devotion to his art, and an
extraordinary power of work. Having earned this high position, he paid
its usual penalty in the many difficulties and misrepresentations, which
are inevitable to a professional career, and which, though they may be
stoutly met, tend, far more than any mere work, to wear out the energies
and shorten the life. The interest of biography seems to lie, not so
much in variety of event, as in its illustration of human character, and
the ordinary conditions of human life. It is hoped that this interest
may not be altogether wanting in the following pages.

By his professional brethren it will probably be thought, that the
history of so many public and private works, and of the questions raised
and decided in connection with them, may bear on some points important
to the profession at large, and that the grounds and the nature of the
architectural principles, which he maintained, may excite interest, even
where they do not secure agreement. It is not unlikely that the record
of such a life as his may throw some light on the remarkable progress
and diffusion of artistic taste, which appear to mark our own time,
transforming the whole aspect of our country, and not indirectly
affecting our national character. Since he entered on his career the
forms of Art have changed, and its principles have been developed or
modified. With some of these changes he strongly sympathized; others he
strenuously resisted. But, in either case, the record of a life of
ceaseless architectural activity, and of a mind keenly alive to artistic
influences--readily impressible, and bound to no special school--must
tend to illustrate the movements which have taken place, and are taking
place still, in his own special province of Art.

It is for these reasons that the following memoir has been undertaken.
In performing such a duty, it would be useless and unbecoming in a son
to affect a position of independent criticism, or to claim credit for a
strict impartiality. It can only be expected that he should record his
father’s career as it was seen from his own point of view, and sketch
his character as it appeared to those who loved him best. It can only be
required that he observe strict truthfulness and accuracy as to facts,
and due consideration for the feelings of others. If these limitations
be observed (and I trust that in the following pages they will be
observed most sacredly), experience has shown that such a record is
likely to contain at least a large and essential portion of the whole
truth. There will be subjects indeed on which it can only give the
materials for judgment; for, where criticism is precluded, eulogium is
at least equally out of place. But such correction and completion as it
requires may be safely left to the impartial judgment of its readers.

In most cases its influence on the reputation of its subject is but a
secondary one. The true and lasting reputation of a man will depend very
little on any other memorial than the work which he has done, and the
influence which he has exerted in his life-time; and on the results
which he has thus left behind for the use and the verdict of posterity.

       *       *       *       *       *

CHARLES BARRY, the fourth son of Walter Edward and Frances Barry, was
born in Bridge Street, Westminster, on the 23rd of May, 1795, in a house
which (until last year) lay under the shadow of the Clock Tower of the
New Palace at Westminster.

His father was a stationer of great respectability and some wealth,[2]
as is seen by the fact that he supplied, in the course of his business,
the materials used at the Government Stationery Office. His mother died
in 1798, when he was a little more than three years old; but her place
was supplied (so far as a mother’s place can be) by the care and
affection of his stepmother, Sarah, to whom his father was married
shortly after, and to whom, at his death in 1805, he left the care of
his children, and of the business which was to support them. Most
thoroughly did she fulfil the charge, and reap her due reward of respect
and gratitude. Of the whole family he alone, even from his childhood,
manifested artistic taste and capacity, and chose for himself, in spite
of all difficulties, a new path in life. These difficulties were then
far greater than they would be now, in a less stationary condition of
society, with greater facilities for change and travel, and greater
opportunities of artistic and general education. There was little in his
home life to foster any high aspirations, although perhaps its
wholesome atmosphere of honesty and regularity, of steady industry and
“habits of business,” supplied a corrective influence much needed by an
enthusiastic and artistic temperament.

He had little advantage of education. He went with his brothers to
various private schools, such as schools then were. The first seems to
have been a mere preparatory school; of the second, the only account
preserved is that the “master paid little attention to it, being very
dissolute, and absenting himself for weeks together;” and the last
school, though perhaps rather better than the rest, was apparently one
of those which attempted only mechanical teaching and severe discipline.
Education, in the highest sense of the word, seems hardly to have been
dreamt of. He carried away from it little except a superficial knowledge
of English, a good proficiency in arithmetic, and a remarkably beautiful

The account of his early days speaks of him as merely a warm-hearted and
spirited boy, handsome and engaging in appearance, not very studious,
full of fun, and by no means averse to mischief. His only remarkable
talent was his taste for drawing; in this he was taught by a most
incompetent man, and his best practice was in caricatures, especially of
his drawing-master. The imperfection of his early training he always
felt and regretted, in spite of his zealous efforts to supply its
deficiencies. For, not to speak of the external difficulties which it
threw in his way, it is obvious enough that his impulsive disposition,
quick observation, and susceptible mind, especially needed the bracing
and strengthening influence of a good education.

On leaving school, at the age of fifteen, he was articled to Messrs.
Middleton and Bailey, architects and surveyors, of Paradise Row,
Lambeth. With them he remained six years. Both took a strong and
affectionate interest in him, and from them he received all the
professional training which he ever enjoyed. Their business was mainly
that of surveying; he could have learnt little with them of the artistic
element of architecture. But his time was not wasted; for he studied
accurately and industriously the “business” of his profession. Lists of
prices, calculations of dimensions, methods of measuring and valuation,
crowd his note-book, side by side with studies from Chambers’
Architecture, and sketches of such details and ornaments as struck his
own fancy. In the later part of his time much responsibility was thrown
upon him, and responsibility he never refused. The fruit was seen in
after life in his excellent habits of business, and his ability to
prepare his own working drawings, make out his own specifications and
estimates, and form a sound judgment of materials and work. This
knowledge stood him in good stead; he never failed to impress its
importance on young architects; and, though he would not for a moment
have allowed it to take equal rank with artistic power, he regarded the
frequent neglect of it, and the increasing tendency to separate it from
the higher province of art, as a serious evil, both in theory and in

But he could not be satisfied with this semi-mechanical work. His name
appears regularly in 1812, 1813, 1814, and 1815 in the architectural
part of the catalogue of the Royal Academy. His first drawing, there
exhibited when he was seventeen years old, still remains. It was a
drawing of the interior of Westminster Hall, the building which (as has
been well said) “was in after-days to give the key-note to his greatest
work.” His other designs “For a Church,” “A Museum and Library,” “A
Nobleman’s Mansion,” &c., have all perished. They had served their
purpose, and were no doubt destroyed by himself, for he was always
ruthless both in his criticism and his treatment of his early designs.

At an earlier age (about fifteen or sixteen) his artistic taste had
found a much more curious development. There was much of the boy in him
still (as indeed there was in all his after-life), and he did not
disdain boyish fancies and amusements. Accordingly he resolved to
transform his small attic bedroom into a “hermitage,"--“a rocky
interior,” “with openings looking out on a sunny landscape.” The
mechanical work and the painting he did entirely himself, working at it
in all his spare time with constant delight; and when it was done, he
kept up its character by using it as a painting-room, and drawing
constantly figures of all kinds on a large scale on its walls. His
family noticed all this with some wonder and amusement; he himself,
though he used to laugh at it in after-life, remembered it with a kind
of pleasure. These details may seem trivial, but they were certainly
characteristic. The work must have given boldness to his hand (as
scene-painting has done to some of our great painters); it may not
improbably have helped to kindle and foster his imagination, and at the
same time to satisfy that delight in alteration and contrivance which
always was conspicuous in him.

In every respect his home was a simple and a happy one. If it did not
stimulate artistic tastes, it certainly allowed them perfect freedom,
and gave them the support of admiration and sympathy. His character, in
spite of his fondness for change and amusement, was always strongly
domestic. In his work, and the society of his mother (for so he always
esteemed her) and his brothers, he found all the interest he cared for.
Such are the records of his early days. They are scanty enough; but they
are corroborated by the recollections of his later life, for his was a
character that changed but little.

It is evident from these that he was in every sense of the word a
self-educated man, and the recognition of this fact is most important,
for the true appreciation of his character, and a right understanding of
his career.

Even in general education this was strikingly the case. He carried away
very little from school. His very journals show that he had to acquire
for himself not only a knowledge of French and Italian (which he
mastered sufficiently for all practical purposes), but even correctness
and fluency of English. They show, during his foreign journey, almost as
great progress in style as in thought--a progress gained, as usual with
him, not so much by systematic study as by a certain “readiness of mind”
and an unwearied practice. Mathematics and theoretical mechanics he had
studied but little, and in fact he had little taste for such study.
Their practical conclusions, as bearing on his own profession, he knew
familiarly enough; and his mind was not only quick in its deductions
from them, and bold even to the verge of rashness, but singularly
fertile in all kinds of mechanical contrivance. But of systematic study
of theory he was impatient. He could often, though at some risk,
supersede it for himself by a kind of intuition, and he perhaps never
estimated it at its true value.

But much more was this the case in all that regarded his own profession.
No powerful mind had by its contact fired and influenced his; no deep
course of study had imbued him with profound and systematic principles.
He had gained “business” experience and practical knowledge; his strong
natural tastes and powers had been cordially and kindly recognised, but
in all that concerns the higher element of his profession he was left
alone to find his way by his own observations and inductions to the
first principles of Art. His natural character--vigorous, impulsive, and
energetic--was allowed to grow by its own power, and to choose for
itself both the method and the direction of growth.

The chief consequence was, as usual, an intense and absorbing devotion
to the art which he had chosen as his work in life. He found it
difficult to take any deep interest in anything else. In the political
and social questions of the day he would often adopt the opinions of
others. All his originality and his thought were already pre-occupied.
In the service of architecture he held everything cheap; time, labour,
and health were sacrificed as a matter of course; and keenly sensitive
as he was to blame, yet he would defy the opinion of the world in search
of what he deemed perfection.

His art was scarcely at any time absent from his mind, even in times of
social relaxation or of more serious employment. He could hardly enter a
room without seeing capabilities in it, and longing to develope them.
But when an important design was in progress, it seemed to take entire
possession of his mind. It was his custom to work it out almost wholly
for himself, in its scientific and financial as well as its artistic
bearings. His extraordinary rapidity of execution and untiring industry
enabled him to keep up this custom to a great extent, even in his
busiest times. In fact, when a design was once conceived--when it had
once taken possession of his imagination--hard work at it was a relief.
The idea of it would occur to him at his first waking, and he could not
but rise, however early the hour, and set to work. Adverse criticism at
such a time was rejected or disregarded, but a few days later it would
be found to have sunk into his mind unconsciously; then it would be
rapidly seized upon as if original, and its results, often greatly
modified and reconstructed, would be produced in the most perfect good
faith as new, perhaps to the very person who had first made the
criticism. Difficulties were forgotten or defied in the attempt to
perfect the idea conceived; drawings of the more important parts of the
work altered scores of times until his fastidious taste was satisfied.
He could not conceive the idea of resting contented with what was
acknowledged to be defective, and he held that the word “impossible” was
to be erased from his dictionary. In this absorbing devotion to his art
lay the cause of infinite labour, many troubles, and much
misapprehension, but in it lay, as usual, the secret of success.

Another effect of this early freedom and self-direction was a vigorous
growth of self-reliance and originality. It perhaps entailed some want
of philosophic symmetry and largeness of view, especially at a time when
there was comparatively little study of great principles of art as based
on substantial reason. Grounds of criticism were then sought by the
generality in conventional rules, and by the more active minds in
arbitrary conceptions of “taste,” till society was divided into the
connoisseurs, who were to pronounce their arbitrary judgment, and the
“ignobile vulgus,” who were obediently and ignorantly to accept their
conclusions. Yet it gave him the power of progress, and it kept him also
free from any tendency to bigotry and copyism. There is indeed the
highest kind of originality, which combines philosophic knowledge and
study with the power of a true development. But in practice, especially
in the domain of art, the most important steps of progress are probably
due to men of a happy intuition and an unscientific audacity, and such
men are usually men who have guided and educated themselves.

He himself was avowedly and on principle an eclectic. He could not help
recognising the excellences of various schools: but he knew too much to
be satisfied with any single one, as if it were all-comprehensive, and
to conclude accordingly that to it alone praise and devotion are due.
His principles of design and construction had been worked out for
himself, the fruit of many crude conceptions in theory and many trials
in practice. For that very reason they became so deeply rooted in his
mind, that, when he attempted to change his course, he found himself
insensibly returning to them. His early study of Greek architecture did
not prevent his appreciation of Italian and Gothic; and so he stood
apart from the exclusive devotion to one or other style which now seems
to divide the architectural profession. Such a position is a difficult
and dangerous one, in art, as well as in politics or theology, but those
who occupy it supply the chief resisting influence to stagnation, and
open some of the chief avenues of progress. In his case it was all but
inevitable; his natural character, and his early freedom from the
trammels of any school of art, forbade his taking any other course. For
even in his early days those characteristics were fixed which determined
his after career.

With these capabilities, and with a fixed and hopeful resolution to cut
out a path for himself, he passed through his time of pupilage, and
attained his majority in 1816. He now began to act for himself, and he
at once conceived, or perhaps after long consideration declared openly,
a determination on which much of his future success depended. He was
naturally formed to make his way in the world. To the mental qualities
already enumerated he added the advantages of a handsome person, great
fascination of manner, high spirits, and a sanguine temperament, which
was well calculated to inspire confidence and win affection. He believed
that he had the elements of success in him, and that he only needed
freedom of scope and a more extended sphere than he could obtain at
home. The result verified his belief. Perhaps the prophecy fulfilled

By his father’s will, he and each of his brothers had inherited a
certain sum of money, and the remainder of this inheritance, diminished
by the expense of his education and his articles, now came into his
hands. The sum was not a large one, and it was his all, for he had
little expectations of assistance from without in entering on the risks
of a professional career. He resolved to devote the whole, or the
greater part of it, to an architectural tour.

The Continent was just opened by the peace of 1815. All English society
was awaking from the torpor and isolation of the great European war.
Architecture was receiving a fresh stimulus by the cessation of external
difficulties, and fresh principles and models from abroad were breaking
in upon its stereotyped forms. He naturally felt, with all the
impressibility of his character, the influence of this universal
movement; and at the same time, from deliberate consideration, he saw
that his only chance of developing the power and satisfying the desires
of which he was conscious, his only chance of gaining a thorough grasp
of his art, and taking a high stand in his profession, lay in foreign
travel. His mind wanted objects which the narrow and prosaic character
of his home life could not supply. It wanted the intercourse of a
society from which conventional barriers shut it out in England; it
wanted scope for activity, and models by which its activity might be
guided. Without foreign travel he might have had the certainty of a
respectable position and sufficient emoluments in his profession; with
it he took the risk of delay and difficulty, and the chance of a noble

The choice was not likely to cause him much hesitation. He decided at
once, and kept to his decision firmly, in spite of the natural
remonstrances of his family, who felt the risk, but did not understand
the necessity. Travel was then comparatively rare, and thought by many
to be needless. It seemed madness to risk on it so much of his slender
resources. His stepmother alone was led by her own strong good sense,
and by her unlimited confidence in him, to give him her decided support.
At last his plans were fixed, and his journey, the length of which he
did not anticipate, or at any rate did not disclose, was determined

Before he left England he was engaged to Miss Sarah Rowsell. Her father,
Mr. Samuel Rowsell, was employed in the same line of business which his
own father had followed. After about a year’s acquaintance, the
engagement was made on the eve of his departure; and with this fresh tie
to home, and fresh incentive to exertion, he left England in June,




     I. FRANCE AND ITALY.--General effects of travel--Study of classical
     architecture--Observation of natural scenery--Universality and
     accuracy of examination. II. GREECE AND CONSTANTINOPLE.--Growth of
     artistic power--Impressions of Athens and Constantinople--Contrast
     of the Turkish and Greek characters. III. EGYPT AND THE
     EAST.--Great effect of Egyptian architecture upon him--Mehemet
     Ali’s government--Dendera, Esneh, Edfou, Philæ, Abousimbel,
     Thebes--Return to
     Cairo--Palestine--Jerash--Baalbec--Damascus--Palmyra. IV. SICILY
     AND ITALY.--Syracuse, Messina, Agrigentum, and Palermo--Return to
     Rome--Meeting with Mr. J. L. Wolfe--Systematic architectural
     study--Effects of Egyptian impressions--Italian palaces at Rome,
     Florence, Vicenza, and Venice--Italian churches--St. Peter’s, the
     Pantheon, the cathedrals at Florence and Milan--The Bridge of La
     Santa Trinita at Florence--The growth of his architectural
     principles--Return to England.

On June 28th, 1817, Mr. Barry left England, and remained abroad for more
than three years. During that time he travelled, first, chiefly alone,
in France and Italy; next with Mr. (afterwards Sir C.) Eastlake, and
Messrs. Kinnaird and Johnson, in Greece and Turkey; thirdly, with Mr. D.
Baillie, Mr. Godfrey, and Mr. (afterwards Sir T.) Wyse, in Egypt,
Palestine, and Syria; and lastly, chiefly in company with Mr. J. L.
Wolfe, in Sicily and Italy, returning alone through France in August,

His travels had, at the time, a considerable interest of their own: few
had gone so far as the second cataracts of the Nile; still fewer had
added to their Egyptian experiences so great an extent of Eastern and
Western travels. Accordingly, on his return to Rome, he was one of the
lions of the season, and his portfolio of sketches excited unbounded
interest, as much by their novelty as by their intrinsic excellence. All
this is, of course, greatly changed; scenes then little known have
become almost hackneyed; what were then difficult and even hazardous
journeys, are now pleasant summer excursions. The intrinsic interest of
any narrative of his travels (such as might easily be drawn from his
copious journals) is therefore to a great extent lost. But the
importance of their effect on his own mind can hardly be exaggerated,
and it is to this, therefore, that attention must here be drawn.

In the first period of his travels, the point most deserving notice is
the exciting and enlarging effect of novelty and beauty on a mind, which
had hitherto been cooped up within narrow limits, and had lacked its own
congenial food. The change was infinite, after the narrowness of home
experience, and the depression of all artistic and scientific energy in
England by the long war. It seemed to be the entrance on a new life, one
day of which (to use his own constant expression) was “worth a year at
home.” His frank and buoyant spirit, his love of adventure, and
good-humoured determination in all his purposes, answered readily to its

There is little at first in his journals of a strictly professional
character; the architect is merged in the artist; and even the artistic
element has by no means an exclusive dominion; observations of all kinds
throng his journals, as impressions of all kinds evidently crowded on
his mind. The external aspect of the country, both as to its scenery and
its life, social peculiarities, and differences from English customs,[3]
political feelings and tendencies, aspects of individual life and
character--all claim their place, side by side with the records of
sketches taken and buildings criticized.

Such a process, as it was the most natural, was also probably the most
beneficial, if travel was really to enlarge his mind and to educate his
whole nature. The work of life would soon narrow, and so deepen, the
stream of thought and observation; and, indeed, at all times, he
possessed the power of subordinating all his various interests and
enjoyments to his one important business. He always liked the greater
freedom of foreign life and foreign society, as compared with the
conventions and formality which, then especially, clung to the social
system of England. But Paris and Rome, with all their various
enchantments fully appreciated and enjoyed, never drew him away from the
hard work which was the real object of his travels.

At first, of course, all study was devoted to classical architecture
alone. It is curiously characteristic of the time, that at Rouen, while
he thought it worth while to sketch and criticize a small Corinthian
church, all the glories of the cathedral and of St. Ouen are dismissed
in one line, as being “examples of a rich florid Gothic;” and at Paris,
the cathedral of Notre Dame and the Sainte Chapelle are noticed in the
same spirit, as having an antiquarian interest, and a certain irregular
beauty of their own; but not as deserving any high admiration or study.
Milan Cathedral is noted for its grandeur and richness, but with no
criticism as to its architectural details. All this gradually changed as
the revival of mediæval architecture began. On his return over the same
ground the contrast seen in his journals is remarkable; and Gothic,
though not studied or understood as it would be now, was regarded by him
with keen interest and deep respect.

Art of all kinds, not exclusively architectural, attracted him at once.
At Paris the Louvre occupied him for days together; and it was
characteristic of his taste (which always inclined to the real rather
than the ideal) that, on the one hand, he passed by at once as “showy
and unnatural” the then popular school of David and Gérard, and, on the
other, devoted more attention to the grand historical series of Rubens’
pictures, the Claudes, and the Dutch pictures (which reminded him of
Wilkie), than to those of a higher and more imaginative kind. At Rome
(thanks to the kindness of Canova, to whom he had letters of
introduction) he spent whole days in sketching among the antiquities,
the sculptures, and the paintings of the Vatican, and of other
galleries. In fact, at this time he often seemed to turn aside from
architecture to woo the sister arts, although afterwards his own art
gradually asserted an almost exclusive dominion, and he was accused,
with some truth, of looking at the others as merely her handmaids.

Travelling as he was in Italy, he could not fail to be impressed by the
artistic influences of painting, sculpture, architecture, and, above
all, of music, which the Church of Rome presses into the service of her
religious ceremonies. He first saw these displayed (and he could hardly
have seen them more gloriously) when he entered Milan Cathedral on the
feast of St. Carlo. He had fuller opportunities still, in his long
sojourn at Rome, of witnessing all the splendours of Christmas and
Easter. They could not but appeal to his artistic tastes, and especially
to his great love of music; but they seem never to have laid hold of his
mind. The sense of the artificiality and cumbrousness of ceremony spoilt
the effect to his taste; and neither the time nor his own disposition
was such as to appreciate any devotion, in which superstition might
appear to lurk, whether in the wayside chapels of Switzerland or under
the dome of St. Peter’s itself. He felt in it occasionally “something
awful and divine;” but his feeling was marred by the prevailing sense of
unreality. Even his friend Pugin’s enthusiasm in after days, though it
commanded respect, could win no real sympathy from him.

With regard to natural scenery, though his observation of it was always
keen, he delighted in what was rich and beautiful, rather than in the
highest forms of grandeur. The love of mountain scenery was not then a
fashion, which few, even in a Journal, would dare to disregard. His
admiration of it was blended with the notion of something strange and
almost grotesque in it. He speaks of it as exhibiting “the freaks and
outrageous effects of Nature” in its wilder features, and the beauties
of an Alpine pass seemed to him to present something “appalling,”
calculated to excite a kind of awe, too oppressive for genuine
admiration. He delighted more in the Apennines, rising in mountains of
equal height “like the waves of the sea,” and disclosing in their
lateral valleys scenes of quiet beauty and richness, or in the scenery
of the Saronic Gulf, with its bright colour and picturesque variety.
Colour, indeed, at this time, seems to have impressed him more than
form: sunsets, or moonlight effects, and the contrasts of white cities
with the verdure surrounding them, are constant themes of notice and
admiration. He cared for what was bright and beautiful more than for any
sombre and awful grandeur; and he was always master of his impressions
rather than overmastered by them.

His examination of buildings was always comprehensive, and his
criticisms, even from the first, audaciously defiant of all fashion and
authority.[4] In entering a town he always estimates its general effect
before proceeding to details; and his impressions seem often divided
between an artistic love of the picturesque and a determined
architectural preference for regularity. In proceeding to greater
particularity, no buildings came amiss to him. Besides the churches and
palaces, which have a prescriptive right to precedence, he seems to have
had a special taste for two most opposite specimens of architectural
effect. Cemeteries, on the one hand, always attracted his notice, both
as to their arrangement and their accompanying buildings, and in their
case he had a strong dislike of over-embellishment. The sombre solemnity
of a Turkish burial-ground was his ideal. The same taste which attached
brightness and cheerfulness in buildings that ministered to life,
inclined to solemnity and sadness in all that suggested the idea of
death. On the other hand, theatres greatly interested him at all times,
from the Scala at Milan to the little theatres of Italian country towns.
He thought that they gave a grand opportunity for architectural effect,
which was generally frittered away. And his note-books abound in plans
and criticisms of existing buildings, and ideas as to their best
theoretical construction. It was curious enough that a theatre was
almost the only kind of public building which it never fell to his lot
to execute.

Perhaps the one point especially to be noticed in all his examinations
of buildings is the extreme care for accuracy which distinguishes them;
measurements are always given, plans generally accompany the
descriptions in his journals; he would take any trouble to obtain
measurements and details, even if it risked his neck, or threw him into
the hands of the police.[5] What was vague seemed to him worthless, and
difficulties rather excited than daunted him.[6]

In this way the first nine months of his travels passed over--a good
preparation, but only a preparation, for professional study. It became a
question whether he should return home, or visit Greece in the congenial
company of Mr. (afterwards Sir C.) Eastlake, already distinguished as an
artist; Mr. Kinnaird, an architect, afterwards editor of the last volume
of Stuart’s ‘Athens;’ and Mr. Johnson, afterwards a Professor at
Haileybury College. Home ties and considerations of economy drew him
back; he consulted his friends at home, and especially his future
father-in-law, Mr. Rowsell, and by his sensible advice he determined to
disregard difficulties, and give full scope to his tastes and powers. It
was a wise resolution; he had left England inexperienced and unknown; he
was now recognised as an artist of talent and promise, and was to travel
with men of acknowledged ability, generally his superiors in education
and knowledge both of books and men. His journals show clearly the
effect of his past experience in greater maturity of judgment, greater
taste for antiquity, and general growth of mind.

Athens and Constantinople were their two main objects. The season was
rather advanced, so they hurried on, paying but a hasty visit to
Naples[7] and Pompeii, then across Calabria to Bari, while he made the
most of his time by sketching incessantly under a great umbrella, and
managing to give careful descriptions and rough plans of all that he
visited. Thence they crossed to Corfu;[8] and there first the richness
and picturesque beauty of the island seem to have captivated him, and
stirred up anew the artistic power within. His pencil was never out of
his hand, but it was employed almost entirely on the beauties of nature,
and his delight in the scenery itself evidently increased with his power
of representing it.

This was even more strikingly the case in a visit to Parnassus and
Delphi, where they spent some ten days in the hut of a poor cottager,
and were richly compensated for their disappointment at finding no
traces of the old temple, and no remains worthy of notice, by the
extraordinary beauty of the country, and the opportunity which it gave
them for countless sketches. They even offered a reward from the minaret
of the village for one of the great vultures of the mountain, and
obtained, for sketching purposes, a magnificent bird, measuring nine
feet from tip to tip of his wings. “I drank,” he says, “deeply of the
Castalian spring, but did not find my poetic faculty improved thereby.”
Yet the _genius loci_ did not fail him entirely. It was here more
especially that a change and growth of artistic power in him struck his
fellow-travellers.[9] Before he left Rome, his drawings had been only
careful and elaborate; now there began to show itself in them that
indescribable power of insight and imagination, which distinguishes the
true artist from the mere draughtsman. Conventionalities were shaken
off, and nature represented as it was; laboured and ineffective drawing
gave place to a bold and masterly grasp of the leading lines, and the
general effect of the scene represented; and his journals show an
ever-increasing admiration for natural and artificial beauty, and an
absorbing delight in the task of representing it. The progress, once
begun, never ceased. Every day witnessed a progress in his power, till
his sketches in Egypt showed those powers in full maturity, and
astonished those who had known him only in Italy and in Greece.

At Athens they stayed about a month, in despite of some danger of plague
which hung over the city. Here unfortunately his journals fail us for a
time, and there is no means of supplying the deficiency. It is easy to
imagine his intense delight in seeing the buildings which he had so long
considered not only as the masterpieces of Greek art, but as the highest
forms in which the architectural idea of beauty had clothed itself. We
know, what might easily have been conceived, that his admiration did
not evaporate in mere enthusiasm, but gave rise to careful study and
thoughtful criticism; and that such study, while it deepened his
original admiration, yet led him to feel that changes of circumstances,
needs, and conceptions might well limit that imitation of Greek models,
which had hitherto exercised a despotic influence over modern
architecture. But beyond this, there is no memorial of what he perhaps
at that time felt to be the crowning pleasure of his architectural tour,
except some sketches, made always entirely on the spot, and remarkable
for uniting great accuracy and truthfulness of effect to free and
spirited drawing.

He left Athens on June 25th, 1818, with Mr. Johnson, and passed by
Ægina, and through the Cyclades, touching at Delos, to Smyrna, and
thence by land to Constantinople. The voyage was “one continued
delight;” full of architectural and antiquarian interest, and even
fuller of natural beauty, seen under cloudless skies and glorious

They were now having their first experience of countries under Turkish
rule, just at the beginning of Mahmoud’s reign, when lawlessness was at
its height, scarcely kept down by his bloody justice, or awed by the
suspicions of the coming revolution. It is not uninteresting to gather
from the journals the impressions made upon the travellers even then by
the Turkish and the Greek characters.

The Turks seemed essentially barbarians, not without some excellences
(which probably have been deteriorated in late years), such as
simplicity and sincerity of religious devotion, dignity, truthfulness,
and even generosity of character. They appeared to occupy rather than
inhabit the country, allowing its richest regions to fall into
desolation, and its commerce (except where the Greeks or English[10]
sustained it) to languish and decay. The relics of its former grandeur
were transformed for their own purposes, or watched over as antiquities
with a jealous and ignorant churlishness;[11] their general insolence
and violence were unbridled. At Constantinople Mr. Barry, by attempting
a panorama of the city from the Galata tower, grievously offended the
Turkish women, who, after abusing him with all their powers of
vituperative eloquence, called up the guard to dismiss him summarily,
and incited a mob of boys to pursue him with stones, and cries of
“Giaour” through the city. Such insults were common then, and had to be
borne patiently even by those under ambassadorial protection.

The Greeks, on the other hand, wherever, as at Iverli, Scio, and Patmos,
they managed to secure self-government by payment of tribute, appear to
have shown that activity and intellectual capacity which the modern
kingdom of Greece, with all its defects, has since exemplified. They had
schools and universities, in spite of the jealousy and ill-will of the
Turks, libraries ancient and modern, and even scientific instruments
from Paris. It was a matter of regret, but, after ages of slavery,
hardly a matter of surprise, that their honesty and truthfulness did not
keep pace with their intellectual progress. But there seemed then
grounds for hope of improvement in them, and none for their Turkish

Constantinople itself surpassed even his high-wrought expectations, as
seen, first from the Asiatic heights, and afterwards on approaching it
from the water. His journals are full of enthusiastic description; and
in after life he often spoke of it as “the most glorious view in the
world.” In spite of all difficulty he managed to see it thoroughly, both
as to its architecture, and as to its Turkish life: but again his pencil
was too busy to give much time for the use of his pen. Except to testify
his impression of the magnificence of St. Sophia, there is little record
or criticism of individual buildings. He spent a month of
never-forgotten interest and enjoyment in the city, and then prepared to
turn homewards, in August, 1818.

Once more an opportunity presented itself which could not be passed by.
Mr. David Baillie, whom he had met at Athens, was preparing for a
journey to the East; and, struck by the beauty of Mr. Barry’s sketches,
he offered to take him, at a salary of 200_l._ a year, and to pay all
his expenses, in consideration of retaining all the original sketches he
might make. The artist was to be allowed to make copies for himself. The
offer was too tempting to be refused,[12] for it gave him his only
opportunity of visiting Egypt and Syria, and of doing so with a man of
high cultivation and refinement, who treated him at all times with great
kindness and liberality. He hesitated but little; and set out on
September 12th, full of delight and expectation.

The third period of his travels was more important to him than all which
had gone before. “Egypt,” he remarked, “is a country which, so far as I
know, has never yet been explored by an English architect.” Besides the
members of the French Institute, only Captains Irby and Mangles, and
Belzoni, had gone before him. He felt keenly the novelty and
magnificence of the scene thus opened to him. The remains of Egyptian
architecture made a far deeper impression upon him than all Italy and
Greece combined; and from this time architectural study seems to have
assumed in his mind that predominant and almost exclusive influence
which it never lost. His journals are kept with far greater accuracy and
copiousness. Every great temple is described in outline and in detail,
with notes of its present condition, and of the traces of its former
greatness. His observation seemed to be stimulated, without being
overwhelmed, by the inexhaustible profusion and magnificence of the
Egyptian remains. He must certainly have thought of publishing to the
world the information he had so carefully collected on a field hitherto
little known, and engrafting on it the criticism and evolution of
principles, which in the whirl of ceaseless change and activity he had
no time to record in his journals. That intention bore no immediate
fruit; but the effects of the study sank deep in his own mind. It is
hardly too much to say that he entered Egypt merely under the influence
of vague artistic interest, and left it with the leading principles of
his architectural system fixed for ever.

They passed first through the Troad, and thence by Assos and Pergamus to
Smyrna, a brief journey, but one which was remarkable for the varied
associations of legendary, classical, Byzantine, and modern times, such
as perhaps no other part of the world can offer. Thence they sailed
(with Messrs. Godfrey and Wyse) to Alexandria.

The impression then made by Mehemet Ali’s government of Egypt was very
much the same which after experience has confirmed. It was a wonderful
contrast with Turkish lawlessness; the country was well ordered, and
perfectly open to Europeans; public works of all kinds were progressing;
commerce and agriculture were pushed on under the guidance of European
science, and with all the power of a despotic government. But there was
another side to the picture: the pasha urged on his work in utter
disregard of the rights, happiness, or lives of his subjects; “in fact,”
he was “the chief merchant in Egypt, and did not mind sacrificing all
other interests to his own.” The natural results among the people were
infinite distress, and a deep though impotent hatred of the Government,
solaced only by the common belief that the English (whose glory in Egypt
was still fresh) would soon seize and emancipate the country.

Cairo itself was a remarkable evidence of the state of Egypt. The busy
crowds of all nations which streamed through its streets, “from the
stately Turk to the half-naked and miserable Arab,” gave proof of a
vigour and activity very different from the listless and apathetic
aspect of most Turkish cities. In the city itself, though it seemed
peculiarly Oriental in its general sombreness of aspect, relieved by
“bursts of Saracenic magnificence,” yet buildings in European style, and
silk and cotton manufactures under European guidance, indicated the
quarter whence this vivifying influence came. There was no danger of
molestation in sketching here, for, though the city was full of
rejoicing and illuminations for Ibrahim Pasha’s victory over the
Wahabbees, the strong hand of the Government, which left its bloody
traces here and there visible in the streets, effectually checked the
spirit of turbulence. The whole country was full of life and energy and
progress, but its progress was maintained by force and purchased by

From this point the journals contained a careful and elaborate
description of the journey up the Nile. The first place noticed
especially is Siout (Lycopolis?), where they landed to obtain permission
from Ibrahim Pasha to visit Upper Egypt, and to examine the great
catacombs; of these Mr. Barry made a careful ground-plan, as well as a
sketch of the frontispiece. To the S.E. of the catacombs they saw “a
kind of amphitheatre formed by the mountains, the whole of which was
perforated for tombs, one range rising above another.” There was a
beautiful contrast between the “gloom of this city of the dead” and the
view from the height overlooking it, over the “rich plain of the Nile,
level as water, and in the highest cultivation, mostly covered with the
rising crops, now of a beautiful green, and laid out” (as of old) “with
geometrical exactness.”

From this point the ruins of temples began to show themselves, and on
November 29th they came in sight of the great temple of Dendera, lying
“on a low ridge of land all in shadow, with a pretty foreground of
palm-trees, and the Libyan mountains in the distance.” Full of
excitement they hurried on shore to see this first specimen of Egyptian
grandeur. “It astonished us,” he says, “by its unexpected magnitude, and
gave me a high idea of the skill and knowledge of the principles of
architecture displayed by the Egyptians. There is something so unique
and striking in its grand features, and such endless labour and
ingenuity in its ornaments and hieroglyphics, that it opens to me an
entirely new field. No object I have yet seen, not even the Parthenon
itself (the truest model of beauty and symmetry existing), has made so
forcible an impression upon me. The most striking feature of the
building is its vast portico, six columns in front and four in depth,
giving a depth of shadow and an air of majestic gravity such as I have
never before seen.”

As soon as the first impressions of the grandeur of the great temple had
passed away there followed, as usual, a most accurate examination of the
whole. The three temples are described with the greatest exactness,
every dimension, even of the details, being carefully recorded. All
stood before them in complete preservation, in spite of the 4000 years
which had passed over the scene. “Even the hieroglyphics and the most
delicate parts of the ornamentation were as sharp and vigorous as when
they were first executed.” All was studied _con amore_. He seems to have
been especially struck with the variety and beauty of the Egyptian
capitals, all of which he sketched and criticised, evidently seeking to
emancipate himself from the limits of the five orders, and longing for
greater variety and scope for imagination.

The impression made on him by the mixture of general grandeur of outline
and dimension with profuse richness of detail was never effaced. It
seems at this time to have kindled in his mind an intensity of devotion
to his art hitherto unknown, and to have stirred him up to extraordinary
labour and study. Temple after temple opened upon him till the view of
Philæ crowned the magnificence of the whole. Sketching for Mr. Baillie,
copying sketches, where possible, for himself, elaborately describing in
his journal what was then an almost unknown treasure-house of ruins, “in
comparison with which even those of Greece and Rome sink into
insignificance, although the Parthenon and the Pantheon still keep their
places as models of architectural excellence"--he drank in deeply the
influence of the scene, and seemed in three months to have lived through
whole years of study.

Esneh, their next halting-place, appeared then less striking than
Dendera; but his second visit corrected the impression, and led him to
think the great portico “the finest of all he had seen in Egypt,” half
concealed though it was by rubbish and by modern excrescences. Both at
Esneh and at Dendera he gives an elaborate description of the remarkable
zodiacs, which appeared to show a knowledge of the precession of the
equinoxes, and which were then little known except from the Memoirs of
the French Institute, a work of which he remarks elsewhere that he found
it “full of glaring and unpardonable errors.”

Edfou was then being excavated by M. Drouetti, sufficiently for
examination; the sculpture appeared to be of a high order, but the
general effect of the temple with the grand peristyle of columns
(enclosing an area of 146 ft. by 108 in front) unsatisfactory in spite
of its size, for want of due proportion and symmetry in its parts. On
the other side of the river they visited the ruins of the temples at
Eleithias, some half-excavated in the rock, and the famous tombs, which
had then recently been opened, and had given by their hieroglyphics and
painting a new glimpse of the life of the ancient Egyptians.

A few days now brought them to Assouan, whence they visited the islands
of Elephantina and Philæ. At the former the ancient Nilometer attracted
their attention, and was accurately measured and described. The latter
island, now, and at his return in January, was felt by him to be the
centre of attraction. He felt “it impossible to conceive anything more
magnificent than Philæ in the zenith of its prosperity; when all,
Egyptians and Ethiopians alike, venerated it as the burial-place of
Osiris, and lavished on it the treasures of ages.” He speaks of the long
ranges of columns as the characteristic features of the ruins, and as
producing even now an “enchanting effect,” and notices the traces of
painting in the great portico, as showing great taste in the harmonizing
of colours, and giving some idea of the brilliant effect which must have
been produced in the days of its splendour. Even then, when the island
was a mass of ruins, they lingered over it, carefully examining it at
every step; and when at last they left it, it was with deep regret, and
a feeling that only in leaving it could they fully appreciate its
grandeur. The natural beauty of the view of the first cataracts, far
superior in his opinion to that of the second cataracts, or to any point
of the Nile, claimed its due share in their delight, and it was
evidently the one spot in Egypt to which he most delighted to recur.

At Philæ they left their large vessel and proceeded in four small boats
up the river. The whole scenery was now changed: mountains bounded the
narrow strips of cultivated land on the banks of the river, and
occasionally approached close to the water’s edge; villages numerous,
but miserable enough, fringed the banks; and the finer barbarian race of
Nubia contrasted favourably with the abject and miserable Egyptians. The
ruins still showed themselves in almost uninterrupted series on either
side, interesting in themselves, but still more interesting as memorials
of the various civilisations which had passed over the country. Most
belonged to the earlier Egyptian days: but, combined with these, or
superimposed upon them, were the signs of the Greek and Roman dominion;
and these in their turn were remodelled or defaced by Christian hands.
Greek, Latin, and Coptic inscriptions were mingled with the
hieroglyphics; ancient deities were transformed into saints; and a rough
daub of the Madonna was often seen on the very plaster which covered the
symbols of old Egyptian idolatry.

They proceeded slowly, both in their ascent and return, and found
abundant occupation by the way. Above all others, the ruins of
Abousimbel claimed careful examination and accurate description. The
temples, as being entirely excavated from the rock, and having the
greater portion of their fronts occupied by colossal figures, were
entirely new to them, and produced as great an effect on their minds as
those of Dendera or Philæ. The entrance to the great temple, opened the
year before by Mr. Salt, was now again closed by sand and rubbish, and
had to be re-opened with much labour. The sculpture of the interior
struck them greatly as spirited, and free from the conventionality of
most of those which they had seen. The painting was in most places fresh
and bright, but the intense heat (98°) and moisture of the interior had
made the surface soft, and threatened rapid decay. He was even obliged
to sketch on a board, because the paper was so soft that the pencil
could not be used upon it, and to work with light almost insufficient
for accurate examination. He carried away a drawing of the exterior,
seen by a bright moonlight, and partly lit up by the fire of their Arab
crew, as a memorial of a place which made a permanent impression on his

A few days brought them to the second cataracts, where they stayed only
long enough to admire the picturesque aspect of the scenery, wilder,
though less beautiful, than that near Philæ; and then they returned
leisurely down the stream, stopping generally rather longer than on the

At Koum Ombos they now stayed to visit the great temple, with its many
traces of crocodile worship, and to examine some of the mummies there
found in abundance.

Thebes, which they had passed before, now detained them several days.
The ruins of Luxor and Karnac, by their overwhelming magnitude and
variety, seemed to throw all others into the shade; and at Medinet
Habou, the temples and the recently discovered Tombs of the Kings
possessed hardly inferior interest. Even Dendera, which had seemed so
marvellous at first, now held only a secondary place. In fact, the rich
abundance of architectural treasures presented to their eyes seems
almost to have outstripped all attempt at description, and to have left
neither time nor room for criticism.

Finally they arrived at Cairo on March 1st; thence duly ascended the
great pyramids of Ghizeh, and penetrated into their interior; and on
March 12th, 1819, Mr. Barry left Egypt. Little more than four months had
elapsed since he first entered Cairo; but the fruits of that short time
had been valuable beyond all description.

Their journey across the desert to Gaza, and thence to Jaffa and
Jerusalem, with excursions to Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, and the convent
of St. Saba, lay over a more beaten track, and produced far less effect
upon his mind. It could not fail to be full of interest, and gave
opportunity for numberless sketches;[13] they carried on their
examination with their usual vigour, visiting all the “Holy Places,”[14]
and, as they arrived at Easter, had abundant evidence of the feuds of
the Greeks and Latins, and witnessed the notorious miracle of the “Holy
Fire.” They carried away from the Latin Patriarch certificates of their
presence at the Easter ceremonies (which gave them a certain sacred
character as pilgrims), and rosaries, blessed at the Holy Sepulchre,
which were highly prized in Italy and France; but the journal adds, “I
wish I could say that my faith had been strengthened by a pilgrimage in
the Holy Land,” and goes on to express the predominant feeling of
disgust at the superstitions and impostures, which swarm on that sacred
ground, and mar its holy associations.

A visit to Jerash, in Arab costume and under Arab guidance, had in it
more of novelty. They found its remains situated in a well-wooded
valley, and embosomed in trees. The ruins were then carefully examined,
and some sketches made, but disputes between their Arab guards, and
strong symptoms of violence, hastened their departure. “The remains (all
of Roman origin) much resemble those of Antinoöpolis, and are probably
of the same age; there is too great a profusion of ornament and
feebleness of general design; but the effect of the great street, 740
yards in length, flanked by long colonnades of Roman, Ionic, and
Corinthian, crossed by triumphal arches, and terminating in a circus
surrounded by a peristyle of Ionic columns, must have been magnificent,
in spite of many faults of detail.”

Their journey northward, through the Lebanon country, to Beyrout, was
highly interesting, not only for the grandeur and beauty of the scenery,
but because it brought them in contact with the Maronites and Druses.
Among the Maronites they always found industry, especially silk-weaving
and the raising of silkworms, and considerable prosperity, wherever they
enjoyed a quasi-independence of Turkish rule. At Deh-el-Kams the Emir
(who was secretly a Christian) was full of interest in the West, a man
of taste[15] and energy, who, like other Orientals, worshipped the
memory of Sir S. Smith. The great Maronite convent of St. Anthony had a
printing-press at work, and was a centre of cultivation and industry.
They heard much of the Druses, and the jealous care with which they
guarded the secret of their religion, the Acchals, or stricter Druses,
living a recluse and ascetic life, the Jechaird Druses mingling with
all, and professing themselves indifferently Christian or Mohammedan.
Their relations were then peaceful; but the peace was jealous and
precarious, and the Turkish authority (as usual) seemed weak to protect,
and powerful only to oppress.

Baalbec, Damascus, and Palmyra, were their chief objects of attraction.
The situation of Baalbec, in the midst of its forest of walnut-trees,
delighted the eye of the artist, but accurate plans and descriptions of
the magnificent ruins (then but little known, and even now described
with much discrepancy of authorities), gave evidence of more elaborate
architectural study. The great encircling wall of the citadel, within
which the ruins stand, formed of huge blocks of stone, some as much as
30 feet long, 13 feet high, and 10 feet thick, the fragments of the
Greater Temple (of the Sun?), 270 feet by 165 feet, the extensive
remains of the Smaller Temple (of Jupiter?), and a third circular
Corinthian temple, with their decorations and masterly bas-reliefs, in
which the Roman eagle was conspicuous, gave them the idea of that union
of power with richness, which well deserves the title of

It was a curious transition from the silent grandeur of Baalbec to the
bustle and life of Damascus. The first view of the city struck them, as
it strikes all travellers, as one perfectly unique in its beauty,--“a
boundless plain, with surface and horizon level as the sea,” but covered
with masses of dark verdure, out of which the city of Damascus rises,
“bright as the whitest marble.” The city itself hardly corresponded
with this glorious appearance. The travellers were probably taken for
Turks, and so were able to see, without molestation, all the parts of
this city,--the very home of Turkish fanaticism; but with the exception
of a few of the larger buildings, which were full of Oriental
magnificence, there was little to justify the glowing descriptions of
former travellers. They quitted it without regret; for Palmyra lay
before them.

In this expedition they encountered their only noteworthy adventure. The
country was beset with the Bedouin Arabs, half obedient, half hostile to
the Turkish Government. Every city and village was in a “state of
siege;” and when the travellers arrived at the village of Kâl, they were
taken for Arabs, and received with a dropping fire of musketry, till the
presence of the Aga of Baalbec put an end to the mistake. However, they
arrived safely at Homs; and there their dangers began. By the help of
the Governor, who treated them most kindly and honourably, a negotiation
was made with two Bedouin Arabs, professing to be envoys from the chief
of the neighbouring tribe, for their safe conveyance to and from

They set out accordingly, eight in number, with an escort of twelve
Arabs, who soon began to play them false, and led them out of the way to
a large encampment of their tribe, where they were kept prisoners, and
assailed with all kinds of lies and threats to extort money. The Arabs,
of course, could not conceive the true object of their visit to Palmyra;
but settled at once that they must be seekers of hidden treasures, and
that Mr. Baillie’s eye-glass, which excited their greatest astonishment,
was the talisman, by which the treasures were to be revealed. The whole
party had, for some extraordinary reason not mentioned, come out
unarmed; there was not even a pistol among them; and they were therefore
wholly in the power of the Arabs. However, they stood firm with true
English coolness, till, after long negociation, they found proceeding
hopeless, and resolved to return with their escort to Homs.

This they did at full speed, starting about 4 p.m., and galloping over
the desert all night by starlight, the Arabs hurrying on in order to
leave them under the walls of Homs before daybreak, and so to escape the
vengeance of the Governor. About two hours before sunrise, they arrived
at Dehr Balbah, near Homs. Here the Arabs by their signal made the
dromedaries kneel down, and then tried, first to induce, and then to
force, the travellers to dismount. This they refused to do, and, unarmed
as they were, resisted for some minutes, wresting the spears and
matchlocks from the hands of the Arabs. One or two of the party were
slightly wounded, and the thrust of an Arab spear from behind at Mr.
Barry would have been serious, and perhaps fatal, had it not been turned
aside by the loose burnoose which he wore; as it was, it passed under
his arm, and merely grazed his hand. A short struggle proved that the
odds were too great, and so the Arabs gained their point, and galloped
off to the desert.

Next morning the travellers went on to Homs, having previously sent a
despatch to the Governor. On their way they met droves of camels and
Bedouin drivers, hastening with all speed to the desert, and cavalry of
the Turkish Governor in pursuit. Several Arabs were killed, and three
heads brought into Homs in triumph. The Governor behaved most
honourably; he felt the danger of provoking the Arabs (for, in fact, out
of this incident arose a petty war), but felt also that his own faith
had been pledged to the Englishmen, and that it must not be violated
with impunity. Some of the money still in his hands he insisted on
returning, and, though full of anxiety as to the consequences of the
affair, he dismissed them with all honour and courtesy. So ended the
only failure, and almost the only serious danger, of their journey.

At Tripoli (June 18th, 1819) Mr. Barry’s engagement with Mr. Baillie
terminated; and they parted with mutual regret. Nothing could have
exceeded the kindness and liberality of Mr. Baillie’s conduct. About 500
drawings, by far the best which have been preserved of Mr. Barry’s
sketches, remained with him, as evidence of the zeal and ability with
which the other part of the contract had been performed.

Mr. Barry returned alone, touching at Cyprus, and thence coasting along
Asia Minor. Rhodes naturally attracted his notice by the curious
contrast of its former and present aspects. The old church of St. John
(then a mosque), the Grand Master’s house still bearing traces of its
original character, the old escutcheons embedded in the walls, spoke of
the days of Christianity and Western civilization. The docks and trade
of the place, engrossed by Greeks and Europeans, and the insolence and
ignorance of the Turkish soldiery, gave a melancholy picture of the
present. At Boudroon (Halicarnassus) he managed, not without difficulty,
to see the famous marbles embedded in the walls. Yerunda brought back a
reminiscence of Egypt by a temple with an avenue of seated figures, 600
yards in length, “clearly Egyptian in origin, but only a feebly executed
copy of the original.” Patmos, at which they next touched, was entirely
Greek. The great convent near the “Cave of the Apocalypse” was the first
object of interest. A good library neglected, with curious MSS. very
carelessly kept, was its reproach; a flourishing Greek school its best
evidence of activity. Thence he made his way to Smyrna, passing the
ruins of Ephesus; and at last (August 16th, 1819) he bade farewell to
the East, and sailed (with Messrs. Godfrey and Wyse) to Malta and

A quarantine of twenty days at Malta left him only time for a hasty
examination of Valetta and its buildings, before passing on to Syracuse.
In Sicily he spent two months of great activity and enjoyment, studying
the superimposed strata of Greek, Roman, Saracenic, and Gothic
architecture, which give a visible epitome of the history of the island.

Syracuse attracted notice for the sake of the past rather than the
present. The very cathedral was formed out of the old temple of Athene;
the fountain of Arethusa, shorn of its glories, appeared only as “a
great pool, full of washerwomen;” the town itself, shrunk to the little
island of Ortygia, was but a symbol of the wretched and degraded state
in which the island then was.[17] The two harbours (“the smaller paved
with marble, with rings for the fastening of galleys”) and the distinct
traces of the other quarters of the old city were the only objects of
much interest.

Taormina (Tauromenium) struck them more forcibly by its magnificent
position, and its strange juxta-position of the great Greek theatre,
Roman baths, Saracenic tombs, and Franciscan convent.

Messina, putting aside its beauty of situation, showed them little
except the great hospitals (grand in conception, scale, and revenue, but
miserable in arrangement, and restricted in usefulness), and the great
prison, with its horrible dungeons and torture chambers, full of
memories of recent cruelty, and even then unworthy of a civilized

At Girgenti (Agrigentum) the profusion of remains, and the magnificent
scale of the temples, especially the great temple of the Olympian Zeus,
invited very careful study and criticism, in which are clearly seen the
effects of his Egyptian travels.

But of all places in Sicily, Palermo was clearly far the richest in
interest, and not unworthy “of one of the finest situations in the
world.”[18] The cathedral at Palermo, and the palace and chapel at
Monreale, gave him his first introduction to that peculiar
architecture, full of Saracenic and Byzantine influence, which is so
interesting to all students of the early Gothic styles. He was much
struck with its picturesque character, and especially with the richness
of the mosaic decorations, and the use of external colours. It hardly
approved itself to his taste; for it was too irregular, and too merely
picturesque. Still it was examined with a care and respect, which showed
the growing importance of Gothic in his mind, and the recollection
probably bore fruit in after-times. But the choicest records of his
Sicilian expedition were unhappily lost. A large portfolio of sketches
(probably some of the best he ever made) was stolen from the vessel in
which he was to return home; and, in spite of all inquiry and search, no
trace of it was ever recovered.

He crossed over to Italy, passed through Naples, again visiting Pompeii,
and arrived at Rome at the end of January, 1820, under very different
auspices from those under which he left it. In fact, he was one of the
lions of the day, especially in the English society of Rome; and his
letters show that he heartily enjoyed his condition, and entered with
great zest into the occupations and amusements which it afforded. It was
not his nature to do things by halves; his spirits were naturally high
and sanguine; and he could not but feel proud in the thought, that his
position had been fairly won by his own talent and exertion. But, as
usual, he did not allow all this to interfere for a moment with his main
object. All dissipation was kept for the evening: the day was sacred to
work, and that work was now entered into with matured taste and new
powers, both of origination and criticism. In this work he found an
unexpected coadjutor. In a letter (dated Feb. 24th, 1820) he says,--“A
Mr. Wolfe, an architect and pupil of Mr. Gwilt, has just arrived, and I
have made his acquaintance with great pleasure. He is an enthusiastic
admirer of art.” The acquaintance went on apace. At Easter, 1820, he
continues--“In my first interview with him, I saw immediately that he
was a man with whom I could coalesce and become intimate; and the result
is that I now reckon him among the few sincere friends that one can hope
to obtain in the world.” Never were anticipations more fully realized.
The friendship, there begun, continued till the day of his death, with a
rare warmth and perfectness of sympathy. The very dissimilarities of the
two friends (as is usually the case when there is identity of principle
and feeling) only strengthened their union, by giving each power to help
the other. Art was the one thought of both; but it was pursued in very
different ways. Mr. Wolfe’s mind was more educated, was naturally more
scientific and philosophical, and pre-eminently distinguished by cool
and well-balanced judgment. It was exactly the mind to influence Mr.
Barry’s at this stage of his professional career, and to induce him to
study, systematically and with a view to first principles, the treasures
of Italian architecture which were before his eyes, find the rich
variety of ideas and objects, with which his travels and his sketches
had stored his mind.

He was often oppressed by the idea (apparently a very groundless one)
that he had wasted much of his time by the discursiveness of his
occupations, and especially by his preference of the artistic to the
scientific element of study. The truth probably was, that the materials
were gathered, and that the task of arrangement and organization now
alone remained. In that task the two friends resolved to work in common;
and each altered his arrangements that they might be together in their
study of Rome, Florence, Vicenza, Venice, and Verona.[19]

The devotion to Greek architecture with which he left England had been
somewhat shaken by his intense admiration of the Egyptian. Although he
looked upon the latter as a thing essentially of the past, yet
recollections of it would haunt his imagination and influence his
principles of design.

“I know not[20] (says his friend) whether the taste for ornament, for
which he subsequently became remarkable, was natural or acquired. But he
was full of admiration for the Egyptians’ practice of completely
covering their buildings with sculptured hieroglyphics or painting; and
he exulted in the (then recent) discovery, that the Parthenon, the model
of Greek purity, was itself overlaid with ornament. His opinion was that
ornament should be so limited in size as to increase the apparent scale
of the building, and that it should be so kept down by lowness of
relief, or by marginal framing, as not to interfere with the main
outlines. These rules observed, he seemed to think that enrichment
could never be overdone--an opinion which he continued to hold to the
end of his career.

“This principle of subordination of ornament was paramount with him.
Perfection of design and workmanship were lost upon him, where ornament
destroyed the essential outlines. To the Corinthian capital he had a
positive dislike: even its finest specimens failed to satisfy him. For
his idea was that in large capitals, however enriched by foliage, the
apparent capability of supporting the entablature should still be
preserved. The germ of this idea was probably found in the Egyptian
capitals, many of which he very carefully studied and sketched. For
years a new Corinthian-like order floated before his mind; but, as he
had no opportunity of attempting it on a grand scale, his ideas were
never carried out; for it was the rule with him, that without the spur
of reality his genius slept.”

Italian architecture had hitherto attracted him but little in comparison
with Greek; but he began to perceive how much more capable it was of
adaptation to modern requirements, and to study it in that view. “By
degrees its beauties grew upon him, although he long retained the
opinion that it should be purified and refined, in fact treated _à la
Grecque_. He delighted in every example of what he considered Greek
feeling, and, as a notable one, in the grand fragment of entablature in
the Colonna garden, the so-called ‘frontispiece of Nero.’ It was some
years before the traces of this Greek influence disappeared from his

The building, which first inspired him with admiration for the Italian
style, was the Farnese Palace. The principal front he greatly admired;
he considered that the “imposing effect of its vast mass was greatly
enhanced by the unbroken lines of the entablature and string-courses,
the number and relative smallness of the windows, the complete
subordination of all horizontal divisions to the crowning cornice, and
the consequent full effect of the entire height.” The rear front seemed
to him to be spoilt by the centre, which did not harmonize with the
rest, and (by “a most unwarrantable wickedness”) broke the general
entablature, and moreover outraged his feelings by the superposition of
three orders (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian). The interior courtyard he
liked less still; and, among other criticisms, he noticed here what
seemed to him at all times offensive, the solidity of the upper story,
resting on two arcaded courses below.

The Florentine palaces, especially the Strozzi, confirmed the general
impression made by the Farnese, “and from this time a grand cornice,
without an order, became his beau-ideal of a street front;” but he
noticed that few façades had the feature, which he thought all but
necessary, an important basement, to serve as a kind of pedestal and
“balance” the great cornice. The Strozzi Palace, “vast and imposing” as
it was, was, however, rather a study than an example; its enormous
height and masses of solid wall between the tiers of windows were unfit
for use in England; and the characteristic windows, with their central
mullions, he thought inconvenient for use, and perhaps inadmissible in
pure Italian architecture.

Two of Bramante’s palaces at Rome, the Cancelleria and the Palazzo dei
Rei d’Inghilterra, at first pleased him much by their general character
of solidity and breadth, and in the former case he noticed with delight
the delicacy both of design and execution in the ornaments, and the
perfect finish of every detail. There appeared, however, a want of
boldness in the low relief of the great fronts, which seemed tame after
the Farnese. “But his great objection was to the use of two orders, even
when they were in low relief, and when the unity of the height was
preserved by the importance of the upper cornice. The best examples of
North Italy could not reconcile him to this ‘piling of house upon
house.’ In later days the beauties of the Banqueting-house at Whitehall
so prevailed with him, that he frequently used order upon order in his
own designs: but hardly ever without breaking the entablatures. By the
continuous vertical lines so produced the two stories were united, and
his love of unity satisfied. But at Rome this expedient would have
shocked him as barbarous.”

Before he left Italy he acquired a taste for greater luxuriance of
ornament and greater boldness of outline, and looked on the style of
Bramante as fit only for small works and for interiors. “The Villa
Pandolfini at Florence proved to him how much could be done, even in a
front of small extent, by means of a good frieze and cornice. He noticed
as defects the stunted proportions of the windows and the continuation
of the entablatures across the piers between them; but above all he
disliked the great projection of the lower story. For this so
distinctly broke up the elevation into two stories that the cornice and
frieze, well-proportioned to the entire height, appeared overpowering.
But notwithstanding these defects, when he was at work on the
street-front of the Travellers’ Club, no building had so much influence
in determining its general style as the Villa Pandolfini.”

The palatial fronts at Vicenza and Venice did not take the same hold
upon him as those at Rome and Florence. “The Library of St. Mark at
Venice, the greater Porto Palace by Palladio at Vicenza, and others of
the same kind, had not only the cardinal vice of superimposed orders,
but were offensive by the multiplicity and prominence of their
details.... To engaged columns--’colonnades walled up’--he had a great
dislike; and when, as at the Board of Trade, he had to employ them, he
always relieved them from the wall by grounds or margins. Even then they
never thoroughly satisfied him. The disposition of the windows (grouped
in the centre) in some of the smaller Gothic and other palaces at Venice
was noted by him with approval, and was not forgotten when he was
designing the garden-front of the Travellers’ Club. Of palace fronts, in
which an order was employed, he was most struck with those of the public
prisons at Venice and Palladio’s Thiene Palace at Vicenza.”

The Ducal Palace, magnificent as he felt it to be, did not satisfy him.
Of the beauty of the arcaded stories he was fully sensible, nor did he
object to arcaded exteriors in general. “But no consideration could
reconcile him to arcades or colonnades supporting, as here, a heavy
mass of building. Whatever might be the character of the superstructure,
he required that the lower part of the building should be comparatively
solid and plain; the reverse appeared unnatural. In the finest portico
he was not satisfied unless the basement (or the steps) was equal in
mass to the pediment above. Even in the river-front of his new Palace at
Westminster he rejected the idea (once entertained) of introducing a
cloister; and was so jealous of the solidity and plainness of his
basement, that he grudged every window and would hardly enrich a

In the study of details of arrangement he was somewhat discouraged by
considerations of the great differences between Italy and England as to
climate and life. “The open _cortile_, surrounded with arches or
colonnades, was a feature which delighted him, and which he often longed
to introduce. There was one in his first design for the Reform Club. But
in England he felt that a central hall had the advantage both in
convenience and in effect. He suggested in after years the covering in
of the area of the Royal Exchange and of the still more spacious area of
the British Museum. His delight in a great central hall became a

The great staircases might have served more immediately as models; but
he had peculiar ideas on this subject, which interfered with his
admiration of those usually deemed most excellent. “Where scenic effect
was given by various flights of steps, arcades, and columns, he seemed
to think that space was sacrificed and a grand hall spoilt. He did not
like to see ‘steps hanging in the air’ or supported by cumbrous walls;
and sudden changes in the direction of the flights annoyed him. His
ideal staircase was a grand straight flight, the whole space, however
great, being occupied by the steps; but if this were impossible, he
required that all that could be seen at one view should be straight, and
preferred the staircase, so common in Italy, where each separate flight
is enclosed in solid walls.”

In Italy he first acquired that liking for visible roofs, which he
afterwards showed, both in his Italian and Gothic works. He approved of
them, because, being essential features, they ought not to be concealed;
because, in fact, their visible appearance was the proof that the
building was covered and was not a mere shell.

“To rustic work he had at first a great aversion. In substruction it
might be tolerated, but elsewhere its employment seemed to him
indefensible, and a rusticated column monstrous.” His admiration for
Sanmicheli’s works, especially that at Lido, first shook his
determination; at home his delight in the work of Inigo Jones carried on
the process of conversion; and he himself afterwards used what at this
time he would have proscribed.

His study of the Italian palaces was minute and elaborate, and produced
the greatest effect upon his own future works. The great churches,
though not less carefully studied, had less direct influence. The Gothic
revival in England had begun to make itself felt, and his thoughts were
already turned in that direction, although he had probably at this time
less knowledge of Gothic than of any other style. He was not then, nor
did he ever become, an admirer of Italian Gothic. None of its forms
appeared to him to be free from the characteristics of other recognised
styles; some appeared corrupt Roman, others impure Gothic; and not even
the eloquence and ability of their modern advocates could make him
approve their revival.

But the great churches, though they could hardly be models for
imitation, yet demanded admiration and criticism.

St. Peter’s disappointed him greatly in its elevation. He thought it had
“a confused appearance and want of simple grandeur;” that “the openings
in the centre were too crowded,” and that “the three-quarter columns,
always objectionable, did not afford sufficient relief.” The details he
greatly disliked. He noticed especially the want of apparent size in a
building, one of the largest in the world, and accounted for it by the
presence of colossal figures on the top of the façade, without anything
to give the true scale,[21] by the want of sufficient projection in the
front, and the enormous size of the windows, and by the impossibility of
seeing any great part of the dome from the piazza, whence alone the
whole substructure was visible. On the whole he much preferred the
exterior of St. Paul’s, in spite of the “piling of order upon order,”
which was a departure from Wren’s original design; he preferred its
regularity of design to “the complicated front and lofty attic of St.
Peter’s;” he thought the circular peristyle of columns under the dome
far finer than the corresponding substructure in the other case; and, if
only the churchyard could be enlarged, he thought that its complete
insulation, and the fine perspective views which it offers, gave it a
decided advantage in position and apparent grandeur.

It was far otherwise with the general effect of the interior of St.
Peter’s. Its magnificent size, satisfying his love of spaciousness, its
beautiful proportions and simplicity of design, its richness and
completeness of decoration, producing a sense of harmony and perfection,
seized his imagination at once, and seemed to “leave nothing to be
desired.” Its details he thought unworthy of special notice; but not so
its decoration. The decoration of the dome delighted him; but the gem in
his eyes was the baptistery. There the arrangement of marbles and
mosaics seemed perfect, both in colour and form; it constantly recurred
to him in designing, and had much to do with fixing his taste for that
gorgeous kind of decoration. He delighted also in the gilding of the
vault. Being wholly gilt (either dead or burnished gold), it seemed not
gilt, but golden. This was to him real magnificence; “parcel-gilding”
was gaudy, and he held it in contempt. This vault and the ceiling of
Sta. Maria Maggiore were models which he would have gladly followed in
his designs, and it was with reluctance that he gave up the idea of
making the roof of his House of Lords all gold.

The piazza in front of St. Peter’s, with its semicircular colonnades and
magnificent fountains, greatly impressed him. The remembrance of it
constantly floated before his memory as the ideal of the proper
treatment of such a spot; and he long cherished a hope of realizing his
ideal in London.[22]

The portico of the Pantheon he thought perfect in plan, and magnificent
in effect. He admired its great depth, the increase of this in the
centre, and above all the disposition of the inner columns, which gave
apparent stability and variety of effect, without confusing the eye or
obstructing the approach. He never could endure a portico which was
shallow, or which had no inner columns, or which had the wall, the
background of the columns, broken up by windows. But the junction to the
circular building appeared to him unhappy. In fact he objected _in toto_
to the treatment of a portico as a mere porch, thinking that in all
cases the portico should be a continuation of the main building.[23] The
interior he used to quote as the finest example in the world of the
grandeur of a dome, when sufficiently large, and sufficiently near the
eye to be comprehended in one glance. Domes like that of St. Peter’s,
which could only be seen by a painful throwing back of the neck, seemed
to him wrong in principle. For at all times he held, that interiors
should be so contrived that a spectator on entering should see enough of
the design to enable him to comprehend the whole, and that, when this
was not the case, there was a distraction of thought, fatal to any
striking effect.

The exterior of the cathedral at Florence seemed to him grand only in
size, “unworthy to be compared with our best Gothic cathedrals;” and the
arrangement of black and white marbles such as to destroy both
massiveness of general effect and beauty of form in its various parts.
The dome, as the largest in the world, and the first constructed after
St. Sophia, called for attentive study, especially in construction; but
it convinced him that “polygonal domes should be avoided, especially
when ribbed and of few sides. If, on looking directly at the dome, you
do not see exactly an equal portion of the two remote sides, the
perspective gives an untrue figure; and when the ribs are prominent and
far removed from each other, this effect is increased.” The general
architecture seemed to him a vicious mixture of Roman and Gothic, though
details, especially the beautiful external cornice running round the
building, were worthy of study and admiration.

On entering he acknowledged that the effect was simple and imposing, in
apparent size grander than St. Peter’s, and even approaching the
sublime. But the details appeared to him unworthy of special notice.

The Campanile was one of the few specimens of Italian Gothic which
commanded his warm admiration. He longed for the spire (which had been
rejected as savouring of “la brutta maniera Tedesca”): but the lofty and
graceful proportion of the tower charmed him. What he admired above all
was the simplicity and distinctness of outline, which, he complained,
was wanting in many of the finest Gothic towers. Nothing compensated him
for a ragged or uncertain outline. His constant reference to this great
work of Giotto showed that the impression was one neither weak, nor
unfruitful of results. A liking for towers grew upon him; designs for
them became the most cherished creations of his imagination, till he
seemed to think that no design could be complete without them.

His notices of Milan cathedral are chiefly interesting as showing the
growing importance of Gothic architecture in his mind. At his first
visit he was merely struck with the elaborate richness of its material
and workmanship, and the solemn magnificence of its interior. At his
return in 1820, an accurate plan and section of the church are given;
the grandeur of the interior is still more deeply felt; and some points,
such as the introduction of the tabernacle-niches and statues over each
cluster of shafts, noticed as interfering with it. But, while justice is
still done to the richness and elaboration of the exterior, it is
severely criticised. The “pinnacles are noted as rising too suddenly out
of the solid mass to an enormous height;” the lantern-spire “as far too
slender for the substructure;” the general design noted as “unhappy;
much of its laboured enrichment is mis-applied; there is a want of
harmony and continuity in its parts; and the sensation created is rather
that of wonder at the treasures lavished upon it, than of genuine

At Florence the Bridge della Trinita was an object of especial interest
to him. “As it was still a question what was the exact form of its
arches, and particularly whether they were or were not pointed, he
determined to measure two of them, and, as time and means were wanting
to accomplish this from below, he ingeniously set out level lines on the
outside of the parapet, and let fall a series of ordinates to the fillet
of the archivolt. After a long and careful investigation, he came to the
conclusion that the arches were not designed to be pointed; but the
original curve had been so crippled by irregular settlement, that its
exact nature could not now be ascertained. He greatly admired the
elegance of proportions in the arch and superstructure. To the curve
itself, however, he had a decided objection. He had, and always
retained, an antipathy to the ellipse and all which he considered
irregular curves. Whether in single arches or vaulting, no curves
pleased him that were not portions of circles, and whenever in the
course of his practice semicircular vaulting would have destroyed
proportion, he would adopt a coved ceiling, or any other expedient,
rather than resort to the hated ellipse. In his first design for the new
Westminster Bridge, the arches were segments of circles, and it was not
without difficulty that he could be induced to substitute the ellipse.
Even in Gothic work he never willingly employed a Tudor arch; but, where
cramped for height, he preferred the arch formed by two flat segments of
circles, making an angle with the jambs (as seen in certain windows at
Winchester). Irregularity in curves excited in him a feeling that was
absolutely painful.”

In this indefatigable study and criticism he passed the last few months
of his sojourn abroad. They were months of intense enjoyment: for his
spirits were buoyant, his disposition frank and genial. Work he always
loved for its own sake, and difficulties he rather enjoyed.[24] But they
were also months of serious thought and study. “It was evident” (says
his friend) “that the leading principles of composition which influenced
him throughout his career were already rooted in his mind.”

First and foremost came a love of truth. “The false in architecture he
abhorred; and all external features, which did not at least indicate the
internal design, he condemned ruthlessly. Even a blank window offended
him. The showy but screen-like façades, so often applied in Italy to
comparatively mean buildings, were to him impostures, worthy of

Next came a love of unity and regularity. “That he had an artist’s eye
for the picturesque was certain from the happy choice he was sure to
make of the best points of view for sketching. But actually to plan
irregularity, because it was picturesque, he thought unworthy of the
dignity of art.” Every feature, especially every ornamental feature, he
would rigidly subordinate to the preservation of the main outline and
the main principle of the design, sometimes even at the cost of boldness
and variety. Unity rather than multiplicity of effect he thought the
object of human art--a lower beauty indeed than that which results from
the unstudied harmony of Nature, but the only one which seemed to him
really attainable. This view he continued to maintain, and, though he
saw much beauty in works designed on the opposite principle, yet the
observation of their general effect tended to confirm him in his theory.

Connected with this was his great love of the effect of spaciousness.
The church “degli Angeli,” in the Baths of Diocletian at Rome, made a
lasting impression upon him. “Its noble proportions and simplicity of
design satisfied this instinctive desire of space, for the loss of which
no variety of plan and no picturesque effect could compensate. No sooner
did he enter a building than he measured with a glance its utmost
capacity; and all that stood in his way,--piers, columns, and sometimes
even the vault itself,--became obstructions which he longed to clear
away.” In the grand nave above referred to the same feeling led him to
dislike the position of the entrance at the side. In all great oblong
halls he would have the door at the end, that the whole might be seen at
first entrance. Except by necessity, he never gave up this principle.

Probably the next point most evident in his criticism was the love of
perfection and completeness in detail. Nothing disturbed him so much as
incongruity or want of keeping in the various parts of a design; the
mingling of grandeur with pettiness, and of rich decoration with bare
and unadorned features,[25] seemed an offence against harmony; and he
held that the hand of a master of his art was almost as much shown in
the study and adaptation of every detail, as in the conception of a
great general design. With this was connected his keen sense of symmetry
and proportion. “The least offence against either--a single feature out
of scale, an opening too narrow, or even a moulding too heavy--jarred
upon him like a discord.” This sensitiveness was in fact carried to
excess; “a single fault in a composition would blind him to its
beauties; it needed to be overcome by an effort on his part or even the
promptings of others; and it necessarily made him hypercritical, for, no
building being perfect, he was rarely heard to praise any.” It is but
fair to add that in this same hypercriticism he never spared his own
designs, whether past or present, and often incurred by it almost
endless labour.

These principles fixed in his mind, he left Italy, well acquainted with
Greek, Egyptian, and Italian architecture, and with his interest and
attention already attracted to the reviving Gothic. The work of life was
now to commence in earnest; he was resolved to enter it fettered by the
traditions of no single school, ready to think and work for himself.

It will be easily seen that the hopes with which he had gone abroad had
been fully realized. The very fact of his travels gave him a position in
the eyes of the world, of which he might easily have made much more, had
he carried out his intention of publication. He had gained acquaintances
in the artistic world and in ordinary society, and his character and
talents excited a general expectation that he would achieve fame and
success. But the really important advantage was the kindling in himself
of artistic energy and a sense of power, and the extraordinary
development of his mind in knowledge, criticism, and ideas. Most men are
conscious of some period in their life on which such an awakening
influence acts, when the boundaries of thought seem to expand, when new
ideas and powers make themselves felt, and the idea of some great object
in life is definitely grasped. Such a period is one of intense happiness
and of priceless value. It came to him during these three years of
travel, and he returned to England a changed man.




     Early difficulties and failures--Thought of
     emigration--Non-publication of his sketches--Holland House--Revival
     of Gothic--His Manchester churches, and their
     peculiarities--Marriage--Church at Oldham--Alarm at Prestwich
     Church--Designs for King’s College, Cambridge--Royal Institution at
     Manchester--Gradual relinquishment of Greek architecture--St.
     Peter’s Church, Brighton--Sussex County Hospital--Petworth
     Church--Queen’s Park, Brighton, his first Italian design--Islington
     churches--His relations to church architecture generally--Removal
     to Foley Place--Subsidiary work--Travellers’ Club--General
     character of his life at this period.

In August, 1820, Mr. Barry returned to England to commence his
professional life. He took a small house in Ely Place, Holborn, a
position of no great pretension, but one recommended by its quietness,
centrality, and cheapness. There he began the struggle of life in real
earnest, with little external advantages of patronage or connection. It
was a great, and not a pleasant, change from the brightness of his
foreign life, during the latter part of which at least he had earned a
high artistic reputation, and enjoyed the society to which such a
reputation is the passport. He had warm friends of his own and his
future wife’s family of the middle class, but they had little power,
though much will, to help him. He had attracted at Rome the notice of
men of high rank and influence; from them he received much courtesy and
even kindness, but their patronage brought as yet little substantial

With regard to the leading members of his own profession, of Mr. Nash,
the Wyatts, and Sir R. Smirke, he knew little or nothing; of Sir J.
Soane he had some slight knowledge, and from him on one occasion (that
of the Islington churches) I believe he received some recommendation; of
his own contemporaries he knew best Mr. Cockerell and Mr. Tite, and
afterwards (partly through Mr. Wolfe) Messrs. Donaldson, Angell, and
Poynter--all beginning life, as he was, and struggling, with more or
less of advantage, against the same obstacles.

Perhaps a more serious difficulty still was the great change of
architectural style in general, and of his own architectural taste in
particular, which seemed likely to render valueless much of his
professional study, begun when the ascendancy of the Greek style was
still undisputed.

All these obstacles were of course incapable of hindering that ultimate
success, which must depend essentially on a man’s own intellect and
character. But they delayed its attainment, long enough to cause him
disappointment, and the occasional despondency which belongs to the
reaction of a sanguine character. He had begun, as almost all young
architects must begin, by the harassing and thankless work of public
competition; in it he had, as usual, his share of failures, embittered
perhaps occasionally by the inevitable suspicions of incompetency or
partiality of judgment. At times he even thought of leaving London, and
settling in a provincial town; at one time of leaving England, and
trying his fortune in the more open field of America. His want of
success had also the effect of delaying his marriage, and continuing the
difficulties and the discomfort of an already long engagement. For after
paying the expenses of his foreign travels, he had little money of his
own to fall back upon, while waiting for the first gleam of fortune. All
these causes made the first years of his professional career a time of
anxiety and struggle, his first real entrance (in fact) on the battle of
life. During this critical time he received much encouragement and much
substantial help from his old masters, Messrs. Middleton and Baily, who
still preserved their kindly feeling towards him, and felt proud of the
reputation he had already achieved.

A natural way to public notice would have been opened to him by the
publication of his Egyptian sketches. They were unique at the time, and
had attracted much notice; his travelling companions, especially Mr.
Wyse, urged him to bring them out.[26] His careful notes would have
enabled him to give them something more than an æsthetic value. It is
clear that he had cherished the idea of bringing them before the public.
But it happened that in Egypt he had made the acquaintance of Mr.
William Bankes of Kingston Hall; and he appears to have entertained the
idea of some publication in conjunction with him. He probably needed a
literary coadjutor, and he had been much attracted by Mr. Bankes’s
brilliancy and talent. But after much delay and trouble, circumstances
prevented the realization of the plan; and by this time, he probably
found that the favourable opportunity had been lost. At any rate he gave
up all idea of publication, and to a great extent all care for those
sketches which remained in his own possession. For his books are full of
blank spaces, and many sketches have been altogether lost to his

For the sake of the world, as well as for his own sake, it must be a
subject of regret that he abandoned his project. The Egyptian field has
been occupied by men of high talent and extensive knowledge. But
probably there are few who would have brought to bear on the subject so
much clearness and accuracy of observation, and so entire a freedom from
prejudice. All that he ventured to publish would have been substantial,
practical, and trustworthy, and might have been a sure basis for future
study and speculation.

At Rome he had made the acquaintance of the Marquis of Lansdowne, who
continued to be at all times one of his kindest patrons and friends.
Through him he was introduced to Lord and Lady Holland, and became a not
unfrequent visitor in the society for which Holland House was then
famous. There he first met many noblemen of the Whig party, who showed
him great kindness, and many of the distinguished literary men and
artists of the day. He appreciated most highly these intellectual and
social influences; for his interest was keen and comprehensive, though
his study was chiefly confined to his own profession. He enjoyed
literary and scientific, at least as much as artistic society, and
certainly possessed the faculty, peculiar to men of quick observation
and clearness of conception, of understanding rapidly, and of seeing in
their most important bearings, subjects on which he had no special
experience or knowledge. Holland House therefore gave him great
enjoyment and encouragement, and produced occasionally some substantial
results of work. From his host and hostess he received such kindness as
he could never forget.

Still, however, he was working on without much success. The Gothic
style, though as yet little understood in its real principles, was now
asserting its claims, especially for ecclesiastical purposes; and some
stimulus had been given to ecclesiastical architecture (such as it then
was) by the erection of the “Commissioners’ Churches.”[28] To this style
he had never paid sufficient attention; he had now to become a student;
and he threw himself into the new study with characteristic diligence
and perseverance. His first essays were not very successful, though
certainly not below the average of the time; he used to think and speak
of them afterwards with a humorous kind of indignation; he carefully
destroyed every drawing relating to them, and would have still more
gladly destroyed the originals. Up to the day of his death he felt that
he was continually advancing in knowledge of Gothic, and was unsparing
in the criticism of his own earlier work.

The event proved that he had judged rightly. His first works of any
consequence were two churches built for the Commissioners, one at
Prestwich, and the other at Campfield, Manchester.[29] His letters show
the exultation with which he hailed the first success, and the
complacency with which he regarded his first church designs, a
complacency justified by the high opinion formed of them by others, but
destined to undergo a woful change in after years, when these churches
served as a continual subject of laughter to his friend Mr. Pugin and to

The first stone of the Prestwich Church was laid by Lord Wilton,[31] on
the 3rd of August, 1822, and that of the Manchester Church (Campfield)
by the Bishop of Chester, on the 12th of the same month. The designs
seem to have been then well received, and to have given him his
introduction to Manchester, where he found warm friends (especially the
late Sir J. Potter), and afterwards did a good deal of work. They, of
course, showed little acquaintance with the spirit of Gothic detail. But
they were considered to have elegance of proportion, and some
originality of design. The fronts of churches appeared to him deficient
in extension, and he attempted to obtain this by means of an arcaded
porch at Manchester, as afterwards at Brighton by spreading the lower
part of the tower. In this, as in other points, he carried out
principles fixed in his own mind, without shrinking from ecclesiological
heresies. On the other hand, in spite of his admiration for the
horizontal lines and regular forms of Egyptian and Greek architecture,
he entered so thoroughly into the vertical principle of Gothic, that he
felt unsatisfied in carrying out any Gothic building without a spire. In
his first church at Prestwich, as afterwards at Brighton, he did his
utmost to secure the erection of one, though in both cases economical
considerations prevailed against the architect’s protest. In his last
work at the New Palace at Westminster, as soon as he felt himself
“master of the situation,” the castellated character of the original
design faded away, and a forest of spires sprang up, which he at times
longed to complete by some spire-like erection on the Victoria Tower

His success with regard to these churches was the more welcome, inasmuch
as it enabled him at last to conclude his marriage, on the 7th of
December, 1822, and thus to enter on the domestic life which he so much
desired and prized. The small house in Ely Place continued for a time to
be his home. Economy was still a necessity, and in that economy he had
a prudent and affectionate coadjutrix. But, indeed, except for his art,
he was never lavish; and in spite of his enterprising and sanguine
temperament, he had a horror of embarrassment and debt.

The work at Manchester seemed to be the first entrance on his long
career of professional success. He was appointed, in March, 1823,
architect for the erection of another church at Oldham, somewhat on the
same scale and style as those already built. A commission was also given
him to prepare drawings and plans for some alterations and enlargement
of St. Martin’s, Outwich, which were afterwards carried out under his

In the midst of it there came an alarm which would have overwhelmed a
nervous architect, though it failed to disturb his equanimity to any
serious extent. Soon after the opening of his church at Prestwich there
came an express from Manchester, stating that one of the galleries had
shown signs of falling during service, that the congregation had rushed
out in panic, and that many were seriously hurt. By the time the then
tedious journey to Manchester was over, the report had grown into “Stand
Church fallen, 300 killed and wounded.” It turned out that a small hair
crack had appeared in the plaster in consequence of too rapid drying. A
man under the gallery perceived it, and fancied that it widened rapidly,
whereupon he shouted out, “The church is falling!” The consequence of
this sapient proceeding was a sudden rush to the doors, at one of which
the steps had not yet been fixed. Down went the temporary steps, and the
congregation over them. Happily but few were hurt, and those not
seriously; so the architect’s reputation escaped.

Meanwhile he was constantly at work. In the year 1823 he entered into
the competition for the new buildings at King’s College, Cambridge, his
friend Mr. Wolfe being also a competitor. The building was to be either
Grecian or Gothic. In spite of the _genius loci_, he proposed a Greek
building, thinking that a classical style (for which the Fellows’
Building afforded a precedent) would be less likely to invite comparison
with the overwhelming grandeur of the chapel. Besides, in Gothic he was
still weak, and somewhat inclined, after the fashion of the day, to
restrict its employment to ecclesiastical purposes. In this competition
he experienced a failure, probably fortunate enough for his reputation;
for he never looked back on his design with any satisfaction, and, in
fact, his attachment to Greek was gradually giving way. He felt that,
for modern purposes, the style was not sufficiently plastic. Except on a
grand scale, and in a commanding position, with full command of
polychromy and of sculpture, the Greek portico seemed to him to lose its
original effect, and become flat and insipid.

He did not indeed suddenly relinquish the style which in his early days
he had regarded as the perfection of beauty and truth, nor did he fail
to show that he had really grasped the principles on which this truth
and beauty depended. In 1824 he built the Royal Institution of Fine Arts
at Manchester, an edifice of considerable size and importance. On this
building it was remarked, in the ‘Builder’ of May 19th, 1860, shortly
after his death,--“The building was of great importance, historically
speaking, and in the results which it produced. By contrast with the
pseudo-Greek, which was general in public buildings, and which in
Manchester had even degenerated from the time of Harrison, it presented
what was at once Greek derivatively, or Greco-Roman in details and
impress, and yet was work new or original--work of art and mind. The
portico, as a feature of architecture, was used and not spoiled; that
feature and remainder of the building were grouped together, whereas in
Greek of that day a portico was often tacked on to a many-windowed
façade; the staircase hall, grand in proportions within, and culminating
to a central feature of the exterior, was the forerunner of later
efforts of the kind by the same architect and by others.” And even after
he had given up the erection of buildings in the Greek style, it was
remarked, with great truth, that “his feeling for the subtle beauty of
Greek architecture never left him, and probably contributed in no slight
degree to give that air of finish and refinement to his works which so
greatly distinguished them.”

In 1831 he made a Greek design, of great massiveness and grandeur, for
the Birmingham Town Hall--a building which had the needful advantages of
scale and position.[32]

But with these exceptions, he did little in the style to which his early
studies had been given. Practical experience confirmed the doubts which
had already been suggested by theory; and he saw that Gothic and Italian
had the mastery of the field.[33]

His most important work of this period in the former style was St.
Peter’s Church at Brighton. The opportunity was considerable; the
competition exceedingly severe, and his victory was a subject of great
delight and encouragement to him. A hurried note to his wife announced,
August 4th, 1823, the day when the result was proclaimed, as the
“proudest day of his existence,” likely to be the “entrance on a
brilliant career.” Nor were these expectations altogether groundless.
The church was much admired at the time, not undeservedly, for it was a
decided step in advance, though the greater knowledge of Gothic in the
present day will hardly altogether endorse contemporary criticisms. He
himself in after days naturally felt dissatisfied with the faults of
detail and the mixture of styles admitted therein; and his architectural
conscience felt a strong and characteristic repugnance to the aisle
windows, on the ground that, being in one height, they sinned against
“truth” in giving no indication of the galleries within. But his
greatest cause of regret always was the absence of the spire, with a
view to which the tower was expressly designed. He did his best to fight
against the economical veto put on its erection, and always considered
that the want of it did much injustice to his first important Gothic
design.[34] But he had, on the whole, little reason to be dissatisfied.
The design showed a marked advance, as compared with those of the
earlier churches, and secured to him a good position in the ranks of
church architects.

The erection of this church opened a new field to him at Brighton.
Several minor works gave scope to his activity, and supplied welcome aid
to his exchequer. He built Brunswick Chapel for Dr. Everard, a gentleman
who appreciated his talents, and showed him very great kindness. Some
other chapels and dwelling-houses he built or altered; of the Sussex
County Hospital he designed the centre, to be at once erected as a
portion of a larger design. The first stone was laid by Lord Egremont in
March, 1826. Large additions were, however, made by other hands in the
shape of wings, which entirely altered the proportions of the whole
mass. He became also known to Lord Egremont in August, 1824, and was a
not unfrequent partaker of the generous hospitality of Petworth Castle.
For him he almost rebuilt Petworth Church in 1827, and added a new spire
to the restored building.

At this time he also became acquainted with Mr. Attree, a solicitor of
considerable eminence and influence in Brighton, who was, then and
afterwards, one of his sincerest friends. For him he undertook the
laying out of a considerable tract of land as a park, to be called the
Queen’s Park, and to be portioned out in villas--all designed in the
Italian style. Of such detached villa residences there was great
scarcity, and the scheme had every prospect of success. But the
co-operation of the owners of adjacent property could not be gained, and
in consequence no good access from the cliff was possible. Hence the
Queen’s Park has never been so well known and frequented, as from its
beautiful situation might have been expected. Only Mr. Attree’s house
was built, on the plan of an Italian villa, excellently adapted to
modern English requirements. Near it was a circular tower in the same
style, intended to cover a horizontal wind-wheel for raising water. The
work deserves notice as his earliest essay in the style in which he
first gained his fame, and which to the last (in spite of the
Gothicists) he maintained to be in some respects peculiarly fit for
mansions of the present day. Small as it was, it was designed with as
much care and finish as any of his larger works. In it for the first
time he had an opportunity of carrying out his ideas of “architectural
gardening,” as the house was set in a terrace-garden, with small
fountains and pretty loggie, after the Italian manner. It led indirectly
to a larger work of the same kind. The Duke and Duchess of Sutherland
(to whom he had been introduced at Holland House) saw it, and were
struck with the elegance and refinement of the design. From this
impression resulted his subsequent employment to carry out the greater
works at Trentham.

Meanwhile the church-building movement continued, and in that movement
he found much occupation. In 1826 he was employed by the Rev. Daniel
Wilson, Rector of Islington (afterwards Bishop of Calcutta), to erect
three churches in Islington--at Holloway, Ball’s Pond, and Cloudesley
Square. These were churches of considerable scale, and no small
expense;[35] but in them, as in so many other churches of the time,
little was effected compared with what could now be done for the same
sum. In 1829 he built a chapel and schools at Saffron Hill, London.

It was at this time only of his professional career that he was much
employed in the building of churches. The consequence is that, although
his churches were fully up to the mark of their period, they cannot take
their place among his important works, or be considered to form any
important step in architectural progress.

It was not merely that at this time Gothic detail and Gothic principles
of design were comparatively unknown. But church architecture, as such,
was only in the infancy of its revival, inasmuch as its symbolism was
neglected, and the true proportion and meaning of its various features
ill understood. Churches were regarded very much as “auditoria,” or
preaching-houses--for the sermon still usurped a pre-eminence obscuring
the other great elements of public worship. It was not wonderful that in
their design a want of power to enter into the true principles of
church architecture was often betrayed, either by slavish adoption of
that which was now meaningless, or by innovations which outraged the
whole harmony of its grand idea. The minds of men have since been
awakened to truer conceptions of the church and of its worship, and the
progress of thought is seen in that advance of art, which has left
behind the works of an earlier period. But architects, unlike other
artists, cannot destroy the crude conceptions, which are their steps
towards perfection.

Mr. Barry’s architectural career soon led him in another direction. This
was probably not a mere accident, for it may be doubted whether his mind
was such as to enter very deeply into the principles of church
architecture, or at any rate into the particular development which such
architecture has received. He himself felt strongly that the forms of
mediæval art, beautiful as they are, do not always adapt themselves
thoroughly to the needs of a service which is essentially one of “Common
Prayer.” Deep chancels, high rood-screens, and (in less degree) pillared
aisles, seemed to him to belong to the worship and institutions of the
past rather than the present. Time-honoured as they were, he would have
in some degree put them aside, and, accepting Gothic as the style for
church architecture, he would have preferred those forms of it, which
secured uninterrupted space, and gave a perfect sense of unity in the
congregation, even at the cost of sacrificing features beautiful in
themselves, and perhaps of interfering with the “dim religious light”
of impressiveness and solemnity.[36]

It still remains to be seen, whether the value of these principles will
not yet be felt, and asserted more forcibly in the church architecture
of the future, and whether the actual requirements of our service will
not prevail over the beauty of special features and the power of old
associations. But in the stage, through which ecclesiastical
architecture was passing in the days of his active work, “correctness”
was everything, and any innovations were ruthlessly hunted down as
heretical. The stage was a very useful and necessary one; but it was
rather preparatory than final, and there are already signs that it is
passing away, and giving place to greater freedom and originality of

All these works gave him constant occupation, and were gradually
carrying him on through the first struggle of life to pecuniary
independence. The improvement of his circumstances was shown by his
removal in 1827 to 27, Foley Place, Cavendish Square--a house more
desirable in situation, and better fitted for his increasing family.

Still he found time for much subsidiary work. Then, as afterwards, it
was his practice never to neglect or despise anything. In October, 1824,
he undertook to make or correct a plan of Lambeth parish--a work in
which no doubt his old local knowledge stood him in good stead; and in
the next year he thought it worth his while to survey an estate in
Dulwich. Nor did he shrink from the labour of preparing designs for
competitions, or on the chance of professional employment. In March,
1824, he was busy upon a design for the “National Scotch Church;” in
1825 he sent in designs for the Leeds Exchange, and for the erection of
a church at Kensington. The year 1828 seems to have been one of great
activity. In it he prepared no less than four different designs in the
competition for the Pitt Press at Cambridge; in the same year we find
records of designs for three very different buildings--the Law
Institution, a new concert-room at Manchester, and a new church at
Streatham; while at the same time he was working hard at the design for
the Travellers’ Club, the building which, more than any other of the
period, secured him at once a high position in the architectural
profession. His life at this time, as at all others, tells the story of
work and enterprise, with the drawback of repeated failures, and the
encouragement of occasional success. Such practical work was gradually
absorbing the time hitherto given to artistic study. But he still found
time for occasional architectural tours, in which, of course, his
sketch-book was seldom out of his hand, for an elaborate plan and
drawings of Jerusalem, in 1823, and for a drawing of a building, which
he greatly admired, the cathedral at Palermo, contributed to a Leeds
exhibition in May, 1825. For his life was at this time full of activity
and a sanguine hope, which gave zest to its hard work.

But the building which first gained him high reputation, and which even
now holds a high place among his works, was the Travellers’ Club. He
entered into a select competition for its erection in the year 1829. In
sending in his designs he had great misgivings as to success; for,
though he felt confident that the building would be satisfactory if
erected, he thought that in the drawing it would be too plain to be
attractive. Fortunately he was mistaken; and no sooner was the building
carried out, than its erection was recognised as a real and important
step in artistic progress. Italian architecture was already making its
way in England; but it was observed at the time by a favourable critic,
that “Barry’s Italian differed from much of that which had preceded it,
as the perfection of language differs from mere patois.” The work itself
was noticed by those interested in the revival of the Italian style, as
a practical protest against the identification of that style in England
with what is “little more than one mode of it, namely, the Palladian,
which, if not the most vicious and extravagant, is almost the poorest
and the most insipid.” The chief points of novelty noticed in it were
the large proportion of the solid wall to the windows, and the striking
effect of the great cornice.[38] “There is no single distinctive mark”
(it was said) “which more forcibly characterizes the difference between
the Palladian school and that which preceded it, than the _cornicione_
employed by the older artists to crown their façades. It was reserved
for Mr. Barry to introduce the cornicione here, and its value as an
architectural feature may be said to have been since admitted by
acclamation. That the example thus set has not been lost upon us is
already tolerably evident.”[39] But the great charm of the building was
attributed with justice to the beautiful simplicity of its design
(according, as it did, so well with the comparatively small size of the
building), and the exquisite proportion and finish of all its parts.[40]
In it, as in all Mr. Barry’s designs, there was not a line which had not
been carefully and even elaborately studied, and the apparent ease and
simplicity of the result, while it might lead the ignorant to wonder
what there was in it to be called original, showed to competent critics
the presence of the “ars celare artem,” which is pre-eminently the
characteristic of genius.

The woodcut on the opposite page gives the elevation of the
garden-front, and the plan of the principal floor. With regard to the
latter, there is little to





notice, except the care for finish and detail, which has been remarked
as eminently characteristic of its author. The position of the door at
one extremity of the street front was acknowledged by him to be a
blemish, inconsistent with the symmetrical principle of his design, but
forced upon him by considerations of convenience, and the very small
frontage at his command. The grouping of the central windows on the
garden front was also an innovation on the principle of the regular
Italian front, but it was one of a totally different kind. It was
thoroughly in accordance with the main idea of symmetry, while it gave
life to that symmetry by the evidence of artistic design, and it should
be added, that it is as successful and convenient, in relation to the
internal arrangement, as it is graceful externally. It was noticed and
approved of at once by all critics.

The success of the design being undoubted, it naturally followed that
its claims to originality were disputed. The garden front was
acknowledged to be original and singularly beautiful, but the street
front was asserted to be a mere copy of the Villa Pandolfini. On this
point it may be better to quote the words of one in the highest degree
competent to give an opinion. “The Pall Mall front has been
characterized by superficial observers as a copy, with slight
modifications, from Raffaelle’s Pandolfini Palace at Florence. One
moment’s comparison of the two elevations will suffice to entirely
dispel the idea. The Pandolfini Palace has, in common with the
Travellers’ Club-house, only the accidents of being two-storied, having
rusticated angles, and a doorway at the extreme right-hand of the
ground-floor of the principal façade. In every other respect the
dissimilarities are most striking; the proportions of the windows are
about one-third narrower in the Travellers’ than they are in the
Pandolfini; in the former they are Ionic on the first-floor and Doric on
the ground-floor; while in the latter they are Corinthian on the
first-floor, and have simply returned architraves and no order on the
ground-floor. The four windows on the first-floor of the Florentine
façade are surmounted with alternately angular and segmental pediments,
and united by panels in the interspaces, and by horizontal members;
while the five of the Pall Mall building are precisely uniform, and the
wall is entirely free from panelling, and the running through of any one
of the members forming or decorating the fenestration above the
cill-level. One of the leading features in the Pandolfini is its deep
plain frieze, adorned only with a simple classic-looking inscription;
while in the entablature of the Travellers’ Club the frieze is reduced
to so small a proportion, and is so highly carved, as in fact to do duty
rather as an enriched member of the cornice, than as a distinctive
frieze at all.”[41]

This question of originality, always recurring in the career of every
great artist, in fact of every distinguished man, is often most
inconsiderately handled. It is clear that the progressiveness of man
depends on the power, which each generation has, of using and modifying
the work of its predecessors. Every great epoch in science and in art
has had its period of anticipation and preparation. It is the
characteristic of genius to create out of materials common and well
known to all; and its creations are universally recognised and accepted,
as the clear and beautiful expression of that which is vaguely felt by
the generality of men. If a man, in order to be original, defies
established principles, and despises the treasures of the past, he
voluntarily places himself on a level below that which has been already
attained by humanity. Originality, in the true sense of the word,
implies that ideas and suggestions from without shall be truly
appreciated, studied, and reproduced with the stamp of native thought
and imagination upon them, to individualize what is general, and to
harmonize materials in themselves crude or uncongenial. Then, and
generally speaking not till then, can we hope for a new creation, which
shall be true, and therefore permanent, in harmony with that which has
gone before, and therefore capable of striking a new key-note not
unaccordant with the old.

In this sense it cannot be denied that Mr. Barry’s work was original.
Simple details excepted, he copied little or nothing. Every design was
conceived and moulded into shape, before he referred to a book or
drawing. His mind was teeming with the stores of memory; but, when he
borrowed an idea either from the works of the past or the advice and
criticism of the present, it was sure to be modified or replaced by some
fresh kindred idea of his own. External influence was with him only
suggestive; it set his mind in motion, but did not dictate the direction
in which it should proceed. “Where we have an opportunity” (says the
memoir already quoted) “of tracing the progress of his thoughts through
a series of studies for any particular building, we find the work
growing, as it were, evenly under his hand from the slightest
generalization in the first small-scale sketch, to the plotted-out bay
or repeat, and subsequently to the large-scale detail; then back again
to another general elevation, to see how far that particular detail will
work well in combination, then altered according to the result of that
test, and roughed out again on a large scale to make sure of the effect
of the parts when near the eye, and so on, till his fastidious judgment
would be almost bewildered under the multiplying and conflicting
impressions produced by the various studies. The man who works
perseveringly in this way may at least make sure of two things--that his
work will be good, and that it will be his own.”[42]

What is here so well said as to his work generally, is true of the
Travellers’ Club in particular. It was certainly like nothing which had
preceded it in England; it was certainly recognised as a model for
future imitation or guidance. These two facts alone stamp the design as
having a real place in architectural progress, and justify its being
regarded as that, which first secured to its author a position among
those who have deserved well of the cause of Art.

Meanwhile adverse criticisms did not weigh very heavily on his mind. He
felt that by the new building he had become a man of mark, and had
produced a decided effect on the growth and improvement of Italian
architecture in the country. He was steadily advancing in prosperity,
having passed through the period of doubt and difficulty, which besets
the opening of most artistic lives.

His private life and tastes were simple enough. He appreciated the
higher class of society into which he was thrown, and more particularly
the peculiar brilliancy which distinguished that of Holland House. But
he never was so thoroughly attracted by it as to feel quite at home
there; probably, in England at any rate, few artists can be so. He came
back with constant relief and pleasure to the quiet of his own fireside,
and the society of his wife and children. Increasing work shortened his
time of amusement and relaxation; for, as the day was taken up with
business, the morning and evening became the times of composition and
study: but at these times he neither needed nor liked solitude; music,
in which he greatly delighted, was always a welcome accompaniment to his
drawing, and even conversation failed to disturb him. When the
opportunity for amusement came, he could always throw himself into it
with all the delight of a schoolboy. These days were the palmy days of
the London Theatre, and in theatrical entertainments he always took the
greatest pleasure, and found in them, as I suppose most hard-worked men
do, the most complete relaxation and change of idea. But of all evening
occupations, which his work left him time to enjoy, he cared most for
those afforded by scientific and literary institutions. At the Royal
Institution in Albemarle Street, while he lived in London, he was a most
regular attendant.

This time seems to have been, not indeed the most famous, but perhaps
the happiest and most hopeful period of his life. With good health and
spirits he entered with equal zest into hard work and complete
relaxation; he saw his way opening before him, and had not as yet had
that experience of disappointment, injustice, and misrepresentation,
which every public man must expect, and from which he was not to be
exempt hereafter.



     Plan of the Chapter. (A.) ORIGINAL BUILDINGS--Varieties of his
     Italian style--First manner--Reform Club--Manchester Athenæum--New
     wing at Trentham--Second manner--Bridgewater House--Third
     manner--Halifax Town-hall. (B.) CONVERSIONS AND
     ALTERATIONS--College of Surgeons--Walton House--Highclere
     House--Board of Trade--Architectural gardening--Trentham
     Hall--Duncombe Park--Harewood House--Shrubland Park--Cliefden
     House--Laying out of Trafalgar Square. (C.) DESIGNS CARRIED OUT BY
     OTHERS--Keyham Factory--Ambassador’s Palace at
     Constantinople--General remarks on his Italian architecture.

The steps by which Mr. Barry won his way to a high professional position
have been narrated in chronological order. For the period of his life,
from 1821 to 1829, is the one which is in itself most interesting and
suggestive to those entering on a professional career.

It shows clearly enough, even by the variety of his designs, the
fertility and versatile character of his mind and his unwearied energy
of work. It illustrates the difficulties and disappointments, which
present themselves at the outset of most professional careers. It is not
uninteresting to remark the comparatively fruitless character of its
earlier years, and the rapid increase of work towards its close, an
increase which continued with progressive rapidity till the great work
at Westminster absorbed all his time and powers. If the lesson which it
reads is not uncommon, yet it is at the same time one which never loses
its value and interest.

But after this time his life had few vicissitudes. It became more and
more absorbed in actual work, and its progress was marked, not by years
or by events, but by the buildings which rose everywhere under his hand.

It seems better therefore to neglect the order of time, so as to follow
only the connexion of subject, and endeavour to group together in some
intelligible arrangement the various works which he was called upon to
execute. The New Palace at Westminster will demand a separate treatment
of its own.

The present chapter will be devoted to a notice of his chief works in
the Italian style, both public and private buildings. The success of the
Travellers’ Club naturally turned his attention principally to this
style for some time. In it, perhaps even to the last, he worked with the
greatest pleasure; and probably, if the choice had been left to him,
without any influence of external authority or local association, it
would have been the style of his New Palace.

His Italian works accordingly are numerous,[43] and naturally divide
themselves into two classes: the first, of buildings erected by him; the
next, of buildings which he was called upon to alter, to an extent often
amounting to a complete transformation. Some brief notice may also be
necessary of buildings for the designs of which he was consulted,
although the execution of the designs was not under his direction.

The first class of designs is not very numerous compared with the
second. This might have been partly accidental, but it probably was due
in great measure to his own fertility of resource, and the keen eye
which he had for the capabilities of existing buildings. As he seldom
admired any building unreservedly, so he seldom despaired of any, even
of those which most men would have condemned as hopeless. When he was
consulted therefore by public bodies or by private individuals, who
needed additional accommodation, or desired greater architectural
effect, he could generally strike out some plan of alteration which
satisfied both requirements, while it appeared less costly than the
erection of a new building, and preserved something of the charm of old
associations. It may be questioned whether more real originality is
shown in the design of what is absolutely new, than in the power of
impressing a new character on old materials. But he used to regret the
comparative fewness of his opportunities of erecting new buildings,
unconscious that it was in some degree due to his remarkable power of
giving fresh life to the old.

(A). It is, however, in his original buildings that his principles of
Italian design can be most clearly traced. Those principles remained
essentially unaltered. No competent eye can ever fail to recognise his
hand. But he had certainly different “manners,” and these are most
distinctly impressed upon the Italian buildings which he erected _de
novo_. The first manner is that of his Travellers’ and Reform Clubs, and
to it belong the new wing which he erected at Trentham and the
Manchester Athenæum. The second is marked in Bridgewater House. The
third is distinctly seen in one of his last designs, the design for the
erection of the Halifax Town-hall, which was carried out after his
death. It must, of course, remain uncertain how far it would have been
modified in process of execution, had he lived to see the work complete.

       *       *       *       *       *

REFORM CLUB.--The Travellers’ Club was completed in 1831. Since that
time the great competition for the New Palace at Westminster had been
decided, and his success had secured him a place in the first rank of
British architects. In 1837 he was called upon to enter a select
competition with Messrs. Basevi, Blore, Burton, Cockerell, and Smirke,
for the erection of the Reform Club. His design was almost unanimously
chosen. He felt some difficulty in designing a building of such superior
magnitude in the same Italian style, side by side with his favourite
Travellers’. He would gladly have varied it as much as possible, but he
could not bring himself to depart from the “astylar” style; for of
engaged orders he never thoroughly approved. The Farnese Palace was
doubtless in his mind during the conception of this design, and a charge
of plagiarism has been grounded upon certain superficial resemblances,
in the same way and with the same injustice as in the comparison of the
Travellers’ Club with the Villa Pandolfini.[44]

In this Club-house, as the sides were liable to be seen at the same
time, an almost complete uniformity



of design was preserved throughout the three visible fronts. To complete
breaks of design under such circumstances he had a rooted objection; he
would rather risk monotony, than break unity and give the effect (so
often seen in Venice) of façades merely “applied” to a building. Here,
as in the Travellers’ Club, simplicity, solidity, and repose, were the
great objects aimed at. The entrance seemed to some to want importance;
he tried (in deference to advice) columns and pilasters; a porch he
would not hear of, for it seemed to him a mere excrescence. But the
design so enlarged seemed out of harmony with the windows; it appeared
to break the unity of the design, and the entrance was therefore left in
its present simplicity.

In criticizing his own design, he greatly regretted that he could not
give to his upper windows an importance commensurate with that of the
lower stories, such as is found in the three full stories of the Farnese
Palace. He also took blame to himself because, for want of some relief,
the columns flanking his windows appeared to be embedded in the wall. He
would have gladly given more boldness to the dressings of the lower
windows, and possibly more size to the windows throughout. With these
exceptions, he continued satisfied with his design, and public opinion
has certainly continued to confirm that satisfaction.

In the original plan the central portion of the interior was occupied by
an open Italian cortile. A roof thrown over this converted it into the
magnificent Central Hall, which is now one of the greatest ornaments of
the building. A rival design (Mr. Cockerell’s) had a Central Hall. It is
possible that this may have first suggested the idea to the successful
architect. But considerations of convenience and suitability to an
English climate would have been sufficient to recommend such a step, and
little change after all was made, except the addition of the roof.

It will be easily seen that the grand effect of a Central Hall, which
became afterwards a leading feature in his Italian designs, cannot be
obtained without considerable sacrifice. It is liable to interfere with
the due provision of light and air for the basement story, and, in spite
of much skill in contrivance, this defect may be traced in the case of
the Reform Club. It is likely also to interfere with the existence of a
grand central staircase, as it does in this case and at Bridgewater
House. But it was a peculiarity of Mr. Barry’s plans that he seldom gave
up much space to a grand staircase. As afterwards at the New Palace at
Westminster, he was apt to consider such space as comparatively wasted,
and to think a more effective use might be made of it for a great hall
or gallery. At the Reform Club certainly he never regretted the
sacrifice needful to secure his magnificent Central Hall.

With the internal decoration Mr. Barry took great pains, but felt great
compunction in the use of imitations (scagliola and painting) in the
place of real marbles and other precious materials. Necessity compelled
the “imposture,” for, even as it was, the expense was great, and (in the
opinion of some members of the Club) excessive. But with _carte_


_L. H. Michael, del._



_blanche_ as to expenditure, he would have expelled every trace of it,
and have rivalled the examples of gorgeous decoration, which had struck
him in Italy.

This Club was remarkable for the great attention paid to internal
convenience. More particularly the kitchen department, in which the
enthusiasm and knowledge of M. Soyer were allowed full scope, was held
to be a model of excellence. The whole has been named (by Mr. Digby
Wyatt) as an example, that “the most minute attention to comfort, and
the satisfactory working of utilitarian necessities, are compatible with
the exercise of the most delicate sense of refinement, and the hardihood
of genius.”

The annexed illustration gives a perspective view from the west (taken
from Pall Mall), and a plan of the ground floor. The chief point notable
in the latter is the careful attention to absolute symmetry of
arrangement,--the centres of doors, colonnades, entrances to staircases
and the like, being all made to balance with one another. The espacement
of the windows, dictated by the external design, was also made to adapt
itself symmetrically to each room, and in no case was recourse had to
the device of blank windows--a device to which, though not uncommon in
ancient and modern examples of Italian, Mr. Barry had a decided
objection. Another point is the careful provision of direct lines of
communication by corridors, and the picturesque treatment in many cases
of their termination. Generally speaking, it will be found that it
unites stateliness and architectural symmetry with great cheerfulness
and practical convenience.

The building, as a whole, was a decided success. Grander in scale than
the Travellers’ Club, it carried out more thoroughly and emphatically
the principles of design, which had made the former building famous. Its
exterior, perhaps, produced less effect on the public, for the earlier
design had pre-occupied the ground of originality. But it established
Mr. Barry in the first rank of Italian architecture, and showed, alike
by its points of similarity and its points of difference, that his
former success had not been a happy accident. On the interior the
difference of scale told for more than on the exterior. In the
Travellers’ elegance and comfort alone could be aimed at. In the Reform
Club there was an opportunity of adding grandeur, without destroying the
former characteristics. No one could doubt that the opportunity had been
nobly used. At the time of its erection the building stood almost alone,
as a model to foreigners of what a great English Club could be. Other
buildings have risen since on the same or even on a grander scale, both
as to size and magnificence of ornament; but still it may be doubted
whether its high position has been impaired.[45]

MANCHESTER ATHENÆUM.--The Manchester Athenæum, as has been said, belongs
to this period of his Italian style. The exterior is plain, for it has



great advantage of position, and economy was an object; but in its
refinement of detail and perfection it is as characteristic as his
greater works. In the interior there was one remarkable feature
involving some bold and even hazardous construction. The confined space
made it necessary to erect the great Lecture Theatre on the top story;
and this, considering its size and the large number it was to
accommodate, was a matter of no slight difficulty, but it was
successfully achieved.

THE NEW WING AT TRENTHAM also belongs to about the same period. The
annexed woodcut shows its general character--a Palazzino in itself, with
an engaged order, not altogether unlike his favourite Banqueting-house
at Whitehall. It needs no more special notice.

BRIDGEWATER HOUSE.--The building which most distinctly marks his “second
manner” is Bridgewater House. The change is chiefly traceable in a
tendency to greater freedom of treatment, and to a desire for greater
richness of effect. It seems to have been partly due to a general change
of architectural taste in these directions, partly to his own
habituation to Gothic work at the New Palace of Westminster.

Bridgewater House (built for the Earl of Ellesmere in 1847) was the last
of his great Italian buildings in London. In his first design, fearing
apparently too great a similarity to his Club-houses, and inclining to a
more ornate style, he attempted to depart from his usual principles, and
produced a design (exhibited at the Royal Academy) in which on a lofty
basement appeared a grand Corinthian order with engaged columns and
entablature unbroken. But, as usual in such cases, he could not rest
content with this dereliction from the principles in which both study
and experience had confirmed him. He could not make up his mind to a
“walled-up colonnade,” and double stories masked by a single order.[46]
The design was rejected as too costly; and he not unwillingly returned
to his usual style, and produced the design now executed.

In it there was, as has been said, another conflict of principles in his
mind. Profuse Gothic ornamentation had made his earlier Italian
simplicity seem insipid; for a time his pencil was busy, covering every
yard of plain surface with panelling and sculpture. But here also his
old principles reasserted their dominion, and the design ultimately came
out as we at present see it, more ornate than his former works, but yet
preserving a general character of simplicity.

The street front remained uniform as in his Club-houses; in the Park
front internal requirements forced upon him the very effective variety
of the great three-light windows at each end of the façade. The porch he
was obliged to add for convenience sake, but, as it were, under protest,
for it seemed to him, as usual, an excrescence. The chief peculiarity in
the design was the treatment of the upper



windows. He was obliged to make them small and place them close under
the cornice, and accordingly he united them by panels, and treated them
as a kind of frieze. But this also he did not in the abstract approve;
he doubted whether they were not too small for a story, yet too large
for a frieze, and whether the effect was not to diminish the apparent
height of the building. Another unusual step was the concealment of the
roofs, and the substitution of a balustrade. It is curious that, whereas
in his earlier designs (_e.g._ the Travellers’, Walton, and the Reform
Club) he had used a visible roof, yet in some later designs (_e.g._
Bridgewater House and Cliefden) he departed from this principle, and
employed a balustrade. The two are of course not incompatible, and
indeed, especially if the roof be high pitched, some protection of
balustrade or parapet is needed in London streets to prevent masses of
snow, slates, &c., from falling. In his great design for the Government
Offices, Sir Charles showed in almost all cases both a visible roof and
a balustrade, and accordingly, in the design for the Halifax Town-hall,
carried out since his death by his son, a similar arrangement is

The annexed woodcuts give the elevation of the Park front, and the plan
of the principal floor. The latter manifests the same characteristics
already noticed in the Reform Club. It is quoted by Mr. Kerr, in his
‘English Gentleman’s House,’ as a typical specimen of a stately and
symmetrical plan, and contrasted with one in which a convenient
irregularity and picturesque effect are the main objects proposed.

It will be observed that the centre of this building, as of the Reform
Club, is occupied by a fine hall, the result here also of an
after-thought, for in the original design its place was occupied by a
grand staircase, enclosed by walls. For the decoration of this hall he
had formed great designs, which were never to be carried out. Delays
interposed, and after the death of Lord Ellesmere the hall was placed in
other hands. Mr. F. Götzenberg, a German artist, directed its
decoration, and in 1858 the architect was invited to inspect the work,
and aid it by his criticism. But, as might be expected, he found the
principles adopted by M. Götzenberg very different from those which he
had in his own mind. He could not take the responsibility implied in any
interference or suggestion, and he retired with deep regret.

The building is certainly one of his most beautiful designs. It shows
that the greater taste for richness and variety of effect had not
injured that delicacy of proportion, and exquisite finish of detail,
which had been so remarkably characteristic of his earlier

HALIFAX TOWN-HALL.--The Halifax Town-hall, the last Italian building
which he designed, marks still more strikingly the change which his mind
had undergone since the erection of the Travellers’ and Reform

“This was the last of Sir Charles Barry’s works, and is in many respects
one of the most interesting. Its interest arises not from the size or
importance of the building, but from the evidence afforded by its design
of the results of a long experience in the mind of its architect.

“In the design of the Reform Club, and still more remarkably in the
design of the Travellers’ Club, he had adopted that type of Italian
architecture which aims at producing grandeur of effect by the symmetry
of its parts, the regularity of its arrangement, and the simplicity,
verging on severity, of its details. Ornament is sparely applied in
these buildings, and is in all cases subordinate to the strict
regularity which governs the design. The only exception to this
regularity, viz., the position of the entrance door to the Travellers’
Club, was always regarded by the architect as a blemish, only to be
justified by its absolute necessity, and forced on him by the nature of
the site.

“When, many years afterwards, Bridgewater House was designed, Sir
Charles Barry had evidently changed his views in some degree; for this
building, although preserving the rhythm and symmetry of a stately
Italian palace, relies more on its ornamentation than either the Reform
Club or the Travellers’.

“In it, as in the alterations to the Treasury Buildings in Whitehall,
which were proceeding at about the same time, we see indications that
Sir C. Barry had begun to give to his Italian architecture a character
differing considerably from that which marked his earlier productions.

“One important feature however may be remarked, as common to the
Travellers’ and Reform Clubs on the one hand, and to Bridgewater House
on the other, namely, the unbroken cornice which surmounts each
building. The cornice is proportioned to the whole height of the
building, and it is a curious circumstance that Bridgewater House is the
last of his designs which contains this feature. In the case of the
Treasury, the original design by Sir John Soane controlled of course
very decidedly Sir C. Barry’s operations, but the features which he
introduced, namely, the broken entablatures (tending towards a vertical,
as opposed to the original horizontal effect of Sir J. Soane’s work),
the carved panels between the two principal rows of windows, the
covering of the entire surface with rustication and panels, the
elaborate carving in the attics, go far to show that, whether influenced
by the decorative character of the New Palace, Westminster, or by other
considerations, he was rapidly changing the character of his Italian
designs, and ornamenting them with increased decoration. The same
tendency may be observed in his subsequent designs for the sculpture
galleries at Shrubland Park and for the Government Offices. At Shrubland
the entablature is broken over the columns and pilasters, and in his
design for the Government Offices Sir C. Barry showed his opinion of the
present Treasury buildings by adopting them as an integral part of

[Illustration: HALIFAX TOWN HALL.]

his design, which was indeed materially influenced by this circumstance.

“In the design for Halifax Town-hall the freedom of treatment above
referred to may be clearly noticed to an even greater extent, not only
in the more decorative portions of the work, but also in the arrangement
of the plan and general character of the entire design. The tower and
spire, which are placed at one corner of the building, form one of its
most remarkable features; and, though it is possible that Sir C. Barry
might have somewhat modified his design, if he had lived to carry it
out, its general outline, and even its details, were too far advanced at
the time of his death to have admitted of any radical interference with
its essential characteristics.

“The Town-hall is situated in the middle of the town, on a site which,
from its confined character, is not in itself favourable to
architectural effect. The tower is placed at one corner of the building,
so as to face the principal street, and to form the main entrance to the
Town-hall. The Tower is surmounted by a spire of a remarkable design,
which, in common with the whole of the building, displays a marked
Renaissance character, while from its position it gives an irregularity
of outline to the entire design, greatly at variance with the
symmetrical arrangement observable in Sir C. Barry’s earlier Italian
buildings. It may be noted however that in the New Palace at
Westminster, which has often been criticized as planned on Italian
principles, he placed his towers in positions of great irregularity as
regards the plan, which in other respects is arranged as far as
possible on the principle of strict symmetry. The design at Halifax
consists of two orders, with broken entablatures and arched windows in
each bay. At the corner opposite to the Tower the Council-room forms a
second projecting mass, thus departing still further from a symmetrical
arrangement of plan, and there are also smaller projections at the other
angles of the building. At Sir C. Barry’s death the foundations of the
building were just completed, and its erection was intrusted by the
corporation to me. At this time the details of the exterior had all been
fully made out and revised and approved by him. The interior however had
not been fully designed, and I am therefore responsible for its
architectural treatment, as also for the addition of a high roof to the
building, which latter feature was not to be found in the original
design. I have also succeeded in restoring to the design several
decorative features, which were at first omitted from the contract from
motives of economy, but which were readily sanctioned, on my
recommendation, by the corporation, whose public spirit and desire to do
justice to Sir C. Barry’s last design deserve from me a word of grateful
recognition.--E. M. B.”

It does not concern us to discuss the abstract merits of this gradual
change of Italian style, visible in Sir C. Barry’s works. But it is
certainly interesting in itself, and if it illustrates, as probably is
the case, a tendency in the architecture of the present day to break
down the rigidity of conventional divisions, and vary established styles
by greater freedom of treatment, it will serve to illustrate the remark
made in the first chapter, that his mind was one eminently plastic and
progressive, and one which therefore would partly guide, and partly
follow, the general movement of architectural taste in the country.
Holding, as he did, most strongly, the opinion that the styles which
divide the architectural profession into two rival camps, had each their
characteristic excellences, it is not surprising that he allowed their
influences to interpenetrate and modify each other. It still remains to
be seen whether his practice does not represent a tendency, which will
be more fully exemplified hereafter.

(B). The second class of Sir C. Barry’s designs includes those which had
for their object the alteration of existing buildings. In this work his
skill was proverbial and almost unrivalled. Possibly his sanguine belief
in the capabilities of the materials at command may at times have even
misled him into attempting alteration, where demolition and
reconstruction would have been little less difficult and much more
satisfactory. But as has been said, it is doubtful whether his
originality and power of resource were not manifested at least as much
in this kind of work as in the erection of new buildings. In many cases,
not only the fronts, but even the openings of the windows, would be
preserved, and yet the building would become new under his hand, and
what was plain and commonplace would start into richness and beauty.
Like a masterly translation, the design bore the appearance of
unfettered originality.

COLLEGE OF SURGEONS.--One of the first instances of such conversion was
that of the College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn. Great additions were
required, and the site was accordingly extended. As usual, not only was
he to retain as much as possible of the old building, but the portico,
the principal feature of the original building, was, above all, to be
preserved. Mr. Barry himself would gladly have dispensed with the
portico altogether; it was (what he strongly disliked) a mere porch
attached to the building, not (as in the old Greek temples) an essential
and dominant portion of it. But he could not venture upon this; so he
changed its position to the centre of the new front by shifting one or
two columns from one end to the other, and left it otherwise unchanged.
The leading feature in his design was the severe and massive cornice,
predominating over the portico and front generally, and uniting the
attic with the main stories. The front itself he treated as a
background, carrying simplicity almost to baldness in order to
subordinate all to the main effect. It will be seen, of course, and it
has been already remarked, that in this change he was carrying out the
leading principle of his Italian street fronts, the use of the great
cornice to give unity and completeness to the design. Although more of
the exterior was preserved than usual, yet the spirit of the whole was
changed; and, plain as it still was, it gained a striking and original

The interior was almost entirely remodelled. The most important change
was in the New Museum. The old one had been divided for architectural



by massive piers and transverse arches. All obstructions were now
cleared out; ample space and light were secured; indeed, not a foot of
space was wasted, and the light, diffused by transmission through a
continuous cove (the ceiling being left as a reflector), was excellent.
It became, as the curators declared, a cheerful and most convenient
museum. At a later period (1850) he was called upon to carry out some
further internal changes. These were intended merely to give additional
accommodation, and little architectural effect was aimed at. An
additional museum was erected on the same principles of design which had
dictated the alteration of the old, but with somewhat more of light
through the roof. Two new theatres were added, with suitable offices. No
alteration was made in the front.[49]

WALTON HOUSE.--The next specimen of Mr. Barry’s power of reconstruction,
under very different circumstances, is seen at Walton House, belonging
to the Earl of Tankerville.

The house stands on the banks of the Thames, in a position very pleasant
and beautiful in itself (almost buried in its magnificent trees, and
affording a ready access to the river), but having little openness or
elevation, and therefore placing some difficulties in the way of
architectural effect. The house had been a somewhat commonplace
straggling building. The site was such as to require a certain amount of
irregularity in treatment. In 1837 Mr. Barry was consulted for its
reconstruction. This was the time between the erection of the
Travellers’ and Reform Clubs, and belongs architecturally to his earlier
Italian style. Some considerable additions were made, especially a fine
entrance corridor, and a belvedere, on which probably the architect
relied for giving effect to a building which wanted elevation of site.
But the whole house was remodelled both externally and internally--the
work as usual growing in conception during its progress. It became
externally an elegant and at that time an almost unique specimen of an
Italian villa. The size is not considerable, but every detail is studied
so as to produce that effect of harmony and perfection at which Mr.
Barry at all times aimed. The style is simple, with the characteristic
features of a predominating cornice, and (as in the Club-houses) a
carefully studied proportion of solid wall to windows, and an Italian
roof made a visible and ornamental feature.[50] Seen, as so many Italian
villas are seen, on some rising ground, and with opportunity of
comparatively distant views, it might have produced a more striking
effect. As it is, although the plan and composition are well adapted to
the site, some part of its beauty is lost.

The interior arrangement has been quoted by Mr. Kerr[51] as an example
on a smaller scale, and on a somewhat irregular plan, of the same

[Illustration: WALTON SURREY.

By Sir C. Barry.]

of design which he observes in Bridgewater House. Yet it was certainly
adapted most thoroughly to the special requirements of the case, and
cannot be accused of sacrificing convenience to effect. The chief
feature is the long entrance corridor, spacious and symmetrical, divided
by pilasters into equal bays, each square having its pendentive
ceiling--somewhat in the style which in an Italian climate would have
produced an open loggia. The internal details of the rooms are simple,
but with the simplicity which is the result of study and of thorough
understanding of principles. The house marks the change of taste (which
Mr. Barry had certainly a considerable share in promoting) from the
older Greek style of country houses, with their huge porticoes and
massive details, to the greater elasticity, elegance, and brightness of
the Italian style. It can hardly be doubted that the change was an
improvement, both in architectural propriety and in domestic comfort and

HIGHCLERE HOUSE.--But in the same year, 1837, he was called upon to
exercise his skill in conversion on a grander scale, and in a far more
striking manner, for the Earl of Carnarvon, at Highclere in Hampshire.
At Walton he had to add much, and almost to reconstruct. At Highclere
the whole constructional framework of the house was retained, and yet
the building became in the strictest sense new and original. In fact,
the contrast of its former and present condition, shown by the
comparison of the two woodcuts, almost renders any comment unnecessary.
The old building, as will be seen at once, is designed in the
comparative flatness and insipidity of bare classicism: under his hand
it became a palace, rich and original in design. Yet not only were the
main walls preserved, with scarcely any extension of the building or
plan, but even the secondary features were kept intact. In no case was
the level of any floor or the opening of a window changed.

The style chosen was less simple and richer in effect than the style of
pure Italian. He called it “Anglo-Italian,” an Elizabethan or Jacobian
style, which he thought excellent, when, as must often be the case in
domestic architecture, the openings were of necessity too crowded for
the purer Italian style, of which he had given examples in his
Club-houses.[52] The centre, contrary to his usual practice, he elevated
by an attic, feeling that the style admitted greater freedom and
irregularity of treatment, and wishing to give importance to the great
entrance; for he considered that the lofty and beautiful central tower
and the elevated angle-turrets would preserve the needful unity of

The building thus transformed was one of his favourite works. It
certainly is in itself one of the most striking country seats in
England, and he could fairly claim it as his own, and rejoice over the
beauty created out of unpromising materials and under conditions of no
slight difficulty.

BOARD OF TRADE.--But of all examples perhaps the one best known is the
conversion effected on the







Board of Trade at Whitehall. He had to deal with a building, which had
long been before the public eye in a prominent position, and which was
not without many points of architectural excellence. But the altered
building seemed to take the public by surprise; it was practically new
in design and spirit, and, though exposed to much censure from one class
of critics, it commanded general admiration. The comparison of the two
woodcuts, which show its present and its former condition, will easily
explain the vividness of effect produced, and will show (what is
elsewhere noticed) the growing taste for richness and vigour of effect
visible in Mr. Barry’s later Italian style,[53] and in this case
remarkably contrasted with the strict classicism of the original.

Yet the conversion was carried out under conditions which might have
seemed hopeless shackles on his genius. Not only was it necessary to
preserve all the levels of the floors and the position of the openings,
but he was obliged also to keep and work in the Corinthian order of the
original building, in spite of his objection to engaged columns. The
original design, with many points of excellence, yet seemed to him to
want symmetry, force, and grandeur. To remedy these defects, he raised
the order on a basement story, did away with the superstructure, which
seemed to oppress it, and, removing the colonnades, which by their
shadows and projection cut up the wings, he gave the great flanking
masses their full effect.

The question next arose, whether the entablature should be broken or
not. Mr. Barry’s objection to engaged columns has already been
mentioned. Here, however, such an arrangement was forced upon him, and
the question was, how the impropriety could be best alleviated. He had
begun to think of breaking entablatures (which in days of classical
purism would have shocked him), partly from the example of Inigo Jones’s
Banqueting-house, partly from his Gothic studies, and the tendency to
vertical lines which they fostered. He conceived that, when this step
was taken, the engaged column changed its character; it no longer
affected to support the entablature, but became avowedly an adjunct.
This feeling, joined to the desire of greater variety and richness,
carried the day, and, in this case and others, the entablatures were
broken. In looking at his own work he felt that, from the necessary
position of the columns, the breaks were somewhat over-crowded; and he
rather regretted that he had not carried out an idea, which had occurred
to him in studying his design, of crowning the principal windows with
pediments to relieve the appearance of squareness. Otherwise he was
contented and pleased with his work, which has been acknowledged as
having given one more striking building to London. He long hoped that
the façade would have been extended along Downing Street, and have
terminated in a mass corresponding to those which now flank the
elevation. His ideas indeed went beyond this: far larger schemes of
extension were conceived by him in connection with the designs for the
Government Offices. But





none of these were destined to be realized, and the building remains in
its original dimensions.

TRENTHAM HALL.--The next group of alterations to be noticed brings into
prominence a kind of work, in which he took the greatest pleasure, and
achieved very brilliant results. This was the architectural laying out
and ornamentation of gardens. Early in his career he had made some essay
in this direction at Mr. Attree’s house in Brighton Park. Up to the last
he retained almost a passion for it. His idea was that the definite
artificial lines of a building should not be contrasted, but harmonized,
with the free and careless grace of natural beauty. This could only be
effected by a scheme of architectural gardens, graduated, as it were,
from regular formality in the immediate neighbourhood of the building
itself, through shrubberies and plantations, less and less artificial,
till they seemed to melt away in the unstudied simplicity of the park or
wood without. In this the architect and landscape gardener must work
side by side.

These views he had the opportunity of exemplifying on a grand scale in
the works carried on for many years at Trentham Hall, the residence of
the Duke of Sutherland. To the old building containing the state
reception rooms, he simply gave a better cornice and improved its
details, adding moreover a grand entrance hall, which served also as a
billiard saloon, and communicated with the state rooms by a fine
semicircular corridor. He succeeded also in grouping together very
effectively the straggling offices of the great house. Though he could
not effect all that he wished, he was able thus to give some grandeur
and unity to the large mass of building. The design of the private wing
has been already mentioned.

But the great work was the change effected in the gardens.[54] His
difficulties are stated by a high authority, the late Mr. Loudon:--“We
could not help doubting whether even Mr. Barry could make anything of
this great dull flat place, with its immense mansion, as tame and
spiritless as the ground on which it stands; we have seen the plans,
however, for the additions and alterations. Let no man henceforth ever
despair of a dead flat.” The hall was surrounded by lawns and paddocks,
reaching down to a lake. These were converted into a succession of
gardens of regular design, stepping down by terraces from the house to
the lake, and by balustrades, vases, statues, and flights of steps, so
connected with the architecture of the house as to spread out its base,
and give it the dignity and apparent height which its natural position
forbade. This was a principle which Mr. Barry at all times pursued;
gardening was, of course, with him only a handmaid to architecture, and
in this particular case such treatment was the only method by which the
lowness of site could be corrected, and dignity be given to what
otherwise must have been but an ordinary country seat. He effected much;
could he have carried out his whole scheme he would have had an “Isola



Bella” on the lake, and converted the lake itself into an architectural
basin. For in his development of the principle that all garden work
connected with buildings should have an architectural character, he was
accused sometimes, not quite unjustly, of desiring to extend the domain
of Art, even at the risk of encroaching upon Nature herself.

Probably the disadvantage of site still shows itself, and it may be that
the materials at his command were somewhat impracticable; but the great
confidence and liberality of his patrons gave him abundant scope, and
the result is a building which may take high rank among the palaces of

DUNCOMBE PARK.--Another conversion, on a smaller scale, in which
remarkable effect was produced by much less alteration, was carried out
at Duncombe Park, the seat of Lord Feversham. The immediate object
contemplated was the increase of accommodation in the stables and
domestic offices, but the opportunity thus presented of improving a
building, which stands on one of the noblest sites, and commands one of
the finest views in England, was not to be lost. A design was prepared
accordingly, meeting the special requirements of the case, but going far
beyond them in its aim.

The house, which is ascribed to Vanbrugh, and was probably built by one
of his pupils, is massive and imposing in its style, and severely plain
in details. But it seemed to Mr. Barry merely to occupy the site,
without harmonizing with the surrounding scenery of the park. His
object was to bring it into this connection, and soften the
boundary-line between nature and art.

The main building he did not alter, except by suggesting a portico to
the entrance front, known to have formed a part of the original design,
though never actually executed; but he swept away a mass of subordinate
buildings on each side, containing the existing offices and stables,
and, designing a noble entrance court in proportion to the massive scale
of the building, he flanked it with two blocks of buildings (containing
the accommodation required), symmetrically designed, and showing
remarkable boldness of detail. These new blocks of building he connected
with the central building with quadrantal corridors, closed to the side
of the entrance court, but open to the private gardens on the other

Having thus given grandeur and unity to a previously ineffective
building, he proceeded to connect it with the scenery around. He altered
the great avenue of approach through the park, so as to bring it, where
it approached the new entrance court, into a position of centrality to
the building. On the other side he remodelled the private gardens in his
favourite Italian style, and so gave to the windows of the private
apartments a view more suitable than that of the grass fields, into
which they had previously looked.

The effect, as usual, was to give the house perfect novelty and dignity
of effect, by utilising to the utmost size and capabilities
comparatively wasted before.

HAREWOOD HOUSE.--A somewhat similar work was carried out for the Earl of
Harewood, in the years 1843 to 1850. Harewood House is situated about
nine miles from Leeds, in a position of great beauty, looking over the
valley of the Wharfe. It was a house of some scale and pretension, built
in 1759, by Messrs. Carr and Adams, with a lofty centre, having a large
engaged Corinthian order, and connected by lower curtains with the
wings, which were plainer in design.

It had apparently some massiveness of design and merits of proportion.
It needed finish, life, and variety. The treatment of the work by Mr.
Barry (additional accommodation being required) was simply to raise the
wings, altering their design so as to bring them into greater importance
and greater harmony with the centre, and to improve the design of the
centre itself, by adding a handsome balustrade, and by raising the
chimney-stacks to the dignity of architectural features, so as to vary
the flat and monotonous lines of the former roof. Little else was done
except that some beautiful carving (by Mr. Thomas), in the pediment and
elsewhere, gave the greater richness and life which the original design
wanted. But the effect was considerable, and the house now commands
attention, not only by its scale and proportion, but by the evidence of
taste and design visible throughout.

In the interior the work merely included some alteration and enlargement
of the principal rooms and basement, and some new decorations.

But the gardens here also engaged his attention. The park and grounds
had been laid out by Mr. Lancelot Brown (well known in the last
generation as a landscape gardener), but the garden near the house
itself remained to be treated in Mr. Barry’s usual style. A grand
terrace garden was formed on the south side, rising by a handsome flight
of steps to the level of the house, adorned with sculptures and
fountains, and laid out in parterre beds of architectural design. The
gardens, kept up as they are with great care and skill, are among the
chief sights of the neighbourhood. It need not be added that they
thoroughly harmonize with the building and give it completeness and

SHRUBLAND PARK.--But of all parks of this kind probably the most
successful was that carried out for Sir W. Middleton at Shrubland Park
in the year 1848. Inferior in extent to the work at Trentham, it
presented greater capabilities, and was more perfect in result. On the
house itself he produced a striking alteration. The original building
had little architectural character; but it had been considerably altered
in 1830 from the design of Mr. Gandy Deering. On the house, as thus
altered, Sir C. Barry had to work, and the effect produced will be seen
by an inspection of the annexed woodcuts. He added a new entrance, with
a sculpture gallery on each side. At the same time he raised a portion
of the house, so as to form a beautiful specimen of his favourite
Italian towers, and substituted balustrades for the large pediments
surmounting the various fronts, which would have grouped ill with the
tower, and,





by distracting the eye, have interfered with unity of effect. A handsome
lodge was added with a central tower, through which the main approach

But the glory of Shrubland lay in its gardens, and it is in them that
the traces of his hand are most plainly seen. Beautiful in themselves,
they seemed to agree too little with the house, which had now assumed
some architectural pretensions.

The upper garden near the house was therefore rearranged, and enclosed
by balustrades. A handsome flight of steps led from the upper to the
lower garden. At the foot of the steps an open loggia was placed, and
the adjoining ground laid out with architecturally formed beds.

The works show in a very marked manner the refined taste and exquisite
finish which distinguished all his designs. The whole principle, indeed,
of his arrangements was dictated by the desire of perfect finish and
harmony, against which the original scheme, bringing an ordinary
flower-garden up to the very walls of the house, appeared to him to
militate. Few works produced so much effect, considering their scale,
and certainly few were so entirely after his own heart, as those at
Shrubland Park.

CLIEFDEN HOUSE.--Of all his conversions of existing buildings, this was
the one which approached most nearly to the conditions of an original
design. But his work was still in some degree fettered by the
circumstances of the case.

The house was originally built, in a fashion very prevalent some years
ago, having a centre with two distinct wings, which were virtually
separate buildings, and were only joined to the central mass by
connecting corridors on the ground-floor. Such a plan produces much
external grandeur; but this advantage, and some others which belong to
it, are dearly purchased at the cost of internal convenience, especially
when, as at Cliefden, the servants’ rooms are placed in one of the
wings. A fire destroyed the central mansion, but spared the wings; and
to Sir C. Barry was assigned the task of rebuilding what had been
destroyed, without sacrificing the portions remaining, and of rebuilding
it on the old foundations, which were still intact, and which it was
desired to utilise.

The first design which he prepared was set aside for economical reasons.
It differed materially from Cliefden as it now is. It was an astylar
Italian design, comparatively simple in detail, and having the angles
raised into towers, so as to be prominent features. Thus, although
designed on symmetrical principles, it would have presented far greater
variety of outline than the building actually erected. Considering its
magnificent position, and considering also the different points of view
and the great distances at which the house can be seen, the architect
greatly regretted the necessity which forbade the realisation of his
original design. He thought that a more vertical tendency and more
varied outline would have contrasted better with the horizontal line of
the beautiful bank of wood, out of which it rises.

The present house is built on the old




foundations,[55] the centre being the only new portion of the building.
The plan is that of a first-rate Italian villa, and is remarkable for
uniting elegance to great convenience of arrangement. For the great
charm of Cliefden is its lovely view over the valley of the Thames, and
it was absolutely necessary to bear this in mind in the arrangement of
all the living-rooms. At the same time it was necessary to provide such
access for the servants’ wing as should in some degree mitigate the
inconvenience of the old plan of the house, and to arrange the staircase
and corridors with due regard to dignity and architectural effect. The
solution of the problem may be deemed highly successful, and will have
some interest to the professional student.

In the external design Sir Charles adopted (what was unusual with him)
an engaged order with unbroken entablature. In regard to the design
generally, it may be doubted whether the house is of sufficient size to
justify the use of an order of two stories, which, as seen from a
distance, gives some impression of a want of breadth in the design. But,
bearing in mind the circumstances alluded to above, we may conclude with
some probability, that Sir Charles contemplated the enlargement of the
design, by carrying up and rendering prominent the low side buildings,
containing the dining-room and the private apartments. Such an addition
would exemplify a method of treatment of which he was fond, viz., the
employment of a central mass with two slightly elevated angles, and
would certainly add greatly to the effect of the garden-front.

The house, however, as it stands, may claim attention on its own merits.
It was one of his latest Italian buildings, though showing much of the
simplicity of his earlier designs.

TRAFALGAR SQUARE.--Of all Sir C. Barry’s works, the one which is
generally considered as least successful was the laying out of Trafalgar
Square. On this subject he was consulted by the Government in 1840, and
his chief idea in the arrangements, which he suggested, was to improve
the effect of the National Gallery.

A plan was already under consideration, which contemplated the raising
the whole square to the level of the pavement in front of the new
building, and finishing it with a terrace and balustrade towards
Cockspur Street. To this he had a strong objection. In common with the
world at large, he considered the National Gallery to be already greatly
deficient in importance and unworthy of its magnificent site. Such a
terrace as was proposed, seen in the foreground on approaching from
Whitehall, would throw it back into utter insignificance. He advised,
therefore, that the level of the square should be kept down to that of
Cockspur Street, instead of being raised to that of the base of the
building, and the terrace thrown back so as to make it appear a part of
the building, thus increasing instead of diminishing its height. This
plan was adopted, but greatly injured by the erection of the Nelson
Column, against which Mr. Barry protested in vain. Not only did it cut
up the building, but it interfered with a grand flight of steps, which
he contemplated in the centre of his terrace, of the width of the whole
portico of the gallery, and appearing from a distance to be a part of
it. Its own design would be no compensation: for to the use of columns,
as pedestals for statues, he objected on principle. He would have had
the Nelson and Wellington Monuments (treated in a different style as
grand designs in sculpture) placed on either side in the position of the
present fountains. When this proved to be impossible, he introduced the
fountains as a last resource. He intended them to be far larger; he
wished them, indeed, to be of the scale of the grand fountains in front
of St. Peter’s at Rome; but for this funds were not forthcoming, and an
unexpected difficulty was found in obtaining a full supply of water.
But, though fully aware that they were too small, he never felt the
justice of the severe criticism which has been so unsparingly lavished
upon them. For in this case, as in others, the architect’s work is
criticized in ignorance of the limitations imposed upon it by necessity,
and the interferences from without to which it has been subjected.

       *       *       *       *       *

Besides these buildings, for which he was entirely responsible, there
were several instances in which he gave general designs to be carried
out by others; for, as his own time was more and more occupied,
superintendence became difficult. But he never much liked this; in the
buildings which he actually erected he was as fastidious in regard to
details, as he was careful in studying the great lines of the design;
imperfection in detail was to him as a discord at all times, but doubly
painful when it seemed to mar an idea originally his own, and he could
hardly rest till it was removed.

Thus in 1847 and 1848 he made some extensive designs for the Government,
to be carried out at Keyham Factory. They were intended to give some
architectural character to the buildings, planned by the Government
engineers for the execution of work for the steam fleet. These included
foundries, smithies, turning-shops, &c., buildings necessarily of great
extent and inconsiderable height. The designs made were Italian--simple,
of course, but effective in character. They deserve notice not so much
in themselves, but as being the only example of his treatment of a class
of buildings, which it has been common to despair of artistically, and
to surrender to the domain of plain and even ugly utilitarianism. In the
same year he modified the design for the Ambassador’s palace at
Constantinople, to an extent which greatly determined its general

       *       *       *       *       *

It will be seen from this brief description of Sir C. Barry’s principal
Italian works, that, not merely by their number and size, but by their
variety of character, and the existence in almost all of some special
features of design or construction, they exercised a very powerful
influence on the Italian architecture of the country.

They certainly appear to have carried out, to as great an extent as
practice can ever carry out the dictates of theory, the principles which
have been described at the close of Chapter II., as deduced by him from
his original studies in Italy, except so far as these were modified by
the powerful though indirect influence of the Gothic revival. This did
not arise from any deficiency in power of originating novelty. There
were few cases in which ideas were not conceived, and designs made,
embodying more unusual forms and details than those finally adopted. Nor
does it appear to have been due to his adoption of a formally defined
system of principles--a kind of confession of architectural faith. It
may be doubted whether he himself could have given an analysis of his
own principles of design, as clear and as precise as that which has been
given by others. Perhaps few men, who have much originative power in
art, have also the power of such scientific analysis. He himself would
constantly adopt what he conceived to be new “first principles,” and for
a time mould every line of a design in obedience to their dictates.

But yet in almost every case he reverted eventually to his original
principles. If the comparison of the old with the new was fatal to the
latter, in respect of beauty or convenience, he was not the man to seek
apparent originality at the cost of real excellence. The temptation to
depart from the old methods, and the study of the methods by which such
departure could be made, only tended to confirm them in his mind, and to
show (what most practical men sooner or later discover in all provinces
of thought) that the prevalence of old forms is generally due, not to
arbitrary and pedantic convention, but to their inherent truth and

It maybe added that, in his Italian work especially, harmony and
completeness seem to have been the great objects of endeavour. Repose,
rather than what artists call “movement,” was the characteristic of his
designs. Whether successfully or unsuccessfully, he laboured principally
to realize the conception of the whole, as having unity and perfect
interdependence in its parts, and was not compensated, in his own works
or those of others, for any violation of this unity, even by individual
features of startling and original excellence.[56] A consequence of this
feeling was that special attention to refinement and elegance of detail,
which has been noticed by most critics of his works. He felt strongly
that, when detail, however bold or beautiful in itself, attracts an
undue share of attention, and brings into prominence what should
properly be subordinate, an error in taste is committed, proportionate
to the vividness of the impression produced. Another consequence was the
paramount importance which he attached to beauty of proportion as
compared with richness or originality of decoration. He was fond of
pointing out in Sir C. Wren’s western towers of Westminster Abbey how
this beauty of proportion seemed all but to annihilate the painful
impression, produced by the badness of the details. In his own designs
he would take the greatest pains, would sponge out and redraw a whole
elevation, if he detected in its leading lines any defect in this his
crowning virtue.

It is evident that this principle may assume so tyrannical an influence
as to extinguish originality, and tone down a whole design to
respectable and consistent tameness. But it cannot be denied that it is
a principle of paramount value, and few will question that it is largely
manifested in his existing works. Not indeed that he allowed this desire
of unity and stateliness of design, or his determination to make even
the least work a real work of Art, to interfere with the thought of
practical convenience, especially as regards the requirements of English
climate and modern life. His Italian architecture was therefore
singularly free from artistic pedantry; it was no artificial exotic, but
a style thoroughly naturalized, and therefore one having an inherent
principle of vigour and life. On it his architectural fame must still in
great measure rest.



     Progress of the Gothic revival--Birmingham Grammar School--First
     acquaintance with Mr. Pugin and Mr. Thomas--Alterations at Dulwich
     College--Unitarian chapel at Manchester--Additions to University
     College, Oxford--Hurstpierpoint church--Canford Manor--Gawthorpe
     Hall--Designs for Dunrobin Castle.

While Mr. Barry was thus engaged almost incessantly on Italian
buildings, he did not neglect the mediæval style, which was every day
becoming better understood and more popular. In this style his works
(after 1829) were comparatively few, until he engaged in the competition
for the New Palace at Westminster. But the interest and study, which he
at this time bestowed on Gothic architecture, must not be measured by
the number of works which he actually carried out. He could not but be
aware of the increasing power of the “Gothic Revival,” and, though he
never wavered in his allegiance to the Italian, though to the last he
maintained, against the pure Gothicists, its intrinsic beauty and
peculiar appropriateness for certain classes of buildings, yet he viewed
the Gothic movement with the greatest sympathy. With his early Gothic
designs he had already learnt to be greatly dissatisfied; and, before he
ventured on any further attempts in the same style, he not only gave
much attention to the writings of the Gothic School, but studied
carefully every English example of the style, which could be quoted as
an authority.

BIRMINGHAM GRAMMAR SCHOOL.--The effect of this thought and study was
seen in the design for the Birmingham Grammar School in 1833. Greatly
admired at the time of its production, it did not, of course, escape
criticism in after days from its author as well as from others. But it
certainly indicated an extraordinary advance in knowledge of Gothic, and
in power of handling the style, both as to principles and as to details,
and proved that its author was at least keeping pace with the
architectural taste and knowledge of the time.

The site was such as to allow only of a street-front, and this fact had
great effect on the design. The building was to contain, not only the
Great Schools and Class Rooms, but also two residences, which of course
needed the advantage of street frontage. The elevation adopted was
regular and symmetrical. Simple as it is, it was the result of
considerable study. The central portion was of course devoted to the
Great Schools (placed on the first floor,[57] with an entrance cloister
and class rooms on the ground floor), and the residences were made to
form the wings of the building. Their two-storied oriels ranged with
the great windows of the school; the parapet was unbroken, except by
raised battlements over the centre of the wings.

Mr. Barry was inclined to raise these wings into towers, and would have
done so, had the building been isolated; but in its confined position he
thought that towers would be ineffective, or perhaps even detrimental.
Still he desired greater variety. He proposed a clock tower at one end
of the front, which would also have had the additional advantage of
giving greater importance to the building as seen down the street. A
lantern was also designed, to rise from the centre of the roof, and
relieve the flatness of the skyline. But these could not be carried out,
the expense already incurred being very great, and the design remained
without the relief proposed.

Another variation was at one time thought of with a view to giving more
prominence to the main entrance. To a mere porch Mr. Barry had always an
objection. It appeared to him a mere excrescence. Accordingly he tried
the effect of advancing the centre, inserting a bay window over the
entrance, and raising the centre of the parapet into a gable. But he
never could make up his mind to advance the centre of an architectural
composition. He maintained that the advanced portion must destroy, by
its effect in perspective, the apparent size of the building, and this
he considered an unpardonable artistic fault. At Birmingham this feeling
was increased by his consciousness that the frontage was already
somewhat small, and accordingly he felt compelled to leave the entrance
as it now appears. He





was not altogether satisfied with its effect; but nothing would have
compensated him for the loss of breadth and unity in composition.

The plan of the interior is perfectly simple. Almost the whole of the
centre is occupied by two grand school-rooms, which are probably almost
unequalled in magnificence of size and proportion. Few class-rooms were
required by the original instructions, but some have been recently added
by Mr. E. M. Barry.

Of the two principles of school arrangement, the architect will
naturally prefer that, which throws most of the space into great
school-rooms, and so gives greater scope for artistic effect. In
practice the two systems may claim a certain balance of advantages. But
in a grammar-school, where from the nature of the case many of the
assistant masters are likely to be young and inexperienced, the
preponderance of advantage seems to incline in the same direction which
architectural taste would suggest. For in this case the advantage, both
in guidance and support, to be derived from the presence of the head,
and the “swing” of the great machine, probably outweighs all
considerations on the other side of greater quiet and convenience. How
far the plan at Birmingham was due to the architect, and how far
determined by the instructions which he received, I do not know.

The school was completed in 1836. It attracted great attention and
considerable admiration from the public and from the critics. The
architect himself felt that the study of Gothic principles and details,
for which it was the occasion, had been of the greatest service to him,
especially in the competition for the New Palace, on which he was even
then preparing to enter.

There was also another reason which made him look back with pleasure to
this work. It was in connection with it that he first made the
acquaintance of Mr. Pugin, whose assistance he secured in making out
some of the drawings for details. The acquaintance ripened into
friendship, a friendship unclouded by a single misunderstanding, and
closed only by the death of his gifted coadjutor. Here, also, it was his
good fortune to discover Mr. Thomas (afterwards so well known for his
work at the New Palace of Westminster) working as an ordinary
stone-carver. Mr. Barry at once saw his remarkable talent, and resolved
to give it a more worthy sphere for development.

ALTERATIONS AT DULWICH COLLEGE.--His other Gothic works were of minor
scale and importance. In March 27th, 1830, he was appointed to the
surveyorship of Dulwich College, an office then less important than it
has now become by the extraordinary increase of the value of the college
property, but one in which he always took great pleasure, and
experienced great kindness from the Master and Fellows of the old
foundation. In the next year, 1831, he was called upon to design and
carry out the erection of a new wing to the College, and of a small
school for the education of the twelve foundation boys and others. The
wing then erected has been since so much altered and enlarged as
altogether to change its character. For the new constitution given to
the College in 1858, by which the small school contemplated in the
original foundation has been expanded into a large public school,
absorbing the greater part of the endowment, has necessitated changes
and enlargements on every side. Sir C. Barry’s own office expired with
the old constitution, but the new Board of Governors elected from a
number of candidates his eldest son Charles, who had for several years
previously assisted him at Dulwich. He has been called upon, not only to
erect the new schools on a scale of considerable grandeur, but also to
remodel the whole existing College buildings for the accommodation of
additional almspeople. In the course of this process it has been
necessary greatly to alter the wing built by Sir Charles, which in
itself was simple, and presented no marked features of design.

UNITARIAN CHAPEL AT MANCHESTER.--In 1837 Mr. Barry designed and erected
an Unitarian chapel in Manchester. The scale of the building was small,
and the design accordingly simple enough. The only notable point in it
is that its chief front is almost occupied by a lofty arch, behind which
the great window is recessed. The object was probably to obtain depth,
and as much vigour of design as the size admitted. The effect is
certainly successful.

ADDITIONS TO UNIVERSITY COLLEGE, OXFORD.--In 1839 he was called upon to
carry out some work at Oxford. He added a wing looking on the High
Street, and containing only living-rooms, to University College. It was,
of course, necessary that this should harmonize with the old building,
of which it forms a part. But it is distinguished by the careful
attention to refinement of detail, which marks all his works, giving
evidence of the study which he thought it worth while to bestow, even on
buildings comparatively insignificant in scale. He naturally took a more
than usual interest in this work, for it was the only one he ever did in
an university town (some designs for Worcester College in 1837 having
led to no result), and it stood in a prominent position in the High
Street, which he always regarded as in some respects the finest street
in Europe.

HURSTPIERPOINT CHURCH.--At a much later period (1843) he erected a
church of considerable scale at Hurstpierpoint, in Sussex, standing in a
position of some importance, as being visible both from the high ground
of the Devil’s Dyke and the rich plain country which opens out below.
The old church was inadequate for the increasing population, enlargement
was difficult and expensive, and a new church was resolved upon, the
parish granting a comparatively small portion of the sum required, and
the landed proprietors, Mr. Borrer and Mr. Campion, and the rector, the
Rev. C. H. Borrer (on whose exertions, as usual, the main work depended)
guaranteeing the rest.

The first design made was on a scale too magnificent for their means,
and in the Perpendicular style. This was perforce put aside, and the
church actually erected in the Early Pointed style.

The whole design shows the remarkable progress of church architecture,
since the time when his hand was formerly employed in its service. The
plan is cruciform, with nave, aisles, transepts and chancel, the latter
being thoroughly spacious, and open to the body of the church, though
well raised above it. The scale is considerable, for it provides for a
thousand people, without galleries. The details and ornaments are
simple, but (a point on which he always laid great stress) carried out
with consistency and harmony of style throughout the whole design.[58]
The materials are all of the best and most durable kind, and there is no
instance of false pretension in any quarter. Externally the effect
depends, as usual with his buildings, very greatly on beauty of
proportion, and here, for the first time, he was able to carry out his
predilection for a handsome spire in stone--in this case specially
needed, as the church rises out of the level plain, and its spire is a
prominent object for twenty miles round. Yet the cost (about 10,000_l._)
was not so great as that of each of his Islington churches in former

The work gave him great pleasure, though it came in the very busiest
time of the New Palace at Westminster, and though (as has been said)
church architecture was not the work to which his professional life was
devoted. With greater care for Gothic detail, with a far more thorough
grasp of the principles of the old Gothic architects, he did not,
however, lose sight of the fundamental ideas of the Church of England’s
Service, and secured the effect of space, openness, and unity, which he
conceived to be its paramount requirements.[59]

CANFORD MANOR.--In Gothic, as in Italian, he was called upon to exercise
his remarkable power of modification and reconstruction.

Canford Manor, the house of Sir John Guest, was one of the examples of
this process.

In 1826 Lord de Mauley, who then owned the house, consulted Mr. Blore as
to some necessary alterations, and the house was almost rebuilt from his
designs between 1826 and 1836, with the exception of the old kitchen,
which is named by tradition after John of Gaunt. Of the old house
therefore very little remains. Of Mr. Blore’s building there remain,
with many modifications, the dining-room and rooms over it on the east
front, and the whole of the south front. The rest is the work of Sir C.
Barry, who was consulted in 1848 by Sir John Guest. The plan will show
clearly the extent of his operations.[60] Alterations had been already
begun, and the removal of the principal staircase, entrance hall,





and billiard room had cleared the space which the great hall now

The main object which Mr. Barry had in view was to give unity, and
therefore grandeur, to a building, the effect of which was hardly
commensurate with its size. It will be seen by the plan that he built
the great entrance tower and corridor, completed the great hall, built
the conservatory, and the Nineveh porch for the reception of some
Assyrian marbles, presented by Mr. Layard to Sir John and Lady Charlotte
Guest. The old kitchen he restored, uniting it to the main building, and
remodelled or rebuilt the whole of the offices of the house. Besides
this, he carried out several external works. The gardens were laid out
with his usual care and interest, and with the objects which in such
work he invariably sought. He also added lodges and other external
works, besides the arch under the railway embankment for the main
approach, which was executed after the death of Sir John Guest.

As the extent of his work on the main building is given by the plan, so
its effect externally may be appreciated from the other illustration,
which represents the south front, and so contains both old and new work.
There can be no doubt that here, as elsewhere, that effect amounts to a
re-creation. It is interesting, as being the best example of his
treatment of a large Gothic house, and a proof that he could, on what
seemed to him the proper occasions, value the variety and
picturesqueness of grouping, on which so many authorities insist as the
one thing needful.

Internally the plan shows, as in other cases, how perfectly real comfort
and convenience can be united with much architectural grandeur. It
should be observed that, unfortunately for the effect of the interior,
the decorative portions of the work have not been fully carried out; and
there is, therefore, observable in them some want of that beauty of
finish and careful attention to minute detail, which is everywhere
characteristic in his designs. With the exception of this drawback, he
felt satisfied with a work, which he had carried out with great
pleasure, and which is ordinarily considered as exemplifying most
successfully his power to remodel existing buildings, with all the
vigour and effect which belong to original designs.

GAWTHORPE HALL.--The only other Gothic house of any importance, which
Sir C. Barry had the opportunity of restoring and remodelling, was
Gawthorpe Hall, near Burnley. The nature of the work here was different.
He had to deal with a fine old house of the Elizabethan period, built
about the year 1600, on the site of an older building, probably of the
“Peel” or border-castle character, and presenting considerable variety
of style in its different fronts. On one side it retained some of the
stern and bare simplicity of the old border Peel; on another, the
irregularity in position and size of the characteristic mullioned
windows produced a quaint and picturesque effect; the principal front on
the other side had greater regularity of fenestration, but was broken by
two polygonal bays at the angles and one square bay



projecting from the centre front, in which a low-arched porch gave
entrance to the house.

There was so much in the exterior of picturesque variety and quaintness,
that, when Mr. Barry was consulted by Sir James P. K. Shuttleworth, in
1849, he felt unwilling to make any considerable alterations. All he
thought needful was to give importance to the tower and chimneys, by
raising them so as to produce greater boldness in the sky-line, and to
surround the building with a pierced parapet of the characteristic
Elizabethan style. The old grass terraces round the house had
disappeared; these he carefully restored, and carried out the same
principle of architectural gardening, which he had so often exemplified
in his Italian buildings, by surrounding the house with a formal garden,
designed according to the geometrical patterns of the Elizabethan
period. The changes were not great, but they all tended to perfect and
render more striking the original character of the building; and the
work was carried on _con amore_, for he was a great admirer of the
Elizabethan style for domestic purposes, and inclined to prefer it for
such purposes to the purer Gothic forms.

In the interior he had somewhat greater scope. It had been modernized by
successive owners, yet so that it still retained, almost untouched, the
dining-hall and the richly decorated ceiling and carved panellings of
the drawing-room. The problem therefore was simply to preserve and carry
out the old style of decoration, to sweep away modern excrescences, and
at the same time to give that greater convenience and adaptation to
present requirements, which these additions had been intended to
supply. It was not one likely to cause him much difficulty, and, though
all his suggestions have not been carried out, it was certainly solved
very successfully, and the house is now a picturesque and beautiful
specimen of its peculiar style.

DUNROBIN CASTLE.--A work of considerable importance, for which Sir
Charles Barry was consulted, although his designs were to a great degree
modified, and were carried out by others, was Dunrobin Castle.[61] The
castle, belonging to the Duke of Sutherland, overlooks the Dornoch
Firth, and has the advantage of a fine position. It was a very old
building, with some points of interest, but little pretensions to
grandeur. Alterations were begun upon it in 1845, growing, as usual, in
scale and magnificence, especially when the prospect of a royal visit
stimulated the owner’s interest in it, and increased his requirements.

In 1844 designs were furnished by Mr. Barry at the request of the Duke;
but it was found by Mr. Leslie that the information, on which they were
based, had been inaccurate, and that the designs could not be carried
out, without greatly enlarging the plateau on which the house stands, at
an enormous expense, and without more alteration of the old castle, than
the Duke was prepared to sanction. Some necessary alterations were
therefore suggested, and the designs returned for further
consideration. It would appear also that ideas of a design of totally
different character were entertained by the Duke. These would have
altered the building from the chateau-like treatment suggested by Mr.
Barry to a regular “castellated” style, with flat roofs and embrasured
towers. Subsequently however this design was altogether set aside, and a
set of drawings prepared by Mr. Leslie, with the characteristic high
roofs of Scotch castle-architecture, returning in great measure to Mr.
Barry’s original design as a basis. These were submitted to him for his
approval, and some alterations made by his suggestion.

The work was then begun. In the course of it Mr. Barry was frequently
consulted on points both of principle and of detail, and furnished
drawings of ornaments and internal arrangements, as well as of external
design. In 1848 he visited Dunrobin, when the work was nearly complete.
He then advised some considerable alteration of the great tower, and
designed a terrace garden, both of which were carried out.

It will be seen therefore that the work is partly Sir C. Barry’s and
partly Mr. Leslie’s. The original designs of Sir Charles were made the
basis of the work, and several alterations of principle and detail were
made by him, as “consulting architect,” during its progress. But, of
course, plans made at a distance must require much alteration, and the
work, growing as it proceeds in capabilities and requirements, calls for
much, of which the actual superintendent of the work must have the
credit and the responsibility.

On the whole, the north or entrance front is very much like Sir
Charles’s original design, except that this design had no attics nor
basement story. The southern and eastern fronts have far less
resemblance to what was at first proposed by him, as it was here that
the inaccuracy of the information supplied to him did the greatest

It was the only work of any size, with which he was connected in
Scotland. He had given designs for an alteration of Drummond Castle in
1827, and for alterations of Drumlanrig Castle in 1840. But in neither
case were his ideas carried out.

It will be seen from this enumeration, that his Gothic works, though not
numerous, were varied in character, embracing buildings of collegiate,
ecclesiastical, and domestic style. After 1837 his Gothic study was
devoted to, and almost absorbed by, the works at the New Palace at
Westminster. The progress visible in these lesser buildings, both in
detail and in power of treatment, was partly introductory to the greater
work, and partly derived from it. In it mainly his Gothic architecture
must be tested. The other works merely show that his studies in Gothic
were not confined to that one style, or to those principles of
arrangement and composition, which he there considered to be rendered
necessary by the circumstances of the case.



     Plan of the Chapter. Section I. HISTORY OF THE COMPETITION--Burning
     of the old Houses of Parliament--Opening of the Competition for the
     New Building--Award of the Commissioners--Approved by the Select
     Committee of the Houses--Protest of the advocates of Classical
     Architecture--Critical controversy--Personal attacks on Mr.
     Barry--Meeting of unsuccessful Competitors--Presentation of
     Petition by Mr. Hume--Opposition quashed by Sir Robert
     Peel--Protest against it by Professor Donaldson and others. Section
     II. PROGRESS OF THE BUILDING--Difficulties as to the
     Foundation--Commission of Inquiry as to the Stone to be used--First
     Stone laid--Unavoidable delays--Committee of the Peers--Generous
     support of Earl of Lincoln--Committee of the Commons--Appointment
     of New Palace Commissioners--Appointment of Dr. Reid--Difficulties
     arising therefrom, and arbitration of Mr. Gwilt--The Great
     Clock--Competition and success of Mr. Dent--Professor Airy and Mr.
     E. B. Denison referees--Mr. Denison the chief Director--His tone
     and method of controversy--The Great Bell and its disasters--The
     Fine Arts Commission--The Architect’s exclusion from it--His scheme
     for the Decoration of the Building--The Scheme of the
     Commissioners--Its ideal excellence and practical
     drawbacks--Connection with Mr. Pugin--Real nature of the aid given
     by him--Mr. Thomas and the Stone Carving--Mr. Meeson and the
     practical Engineering--Other assistants in the work--Opening of the
     House of Peers--Opening and Alteration of the House of Commons--The
     Architect knighted in 1852--The Great Tower hardly completed at his
     death. Section III. THE REMUNERATION QUESTION--Its points of public
     interest--General question of Architectural percentage--Its bearing
     on the particular work--Original attempt at a bargain by Lord
     Bessborough--Accepted under protest--Re-opening of the
     question--First Minute of the Treasury, and reply--Mr. White acts
     for Sir C. Barry--Second Minute of the Treasury--Counter
     statement--Third Minute of the Treasury--Submitted to by Sir C.
     Barry--Protest of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and
     reply--Practice of the Government after Sir C. Barry’s
     death--General reference to the question of Expenditure--Summing up
     of the chief points of the controversy.

The description of the greatest work of Sir C. Barry must necessarily
occupy a considerable place in the narrative of his life. Independently
of its intrinsic importance, both in a historical and architectural
point of view, it was undoubtedly that, to which the best twenty years
of his life were devoted, which gradually absorbed his attention, almost
to the exclusion of other work, and which, not so much by its labour as
by the anxieties, disputes, and disappointments arising during its
execution, at last exhausted the health and strength of his iron

It would be needless to give a detailed description of a building, which
tells its own story to the eyes of the public; it would be entirely out
of place to attempt a general criticism on its merits. But the points,
to which it seems needful to direct attention, are partly historical,
and partly descriptive or critical. In the historical part of the
notice, contained in the present chapter, it will be necessary to give
some particulars with regard to--

     I. The history of the competition, of Mr. Barry’s success, and of
     the opposition with which that success was greeted.

     II. The order and dates of the erection of the various parts of the
     building; the alterations made during the progress of design, and
     the notice taken of them by Parliament; the new elements introduced
     into the work by the appointment of Dr. Reid to superintend the
     warming and ventilation of the building, of the Fine Art Commission
     to direct its embellishment, and of Mr. Denison and Mr. Dent to
     construct the great clock; and the assistance received during the
     progress of the work from other artists.

     III. The controversy carried on with Her Majesty’s Government on
     the subject of the professional remuneration of the architect.

The next chapter is reserved for a descriptive and critical notice, and
must refer to--

     I. The growth of the design, and the reasons which dictated its
     general scheme and details.

     II. The general description of the plan and design, so far as such
     description is needed, as a key to the observation of the building

SECTION I.--On the night of October 16th, 1834, Mr. Barry was returning
from Brighton on the coach, when a red glare on the London side of the
horizon showed that a great fire had begun. Eager questions elicited the
news, that the Houses of Parliament had caught fire, and that all
attempts to stop the conflagration were unavailing. No sooner had the
coach reached the office, than he hurried to the spot, and remained
there all night. All London was out, absorbed in the grandeur and terror
of the sight.

The destruction was so far complete, that preservation or restoration
was out of the question; the erection of a new building was inevitable,
on a scale, and with an opportunity for the exercise of architectural
genius, hitherto unexampled in England. The thought of this great
opportunity, and the conception of designs for the future, mingled in
Mr. Barry’s mind, as in the minds of many other spectators, with those
more obviously suggested by the spectacle itself.

The opportunity occurred at a critical time in the progress of
architecture, when the long empire of classicism was being broken, and
the claims of Gothic began to be recognised. There were all the energy
and enterprise abroad, which belong to a period of change. The whole
artistic world was on the alert, and the public generally were eagerly
desirous that the opportunity should be used to the utmost.

Nor were these desires disappointed. At first, indeed, there was some
inclination to keep to routine, and Sir R. Smirke was desired to prepare
designs for a new building. But this course was felt to be
unsatisfactory. The Government were called upon (by a published letter
from Sir E. Cust to Sir R. Peel) to open a competition and appoint a
Royal Commission to award the prizes. They readily responded to the
call; and in accordance with the recommendations of a Committee of the
House of Lords presented in June, 1835, the terms of competition were
published. The style was to be “Gothic or Elizabethan;” the drawings
were to be sent in (without formal estimates) and the decision
pronounced before January 20th, 1836; and four premiums of 500_l._ each
were promised, it being understood that the architect receiving the
first premium should carry out the work, unless some grave cause to the
contrary should be discovered, in which case he was to receive an extra
premium of 1000_l._

The period of competition was short; only by unremitting exertion could
drawings of such a building be prepared within six months; and certainly
by the successful competitor such exertion was unsparingly bestowed.
Four or five hours’ sleep was the utmost which he allowed himself during
this time, and he paid the penalty of his over-exertion in a short and
sharp attack of illness, when the work was done. The drawings were sent
in on December 1st, 1835. There were ninety-seven competitors, and Mr.
Barry’s plan was No. 64. When once the strain was over, his mind most
characteristically threw off its anxiety, until rumours began to ooze
out that No. 64 was among the first, and not unlikely to be the chosen
design. Then followed a short time of vehement excitement, till on
February 29th, 1836, the award was published, and the first premium
assigned to Mr. Barry.

The Report of the Commissioners was published. It stated that the
imperfect state of knowledge as to sound and ventilation had prevented
their giving much weight to these points in their decision; and that
therefore they had confined themselves “to the consideration of the
beauty and grandeur of the general design, to its practicability, to the
skill shown in the various arrangements of the building, and the
accommodation afforded; to the attention paid to the instructions
delivered, as well as to the equal distribution of light and air through
every part of the structure.” On these grounds they assigned the palm
to Mr. Barry, and continued as follows:--

... We beg leave respectfully to add, that it is impossible to
     examine the minute drawings for this design, and not feel
     confidence in the author’s skill in Gothic Architecture; still, as
     the beauty of this depends upon the attention to detail, for which
     the architect has no rule to guide him, but must trust to his
     practical knowledge and good taste, we humbly, yet strongly,
     recommend to your Majesty, that his Drawings shall be submitted
     from time to time to competent judges of their effect, lest from
     over-confidence, negligence, or inattention in the execution of the
     work, we fail to obtain that result to which our just expectations
     have been raised.

     We are, however, far from thinking it advisable, should the plan,
     when revised and perfected, be finally approved of by your Majesty,
     that it shall be subject to any alteration, that may have the
     effect of changing its character, or of impairing its unity of

     We are aware that we are not called upon in selecting and
     classifying the plans for your Majesty’s approbation to make the
     cost of any design an object of our consideration; and we fully
     agree in the prudence of having abstained from requiring the
     competitors to furnish estimates, which would have been productive
     of no public advantage, whilst the trouble and expense attending
     them would have been a considerable bar to competition.... We are
     conscious that in the plan we have selected for your Majesty’s
     approbation, the enriched appearance of the several elevations will
     naturally excite suspicion, that it cannot be carried into effect
     but at an enormous expense. In the absence of the detail of any
     portion of the work, we can form no perfect idea of the architect’s
     intentions, but even with the minute drawings before us, we have
     sufficient evidence to lead us to the belief that, from the
     unbroken character and general uniformity of the different fronts,
     and external decorations being wholly unnecessary in any of the
     courts, no design worthy of the country, of equal magnitude, can
     offer greater facilities for economy in the execution.[62]

The proposal here made to appoint a controlling commission (which many
conceived to imply a recommendation that the original commission should
be continued for this purpose) was unusual, and Mr. Barry was censured
by his professional brethren for not protesting against it. Probably he
felt that it was impracticable; certainly it was not carried out, and he
was one of the last men in the world to submit to minute or vexatious
control. Meanwhile he left matters to take their course.

The Report of the Commissioners was approved by a Select Committee of
the Houses. An estimate was made by the architect, aided by Messrs.
Chawner and Hunt, and afterwards, by the direction of the Board of
Works, tested by Messrs. Seward and Chawner. The calculated expense was
about 800,000_l._, exclusive of furniture and fittings.[63] The period
fixed for its completion (with little foresight of the difficulties that
must intervene) was about six years, and on this notion was based the
calculation of the architect’s remuneration, out of which arose the
harassing and painful controversy, to be more particularly narrated

All at present seemed favourable; and the general opinion of the public
ratified the choice of the Commissioners. The triumph was one of which
any man might feel proud; and the work, commenced by the architect at
the age of forty, in the prime of life and vigour, might have been
expected to be carried out as auspiciously as it had been begun.[64]

But even now the triumph was not without alloy. Professional jealousy
did not sleep. Perhaps it was inevitable that some soreness should be
felt by the unsuccessful competitors for so important a work. It was
certainly natural that sharp criticisms should be pronounced on the
selected design. But happily few architects have had to encounter such a
clamour as was then raised,--a clamour which certainly passed beyond the
legitimate province of artistic criticism, venturing to attack the
competency and honesty of the judges, and the private character of the
successful architect.

In the first instance the partisans of classical architecture raised
their voices in a somewhat tardy protest against the adoption of the
Gothic style. They felt it to be a death-blow to the supremacy which
Greek and Roman architecture had hitherto enjoyed. An article in the
‘London and Westminster Review,’ by “B.,” stigmatized Gothic as “a mere
‘ecclesiastical style,’” and advocated a change of site, as a less evil
than the local necessity for the adoption of obnoxious Gothicism. W. R.
Hamilton’s “Letters to the Earl of Elgin” embodied, in an abler and more
elaborate dissertation, the same protest against that which the writer
conceived to be an antique and venerable barbarism. The rising Gothic
school, of course, would not suffer such artistic blasphemy to pass
unnoticed. Col. Jackson, in answer to Mr. Hamilton, took a defensive
line, denying a monopoly of beauty to Classical architecture, and
putting forward for Gothic the plea of nationality, of picturesque or
romantic beauty, and of local associations. But this tone did not
content Mr. Pugin; he followed with an article in favour of Gothic,
breathing a little of the more aggressive spirit of the present Gothic
school. He himself had not appeared among the competitors, although one
set of designs was believed to have emanated in great degree from
him.[65] It will be obvious to any one who knows his designs or
writings, that he must greatly have disapproved of many main principles
in Mr. Barry’s designs. But the question at issue was the dignity and
value of Gothic architecture generally, and he plunged into it with all
the enthusiasm of his character.

All this controversy was natural and justifiable; the only objection to
the plea of the Classicists was that it came too late, and the whole is
interesting, chiefly as marking the important influence which this
competition was felt to exercise on the progress of Gothic architecture
in this country.

But the storm of personal opposition and abuse which followed cannot be
so easily excused. At first anonymous attacks appeared in newspapers on
the “highly ornamented and meretricious” character of the design, on the
dangerously artistic beauty of the drawings, as tending to mislead the
judges, and on the incompetency of the judges themselves, who were
designated as mere amateurs. Hints were even ventured upon as to the
favourable disposition of the chief commissioner towards Mr. Barry. It
was pronounced that the competition was a “complete failure,” and that
it ought to be renewed on a different basis, and with a greater freedom
of choice as to style. When the design was altered and enlarged, to suit
an extension of the site, the alteration was called a plagiarism, and
alleged to vitiate the selection of the judges. All this was bad enough,
but it is only that to which all public men are exposed, an acknowledged
drawback to the great benefit of a free press, which will exist as long
as anonymous writing is recognised. If this had been all, it might have
been patiently borne.

But it was not all. Far more decided and unusual measures followed. An
exhibition of the unsuccessful designs was opened on March 21st, 1836,
with a view to invite comparisons. Finally a meeting of the unsuccessful
competitors was held, to take steps to set the award aside. The chairman
(one of the most distinguished of the unsuccessful competitors) stated
the case, as one in which public duty must conquer private friendship,
and defy the danger of misconstruction as to the motives of action; and
after some discussion it was resolved, that the award of the judges was
not confirmed by the public, that the prizemen did not merit the
preference which that award gave them, that, in fact, a board of amateur
judges was necessarily incompetent, and that a petition should be made
to be heard at the bar of the House of Commons, to show cause for a
competent commission to revise the whole proceedings.

The resolutions did not pass without energetic protest, especially from
Mr. (now Prof.) Donaldson. It was urged by him (as by Sir E. Cust, in a
pamphlet subsequently published) with a force and truth fatal to the
objectors, that all these proceedings came too late, and that those, who
by competing had acknowledged the judges, could not now with any
propriety vilify them, and set their decision aside.

The petition however was prepared, and presented by Mr. Hume, on June
22nd, 1836; it was grounded mainly on the fact that four Commissioners
only signed the award, and the assertion that in that award
considerations of expense and the conditions of competition were
disregarded; its prayer was for a fresh investigation of the whole
matter. This was followed up in a formal attack by Mr. Hume, on July
22nd, based on the alleged ground of the alterations made in the plan,
but showing a characteristic alarm at the prospect of large expenditure.
The Commissioners’ award was ably defended by Mr. Tracy (afterwards Lord
Sudeley), one of their number. But the question was settled at once by a
speech of Sir R. Peel, in which he pointed out, with obvious truth, that
if Mr. Hume’s suggestions were adopted the “whole principle of
competition would be destroyed,” and the public faith endangered; and
expressed a pity (somewhat prophetic) for the successful competitor as a
man already “hunted and pursued,” “_cui sua mortifera est victoria_.” It
was impossible to resist such an argument, even had the criticisms on
the successful design been impartial, and the unpopularity of it real.
But, in fact, the opposition was almost entirely professional, and in
the profession itself it did not pass unquestioned. For the debate was
followed by the publication of a protest of twelve competitors, against
the proceedings of the original meeting of dissentients and the
presentation of the petition, on the ground that the steps taken to
overturn the petition were “indecorous and unprofessional,” and that the
whole proceedings tended to disunion in the architectural profession.
This protest was signed by Messrs. Donaldson, Angell, Kendall, Mocatta,
Davies, Morgan, Wallace, Hakewill, Robinson, Blore, Lamb, and Bardwell.
After this the opposition gradually died away, except in anonymous

During the whole of this time Mr. Barry, by the advice of his friends,
had remained silent. He felt deeply the painful position in which he was
placed, and, most of all, certain insinuations, touching not only his
own character, but that of Sir E. Cust. It was asserted that he was “Sir
E. Cust’s tool,” that the design in fact was that gentleman’s, and he
only his draughtsman.[66] It was a relief to know that the Select
Committee of the House of Commons, appointed to consider the question in
March, 1836, gave opportunity for the following evidence from Sir E.

     _Lord Francis Egerton._ You make mention of Mr. Barry’s plan; do
     you mean to imply you knew it to be Mr. Barry’s plan at the time
     you considered it?

     _Sir E. Cust._ In answer to that question, I must say that I never
     had the pleasure of seeing but one design of Mr. Barry’s in my
     life; I knew nothing of his style, and was not even personally
     acquainted with him; but I had heard so much of the merits of his
     plan, that when No. 64 passed in review, which was not till I had
     seen the greater number of those which were submitted to us, I
     certainly had a strong suspicion, from the beauty of it, that it
     could be no other than Mr. Barry’s; but I had nothing in the world
     to lead me to this belief, excepting the superiority of the design.
     Neither had I a knowledge, from looking at the plans, of the
     authors of any of them; I made a guess, it is true, at one or two;
     but in each conjecture I was mistaken.... I should like to add, as
     I am the only one of the four Commissioners who had a personal
     knowledge of Mr. Barry before we entered upon our duties, that,
     immediately upon my receiving the intimation that my name was to be
     proposed as one of the Commissioners, I signified to Mr. Barry my
     desire that we might have no communication with each other, pending
     the inquiry, and that, whenever we might meet, the subject of the
     Plans of the Houses of Parliament should never be brought into
     conversation between us, which he so strictly fulfilled, that,
     until I saw his plan in the due course of examination, I never had
     the slightest glimpse of a sketch, nor the slightest hint of any
     kind from him or from any common friend, which would lead me to
     infer that No. 64 was the design of Mr. Barry.

After evidence such as this, the calumny could be repeated no longer.

Of the silence which he observed, trying as it was, he never had cause
to repent. Many of those who opposed him resumed their relations of
intimacy or friendship, when the bitterness of disappointment had passed
away, and could hardly have failed to regret the course which they had
pursued.[68] On the other hand, the noble and generous support of the
friends (most of all of Mr. Donaldson) who stood up to vindicate his
character against so strong a professional array, was intensely felt at
the time, and never forgotten in after-life.[69] It was the only point
in the whole proceedings which he cared to remember. But the trial was a
painful one, and, when the attack died away, it left a vague discontent,
which bore afterwards many fruits of trouble. It deserves a record as a
specimen of the drawbacks which attend on professional success.
Fortunately it is an experience which in all the important competitions
since opened has never had a parallel.

SECTION II.--These troubles having at last passed away, and all
preliminaries having been arranged, Mr. Barry entered upon his work full
of energy and hope. Great public expectation had been excited; the
design of the new building was generally popular, and the authorities
were prepared to aid and favour its execution in the best possible
manner. He did not feel the burden of the work, and the responsibility
now laid upon him. For a long time his unremitting exertion was in the
truest sense “a labour of love.” Had circumstances allowed of the
completion of the building, in anything like the time named, and at an
expense such as had been calculated, the work would perhaps have been
less beautiful than it is, and would certainly have been far less
important in its influence on the “Gothic revival.” But it would have
been universally accepted as a brilliant success, and the architect
would have been spared many troubles. As it is, the account of the
progress of the building shows conclusively (what those who have
experience of such works know but too well) that difficulty,
controversy, and misrepresentation beset the career of one who has to
work for the public service. Had all been foreseen, it cannot be doubted
that Mr. Barry would gladly have faced it all in the service of his art.
But he would hardly have entered on his work with so much buoyancy and
hopefulness of spirit, with so much self-reliance, and so much
confidence in the future.

His difficulties arose, first from the inevitable occurrence of delays,
for which he was in no sense responsible, and the liberty which he
claimed of modifying his design; next, from the appointment of
independent authorities to superintend certain portions of the work;
and lastly, from the course which the Government took in respect of his
professional remuneration. No one perhaps will say of the difficulties
which he experiences in life, that he does absolutely nothing to bring
them upon himself: but it may be safely declared of Mr. Barry that his
one object throughout was the perfection of his work, and he may claim
the sympathy which belongs to enthusiastic and devoted labour in the
cause of duty.

The first vote of public money was made on July 3rd, 1837, and the first
portion of the building, the river-wall, was at once proceeded with. The
superintendence of this work was shared by the architect with Mr. James
Walker, the well-known civil engineer. A coffer dam was constructed, and
the foundations of the wall laid upon concrete, which in some places is
as much as twelve feet in thickness. At the very outset of the work
unforeseen difficulties were encountered, and unforeseen expenses
incurred. The soil of the bed of the river was found to be exceedingly
treacherous, in many places little better than a quicksand, and
unfortunately the same character attached to the soil under a large
portion of the building. Great care however was taken with the
foundations, and they were made thoroughly satisfactory; still, as an
additional precaution, Mr. Barry resolved not to draw the piles of the
cofferdam, as had been at first intended, but to cut them off level with
the dredged bed of the river, in order that the lower part of the dam
might remain as a kind of fender or outwork to the wall, protecting it
against the scour of the river, which has in other places proved so
dangerous to the stability of buildings. The wall was faced with large
blocks of Aberdeen granite, and completed in 1839, and meanwhile the
rest of the work proceeded, till it was brought up as nearly as possible
to the level of the terrace on the river wall.

While the foundations were proceeding a commission was appointed to
examine and report upon the various kinds of building stone, and select
one, which should be at once thoroughly durable, and capable of being
worked with tolerable ease and cheapness. The Commissioners were all
distinguished men, Sir Henry (then Mr.) de la Beche, Mr. William Smith,
Mr. C. H. Smith, and the architect. In 1838 they visited all the
best-known quarries, and, after very careful inquiries and experiments,
they presented a Report on March 16th, 1839, recommending the selection
of the magnesian limestone from Bolsover Moor and its neighbourhood. It
was subsequently found that the Bolsover quarries were insufficient to
supply in good condition the large quantity of stone required, and for a
considerable portion of the building a stone of the same general
character (Anston stone) was used.

Well knowing the deleterious effect of the atmosphere (especially the
London atmosphere) on all stone, excepting those which, like granite,
are fit only for works of the most simple and massive design, Mr. Barry
was glad to share the responsibility of the selection with men of high
scientific attainment and reputation. That, in spite of all that care
and science could do, the stone has shown some signs of decay (in a
degree, it may be remarked, greatly exaggerated) is well known; but it
is doubtful whether any other selection would have proved more
fortunate, considering all the requirements of the case.

It is strange enough, that no public ceremony was thought necessary to
mark the real commencement of the most extensive and important building
of the time. The first stone was laid privately, by the wife of the
architect, on April 27th, 1840.

It was very unfortunate, that the site could only be taken possession of
gradually, as the old buildings upon it were gradually relinquished by
the public bodies occupying them, and that the exigencies of the public
service demanded the piecemeal occupation of the various parts of the
building, as fast as they were completed. There could be no grand
“opening” of the whole building, no opportunity for forming a judgment
of its various parts, in their due relation and subordination to one
another. Perhaps to this was due the fact, that throughout the whole
course of the work there was no public ceremonial to serve as a
recognition of its importance, and of the labour and talent bestowed on
its design and execution.

From April, 1840, the work proceeded with great dispatch, in spite of
many peculiar difficulties. The site (as has been said) could not be at
once occupied; various alterations were suggested, either by the
increase of public requirements, or by the experience gained in the
progress of the work. Perhaps the most serious difficulty of all was to
be found in the appointment in January, 1840, of Dr. Reid to
superintend the warming and ventilating of the building, and the
controversies (hereafter to be alluded to) which arose from that
appointment. These various causes could not but tend to delay that rapid
execution which Mr. Barry had expected, and which the public service
required.[70] From this delay arose the first of the many troubles,
which beset him in the course of his labours, and which must always, in
greater or less degree, be encountered by those who carry out works of
great extent and complexity, under public authorities, and with public

The temporary accommodation provided for the House of Lords was both
insufficient and inconvenient, while their old house, which had been
surrendered for the use of the House of Commons, afforded every
convenience and comfort. It was natural, perhaps inevitable, that the
delay in the completion of the new House of Peers should create
dissatisfaction. This feeling found its vent in the appointment of a
Committee of Enquiry, which began its sittings in 1844, and reported
from time to time to the House. In the course of its investigations it
was found that several departures from the original design (which are
noticed in the next chapter) had taken place, especially in respect of
the royal approach and staircase. It was allowed in evidence by Lord
Sudeley (Mr. Hanbury Tracy) one of the original Commissioners of
Selection, that it “never was the idea, expectation, or wish of the
Commissioners, that Mr. Barry should be confined to the plan approved
of.” It was contended by the architect, that the alterations were either
alterations of detail, not affecting the main features of the building
and not increasing the expense, or else such as were necessitated by the
requirements of further accommodation by the Board of Works, and
therefore having “direct or implied authority.” But the Committee judged
otherwise, and called the “special attention of the House” to the fact,
that “alterations had been made by the architect without due authority.”

This Report was equivalent to a public censure. Not only the decision of
the Committee itself, but also the tone of much of the examination,
naturally caused Mr. Barry the greatest possible mortification. Had the
Government assumed the same tone in its dealings with him, it is very
doubtful whether he would have been able to continue the work. But the
cordial and generous support of the late Duke of Newcastle (then Earl of
Lincoln and First Commissioner of the Board of Works), both set him
right in public estimation, and gave him personally the greatest
encouragement and comfort. His Lordship, in his evidence before the
Committee, while assuming for his office the power and responsibility of
a rigid control of expenditure, yet urged forcibly the necessity of
allowing much scope to the architect of a great public work, and of
giving him a free and liberal support. He declared his perfect
accordance with Mr. Barry in all the steps hitherto taken, while (in
order to meet the views of the Committee) he arranged that for all
subsequent alterations the previous sanction of the Board of Works
should be formally asked and obtained. The effect of this firm and
generous support was at once visible in the milder tone of the second
Report of the Lords Committee.

But the matter was not allowed to rest here. The question of the
alterations made attracted attention in the House of Commons, and a
Committee was appointed to investigate the matter still more closely.
The result was a Report declaring that “the Committee impute no blame to
Mr. Barry for the course he had taken, and have every reason to believe,
that all the alterations hitherto made have conduced to the convenience
and general effect of the building.” They approved (as the Lords’
Committee had done) of the new arrangement made by the Board of Works;
but they did so expressly on the ground of the “misapprehension”
existing as to the course hitherto pursued.

Thus the difficulty, which had seemed most formidable, passed away. It
was allowed by the architect that alterations, _not involving additional
expense_, had been made by his own authority. It is clear that, even if
the requirements of the public service had not varied, many alterations
must have suggested themselves in the carrying out of so great a work.
It was allowed on the other side, that some measure of freedom must be
granted to an architect, whose professional character and hope of future
reputation were at stake, in the endeavour to make his building as
perfect as possible. The only question was, whether the design, in its
main features, was still a fair development of that originally selected.
This being decided in Mr. Barry’s favour, all serious opposition was at
an end, while the opposition already experienced acted perhaps as an
useful corrective to his natural tendency to alteration and development
of plan.

It was, no doubt, in consequence of the difficulties above noticed, that
a Commission was appointed on March 17th, 1848, to “superintend the
completion of the New Palace.” The Commissioners were Earl de Grey, Sir
John F. Burgoyne, and T. Greene, Esq., M.P. They were to “determine upon
all designs for fittings, decorations,” &c., “all modifications of
plan,” “all arrangements for warming, ventilating, and lighting the
building,” subject to the approval of the Treasury, whenever additional
cost should be proposed. The office must have been a difficult one,
between the Treasury on the one hand and the Board of Works on the
other, and although their relations with the architect were of the most
friendly character, I cannot find that their appointment greatly
facilitated the progress of the work.

Such difficulties must be expected by all who work for the public. No
one can question the right of the Houses of Lords and Commons to
examine, censure, and indirectly control, those who are working for
their service. But then these public servants should be left free from
other interference, with undivided power and undivided responsibility.

This was not the case with Mr. Barry. It has been already said, that the
most serious difficulties, which he had to encounter, arose from the
appointment of various authorities to superintend certain portions of
the work, without any dependence on the architect, and without the
provision of any tribunal, to which differences between them and him
could be referred for final decision. In the case of the New Palace of
Westminster, as of other important buildings, experience has tended to
show the difficulty (almost amounting to impossibility) of such a
division of power and responsibility in the execution of any great
public work. This division is likely to suggest itself to official
boards or functionaries, anxious to unite all available talent and
knowledge in the service of the public. Moreover, what is true in all
classes of work is especially true in relation to architecture,
many-sided as it is, touching on one side the domain of science, and on
the other the domain of art. No architect in his senses is likely to
refuse to take advice, in the many and various questions which must meet
him in his work, from those who have made such special questions their
peculiar study. But to divide power is to paralyse action and destroy
responsibility. Even with the most honest intentions, and with the most
sincere desire of a good understanding on both sides, differences of
opinion must arise between co-ordinate authorities, leading to
controversy, which is likely to be obstinate, in proportion to the
earnestness and sense of public duty felt by both. Such was certainly
Mr. Barry’s experience. The work was so important, that interference on
all sides was likely; his own character was certainly one, open enough
to suggestions, but ready to resist dictation.

The first serious instance of this difficulty showed itself in the long
controversy, which arose between him and Dr. D. B. Reid. It will be
enough to glance at its leading features, and the principles which it

As early as 1839 the attention of the Government and of Parliament was
directed to the warming and ventilation of the New Palace generally, and
especially of the two Houses themselves. Dr. Reid had for many years
devoted much time and study to these subjects, and had attained
considerable reputation as an authority upon them. He was accordingly
consulted by the Government, and formed a plan, by which all chimneys
were to be dispensed with, and all the smoke and vitiated air of every
room in the building were to be carried into great shafts, forming
towers in external design, in which large furnaces were to create a
sufficient upward draught. Similar shafts were to convey cold air for
general dispersion, and various mechanical contrivances were to aid the
general action of the ventilating system.

It was generally felt at this time that some new system must be adopted
for the warming and ventilating of great public buildings. Hence, the
very novelty and comprehensiveness of Dr. Reid’s plan tended to
recommend it to public notice, in spite of much scepticism on the part
of practical men. Accordingly, in January, 1840, he was formally
appointed at a fixed salary, to superintend the warming and ventilating
of the New Palace. This appointment was made, without any consultation
with the architect, and without any provision whatever as to the
relative subordination of the two authorities thus created. What limit
(if any) should be put to Dr. Reid’s requirements of accommodation in
space and position, how they were to be reconciled with the æsthetic or
constructional character of the design, where the ultimate
responsibility was to lie, if the efficiency of the building were
seriously affected--all these questions were left undetermined. Nor was
any authority provided, to which appeal could be made, if any important
difference of opinion should arise between the architect and ventilator.

Division and disagreement were the inevitable result of this state of
things. In consequence of Dr. Reid’s requirements alterations became
necessary in every quarter of the building. The central tower itself was
originally designed to furnish a great ventilating shaft, though it was
afterwards gladly retained as an architectural feature. Finally it
appeared that about _one-third_ of the whole cubic contents of the
building was to be surrendered to Dr. Reid; and it was the opinion of
Mr. Barry that the construction would be seriously affected by the
ventilating arrangements, and especially that the “fire-proofing”
ordered by the Government was all but nullified.

This led to a decisive rupture,[71] attended of course by much
controversy and mutual recrimination, into which it would now be
needless and improper to enter. The Government determined to refer the
case to professional arbitration; Joseph Gwilt, Esq., was selected as
arbiter. After a long and careful examination of the statements made,
and papers presented by both parties, he made a report in September,
1845, stating his opinion, first, that Dr. Reid’s system, by the use of
vertical flues, destroyed the fireproof character of the building, and,
next, that the delay which had taken place was mainly due to the
division of authority, and the want of detailed drawings explaining Dr.
Reid’s views and requirements. He added a recommendation, that the whole
authority over the building should be restored to the architect, but
that he should be directed to call to his aid some “experts” in
ventilation, and to act by their advice.

This award was one in which Dr. Reid refused to acquiesce. The matter
was brought, by petition on his part, before Parliamentary Committees in
the course of the next year. Various witnesses were examined, chiefly on
the question whether a general scheme of ventilation could be applied to
the whole building, or whether it would be advisable to ventilate the
various parts separately. The final result was a report from the Lords’
Committee, stating that the only impediment to the preparation of the
House of Lords for the session of 1847 arose from the delay of
arrangements for warming and ventilating after the plan of Dr. D. B.
Reid, and recommending that the warming and ventilating of the House of
Lords be confided to Mr. Barry. So ended this long and painful dispute,
and in 1846 Dr. Reid ceased to have any official connection with the
building as a whole. It was found that responsibility could not be
divided; a false step had been taken, and that step it was necessary to

For a time the general care of the ventilation and lighting remained in
the hands of the architect, who had the advantage of the advice of
Professor Faraday, in the course which he adopted. Subsequently, the
ventilation and lighting of the House of Commons were restored for a
short time to Dr. Reid, but he was soon after superseded by Mr.
Goldsworthy Gurney, who has since been succeeded by Dr. Percy.

Under the able management of these gentlemen, Dr. Reid’s system has been
set aside, at least as far as the collection of all smoke into one shaft
is concerned; and I believe that the constructional arrangements of the
building have been found satisfactory. The change, however, could not be
made without great difficulty, in respect of chimneys and ventilating
flues, for which Sir C. Barry has been, naturally but unjustly, held

The next instance of the same difficulty arose from the appointment of
an independent authority (Mr. E. B. Denison, Q.C.) to design the great
clock and bells, and superintend their erection. No one can question Mr.
Denison’s ability, the attention he has devoted to clocks and bells, or
his real desire to do good public service. On the other hand, many
besides Sir C. Barry have found serious difficulties in working with
him, unless prepared to yield up their opinions entirely to his, or to
submit to injurious imputations, in the public press, and even in
official correspondence. In the course of the work upon the great clock,
Sir C. Barry was unfortunate enough to incur Mr. Denison’s hostility,
and was assailed accordingly in no measured terms.[72] Several of her
Majesty’s Ministers, filling the office of First Commissioner of
Works--Lord John Manners, Sir W. Molesworth, and Mr. W. Cowper--shared
this misfortune, and were attacked in a similar way; and Professor Airy,
at whose instance Mr. Denison was appointed, and who at first acted with
him as a joint referee, finally found himself compelled to resign his

But it is needless to resuscitate a defunct controversy. I shall only
refer to it, so far as I am forced to do so by a “History of the
Westminster Clock,”[73] written by Mr. Denison before, but published
since, Sir C. Barry’s death. I shall notice merely its statements of
fact; but it is right to remark, that, in so doing, I labour under
considerable disadvantage. There are indeed many facts, with which Sir
C. Barry alone was acquainted, and many points, on which he alone could
have declared his opinions and motives of action. The case shall be
sketched out here as it is contained in public documents. Those who may
wish to refer to these documents will find them in Parliamentary Papers,
No. 500 of 1852, No. 436 of 1855, and No. 553 of 1860.

As the clock-tower rose above the building it became necessary to
provide for the construction of the great clock and bells. They were to
be of enormous size, and required the best possible workmanship.

With regard to the great clock Mr. Barry, by the desire of the Board of
Works, applied to Mr. Vulliamy, of Pall Mall, to inquire whether he
would be willing to furnish plans, specification, calculations, and
working drawings, for the guidance of the Government, it being
distinctly understood, that no promise that he should make the clock was
to be implied in this proceeding. Mr. Vulliamy agreed to do so, for a
fee of one hundred guineas if he should be employed to make the clock,
and for a fee of two hundred guineas should such not be the case. On
April 24th, 1844, Mr. Barry was instructed by the Board of Works to
accept Mr. Vulliamy’s offer.

Subsequently however (in July, 1846) the Government thought it better
that a work of such magnitude should be open to a select competition by
Mr. Vulliamy, Mr. Whitehurst of Derby, and Mr. E. T. Dent of London, the
conditions to be prescribed by the Astronomer Royal, and the plans
subjected to his arbitration.

Mr. Vulliamy however declined to compete on these conditions, conceiving
that the Astronomer Royal was already committed to approval of Mr. Dent,
by a letter written in October, 1844, to the Gresham Committee, stating
that he considered the Royal Exchange Clock “the best in the world,” and
another letter addressed to Mr. Dent himself, on July 22nd, 1845,
containing a declaration, that, in the event of his being consulted as
to a clock for the New Palace at Westminster, he should state without
hesitation “that he considered Mr. Dent the most proper person to be
entrusted with the construction of a clock of similar pretensions” to
that at the Royal Exchange. It is needless to say, that this letter was
written, when Professor Airy had no idea of being officially chosen as
referee in the matter. Professor Airy had however, in a letter to Lord
Canning, on June 22nd, 1846, recommended that the work should be given
to Mr. Dent, “without inquiry of other makers,” unless his price
appeared excessive, in which case he recommended that application should
be made to Mr. Whitehurst and to Mr. Vulliamy. For these reasons Mr.
Vulliamy objected to accept the Astronomer Royal as sole referee, though
he would readily have competed, if the matter were referred to others
conjointly with him.[74]

Accordingly, acting on his original instructions, he sent in his
drawings and specification in August, 1846, with some remarks on the
conditions laid down by the Astronomer Royal. Mr. Dent (declining, of
course, to be guided by these drawings) and Mr. Whitehurst also, sent in
drawings and specifications, with tenders for the execution of the work.
The Astronomer Royal (who still continued to be sole referee) made a
report on May 18th, 1847, recommending that Mr. Dent’s tender (for
1600_l._) be accepted, both on account of its lowness in comparison with
Mr. Whitehurst’s (for 3373_l._) and for certain reasons, which led him
to believe that the work would be best executed in his hands.

As Mr. Vulliamy had declined competition, he merely added some remarks
on his drawings, and on the objection which he had made to the
appointment of the Astronomer Royal as sole referee.

Mr. Dent did not as yet receive the formal appointment to make the great
clock. He had competed on the understanding that, if any other clocks in
the building were supplied by tender or competition, his name should be
included among the competitors. Some misunderstanding with regard to
clocks ordered for the House of Lords, in October, 1846 (before the
adjudication of the Astronomer Royal) from Mr. Vulliamy, led to his
withdrawal of his name from the whole competition; but, on explanation
of the circumstances, he saw reason to cancel this withdrawal, and
continued the preparation of the great clock.

In May 31st, 1848, Mr. E. B. Denison first appears on the scene, in an
eminently characteristic letter to Lord Morpeth, accusing Mr. Barry of
“acting in concert with Mr. Vulliamy” to set aside the decision of the
Astronomer Royal, endeavouring to persuade Lord Morpeth that “he is
familiar with the art of clockmaking, contriving to prevent the clock
being ordered,” and the like. No proofs are given of these statements,
made as they are in a letter to Lord Morpeth, to be submitted to the
Commissioners for the New Palace. At the same time, August, 1848, Mr.
Vulliamy applied for the two hundred guineas, which was to be his full
payment, offering to return one hundred guineas in case of his being
employed; but the Commissioners declined to recommend a payment of more
than one hundred guineas, on the ground, that there was “no probability
of any decision being required at present relative to the person to be
employed to make the clock,” (June, 1849).

The matter still lingered, till towards the end of 1851 Mr. Denison was
requested by Lord Seymour, the Chief Commissioner of Works, apparently
at the suggestion of the Astronomer Royal, to act with that gentleman in
the matter of the clock. He at once (to use his own words) examined, so
far as was possible, the various plans, and “was soon convinced that
none of them would do.” He therefore drew up a general specification,
accepted by Mr. Dent, in accordance with which the clock was to be made
under the direction of Professor Airy and Mr. Denison, for 1800_l._, and
within the space of two years. This arrangement was formally sanctioned
by the Board of Works, and thus for the first time the matter was put
fairly in train.

The clock-tower had been in progress since 1843, and was now about 150
feet from the ground. The internal shaft (11 feet by 8 feet 6 in.) was
of the same area on plan all the way up, and no hint had been given,
that it was not amply sufficient for any clock which was likely to be
required. But it now appeared, that the plan of the internal shaft was
in some points inconsistent with Mr. Dent’s plan of the clock, and some
modifications which appear to have been inconsiderable,[75] were made by
Mr. Dent, in order to remove that difficulty. It is to be observed, that
the architectural arrangements were all made before the clock was
ordered at all.

After this the work proceeded steadily, and (as Professor Airy was
abroad for some time) it proceeded under Mr. Denison’s sole direction.
So long as Professor Airy was able to take an active part in the work,
no difficulty seems to have occurred. But now a proposal was made by
Lord John Manners (who had succeeded Lord Seymour) that some other
referees should be appointed, and that the architect should be one of
them. This proposal seems to have greatly excited Mr. Denison’s wrath;
but, considering the trouble which Mr. Barry had already had from the
appointment of persons to carry out works on the building, independent
of himself and uncontrolled by any superior power, considering also the
temper which Mr. Denison’s letters had shown, and the unreserved way in
which he had identified his interests with those of Mr. Dent, it will
probably not appear so entirely ridiculous or unreasonable to others.

As soon as the arrangements were made public, a memorial of the
“masters, wardens, and court of assistants of the Clockmakers’ Company
of the City of London” was presented to Lord John Manners, to the
following effect, that, the original design and plan of the clock being
altered, a fresh competition ought to take place, but that, if this was
impossible, some committee of referees should be appointed in
conjunction with the Astronomer Royal and Mr. Denison, including the
architect and Sir J. (or Mr. George) Rennie, _as originally proposed by
Mr. Dent_. To this memorial the natural answer was given, viz., that the
arrangements were already definitely made with Mr. Dent for the
construction of the clock, but that the question of additional referees
was under the consideration of the Chief Commissioner. A rejoinder was,
however, written by Mr. Denison, referring the memorial to Mr. Vulliamy
and “a certain set of clockmakers,” instead of treating it as, what it
certainly was, an official document of the Company, and containing
imputations of motives of underhand conduct against Lord J. Manners, Sir
C. Barry, &c., which, as being incapable of formal proof or formal
refutation, it is not usual to admit into official documents. Lord John
Manners naturally declined to enter into controversy, and proposed Mr.
Robert Stephenson as additional referee; but he did not think fit to
press the proposal, when it was met by Mr. Denison with a declaration,
that the Astronomer Royal and himself would resign, rather than admit of
any change in the footing on which they had consented to act.

At this time Mr. Dent died, and his successor, Mr. F. Dent, claimed to
succeed to the contract. Some doubt was entertained by the Government,
based on legal opinions, whether they were bound to accept this
succession. They did not, however, desire to injure Mr. Dent; they were
prepared at once to make a new contract, based on the terms of the
existing specification, with this single additional provision, that the
approval of the clock should “be vested in the Chief Commissioner (then
Sir W. Molesworth) acting under the advice and with the assistance of
the Astronomer Royal and Mr. Denison, or either of them, should any
difference of opinion arise between the two.” This reason of this
provision will be obvious from a letter of the Astronomer Royal dated a
few days before (November 7th, 1853), in which he stated, that, since
Mr. Denison’s appointment at his suggestion, subsequent intercourse,
while it had “confirmed his high opinion of that gentleman’s mechanical
ingenuity and horological knowledge, had shown that their ideas of the
mode of conducting public business were very different, and had at last
forced on him the conviction that they could not with advantage profess
to act in concert.” Professor Airy had therefore tendered his
resignation. After an interview, the Chief Commissioner induced him to
withdraw the tender; but it would not appear that he took any active
part in the subsequent proceedings.

It however proved that the Board had indirectly recognised Mr. F. Dent
as succeeding to the contract. The law officers of the Crown, though
declaring that this “did not alter the legal bearings of the case,”
advised that the contract should be allowed to go on as before, but that
the Board should insist on “the substitution of some other referee or
referees.” This last recommendation was not insisted upon, and all
accordingly proceeded on the old footing.

The clock was completed by Mr. Dent in 1855, and 1600_l._ was paid him
on account. It however could not be hoisted to its place, and much
discussion took place on the question, whether the tower was waiting for
the clock, or the clock waiting for the tower. In fact, neither of these
things was true. Both were waiting for the bells. As will be seen below,
the tower was roofed in by Sir Charles in 1856, after he had waited in
vain for some information about the bells, the tenders for which were
accepted in 1855, but which were not finally ready till 1859. This
necessitated the taking up the bells by the clock shaft, and so the
clock could not be fixed till 1859.

Its troubles were not yet over. The weight of the hands was too great,
and a vehement controversy, carried on in the usual spirit, took place
in the ‘Times’ as to whether the blame of this did or did not rest upon
Sir C. Barry.[76] Finally the difficulty was remedied, and the clock has
been going on well up to the present time. As a piece of workmanship, it
appears to do great credit both to Mr. Denison and to Mr. Dent.

Into the questions connected with the casting and the fate of the great
bell it is here unnecessary to enter. All that Sir C. Barry had to do
with it was that he recommended the appointment of Mr. Denison and the
Rev. W. Taylor, F.S.A., as referees to superintend the formation of the
bell; further proposing that certain bell-founders, Messrs. Mears,
Warner, Taylor, and Murphy, should be invited to tender for it; but that
if one founder alone should be selected, Mr. Mears should be chosen. It
is clear from this communication that he fully recognised Mr. Denison’s
merits, and was not disposed to allow any personal misunderstandings to
interfere with public advantage.

The recommendation was accepted, with the addition of the Chief
Commissioner of Works as an official referee, with a view (I presume) to
avoid the difficulties which had occurred in the case of the great
clock, and to give the head of the department, who had to be responsible
for the work, some opportunity of knowing what was going on. Mr. Denison
rejected the proposal, on the ground of the Chief Commissioner’s
incompetency as to technical knowledge, and the probability that he
would “act under the advice of somebody behind the scenes.” A delay
accordingly ensued; but in August, 1855, Lord Llanover (then Sir B.
Hall), who had become Commissioner of Works, appointed Mr. Denison, Mr.
Taylor, and Professor Wheatstone to superintend the casting of the great
bell. Six months before Sir C. Barry had informed the Board that the
roof of the tower was ready, and, after waiting in vain for information
about the bells, he was obliged to cover it in at the beginning of
1856.[77] This necessitated the carrying up the bells inside the tower,
which was not originally intended by the architect. The interior was not
under his control. Originally Dr. Reid intended a part of it for an
air-shaft, and Mr. Gurney subsequently, against the architect’s wishes,
used this part for a smoke-flue. The space available was about 8 ft. 6
in. in its smallest dimensions. Some difficulty occurred in consequence,
of which much has been made. But it was obviated by the simple expedient
of an alteration in the shape of the bell.

The first “Big Ben” was cast by Messrs. Warner, in August, 1856. In
November it was brought to Westminster for trial, previous to its being
hoisted into its place. It required a clapper of unusual weight, and in
a short time it cracked under the test in October, 1857.

The bell was then re-cast under the direction of Messrs. Mears, in
April, 1858. It was hoisted to its place, and tried with the clapper in
November, 1858. It began to strike in July, 1859, and on the 28th of
September it was found to be cracked. Into the charges and
recriminations between Mr. Denison and Messrs. Mears, and the consequent
action brought by the latter against the former, it is not at all
necessary to enter. All that Sir C. Barry had to do with the matter was,
that Mr. Quarm, his clerk of the works, and Mr. James, the engineer,
gave their best assistance in the fixing and hoisting of the bell, and
in suggesting methods for overcoming any difficulties which presented
themselves. It is only needful to remark, that the tone of the
controversies which followed throws some light on the causes of the
difficulties and troubles, to which it has been necessary to refer in
the history of the great clock. In themselves these only formed one of
the many instances in which Sir C. Barry, during the erection of the
New Palace, suffered from the appointment of gentlemen, eminent in their
own departments, to superintend works, in connexion with the building,
and in perfect independence of its architect. But fortunately every such
instance did not lead to so fierce a controversy as that which raged for
a time about the clock and bells.[78]

There was one other case of divided responsibility, important as
affecting the æsthetic character of the building, to which I must draw
attention, as having caused Sir C. Barry much disappointment and
anxiety. On this occasion, however, the architect experienced neither
depreciation nor discourtesy; he sympathized with the object aimed at,
and had reason to admire, in connexion with it, the knowledge, taste,
and enlightened interest displayed by H.R.H. the late Prince Consort.
Indeed, the qualities which the Prince brought to bear on the discharge
of every duty undertaken by him, were perhaps never more conspicuous
than in his many labours for the encouragement of the fine arts in this

As the building advanced, the public attention was drawn to the great
opportunity, which it offered for the encouragement of the arts of
painting and sculpture. His Royal Highness, who frequently visited the
work, and took considerable interest in its progress, was most anxious
that this opportunity should not be lost, and at the same time felt,
that only by great care and consultation of various authorities could it
be used to the best advantage. Accordingly in Nov. 1841 a Royal
Commission (the “Fine Arts Commission”) was appointed, under the
presidency of His Royal Highness, and consisting of the following
members:--Lord Lyndhurst, the Duke of Sutherland, the Marquis of
Lansdowne, Earl of Lincoln, Earl of Shrewsbury, Earl of Aberdeen, Lord
John Russell, Viscount Palmerston, Viscount Melbourne, Lord Ashburton,
Lord Colborne, The Right Hon. Charles Shaw Lefevre (Speaker of the House
of Commons), Sir R. Peel, Sir James Graham, Sir R. H. Inglis, B. Hawes,
Esq. jun., Henry Gale Knight, Esq., Henry Hallam, Esq., S. Rogers, Esq.,
G. Vivian, Esq., Thomas Wyse, Esq. To these were afterwards added the
names of Lord Mahon (now Earl Stanhope), T. B. Macaulay, Esq.
(afterwards Lord Macaulay), Lord Willoughby d’Eresby, Lord Canning, Lord
Morpeth, Sir B. Hall, and the Right Hon. J. Evelyn Denison (Speaker of
the House of Commons), Lord John Manners, and the Hon. W. Cowper. Sir C.
Eastlake was appointed Secretary.

It is obvious, from a glance at the names of the Commissioners, that
great care had been taken to represent on the Board, not only rank and
official knowledge, but also artistic and literary excellence. But it
will be noticed, that the name of the architect of the building does not
occur on the Commission. It was thought, perhaps, that, as having to
carry out the views of the Commission, he ought for technical reasons to
have no seat upon it. It might also have been supposed, that he would be
inclined to look at things too much from one point of view, and
endeavour to subordinate painting and sculpture too much to the
architecture of the building; so that, in the almost inevitable rivalry
of the arts, he would not be a disinterested party. But it may be
questioned whether technical propriety should have been allowed to
override practical convenience. And it is not likely that a single voice
on the Board would have been able to secure to architectural claims more
than their due share of attention.

He himself greatly regretted his exclusion, and was inclined to consider
it as a slight. He knew that practical questions must constantly arise,
on which a few words of information from him might save long
discussions, and perhaps serious mistakes. He felt also that few could
have studied the building, as a whole, so thoroughly as he had done;
that few therefore could be better qualified to give an opinion as to
the nature and disposition of works of art, which should not only be
beautiful in themselves, but should harmonize with one another, and with
the building on which they were “set,” so as to produce a magnificent
whole.[79] He was, of course, examined by the Commission, and was
invited to lay his views freely and completely before it. But this was a
very different thing from the opportunities of frequent suggestion and
free discussion, which he would have enjoyed, had it been thought right
to place him on the Commission. It will perhaps be interesting to quote
some passages from the Report which he prepared on this occasion,
showing the ideal towards which he desired, gradually but
systematically, to tend.

     “With reference to the interior of the new Houses of Parliament
     generally, I would suggest that the walls of the several halls,
     galleries, and corridors of approach, as well as the various public
     apartments throughout the building, should be decorated with
     paintings having reference to events in the history of the country,
     and that those paintings should be placed in compartments formed by
     such a suitable arrangement of the architectural design of the
     interior, as will best promote their effective union with the arts
     of sculpture and architecture. With this view, I should consider it
     to be of the utmost importance that the paintings should be wholly
     free from gloss on the surface, so that they may be perfectly seen,
     and fully understood, from all points of view, that all other
     portions of the plain surfaces of the walls should be covered with
     suitable architectonic decoration, or diapered enrichment in
     colour, occasionally heightened with gold and blended with armorial
     bearings, badges, cognizances, and other heraldic insignia
     emblazoned in their proper colours. That such of the halls as are
     groined should have their vaults decorated in a similar manner,
     with the addition occasionally of subjects, or works of art, so
     interwoven with the diapered ground as not to disturb the harmony,
     or the effect of the architectonic decorations generally, or
     interfere with the elementary features of the architectural
     composition. That such of the ceilings as are flat should be formed
     into compartments by moulded ribs, enriched with carved heraldic
     and Tudor decorations. That these ceilings should be relieved by
     positive colour and gilding, and occasionally by gold grounds with
     diaper enrichments, legends, and heraldic devices in colour. That
     the screens, pillars, corbels, niches, dressings of the windows,
     and other architectural decorations, should be painted to harmonize
     with the paintings and diapered decorations of the walls generally,
     and be occasionally relieved with positive colour and gilding. That
     the door-jambs and fireplaces should be constructed of British
     marbles of suitable quality and colour, highly polished and
     occasionally relieved by colour and gilding in their mouldings and
     sculptured enrichments. That the floors of the several halls,
     galleries, and corridors should be formed of encaustic tiles,
     bearing heraldic decorations and other enrichments in colours, laid
     in margins and compartments, in combination with polished British
     marbles, and that the same description of marbles should also be
     employed for the steps of the several staircases. That the walls to
     the height of from eight to ten feet should be lined with oak
     framing, containing shields with armorial bearings emblazoned in
     their proper colours, and that an oak seat should in all cases be
     placed against such framing. That the windows of the several halls,
     galleries, and corridors should be glazed doubly, for the purpose
     of tempering the light and preventing the direct rays of the sun
     from interfering with the effect of the internal decorations
     generally; for this purpose the outer glazing is proposed to be of
     ground glass in single plates, and the inner glazing of an
     ornamental design in metal filled with stained glass, bearing arms
     and other heraldic insignia in their proper colours, but so
     arranged that the ground, which I should recommend to be of a warm
     yellowish tint covered with a running foliage or diaper, and
     occasionally relieved by legends in black letter, should
     predominate, in order that so much light only may be excluded, as
     may be thought desirable to do away with either a garish or cold
     effect upon the paintings and decorations generally. That in order
     to promote the art of sculpture and its effective union with
     painting and architecture, I would propose that in the halls,
     galleries, and corridors, statues might be employed for the purpose
     of dividing the paintings on the walls. By this arrangement a rich
     effect of perspective, and a due subordination of the several arts
     to each other, would be obtained. The statues suggested should be,
     in my opinion, of marble of the colour of polished alabaster, and
     be raised upon lofty and suitable pedestals placed close to the
     walls in niches surmounted by enriched canopies; but the niches
     should be shallow, so that the statues may be as well seen
     laterally as in front. The architectural decorations of these
     niches might be painted of such colours as would give the best
     effect to the adjoining paintings, being relieved in parts by
     positive colours and gilding, and the backs of them might be
     painted in dark colours, such as chocolate, crimson, or blue, or
     they might be of gold for the purpose of giving effect to the

     “I would propose that Westminster Hall, which is 239 feet long, 68
     feet wide, and 90 feet high, should be made the depository, as in
     former times, for all trophies obtained in wars with foreign
     nations. These trophies might be so arranged above the paintings on
     the walls as to have a very striking and interesting effect. I
     would further suggest that pedestals, twenty in number, answering
     to the position of the principal ribs of the roof, should be placed
     so as to form a central avenue, 30 feet in width, from the north
     entrance door to St. Stephen’s porch, for statues of the most
     celebrated British statesmen, whose public services have been
     commemorated by monuments erected at the public expense, as well as
     for present and future statesmen whose services may be considered
     by Parliament to merit a similar tribute to their memories. The
     statues which have been already proposed to be placed against the
     walls between the pictures, I would suggest should be those of
     naval and military commanders. The subjects of the paintings on the
     walls, twenty-eight in number, 16 feet in length, 10 feet in
     height, might relate to the most splendid warlike achievements in
     English history, both by sea and land, which, as well as the
     statues that are proposed to divide them, might be arranged
     chronologically. This noble hall, certainly the most splendid of
     its style in the world, thus decorated by the union of painting and
     sculpture and architecture, and aided by the arts of decoration as
     suggested, would present a most striking appearance, and be an
     object of great national interest.”

Side by side with these proposals, it may be well to place the substance
of the principal Reports of the Commission presented to Her Majesty.[80]

After examining the various methods and styles of painting, fresco, oil,
encaustic, and stereo-chrome (or water-glass) painting, and the best
materials for sculpture, they had proceeded in the first instance to
assume the superintendence of purely decorative works, and invite
competition even in wood carving, metal-work, and stained glass.
Fortunately they were led to reconsider this step, finding no doubt the
insuperable practical difficulties which it involved, and to report
“that experience proved that it was on many accounts advisable to leave
with the architect the responsibility of all strictly decorative works.”
They add that “he had undertaken on his own responsibility the whole of
the decorative works, except the stained glass,” and that they deemed it
right to abstain from all interference, and disclaim all responsibility
in the matter.

The tone of the Report appears to convey some surprise and
disapprobation of the course adopted by the architect; but any one who
considers the wide interpretation which may be given to the word
“decoration,” and the absolute impossibility of distinguishing between
decorative and constructional work, or of securing unity of effect, when
the building is in one hand and the decoration in another, will probably
conclude, that, as he was not a member of the Commission, no other
course was open to him, consistent with due care, either of his own
reputation or of the public service.

The Commission accordingly confined their attention to “works of art,”
and decided that (generally speaking) the painting and sculpture should
be historical, and that their subjects should be chosen from English
history and literature.

They then adopted a scheme, drawn out by a Select Committee, consisting
of the Prince Consort, Lords Lansdowne, John Russell, Morpeth, and
Mahon, Sir R. H. Inglis, and Messrs. Macaulay, Hallam, and Wyse, for the
choice and distribution of the various works of art. Westminster Hall,
which in the architect’s scheme formed one of the most magnificent
features, was strangely omitted from the scheme of this Committee, and
left in its present bare and dreary condition. St. Stephen’s Hall, as
occupying the site of the old House of Commons, was set apart for the
statues of “men who rose to eminence by the eloquence and ability which
they displayed in that house,” and for paintings “illustrating great
epochs in constitutional, social, and ecclesiastical history, from the
conversion of the Saxons to the accession of the House of Stuart.” The
Peers’ and Commons’ corridors, leading from the central hall, were to
contain paintings illustrative of the great contest, which began with
the meeting of the Long Parliament and ended in 1688. It had been
already determined, that the House of Peers should contain statues of
the barons who signed Magna Charta, and ideal paintings of Religion,
Justice, and Chivalry, faced by corresponding historical pictures, the
Baptism of Ethelbert, the Committal of Prince Henry by Chief Justice
Gascoigne, and the Investiture of the Black Prince with the Order of the
Garter. The Peers’ robing-room was to contain scriptural subjects,
illustrative of the “Idea of Justice on Earth, and its development in
Law and Judgment.” The Royal antechamber (the “Prince’s chamber”) was to
contain “portraits relating to the Tudor family,” copies of the famous
tapestry, representing the defeat of the Armada in the old House of
Peers, and small bas-reliefs of the Tudor period. The Royal gallery was
to be filled with paintings relating to the “military and naval glory of
the country;” and the Queen’s robing-room with subjects from the legend
of King Arthur. The Painted chamber was to illustrate “the acquisition
of the country’s colonies and important places, constituting the
British Empire.” The Royal gallery, robing-room, and landing-places of
the great staircase were to contain the statues of English sovereigns
down to Queen Victoria.

It is clear that the two schemes were constructed on totally different
principles. The scheme of the Commission was, so to speak, an ideal one,
drawn up with great skill and knowledge, so as to cover the whole field
of English history, and bring out those salient points, which might
properly be connected with the palace of the legislature. The scheme of
the architect was a practical one, drawn up with reference to the
various halls and galleries of the building, and designed to present as
grand and perfect a spectacle as possible to those entering and
traversing the building. It would have been very desirable that these
schemes should have modified and interpenetrated each other. Ideal
perfection need not have suffered, had some deference been paid to the
actual conditions of locality. But such was not the case. The Commission
indeed refer to the architect’s scheme as enabling them first to “select
fit localities” for the works of art, and next to “proceed to a general
scheme suitable to the localities selected.” Yet it is difficult to
trace in the arrangements actually made any reference to the
architectural character of the halls selected, or to the actual
convenience of exhibition of the works of art themselves.

The original recommendation of the Parliamentary Committee, which gave
rise to the Commission, was that “a plan should be determined on, by
which the architect and the artists employed should work not only in
conjunction with but in aid of one another.” The actual fact is, that,
in some cases, the works of art are utterly at variance with the
architecture, and ill-adapted to their position. Thus statues, beautiful
in themselves, are executed on such a scale as to ruin the architectural
effect of the halls, in which they are erected. This is the case with
the statues in St. Stephen’s Hall, and the fine group by Gibson in the
Prince’s chamber. In some cases fine paintings, such as Herbert’s
magnificent picture of Moses delivering the Law, are in positions in
which the public can rarely see them, while St. Stephen’s Hall, through
which the main tide of people flows, is still left without a single
picture. The series of statues of the British sovereigns is to be
divided among three or four different localities, so that it will be
impossible to see them at one time, or have them executed on one uniform
scale. These things ought not to have been, and it is hardly possible
that they should have taken place, had the Commission included one
member, who had before his eyes the building as a whole, and the scale
and succession of its various parts. Their labours have led to great and
valuable results: it is a pity that these results should have suffered,
even in a slight degree, from want of practical knowledge.

In order to carry out the ideas embodied in the scheme of the
Commissioners, great exhibitions of cartoons and sculpture took place in
Westminster Hall. Premiums were offered, and commissions were given to
those who gained the highest places in this grand competition. The work
is still going on, and (it is to be hoped) will be continued, till
something like the ideal proposed in the reports shall be realized. Few
buildings could be better adapted to serve as a British “Walhalla.” The
natural wish for the perpetuation of memorials of great men and great
events has filled St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey with monuments,
seldom fitted for places of Christian worship and Christian sepulture.
Such monuments might well find a place in future in a building, which is
at once a palace of the Sovereign and the home of the legislature,--a
building moreover, which by its extent and by its publicity gives the
greatest possible scope for such commemoration of the past. When we look
at what has been already done by the hands of our most celebrated
artists, it is impossible not to feel that already the object of the
Commission has been, to a great extent, attained, and a great
opportunity nobly used. It is to be hoped, that even now such
modifications may be made, during the continuance of the work, as may do
away with all such drawbacks as those noticed above, and secure the
harmony needed for grandeur of effect.

But, if it was Mr. Barry’s fate thus to encounter opposition and
difficulty, it was his good fortune in the execution of his great work
to draw round him men, who would work heartily under his direction, and
yet would bring to their work all the enthusiasm and the high artistic
spirit, which are usually supposed to belong only to independent
workers. The opportunity was a great one; the scale of the building, the
supplies given from the public purse, and (for a considerable time) the
large discretion left to the architect in the employment of those
resources, were at that time unprecedented. Mr. Barry felt the greatness
of the opportunity. Not only did he desire to make his building a
treasure-house of art and a sculptured memorial of our national history,
but he also hoped to raise up in the course of its execution a school of
decorative art, guided, but not servilely confined, by the examples of
Gothic antiquity, and bringing to the evolution of Gothic principles all
the resources of modern thought and science.

His ideas on the former point are embodied in the communication to the
Fine Arts Commission, which is quoted above. The appointment of the
Commission, of which (as has been remarked) he was not made a member, to
a great extent took the highest artistic decoration out of his hands;
and, but for his strenuous resistance, would have interfered even with
purely architectural details. Still, however, much remained in his
power; and his hopes in this direction did not fail of considerable

Nor was he disappointed in his other expectation. In the extraordinary
progress of decorative art during the last twenty years the work in the
New Palace of Westminster may justly claim a large share of influence.
Infinite pains were bestowed on every detail; in some cases it seemed,
that the dignity of the building as a whole, rather than the absolute
need or object of the particular part under consideration, was allowed
to determine the care and elaboration to be bestowed upon it. In the
whole of the enormous mass there is hardly a square yard, which was not
the subject of careful study. It was rather an understatement than an
exaggeration of the truth, when the architect was forced to state to the
Government that “no less than between 8000 or 9000 original drawings and
models have been prepared for it, a large portion of which have emanated
from my own hand, while the whole of the remainder have been made under
my own immediate direction and supervision.” It was impossible that this
extraordinary labour should be wholly thrown away. It could not fail to
advance that cause of decorative art, to which it was so unsparingly
devoted. But Mr. Barry was well aware that such a work could not be
carried out by the unaided exertions of a single man. It was his good
fortune to give direction and stimulus to a crowd of artistic
coadjutors; it is the duty and privilege of those, who cherish his
memory, to record with the most unreserved acknowledgment the valuable
aid which he received from them.

Foremost among all stands the name of the late Mr. Pugin. It was (as has
been said) during the erection of the Birmingham Grammar School in 1835
that he first became known to Mr. Barry, and at that time his help was
first received in designing certain details of the interior. From the
first moment of their acquaintance the connection between them became
warm and friendly. Agreeing in their entire devotion to art, and
differing widely in character and in artistic principles, they had
perhaps just that amount of sympathy and diversity, which leads to
mutual appreciation, co-operation, and friendship. Unrestrained as
their intercourse and mutual criticisms were--impossible, in fact, as it
would have been to restrain either in the assertion of what he conceived
to be orthodoxy in architectural faith--that intercourse was untroubled
by the slightest misunderstanding or estrangement of feeling, from the
time that they first saw each other in Birmingham, till the day when Sir
C. Barry was one of the few mourners who followed his friend to the

The first aid which he received from Mr. Pugin was under the pressure of
shortness of time in making the original design. Working under Mr.
Barry’s own eye and direction, Mr. Pugin sketched for him in pencil a
complete set of details, in a style perhaps bolder, less carefully
proportioned and less purely English, than would have been adopted by
himself. In the design they differed _toto cœlo_. Mr. Pugin would have
recommended irregular and picturesque grouping of parts, utterly at
variance with the regularity and symmetry actually adopted. Except in
details, he neither had, nor could have had, any influence whatever, and
those who compare the details of his own buildings with those of the New
Palace will readily see that even here his influence, however valuable,
was chiefly indirect.

As soon as he was appointed architect to the New Palace, he immediately
thought of his friend, and resolved to invite him to his aid. Convinced
that Mr. Pugin was at that time unrivalled in his knowledge of Gothic
detail, admiring his extraordinary powers as a draughtsman, carried away
by sympathy with his burning artistic enthusiasm, he could wish for no
other coadjutor. The invitation was accepted, and a connection was
established equally honourable to both artists. No man was more original
than Mr. Pugin. He held strongly certain principles, on the evolution of
which he greatly disagreed with his friend: he was one whose name and
genius could at all times command an independent authority. Yet for the
furtherance of his art he was willing to accept a distinctly subordinate
position, and to work under the superintendence and control of another.
His acceptance of the post, and the spirit in which he discharged its
duties, showed the generosity and unselfishness which were his
well-known characteristics. Nor, on the other hand, could Mr. Barry be
unaware of the danger of calling in a too powerful coadjutor. He knew
the almost inevitable risk which he incurred of being supposed to wear
other men’s laurels, of having all that was good or spirited in the
details attributed to Mr. Pugin,[81] and of finding it difficult or
impossible to control an enthusiasm, which might work in what seemed to
him undesirable methods. But these things he resolutely put aside for
the sake of an aid, which he thought likely to improve his great
building, and which he knew to be genial and inspiriting to himself.[82]
That Mr. Pugin was the last man in the world to encroach on another
man’s authority or credit he knew, and that this confidence in his
friend’s character was not misplaced is shown by the strong disclaimer
which he put out, when an attempt was made to attribute to him more than
he felt to be his due. The misapprehensions of others he could afford to

After Mr. Barry’s appointment as architect, he still received the same
aid in preparing detailed drawings for the estimate, most of which
however, by changes in design, were afterwards set aside. Finally, at
his recommendation, Mr. Pugin was formally appointed superintendent of
the wood carving, and in that capacity he directed, first the formation
of a valuable collection of plaster casts of the most famous examples at
home and abroad, and next the execution of the wood-work, ornamental
metal-work, stained glass, and encaustic tiles throughout the whole
building. But in all cases it was thoroughly understood between them,
that the architect’s supremacy was to be unimpaired. Every drawing
passed under his eye in all cases for supervision, in very many for
alteration. Mr. Pugin’s originality and enthusiasm never interfered with
this understanding: he would carry out vigorously and heartily what he
himself could not altogether approve.[83] His suggestions and
criticisms, freely given and freely received, were invaluable; and his
enthusiasm, even in its eccentricities, was inspiring and irresistible.
For more than five and twenty years the intercourse between the two
friends and coadjutors continued, unbroken by any differences except in
taste, and, when Mr. Pugin was struck down by his fatal illness, Mr.
Barry felt that his loss was irreparable.

In the stone-carving Mr. Barry was fortunate in securing aid, only less
valuable than that of Mr. Pugin. In the same work, at Birmingham, he
discovered Mr. Thomas, then working as an ordinary stone-carver on the
building. He was struck by his ability, skill, and energy, and at once
resolved to aid in raising him to a position more worthy of his
talents. After experience of his powers, he entrusted to him, under the
same supervision, the entire direction of the stone-carving throughout
the building. The result proved the wisdom of the choice. Under Mr.
Thomas’s direction, stone-carving made a great step, which was felt in
its effect upon architectural sculpture throughout the country, and
which has conduced powerfully to the remarkable progress which it has
since made up to the present time. With the general results of his
exertions Mr. Barry was fully satisfied, and rejoiced greatly when his
success in this capacity enabled him to take and to support elsewhere an
independent position.

But an architect’s work is not purely artistic. The construction both of
the New Palace itself and of the scaffolding used in its erection, taxed
heavily scientific knowledge and ingenuity.[84] In fact, the whole
timber or framed scaffolding, with travellers, by which a stone, perhaps
elaborately carved, could be raised from the ground, and placed in its
proper position, had seldom, if ever, before been employed on so large a
scale. The constructional difficulties introduced by the need of
preservation of old buildings, and of piecemeal occupation of the new
ones, were great. But even greater were those caused by the frequent
change and increase of official requirements in the course of the work;
and most of all by the appointment of Dr. Reid, and his enormous claims
of space for warming and ventilation, never known till the whole
arrangement of plan and construction was settled.

Into all these difficulties Mr. Barry himself fully entered. He felt a
positive pleasure in the expedients by which they were to be met; and in
the invention of such expedients he was full of resources, and bold even
to the verge of rashness. But his knowledge was more practical than
theoretical, and in his work he received the most valuable assistance
from the scientific knowledge, ingenuity, and power of contrivance of
Mr. Meeson, who was for a long time his chief assistant in this branch
of office work. His aid was zealously and unobtrusively given, and
heartily appreciated. Working side by side with him, and bringing
practical energy, daring, and ingenuity to carry out much difficult and
hazardous work, Mr. Quarm did good service to the building, and showed
an enthusiastic loyalty and devotion towards his chief.

Meanwhile in the office Mr. Barry had associated with himself a series
of able and zealous assistants, who were destined hereafter to make
themselves a place in the architectural profession. He certainly was
able to kindle in them a rare degree of enthusiasm for art, side by side
with a strong personal attachment to himself, arising chiefly from
sympathy in this enthusiasm. And it can hardly be doubted, that his
peculiar refinement of detail and proportion, his careful study of every
part of a building, and his resolution to attempt, even in comparatively
trifling works, originality and unity of effect, must have left their
traces on the designs of those who had been associated with him.

It would be an almost endless work to recount the names of those who
worked under his direction in the decoration of the New Palace. Messrs.
Hardman in respect of the stained glass, Mr. Crace in the ornamental
painting, Mr. Minton in the supply of the encaustic tiles, took far more
than a commercial interest in the work. It is said truly, that much of
the beauty and vigour of mediæval works arises from the fact, that the
actual decorators worked artistically, with a view to the excellence of
their work, and not merely to the wages to be received for it. If this
spirit is reviving, or has revived, in the present day, much is probably
due to the work on the New Palace at Westminster, where there certainly
was in a very high degree this feeling among those who took subordinate
parts in the work. It can be hardly wrong to attribute some measure at
least of this feeling to the enthusiasm for art which actuated the
leader. It is certainly a duty to record the deep sense which he
entertained of it, and the support and encouragement which it gave him.

With these difficulties and with these supports, the work proceeded
steadily and energetically. The time which elapsed from the actual
commencement of the work in 1840, to the opening of the main part of the
building in 1852, cannot be considered long, if the extent of the work
be calculated, and its various drawbacks allowed for.

In February, 1847, the House of Peers was for the first time occupied,
not with any ceremonial opening, but for ordinary public business. Some
difficulty was at first apprehended as to the acoustic properties of the
House; but as soon as the Peers became more used to their new House, the
difficulty was greatly diminished, if not entirely removed.

Meanwhile the rest of the building proceeded rapidly. The public
approaches were completed, the committee-rooms gradually prepared for
use, and at last the House of Commons was opened. The temporary house
having been very convenient, the members of the Lower House had not been
very anxious to enter their new quarters. When they did so, they were
somewhat dissatisfied with the change. In the construction of the House
the architect had acted upon the instructions and advice of the leading
officials; and the general effect of these instructions had been greatly
to diminish the dimensions originally proposed, for the accommodation
both of the House and the public.[85]

When the House met, with an attendance increased beyond its usual
standard by excitement and curiosity, it was thought that this process
of diminution had been carried too far, and it was resolved to increase
the accommodation of the lobbies and galleries. To this alteration no
artistic objection could be offered. But it was conceived, without, as
Mr. Barry thought, sufficient trial and experience, that there was
difficulty in hearing; and members, accustomed to the lowness of the
temporary house, immediately concluded that it was the height of the
present building which was in fault. It was imperatively ordered that
the ceiling should be lowered, and the only way in which this could be
done was by the introduction of an inner ceiling with sloping sides,
cutting the side windows in half, and ruining the proportions of the
room. Never was a work carried out by an architect more unwillingly. Mr.
Barry could not feel that a sufficient trial had been made, to prove the
necessity of the alteration. When it had been carried out, he no longer
considered the House as his own work; and never would speak of it, or
even enter it, without absolute necessity.

In 1852 the Royal approach was completed, and Her Majesty made, for the
first time, her public entrance through the Victoria tower and the Royal
gallery into the House of Peers. At the same time the great public
approaches through Westminster and St. Stephen’s Hall were ready for

The main portions of the building might now be considered as finished,
and the architect soon after was knighted by Her Majesty at Windsor. It
was at a time, when he began to feel keenly the attacks made upon him,
and the harassing controversies in which he had become involved. Such
circumstances gave an unusual value to the honour conferred upon him by
the Sovereign--almost the only official honour which in this country is
offered to artistic or scientific merit, although it has to be shared
with those who have no pretensions to either.

From this time the building proceeded quietly towards completion. The
towers were the last finished. There was not, of course, the same
pressure of necessity for their completion; the nature of the soil under
their foundations demanded great care and deliberation in raising the
superstructure; and their design perhaps gave more trouble to the
architect than that of any other part of the building. “Nothing,” it has
been truly said, “tended more to retard a general appreciation of the
architectural merits of the New Palace than the necessarily slow and
protracted realization of its chief vertical features and skyline.” The
central tower was the first finished; next came the clock-tower; and
finally the great mass of the Victoria tower received its last stone.
The great flagstaff rising above was added subsequently. It was indeed
the last object which engaged his professional attention in the
building, and was left unfinished at his death. The drawings of the
flagstaff, and the lantern-work at the base, with its screens and flying
buttresses, were made by his son (E. M. Barry, Esq.) in accordance with
his known intentions. But it was on a temporary wooden staff, that the
great flag was hoisted “half mast high” on the day of Sir Charles’s

SECTION IV.--It is impossible in a life of Sir C. Barry to omit notice
of the long, harassing, and unsuccessful controversy, which he carried
on with the Government in relation to his remuneration for the New
Palace at Westminster.

To his friends it is a painful subject; its nature and its effect upon
his feelings and his health they would be glad to forget: but the true
statement of the case is not only due to his memory, but also highly
important, both to the architectural profession and the public. It often
happens (it may probably be so in this case) that a battle lost to the
individual by the influence of special circumstances, and by the use of
overwhelming power against him, may prove to have been virtually won for
those who come after him. It will be my endeavour to admit into the
narrative as little as possible any expressions of mere opinion, and to
tell the story chiefly through the main official documents put out on
both sides, omitting the minuter details of the controversy, and the
disputes on trivial points, which naturally arose from the antagonistic
position produced by its continuance.

The question was briefly this, whether the architect of the New Palace
at Westminster was entitled to the regular professional remuneration of
five per cent. commission upon the outlay on the works executed under
his direction; or whether there were special circumstances in the case,
which justified a departure from the ordinary practice, and the
remuneration of his services on a lower scale. In the course of the
discussion arose another question, hardly less important to the public,
whether the Treasury were justified, by their position and by their view
of the requirements of the public service, in constituting themselves
judges of the question in dispute, in refusing arbitration on doubtful
points, and in enforcing their decision, by withholding all
remuneration, until its principle should be accepted by the architect.

This is no place for discussing at any length the abstract justice and
expediency of the principle of five per cent. commission regularly
recognised by all architects as the method of their professional
remuneration. The principle of a percentage evidently involves some
considerable inequality, when it is applied to works of different
characters, requiring for the same outlay very different degrees of
skill, labour, and responsibility. It seems hard that the architect of a
church, which requires elaborate designs, should be remunerated at the
same rate as the architect, who designs a simple warehouse, or the
engineer who raises great masses of brickwork, requiring but two or
three simple drawings. Like other principles not wholly equitable in
their operation, it is recommended by its simplicity and practicability,
and, in fact, to those who regard their work as a profession, and not a
trade, its commercial inequality is compensated by the corresponding
inequality of artistic opportunities.

But it is certainly not an excessive rate of remuneration. Compared with
the profits of the builders, who execute the work, it is absolutely
insignificant; nor can the remuneration of an architect of eminence bear
comparison with that of an engineer occupying the same position in his
profession. The period over which the expenditure on architectural work
is spread is comparatively large; the preparation of designs and working
drawings, the incessant superintendence, and the duty of “measurement,”
require a large and expensive staff of assistants. It is, therefore,
rare that an architect “makes his fortune,” even if he is engaged in
extensive works, and even if his gross receipts are considerable.

So much only is it necessary to remark on the general principle. On the
particular case I must add (what will in all probability be generally
allowed) that a building of a highly ornate and artistic design, carried
out for a public body, whose requirements and instructions varied
greatly from time to time, and requiring constant attendance on official
personages and Parliamentary Committees, was one for which the regular
percentage would be (to say the least) no excessive remuneration. It is
true that the gross outlay was very great, but it was spread over a
period of about twenty years. It absorbed almost the whole of the
architect’s time, and gradually destroyed most of his private practice.
After 1842 that practice, which would naturally have continued to
extend, both in scale and area, began to diminish, and it is likely that
pecuniarily he would have been nearly as well off, if he had been able
to devote himself to private work. There was nothing in the general
features of the case, which could make it right to treat it as an
exceptional one.

It is therefore necessary to inquire into the special circumstances,
which were held by the Government to require a deviation from the
established usage.

The designs and estimates were accepted, and the works commenced on
July 3rd, 1837, without any official communication with the architect on
the subject of remuneration. On March 1st, 1839 (_i. e._ _more than
nineteen months after the commencement of the building_) he received
from the Commissioners of the Woods and Forests (the “Board of Works”) a
copy of a letter from the Treasury, approving of the following
recommendation from the office of Public Works,[86] and ordering it to
be observed in the remuneration of the architect:--

     “THE subject of the remuneration to be made to Mr. Barry, as the
     architect selected for superintending the erection of the New
     Houses of Parliament, having been pressed upon the attention of
     this Board, in consequence of the opinions expressed at different
     times in both Houses of Parliament against the principle of
     remunerating architects by a commission or percentage upon the
     amount of their estimates, we beg leave to state to your Lordships,
     that in deference to those opinions, we have given the subject our
     best and most mature consideration; and that having carefully
     considered all the circumstances of this case, the extent and
     importance of the building, the nature and description of the
     several works, the very large amount of expenditure contemplated in
     Mr. Barry’s estimate, and the period within which it is proposed
     that such expenditure should be incurred,--we are therefore of
     opinion, that the sum of 25,000_l._ will be a fair and liberal
     remuneration for the labour and responsibility to be imposed on Mr.
     Barry in the superintendence, direction, and completion of the
     intended edifice.

(Signed) “DUNCANNON,
          B. C. STEPHENSON,
          A. MILNE.”

A request on the part of the architect to be informed of the principle
on which the sum of 25,000_l._ was calculated, having been refused, he
addressed the following reply to the office:--

_Foley Place, 22nd April, 1839._

     “SIR,--As the Board has not deemed it right to make me acquainted
     with the principle upon which the amount of remuneration for my
     services in respect of the intended New Houses of Parliament has
     been determined, I cannot, of course, form any opinion, and will
     not question the correctness of the data upon which it is founded.
     I make no doubt, however, that the proposed amount, although very
     far short of the customary remuneration which has hitherto been
     paid to architects for extensive public works, is considered by the
     Board to be liberal under all the circumstances of the case; and
     therefore, with this impression, I have no wish to do otherwise
     than bow to its decision. In so doing, however, I cannot, in
     justice to myself and the profession to which I belong, refrain
     from expressing most decidedly my opinion that the amount is very
     inadequate to the great labour and responsibility that will devolve
     upon me in the superintendence, direction, and completion of the
     intended edifice; and I trust when this is made manifest, as I feel
     sure it will be, upon the completion of any considerable portion of
     it, that there will not be any indisposition on the part of the
     Board (especially if the work should prove to be satisfactory to
     the public at large) to award to me the remainder of the
     remuneration which has hitherto been customary on similar

“I am, &c.,


To this letter no rejoinder was made. On January 2nd, 1841, the
architect again addressed the office, stating that “the time was now
arrived when some permanent arrangement must be made for the measuring
and making out the accounts of work executed,” and requesting authority
to make the requisite arrangements, the expense of which he conceived
“to be included under the head of contingencies.” The office replied
(January 18th) that this duty belonged to the architect as such, and
that the expense was provided for in the professional remuneration
already fixed. To this statement, on January 28th, the architect
replied, pleading that the expense of measurement had been borne by the
Board whenever less than five per cent. had been paid to the architect.
He received a formal reply, declining to alter the view already taken by
the office, and the correspondence was closed.

It is on the letters of Mr. Barry above referred to, particularly on
that of April 22nd, 1839, that the case of the Government against him
mainly depends. It is clear that his case would have been far stronger,
had he at once ventured to refuse the 25,000_l._ offered him, standing
upon the invariable custom of the profession, and the fact that his
appointment had been made, and the work carried on for more than
nineteen months, before any such conditions were mentioned. On the other
hand, it is equally clear that he was placed in a position of much
difficulty by the action of the Government. He was already thoroughly
absorbed in the work, and had devoted much time and trouble to its
commencement. His success in the competition had excited great and
almost unexampled opposition and misrepresentation; he knew, therefore,
that he had enemies, who would gladly seize any opportunity to produce
a breach between him and the Government, especially on a subject on
which public opinion was at least greatly divided. It appeared to him
very hard that he should be placed in such a position. It was natural
that he should endeavour to take a middle course, and to accept the
terms under a protest, which would leave the matter open for future
consideration. It may be added that the Government, by tacitly receiving
a letter, which contained such a protest, and expressed a hope of such
future reconsideration, must bear some of the responsibility of the
unsettled state in which the question was left, and of the controversy
which accordingly arose.

The whole matter now remained in abeyance for eight years, during which
time the work proceeded. It had been supposed that the building would be
completed in about six years, and at an expense of about 707,000_l._
But, as has been elsewhere shown, from various causes, some wholly
beyond the architect’s control, some for which he was responsible, and
for which the approval of the Government and of Parliamentary Committees
had been obtained, the time occupied in building was greatly protracted,
and the expense proportionately increased. It was conceived by Mr. Barry
and by his friends that the “bargain” made with the Office of Works, if
it had ever had any legal value, had now vitiated by the entire change
of the circumstances on which it was originally based, and that the time
was come when the whole matter must be re-opened. Accordingly he
addressed a letter on February 6th, 1849 to the Commissioners for the
superintendence of the completion of the New Palace, which contains a
full and forcible statement of his case. It will be found in the
Appendix. Its substance must be stated here.

After referring to the fact that he was appointed architect
unconditionally, and that not till nineteen months after his appointment
did he hear of Lord Bessborough’s proposition, he states that, having
vainly asked for an explanation of the grounds of that proposition, he
had acceded to it conditionally and under protest.

He then contends that the bargain as such has been annulled by acts of
the Government, but that he is willing to meet the grounds alleged in
Lord Bessborough’s letter. Accordingly, to the statement of “the extent
and importance of the work,” he answers, that “the responsibilities of
the architect are more than proportionally increased, and the demands on
his skill, taste, and judgment are far greater than in works of less
magnitude.” To the somewhat vague reference to “the nature and
description of the work,” he replies by inviting a comparison between
the New Palace and any other modern building, to show that in “variety
of design, elaboration of details, and difficulties of combination and
construction, the labour and responsibility incurred are greater than in
any modern edifice,” and by referring to official delays and
perplexities, and the control of Parliamentary Committees added to that
of the Government. “It will not be irrelevant to mention (he adds) that
already between 8000 and 9000 original drawings and models have been
made, a large portion from my own hand, and the remainder under my
immediate supervision.” The “statement of the large expenditure
contemplated, and the period in which it was proposed that this
expenditure should be incurred,” he meets by remarking, that “the annual
expenditure has not been greater than that incurred in other public
works on which the full percentage has been paid,” and that from
circumstances over which he had no control, especially the difficulty of
obtaining the whole site, and the introduction of Dr. Reid’s system of
ventilation, the period of the execution of the building had been, and
must be, greatly increased.

He then enumerated extra duties which had been thrown upon him, on which
he might fairly claim remuneration.

He concludes by stating that his appointment had caused the loss of
about two-thirds of his private practice, and declaring that the
ordinary remuneration of five per cent. would be, to say the least, not
more than an adequate return for the “labour, responsibility, and
sacrifices incurred in conducting the largest and most elaborate work of
the period, to which he had devoted almost exclusively the best period
of his professional life.”

Of this letter it would appear that _no notice whatever was taken for
about five years_. On February 8th, 1854, a communication was received
from James Wilson, Esq., in reply to some letter of the same purport
(not printed) from Sir C. Barry to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and
in accordance with a Treasury Minute on the subject.

Its main points are:--

(_a._) An assertion that a percentage of three per cent. had been
accepted by Sir J. Soane, Sir R. Smirke, and Mr. John Nash (attached as
architects to the Board of Works), and by Mr. Burton (unattached) for
public works, and an assumption based upon this statement, that the
fixed sum of 25,000_l._ had been calculated by Lord Bessborough as
approximately 3 per cent. on the estimated outlay of 707,104_l._

(_b._) A statement (which it would have been somewhat difficult to
substantiate) that a fixed sum had been “not unfrequently” substituted
for a percentage, in order to “avoid an extension of the works and
consequently of the cost,” such as that to which they advert in respect
of the New Palace.

(_c._) An attempt, afterwards abandoned, to represent Mr. Pugin’s
appointment to superintend the internal fittings as relieving the
architect of labour and responsibility, and accordingly to deduct the
salary (200_l._ a-year) paid to that gentleman, from Sir C. Barry’s
professional remuneration.

(_d._) An offer (which they considered “fair and even liberal”) to allow
three per cent. instead of five on the gross outlay, and to reimburse
the architect for the expenses of measurement. In this offer it will be
observed that they at once relinquish (it may be presumed as untenable)
the principle of the fixed sum, and the bargain made by Lord Bessborough
in 1839.

To this letter, after a delay caused by serious illness, Sir C. Barry
sent on March 14th, 1854, a detailed reply. This reply addresses itself
to each of the three points of Mr. Wilson’s argument, and shows--

(_a._) That the practice of the three per cent. remuneration had been
abolished for seven years before Lord Bessborough’s proposition was
made; that in former times, when the percentage was paid, the architects
were relieved of all measuring and making up accounts, which was done by
the Board; and that since 1832 five per cent. had been paid upon many
important public works, including the British Museum, the National
Gallery, the General Post Office, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, &c.

(_b._) That the increase of expenditure was caused by circumstances not
under the architect’s control, especially by the requirements of Dr.
Reid, and that, as it involved a corresponding increase of labour and
responsibility, it formed no reason for diminution of the rate of

(_c._) That the post held by Mr. Pugin was not such as to relieve the
architect from responsibility, inasmuch as it was distinctly a
subordinate one.

(_d._) He concludes by reminding the Treasury that mere reimbursement of
expenses by no means meets the claim for measurement, and by urging once
more his right to the customary remuneration.

This letter was so far effectual, that in the correspondence which
follows we hear no more of the precedents for the percentage of three
per cent., or of the deduction of the salary of Mr. Pugin.

But to the claim advanced in the letter no reply was made for more than
six months. Application was made by Sir Charles for a payment of
5000_l._ on account, and in October 2nd, 1854, the Treasury consent to
make the order (_for a payment, be it observed, due under any
circumstances_) “on the distinct understanding that they do so in
conformity with the principle of remuneration already laid down.”

The architect in reply on October 12th says, in reference to this
paragraph, “I presume that I am to understand that their Lordships
desire not to be prejudiced by any such payment in regard to the
principles which they have laid down.... This advance, therefore, I
receive as on further account of my claim, _without prejudice either to
the views of their Lordships on the one hand or of myself on the other_;
and I propose to avail myself of it accordingly.” Receiving no answer
for a week, he drew the 5000_l._ accordingly, and on October 30th
received a letter from Mr. Wilson, declining to consider that there are
any “questions in suspense as to the principle of remuneration, since
their Lordships’ communication must be held conclusive,” and actually
insisting that the acceptance of the 5000_l._ must be construed as an
“admission of the principle which they have laid down.”

Under these circumstances Sir Charles naturally felt it absolutely
necessary to place his interests in professional hands. Accordingly, J.
Meadows White, Esq., the eminent solicitor, continued the correspondence
on his behalf, and at once obtained a withdrawal of the inference
advanced by Mr. Wilson.

A request from Mr. White (on Nov. 20th, 1854) for further information
on some points connected with extra services remained unanswered for six
months, and was finally met, at an interview with Mr. Wilson on May
26th, 1855, by a withdrawal of the point relating to Mr. Pugin, an offer
of three per cent. on all the expenditure, and of one per cent. for
measurement on all works to which measurement applies. A complaint on
Sir C. Barry’s behalf of the _ex parte_ statements made by the Board of
Works to the Treasury and kept from his knowledge, and a request to be
furnished with some information as to their nature, were met, after
another month’s delay, by a refusal. On this Mr. White addressed a
counter-proposition to the Treasury, in a letter of July 14th, 1855, in
which, after alluding to the large amount of “extra services”
rendered,[87] and the claim of interest on the large sums which, by the
Treasury’s own estimate, were due to the architect, and had been
arbitrarily deferred, he proceeds as follows:--“I feel that I am
justified in adhering to this part of the claim (for extra services)
which I fully believe would extend to a sum of at least 10,000_l._ The
claim for interest, if worked out in detail, would amount to at least as

He then, after asserting strongly Sir C. Barry’s legal right to the
whole five per cent., submitted a counter-proposition--viz., to accept
the three per cent. commission and one per cent. for measurement on all
certified works, provided that the claim for extra services and
interest were referred to some eminent person (Sir John Patteson, Sir E.
Ryan, or Mr. J. Shaw Lefevre were named), or a specific sum were paid to
close all such claims.

It will be, of course, understood that, in lieu of this payment of four
per cent. and the extra claims, Sir C. Barry was prepared to accept the
regular five per cent., and withdraw all extra claims whatever, which
indeed, but for the attempt to diminish what he considered to be his
fair remuneration, would never have been insisted upon at all.

To this letter no official reply was given, and accordingly a general
reference of the whole question to arbitration was proposed. Both these
propositions were rejected. The services for warming, ventilating, &c.,
previously ignored, were, after a consultation with Lord Palmerston,
agreed to by Mr. Wilson, and 500_l._ per annum offered as a remuneration
for them. In other respects the former terms were adhered to; all
reference, either general or special, was unequivocally refused; and an
offer to accept 5000_l._ in payment of all other extra services was
apparently left unanswered.

The Treasury now proceeded to the final step. A minute was drawn up at a
meeting of the Lords (Jan. 29th, 1856), simply reiterating the former
terms (except with regard to the warming, &c.), and concluding as

     “My Lords continue to be of opinion that _their terms are not only
     fair but liberal_. Considering, moreover, that this matter has gone
     on for nearly twenty years without any distinct understanding
     being arrived at, my Lords are of opinion that it is inconsistent
     with the public interests that it should be any longer delayed, and
     that they therefore, as far as they are concerned, must record
     these terms as their final decision on the points at issue. They
     are pleased, therefore, to direct that _no further payment be made
     on account, until a final settlement of the past and an agreement
     for the future be concluded_.”

This peremptory minute was framed without any further communication with
Sir. C. Barry, and presented to Parliament without any of the
correspondence on the subject. It was also published in the ‘Times’ of
the next day without his receiving any notice of the publication.
Accordingly he felt compelled to send to the ‘Times’ next day a brief
statement of facts, remarking on each of its clauses in succession.

A last application was made by Sir C. Barry, in an interview with the
Chancellor of the Exchequer and Mr. Wilson, in which he advanced a plea
that the original 25,000_l._ fixed by Lord Bessborough represented a
percentage, not of three, but of four per cent. The plea was evidently
an unfortunate one, entering as it did on statements, which, from the
nature of the case, it was almost impossible to substantiate with any
certainty, and, moreover, taking the case off the broad grounds on which
it stood, to return to an agreement long since dropped on both sides.
The Treasury were not slow to avail themselves of the advantage thus
given them. In a minute of July 4th, 1856, they again traverse the whole
ground, return to the original bargain, and conclude that Sir C. Barry
has failed to establish his position; they refer to the correspondence
in 1839, and his acceptance under protest of the sum offered, expressing
a doubt (which, except in official circles, has not been generally felt)
“whether they have not taken too liberal a view of the question;” and
state that, as the allowance of one per cent. for measurement, &c.,
applied to some works for which the services of a surveyor were not
ordinarily required, it was more than Sir C. Barry’s due, and should be
considered as giving a full equivalent for any extra services.

It was clear, both from the tenor of this decision and the spirit which
it manifested, that Sir Charles Barry could hope for nothing more from
any friendly negotiation with the Government. Two courses were open to
him. He could have brought the question to a legal issue, standing upon
the vitiation of the original agreement, and the invariable practice of
the profession. Had he been dealing with a private person, he would
undoubtedly have done so; and, in looking back on the question, his
friends are sometimes tempted to regret that he did not do so, even
against Her Majesty’s Government. But there was serious difficulty in
attempting such a course; and he himself was much shaken in health, and
had lost much of the sanguine confidence of earlier days. He could not
hope for much of that support of his claims in Parliament, which is
almost the only influence capable of materially affecting a Government,
nor could he rely on the aid of public opinion. The only other course
was to submit, under protest, to terms which he felt unable any longer
to resist. He addressed accordingly the following letter to the

“_Old Palace Yard, 15th July, 1856._

     “SIR,--I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
     of the 10th instant, transmitting to me, with reference to my
     letter to Mr. Wilson of the 23rd ultimo, a copy of a further Minute
     of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury, dated the 4th
     instant, relative to my remuneration as the architect of the New
     Palace at Westminster.

     “It is with the deepest regret and disappointment that I find that
     their Lordships have put aside my proposal to refer all matters in
     dispute between us to arbitration. Their Lordships must be
     perfectly aware that no individual in my position could with the
     least chance of success contend with the Government, and therefore
     that the power of decision virtually rests with themselves. But
     this very circumstance I had hoped would ensure their determination
     to refer the case to some authority, the impartiality of whose
     decision could not be impugned.

     “However, as their Lordships have thought fit to determine
     otherwise, and as it is evident, from the tenor of their Minute of
     the 4th instant, that no further arguments in support of my claim
     could alter their determination, I have no course left but to yield
     to necessity, and accept the terms dictated to me; in effect, to
     submit to a sacrifice of what I fully believe to be fair and
     legitimate claims, amounting, exclusive of a large sum for interest
     on payments delayed, to 20,000_l._ at least.

     “But, while thus compelled to yield to the decision of their
     Lordships, I feel it due to myself and to my profession to state
     that I do not admit the fairness of the arguments, or the accuracy
     of the statements, upon which it is manifest this decision has been
     founded; and further, that, after a reconsideration of the whole
     case, and especially of all the reasons which have been urged on
     the part of the Government, I remain firmly convinced that the
     arrangement forced upon me in 1839 has been entirely set aside by
     the non-fulfilment of any one of its conditions; and my claim ought
     in justice, to say nothing of liberality, to have been allowed in

     “With respect to the completion of the works in hand, I beg to add,
     that as every other architect employed on public building has been,
     and is still being paid his full commission, nothing would induce
     me to continue my services upon the reduced rate of commission
     proposed but the strong and natural desire I have to complete a
     work, which, by the devotion of so many years of labour and
     anxiety, I have endeavoured to render not unworthy of the country.

“I am, &c.,

(Signed)      “CHARLES BARRY.


It will be easily understood that so important a professional
controversy could not go on without attracting the attention and
enlisting the sympathies of the architectural profession. Accordingly,
when the publication of the last Treasury minute showed the
determination of the Government to set aside both the claims of
professional practice and the offer of independent arbitration, the
Architectural Institute felt that they could no longer keep silence.

The Council accordingly addressed Mr. Wilson as follows:--

“_Royal Institute of British Architects,
16, Grosvenor-street, 9th July, 1856._

     “SIR,--The attention of the Council of this Institute has been
     given for some time past to the correspondence between Her
     Majesty’s Government and Sir Charles Barry, respecting his
     professional remuneration as the architect of the New Palace at
     Westminster, from its commencement to the present time, with
     especial reference to the principle involved therein.

     “After careful consideration, the Council deem it incumbent on them
     to forward to you, in your official capacity, the following
     resolution, unanimously passed at their meeting on the 5th instant,
     as a protest against the course proposed to be adopted by Her
     Majesty’s Government on this occasion:--

     “‘That five per cent. upon outlay has been, and is, the only rate
     of charge recognised by the profession, as fairly remunerative in
     the average practice of architects.

     “‘That it is to be deeply regretted that it should be proposed to
     depart from the above rate in the instance of the New Palace at
     Westminster, a building involving in its design and execution the
     exercise of the highest professional attainments.

     “‘That the example which would be set by Her Majesty’s Government,
     should the course proposed be carried into execution (a legal
     appeal against their decision being practically impossible), is to
     be regarded as disastrous to the future prospects of architecture
     as a liberal profession in this country, as calculated to lower the
     character of public monuments in England, and unworthy the
     Government of a great nation, whose obvious duty it is adequately
     to foster and protect the genius of its artists.’

“We are, &c.,

(Signed)  “CHARLES C. NELSON,}
          “M. DIGBY WYATT.   } _Hon. Secs._”

They received the following reply:--

“_Treasury Chambers, 15th July, 1856._

     “GENTLEMEN,--The Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury have
     had before them the resolution passed at your meeting on the 5th
     instant, on the subject of Sir Charles Barry’s professional
     remuneration as the architect of the New Palace at Westminster,
     which was inclosed in your secretaries’ letter of the 9th instant.

     “Although my Lords cannot recognise your right to call upon
     Parliament or Her Majesty’s Government to conform to the
     regulations or opinions of the society in arrangements which may be
     made with professional gentlemen undertaking public works, their
     Lordships are anxious that no misunderstanding should exist in the
     minds of the respectable body which you represent on the subject of
     the remuneration of Sir Charles Barry as architect of the New
     Houses of Parliament.

     “Their Lordships have therefore directed me to transmit to you
     herewith the enclosed copy of their Minute of the 4th instant, in
     order that you may be informed of the views by which this Board has
     been governed in the matter.

     “You will learn from that Minute that this Board has not in its
     recent correspondence with Sir Charles Barry proposed any new
     principle with regard to the professional remuneration of
     architects employed on public works, but has, on the contrary,
     endeavoured to carry out in a liberal spirit an arrangement, made
     in 1838, in consequence of opinions expressed in Parliament, and
     acquiesced in by Sir Charles Barry in the following year, as shown
     by the correspondence quoted in the inclosed Minute, which took
     place in 1838 and 1839, and you will observe that the only
     objection then raised by Sir Charles Barry regarded the amount of
     remuneration proposed, and not the principle on which it was based.
     Their Lordships feel that you might, with greater propriety, call
     upon a member of your own body for an explanation of the motives by
     which he was governed, rather than address a remonstrance to Her
     Majesty’s Government against the deviation, acquiesced in by him in
     1839, from the rate of charge recognised by the profession.

“I am, &c.,

(Signed)      “JAMES WILSON.”

The correspondence ended with their acknowledgement of this reply,
accompanied by a statement that “it was only after a careful examination
of the whole of the Parliamentary papers connected with the subject,
that the Council arrived at their own conclusions thereon, and framed
and unanimously adopted the resolution in question.”

It was not indeed likely that the Government would allow this
interposition to modify action, which they had formally adopted and
publicly announced. But the interposition itself was very gratifying to
Sir C. Barry, as an acknowledgment that he was fighting the battle of
the profession, and a testimony of the sympathy, which went with him in
a difficult and unequal contest.

It would have been well, if his letter of the 15th had been absolutely
final. But, as was perhaps inevitable, difficulties of detail arose in
carrying out the scheme laid down by the Treasury, and some acrimonious
correspondence was the result. Under the irritation caused by these
petty disputes, the architect once more embodied his views in a formal
protest, which was sent to the Board of Works, and met by a rejoinder
from Mr. H. A. Hunt, their surveyor. Neither the protest nor the
rejoinder add much new matter to the facts of the case, and they need
not be recorded here.

One important matter still remains to be noticed. After Sir C. Barry’s
death, his son, Mr. Edward M. Barry, who had long been his assistant in
the work, received from the Board of Works an invitation to undertake
the task of superintendence of “the works at the New Palace at
Westminster, which had received the sanction of this Board, and for
which Parliament had made grants of money,” the rates of his
remuneration to be “the same as those paid to his late lamented father.”
Mr. Barry, of course, rejoiced to have the opportunity of completing his
father’s work, and was willing to accept the rate of remuneration, in
which Sir Charles had already been forced to acquiesce. At the same time
he felt it right to inform the Board of Works that he did so in
consequence of this desire to carry out Sir Charles Barry’s designs;
“otherwise,” he adds, “I should have felt bound, on public grounds, and
in justice both to myself and the architectural profession, to have
called the attention of the Chief Commissioner to the fact that the
remuneration forced upon my father’s acceptance by the Treasury minute
of January 29th, 1856 (against the injustice of which he always
protested) is:--

     “1. Less than is customary with architects of standing, and
     adequate in the case of the Palace.

     “2. Less than has been, and is now, paid to architects employed by
     the Government on other works.

     “3. Less than was recently offered by the Government to architects
     of all nations, in the public competition for the new Government

In November, 1863, in sending in his professional charges, calculated at
the rate of four per cent., Mr. Barry remarked on the extension of the
work beyond the amount which was calculated upon in the first instance,
and for which money had been voted at the time of Sir C. Barry’s death,
and on certain additional duties which had devolved upon him as
architect. At the same time, considering the case as one of an
exceptional character, on which he had already maintained the abstract
principle in his letter of June 8th, 1860, he left the matter entirely
in the hands of the First Commissioner. The result was that in March,
1864, the Office of Works informed him that, by order of the Treasury,
they were ready to “pay a commission of five instead of four per cent.
upon the expenditure for the past and present financial years” (March
31st, 1862-1864). For all subsequent works upon, or connected with, the
New Palace of Westminster, Mr. Barry has received, without question, the
customary remuneration of five per cent. On the bearing of this
proceeding on the question at issue it is hardly needful to remark.

Before collecting in one view the results of the whole controversy,
there is one subject closely connected with it, to which it is necessary
briefly to advert.

In the course of the controversy constant allusions were made to the
great expenditure on the building, and especially to the great excess
over the original estimate. In fact, the original agreement imposed by
Lord Duncannon had for its object the prevention of such excess, by
removing what was, I suppose, held to be a pecuniary temptation to the
architect to incur it.

On the whole subject, therefore, of expenditure it is necessary to add a
few remarks.

The original estimate for the erection of the building was 707,104_l._
and it is not unnatural that those, who contrast this estimate with the
amount actually expended, approaching two millions, should look upon the
excess as something monstrous. The comparison however of the two sums
gives an entirely erroneous view of the case.

The summary on the opposite page, presented to Parliament by the
Chancellor of the Exchequer, in 1850, of all sums expended, or to be
expended, on the New Palace at Westminster is substantially correct, and
will throw some light on the subject.

     (_a._) It will be observed that of the gross sum nearly 500,000_l._
     is apportioned to furniture, fittings, and other decorations (not
     included in the estimate).

     The largeness of this amount is due in great degree to the
     determination, expressed in the Fine Art Commission, and welcomed
     with acclamation by the public, of making the erection of the
     building a great opportunity for the encouragement of the fine arts
     of painting and sculpture. This determination seemed to the
     architect to necessitate a far greater amount of splendour and
     perfection in the whole internal fittings; for it was his opinion,
     strongly urged on the Commission, that the masterpieces of the
     painter’s and sculptor’s art, if they are to have their full
     effect, must be in harmony with the decorations surrounding them,
     and fix (as it were) the standard of their magnificence.

     It will be, of course, a matter of opinion how far this principle
     has been successfully carried out in the New Palace at Westminster;
     but probably few will question its theoretical soundness, or be


                                              |    EXPENDED.   |  UNEXPENDED. |     TOTAL.
                                              |     £  s._ _d._|   £ _s._ _d._|     £   _s._ _d._
For Works included in the Original Estimate   |  522,170   0  0|159,934   0  0|  682,104   0   0
For Works specially excluded from the Estimate|   55,907   3  2| 32,000   0  0|   87,907   3   2
For additional Works in the construction of   |                |              |
    the Building                              |   35,063   3  1| 14,735   4  4|   49,798   7   5
For Additions to, and Modifications of, the   |                |              |
    original Plans of the Building            |   19,150   1  0| 32,564   5  0|   51,714   6   0
For extra Charges consequent upon Changes     |                |              |
    in Materials and Workmanship              |   51,721   6  2| 32,000   0  0|   83,721   6   2
For additional Cost occasioned by             |                |              |
    increased Ratio of Contracts, &c.         |   53,400   0  0| 21,000   0  0|   74,400   0   0
For Works incidental to, but forming no       |                |              |
    Part of, the Works of the Building        |   27,409   4  0| 16,177   7  2|   43,586  11   2
For incidental Charges upon the Funds         |                |              |
    appropriated to the Building, but         |                |              |
    not connected with the Works thereof      |   38,972  13  8|  5,000   0  0|   43,972  13   8
For extra Works in Warming, Ventilating,      |                |              |
    and Smoke Arrangements                    |   77,533  19  0| 45,583  11  2|  123,117  10   2
For extra Works in Fire-proofing, in          |                |              |
    consequence of Warming, Ventilating,      |                |              |
    and Smoke Arrangements                    |   74,825   0  0| 10,050   0  0|   84,875   0   0
For Furniture, Fittings, Fixtures,            |                |              |
    and Decorations                           |   93,195   9  0|404,204  11  0|  497,400   0   0
For Purchase of Property for the Site         |   82,382  11  4|  ..     ..   |   82,382  11   4
For the Architect’s and Engineer’s Charges,   |                |              |
    and Cost of Superintendence               |   41,510   6  3| 50,757   0  7|   92,267   6  10
                                            £ |1,173,240  16  8|824,005  19  3|1,997,246  15  11

     that Sir Charles took advantage of that increase of taste for
     artistic beauty and magnificence, which had grown up since his
     designs were originally formed. In any case the expenditure on this
     head must fairly be regarded, as in very great degree unconnected
     with the first estimate, and deserving to be judged on its own

     (_b._) It should next be noted that nearly 208,000_l._ was taken up
     by the arrangements for warming and ventilation, and for the extra
     work in fire-proofing which they rendered necessary.

     The largeness of this amount will surprise no one who remembers
     that for these arrangements one-third of the cubical contents of
     the building was demanded; that the Central Tower itself belongs to
     these extra works; that large portions of the building were carried
     up for the purpose of providing continuous air and smoke flues, in
     the cross roofs connecting those in the main building; and that
     great changes of material were introduced, such as the substitution
     of iron for slated roofs, and of iron girders and brick arches for
     ordinary floors.

     (_c._) Besides these two chief causes of increased expenditure, it
     must be added, that the purchase of extra site and the cost of
     works (such as the river wall) expressly excepted from the
     estimate, absorbed nearly 170,000_l._, and that a sum of 97,000_l._
     was devoted to purposes connected with the building, but not
     properly forming part of the works.

     These sums amount in all to 970,000_l._ The rest of the excess is
     really and properly connected with the works, on which the
     estimate was made. On this it is right to observe--

     (_a._) That the treacherous nature of the soil, discovered after
     the estimate was made, necessitated a large increase of expense on
     the foundations (nearly 50,000_l._).

     (_b._) That the failure of the Bolsover stone, and the employment
     of the harder Anston stone, involved a great increase of labour
     upon it, and therefore of expense.

     (_c._) That the very fact, already noticed, of the piecemeal
     occupation of the building, necessitating all kinds of temporary
     arrangements, obstructing progress, and often preventing work from,
     being done in the easiest and simplest manner, also tended in the
     same direction.

     (_d._) That large additional requirements were made for the public
     service in the course of the erection of the building, including
     the restoration of St. Stephen’s Crypt, the provision of residences
     for the Clerk of the House of Commons, the Clerk of the Crown, the
     gentlemen in charge of the ventilation of the building, &c.

     (_e._) That the upward tendency of prices of labour and material,
     within the time occupied by the erection of the building, naturally
     told against the public, and very greatly increased the needful

All these causes were at work in swelling the excess of expenditure.
Some of them were altogether beyond the architect’s control; for others
he was partially responsible.

It was his earnest desire that the magnificence of the building should
be worthy of its grand scale and still grander destination. He thought
that, in the pursuit of this object, expense was to a great nation a
secondary consideration; for the sum voted year by year for the purpose
was after all a sum comparatively insignificant in the aggregate of the
public estimates. It is undoubtedly true that his own sanguine
temperament led him to undervalue difficulties and expense in carrying
out what he thought desirable, and his fastidious taste, showing itself
in numerous alterations, tended to increase actual expenditure. But
these errors (if errors they were) were but the excrescences of that
ardent desire for perfection, which was his real and principal motive.
Nor does it seem that the public verdict would greatly condemn his
theoretical principles. Those who have attacked the excess of
expenditure (when they have not followed mere fashion or acted in pure
ignorance) have done so, because they conceived that perfection had not
been attained, and that accordingly the expenditure had been so much
waste. On the final opinion, which shall be entertained of the building
in itself, will depend also the opinion, which will prevail on the
secondary question.

Much, however, of the action of the authorities in the matter of the
remuneration seemed to proceed on the principle, that, since an
architect by increasing expenditure increases his percentage, he should
not be allowed to profit by what is at least _primâ facie_ a misdoing.
On the general bearing of this principle on the remuneration by
percentage it is not needful to speak. But those, who knew Sir C. Barry,
will be well aware that, in any increase of expenditure, nothing could
be further from his thoughts than the idea of his own pecuniary
aggrandisement, and nothing was more painful to him than the imputation,
expressly or indirectly, of any such unworthy motive.

The fact is, that the present building, and the one for which the
estimate was made, although they are one in general principles of plan
and design, are yet wholly different both in size and in decoration. To
the bearing of this fact on the remuneration controversy, as well as on
the question of expenditure, it is needless to do more than refer. The
building must be judged in the matter of costliness as it stands; and,
when its cubical contents are estimated, and its style considered, it
will be found that excessive costliness has been attributed to it
without adequate ground.

Such is a brief statement of one of the most interesting and important
professional controversies of late years.[88] Without assuming a right
to pronounce judgment, certain points may not unfairly be noticed, as
summing up the really important features of the case.

I. The attempt to supersede the regular method of professional
remuneration by the offer of a fixed sum for the completion of the work
_was practically abandoned by the Government_. The question between them
and the architect turned on the amount of the percentage (whether it
should be four or five per cent.), a question which made a difference to
him of some 23,000_l._, but which did not settle any great principle, or
materially affect the public interest, in the general question of the
relations of the Government to the architects employed in public works.

II. It cannot be questioned that the Government made use of their power
to enforce an acquiescence in their terms, irrespectively of the
arguments by which they sustained them. This they did (as will be

1. By not unfrequent interpositions of delay.

2. By an attempt (afterwards withdrawn) to construe the acceptance of a
payment on account, due on any supposition, to be an acquiescence in the
principle of their proposal.

3. By ordering all payments whatever to be withheld until the architect
yielded to their terms, and by ignoring all claims for interest, on
payments thus deferred and afterwards acknowledged to be due.

4. By refusing all arbitration, either on the general question or on
that of the “special services.”

III. It is evident that the real ground of their action, and the reason
why that action was allowed to pass almost unquestioned in
Parliament,[89] was the great increase of expenditure on the building,
the delay in its completion, and the unpopularity into which, from these
and from other causes, it had been brought. But for these things, the
whole responsibility for which they were inclined to throw upon the
architect, they would not have ventured, and probably would not have
wished, to deal with him on a principle, which, in no other case (not
even in the completion of the New Palace itself) did they show any
determination to enforce. How far their course can be justified by these
grounds of proceeding, it must be left to others to decide.

Such is the general narrative of the erection of the building. It has
been given at some length, as forming a curious and not unimportant
chapter in the history of modern English architecture. Such critical
notice of it, as is necessary here, must be reserved for the next



     I. HISTORY OF THE GROWTH OF THE DESIGN.--Influence of external
     circumstances on the design--Lowness and irregularity of
     site--Limitation of choice to Elizabethan and Gothic styles--Choice
     of Perpendicular style--Original conception of the plan--Question
     of restoration of St. Stephen’s Chapel--Use of Westminster Hall as
     the grand entrance to the building--Simplicity of plan--Principle
     of symmetry and regularity dominant--Enlargement of plan after its
     adoption--Conception of St. Stephen’s porch--The Central Hall--The
     Royal Entrance and Royal Gallery--The House of Lords, its
     construction and decoration--The House of Commons, and its
     alteration--Great difficulty of the acoustic problem--Enlargement
     of public requirements--Alterations of design in the River
     Front--The Land Fronts--The Victoria Tower--The Clock
     Tower--General inclination to increase the upward tendency of the
     design, and the amount of decoration. II. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE
     ACTUAL BUILDING.--Its dimensions--Its main lines of approach; the
     public approach--The royal approach--The private approaches of
     Peers and Commons--General character of the plan--The external
     fronts--The towers--Criticisms on the building by independent

I. In considering the growth of the design of the New Palace at
Westminster, it is necessary to remember, that it was not left entirely
free, to be determined by the taste of the architect or the requirements
of the building, but was influenced by the site, by the existence of
Westminster Hall, of the Courts of Law, and of a portion of the old St.
Stephen’s Chapel, and by the limitation to either the Elizabethan or
Gothic style dictated by the judges.

The disadvantages of the site were so obvious--so obvious, that
proposals were made to rebuild the Palace on other sites, among which
may be noticed the high ground in the Green Park and Trafalgar Square.
But in the end the feeling for the old site prevailed, and architectural
effect was not unnaturally sacrificed to historical associations.

The site chosen was low; approached moreover from the higher ground of
Trafalgar Square, and (in close juxta-position with the principal front)
from Westminster Bridge, the parapet of which was then so high as
actually to conceal a large portion of the front on the first view from
the Surrey side of the river, and to give it the effect of being
completely sunk. In some degree this defect might be, and has been,
remedied, by the erection of a bridge (as at present) at a much lower
level of roadway, and with low parapets; and this was a plan which Mr.
Barry always strongly urged. But the only effectual remedy would have
been to raise the building on a great terrace (as is done at Somerset
House), so as to bring it on a level with the parapet of the bridge. It
would have been a costly scheme; but high cost would hardly have
deterred him from recommending it. The fatal objection was, that it
would have left Westminster Hall and the Abbey, so to speak, in a hole;
and this could not have been tolerated. The lowness therefore of the
site might be mitigated, but could not be remedied.

Moreover, the site was irregular, almost wedge-shaped in form; and on
the land-side Westminster Hall and the Law Courts (the former not
parallel to the river front), made a continuous elevation impossible.
These points presented great difficulty in plan, especially to one, who
held to regularity and symmetry as main principles of design. The Law
Courts might be and (he thought) ought to be removed; the other
difficulties still remained inevitable.

Between the prescribed styles of Elizabethan and Gothic there was no
long hesitation. The former appeared a bastard style, unfit for a
building of such magnitude. Gothic was at once chosen. Of all its styles
Mr. Barry admired most the Early English; but he then thought it hardly
fit for other than ecclesiastical purposes. Finally he chose
Perpendicular, thinking that it would lend itself most easily to the
requirements of the building, and to the principle of regularity, which
he intended to introduce in his design. But, if he could have had a site
to his mind, and had been left free to choose his style, there is little
doubt that he would have preferred Italian. The example most frequent in
his thoughts was Inigo Jones’ grand design for the Palace at Whitehall;
his own general ideas were manifested in the great design for the New
Public Offices, which was the last important work of his life. He
actually prepared some sketches and studies for an Italian design, in
defiance of the instructions to the competitors.

But he felt that, under all circumstances, Gothic was the style best
fitted for the New Palace, and, if Westminster Hall was to be made a
feature in the design, the only style possible; and he was consoled for
the loss of Italian mainly by the thought of the facility given by
Gothic for the erection of towers, the one method by which he thought it
possible to



redeem from insignificance a great building, in which convenience
forbade great general height, and for which a low and unfavourable site
had been provided.

Under the limitations thus imposed from without, his mind began to work
on the conception of a design. The original idea of his plan was
sketched out on the back of a letter, while he was on a visit to Mr.
Godfrey, one of his early friends. Even this contained the germ of all
that was to follow. But the first plan, which he drew out with care,
exhibited every one of the great features of the executed building; and
even at this early stage his views extended beyond this plan with a view
to the completion of the design. He proposed to enclose New Palace Yard,
erecting at the angle a lofty gate-tower, visible from Bridge Street to
the Abbey. Beyond this point was to be a grand quadrangle, in which the
Victoria Tower should be the principal feature, and from that Tower a
grand approach was to lead straight to Buckingham Palace.

In considering the plan, Mr. Barry at once saw that Westminster Hall
must either ruin any design, or form a principal feature in it. St.
Stephen’s Chapel was in ruins; it was difficult to restore it with
certainty; and if it were restored, it was natural that it should be
reclaimed to ecclesiastical purposes.[90] This he therefore thought it
better to avoid; but the crypt remained, to be preserved and rescued
from its former use, as the Speaker’s Dining-room, to a more worthy
purpose.[91] He therefore resolved at once to make Westminster Hall his
great public approach, and to carry the public through it, and through a
hall occupying the site of St. Stephen’s Chapel, right into the centre
of the site provided. There were difficulties in the way; the position
of the hall and chapel at right angles turned the line of approach;
there was a want of parallelism in the one, and of perpendicularity in
the other, to the line of the river front, and so to the principal axis
of the building; the vast dimensions of the hall itself would tend to
dwarf any other hall to which it formed the entrance. But he felt that
these were secondary considerations, not worthy of counterbalancing the
grandeur and the appropriateness of the general conception. The verdict
of public criticism, both at the time of the competition and
subsequently, has fully justified his determination.

These points determined, the rest of the plan followed naturally. The
Commons must be on the left of the Central Hall, their private entrance
in New Palace Yard, and the Speaker’s residence beyond; the Lords on
the right, their private entrance in Old Palace Yard, and the Royal
approach again beyond this. The suites of libraries and committee-rooms
could nowhere be so well placed as on the river front. This general plan
was at once adopted, and from its main features he never swerved. He
disliked, as an error of principle, the necessary duality of design, and
the need of carrying on the great line of approach to inferior rooms,
while the Houses of Lords and Commons lay on the right and left. He
would have preferred some one feature incontestably the chief, so as to
give the unity which he craved. But the plan adopted was recommended by
grandeur, simplicity, and convenience;[92] and these considerations kept
him firm and unhesitating in his adherence to it. In fact, he was
surprised that none of his competitors had adopted it.

The plan and style being thus fixed, the composition of the design next
suggested the question, whether there was anything in Gothic style which
ought to interfere with the principles of symmetry, regularity, and
unity, so dear to his artistic taste. Many (and his friend Pugin
especially) contended for irregularity, picturesqueness, and variety.
They would have had a group of buildings rather than a single one, or at
any rate a building, in which there should be a general unity of style,
rather than an actual symmetry of design, which they stigmatized as
“clothing a “classical design with Gothic details.” But Mr. Barry’s
notions were widely different. He conceived that, if certain first
principles were true, they could not vary in different styles. He
believed that symmetry and regularity were essential to unity and
grandeur; and on this conviction he acted throughout, though sensible at
the time that it would meet with opposition, and occasionally
disheartened by the increasing strength of the opposition in after
years.[93] This is, of course, no place for the discussion of so
difficult a question in the abstract. All that is needful is to indicate
the principle, which, as a matter of fact, guided and controlled the
design, and which probably accounts for the existence of certain actual
features, and the omission of others which might have been looked

The character of the building was, of course, to be palatial. There were
however but fragments of Gothic palaces to be found in England. Italian
Gothic had not yet attracted much observation. The town-halls of Belgium
occurred to him, and he went over to that country to see and to admire
them, especially those of Brussels and Louvain. They recurred to him
afterwards, as examples of visible roofs, and general enrichment. But at
the time they did not affect his design, which was mainly “castellated”
with embattled parapets, concealed roofs, and an absence of all spires.
The great tower, one hundred feet square, was to be treated as a “keep;”
the clock-tower differed little, except in size, from the same general
character. With his great love of unity and regularity he might have
desired a central tower,[95] but it must have been over the central
hall, and there it would have been too far back to form a centre to the
great river front, and half its height would have been concealed. He
always thought that great towers should be seen from their parapet to
their base; accordingly, he was content to place his towers in positions
where they would form natural and prominent features, without
interfering with each other, or with the great river front.

Such were the views which dictated the great outlines of the prize
design. He made countless variations, drawings literally by hundreds, as
studies of its prominent features, in the course of its formation; but
the main principles were deeply fixed in his mind, and to them he always

As soon as he was appointed to carry out the work, he was instructed to
remodel his plan. More accommodation was needed, and the Government
determined to extend the site southwards. This step had the additional
advantage of enabling the architect to enlarge the courts, required to
give light and air to so extensive a building. It was the first of many
alterations, some undertaken with direct authority, others more or less
on his own responsibility, with the strong feeling that they were real
improvements, dictated by an “architectural necessity,” and that as such
they must eventually be sanctioned.

This willingness to accept responsibility was shown in the first change.
The river line was not at right angles to the main approach through St.
Stephen’s Hall. If both were strictly preserved, much distortion was
inevitable. To diminish it as much as possible, he not only set back the
line of the embankment at the southern end, but advanced it at the other
end, near the bridge, so as to encroach on the river; and this he did,
without consulting either the Conservators of the Thames or the
Government. This bold step, sanctioned by its success, still left some
remains of the objectionable distortion at the entrance from St.
Stephen’s Hall into the central hall. There it still exists, but, owing
to the octagonal form of the latter hall, and some contrivances of
detail, it is hardly to be detected.

The next important alteration introduced one of the noblest features of
the present building. In determining to use Westminster Hall as a public
approach, he had feared that any important alteration might rouse
opposition; he had therefore proposed merely to enlarge the existing
entrance under the great south window. But now the grand idea of St.
Stephen’s porch was conceived, the great window was set back, and the
present noble entrance to the building was the result. He had proposed
also to raise the great roof of Westminster Hall,[96] being thoroughly
satisfied of the practicability of the process, and the great
improvement of proportion which must result. Considerations of expense
alone interfered with its execution.

For the embellishment of the hall he had, as has been shown in the last
chapter, grand dreams; frescoes, trophies, and statues, were to have met
the eye, “set” in profuse enrichment of colour and mosaic, and the whole
was to have formed a British Walhalla.

The central hall was originally intended to be far more lofty than at
present; the lowering of its proportions is one of the many changes
necessitated by the claims for ventilation made by Dr. Reid.

The most important alteration of all was made in the royal entrance. The
tower in the first design was one hundred feet square, the sovereign was
to have alighted within it, and the royal procession, turning round a
central pillar, was to have returned by the way it came. The reduction
of the size of the tower to seventy-five feet square set this plan
aside, and it was then arranged, that the sovereign should pass through
the tower into an inner hall, and alight at the foot of a grand
staircase, leading straight to the robing room immediately behind the
throne. But on consideration Mr. Barry grudged the great sacrifice of
space, and the interruption of communication on the principal floor, for
a staircase, which could be used only twice a year.[97] He conceived
the notion of the Royal gallery, as a hall for the use of the House of
Lords, for the viewing of the royal procession, and for the display of
architectural effect, unrestrained by the encumbrances which business
renders necessary in the Houses of Lords and Commons. To these
considerations he sacrificed the greater magnificence of the original
staircase, and on his own responsibility proceeded with the work.

This was the first alteration which excited discontent and opposition.
The nature of that opposition is referred to in the previous chapter;
its only effect however was to produce a still further alteration, by
the formation of the anteroom behind the throne (the Prince’s chamber)
for the convenience of the House of Lords. This involved the curtailment
of the Royal gallery, and the insertion of a comparatively small room in
the royal approach, and was never entirely satisfactory to the

In the House of Lords no great alteration was made, except in height. In
the original design the roof was kept low, in deference to authorities
in acoustics; but on more careful inquiry it was found that they
differed widely from each other, and the architect not unnaturally
thought that certain beauty of proportion need not be sacrificed to a
doubtful acoustical advantage. The roof accordingly was raised. It could
not be made open, because of the requirements for ventilation; but, in
fact, even in Gothic buildings Mr. Barry was disinclined to employ open
roofs. For inhabited rooms he preferred a coved or arched ceiling, and
believed that, in the abstract, a cove was the best method of connecting
a horizontal ceiling with vertical walls.

In the gorgeous decorations of the house not a little was due to the
work and the influence of Mr. Pugin, which added a stimulus, hardly
needed, to the architect’s own love of enrichment. The carved and metal
work, and generally the purely ornamental details, were designed by Mr.
Pugin, under Mr. Barry’s direction, and subject to his frequent
alterations; the painted windows were not only designed by Mr. Pugin,
but carried out under his superintendence, the architect only
stipulating for a sufficient amount of white glass to produce the
“jewelled effect” he admired in many ancient windows.[98] The unsightly
black effect of these windows at night was a great difficulty; a system
of external gas-lighting was adopted to remedy it, but it has since been
disused. The ceiling was a subject of much consideration; Mr. Barry
wished to produce as much as possible the effect of solid gold, the
enrichment of colour being purely subsidiary. His notion always was that
decoration, if begun, should be thoroughly carried out, and that only by
failure in this respect, and by partiality of decoration, was the effect
of tawdriness produced.

The House of Lords he considered as not a mere place of business, not
even a mere House of Lords at all, but as the chamber in which the
sovereign, surrounded by the court, summoned to the royal presence the
three estates of the realm. He thought, therefore, that it should
partake of royal magnificence, and lavished upon it all the treasures of

The House of Commons underwent many changes. The accommodation required
by the original instructions, and the recommendation accompanying them,
that every member should be brought as near to the Speaker as possible,
necessitated enormous size and a nearly square form; but, on
consultation with the authorities of the House, it was found that they
considered the accommodation, both for members and for strangers, as
unnecessarily and inconveniently large, and that the preponderance of
their opinion was in favour of the old oblong form. On their authority
the width and available accommodation of the House were greatly reduced.
The difficulty really lay in this, that, whereas some accommodation must
be provided for each of the six hundred and fifty-eight members, yet,
for business purposes, the House must not be too large for the
comparatively small average attendance. The Government seem to have
dwelt more on the former consideration, the authorities of the House,
who knew its practical working, on the other. The architect inclined to
obey the latter, especially as their orders coincided with the claims of
architectural proportion. The consequence of this reduction, as has been
elsewhere stated, was great disapprobation by the House of Commons, and
the consequent alteration of the chamber, fatal to its architectural

On the subject of the acoustic properties of the House it is right to
remark that the difficulties were great and peculiar. In rooms where the
speaking is to be from one or two quarters only (as in churches,
theatres, or law-courts, in legislative assemblies, where the speaker
mounts a “tribune,” &c.), the task is comparatively easy, though even
here failure is not unusual. But in the Houses of Parliament a speaker
must be audible from every part of the House, even when using that
conversational tone which our method of Parliamentary speaking tends to
foster. To this is to be added the consideration above alluded to of the
fluctuating nature of the attendance. The House of Lords must contain
the peers themselves, the sovereign and the court at the upper, the
deputies of the Commons at the lower end; yet it is attended usually by
a few peers who speak quietly across the table. In the House of Commons
the variation of members is less, but the greater pressure of business
makes its inconvenience more serious. Add to these the undoubted fact,
that very few persons, especially in short conversational remarks, take
the trouble to speak distinctly, and use proper modulation of the voice,
and that in the case of a new building a certain time seems to be needed
(which in the House of Commons was certainly not given), to “season” the
House, and accustom the speakers to its pitch, and it will be seen that
the architect was not without some plea, to oppose to the censure with
which he was so freely visited. Theories he found to be discordant, and
time was hardly allowed for experience and trial of remedial measures.

Such were the modifications of plan voluntarily made by the architect;
others were rendered necessary by circumstances. Some additional
residences were introduced, refreshment rooms and offices were
re-arranged, provision was necessary to meet the immense extension of
the business of Parliamentary Committees, alterations made in order to
provide for the whole of the public records, and, above all, changes in
plan and elevation were necessitated on every side by the enormous
claims, both upon the space and arrangements of the building, made by
Dr. Reid for his schemes of ventilation. The central tower was wholly
due to these requirements; many other parts of the building were carried
up, and many smaller turrets were introduced, to meet the requirements
of his system. The spaces under the Houses, intended for the horses and
carriages of members, were surrendered to him, and the want of them is
severely felt. On the whole it has been already noticed that he absorbed
one-third of the cubical contents of the building. All these things
involved frequent changes, constant thought and labour, and no slight
increase of expenditure.

These alterations of plan were naturally followed by considerable
alterations of design; some, in fact, necessitated by them, others
dependent on certain changes of idea in the mind of the architect
himself, and in the general feeling as to Gothic architecture.

Both these kinds of alteration were manifested in



the river front. The great increase of extent required some device for
breaking the monotony and comparative lowness of this long front. He was
strongly averse at all times to setting back the wings, or greatly
advancing the centre of an architectural front, so as to break its line,
when seen in perspective, and interfere with its apparent size. He was
reduced therefore to attempt variation in outline, by slightly raising
the whole centre, by heightening into towers the masses which flanked
it, and by introducing visible roofs and turrets. This last change was
one of principle; the “castellated” form necessarily disappeared at
once, the parapet became subordinate, the turrets, originally
battlemented, now terminated in tops, which, after many trials, and with
some reluctance, were made of the ogee form. An upward tendency was
given to the whole. The towers of the front remained for some time
without visible roofs, and when the roofs were introduced they were so
kept down (in deference to the advice of others) in relation to the
angle turrets, that some confusion of principle resulted. He regretted
afterwards that he had not kept down the pinnacles, and made the roofs
boldly predominant. At the same time a change was made as to the
buttresses of the whole front. They had no thrust to sustain, they
interrupted the cornice and string-courses, and interfered with the
panelling. For these reasons Mr. Barry himself disliked them, and,
external criticism coinciding with his own feeling, he resolved to
change them into turrets, which were free from all these objections, and
which would tend at once to elevate and break the sky-line, and by
their greater projection to relieve the flatness of the front. These
turrets, once introduced, must of course prevail throughout; they made
their appearance accordingly in the prominent masses of the wings, and
so the change of the whole character of the front was complete.

This alteration may be considered to have been more or less occasioned
by the extension of front; other changes were made without any such
ground. In the original design the windows of the two principal stories
were set in arched recesses, with no string-courses to mark the
divisions of the stories, united, as it were, under one head. This was
now altered; the internal arrangements were manifested by the complete
separation of the two stories; the recesses and the pointed heads of the
windows of both stories were abolished, and in the attic story of the
centre the continuous arcading was changed into sets of triple openings,
so as to harmonize with the three-light windows below. These changes
were less generally approved, as tending to give a flatness to the
front, which the changes noticed in the preceding paragraph were not
sufficient to remove.

The lower story of the whole front was made very solid and plain. It was
indeed originally intended to contain a fire-proof range of vaults for
the public records. Plainness of design indicated its use; it harmonized
also with the principle which he always advocated, that the basement
line should be as unadorned as possible, and that richness should
increase with elevation; and it seemed to him more than usually
necessary in the case of the river front, in order to increase the
effect of the embankment, and give the appearance of elevation of site.

Such were the principles which governed the design of the great front,
and this design to a considerable extent determined that of the others.
The front in New Palace Yard differed chiefly in the adoption of square
buttresses, and (as the rooms looking into it were smaller) in the
division of the whole building above the basement into three stories
instead of two. This division not only suited convenience, but appeared
to him more accordant with true principle; and he rather regretted that
it could not have been adopted in the river front.[99] The front to Old
Palace Yard, with the Victoria tower at one end and Westminster Hall at
the other, might have given opportunity for greater variety of design;
but the same general character still was made to prevail, only varied by
the advancement of alternate bays and by the porch of the Lords’
entrance, which was required for convenience, and which is little else
than a portion of the basement advanced.

The great Victoria tower underwent repeated alterations. It had been
originally treated with all the solidity of a “keep;” but the reduction
on plan was compensated by increase in height, and the whole character
of the design was necessarily changed. The entrance had been of moderate
dimensions (professedly designed on the model of the Erpingham Gate at
Norwich), and the top of the niche-band ranged with the cornice of the
building. It was now raised to its present magnificent dimensions; the
niches remained; and the upper part of the tower was divided into three
large and two smaller stories. The design and arrangement of these cost
incalculable trouble before it assumed its present form, divided into
three windows, and the upper story rendered the prominent one by the
arched and canopied heads of the windows.

As the tower approached completion, he felt some longing for a high
pyramidal termination. But circumstances prevented his realizing this
idea, and reduced him to the high roof and the great flagstaff. In the
tower, however, as it stands, he always felt pride and pleasure, and
trusted that it would be the great feature of the building, by which his
name would be best known hereafter.[100]



The tower was at first intended to contain such of the public records as
were not frequently in use, and was arranged accordingly with two lofty
internal stories. Subsequently orders were given to accommodate all the
records; not without great inconvenience, but with much ingenuity,
accommodation was provided by the insertion of numerous floors and other
contrivances. After all, the intention was abandoned by the authorities,
and all the trouble and expense were thrown away.

The clock-tower was the one feature of the building which gave the
greatest trouble, and for which design after design was made and
rejected. It was to be what its name implied: the clock was to be the
one prominent feature, not a mere accessory--treated as an architectural
ornament. For practical purposes it was to be raised on the highest
story, and made of immense size; the ornamental character of the whole
front required that the lower part of the tower should be faced with
delicate panelling, and yet a “top-heavy” effect must be carefully
avoided. It was at once decided that the lower part should be solid,
with but slight openings. To make the clock-story duly prominent all
sorts of devices were thought of, till at last an example was remembered
in which the whole clock-story was made to project beyond the body of
the tower. The suggestion was eagerly caught at; the example quoted
differed in almost every respect from the character of the tower to be
designed, and endless modifications were needed; but the general
principle was preserved, and the result is one of the most striking
features of the building. Still the termination remained; designs and
models were tried over and over again; some forms appeared deficient in
lightness, others were rejected as too ecclesiastical; till at last the
form was devised which we now see. On the whole he felt satisfied with
the tower, only thinking that the outline would have been improved by
raising both the bell-chamber and the terminal portion of the roof, and
regretting the angular projections on the face of the turrets below,
which are terminated abruptly by the clock-story afterwards devised. His
work on this and the Victoria tower gives a striking specimen of the
process by which the whole design was worked out; no labour, no delay,
no expense, seemed excessive in the pursuit of what he thought
perfection, even in the minutest detail. They were temporary; the
censures they might provoke were also temporary; the result was lasting,
and worth any temporary sacrifice.[101]

Such were the reasons which led to modifications of the original design
in the chief portions of the building. Besides these, however, two
general tendencies must be noticed.

The first was the desire to increase as much as possible the upward
tendency of the lines of the design, to elevate and vary the skyline
throughout. Every ventilating shaft was taken advantage of; every turret
was heightened, till the central lantern, itself an insertion, was
surrounded by a forest of louvres and spires. The whole character of the
design was changed; and the change arose, partly from original
predilection for the spire form, partly from advancing knowledge of
Gothic architecture, but principally from practical experience of the
great architectural disadvantages entailed by the site, and the
comparative lowness of the building itself. The change has been
generally recognised as an improvement.

The other tendency was to profuse ornamentation. His notion was that a
general spread of minute ornament, a kind of “diapering” of the whole,
was rich, but more simple, because less likely to interfere with the
main outline, than ornaments on a large scale more sparingly employed.
In the particular case before him he thought that smallness of scale in
details would help to give an appearance of size to the building. But
his feeling always was that ornamentation, if right in kind, could not
be overdone; he did not recognise the value of plainer portions to act
as a “setting” of the decoration; to him they appeared as “neglected
spots;” and partiality of ornament he considered as tawdriness. In the
internal courts he carried plainness out, even to excess; but he would
not unite the two principles.

The effect was visible over the fronts of the whole building, the more
so, because his great idea was, by the aid of the sister arts, to make
the New Palace a monumental history of England. Sculpture without,
sculpture, painting, and stained glass within, were to preserve the
memorials of the past, and declare the date and object of the

Nothing provoked more criticism than this high ornamentation of the
design; but, in spite of all such adverse criticism, he still held to
the principle as the true one, and believed that it would eventually be
recognised as such. It was once remarked by M. Guizot that the work was
a “mélange de finesse et de grandeur.” Such was certainly the leading
idea which inspired its design.

II. The preceding section has described the principles which governed
the original conception and subsequent modifications of this great
design. It remains only to give a brief description of the building as
it exists, so far as is necessary to serve as a guide to the annexed

The whole building occupies an irregular site of about eight acres. Its
longest front (the river front) is 940 feet in length, each wing having
a frontage of 120 feet, and the terrace occupying the remaining 700
feet. Its greatest width (exclusive of Westminster Hall) is about 340
feet. It contains above 500 rooms, and includes residences for eighteen
different officers of the two Houses, of whom the principal are the
Speaker of the House of Commons, the Serjeant-at-arms, the Usher of the
Black Rod, and the Librarians of the Houses of Lords and Commons. It
thus provides for a resident population of about 200.

This large mass of building receives light and air, not only from its
external fronts, but from eleven internal quadrangles, many of
considerable area. In actual size, and in the extent and variety of its
requirements, it is equalled by few buildings of modern times.

The only portions of the old building, which it was found possible to
retain, are Westminster Hall, the Cloister Court, and the crypt of St.
Stephen’s Chapel, under the present St. Stephen’s Hall.

The main lines of the plan will be easily discerned, suggested as they
are by the nature of the site, the position of Westminster Hall, and the
duality of the object of the building. The first and most important is
the line of public approach through Westminster Hall. At the end of the
hall there is an ascent by a grand flight of steps to a landing under
the great window (to which there is a shorter public communication
through St. Margaret’s porch, from Old Palace Yard), and thence by
another flight into St. Stephen’s Hall. This hall is ninety-five feet in
length, twenty-nine in width, and forty-three in height to the pitch of the
groined roof. It contains several statues of celebrated statesmen, most
of which are very beautiful as works of art, though executed on so large
a scale as to be detrimental to the effect of the hall. It is intended
to cover with appropriate frescoes the panels and the large arched
recesses at the end of the hall.

An archway at the east end gives entrance to the central hall, octagon
on plan and vaulted. Its vault is the largest octagon vault known, in
which a central pillar is not used, and the lantern is sustained by a
cone of brickwork rising above the vault.

From this point the public approaches diverge. To the right and left
corridors open into the lobbies of the Houses of Lords and Commons. At
the east end another corridor opens into the “witness hall,” from which
access is had on the principal floor to the Peers’ libraries and
committee-rooms and the Commons’ libraries, which, with a central
“conference room,” occupy the whole curtain of the river front; a
staircase leads to the upper floor, containing another long range of

The next great line is that of the royal approach. The royal carriage
drives under the great Victoria tower, and the sovereign ascending the
royal staircase enters the robing room, and thence emerges into the
“royal gallery,” a room one hundred and ten feet long, forty-five in
width, and forty-five in height, with panelled ceiling. This gallery is
open to the public at the opening and prorogation of Parliament, and
was intended to be the entrance to the House of Peers. For the
convenience of the peers an anteroom, the “Prince’s Chamber,” was added,
through which the sovereign passes to the throne end of the House.
Somewhat small in itself, and accordingly ornamented with small and
delicate detail, it has been much injured by the large statue of Her
Majesty, with the figures of Justice and Mercy flanking her throne,
designed by John Gibson, Esq., R.A., and placed in this chamber.

The two Houses are approached, either from the central hall, or by
private entrances for the members. The private entrance to the House of
Peers is in the centre of the Old Palace Yard front, and there is
another from the south-western angle of St. Stephen’s Hall. The
entrances to the House of Commons are by the Star Chamber and Cloister
Courts, and by an archway on the western side of Westminster Hall. Each
House has its lobbies, corridors, and refreshment rooms, with ready
access to its committee-rooms and libraries.

The two Houses themselves are of very different character. The House of
Peers, as being, not only one chamber of the legislature, but the
presence chamber of the sovereign, is of considerable size (ninety feet
in length, forty-five in width, and forty-five in height), and decorated
with lavish magnificence. The House of Commons, not presenting the same
characteristics, is smaller in size (seventy-five feet in length,
forty-five feet in width, and forty-one feet to the central line of the
ceiling), while it provides much larger accommodation in the galleries
and lobbies, and its decoration, though careful and elaborate, is less
magnificent in character. The official residences are, of course,
grouped round the Houses to which they are appendages. The offices of
the Lord Great Chamberlain are on the south front, the residences of the
Usher of the Black Rod, and Librarian of the House of Peers, at the
south end of the river front, and that of the Serjeant-at-arms on the
Old Palace Yard front. At the north end of the river front we have the
Speaker’s house, and the houses of the Serjeant-at-arms, the Librarian
and the Chief Clerk on the north front and the front to New Palace Yard.

The plan generally, though having great intricacy in detail, an
intricacy increased by constant variation of requirements, and by the
elaborate ventilating system originally imposed on the architect, is yet
perfectly simple and practical in its main lines. He adopted it from the
first as the only one which could be effective or satisfactory, and
never wavered in his approval of its great features; for it showed that
characteristic which has been noticed in all his works, the preservation
of the leading principle of “stateliness,” subordinating, often with
great skill, variety of requirement and of contrivance to a general
unity and repose in effect. And, although there are inevitable defects
in detail, such as difficulty in obtaining sufficient light in some
parts of the building, miscalculation of the amount of accommodation
required, &c., yet experience appears to have confirmed his opinion and
justified his confidence in the leading principles of his plan.

The first grand external feature is undoubtedly the great line of the
river front, which has been noticed above, and is illustrated, so far as
the scale will allow, by the view given. The other great front, the west
or land front, has never as yet been presented to the eye as a whole. It
is interrupted by the law-courts, the days of which appear now to be
numbered. When they are removed, it is to be hoped that due care will be
taken to substitute some front harmonizing with the building, on which
the present erection forms an excrescence. In any case this front will
present a more broken line, which will probably, considering the height
of the building, conduce to beauty and picturesqueness of effect. One
extension of it, shown on the plan, has never yet been made; for New
Palace Yard, which Sir Charles hoped to form into a great architectural
quadrangle, is now to be enclosed merely by an ornamental railing.

The other important features are the three great towers. Of these it is
to be remembered that the central tower was an after-thought,
necessitated by arrangements over which the architect had no control;
otherwise it is possible that, as has been suggested, it would have been
so enlarged as to form a principal feature of the design. It has been a
subject of some surprise, that the general principle of symmetry
followed in the plan and river front, has not been preserved in the case
of the two original towers; but from the very beginning of the design
this was otherwise arranged. The architect probably regarded each as an
almost independent feature, likely to group not with the symmetry of the
river front, but with the necessarily broken line of the land front. In
their design they present a marked contrast, massiveness and grandeur
being the characteristic of the Victoria tower, lightness and elegance
of the clock-tower. Each has its admirers. It is perhaps generally
thought that the clock-tower, from the smallness of its detail,
harmonizes better with the adjacent front, while the Victoria tower,
magnificent in itself, would have tended less to dwarf the rest of the
building, had it stood almost independent of it, connected only by some
grand cloister.

Such is a brief notice of the actual features of the building. The task
of criticism must be left to others. At first very greatly praised, it
was for a time somewhat recklessly condemned. Already it is clear that
it is taking the position due to it. Critics of very opposite schools
show their appreciation, both of the difficulties of the task assigned
to its architect, and the degree of success with which that object has
been attained. Mr. Fergusson, in a vehement anti-Gothic chapter,
regretting that the style of the building was to be Gothic at all,
concludes that, “taking it all in all, it is perhaps the most successful
attempt to apply mediæval architecture to modern civic purposes which
has yet been carried out.” Mr. Scott, in his work on Gothic
architecture, does not hesitate to speak of it as, “on the whole, the
most successful of our modern public buildings.” An article in the
‘Saturday Review,’ immediately after Sir C. Barry’s death, written in
kindliness of feeling, but written also with care and discrimination in
criticism, expresses pretty accurately the verdict of the educated
public taste. “In spite of the shortcomings, which just critical taste
or captious antagonism can find in the details and the mass of the
work,--in spite of the disadvantage of the primary idea of the style in
which it is built having been revolutionised in the course of its
progress--yet the Palace of Westminster stands alone and matchless in
Europe among the architectural monuments of this busy age. From the
border of the Thames, from St. James’s Park or Waterloo Place, from
Piccadilly or the bridge across the Serpentine, the spectacle of that
great square tower, of the central needle, and far away of the more
fantastic _beffroi_--all grouping at every step in some new
combination--stamps the whole building as the massive conception of a



     Large number of designs not executed--Views of Metropolitan
     Improvement--Reasons for notice of such designs--Clumber Park--New
     Law Courts--National Gallery--Horse Guards--British Museum--General
     scheme laid before the late Prince Consort--Design for new Royal
     Academy--Crystal Palace--Alterations of Piccadilly and the Green
     Park--Prolongation of Pall Mall into the Green Park--Westminster
     Bridge--Extension of the New Palace at Westminster round New Palace
     description--General remarks thereon.

The list of Sir Charles Barry’s designs in the Appendix will show, that
the numerous works which he executed formed only a part of the many
designs conceived by him. It could not well be otherwise. In his early
days he, of course, entered into many competitions, and made many
fruitless designs. Even later in life his mind was always at work in the
conception of designs, often without regard to immediate practicability.
It was almost impossible for him (as has been said) to enter a building,
or survey a town, without devising plans for its improvement. As few
buildings were perfect, and hardly any to be despaired of, his naturally
sanguine temperament, and consciousness of resource, often led him to
forget or disregard all difficulties which stood in the way of his

In London especially his eye was always on the watch. Comparing it with
continental capitals, and especially with Paris, he, of course, felt
painfully the contrast of what might be with what is, and sighed over
the waste of resources, and the neglect of grand opportunities for
architectural display. His architectural career indeed began at a time
of strict economy and rigid utilitarianism. But as it advanced, he could
not but see that men were gradually emancipating themselves from the
conventional fallacy, which separated the useful by a strong line of
demarcation from the ornamental. Art was shown to involve, not mere
arbitrary taste, but substantial and reasonable principle, and
accordingly its influence was recognised, as important and valuable, not
only in the case of the individual, but in that of the community.
Accordingly artistic efforts have been allowed greater scope, and higher
reward.[107] Schemes are proposed, and sums of money voted for them,
which would have made the hair of the economists of 1835 stand on end
with horror. Nor is the feeling for artistic display confined to the
higher classes. It does not appear that the tendency to greater
democratic influence is likely to check the growth of this feeling. Sir
Charles rejoiced of course in its development, and his notions of
metropolitan improvement grew in boldness and comprehensiveness of
scale. His natural activity in this direction was quickened by the fact
of his long official connection with the Board of Works. Many of the
Chief Commissioners had much confidence in his opinion and designs. He
was not unfrequently consulted as to public improvements; and it was
seldom that his vivid imagination confined itself to the limits of his
official instructions. The great scheme of London improvements, which
was his last work, was only the expression and completion of the ideas
of a life-time.

Some of the conceptions which he formed for public and private buildings
may fitly find a brief record here. In a memoir, the interest of which
is mainly architectural, it is in some sense even more necessary to
refer to designs, which exist only on paper, than to buildings, which
are before the public eye, and which speak for themselves. But
independently of this consideration, it is not impossible that they may
still have a practical value. That many of them pointed in directions of
real public utility is obvious from the fact, that they have been since
carried out with success, although by different methods, and by other
hands. It is not unreasonable to conclude that those, yet unrealised,
may show a similar insight into public requirements, and into the means
of meeting them, and may therefore have some power of suggestiveness, in
relation to the many improvements which we yet hope to see. It will (I
think) appear, that, though his plans were comprehensive and often
costly, too costly for immediate execution, they were always thoroughly
practical. He had no sympathy with vague architectural dreams; nor did
his artistic taste and power make him forget reality.







CLUMBER PARK.--In his connection with private clients, he made, of
course, many fruitless designs--admired in themselves, but rejected as
too grand and costly. Of all these the one which most deserves notice,
and which may well serve as a specimen of the whole, is the design made
in 1857 for the late Duke of Newcastle, in respect of Clumber Park. For
of all Sir C. Barry’s designs for a grand private residence, this was
the largest and most comprehensive.

The house is situated in a rich and pleasant country, not far from
Worksop, in an extensive park, and close to a beautiful lake. It is
large in size, but singularly ineffective from the lowness of its
external elevation--a defect aggravated by the fact that the main
approach descends upon it. The interior contains several handsome rooms,
but these ill-connected with one another. The house is entered by a
small entrance and a low insignificant hall, and does not possess a
single good staircase.

The cause of all these defects was obvious. The house had originally
been much smaller, and additions had been made with no definite plan. In
fact, the desire to preserve a room in the centre of the building, which
had been the chief room of the old house, had caused the sacrifice of
all good general effect in the much larger rooms and passages, which
were added.

The late Duke saw the cause, and determined to remedy it. He had long
been something more than an admirer of Sir Charles Barry as an
architect. He had shown him much personal friendship, and given him a
kindly and generous support, at a time when such support was
invaluable. Accordingly he applied to Sir Charles to furnish a general
plan, not with the idea of carrying it out at once, but in the hope
that, by having it before his eyes, he might make some alterations,
which were absolutely necessary, as an instalment of a satisfactory
work, and “leave a record to those who came after him of a design, which
they might be better able than he was to carry out.”

The work was naturally one in which Sir Charles took a more than
professional interest. He saw that only an extensive scheme of
alterations could utilize what existed, and add that which was still

The annexed plans will show the general design which he formed.

The first change was to turn the approach to a new entrance court,
through an avenue which should mask the building till the visitor was
close to it, and conceal the lowness of site and elevation. A new
entrance hall led to a grand staircase, roofed over with a high cupola
or dome, which might serve externally to give height and unity to a low
and straggling building. The old west front was to be made a part of the
interior of the building--a large new block of buildings being erected
in front it, containing a grand range of galleries to unite the
disconnected rooms of the building. The interior court, so formed, was
to be treated in a somewhat novel manner, by being glazed over, and made
into a winter garden, connected with the state-rooms on the new west
front. Last, but not least, the private chapel, existing on the first
floor in a very inconvenient position, for the use of the tenants as
well as the





family, was removed, and a church erected on the east side of the house,
with an access to it through a newly-formed conservatory.

Externally, the Italian garden was to be extended so as to encircle the
house, and a range of conservatories added on the eastern side. For
architectural effect, Sir Charles relied greatly on the central dome or
cupola, and the new west front.

The plan was grand in scale and conception, and would have made Clumber
one of the finest of noblemen’s seats in England. But it was so arranged
that it could be executed in detail, and without interfering with the
occupation of the house.

The only part of it as yet carried out is the erection of the new church
by the present Duke, in the position indicated by Sir Charles, but from
the designs of Mr. Thomas C. Hine, of Nottingham. Whether any other
portion will be attempted is as yet uncertain. But the plan exists as a
guide for all future work, to be modified, of course, as circumstances
shall dictate. For the want of such plans, both in public and private
buildings, it is lamentable to see how much labour and money are
actually wasted.[108] In this point of view, as well as for its own
grandeur of scheme, the plan for the new house at Clumber may have some
interest to all.

But the great majority of these designs had reference to public
buildings, and to some of these it will be well to refer.

LAW COURTS.--The first design was intended to meet a public need, which
has been long increasing in urgency, and now, after twenty-five years of
discussion, is to be supplied on a scale of unparalleled magnificence.

In 1840 the need of additional accommodation for the Law Courts
attracted the attention of the Government. It was always felt that they
could not remain as they are, insufficient in accommodation, and a mere
excrescence upon Westminster Hall and the New Palace. To enlarge them
was impossible without a serious and unwarrantable encroachment on New
Palace Yard. Therefore, it was concluded that the old associations of
Westminster Hall must be set aside, and the Courts must be removed, and
on the removal Sir C. Barry was consulted. Two sites appeared to him
eligible: one in the centre of Lincoln’s Inn Fields; the other, fronting
the Strand near St. Clement Danes Church, between Lincoln’s Inn and the
Temple. Of these sites the former was clear, and would involve no
expense in the purchase of existing buildings. He believed that the area
occupied would be so small in comparison to the whole, that no serious
injury to one of the “lungs of London” need be apprehended; and, though
he yielded to the outcry, which arose against the scheme, he did not
recognise its justice.

The choice of the other site, instead of interfering with the free
space so highly valuable in London, had undoubtedly the advantage of
clearing away one of the worst of neighbourhoods.[109] To it accordingly
his attention was afterwards directed.

In his first design he returned once more to the Greek style, which he
had so long discarded. He considered that, for convenience sake, the
principal floor ought not to be raised much above the street, and that,
for acoustic reasons, the Courts themselves ought not to be high. This
would make the whole design low, in comparison with the large extent of
ground which it would necessarily cover; and to screen it by lofty piles
of offices or residences would interfere with light and air. Under these
circumstances, especially as he at first intended the building to be in
an open space, visible on all sides, he determined to surround it with a
classic peristyle, and seek massiveness and simplicity rather than
height or grandeur. In Lincoln’s Inn Fields, grouped with, and screened
by, masses of trees, so as not to be first visible at a great distance,
he conceived that the old classic style might appear at advantage. But
the scheme was afterwards abandoned, and the only Greek design of his
later days fell with it.

In 1845 he was again examined before a Committee of the House of
Commons, and submitted two designs; one occupying the second of the two
sites above noticed, a space of about seven and three-quarter acres,
which he proposed to clear for the purpose; the other involving the
enclosure of New Palace Yard, and the extension of the New Palace

But once more the scheme was deferred, to be now executed on the Strand
site, but on a far different scale and by other hands.[110] In any case,
it is a comfort to hope that the present unsightly “Law Courts” will no
longer disgrace the magnificence which surrounds them.

NATIONAL GALLERY.--The alteration of the present National Gallery has
formed a part of most schemes of metropolitan improvements. It was
constantly in Sir C. Barry’s thoughts from the very time of its
erection. He shared the universal opinion that its elevation was far too
low and uninteresting, and this impression he embodied in a little
sketch, made at the desire of Sir E. Cust, who was at that time a member
of a Parliamentary Committee on the subject, and intended for his
private information only. Unfortunately the fact of its existence oozed
out, as such facts always do; and, what was worse, imperfect copies of
it were made, and circulated without the author’s knowledge. He thought
himself compelled to allow a correct representation of it to go abroad,
and from this arose inevitably a serious difference between him and Mr.
Wilkins, the architect of the National Gallery. Mr. Wilkins not
unnaturally conceived its publication to be a breach of professional
etiquette, and denounced it as such in no measured terms, especially
when the success of Mr. Barry in the competition for the New Palace at
Westminster still further embittered his feelings. But to this, as to
the other attacks of the period, Mr. Barry made no reply, perhaps
feeling himself in the wrong, certainly regretting the anomalous
position into which he had been drawn, in his anxiety to rescue from
comparative insignificance the building which occupies “the finest site
in Europe.”

For some time the matter slept, till he was again consulted on the
subject of enlargement of the Gallery, and made in 1848 a design for
improving and extending the present building. He proposed to build over
the vacant space in front, and advance the building to the line of the
street. Several designs were made by him for the elevation, all having
some great central mass, to overcome, as much as possible, the fatal
effect of the Nelson Column upon the façade. He returned to the work
again in 1852, in connection with larger schemes, and with designs upon
a larger scale, for a building almost entirely new.

But nothing was done. The work, like all those which touch various
interests, and which have to be debated upon in a popular assembly,
presented difficulties, opened the door to various opinions, and ended
for a time in mere discussion. Now again, as in the former case, it
seems that substantial results may be hoped for. Another competition on
a grand scale, though not attaining to the magnificence of the Law
Courts, has been entered upon, and can hardly be allowed to be
undertaken in vain.

These two great plans are now shortly to be carried out. There remain
others, the execution of which must surely be a question only of time.
For the work, which has been commenced, of remodelling our public
offices, can hardly stop short. The Board of Trade, the Foreign Office,
and the India Board cannot be allowed to exist as isolated specimens of
a better style, contrasting with the meagre ineffectiveness of our older

HORSE GUARDS.--In 1846 Sir Charles received instructions to prepare
plans for the enlargement of the Horse Guards. To confine himself to the
limits of instructions was hardly possible for him. He had long sighed
over the insignificance of the building, and the want of all effect
about the Parade. Insignificant in itself, it seemed still more unworthy
of its position, as forming a part of the “Via Regia,” the Sovereign’s
approach to Parliament. Ideas floated before his mind of a second “Place
du Carrousel.” The opportunity was too tempting to be resisted.
Accordingly he provided indeed for additional accommodation by an
additional story; but, having done this, he made a further ideal design,
raising the centre into a tower-like mass, introducing other alterations
on all sides, and transforming the building into a grand composition.
The Parade by ornamental enclosures was brought into architectural
connection with the design; the road from the Mall led by a gentle sweep
to a grand entrance opposite the building, and at this entrance the
“Marble Arch,” then just removed from its position at Buckingham
Palace, and cast upon the world for a habitation, was to be placed. The
Wellington Statue, then also in search of a resting-place, was to form a
central feature of the Parade, over which its illustrious original still
presided. The other buildings near, the Admiralty, Treasury, &c., were
to be brought into connection with its design; and a grand Place d’Armes
was to be formed, second to none in Europe.

The idea was long a favourite one; he returned to it again in his
“Metropolitan Improvements,” and his work at the Board of Trade shows
what might have been effected by his talent for conversion. Nothing
indeed was done; there was some doubt whether the foundation of the old
building would bear the additions contemplated. The design itself,
intrusted to the Government, was lost, and no trace of it can now be
found. But, sooner or later, the work must be carried out, and, when it
is carried out, it will in all probability follow the main lines of the
arrangement which has thus been indicated.

BRITISH MUSEUM.--Another design of his on a still larger scale had
relation to an institution, in which he always felt the most lively

The problem of securing sufficient accommodation for the collections at
the British Museum--a problem which constantly recurs, as the
collections increase, and the requirements of scientific men expand--at
one time occupied Sir C. Barry’s most anxious thoughts. The simplest
method of enlargement, by advancing the building towards Great Russell
Street, was rendered impossible by the existence of the grand portico.
Little could be done except to raise the building, unless additional
space were occupied. This could only be done at considerable cost,
larger in fact than would have been at that time contemplated, though
not larger than will probably at some time or other be found necessary.

Accordingly a plan was prepared, confining the building to its actual
site. It was Sir Charles’s opinion, an opinion which he strongly
maintained in public before a Parliamentary Commission, that the
collections of Natural History were out of place in the Museum. It
appeared to him, that they should be associated with “Zoological
Gardens;” so that the dead and living specimens of the animal creation
might be seen in connection, and the relations of the present to the
past, in contrast or similarity, be distinctly traced. On the present
site of the Museum this would be impossible; but, were the collections
removed, as for instance to South Kensington, room could be found for
any number of live animals, and for museums large enough to content
Professor Owen himself.

This being done, he would have devoted the whole building in Great
Russell Street to literature and art. He proposed to meet the
requirements of the former by surrendering the Natural History Rooms to
the Library, and providing for readers, not in one great hall, as at
present, but in a series of rooms of moderate size. The claims of art
and antiquities were to be satisfied by forming a magnificent hall,
which was to be nothing less than the whole central area of the
building, roofed with glass, capable of containing even the Egyptian
colossi, and unsurpassed in any building in Europe. There were some
objections to it in detail, which he thought might be easily overcome.
The idea was a grand one, and would have been carried out without
serious difficulty. But M. Panizzi proposed a different scheme; the
Government yielded to his authority, and the great Reading Room was

This being the case, the matter slept, until, some years afterwards (in
1853), it became evident that the National Gallery must be either
extended or removed. Against the notion of moving it out of the way to
South Kensington, entertained by many, and favoured by His Royal
Highness the late Prince Consort, Sir Charles most strongly protested,
and he ventured (as a Member of the Royal Commission of 1851) to address
a detailed letter to His Royal Highness, containing an elaborate
counter-scheme. This letter is printed (by permission) in the Appendix,
both for the sake of the intrinsic importance of its suggestions, and as
a specimen of his official correspondence.

Its substance was as follows: After stating forcibly the objection which
he conceived to exist to the proposed concentration at South Kensington,
he proceeded first to develope a plan for the formation of the “British
Museum of Art and Literature” on the site of the present British Museum
in Great Russell Street, by the alterations already referred to, which
had previously been submitted to the Government. It may be remarked that
it was based on a principle, analogous to that on which he had advocated
the removal of the Natural History collections. It seemed to him that
the works of art of all ages should fitly be viewed together, that the
“National Gallery” was chronologically a sequel to the Gallery of
Antiquities. The rudest efforts of imitative art, the works of Assyrian,
Egyptian, Grecian, and Roman antiquity, the schools of art of mediæval
and modern Europe, all seemed to form one great whole. He would have
united them locally, as they are connected theoretically. Accordingly,
removing the Natural History collections as before, he proposed to raise
the whole suite of rooms assigned to them, to re-roof and re-light them,
and so to form a range of galleries, excellently adapted for pictures
and sculpture, and capable of containing the national collection for
many years to come. This scheme, or some scheme like it, he at all times
strongly advocated. It had certainly much to recommend it in abstract
principle; he endeavoured, not unsuccessfully, to prove that it could be
carried out gradually and systematically, without enormous outlay and
without public inconvenience.

He next proceeded to urge the scheme, already referred to, for the
transference of the Natural History collections to South Kensington, in
connection with zoological and botanical gardens; and he would have
united it to a “National Gallery of Science” in its various practical
applications, with museums, laboratories, and the like.

In the third place, he went on to deal with the present National
Gallery, which was, according to his scheme, after being enlarged and
remodelled, to be divided between the Royal Academy of Fine Art and the
School of Design for Practical and Decorative Art. Here again he
depended on the principle that art must be regarded as a whole, and that
“Fine Art” cannot be separated from decorative and practical art,
especially in a building, which he regarded as the home of art-teaching,
and a place for exhibition of its results, and which he accordingly
placed in a position second to none in respect of prominence and

Fourthly, he proposed to deal with the Museum of Economic Geology, in
Jermyn Street, by removing its collection to the Temple of Science in
South Kensington, and devoting it to form a “National Polytechnic
Institution,” mainly for the use and instruction of the industrial

Lastly, the building of the Society of Arts in the Adelphi was to be
given up to meetings and lectures on all subjects connected with trade
and commerce.

Such is the outline of a scheme, to the elaboration of which he devoted
much time and trouble, and which will probably be thought to show
well-digested principle, and careful study of practicability and
convenience. It produced no effect at the time, for it opposed a plan in
which His Royal Highness was greatly interested, and in the support of
which many eminent men were already enlisted. Its author expected little
result; but such considerations seldom kept him back from bearing
testimony in the cause of his art, and so satisfying the imperious
requirements of his architectural conscience.

ROYAL ACADEMY.--In connection with these important schemes, another
fruitless design was made by Sir Charles Barry.

In 1859 the Government of Lord Derby proposed to dispossess the Royal
Academy of their present accommodation in Trafalgar Square, with a view
to that enlargement and alteration of the National Gallery, which was
felt to be inevitable. Burlington House was fixed upon, as a site which
might accommodate the Royal Academy, and certain other Institutions
which had claims upon the Crown. Messrs. Banks and Barry (of which firm
Sir Charles’s eldest son was a member), having lately gained high
distinction in the Public Offices’ competition, were appointed by the
Government to prepare general plans, showing how the entire area of
Burlington House and its gardens might be best made available. It was
ascertained that the Royal Academy would accept a portion of the site,
would conform to the general block plan, and would erect a building at
their own cost.

The whole area was to contain two great courts, with a grand
thoroughfare through them from Piccadilly to Burlington Gardens. The
Government placed ground at the disposal of the Academy occupying
two-thirds of the Piccadilly front, and the whole of the western side of
the first of the great courts. Sir Charles Barry was appointed by the
Academy to carry out the work.

His design occupied the entire frontage to Piccadilly, which necessarily
required an uniform treatment. It contained three great divisions
divided by bold turrets, with similar turrets terminating the façade.
The lower part of the central division was occupied by three great
archways for carriages leading into the court. The western wing, and
the upper stories of the centre, were occupied by the Royal Academy. The
corresponding eastern wing was given up to scientific societies.

The front was simple and massive in character. The central archways were
divided by bold Doric columns on plinths, and each of the wings had
similar columns dividing its three bays of windows. A fully detailed
cornice of the order terminated this story. On the principal story there
were no columns. The central wall-surface was occupied by three bays of
windows; the wings by niches, elaborately treated and occupied by
statues.[111] The whole was surmounted by a noble cornice and

The internal arrangement was simple. A grand staircase, entered from the
covered carriage-ways, led to the principal story, which was occupied by
magnificent suites of galleries lighted from above. The lower story was
occupied by official rooms and residences, and schools for the various

All was ready to carry out the design. But a change of Government
introduced new ideas, and the whole scheme slept, till it was revived
under Lord Derby’s Government in 1866. The whole plan has now been
changed; the great thoroughfare is to be done away with, and the Royal
Academy building, designed by Mr. Sydney Smirke, R.A., is to occupy the
centre of the whole site, with frontage not to Piccadilly, but to the
northern side of the front court, entered by central archways from
Piccadilly, as originally proposed. The rest of the building remains
under the direction of Messrs. Banks and Barry, except the portion
assigned to the London University on the Burlington Gardens front, which
is intrusted to Mr. Pennethorne.

CRYSTAL PALACE.--His connection with the Commission of 1851 led him to
volunteer another suggestion which would certainly have had a
magnificent effect. He had been greatly interested in the original
Exhibition building in Hyde Park, and (as will be seen elsewhere) had
urged during its erection several alterations which he thought likely to
improve it. Though he freely recognised the simplicity of its idea, and
its practical efficiency, he regarded that building as ineffective and
ugly. But this was a temporary building only, and therefore its design
mattered little.

When, however, the present “Crystal Palace” was projected as a permanent
building, with all the advantage of a splendid position, Sir Charles
felt persuaded that its external effect would be utterly unworthy of its
scale and site. He was not consulted on the matter; but, at the risk of
apparent obtrusiveness, he ventured to send the directors a sketch, as a
suggestion, for the benefit of their great undertaking. It exhibited a
great dome, rising in the centre of the present building, grouped with





cupolas and towers, so as to produce a grand outline. The annexed
woodcut shows its effect, side by side with that of the present
building. And an extant correspondence proves that it was allowed to be
practicable and grand, and that the expense of carrying it out was found
to be a comparatively small percentage on the whole outlay--a sum quite
insignificant in comparison with that devoted to the waterworks, and
with other sums lavished on less important objects. But once more he was
to be disappointed. The design was “declined with thanks.” Yet it would
have been worth while to do much to redeem from ugliness a building,
which has the advantage of enormous scale, and which must be a
conspicuous feature in every view of the environs of London. The plan
proposed would have had a striking and even magnificent effect, and one,
moreover, unique in its kind. Few can fail to regret that, even when
rejected, it was not allowed to suggest some bolder and more artistic
treatment than is seen in the existing building.

ALTERATIONS IN PICCADILLY AND PALL MALL.--Another improvement, on which
he was consulted by the Government in 1841, was the proposed widening of
Piccadilly. He put the project into proper shape, and it was carried out
accordingly, bringing into Piccadilly the fine row of plane-trees which
extend to Hyde Park Corner, and which are the only trees standing in a
great London thoroughfare. But, as usual, his desires went beyond the
instructions given him. He cast a longing eye upon the Green Park,
which seemed to give room for a great design. The reservoir now existing
was to be transformed into an ornamental basin, flanked by appropriate
fountains, and surrounded by terraces with balustrades, vases, and
statues. Fine broad flights of steps were to lead down to the Park, and
thence by a long walk ornamented with sculpture to Hyde Park Corner. The
object was to combine in one grand design what is now a somewhat wasted
and ineffective space. But here again economy stepped in to forbid its
execution; and the design exists on paper only.

Another fine idea, referring to the same quarter of London, remained
equally barren of result. When the Marble Arch was in want of a site,
Sir Charles proposed to do away with the obstructions which now encumber
the east end of Pall Mall, so as to make a wide opening to the Park,
which should be occupied by the Marble Arch with Stafford House on one
side, and Bridgewater House on the other.[112] It was in such positions
alone, where the Arch was combined with flanking buildings or rested on
solid masonry as abutments, that he thought it a grand or even a
rational feature. Standing alone, or with mere iron railing on each side
of it, it seemed absolutely unmeaning, and therefore unsatisfactory. In
the position proposed, it would certainly have looked well, and supplied
(what is much needed) a grand termination to Pall Mall, and a good
entrance into the Park. The annexed woodcut will show its effect, and
the amount of alteration which it would


entail. It may not be too much to hope, that hereafter some such worthy
termination may be found for one of the finest streets in London.

WESTMINSTER IMPROVEMENTS.--While thus conceiving designs for the
architectural improvement of the metropolis in general, it was only
natural that he should pay special attention to the neighbourhood of
Westminster, in which his own main work lay. More particularly the
constant sight of the river, with its glorious capabilities, and the
miserable defacements of its banks, stirred him up to many projects for
its embellishment.

Westminster Bridge was, of course, his first anxiety. The old bridge
(the oldest in London since the old London Bridge had disappeared) was
not only ugly in itself, but by its high roadway and parapets, and the
massiveness of its general structure, exaggerated the defects of the
site of the New Palace. He looked upon it with a jealous eye, eager to
notice the first symptoms of decay. When that decay became serious, he
suggested every device for lowering it and lightening in the course of
its repairs; and, when all repair failed, and its demolition was found
to be inevitable, he rejoiced over it as an enemy removed from his path.
He then set to work at once to design a new bridge; its width he made no
less than 100 feet, its height he lowered as much as possible, in
defiance of all complaints as to the navigation. The lowness of the
banks, in his mind, forbade a grand massive bridge, like London or
Waterloo Bridges, which must dwarf all architecture near it, and which
was only fit to rest on banks of rock, or granite abutments, massive as
itself. Lightness and elegance here were the first things needful. In
style he would have Gothicized to suit the New Palace, and he would have
carried out the work far beyond the erection of the bridge itself. In
his design there was to have been a second Gothic bridge at Lambeth, a
new river front was to be given to Lambeth Palace, and a fine avenue and
quay formed along Bishop’s Walk to some new Gothic building at the foot
of Westminster Bridge. All the eyesores on the Surrey side of the river,
which marred the view from the terrace of the New Palace, were to have
been swept away, and the river would have flowed on through a vast
Gothic quadrangle.

But this again was one of those comprehensive schemes by which he
alarmed economists, and the general design for the time was set aside.
There is now a bridge at Lambeth, but it is the present paltry-looking
suspension-bridge. There is to be the Surrey embankment, but it will
hardly harmonize with the new bridge erected at Westminster. Yet,
probably, by the time all is done, the same area will be covered, and
the same expense incurred, without any general and comprehensive scheme.
When it was set aside, he thought it better to keep the bridge distinct,
though not inharmonious, in character. He adopted, rather in deference
to authority than to his own taste, elliptical arches, at first seven in
number, afterwards for convenience reduced to five; and submitted to the
Board of Works a design, in which he endeavoured to preserve strictly
the requisites above mentioned.

The design was never carried out, but the present bridge fulfils many of
the requirements which he had in view, and does something like justice
to the great building at its foot.

His views as to the improvement of the river were not indeed confined to
Westminster. The Thames Embankment schemes, so long discussed, and now
at last in course of execution, were not unfrequently in his mind. He
made several designs[113] for carrying out a work, which he felt to be
essential to the thorough usefulness and architectural beauty of the
Thames, and in which his own work at the New Palace gave him a special

quarter of the town the one which he had most at heart, and to which he
returned again and again, was the extension of his great building on the
land side. Such an extension was (as has been shown) contemplated in his
very first design; and, almost up to the time of his death, he continued
to urge it on the Government.

The extension was certainly contemplated by him mainly as an
architectural improvement. In 1853 he wrote as follows:--“By means of
these additional buildings the irregular, disjointed, and incongruous
character of the present building on the land side would be removed, a
degree of unity given to it on that side, in harmony with that already
obtained on the river front; and the principal entrance to the palace
would then become a marked and important feature of the building.”

But it was also intended to meet an absolute necessity. The requirements
of public business have greatly increased within the last twenty years.
The Government are at this moment renting house property, for the
accommodation of public offices and Royal Commissions, and for other
purposes, at an annual cost exceeding 37,000_l._[114] The houses in
Bridge Street are now removed: the Law Courts are speedily to follow
them. The Government are therefore now, as he foresaw that they would
be, in possession of a valuable site. The question with him was, whether
it should be made use of to meet the official requirements by supplying
the accommodation wanted close at hand, with great convenience and
economy to the public, or whether it should be left open, and so far
useless, while these requirements were still met insufficiently and
inconveniently elsewhere.

To the latter course Sir Charles was strongly opposed. There could be
nothing to recommend it, except the notion that it would give a better
architectural effect (for there is already open space close at hand,
fully sufficient for sanitary requirements). But this notion appeared to
him utterly erroneous. By leaving New Palace Yard open, or enclosing it
only by a railing, the buildings surrounding it (Westminster Hall and
the rest) are viewed from the higher ground of Bridge Street, and appear
actually sunk, while the area itself, having a considerable diagonal
fall across the open space, is singularly unfortunate in its effect. By
pulling down the Law Courts, and opening the whole side of Westminster
Hall, he conceived that a still worse effect would be produced; for the
scale and parts of the Hall are so large, that it must be utterly
incongruous with the buildings round it. He conceived therefore that
this proposal to leave the space unoccupied would be detrimental
architecturally, while in an economic and practical point of view it
would be an unwarrantable waste.

Accordingly his proposal[115] was to erect a line of building, occupying
the site of the Law Courts and the western and northern sides of New
Palace Yard, giving ample and even liberal accommodation for all public
needs. New Palace Yard was to be entered on its west side by a grand
gate-tower, or triple archway flanked by towers, leading by a gentle and
uniform slope (about 1 in 50) to the present entrances, which, having
been always intended as archways for an interior court, have not
sufficient dignity or importance for the chief public entrances to the
building. On the south side, Westminster Hall would form a grand centre
with a range of buildings on each side of it; and on the north side, if
a high range of buildings were thought objectionable, a cloister with
one story above it, or an open arcade, might mask the building from the
high ground of Bridge Street. The great entrance gate-tower he had
proposed to call the Albert Tower, in a kind of correspondence with the
Victoria Tower, which is the great royal entrance, serving like it to
mark the date of the building, and to commemorate the lively interest
which the late Prince Consort took in all that concerned its artistic

Such was the scheme formed by him, and again laid before Lord
Palmerston’s Government by his son Edward in 1864. The annexed woodcuts
will show its general character. It has now some special interest,
because the removal of the Law Courts must soon give the question a
practical importance. All that is at present being done is to complete
the Clock Tower on its western side, to enclose New Palace Yard by an
iron railing, and to construct an arcade or cloister along its eastern
side, with a subway at the northern end passing under Bridge Street to
the Thames Embankment. There is nothing in all this, which is
inconsistent with the subsequent execution of Sir Charles Barry’s
designs, either in their original form, or with some modifications of
detail. It can hardly be doubted that such execution would have much to
recommend it, in regard both of artistic and of practical

embodied, and, as it were, absorbed, in the great design for
Metropolitan Improvements, which he exhibited in 1857, on occasion of
the Public Offices’ competition. Into that competition he did not wish
to enter. He was indeed retiring from his profession; his constitution
had been a good deal shaken; the remuneration controversy, and the
attacks made on the New Palace






at Westminster, had disheartened, though they had not overcome him. But
he wished to embody all the designs for the improvement of the
Metropolis, which had floated before his mind, in one grand scheme, and
to leave it (so he expressed it) as a legacy behind him. He thought of
Sir Christopher Wren’s grand design for the rebuilding of London after
the fire, and the example stirred him up to boldness and extensiveness
of conception. That it would be but an ideal he knew well; he exhibited
it without reference to the conditions of the competition, and without
any idea of seriously concerning himself with it. It was, in fact,
brought forward in the names of his sons Charles and Edward, in the hope
that, if it secured public attention and approval, some of its leading
features might be executed by their hands. At any rate he conceived that
it would point in the right direction. Even if it were not substantially
adopted at any time, yet it might set the minds of others at work.
Before all things, he felt that in the great Metropolitan improvements,
which every day’s experience proves to be something more than desirable,
the chief danger to be avoided was that absence of a general scheme, or
at least general conceptions, which has, in England especially, wasted
time and money on erections of isolated and often misplaced
magnificence. He wished to place on record the strong expression of this
feeling, and he left the scheme, which he himself conceived to be the
best, for the criticism and consideration of those who should come after
him. With that vague presentiment elsewhere noticed, that the end for
him was not distant, he often said that he desired to leave it as his
architectural memorial.

It has been thought right accordingly to embody in this work, first the
general plan of his Westminster improvements, and next a considerable
part of a large drawing, executed almost entirely by his own hand, and
containing on a small scale, but with an artistic effect which can
hardly be reproduced, elevations of the chief buildings, which he
proposed to open to public view, to remodel, or to erect.

The following is the description of the design which he himself attached
to it:--


     In forming this Plan, its authors have ventured to be guided by the
     spirit rather than by the letter of the official instructions,
     which they consider to be incompatible with the best realisation of
     the objects in view.

     They suggest that the whole of the Public Offices should be
     concentrated and combined in one group of buildings; that the
     Parade should be treated architecturally; that the New Palace at
     Westminster should be completed, as proposed, to Parliament Street;
     that the Abbey should have a central tower and spire and be freed
     from all its Italian solecisms of detail, and, together with the
     Chapter-house, be properly restored; that additions should be made
     to the Prebendal Houses, and a new Palace added, if need be, within
     the Abbey precincts, for a future Bishop of Westminster; and, for
     the due display of these important edifices, it is recommended that
     large areas should be laid open to them for ample thoroughfares and
     ornamental gardens. Thus these buildings, so isolated, could not
     fail, when seen under varied combinations and effects, to produce a
     most striking appearance.

     The removal of the several public edifices and other buildings,
     which happen to be on the site of the proposed ornamental
     enclosures, would be necessary for the ultimate development of the
     plan; but they need only be removed from time to time, as may be
     found convenient. In the mean time the plan is so arranged, that
     these enclosures, and the main thoroughfares adjoining them, may be
     formed without necessitating the previous removal of the buildings,
     and their unsightliness, in the interim, may be screened from view
     to a considerable extent by planting.

     With reference to the public buildings in question, it is proposed
     that, sooner or later, St. Margaret’s Church should be removed to
     the west side of the proposed Abbey-close, that the National
     Schools should be placed in proximity with it, that the Westminster
     Hospital should be placed in a more central position of the
     district, that the Sessions House should be removed to the
     Westminster Bridewell, that the Stationery Office should be placed
     between Victoria Street and Tothill Street near their eastern
     termination, and that the office of the Board of Control should be
     removed, as soon as the accommodation provided for it in the
     proposed group of Public Offices is obtained. The only residence of
     any importance, that is sacrificed to the suggested improvement of
     thoroughfares, is Carrington House, which, in its isolated
     position, with thoroughfares on three sides of it, is not very
     eligible as a nobleman’s residence.


     Considering the large expenditure already incurred upon the
     existing Public Offices of the locality, the authors of this plan
     are induced, upon economical as well as upon practical grounds, to
     recommend that the Board of Trade and Treasury Chambers towards St.
     James’s Park, the Horse Guards, and the Admiralty should be
     retained, and, with certain external modifications, be made to
     group with and form part of a scheme _for concentrating the whole
     of the public offices in one connected mass of building_ between
     the Park and Whitehall, which suggestion they believe may be
     carried out in a most convenient and striking manner. Owing to the
     lowness of the site, which is less than two feet above the highest
     known tides, great loftiness of structure is proposed, and all
     habitable accommodation in the basement is deprecated. A great dome
     over the main entrance of the Public Offices is suggested, in order
     that they may vie in importance with the Abbey and new Legislative
     Palace, and have a distinctive character, both as a feature of
     Westminster, and also as seen from a distance. To allow of a
     comparison being formed between these offices and other existing
     and proposed buildings of the district, a reference is solicited to
     the illustrations of the block plan, where all such buildings are
     shown truly upon one scale, in their relative positions, and on
     their true levels. It is proposed that the principal carriage and
     foot entrance to the Public Offices should be from Whitehall, into
     a grand hall 320 feet long and 150 feet wide, covered with a glass
     roof, and affording access by archways to the several courts of the
     edifice. Upon the occasion of great receptions and other gatherings
     the great hall would afford ample accommodation for all carriages
     in attendance, and might be found useful occasionally for other
     public purposes, when a large and well-lighted covered area might
     be required. The magnitude and arrangement of the main building are
     such as to afford ample accommodation for all the offices
     enumerated in the official instructions, with the exception of the
     Admiralty, for which it is proposed to have the additional quota of
     accommodation provided for towards the Parade, where also, as well
     as on each side of the Horse Guards, is provided accommodation for
     other public purposes which may hereafter be required. The boundary
     of the Public Offices towards the Park is so arranged as to
     increase its present area.

     The only existing office, in a sound state, and having any
     architectural pretensions, which must be removed, is the State
     Paper Office, which is obviously too much in the way of a good
     general arrangement of plan to be allowed to remain. The Parade,
     enclosed by the Public Offices on three sides, and by the open
     screen to the Park on the fourth, would form a striking feature of
     the locality, and provide a larger and more conveniently arranged
     area for inspections than at present; and the advantage which is
     proposed, of being able to close it at pleasure, might be found to
     be of important use, in times of public excitement, not only for
     the inspection of the military but also of the police.


     Ample accommodation is provided for the diversion of the eastern
     and western traffic, through the proposed main north and south
     thoroughfares of Whitehall and St. James’s Park, by means of two
     new bridges across the river, and a public thoroughfare through the
     Mall to the Strand. Westminster Bridge, rebuilt as proposed, should
     be retained in its present position, as being the natural line of
     communication with the Birdcage Walk, and the most convenient
     approach to the three important buildings in Westminster, from the
     Surrey side of the river. It is of the utmost importance, however,
     that the level of its roadway, as determined by Parliament, should
     remain unaltered; otherwise the effect of not only the Palace at
     Westminster, but also of the proposed Government Offices, will be
     seriously injured. To obviate in some degree the sunken effect of
     the New Palace at Westminster, as it will be seen from the bridge,
     even when lowered to the level determined by Parliament, a raising
     of the River Terrace of that building might be worthy of
     consideration upon that as well as other grounds. The plan exhibits
     two alternative propositions for the bridge at Charing Cross,--one,
     an entirely new bridge, and the other the present Suspension
     Bridge, widened for carriages. The former is preferred by the
     authors of this plan, but, if the latter should be adopted, it is
     hoped that its principle of suspension may be abolished, so that
     the present towers and chains may no longer destroy some of the
     finest effects of London, as seen from various points of view.


     Assuming that the long-proposed and in part adopted plan of
     embanking the river, with a view to the improvement of its
     navigation and appearance, and the removal of its present offensive
     and unwholesome effluvia, must at no distant period be
     accomplished, it is proposed that at least such portion of the
     river as lies between the proposed Lambeth Bridge and Waterloo
     Bridge should be treated ornamentally, and have public quays on
     each side of it, with houses and terraces adjoining them, so as to
     screen from view the mean, unsightly, and in fact ruinous
     buildings, which at present disfigure both shores of this noble
     river. Amongst these buildings it is proposed to place a great
     hotel, at the Middlesex end of the Charing Cross Bridge, the
     promoters of which (it is believed) would construct so much of the
     embankment as is needed for their purposes at their own cost, upon
     having the fee simple of the site reclaimed assigned to them as an
     equivalent. An extension of the National Gallery is proposed, for
     an increase of the accommodation for the national collections of
     art, and for the use of the Royal Academy and Schools of Design, as
     well as for periodical displays of art and science, &c., in
     galleries exclusively devoted to the purpose. This is however
     proposed on the assumption that no better locality can be found for
     such objects. The extension of Whitehall Chapel provides for an
     improved United Service Museum, and would remedy the present
     fragmentary appearance of the building, while it would form an
     appropriate entrance to the road to the new Charing Cross Bridge.
     If this suggestion were entertained, it might be worthy of
     consideration, whether accommodation should not be provided in the
     new museum for a gallery of portraits of all the most eminent men
     of the naval and military services. With respect to the basin shown
     for the use of the wharves under the Adelphi Terrace, it might
     perhaps be worthy of consideration, whether the whole of the site
     of that basin and adjoining wharves might not be devoted to a great
     central terminus for the whole of the railways of the metropolis.
     In such case it would be advisable that the present Suspension
     Bridge should be converted into a railway bridge exclusively for
     communication with the several railways on the Surrey side of the
     river, and, with respect to those on the Middlesex side, it is
     proposed that advantage should be taken of the Metropolitan Act to
     connect them as far as the proposed station in Farringdon Street,
     and continue that connection by tunnelling under Fleet Street and
     the Strand to the great central terminus in the site suggested.

Such was his own sketch of his great plan, which, with the annexed plan
and illustration, will render further description needless.

It is probable that few will question its grandeur and
comprehensiveness. It would have made Westminster a palatial quarter of
the town, grouping together the buildings, which the public service of a
great country requires, in an unity, justified by their actual unity of
purpose, and all but necessary to their full architectural effect. The
great quadrangle of nine acres, with its sides formed by the Abbey, the
Government Palace, the New Palace of Westminster, and the public
buildings removed in order to clear the area, must have been its most
striking feature. Hardly inferior in magnificence would have been the
Park view of the Government Palace with the enclosed Parade, the large
area cleared along the Thames Embankment, and the great line of public
buildings extending from Great George Street to Trafalgar Square.
Essential points in the scheme were the embankments on both sides of the
river and the large spaces reserved, to be laid out in public gardens,
and so to give breathing space and opportunity for seeing the great
piles of building proposed. Taken altogether it would have produced a
general effect hardly to be equalled in Europe.

But it should also be noticed, that the plan was eminently practical.
It sacrificed little, it indicated the main lines which public
improvements must eventually take, and it was capable of being carried
out gradually. The concentration of public offices is demanded by public
convenience; the opening out the great buildings to be erected will be
an architectural necessity. The Thames Embankment is now a reality,
though Sir Charles would have little dreamt that its effect would have
been allowed to be broken in upon by the Hungerford Railway Bridge, and
the enormous mass of the Charing Cross Station. The enlargement of the
National Gallery is now only a question of time. The opening of great
lines of communication is hardly likely to be long deferred. In the
whole scheme therefore there was nothing visionary, nothing

Its cost no doubt would have been great. But it would not have exceeded
the cost, which will be ultimately incurred; and, if it had been carried
out gradually, the burden on the public resources would have been almost

In the present state of public feeling as to the value of Art in itself,
and in its influence on the national character, there can be no doubt
that great public improvements will be demanded. The example set in
Paris can hardly be quite lost upon us. Unless unforeseen necessity
should absorb the public resources, great sums of public money will
certainly be expended. That which is to be ardently desired is that the
authorities who direct the public expenditure should have before them
some great and comprehensive scheme, which, while it leaves all details
perfectly free, and so avoids monotonous uniformity, may indicate the
general principles to be followed, and at least see that one improvement
does not destroy or ruin another.

If the great scheme which occupied Sir Charles Barry’s last years sets
men’s minds to work, indicates public necessities, and suggests the
general lines of public improvement, it will (as has been said) do all
that its author hoped for. An artist, himself incapable of following
servilely the plans of others, could have desired nothing more than to
stimulate and guide the free conceptions of the future.



     Public action--His natural dislike of publicity--His
     characteristics as a Commissioner--Royal Academy--Scheme for
     Architectural Education--Royal Institute of British
     Architects--Scientific Societies--Royal Commission of
     1851--Exposition Universelle of 1855--Professional arbitrations at
     Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Leeds--St. Paul’s Cathedral Committee.

To the description already given of Sir Charles Barry’s architectural
works, it is necessary to add a brief notice of the various public
commissions and duties in which he was called upon to take part. The
labour bestowed on such work is perhaps less effective, certainly it is
less definite in its results. But no man, who takes a leading position,
has either the power or the right to refuse what is absolutely necessary
for collective life and action.

In respect of such official labours, it must be remembered, that his
constant occupation in professional work, and his great dislike of
public speaking and public appearances, kept him to some extent removed
from public life. No one acted more consistently on the conviction, that
each man contributes most to the great sum of general progress by doing
in the best possible way the task, which his station and talents
specially mark out for him. But, whenever questions arose directly or
indirectly bearing upon Art, he was naturally called upon for his
opinion and his services; and under these circumstances, even at the
busiest periods of his life, he could always make time for the work, and
take the liveliest interest in its progress.

He served, therefore, on several public commissions. In some respects he
must have been an embarrassing coadjutor. At all times he was more
inclined to originate than to criticize; and he would seldom consent to
limit his ideas by strict considerations of immediate practicability. He
was apt therefore to strike out a line of his own, for which perhaps he
could not command the sympathy of his colleagues; and, even when he
found the impracticability of such wider schemes, he was reluctant to
acquiesce in any others, which might seem to him too narrow for the
occasion. Yet it has been seen how frequently it happened, that the
ideas which he threw out proved ultimately fruitful, though under other
hands, and under different circumstances from those contemplated by
himself. For perhaps one of his most striking characteristics was
quickness of conception, and a certain “readiness of mind,” which made
its large resources available on the instant. This was certainly united
in his own actual work with an unwearied industry in the working out of
his general conceptions, and a willingness to consider and test them in
every possible point of view. But in the task of suggestion and
criticism, which belongs to a commission, it had the opportunities of
rapid and fruitful exercise, and he was always ready to meet every need,
and overcome every difficulty. Partly from a sanguine hopefulness,
which led him to make light of obstacles, partly from a deliberate
conviction, that in a country like our own considerations of expense are
trifling, if any great public want is really supplied, he was always led
to boldness and comprehensiveness in his conceptions, which might
probably cause alarm in the first instance, and prevent the immediate
execution of his designs, but which nevertheless arrested public
attention, and showed the ultimate object which public convenience
demanded. There are few public improvements at present proposed, which
did not at one time or another come under his official notice, and set
his pencil to work.

He was connected also with most of the artistic and scientific societies
of England, and found in them abundant scope for activity.

ROYAL ACADEMY.--In the work of the Royal Academy he took the greatest
interest, for he had high ideas of what it should attempt in the
guidance and direct inculcation of Art. Being himself a man little
fettered by system, he was quite aware how little academies can kindle
originality of talent, how liable they are to the danger of ignoring or
even discouraging it. He had artistic friends, whose genius he greatly
admired, among those who stood aloof from the Academy, who were the
bitterest denouncers of its actual work, and who would have denied it
even a theoretical value. But he always maintained that it had a most
important sphere, and he contended, that, allowing for the inevitable
defects of all institutions, it was working usefully and
conscientiously in the right path. This being the case, he was anxious
at all times to improve and develope that action still further, so as to
make it, even more than it is, the mainstay and guide of artistic

It was to his own department of Art that his attention was mainly
directed. This was due, not by any means to a narrow-minded
exclusiveness, for his great desire was that all branches of Art should
be proportionately represented, but to an idea that architecture and
sculpture existed in the Academy almost by sufferance under the
overwhelming predominance of the painters, and that they ought to have a
larger influence and more extensive representation. His own art he
believed to be most comprehensive of all in its scope and requirements,
and at least as powerful as any, in its effects on the taste and
intellectual progress of the country. He was therefore impatient of its
being regarded as holding a secondary position, and having a
quasi-mechanical character. As an Associate, an Academician, and a
member of Council, he laboured at all times to advance its due claims.

More particularly he felt that there was in England a great want of a
more formal and definite architectural education, and this want he
conceived that the Academy ought to supply. In 1856 a large Committee
was formed, with orders to consider how the instruction in the schools
of the Royal Academy could be improved. The subject of Architecture was
delegated to a small sub-Committee, consisting of Messrs. Cockerell and
Hardwick, and Sir C. Barry. Each member of the Committee prepared
suggestions for a scheme of architectural instruction, and these
suggestions were carefully and thoroughly discussed. No result, however,
followed from the time and thought expended on the subject; indeed, the
sub-Committee were fettered by alleged deficiency, both of accommodation
and of funds, for the carrying out of a perfect scheme. They reported
accordingly in favour of an annual grant of 150_l._ for a travelling
studentship, to be held for one year, and gained by competition amongst
the students who had obtained the gold medal. But even this was not
acted upon.

Sir C. Barry himself greatly doubted the cogency of the arguments
brought against the proposed improvements, believing that space could be
found or made, and that some part of the pecuniary balance in favour of
the Royal Academy (which was stated officially in 1860 as amounting
annually to above 3000_l._ on an average of seven years) might be well
expended for such a purpose, instead of being added to the large funds
(above 100,000_l._) already in hand. His own paper of suggestions is
full and elaborate. Perhaps it may seem to err on the side of excess in
requirements; and possibly his strong sense of his own want of regular
artistic education may have inclined him to this side; but it will
probably be thought to point in the right direction, and will have
interest at this time, when it is felt that artistic education is not
only both possible and desirable, but also capable of being based on
systematic principles. The practical question must recur, and, when it
does so, some guidance must be found in the record of the opinions of
any who have thought much on the theory of architecture, and have had
experience of its actual capabilities and needs. The transference of the
Academy to the larger accommodation now provided on the Burlington House
site must remove all difficulties of space, and probably, by the very
fact of change and enlargement, give an impetus to activity and
efficiency of work.

His scheme is accordingly subjoined.



     1. Geometry, trigonometry, hydraulics, hydrostatics, chemistry,
     optics, acoustics, geology, and mineralogy; and mechanics as far as
     they relate to the powers and forces applied to the purposes of

     2. Nature and properties of materials used for constructive and
     ornamental purposes.

     3. Principles of construction.

     4. Drawing, perspective, and sciography.

     5. Drawing from the human form, from the life, and from casts.

     6. Freehand drawing from natural objects with reference to

     7. Conventional treatment of such objects as applicable to
     architectonic decoration.

     8. Drawing and modelling of ornament.

     9. Drawing of the elements of each recognised order or style of

     10. Drawing of the best works of the Greeks, the Romans, the
     mediævalists, and the most eminent masters of the revival of
     classical architecture.

N.B. It is suggested that the whole of the above studies should be
conducted at the national establishments for art and science, the
Schools of Design, King’s College, London, the London University, and
other accredited institutions for teaching art and science, with a view
to obtaining certificates of proficiency from such institutions as a
qualification for admission to the Royal Academy.


Principles of--

     1. Form, proportion, harmony, expression, outline, and stability in

     2. Principles of ornamentation.

     3. Principles of colour in ornamentation.

     4. Sciographic and orthographic rules and systems of composition
     employed by the Greeks, the Romans, and the mediævalists, in
     Architectural Design.

     5. Studies of composition in the several distinctly recognised
     styles in ancient and modern times.

     6. Principles of the application of painting and sculpture in
     architectonic decoration.

     7. Principles of the application of high art in painting and
     sculpture in combination with architecture.

     8. Exercises upon designs of existing works with reference to the
     correction of what may be at variance with the true principles of

     9. Original composition emanating from the use of new materials in
     construction, and the omission of all that interferes with
     convenience and durability in the old or recognised styles, or that
     may be incompatible with modern habits, fashions, and
     requirements, or unsuitable to the climate of the country in urban
     or suburban districts.

N.B. It is suggested that the above-named studies in the Fine Art
Department, or higher branches of architecture, should be taught within
the walls of the Academy.


     1. That, with a view to the efficient working out of the rules and
     regulations of the Academy, specific duties with certain privileges
     and emoluments should be assigned to each degree of membership in
     the Academy, and that all should contribute their quota to the
     teaching in the school. Thus, from the class of R.A. should be
     chosen the visitor of the school for the time being, who should be
     responsible to the council; from the class of A.R.A. should be
     chosen a superintendent of the school, who should be responsible to
     the visitor for its discipline; and from a proposed new class to be
     called the Medallists of the Royal Academy should be chosen the
     teachers in the school.

     2. That a course of lectures should be given in each year upon the
     History and Literature of Architecture, with criticisms upon
     existing works, excepting (as at present) upon those of living

     3. That two strictly architectural or scholastic competitions, one
     for the silver medal and one for the gold medal, upon subjects to
     be given by the visitor and council for the time being, should take
     place in each year, and that the drawings offered in such
     competitions should be exhibited to the public, prior to any
     decision upon them.

     4. That the prize drawings in such competitions should be exhibited
     at the annual exhibitions, with an appropriate notice of them in
     the catalogue.

     5. That the school be open on Thursdays from ten till four, and on
     other days of the week from seven till nine p.m., vacations


     That a silver and gold medal should be offered every year; the
     former for the best study of existing works, and the latter for the
     best work in original composition.

     That the gold medallists should, in addition, receive a prize of
     fifty guineas, and a travelling studentship for two years, with a
     salary of 100_l._ per annum, and at the end of that time a right of
     membership in the Academy, as a class with certain privileges.

     That in the annual publication of the names of members of the
     Academy, those in the class of medallists (namely, such as have
     obtained the gold medal) be included.


     That proper certificates from public and other institutions for the
     teaching of art and science be produced by candidates for admission
     to the Academy, for the approval of the council, together with an
     original design and drawing of ornament as at present.

     That such candidates as are considered by the council to be
     properly qualified, in all respects, be admitted as probationers,
     upon condition of preparing an original design within the walls of
     the Academy for the approval of council as at present.

     That upon the approval of such probationary designs, candidates
     shall be admitted to the School of Architecture for two years.

     That during the first year they may be allowed to compete for the
     silver medal, and during the second year for the gold medal and its
     rewards and privileges.


     That one room, the upper portion of whose walls may be covered with
     a select collection of architectural casts, should be set apart
     exclusively for a school of architecture as well as for
     exhibitional purposes.

     That the occasional use of an adjoining room for exhibitional
     purposes be granted, when not required for the annual exhibitions.

It was a subject of great disappointment to him that this scheme was
rejected, and nothing put in its place. He was also disappointed, that,
as has been seen in the last chapter, the design which he prepared for a
new building, and by which he thought that his name might be permanently
connected with the Academy, fell to the ground. But he still took as
much interest as ever in its action. To the last he was a constant
attendant at its meetings and on its business. One thing he never could
be persuaded to do for this or for any other institution, viz., to
deliver lectures or speeches, or even read papers on architectural
subjects. But anything else he was ready and glad to attempt, and he
prized his connection with the Royal Academy at the highest possible

ROYAL INSTITUTE OF BRITISH ARCHITECTS.--With this important institution
he was connected from the beginning. In November, 1831, he discussed the
principles of its formation with Professor Donaldson, to whom it has
owed so much, both in its first foundation and its subsequent
development. On December 3rd, 1834, he attended its first meeting, and
records in his diary the completion of its charter on January 17th,
1837. Subsequently he became a Fellow and a Vice-President of the
Institute. On the death of Earl de Grey, when it was decided that the
President’s chair should be occupied by a professional man, it was
offered to him, and it was a subject of great regret to his friends,
that the dislike of publicity, to which reference has already been made,
prevented his acceptance of it. But he recognised the great value of the
Society to the architectural profession, and rejoiced to see its growth
and progress.

He had indeed much reason to feel grateful to the Institute for its
generous appreciation of his position and labours, and for its hearty
support in his time of professional trials. In 1850 he was chosen to
receive the Queen’s Gold Medal, and it was presented to him on June 3rd
by Earl de Grey, the President, who described most truly and skilfully
the peculiar difficulties under which he laboured at the time. In the
painful remuneration controversy, the Institute ventured boldly to
interfere in defence of the architect, and to send to Mr. Wilson the
Resolution which is quoted elsewhere. It was true that he was fighting
the battle of the profession, but it was not the less true, that, on
this very account, the interference of the Institute was likely to be
stigmatised as interested and obtrusive. After his death the council of
the Institute suggested his burial in Westminster Abbey, and sent to his
widow and family an address of hearty and affectionate condolence.

In fact, the whole course of its official proceedings showed, in his
case as in many others, that, in spite of the personal rivalries and of
the differences of styles and principles which are found in all
professions, and perhaps especially in those of an artistic character,
the whole body of architects was ready to show appreciation of work, and
willing to give support and sympathy to one who was devoting to his art
his time, his talents, and his life.

The younger Architectural Society (the Architectural Museum) also
attracted his interest. And in the formation of the Architectural
Publication Society he was willing to give all possible aid. He
contributed to their Architectural Dictionary an article on Baalbec, and
would no doubt have done more, had he lived longer after his retirement
from active work.

But, although architectural and artistic societies held the first place
in his regard, they by no means engrossed his whole attention. It was
certainly characteristic of his mind to be ready in sympathy, and quick
in appreciation of all kinds of intellectual pursuits, though literature
had much less charm for him than either Science or Art. And, since he
felt that architecture was a many-sided profession, in contact not only
with all branches of Art, but also with scientific principles and
inventions, and all those practical powers which occupy the sphere of
“business,” he did not find that devotion to it blunted the edge of his
interest in other things. At the “Friday evenings” of the Royal
Institution in Albemarle Street he seldom failed to attend. I can well
remember the deep interest, with which he entered into the original
researches or wide generalisations, so often brought forward there by
such men as Faraday and Owen. The general type of mind found in our
great scientific men at all times delighted him; for its union of
simplicity of aim and enthusiasm for science with profoundness and
originality of thought, was the type of genius with which he felt the
warmest sympathy. He became in due course a Fellow of the Royal Society;
and, valuing the honour greatly, he availed himself of every opportunity
of enjoying its privileges. But I do not find that he took any prominent
part in its action. The same is true of the “British Association.” He
frequently attended its meetings, in the days when it was the fashion to
sneer at it, as well as in his later years, when it had become one of
the recognised institutions of the country. But here again he never came
prominently forward. He was one of the listeners rather than of the
speakers on all such occasions.

ROYAL COMMISSION OF 1851.--In 1850 Sir Charles was appointed as a member
of the Royal Commission for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The scheme of
the building was discussed, and his pencil was immediately busy. He
thought of a great building, a polygon of many sides. In the centre was
to be a great hall for the larger objects, crowned by a gigantic dome,
and surrounded by concentric ranges of rooms for the exhibition of the
smaller objects. This, and many other schemes, were all put aside by Sir
J. Paxton’s Crystal Palace; and Sir Charles then ventured to offer some
suggestions for the improvement of the “grand conservatory.” The chief
was to do away with the proposed flat ceilings, and vault both transepts
and nave. The recommendation was adopted for the transept only. As to
the nave, certain practical difficulties were raised (which have been
since disproved by experience at the Crystal Palace at Sydenham), and
there the flat ceiling was retained to the great detriment of the
internal appearance of the building.[116] He could not share the popular
enthusiasm as to its general effect, though he recognised fully its
practical convenience and the ingenuity of its contrivance, and
confessed it to be adapted most excellently to a temporary construction.

His work as a Royal Commissioner led him to form a judgment on the
schemes, which were formed for disposing of the surplus gained by the
Exhibition, and so to conceive the designs which have been described in
the last chapter. It probably also led to his appointment, in
conjunction with his friend Mr. Cockerell, to represent English
architecture on the juries of the Exposition Universelle. Being now
somewhat less absorbed in professional work, he was able to give
considerable time to the work, and spent more than two months in Paris.
On this occasion he received the Gold Medal of honour for Architecture,
and had an opportunity, which he highly valued, of making or renewing
acquaintance with the leading continental architects.

This was the only occasion which gave him any opportunity of acting
abroad for the furtherance of his art. But his position, as a leader in
his profession, had long been recognised by foreign artistic bodies. In
1842 he received his first foreign honour in being elected into the
Academy of St. Luke at Rome; and after this followed a succession of
elections to the Academy of St. Petersburg in 1845, of Belgium in 1847,
of Prussia in 1849, of Sweden in 1850. Subsequently he was elected into
the Academy of Denmark, and into the American Institute. Of these
affiliations he was able to avail himself but little, for his days of
foreign travel were over. But the honours he could not but value highly.
Perhaps he valued them the more, when attacks began to be made upon him
at home; for from them, as well as from intercourse with distinguished
foreigners in England, he found abundant evidence of the high position
which his works occupied in the estimation of continental critics.

On the occasion of the Emperor of Russia’s visit to England, he visited
the New Palace under the guidance of the architect, and requested that
drawings of its chief elevations might be furnished to him. These were
acknowledged in handsome terms, and the acknowledgment was accompanied
by a present of the drawings of the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg, and
one of those magnificent diamond snuff-boxes which seem to be the
established gifts of royalty.

There were indeed few foreign visitors, distinguished either for rank or
for artistic eminence, who did not visit and admire his great work, and
the _éloge_ of M. Hittorf, read at the meeting of the Five Academies of
Paris on August 14th, 1860 (making all allowance for the time and
occasion), may be taken as not unfairly representing the general feeling
of continental artists.[117]

PROFESSIONAL ARBITRATIONS.--Besides the exercise of influence in public
commissions and institutions, an architect who has attained a high rank
in his profession, especially at a time when he is beginning to
relinquish active work, has an important sphere of exertion in respect
of professional arbitrations.

Open competitions are, and long have been, the order of the day. In the
decision of the prize much of the dissatisfaction often caused, and the
practical injustice often done, arises, not from any partiality or want
of ability in the judges, but from the want of practical knowledge of
detail, or of the advice of a practical assessor. There are drawbacks to
the value of a professional arbitrator; certainly much difficulty and
odium attach to his position. But to see the way through a complicated
plan, to judge how an attractive elevation will work out, and how far an
estimate can possibly be kept to, must certainly require the aid of
professional knowledge.

Accordingly, in the latter part of his career, Sir Charles Barry was
not unfrequently employed as professional arbiter in public

In 1845 he was appointed to adjudge the first place in the competition
for the Free Church College in Edinburgh--a building which was to occupy
one of the finest sites in the city. He bestowed great pains on the
adjudication, and gave some suggestions for the improvement of the
design. But the award was practically set aside, and the present
building erected, from a design for which he was not responsible.

In 1847 he was again employed to examine and report on the drawings of
the competitors for the erection of the Glasgow College.

In December 1852 the Town Council of Leeds requested him to undertake
the office of professional arbiter in the competition for the erection
of their Town Hall. He went into the matter with his usual care and
energy, and satisfied himself that the design of Mr. Brodrick, then
comparatively a young man, was decidedly the best. On this occasion he
had to meet some considerable efforts of local interest in behalf of
other competitors; and at one time thought, that he might be obliged to
throw up his office, and publish the correspondence. But he stood firm
in what he considered to be his duty, and succeeded in securing the
erection of a building, which has been since very generally admired.

On all such occasions he showed remarkably his characteristic power of
throwing himself, heart and soul, into the work before him. On the
process of forming his judgment he bestowed infinite pains, and usually
spent some considerable time. But his judgments, when formed, were
usually positive and decisive, inclining perhaps occasionally to
consider the capacities of a design, more than the standard of its
performance, and valuing imperfect promise more highly than finished
mediocrity. This is a tendency, which doubtless may be pushed even to
the verge of injustice. Still it must be considered as that which has on
the whole, more than any other, the double merit of rewarding real
talent, and of securing men, who are capable of carrying out and
perfecting, in the process of their accomplishment, buildings of real
artistic excellence. It is almost needless to add, that he maintained
his judgments unflinchingly, and defied all influences which tended to
interfere with their independence and effectiveness.

ST. PAUL’S COMMITTEE.--In 1858 Sir Charles was placed upon the Committee
for administering the St. Paul’s Cathedral Fund, a fund raised to assist
the Dean and Chapter, first, in the maintenance of the Special Evening
Services, and next in carrying out, if possible, some worthy system of
decoration of the Cathedral. He took the warmest interest in the work.
Admiring, as he did, enthusiastically the genius of Sir C. Wren, he felt
it a privilege to contribute in the slightest degree to the
embellishment of his great work, and its adaptation to the needs of our
own time. Here, as in other cases, his only difficulty was to persuade
himself to rest contented with that which was immediately practicable,
instead of stretching on towards the ideal conceived in his own mind.
To some of the changes actually made he gave in consequence but a
doubtful acquiescence.

In fact, to the position chosen for the new organ, and the arrangements
for the nave congregations depending on that position, he was very
strongly opposed--so much so, that at one time he thought of resigning
his place on the Commission, and, when he refrained from this,
considered it his duty to protest formally against the scheme adopted.
His own view was to place the great organ over the western entrance (as
is done in some foreign cathedrals), and to have only a small choir
organ for use at the eastern end of the church. The great organ in the
south transept he considered to interfere with the simplicity,
spaciousness, and grandeur of the central area of the Cathedral.

It is needless to say that his objections were most courteously
received, and carefully considered, although the Dean and the Committee
did not feel able to yield to them. As usual, he took up and expressed
his views pretty strongly, but he did not at all lose interest in the
proceedings of the Committee, because they were not adopted. In any case
it was much to co-operate in throwing open the Cathedral for the first
time to an use worthy of its dignity and its magnificence of scale, and
(what with him was a great, though, of course, a secondary
consideration) in drawing public notice and admiration to the noblest
work of our great English architect. He was present at almost every
meeting of the Committee, and ventured to offer to Mr. Penrose, the
architect of the Dean and Chapter, practical suggestions which were
kindly and cordially received.

Only four days before his death (on May 8th, 1860) he had written a
paper to the Dean, on the subject of the proposed arrangements;--its
handwriting as firm, and its style as vigorous as ever.[118] It is
interesting to remember that this, which is (so far as is known) his
last professional paper, should have had for its object the preservation
and the adornment of a work, which he regarded as one of the finest in
the world. To him, as to others, it seemed inexplicable and disgraceful,
that, while elaborate restoration is going on of every cathedral and
abbey, almost of every remarkable parish church, the cathedral of the
metropolis should be neglected, and the appeals for its decoration left
almost unanswered. He had no sympathy with the intolerant Gothicism,
which would pass over all that is classical, nor could he understand
that the absence of the strong local feeling, which has rebuilt
Chichester Cathedral, in great measure, by the contributions of Sussex
alone, could be a sufficient reason for the neglect of the grandest
building in London. He naturally thought of the magnificence of St.
Peter’s, and he longed to replace the dreary coldness of St. Paul’s by a
splendour which _mutatis mutandis_ should rival its Italian anti-type.
Sooner or later it must be that these longings will be realised.

Such is a brief record of the chief of his general public actions; many
others there must have been, which have left no trace. He was one of
those busy men, who can always find time and thought for subjects
cognate to their own special work, though not directly connected with
it. When, therefore, he was gone, his loss was felt, in this as in other
relations of life, as removing one influence of suggestive originality
and of practical soberness of judgment.



     Leading events of his life--General habits of work--Domesticity and
     privacy of life--Acquaintances and friendships--Distaste of
     publicity--Leading features of character--Personal
     appearance--Failure of health--Death--Funeral in Westminster
     Abbey--Erection of Memorial Statue--Conclusion.

The story of Sir Charles Barry’s life has in great measure been told in
the description of his general architectural work. For that work he
lived; and in it he found not only the occupation, but also most of the
pleasures, of his life. It is hard for those who knew and loved him best
to dissociate his memory from the recollections of his ungrudging labour
upon it, and its never-flagging interest to him. It will therefore be
necessary in this concluding chapter to give only a brief notice of his
private life and character, and a short narrative of his death and
funeral. There are many private details, treasured in the most sacred
memories of home, which would be out of place in a published biography.
Its proper record is of facts, which have general interest; of work,
which produces lasting effects; of character, so far as that character
bears upon public action and has its universal lesson.

The events of his private life were few and simple. It is said that a
nation is happy if its annals be dull: he was certainly fortunate in the
fact, that his domestic annals were singularly uneventful; he had few
troubles and difficulties, except those connected with his professional
career. In the eyes of the world his course appeared to be one of
uninterrupted and increasing prosperity. He spent the whole of his life
in London, moving in 1827 from his first house in Ely Place, to 27,
Foley Place, where his chief designs (including that for the New Palace
at Westminster) were made; thence in 1841 to 32, Great George Street, in
order to be near his great work while in progress; and lastly to Clapham
Common, when he began to retire in some degree from his more active
professional work.[119]

He never cared to leave London, except for business or for brief
recreation. A short summer run was all that he needed, and there was
perhaps some want of repose in his character, which prevented his caring
for a country life. All his interests were in town; he rejoiced in its
bustle and society; and nothing would have compensated him for a
banishment from it.

His life was pre-eminently a life of work, but work which had in it,
generally speaking, no flurry or painful anxiety--work, in fact, which
seemed a delight and almost a necessity. He always rose early; seldom
later than six o’clock, and often at four or five. He did so naturally
and habitually; in this habit probably lay much of the secret of his
freshness in work and freedom from all feverish and restless
excitability, even at his busiest and most anxious times. Whatever his
troubles or occupations might be, he could always fall asleep at night,
and, thanks to his excellent constitution, sleep was to him sound and
refreshing. But, as soon as nature was satisfied, the mind resumed its
activity, and in the early hours of morning there came back the whole
flood of anxieties and conceptions, which defied the power of sleep and
demanded immediate execution. It was well that this was his habit,
excepting when, in times of great excitement or difficulty, it led him
to overtask his strength. For in the time of his fullest work these
morning hours were the only ones, on which he could reckon with
certainty, and to these he traced many of the best of his ideas. He
experienced to the full, what most early risers know, that some of the
brightest thoughts belong to the very hour of waking, often solving in
the first freshness of the morning a difficulty, which had perplexed or
conquered him over-night. At all times, but in those morning hours
particularly, his rapidity of execution was something marvellous. He
himself was hardly conscious of any unusual power in this respect, and
would expect of others what he felt that he could do himself. Of trouble
he was utterly unsparing: he would think nothing of sponging out a whole
elevation, if an idea occurred to him, by which he thought that it could
be improved, even in details. Of any principal feature of a great work
the number of designs would be almost endless. Like most hard workers,
he was to a great extent superior to interruption. In fact, for the most
part he liked society during the time of his work. He would even listen
to reading, or join in conversation, without allowing the secondary
currents thus generated to interfere with the main stream of thought.
The interruptions of business or necessity never seemed to break the
thread of his ideas; seldom to flurry or discompose him. For he had this
mark of readiness and clearness of conception, that he was capable, on
the one hand, of setting to work at any moment, and resuming it, after
interruption, just as if no interruption had occurred, and capable, on
the other, of throwing it all aside at proper times, and joining in
recreation or social intercourse with all the lightheartedness of a
schoolboy. But for this readiness and elasticity of mind he could never
have gone through the extraordinary amount of labour, which came upon
him daily for many years.

On the general method of that work something has been already quoted (on
page 86), from the words of one eminently qualified to judge. It
frequently happened (it was so in the case of the design for the New
Palace at Westminster), that the first sketch, which he made, contained
all the essential features of the design as actually carried out. Such
sketches, however, were eminently artistic in effect, and they would
have been even apt to mislead, had they not been immediately brought to
the test of accurate scale-drawing, and enlarged details. When this was
done, either by his own hand or by the hands of others, the task of
modification and alteration would begin, generally, however, tending
after much labour to realise more fully and perfectly the conceptions at
first roughly shadowed out. Occasionally it was otherwise, especially
in later years, when it can hardly be doubted that his fastidiousness of
taste became excessive, leading to alterations, sometimes almost
inconsistent with the original design, and securing minute improvements
at too high a cost. But his most successful works were those in which
the original idea predominated to the last; for they naturally had both
the unity of original conception, and the effect of careful study in
every detail.

His tendency was perhaps to do too much for himself, and to delegate too
little of important work to the many who would have gladly helped him.
If he did delegate anything, he was impatient to have it finished; and
what Sir Charles expected to be done in “a couple of hours” became a
proverb in his office. But it was hard to complain of one who never
spared himself, and there were few who did not learn energy and actual
delight in work under the shadow of his example. In spite, therefore, of
the extent of his requirements and of a very determined will, which he
never allowed to be questioned, he always met with cheerful and ready
help, and there arose up among his assistants a strong _esprit de
corps_, not without enthusiasm for their chief.[120]

The early mornings till breakfast time, and the evening hours from eight
o’clock till (at the earliest) eleven or twelve, were devoted to the
drawing-board; the day from ten to five to superintendence of buildings
in progress and to various business. This was his regular work; but
during the time of the preparation of the competition drawings for the
New Palace he hardly gave himself more than four or five hours’ sleep
out of the twenty-four. Work, however, simply as work, never seemed to
overtask his powers; it was not till anxieties and disappointments were
added to it, that he began to feel the strain. It was rare, even when
his strength began to fail, that he complained of its pressure: it
seemed to him the natural object of life, and in it certainly lay for
him the secret of happiness as well as success.

His habits of life were simple and domestic. He lived very much at home
in the society of his wife and children, especially during the later
years of his life. That home was pervaded by the spirit of intellectual
work and energy which distinguishes the homes of professional men, and
all its inmates felt the direct influence of its architectural
atmosphere. Of his sons, two, Charles and Edward, followed his own
profession. The former was at work independently, and the latter acted
as his coadjutor, till he began to retire from the more active exercise
of his profession. Their career he watched with peculiar interest, and
his advice and aid were always at their command. In their names he sent
in his last great architectural design,--the Plan of the Westminster
Improvements, elsewhere referred to. Of his other sons, two, Godfrey
and John, were engaged, the one in surveying, the other in engineering
work, and so followed paths of life not wholly different to his own. So
far therefore his family life still reflected something of the
professional thought and feeling, which elsewhere absorbed his interest.
But into any successes, which his sons achieved, he entered with a
special liveliness of satisfaction, and his home relations were those of
almost unbroken happiness and affection.

But although this was the case, few men had less of a recluse character.
His mind was singularly open to favourable impressions of strangers, and
his own free and genial manner tended to draw them to him, and elicit
their most attractive qualities. His judgment of character was certainly
not severe or critical, and he occasionally suffered much from taking
men at their own valuation.

To young artists, especially to young architects, he was always ready to
show appreciation and kindness. In their case he laid aside the severity
of criticism, which he indulged in relation to the works of established
reputation: he was rather inclined to overrate incipient talent, and was
always glad to meet it with encouragement and advice.

But indeed any stranger who presented himself, as an unappreciated
artist or an unknown discoverer, was sure of a favourable reception.
Foreigners especially made their way with him, for he always liked the
greater freedom and liveliness of Continental manners and character.
This openness to influence remained in him to the last, very little
corrected by experience, pushed even to the verge of credulity, often
leading him into positions which had a tendency to compromise
himself.[121] It is almost needless to add, that it was taken advantage
of by unscrupulous persons, who received help and benefit from him in
the time of urgent need, and turned afterwards to vilify the giver.

But although he was thus accessible to strangers, although no one could
enjoy more the change and relaxation of society, and although he had
many acquaintances in all ranks of life, he had few friends: with their
society, added to that of his own family, he was perfectly contented.
Perhaps with only one friend (Mr. Wolfe) had he any great and constant
intimacy, for with him he could share the one great interest which
absorbed his thoughts. Night after night Mr. Wolfe would spend with him,
while the work of design was going on, always ready to give
encouragement, suggestion, and criticism. And this community of artistic
interest naturally developed itself into a general community of thought
and feeling, not uncommon in youth, but rarely preserved in manhood and

Connected with these traits of character was a great, and (I think) an
excessive, dislike of all public display. He had a keener sense of the
conventionality and hollowness, which generally attach to it, than of
the substantial reality, on which after all it must be based, or of the
important functions which it performs. It was difficult to induce him to
take, on any public occasion, the part required of him, by his
connection with public bodies or by his own professional position; he
shrank from the necessity of a speech or a lecture, even on subjects on
which he might have spoken with authority.

It is probable that this feature of his character was inseparably
connected with his energy of work and eminently practical tastes; but it
was certainly unfortunate in its effects. It isolated him greatly from
his professional brethren, and this isolation, on the one hand,
prevented his exercising the full influence of his position, and on the
other, deprived him of an interchange of thought and opinion, which
might have told with advantage upon his own mind. The effect of this
isolation perhaps increased as time went on, when new styles were rising
up in architecture, and much of the work, to which his life had been
devoted, was disparaged or decried. He was not indeed shaken in his old
architectural creed; he believed that, in spite of the originality and
talent displayed in the rising generation of architects, there was in
much of their work a violation of first principles, which would
eventually be felt as fatal. This conviction, and the natural vigour and
buoyancy of his character, enabled him to show a bold front to all
attacks, and go on, in disregard of them, in the path which he thought
the right one. But he nevertheless felt them keenly. Like most men of
high spirits, he was subject to periods of depression, which told more
on his constitution than any amount of labour. And at such times,
although, as has been seen, he received the most generous support from
the members of his profession, he could but feel that in some respects
he stood alone.

Such was the general tenour of his life, which at once reflected his
natural character, and reacted upon it.

It must, of course, be left to others to pronounce on his artistic
qualities, and to judge of the results which they produced. But it may
be well to refer to the intellectual characteristics by which his mind
seemed pre-eminently distinguished. One was a remarkable quickness of
conception, which was intuitive on his own subjects, but which did not
fail him even upon others. This quickness occasionally appeared to
supersede any long abstract study. Not indeed that he would not spend
infinite pains in maturing his conception, but these were given to
practical developments and variations, which might be what
mathematicians call “Formulas of Verification,” rather than to search
for authorities and abstract reflection upon principles. I imagine that
such half-unconscious intuition is characteristic of the artistic
temperament, and doubt whether even Shakspere or Turner grasped, in
abstract theory, those principles, which have been most truly discovered
and commented upon in their works.

Joined to this quickness there was in him a remarkable fertility of
design and contrivance. If a plan proved impracticable, if a design was
rejected, the failure never seemed to disconcert him. Like the English
infantry, he “never knew when he was beaten,” and his scattered forces
were rallied instantly to another attack. This fertility was stimulated
by an indestructible power of taking interest in the minutest details,
and of despising all trouble in the search after perfection, whether it
were in the design of a Victoria Tower, or the alteration and
realteration of a drawing-room drapery. And it was perhaps supported by
that resolution to have his own way, good humoured but determined, of
which he was not untruly accused. For he was entirely, almost amusingly,
unconscious that it had anything to do with any personal characteristic
or any assertion of individual will. It seemed to him to be dictated by
an artistic necessity, so strong that it was hardly possible to oppose
it. The very readiness with which the ideas occurred seemed to him a
guarantee that they were reasonable and almost self-evident, and why
they did not occur to others, or why, when suggested, they did not
commend themselves to others, he could not understand.

With these characteristics were naturally united a sanguine disposition
and a quick temper. That sanguineness was of course tempered, and even
over-clouded, by experience of life, and it had its period of natural
reaction, when all things seemed gloomy to him, and he would pronounce
his own powers a mere pretence and his life a failure. These periods
acted upon, and suffered reaction from, his bodily health, and in them
work was his best relief. Some excitability of temper belongs to such
disposition, but there were few whom one could more truly describe as

    “Irasci celerem, tamen ut placabilis esset.”

For openness and geniality were leading characteristics in his mind. He
delighted in society, and in society of men of all characters and
occupations; and those who do this are not likely to treasure up morbid
views of men or of actions.

Closely connected indeed with this excitability was his appreciation of
fun and even good-humoured mischief, and his power of entering into
interests, trivial or sportive in themselves. He would take trouble and
show eagerness, even in the amusements of his home circle, and be
anxious that they should be carried out in the best possible way. And,
even to the last, he preserved much of the impulsive freshness and
youthfulness of his character, without any sign of the narrowing and
chilling influence of age.

But these qualities in him were not exaggerated into exclusive
prominence. The imaginative and the practical, the powers of sanguine
impulse and prudential action in detail, were remarkably blended in his
mind. Thus he was on the one hand emphatically an artist. Before all
things he placed the power of imagination and creation, the sense of
beauty, and the reverence for Art which could minister to that sense, in
all the forms which it assumed, in painting, sculpture, and music, as
well as in architecture. I think indeed that he required the æsthetic
influence to clothe itself in visible artistic form; for the beauty of
Nature in itself, and the forms of the imagination clothed merely in the
words of poetry, were not the influences which laid strongest hold upon
his mind. But the claims of Art were paramount, and the realisation of
what was beautiful in it was to him the chief good, independent of all
other results. Yet, on the other hand, he was emphatically a “man of
business;” he had all the power of quick practical observation,
clearness and decision in details, willingness to accept the necessity
of prosaic work and drudgery, which belong to this character. The two
elements in his mind harmonized, and did not clash with each other.

In the same way he was impulsive and almost rash, in the ventures he
would make, and the risks he would run. The spirit of “speculation”
might easily have been developed in him, even to a dangerous prominence.
Difficulties he not only made light of, but he was often incapable of
perceiving their full force, if it would have been fatal to a cherished
idea. Yet in his execution of his schemes he could bring into play the
powers of good sense, caution, and watchfulness, to make sure of every
step, and to prevent divergence into the shadowy regions of the

The same union of balancing elements of character was seen in regard of
external influence upon him. His mind was certainly original, and his
resolution and will most determined. Yet to external influences, direct
and indirect, even to the tone of feeling and character of those who
were with him, he was as certainly sensitive. Suggestion or criticism,
warning or encouragement, he readily, almost unconsciously, took in, and
seemed to assimilate, till they formed a part of his own mind. In
respect of his own art, however, this susceptibility to external
influence produced no inconsistency, for its results were fused under
the power of his original conception, and therefore, while they
prevented anything fantastic and whimsical, they did not weaken the
vigour which belongs to self-reliance. In fact it was one of the causes
of that progressiveness of mind, which was always remarked in him, and
to which allusion has already been made. He had a firm grasp of certain
great principles; therefore he had the power to appreciate and to
assimilate knowledge, from whatever sources it came. He was fettered by
no system of rules; therefore he had the elasticity of mind, without
which it is impossible to profit by external influence and teaching. To
the last he confessed himself a learner. Sometimes, indeed, he would
take up some new idea suggested from without, with characteristic
eagerness, and begin to develope from it inferences, which were to yield
a new store of first principles. But when these first principles were
carefully scanned, they were found to be “old friends under a new face;”
and so the new modification was accepted, while the essential ideas
remained substantially the same. His works, accordingly, though they
showed progressiveness, were always characteristic, and had a certain
unity, which no competent eye can fail to discern.

Much indeed of his success and his power of influence depended on this
union of apparently opposite elements, on this absence of one-sidedness
and distortion of character. It was not produced in him by the deepening
and enlarging influence of abstract study. Even in his own art his
knowledge was gained mainly by experience, and he studied best with the
pencil in his hand. But in other fields of thought, he had in him very
little of the student. His interest indeed was wide and keen enough, but
it showed itself in quickness of observation and intuition, rather than
in any profound study. Even from politics he to a great extent stood
aloof, though he was consistently attached to the Liberal party, and his
mind was certainly more innovating than conservative. Science (as has
been said) interested him far more than literature. Had he not been
distinguished as an artist, he might well have made himself a name in
mechanical science, in which his great fertility of contrivance, his
love of enterprise, and his tendency to set aside stereotyped systems
and conventional rules, would have found a congenial field of exercise.

By this temperament, naturally buoyant and elastic, by the power of a
disposition warm-hearted and capable of enthusiasm, by his remarkable
determination of will, when once his mind was made up, and by the fact
that, before he had come to a determination, he was singularly open to
suggestion, by the resolution never to put up, even in little things,
with what was defective or erroneous, he mostly prevailed. Clients,
colleagues, even superiors, generally let him have his own way; for they
felt that his determination was at least conscientious and
disinterested. In his professional work especially, although he made
mistakes and miscalculations, which might cause hardship, and sometimes,
it may be, practical injustice, his determination was sustained by an
integrity above all suspicion. Architects and engineers, dealing with
large sums, the expenditure of which they alone are able to control or
criticize, are frequently exposed to solicitation, and even temptation,
to relax vigilance and show personal favour at the expense of justice.
Even a high rank in the profession does not secure men against the
exertion of this influence, and few young beginners are spared the
experience of it. It is well that, especially at the present time, the
profession at large stands strong in known integrity, though the
exercise of the vigilance and determination, which it requires, is often
a thankless work. Of that integrity Sir Charles Barry did his duty in
setting an example. Though he had many enemies, none even ventured on a
breath of slander in this respect.

That he was ambitious cannot be questioned. There are two kinds of
ambition; there is the desire of glory in itself, which seems to be its
lower form; we find a higher ambition in the desire of doing something,
which is not unworthy of glory, whether it obtains it or not. I think he
felt both strongly. For praise and reputation are the chief secondary
rewards of an artistic life, the compensation for foregoing the more
material returns, which can be best obtained in other walks of life. But
he lived long enough to feel, what all experience of life teaches, the
capricious manner in which such reward is bestowed, and the
insufficiency of it, even when it is obtained in the fullest measure. At
no time would he have sacrificed to it the higher ambition of doing that
which was artistically the best, though it might draw down a storm of
unpopularity and censure. Whenever the lower ambition is thus clearly
subordinated, it must be regarded as an instinct of humanity, capable
of giving force and life to the character, without the excitability and
selfishness which mark its exclusive predominance.

The whole remembrance of his life is therefore one of work, simplicity,
geniality, and vigour, guided by a conscientious devotion to duty, and
kindled by a never-failing enthusiasm. Without these qualities, his
artistic feeling, his power of origination and enterprise, and his
genius for design, must have failed in the work and trials of life.

His personal appearance was a fair index of his character. The
frontispiece, and the statue in the New Palace at Westminster, show the
remarkably fine head, which indicated intellectual and artistic power,
and the strong and almost sturdy figure, which was no bad type of his
determination of character; but they cannot show the mobility of his
expression, or that quick lighting up of the whole face, showing his
delight in fun and warm geniality of feeling, which in his younger days
aided the impression of his handsome features and bright complexion, and
at all times gave a remarkable charm to his manner. He was one of those
men who hardly seem to grow old. He came within five years of our “three
score years and ten,” and yet he seemed young still, and it was almost
impossible to connect with him the idea of weakness or decay.

But, when the last stone of the Victoria Tower was laid, when the
flagstaff to surmount it was all but ready, his work was done, and his
career drew to its close.

His constitution, originally one of remarkable strength, had been tried
severely by work, and still more by anxiety and disappointment. The
troubles connected with the New Palace at Westminster, not only in the
Remuneration controversy, and in the many personal contests which arose
out of the work, but in the fashion, which prevailed at one time, of
constant depreciation of the work itself, and reflexions upon the
architect, told much upon him. That much of this was ignorant he knew;
that it would pass away he fully believed; but he felt it
notwithstanding, for his disposition craved for sympathy and
appreciation, and its sensitiveness was not dulled by age.

The effects were seen, not so much in any general weakness of health or
appearance of decaying strength, as in sudden and violent attacks of
illness. The first occurred in 1837, after the excessive work of the
preparation of the design for the New Palace; and, as years and labours
grew upon him, they became more frequent, till in 1858 he had so severe
an attack of fever, that for some time his life was in imminent danger.
But this seemed to pass away; he recovered much of his health and
spirits, and preserved in great degree the elasticity and youthfulness
of his nature. His strength, vigour, and keenness of interest in all
around him were as strong as ever.

The end came most suddenly and unexpectedly. He had suffered for some
time from a cough, which no remedy appeared to touch, but which
nevertheless was thought to present no appearance of danger. On the 12th
of May, 1860, he had been with Lady Barry to spend the afternoon at the
Crystal Palace, and had seemed very calm and cheerful, speaking of the
natural dispersion of their children, and of the end of life, in which
they should be thrown upon each other, as at its beginning. The evening
had been spent as usual, and at the regular time, about eleven o’clock,
he had retired to his dressing-room. There he was seized with difficulty
of breathing and pain; and, before any of his children could be
summoned, almost before it was known that there was imminent danger, all
was over. It was found afterwards that the cause of death was a weakness
of action both in the lungs and in the heart. Death might have come
suddenly at any moment. That he had felt some vague presentiment of it
was shown by his having put his affairs in order early in the year. But
it is doubtful whether he was conscious of its actual approach. It was a
cause of thankfulness for his sake that it came so painlessly, and that,
though his children, to their great grief, were absent, his wife was
with him to the end.

It had been intended by his family that his funeral should be private,
conducted in accordance with the privacy and simplicity of his life. But
almost immediately the chief members of his profession expressed a wish
that his body should be laid in Westminster Abbey, among the
“representative men” of the country. The idea was readily taken up,
especially in the Institute of British Architects. A deputation from
that body waited on the Dean, who willingly accorded the needful
permission, and it was settled that his body should be laid in the nave.
It was but recently that Literature had been so honoured in the person
of Lord Macaulay, and Science in the person of Robert Stephenson. Close
by the side of the latter the new grave was opened.

The funeral took place on May 22nd (the day before his sixty-fifth
birth-day). The family procession, moving from Clapham, was met at
Vauxhall Bridge by the carriages containing the members of the Institute
and other distinguished persons, and by a large body of workmen engaged
in his works at the New Palace and elsewhere, who had requested
permission to follow him to the grave. So augmented, it moved on to the

“All the gentlemen who were to take part in the procession, and who
numbered between 400 and 500 representatives of the great societies of
arts and science in England, assembled in places adjoining the
cloisters, and there awaited the arrival of the funeral _cortége_. The
hearse reached Dean’s-yard a few minutes before 1 o’clock, and the
coffin was borne through the old cloisters to the side entrance of the
nave, where the Dean and Chapter, headed by the choir, were waiting. The
procession was then formed, and to Purcell’s solemn anthem, ‘I am the
resurrection and the life,’ moved slowly up the nave. First came the
High Bailiff of Westminster, then the beadsmen, vergers, and choir,
followed by the Dean and Chapter, and the coffin. There were eight
pall-bearers--Sir Charles Eastlake, President of the Royal Academy; the
Chief Commissioner of Works, the Right Hon. W. Cowper, M.P.; Mr. G. P.
Bidder, President of the Institute of Civil Engineers;
Lieutenant-General Sir E. Cust; the President of the Architectural
Museum, Mr. A. J. Beresford Hope; the Dean of St. Paul’s; the President
of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Mr. C. R. Cockerell; and
Mr. Tite, F.R.S., M.P. Immediately following the body the five sons of
the deceased walked as chief mourners, with the Dean of Chichester and
other private friends of the late Sir Charles. To these succeeded a
procession of immense length, which took nearly a quarter of an hour to
file slowly into the Abbey, and for the members of which there was
scarcely sufficient accommodation either in the choir or in the nave.
The House of Commons was represented by Lord John Manners, Mr. J.
Greene, Mr. R. S. Gard, Sir Joseph Paxton, Sir S. M. Peto, Sir A. Hood,
Mr. F. V. Hume, and Mr. J. Locke. Among the Council and members of the
Royal Academy were Messrs. T. Creswick, A. Elmore, J. H. Foley, S. A.
Hart, J. R. Herbert, G. Jones, J. P. Knight, Sir E. Landseer, Messrs. C.
Landseer, D. Maclise, P. Macdonall, W. C. Marshall, B. W. Pickersgill,
F. R. Pickersgill, J. Phillip, D. Roberts, R. Redgrave, C. Stansfield,
S. Smirke, R. Westmacott, and Professor Partridge. Among the associates
were also Messrs. T. L. Cooper, W. Frost, P. F. Poole, E. W. Cooke, F.
Goodall, G. G. Scott, B. O’Neil, R. G. Lane, and J. T. Willmore. Of the
Council and members of the Royal Society there were the Rev. J. Barlow,
Sir Roderick Murchison, Messrs. J. P. Guest, C. R. Weld, J. P. Gassiott,
and R. W. Walton. The Council of the Institute of Civil Engineers was
represented by Messrs. C. H. Gregory, T. Hawksley, J. Locke, M.P., Sir
J. Rennie, F.R.S., Messrs. J. Simpson, C. Manby, F.R.S., T. H. Wyatt, J.
Hawkshaw, F.R.S., J. R. Maclean, J. Cubitt, J. E. Errington, J. E.
Harrison, J. D. Hemans, J. Murray, &c.; and the Council of the
Architectural Museum by Messrs. E. Street, J. Clarke, R. Brandon, E.
Christian, Rev. T. Scott, Messrs. G. Scharf, H. D. Chantrell, W. Slater,
and J. Gibson. Of the Council and members of the Institute of British
Architects there were Messrs. G. Godwin, F.R.S., T. L. Donaldson, M. D.
Wyatt, V.P.S., J. H. Lewis, J. Bell, F. C. Penrose, F. J. Francis, G.
Morgan, R. A. Romeau, J. H. Stevens, G. Vulliamy, B. Ferrey, C. C.
Nelson, J. Norton, Sir W. Farquhar, J. J. Scoles, I. Angell, H. Ashton,
I. Bellamy, J. B. Bunning, D. Burton, F.R.S., C. Fowler, H. Kendall, D.
Mocatta, A. Salvin, O. Jones, J. Pennethorne, and about 150 other
members of the Institute and profession.

“Among the others attending were the Earl of Carlisle, the Duchess of
Sutherland, Archdeacon Hale, Mr. A. Austin, of the Board of Works; Mr.
Winkworth, Society of Arts; Mr. A. W. Franks, Society of Antiquaries;
Mr. Henry Ottley, Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts; the Hon.
Arthur Gordon, &c.

“As many as could be accommodated in the choir having taken their seats,
the solemn service proceeded by the choir’s chanting with melancholy
impressiveness Handel’s ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth,’ and the
mournful cadences of Purcell’s 90th Psalm. The Dean then read the
lesson, after which the choir again sang, ‘When the ear heard,’ &c. The
procession was then reformed, and moved slowly to the side of the grave
amid the most solemn silence.

“At the edge of this the coffin was deposited while the choir chanted in
a subdued tone Croft’s touching anthem, ‘Man that is born of woman has
but a short time to live,’ and ‘In the midst of life we are in death.’
The coffin was then slowly lowered to its last resting place, amid the
unrestrained emotion of the mourners and friends. The Dean then
proceeded with the rest of the service, which was listened to with the
most profound silence, broken only by the sharp harsh rattle of the
earth as it was strewed on the coffin. The choir then chanted ‘I heard a
voice from Heaven,’ and still more impressively the anthem, ‘His body is
buried in peace, but his name liveth for evermore.’ The ceremony
concluded with the benediction pronounced by the Dean, and the solemn
music of the Dead March rang through the Abbey, while the relatives and
friends pressed forward to take a last glimpse of all that remained of
the gifted Sir Charles Barry. A flag was hoisted in the Victoria Tower
half-mast high during the day, and, as long as that tower stands, its
great founder will need no other memorial of his fame with

The funeral arrangements were such as to avoid all that could jar on
the solemnity of the occasion--an occasion never to be forgotten by
those who took part in it. It was impossible not to feel the sincere and
generous sympathy, which had assembled all the representatives of the
art and science of England to do honour to his memory, and the strong
personal feelings of respect and friendship, which mingled with the
public demonstration, and gave it warmth and substance. The foresight of
it would often have been full of support and comfort to him; the reality
was deeply felt by those who followed him to the grave.

The following resolutions from the Institute of British Architects, and
the Architectural Society, were evidences of the kindly sympathy of his
professional brethren:--

     “The Royal Institute of British Architects, impressed with the loss
     which the profession and the country have sustained through the
     decease of Sir Charles Barry, whose genius has conferred great
     lustre upon this age, hereby record their profound sympathy with
     the affliction which has fallen (more immediately) upon the widow
     and family of their lamented friend.”

     “The Committee of the Architectural Museum desire to express their
     sense of the severe loss which Art has sustained by the demise of
     Sir Charles Barry, an architect whose fame was the property of his
     country, and indeed of the world. They desire also to express their
     feeling of their own personal loss in him, who as one of their
     Trustees, and as a cordial supporter of the Museum, had
     conciliated the respect and regard of all who knew him. They beg in
     the last place to offer the expression of their most sincere
     sympathy and condolence to his family, and request the President to
     transmit the message to them.”

These resolutions were but the concentrated expressions of the warm and
kindly feeling manifested at the meeting of the Institute on May 22nd.
On that occasion a paper was read by M. Digby Wyatt, Esq., V.P., “On the
Architectural Career of Sir Charles Barry,” remarkable alike for the
accuracy and fulness of its sketch of events, and for the generous
spirit of appreciation and respect which animates its thought. It may,
perhaps, be permitted me to quote its conclusion here:--

     “I know not how any moral, that the ablest rhetorician in the world
     could draw from Sir Charles Barry’s professional career, could be
     made to speak more strongly, or admonish us more stringently, than
     the facts of his life and the monuments which he has left behind
     him, do for us unerringly, if we will but open our hearts to
     apprehend and study them aright. His incessant labours, first to
     learn and then to practise, again to learn and again to practise,
     and again, and again, and again to learn and practise, so long as
     his physical energies could support the activity of his intellect,
     ought to convey to us all a lesson of profound humility, and a
     stimulus to exertion of the most active kind.

     “If he, with all his natural genius and aptitude for art, could
     achieve success, in the measure in which he did achieve it, only by
     never-ending and still beginning toil and study, how can we emulate
     even an approximation to his excellence in our art, without an
     exercise of both? His life is surely another practical illustration
     of that which the lives of the greatest artists who ever lived--of
     Titian, of Michael Angelo, of Raffaelle, of Leonardo da Vinci, of
     Albert Durer--already bear witness to: that study and practice must
     in art ever go hand-in-hand. Study without practice will but make
     the pedant; practice without study can but multiply busy

These tributes to his memory, coming as they did from those who could
speak with authority, have a special value of their own; with all
allowances for the kindly feelings of the moment, they may be accepted
as a substantial and enduring testimony. At the time, perhaps, a tribute
of respect, at least as much felt and appreciated, was marked by the
voluntary attendance at his funeral of the workmen who had helped to
carry out his works. His family felt themselves justified (in their
letter of thanks to the workmen) “in recognising in that attendance, not
only a kind and cordial sympathy with their own sorrow, but also a proof
of the respect with which his memory was regarded, and of the pride and
interest felt, in having aided to accomplish what his genius had
conceived.” And what was true of the workmen was still more true of
those who had been his subordinates in the work, and had laboured
cordially and efficiently in the service. He had inspired the sympathy
which always attends on enthusiasm and self-sacrificing labour in a
great cause.

A kindly notice in the ‘Saturday Review’ (of May 19th, 1860) may be
added appropriately here, as expressing the feeling of the educated
public on the occasion:--

“The death of Sir Charles Barry, at a moment when he appeared in the
full enjoyment of life and intellect, is a severe public, no less than
an artistic loss. We are glad to learn that his claims as one of the
worthies of the age are to be recognised by a public funeral, and a
resting-place beneath the vault of Westminster Abbey.... It is
undeniable that Sir C. Barry has not been for many years popular with
officials; but we are not inclined to think the worse of him on that
account. He was through life a man of large and expansive ideas, and of
resolute determination to carry out those ideas; and, as might be
supposed, he was continually in collision alike with red-tape officials,
and the economic bullies of supply-nights. Season after season a raid at
Sir C. Barry was a sure card for a little cheap popularity in the House
of Commons.... His Prize design in its first conception embodied a great
mistake, the adaptation of Tudor forms to an Italian mass. Time rolled
on, and the great Gothic Renaissance came into existence, owing in a
great degree to this very competition. Barry was not the man to cling to
an inferior and antiquated design from false shame or blindness to the
movement of the age. The world was learning its lesson, and he conned
that lesson with the world.... His death at this time, when he was
gradually retiring from the more active pursuit of his profession, was,
in one respect, as great a loss as if he had been carried off in the
height of his more youthful labours. At a moment when the battle of the
styles is running the risk of creating an _odium architectonicum_, and
when the pernicious heresy is blossoming in influential quarters, that
the dignity, the ornament, and the convenience of a metropolis are no
concern of a great nation and an imperial legislature, we cannot well
afford to miss the man who, from his position, talents, and age, could
speak upon architectural questions with somewhat of the authority of a

The feelings excited by his death naturally gave rise to the desire of
some external memorial of him in the scene of his architectural labours.
The idea was taken up by many, chiefly by his old and kind friends
Professor Donaldson and Mr. Wolfe, and it was warmly aided by the Duke
of Newcastle, the most constant of all his official patrons and
supporters. No monument could be erected in the over-crowded Abbey--a
simple memorial brass has been placed by his family to mark his
resting-place in the nave. Permission was therefore sought and granted
for the erection of a statue in the New Palace. It was desired to place
it in St. Stephen’s Porch, near the point which marks one of the chief
features of the design--the utilisation of Westminster Hall as the grand
entrance to the building, by the splendid arch and staircase at its
southern end. This position, by which the main stream of people flows,
was refused. The only one which could be obtained was at the foot of the
public staircase leading to the upper range of Committee rooms from the
“Witness Hall,” one public enough, but not very central, nor very well
adapted to the exhibition of the statue in itself.

A subscription was opened, in which his family was allowed to take no
part, in order that the memorial might be one from his personal friends
and his professional brethren. The work was entrusted to Mr. Foley. The
result is the statue, which is now placed in the position assigned to
it--admirable as a work of art, and excellent as a representation of the
original. It is the more remarkable, inasmuch as it was not taken from
life, or even from a cast of the face after death. The only materials
were a good bust by Behnes, one or two photographs, and the sculptor’s
own personal recollections. The work which Mr. Foley has produced from
these materials, by the fine outline of the head, and the expression of
vigour and energy in the face, has the merit of giving to strangers the
idea of a man who could deserve and achieve eminence. It has the hardly
inferior merit of bringing back its original very simply and very
effectively to those who knew him.

It is but right that it should find some place in the building to which
he devoted so much labour and skill, for which he gave up so much of his
life. But the principle of the old “Si monumentum quæris, circumspice”
has its application to him also. He can need no monument in
Westminster. His works remain; by them he would have wished to be
judged; to them both now, and even more hereafter, when lapse of time
has given value and solidity to men’s judgment, his reputation may
safely be left.





                   COMMISSIONERS IN 1849.
          (_b._) TREASURY MINUTE OF FEBRUARY, 1854.
          (_c._) REPLY OF SIR C. BARRY, MARCH, 1854.
          (_d._) LETTER OF J. M. WHITE, ESQ., JULY, 1855.
          (_e._) TREASURY MINUTE OF JANUARY, 1856.
          (_f._) REPLY OF SIR C. BARRY OF FEBRUARY, 1856.
          (_h._) BRIEF REMARKS OF SIR C. BARRY, 1856.




[THE designs marked with an asterisk are known not to have been carried
out at all; others may have been also fruitless. The date given is that
of the first occurrence of the design in his diaries; in many cases the
design was altered, or recurred to after being set aside.]

* Newington Church                              1821
  Prestwich Church                              1822
  Campfield Church, Manchester                  1822
  St. Martin’s Outwich                          1822
  Ringley Chapel                                1822
  Oldham Church                                 1823
  Brighton Church (St. Peter’s)                 1824
  Royal Institution of Fine Arts at Manchester  1824
  Saffron Hill Chapel and Schools               1824
  Sussex County Hospital                        1825
* Leeds Exchange                                1825
* Kensington Church                             1825
* Bognor Improvements                           1825
  Holloway Church                               1825
  Cloudesley Square Church                      1826
  Ball’s Pond Church                            1826
  Petworth Church Spire and Alterations         1827
  Brunswick Chapel, Brighton                    1827
* Drummond Castle Alterations                   1827
  Stoke Newington Church Alterations            1827
* Law Institution                               1828
* New Concert Room at Manchester                1828
* Church at Streatham                           1828
* Pitt Press, Cambridge                         1829
  Mr. Attree’s House, Brighton                          1829
  Travellers’ Club                                      1829
* Design for Highgate Church                            1830
  Holloway Schools                                      1830
* Charing Cross Hospital                                1830
  Brighton Park                                         1830
* Birmingham Town Hall                                  1830
  Additions to Dulwich College                          1831
* Westminster Hospital                                  1831
* City Club                                             1832
  Birmingham Grammar School                             1833
* Manchester Club                                       1833
  College of Surgeons Alterations                       1833
* Design for National Gallery                           1833
* Woburn Abbey Alterations                              1834
  Bowood (Alterations)                                  1834
* Holland House                                         1834
* Islington Chapel                                      1834
  Elizabethan House, for W. Currie, Esq.                1834
  Kingston Hall Alterations                             1835
  Stafford House Alterations                            1835
  Design for New Palace at Westminster, begun Aug. 23rd 1835
  Manchester Unitarian Chapel                           1836
  Manchester Athenæum                                   1836
  Corsham House                                         1836
  Walton House                                          1837
* Worcester College, Oxford                             1837
  Reform Club                                           1837
* Buchanan House (Duke of Montrose)                     1837
  Highclere House                                       1837
  Trentham Hall                                         1838
  University College, Oxford                            1839
* Petworth House Alterations                            1839
  Trafalgar Square                                      1840
* New Law Courts                                        1840
  Kiddington Hall                                       1840
* Drumlanrig Castle                                     1840
* Pall Mall Alterations                                 1840
  Pentonville Model Prison                  1841
  Colonel Fox’s House, Addison Road         1841
  Dulwich College Schools                   1841
  Hurstpierpoint Church                     1841
  Piccadilly Alterations                    1841
  Harewood House                            1842
  Ambassador’s Palace at Constantinople     1842
  Duncombe Park                             1843
  Ensham Hall                               1843
* Thames Embankment                         1843
  Board of Trade                            1844
  Dunrobin Castle                           1844
* New Law Courts                            1844
* Horse Guards’ Alterations                 1845
* Pedestal of Wellington Statue             1847
  Keyham Factory                            1847
  Shrubland                                 1848
* National Gallery Alterations              1848
  Gawthorpe                                 1849
* Royal Scottish Academy                    1849
* Elvaston Castle Alterations               1849
  Canford Manor                             1850
  Bridgewater House                         1850
  College of Surgeons Alterations           1850
  Cliefden                                  1851
  Dowlais Schools                           1851
  Edgbaston Hall (Alterations)              1852
* Northumberland House Alterations          1852
  Mr. Lyon’s House                          1852
* Crystal Palace Design with Domes          1852
* British Museum Alterations                1853
* Westminster Improvements                  1853
* National Gallery                          1853
* Royal Academy, Burlington House           1855
* Clumber                                   1857
* Government Offices Concentration          1857
* Duxbury Hall                              1859
Halifax Town Hall                           1859



Westminster, 15th October, 1853.

SIR,--In considering Your Royal Highness’s noble project and detailed
plans, for concentrating all that appertains to Art and Science in one
Institution at Kensington, certain doubts and difficulties as to the
efficient realisation of such a comprehensive project upon that site
have occurred to me, which, as a Member of the Royal Commission for the
Great Exhibition of 1851, I venture, with great respect and deference,
to submit for Your Royal Highness’s consideration, together with a
suggestion for meeting what appear to me to be the difficulties of the

I entirely agree with Your Royal Highness as to the great advantages,
that would result from a concentration of such objects in one locality;
but, having regard to the particular locality in question, I fear that
it would be found to be neither convenient nor large enough for such a
comprehensive purpose.

In laying out a great city, _de novo_, if an Acropolis in its centre of
150 acres could be set apart for the purpose, or if a second Fire of
London were to afford the opportunity of appropriating that extent of
space to the object in the locality of Russell Square, the project
would, in my opinion, be not only feasible, but most desirable.

The doubts and misgivings which I entertain as to the site at Kensington
for the comprehensive purposes to which it is proposed to be applied,
are--Firstly, That it is far too much to the west for the general
convenience of the Metropolis, particularly for the industrial community
and the working-classes at the eastern and central portions of the
town. Secondly, That to carry out efficiently the principle of
concentration as regards both Art and Science, it would not be large
enough to accommodate the National Library and the entire collection of
arts and antiquities at the British Museum, which should, in my opinion,
form a part of such an institution; neither is it probable that the
Learned Societies, whose meetings are usually in the evening, would be
induced to form part of the Institution in such a distant locality.
Thirdly, That it would render several old established and popular
National Institutions, which have been erected at considerable cost,
more or less useless; such as the British Museum, the present National
Gallery and Royal Academy, the Museum of Economic Geology, and the
Society of Arts, &c. And, Lastly, The enormous and indefinite cost that
it would be necessary to incur, and the great lapse of time and
inconvenience resulting therefrom, that might, and probably would,
ensue, before such a large and costly institution would be completed, so
as to render its advantages and usefulness thoroughly available.

From a rough calculation which I have formed of the buildings shown in
Your Royal Highness’s plan for the National Gallery alone (which
contains 1900 squares of buildings--_i. e._, is 30 per cent. larger than
the entire British Museum), taking the Palace at Caserta, with which, in
point of length and proposed design, it would so nearly assimilate, as a
type of the style to be adopted--the cost would be little less than a
million and a half of money; and to erect the other buildings,
containing about 3995 squares, as shown in the same plan, within the
main roads only, in a similar style, together with the enclosure, laying
out of the ground, and formation of roads, &c., would probably cost an
additional two millions and a half.

With respect to the advantage of this site for the national pictures, as
regards immunity from soot and dust, I fear that too much importance is
attached to that circumstance, owing to the enormous neighbourhood both
existing and arising around it, and to the consequences of its position
as regards the denser portions of the Metropolis; for in the more lofty
and airy neighbourhood of Hyde Park Gardens, Westbourne Terrace, &c.,
much inconvenience is felt from the falling of blacks, particularly
during an easterly wind. From this and other considerations, I am
inclined to think that the heart of London is not more subject to the
effects of a sooty atmosphere than its immediate suburbs. All furnace
smoke is likely to be soon abated under the provisions of the recent Act
of Parliament for that purpose, and it is to be hoped that ere long such
a stigma upon Science as the continuance of a similar nuisance from open
fires will be removed. As to dust, the site at Kensington, with the open
and airy spaces and macadamized roads surrounding it, is likely, I
think, to suffer as much from that inconvenience, as the crowded and
more frequented parts of London, particularly where the streets are
paved with granite.

With reference to the capabilities of the site, in an æsthetic point of
view, its lowness and flatness are not favourable to a fine
architectural display, and the loftiness of the buildings which it is
proposed to erect upon it, if properly proportioned to their lengths,
will effectually shut out all view of the loftier background of Hyde
Park and Kensington Gardens, with their fine trees, when viewed from the
principal road out of Brompton.

Having thus described the doubts and misgivings which I entertain with
respect to the site at Kensington, and as to the possibility of carrying
out a perfect and efficient concentration of all that relates to
science, art, and literature upon that spot, I proceed to notice the
advantages and capabilities, which the existing institutions, to which I
have adverted, would offer for such purposes, conjointly with the
newly-acquired site.


As regards the present British Museum, which I would propose to call the
“British Museum of Arts and Literature.”

This Institution occupies the most central portion of the Metropolis;
its site is lofty and commanding; the soil good, dry, and well drained;
it is open to the north, and has 82 acres of open space in the squares
which adjoin or are immediately contiguous to it; it contains at present
1480 squares of building, and stands upon above 8-1/2 acres of ground,
which, by the addition of the surrounding property, with additional
buildings upon it, might be increased to 3269 squares of building, and
13-1/2 acres of ground; it has already cost the country little short of
a million of money; it is in a good neighbourhood, well calculated for
residences for professors and officers of the Institution, and it has
the advantage of the London University as an adjunct in its immediate
neighbourhood; it is, moreover, a very popular Institution, and its site
only requires the clearing away of a portion of the shabby neighbourhood
to the south of it, and the opening up of a new approach to it in that
direction, to render it an unexceptionable site for a great National

I propose that this Institution should not only be devoted to Art and
Literature, but also to the accommodation of the Learned Societies. For
this purpose it would be necessary to purchase the whole of the
surrounding property, extending to Montague Street and Russell Square on
the east, to Montague Place on the north, and to Bedford Square and
Charlotte Street on the west; to cover over the quadrangle with a glass
roof, and erect additional buildings on the west side of the present
buildings, as recommended in a report, which I recently made to the
Government, with a view to increase of the accommodation within the
limits of the existing building.

The quadrangle and the ground story of the building might then be
appropriated to the antiquities; the whole of the principal floor to the
library, including the manuscripts, prints, and drawings: and the
reading-rooms and the upper floor to the national pictures, which floor,
with certain modifications that could be made at no great cost, might be
admirably adapted to receive them, and which would not only accommodate
the present collection, including the cartoons at Hampton Court, and my
namesake’s pictures at the Society of Arts, but afford space for a
future increase of it to nearly eight times its present amount, or more
than double the extent allotted to the pictures in the Louvre. To
effect these arrangements, it would be necessary to remove by degrees,
as other accommodation could be provided, the whole of the Natural
History collection, which at present occupies a large portion of the
one-pair floor, as well as other portions of the building, to
Kensington. On the surrounding property recommended to be purchased, I
would propose that as leases fall in, or otherwise by degrees, other
buildings for such progressive enlargement of the Institution, as
circumstances may render necessary, should be erected, by which the
requirements of the country in respect to Art and Literature may be met
for ages to come.

If these suggestions, as far as they relate to the limits of
the present building, were carried out immediately, it would
be necessary to incur the estimated cost of the additions
and transformations, recommended in my recent report to the
Government, amounting to                            £105,000

To which should be added for the requisite
modifications of the one-pair floor, in order to
adapt it for the reception of the national pictures   25,000
  Making a total of                                 £130,000

According to present requirements, however, this expenditure might be
spread over a period of two or even three years; but upon such an
arrangement, as would allow of depositing the present collection of
national pictures in the rooms prepared for their reception, and
providing for the pressing wants of the library, at the end of the first

The Institution, even in such a limited and incomplete state, would even
then exceed the accommodation for galleries of art and books provided by
the Parisian Bibliothèque Impériale and Louvre combined.

For the realisation of the entire project ultimately, it would be
desirable that the Government should immediately purchase the fee simple
of the whole of the property, which surrounds, and is immediately
contiguous to, the present building. It is most fortunate that this
property, at present belongs entirely to one freeholder, a noble duke,
whose liberality and patriotism are proverbial, and who therefore would
probably feel disposed to part with his interest in it for public
purposes at a moderate amount. The sum that would be required to acquire
this property, and cover it with the buildings to which I have already
adverted, would probably amount ultimately to less than a million of
money; but, inasmuch as the accommodation to be provided for in these
suggested buildings would not at present, nor probably for a
considerable time to come, be needed, it would not be necessary or
desirable to do more now, than purchase the fee simple of the property
in question, and allow it to remain, as it is, so as to be remunerative
to the Crown, until required from time to time for the purposes which
have been proposed, leaving the expenditure upon the new buildings,
proposed to be erected upon it, to be spread over such a period of years
as may be considered prudent.


As regards the newly-acquired site at Kensington.

Upon this site I would propose that an institution should be founded, to
be called the “National Gallery of Science,” in its various application
to arts, manufactures, and commerce. For this purpose the distance of
its locality from the centre of the Metropolis is comparatively of less
importance than it would be in respect of an Institution for Art; for
the feeling of the country at large, as regards art, is still wofully
deficient, and can only be fostered and improved by placing the finest
exemplars of all ages in a central position, in the hands, as it were,
of the whole of the Metropolis, so that all of its inhabitants, and all
who visit it from the provinces, particularly the industrial and
working-classes, may have the benefit of being able constantly and
easily to inspect them, and thus become familiarised, and even imbued,
with their principles and excellence. With respect to science, the
country is already pre-eminent; and a distant locality therefore of an
institution for its encouragement is not likely to deter that portion
of the community, who are interested in it, and are anxious to profit by
its advantages, from being ready perchance to go out of the way for the

It appears by the plan of the site at Kensington, that it consists of
about 88 acres, of which about 52 acres lie between the projected main
roads forming its principal subdivision, upon which are proposed to be
erected the National Gallery, containing 1900 squares of building, and
also the Colleges of Art and Science and the Museums of Industrial Art
and Patented Inventions, containing together 3995 squares, or in the
whole 5895 squares of building. About 10 acres of the site appear to be
devoted to roads, and the remainder, about 26 acres, to outlying plots
of ground, of irregular form, proposed for the accommodation of the
learned societies, a music hall, official residences, &c., &c. The
wedge-like form of ground towards Kensington Gore, which, although in
the midst of the site, forms no part of it, having a frontage of about
320 feet to the high-road, and extending about 1100 feet into the
principal subdivision of the ground already mentioned, is a serious
drawback upon any architectural display, that might be made towards Hyde
Park. This is less to be lamented, however, as the aspect and the point
of view from higher ground are not favourable for such a display. The
southern portion of the ground is therefore most properly proposed to be
appropriated to that object, and the proposed general distribution of
the buildings seems to me to be judiciously arranged for its attainment.
If, however, my suggestions should be considered worthy of adoption, it
would perhaps be desirable to alter the entire distribution, and it
certainly would not be necessary to provide for buildings of such a
commanding and costly character, as would be the case if the idea should
be entertained of uniting all the requirements of art, science, and
literature in one institution upon that spot. The only buildings that
would be required, according to my suggestions, would be museums for the
exhibition of zoological, botanical, and mineralogical specimens, and
for patented inventions; a menagerie for living specimens in the
department of natural history; a library of science, and theatres, with
laboratories, for public lectures in every branch of science, combined
with a botanical garden and accommodation for living specimens of the
animated kingdom; and such accommodation might in the first instance be
fully obtained within the limits of the principal plot of ground between
the proposed main roads. The off-lying plots might be held in reserve
for any future increase of the Institution that may in the course of
time be required, or a portion of them might be at once appropriated to
workshops for the practical teaching of the industrial arts.

The valuable collections in the department of Natural History at present
at the British Museum, the entire collection of the Museum of Economic
Geology, the Trade Museum of the Society of Arts, the collection of
patented inventions under the charge of the Patent Office, and possibly
one or both of the private collections of the Regents Park and Surrey
Zoological Gardens, if concentrated upon this spot, would form such a
valuable and instructive collection, as could not fail to excite a great
interest in the institution amongst all classes of the community.

It is difficult to estimate what might be the ultimate cost of such an
institution; but it is probable, I think, that much less than a million
of money would cover the amount of it. This expenditure, however, might
be spread over a course of years, and, as the institution would add so
much to public enjoyment and instruction, and would be practically so
advantageous to the arts, manufactures, and commerce of the country,
Parliament would not be likely to be backward in voting from time to
time the requisite supplies.

Such an institution, when fully carried out, might then vie with the
Jardin des Plantes, which it would much exceed in acreage, and the
Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers of the French capital combined, and
bear an honourable comparison with those noble institutions.


As regards the present National Gallery and Royal Academy of Art.

The building containing these two Institutions occupies the finest
position which London affords for architectural display, and is
unfortunately the meanest and most ineffective of its public buildings.
It stands upon rather more than an acre of ground, nearly one half of
which is wasted in the Fore Court, under a mistaken notion that it was
desirable to let in a view of the portico of St. Martin’s Church from
Pall Mall East, which, owing to the tower of the church being now seen
above it, has lost all the importance and grandeur of effect which it
formerly had when seen from Old St. Martin’s Lane.

The present edifice contains 278 squares of building, which I propose
should be increased to 448 squares, by removing the present useless
portico and other columns and projections which now break up its front,
building upon the wasted portion of its site, namely the fore court, and
placing the staircase on the site of the present sculpture-room. With
these and other additions and alterations, assuming that the national
pictures are removed, I propose that the building should be devoted
exclusively to the teaching of Art in all its branches, and the
periodical exhibition of modern works, for which purpose it should be
divided between the Royal Academy of Fine Art, and the Metropolitan
School of Design for practical and decorative Art.

The present wall space for pictures, which amounts to about 16,920
superficial feet, would, by the proposed additions and alterations,
reach 54,720 feet; and ample space would be provided for sculpture,
casts, &c., as well as for the schools, lecture-rooms, libraries, and
other accommodation required by each department, so that the business of
the schools need not be interrupted, as is now the case at the Royal
Academy, during the entire period of the annual exhibition of modern

The addition, which I would propose to make in front of the existing
building for the purpose of masking its deformity, and shutting out of
view from the south all the unsightly objects on the rising ground at
the back which are now seen above it, would be in the Italian style of
architecture, about 430 feet in length and nearly 100 feet in height,
with flanking towers about 30 feet square, rising to a height of 130
feet. The composition would consist of two orders of architecture in the
façade generally, and three in the towers, elevated upon a lofty arcaded
ground story, affording covered access to the building for carriages to
the extent of 100 feet in length. In the centre of the front in each of
the orders above the ground story I would propose open loggiæ, about 100
feet long, to enable visitors to enjoy the view to the south, and obtain
a little fresh air as a relief to the often oppressive and wearisome
effect produced by an inspection of very extensive galleries of works of

The cost of such additions and alterations as I have suggested would
probably amount to about 135,000_l._, and as the Royal Academy would be
much benefited by the increased and improved accommodation that they
would afford, a portion of its funded property might fairly be required
as a contribution to that expenditure, and the remainder might be
reasonably looked for from Parliament, as being for the permanent
accommodation of a new national institution. Such a building as that
proposed, upon such a noble and commanding site as that of Trafalgar
Square, could not fail to have a very striking effect, and would
dominate over that portion of the Metropolis, as the Vatican does over


As regards the present Museum of Economic Geology, in Jermyn Street.

This institution occupies a good, well-frequented, and nearly central
position, and has recently been formed by the country at an expenditure
of about 40,000_l._ It contains 112 squares of building, including a
fine theatre for lectures, a mineralogical museum, and good
accommodation for various scientific purposes.

I would propose that the entire collection at this institution should be
transferred to the proposed College of Science at Kensington, and that
it should thereupon be set apart and fitted up as a National Polytechnic
Institution, for amusing and instructive demonstrations and lectures in
science, with a library and schools for engineering drawing, for the use
principally of the industrial and working classes of an evening, which,
judging from past experience in the institution itself, and the success
that attends other private institutions of a similar nature, could not,
I think, fail to become extremely popular and useful.

                          FIFTHLY AND LASTLY.

     As regards the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce, in the

     This old-established Institution, being denuded, as I have
     proposed, of its paintings and its Trade Museum, Library, &c.,
     might be rendered useful as a place for meeting and for lectures,
     principally of an evening, on all subjects connected with the
     statistics of trade and commerce, &c., and a rendezvous for all,
     who seek information connected therewith.

     Having now enumerated the capabilities and advantages that our
     existing institutions afford, conjointly with the newly acquired
     site at Kensington, for the important objects to which I have
     adverted, I have only to add that I have been induced to associate
     Art, Literature, and Learning in one institution as being branches
     of knowledge of a kindred nature illustrative of each other, and
     likely to work well together, and to separate from them Science,
     which has less affinity with those branches of knowledge, except in
     so far as it may be applied to the useful arts and manufactures of
     the country, for which the means and accommodation are proposed to
     be provided at Kensington.

     I am, in short, induced to recommend this separation of Art and
     Science from a strong conviction that the site at Kensington is too
     distant from the centre of the Metropolis, too small, and too low
     for a perfect, efficient, and convenient concentration of all that
     relates to both; and that it would be far better to improve and add
     to the usefulness of all our existing Institutions for the
     encouragement of Art, Literature, and Learning, and turn the site
     at Kensington to the best account for the encouragement of
     Science, particularly in its application to the arts, manufactures,
     and commerce of the country, than to attempt the more comprehensive
     project proposed with reference to that site, which, for the
     reasons I have assigned, would I fear be likely to meet with many
     financial difficulties, delays, and disappointments, and excite, as
     a national institution, invidious comparisons with the newly
     erected Crystal Palace, which occupies one of the most commanding
     and beautiful situations in the country, and is placed in the midst
     of about 280 acres of ornamental grounds, forming an institution
     with objects akin to those of all our existing public institutions,
     combined and wholly effected by private enterprise at an ultimate
     cost of probably more than two millions of money.

I have the honour, &c.,

(Signed)      CHARLES BARRY.




To the COMMISSIONERS appointed to superintend the Completion of the NEW
PALACE at Westminster.

Great George Street, 6th February, 1849.

MY LORD AND GENTLEMEN,--The time is now arrived, when I deem it
necessary to call your attention to a matter of great personal interest
to myself. I allude to the remuneration for my past services as
architect of the New Palace at Westminster.

As I am now in a position to prove the inadequacy of the amount of the
sum originally proposed to me, and the insufficiency of the grounds
upon which that proposition was made, I feel that I ought not any longer
delay to request an early settlement of my claims.

You are doubtless aware that the proposition originally made to me by
the Government in 1839 was, that I should receive the sum of 25,000_l._
for the labour and responsibility to be imposed upon me in the
superintendence, direction and completion of the intended edifice, and
that I was induced to accede conditionally to that proposition, in the
belief that it was made to me in the absence of a due appreciation of
the enormous extent of that labour and responsibility, and that any
attempt on my part, at that time, to prove the inadequacy of the sum
proposed would have been fruitless. I was further induced to take this
course from having then entered upon the duties of my appointment as
architect of the New Palace, for more than nineteen months, when I had
already made extensive and costly arrangements to enable me to carry on
the works; so that if, instead of acceding conditionally to the
proposition, I had adopted the alternative of relinquishing the
employment, which at the time occurred to me, I could not have done so
without a considerable sacrifice. I preferred, therefore, to postpone
all further application on the subject, until I should be in a condition
to prove incontestably the full extent of my services, and then to rely
upon the Government for a just and liberal determination of the

As it is possible that you may not be acquainted with the whole of the
circumstances under which this proposition was made to me, I think it
right to trouble you with the following short narrative of the

When my original design for the New Palace at Westminster had been
approved, and the original estimate had been subjected to a searching
examination by the department of Woods and Works, and some discussion
also, as I was informed, had taken place in a Committee of the House of
Commons respecting my remuneration, the Government, in 1837, conferred
upon me the appointment of architect, to carry into effect that design,
but without making any stipulation whatever relative to the
remuneration for my services; and I was ordered to proceed immediately
with the work, which I accordingly commenced on the 3rd of July in that

As this order was conveyed to me unconditionally, I had no reason to
doubt but that my remuneration would be of the customary amount.

On the 1st March, however, in the year 1839, I had the first official
intimation that such was not proposed to be the case, in a letter, which
I then received from the Office of Woods, enclosing a copy of a letter
to that effect from the Lords of the Treasury to the Commissioners of
Woods, &c., of the 29th of the preceding month, no explanation having
been required of me, nor any previous communication even made to me,
upon the subject.

The purport of this letter from the Lords of the Treasury was to concur
in a recommendation of the Commissioners of Woods, made in a Report to
their Lordships on the subject of my remuneration in February, 1838, and
to convey to those Commissioners the official sanction of the Government
for acting upon it. The recommendation was to the effect that the sum of
25,000_l._ would be a fair and reasonable remuneration for the labour
and responsibility to be imposed upon me in the superintendence,
direction and completion of the intended edifice; and the Commissioners
of Woods stated that they were of that opinion, after having given their
best consideration to “all the circumstances of the case, the extent and
importance of the buildings, the nature and description of the several
works, the very large expenditure contemplated in my estimate, and the
period within which it was proposed that such expenditure should be

After having made a fruitless application for the particulars of the
grounds upon which such recommendation was made, I was induced, for the
reasons before stated, to accede conditionally to the proposition
founded upon it, under a protest, however, as to the inadequacy of the
amount proposed, and with an intimation that I should offer proof of its
inadequacy, when the building was in such an advanced state as to allow
of a competent judgment being formed on the subject, which protest, as
well as the reiteration of it on various subsequent occasions, has never
been contested.

It will be seen that the proposition had special reference to the plans
and estimates then delivered and approved, and that the conditions of it
were based upon those documents. I could easily prove, if it were
necessary, that those conditions have been annulled by acts of the
Government, and by circumstances over which I had no control; but,
assuming for the present that they have been strictly adhered to, I am
anxious to show, not only that the grounds which have been alleged for
reducing the amount of the architect’s customary remuneration in this
case, are erroneous, but that I have been called upon, in carrying into
effect the design adopted, to do much more than is usual, or than could
have been anticipated in the ordinary discharge of my professional

In the first place the Commissioners of Woods state that they have given
their best consideration to “all the circumstances of the case.”

With all due respect for the nobleman and gentlemen who filled the
office of Commissioners of Woods at that time, I must contend, that,
from the want of professional knowledge and experience, they were
incompetent of themselves to form any just opinion on the subject, and
they did not, to my knowledge, take the opinion of any one really
competent to advise them thereon.

2ndly. They adduce “the extent and importance of the work,” as a ground
for reducing the architect’s accustomed remuneration. I submit, that the
unusual extent and importance of the work is a reason rather for
increasing than diminishing the customary remuneration of the architect,
inasmuch as his responsibilities are more than proportionally increased,
and the demands upon his taste, skill, and judgment are far greater,
than in works of less magnitude and importance. For with respect to
extensive and complicated plans, such as that of the New Palace at
Westminster, where requirements of great number and widely different
character have to be combined and arranged, with a view not only to
insure convenience in detail, but also the utmost perfection that is
attainable as a whole, it will be manifest to all, who are able to form
a correct opinion on the subject, that the labour and skill required are
immeasurably greater, than in buildings of comparatively small
dimensions, designed with reference to one single object.

3rdly. The Commissioners of Woods allude to “the nature and description
of the work” in support of their recommendation. I am not exactly aware
what meaning may have been intended to be conveyed by these remarks. If
it is meant that the skill and labour required to produce the building
in question is less than are required in other public buildings or
private works, I cannot admit the truth of such an assumption. As
however the New Palace at Westminster is now sufficiently advanced to
allow of an accurate judgment being formed as to the amount of labour,
skill, and responsibility, that has been incurred in producing it, I
invite a comparison between it and any other public building of modern
times; and I think it will be evident, even to the uninitiated, that in
point of variety of design, elaboration of details, and difficulties of
combination and construction, the labour and responsibility incurred is
much greater, than in any other modern edifice that can be mentioned.

I may here add, as a ground for an increase rather than a reduction of
the customary remuneration in respect of Public Works, that owing to the
trouble, delays, and perplexities attendant upon official communications
and requirements, the architect’s labours and anxieties are much greater
than those which he has to incur in private practice; and, if this be
true of public buildings of an ordinary character, it may be easily
conceived, that those labours and anxieties have been incomparably
greater in carrying into effect such a work as the New Palace at
Westminster, in which not only the Government, but Committees of
Parliament, and even the public, have unceasingly assumed the right of
criticism and control. As one proof, among many others that might be
adduced, of the enormous amount of labour that has already devolved upon
me, in conducting this great national work to its present state, it will
not be irrelevant to mention, that no less than between 8000 and 9000
original drawings and models have been prepared for it, a large portion
of which have emanated from my own hand, while the whole of the
remainder have been made under my own immediate direction and

4thly. “The very large amount of expenditure contemplated” is stated by
the Commissioners of Woods as another ground for reducing the
architect’s accustomed remuneration. I submit that in a work of the
complicated and elaborate description of the New Palace at Westminster,
the amount of expenditure incurred is a fair and just criterion of the
amount of skill and labour required in producing it, and that, owing to
the number of years over which the expenditure has extended, the annual
amount upon an average has not been greater than upon other public works
erected during the same period, upon which, up to the present time, the
architect has in all cases been paid his accustomed amount of

The 5th and last ground alleged by the Commissioners of Woods in support
of the Government proposition is, “The period within which it was
proposed that the contemplated expenditure should be incurred.” This
ground was assigned upon the assumption that the entire edifice might be
completed within six years; but, owing to the limited portions of the
site that could from time to time be cleared, in consequence of the
necessity which has constantly existed of providing accommodation for
the business of Parliament upon a part of that site, it was found to be
impossible, particularly in the early stages of the work, to employ an
unlimited number of men, or to expend more upon an average than between
80,000_l._ and 90,000_l._ per annum. On this account, and also in
consequence of the delays and difficulties occasioned by the
extraordinary nature and extent of the warming and ventilating
arrangements, and the difficulty of complying with Dr. Reid’s
requirements in respect of them, the peculiar nature of the site, the
difficulty of obtaining accurate information as to the ever-varying
accommodation required, the delay in official communications and in
obtaining authorities, and the limitation of the supplies of late years,
the time occupied upon the works has already amounted to nearly twice
the period originally assumed for their completion; and it is obviously
impossible, while such contingencies are likely to impede their
progress, to say how much longer it will be before the entire work will
be completed.

Having now, I trust, shown the insufficiency of the grounds assigned by
the Commissioners of Woods for reducing the amount of the architect’s
customary recompense, with reference to the New Palace at Westminster, I
have to observe that not only have I, in that capacity, discharged all
those duties by which I am justly entitled to that amount of
remuneration, but I have been called upon to do more than is usual, or
than could have been anticipated. I allude particularly to the unusual
amount of labour and anxiety in carrying out, under Dr. Reid’s
direction, during a period of nearly five years, structural arrangements
for warming and ventilating the entire edifice, to an extent never
before attempted to be applied to any public building whatever, and much
beyond what I considered to be necessary. I have also been called upon
to remodel the internal fittings of the two Houses, and to vary from
time to time the arrangements and appropriation of the offices, division
lobbies, &c., of each House, owing to the changes made in the mode of
conducting the business of Parliament, and the vagueness and
insufficiency of the information afforded for the preparation of the
original design, which information, upon being reconsidered by
Committees appointed from time to time during the progress of the works,
has been found in many instances to be altogether at variance with the
requirements. Those who are aware of the consequences of making a single
alteration in one part of a large and complicated plan, and the
extensive changes to which it often leads in others, will readily
conceive, that, in order to comply with the demands above alluded to,
the entire plan and construction of the building has had to be modified
and recast over and over again, occasioning a considerable amount of
additional thought and labour, and an increase of drawings much beyond
what are required under ordinary circumstances.

I consider, therefore, that I am justly entitled to at least the
customary remuneration in respect of the outlay contemplated in the
original design and estimate; and I beg to add that the whole of the
arguments, which I have urged in favour of such remuneration, apply with
equal force to the expenditure upon extra works sanctioned by the
Government or Parliament; but to these it is scarcely necessary to
observe that the proposal for a limited amount of remuneration can have
no reference.

I consider also that I am entitled to a further remuneration for special
services not connected with my professional duties in respect of the
works of the building. These services consist of attendances upon the
Fine Arts Commission, reports and numerous drawings prepared in
compliance with the orders of that Commission, frequent communications
with its secretary, and the artists appointed for the decoration of the
interior of the New Palace; attendances upon Committees of Parliament in
every session from the year 1841 to the present time, preparing data
required by those Committees, giving and correcting of evidence, making
up voluminous returns in compliance with orders of the House of Commons
(one of which occupied myself and clerks for nearly four months);
attendances to give evidence upon two Commissions of Inquiry with
reference to Dr. Reid’s system of warming and ventilating, preparing
plans and other documents for the use of those Commissions; conferences
and communications with the Law Officers of the Crown, with reference to
contracts, disputed claims, and threatened legal proceedings; numerous
reports and estimates required from time to time by the Office of Woods,
negotiations and arrangements consequent upon the establishment of the
Government workshops at Thames Bank, and the superintendence of the
collection of above 3000 casts of the best specimens of mediæval art to
be found in this as well as in foreign countries for the use of the
wood-carvers; preparing plans, estimates, &c., for providing
accommodation for the whole of the public records of the kingdom, and
other miscellaneous services.

On account of the whole of the above-mentioned services I have received
in the course of ten years the sum of 24,735_l._ 3_s._ 2_d._ in part of
the 25,000_l._ originally proposed, or, after deducting my expenses, an
income at the rate of about 1,500_l._ per annum, which income, if based
upon the principle of a fixed remuneration, would in proportion to the
further extent of time occupied in completing the building, suffer a
corresponding decrease; and, when it is considered that in consequence
of my appointment as the architect of the New Palace at Westminster I
have been obliged to give up more than two-thirds of a lucrative
practice, and have to my knowledge been deprived of employment to a very
considerable extent, from a prevalent feeling which has existed that it
was out of my power to attend to any other works; and when also it is
borne in mind that this income constitutes the whole of the emolument
which I derive, either directly or indirectly, from my appointment, it
is scarcely necessary for me to add that such an income does not by any
means recompense me for the labours, responsibilities, and sacrifices
which I have incurred.

The following is an account of the expenditure upon the building,
exclusive of the river embankment wall, up to 31st December, 1848:--

                                                             |  _£_   _s._ _d._
Amount already advanced on account of works comprised        |
  in the original estimate of 707,104_l._                    | 472,000  0   0
On account of extra works in the embankment of the river     |
  and in the foundations of the building, the new basement   |
  story, additional residences and offices, central tower,   |
  stone carving, and all structural arrangements connected   |
  with warming, ventilating, &c. &c., which could not have   |
  been foreseen, and which, consequently, form no part of    |
  the original design and estimate, amounting to             | 210,842 16   2
On account of extra finishings, works of decoration, library |
  and other fittings, and for fixtures, furniture, upholstery|
  &c., expressly excluded from the original estimate,        |
  amounting to                                               | 139,415  3   0
On account of miscellaneous items, taking down and           |
  shoring up old buildings, new roofs and additions to       |
  speaker’s late residence and other old buildings, temporary|
  roof and coverings, clerks of works’ offices, casts        |
  of specimens for wood-carvers, &c. &c., amounting to       |  19,372 18   9
               Total                                       £ | 841,630 17  11

On the above amount of expenditure therefore I claim, for the reasons
which I have adduced, the accustomed remuneration of five per cent.:

                                            £   _s._  _d._     £  _s._  _d._

                     Or                   42,081  10   0
Upon which I have received on account     24,735   4   2
                          Leaving a balance of         £    17,346  6  10

And for special or extraneous services during a period of
  ten years, as above enumerated                             5,256  0   0
                          Amount now claimed           £    22,602  6  10

Although I have no doubt that I should be able to prove, upon a _quantum
meruit_ valuation, that I am justly entitled to a much higher
remuneration for my services in this case than that of the customary
commission demanded under ordinary circumstances, I propose to adhere to
the long-established and generally received standard of charge adopted
by the profession generally, in the hope that by so doing all
controversy or contention on the subject may be avoided; and when the
amount of the claim which, in consequence, I am now willing to receive
as a recompense in full for my past services, is fairly considered with
reference to the labour, responsibility, and sacrifices incurred in
conducting, under very peculiar and trying circumstances, the largest
and most elaborate architectural work ever, perhaps, undertaken at one
time in this or any other country, to which I have devoted almost
exclusively the best period of my professional life; and when also it is
contrasted with the incomes of other professions, such as those of the
law, medicine, civil engineering, &c., which, it is well known, vary
from 12,000_l._ to 20,000_l._ per annum, and even upwards; and when also
the important fact, to which I have before alluded, is borne in mind,
that every architect appointed to the superintendence of public works in
this country, both before and since the date of my engagement, has been
paid the full amount of the customary commission, I cannot doubt but
that it will be generally admitted, not only that I am fully justified
in the demand which I now make, but that I have not unduly estimated
the value of my services as the architect of such an important national
work as the New Palace at Westminster.

I have, &c.

(Signed)           CHARLES BARRY.

               (_b._) TREASURY MINUTE OF FEBRUARY, 1854.

                From the Treasury to SIR CHARLES BARRY.

Treasury Chambers, 8 February, 1854.

     SIR,--I am commanded by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s
     Treasury to acquaint you that my Lords have had under their
     consideration a letter addressed by you to the Chancellor of the
     Exchequer on the subject of your remuneration as architect for the
     New Houses of Parliament.

     It appears that, when these works were first undertaken the
     estimate for the shell of the building only was 707,104_l._, and
     that Lord Bessborough, who was at that time Chief Commissioner of
     Woods and Forests, and, as such, charged with the Department of
     Works, agreed that the remuneration to the architect should be
     25,000_l._, and you state that you accepted that arrangement, but
     under protest that it was unprofessional. I have to state that my
     Lords have carefully examined into the circumstances which were
     likely to have influenced Lord Bessborough in fixing the
     remuneration of the architect at that sum, and they find that, for
     many years prior, the rate of commission paid by the Board of Works
     to the most eminent architects of the day was 3 per cent. They find
     that the attached architects of the Board of Works, viz., Sir John
     Soane, Sir Robert Smirke, and Mr. John Nash, were, by Treasury
     Regulations, paid at the rate of 3 per cent. on the public works
     executed under their direction. It is true that those gentlemen had
     also salaries of 500_l._ each attached to their offices, but those
     salaries were understood to be a remuneration for the professional
     advice, which they were expected to afford to the Government, for
     which they received no other pay, and not as any part of their
     remuneration as architects for the performance of works placed
     under their care. On these terms the following works were
     performed by those eminent architects:--

New Stamp and Legacy-Duty Office, Somerset House;
Military Depot, Tooley Street;
New Buildings, British Museum;
New Post Office;
Custom House (Restoration);
New Courts of Judicature, Westminster;
Insolvent Debtors’ Court;
Committee Rooms, House of Lords;
Library and Committee Rooms, House of Commons;
Whitehall Chapel (Restoration);
New State Paper Office;
New Royal Mews, Pimlico;
King’s Stand, Ascot;

     And my Lords find that the only exception to this rule was as
     regards the New Palace at Buckingham Gate.

     With regard to that work, Mr. Nash was paid at the regular rate of
     3 per cent. up to September, 1826, when it was raised to 5 per
     cent., but for what reason my Lords have not been able to

     My Lords further find that the allowance made by the Board of Works
     to the architects unattached to their establishment has been at the
     rate of 3 per cent., and that the following works were executed by
     Mr. Burton at that rate:--

New Stable Court, Westminster;
New Stone House, Grenadier Guards, Westminster;
Inclosing Ground, North Side, New Mews, Westminster;

     As an exception to that rule, Sir Jeffery Wyattville was paid 5 per
     cent. for the restoration of Windsor Castle, under a special
     agreement with the Treasury in 1826, by which he engaged not to
     charge for his journeys, which in those days were expensive, and
     some other extras usually charged by architects.

     Looking, then, to the rule which had been established so long in
     the office over which Lord Bessborough presided, and to the close
     proximity which the sum fixed by his Lordship bears to the
     estimate then made for the mere shell of the building, and to the
     probable amount of the cost of such fittings as would be placed
     under the superintendence of the architect, my Lords can arrive at
     no other conclusion than that, in fixing that sum for the entire
     work, his Lordship did so with a view to the rate of commission
     usually paid by the Department, preferring to take a fixed sum
     rather than a commission, as is not unfrequently done, under the
     impression that it may avoid an extension of the works, and
     consequently of the cost.

     My Lords advert to the great increase in the expenditure upon these
     works, and to the circumstances under which such increase has from
     time to time taken place, to such an extent that the outlay up to
     this time is nearly double the sum originally intended. They also
     advert to the circumstance, that with regard to some portion of
     that expense connected with the internal fittings, assistance and
     advice other than that afforded by you has been obtained, and it
     appears that in this way Mr. Pugin was employed for some time at a
     salary of 200_l._ a-year.

     I have to apprise you that, under all the circumstances of the
     case, my Lords have arrived at the conclusion, that a fair and even
     liberal remuneration to you will be, that you should be paid at the
     rate of 3 per cent. upon the cost of the works which have been and
     may hereafter be performed under your supervision, including the
     fittings, &c., of the building, but subject to a deduction of the
     amounts which shall appear to have been paid for the assistance
     rendered by Mr. Pugin.

     My Lords have therefore requested the Board of Works to furnish
     this Board without delay with an exact account of the expenditure
     up to the 31st December, 1853, and that an account shall also be
     furnished of the several amounts of money which from time to time
     have been paid to you on account of the said works; and whatever
     balance shall appear to be due to you upon such an account my Lords
     will be prepared at once to discharge.

     My Lords have also desired that the Board of Works will, in the
     present and in every future year, include in their annual
     estimates for the New Houses of Parliament a sum equal to 3 per
     cent. on the probable outlay of the year, as a remuneration to the
     architect, and they have directed that at the close of every year
     the value of the work performed may be accurately ascertained, and
     the commission of the architect punctually discharged on the
     principles herein laid down.

     In respect to the cost of measuring the work as it has proceeded,
     my Lords advert to the fact, that in the arrangements between the
     Board of Works and architects alluded to in the former part of this
     communication the understanding was, that that cost should be borne
     by the Board of Works. My Lords are, therefore, of opinion that you
     should be held free from any charge on that account. They have
     therefore requested that the Board of Works will report to this
     Board all the facts in connexion with the measurement of the works,
     and my Lords will be prepared to reimburse you any sum which you
     shall appear to have expended thereon.

     I have to add that my Lords have been pleased further to request
     that the Board of Works will report fully to this Board as to the
     best mode in which the measurement of the work should in future be
     made as they proceed, having reference specially to that plan which
     will afford the most secure check upon public expenditure.

I am, &c.

(Signed)      JAMES WILSON.

(_c._) REPLY OF SIR C. BARRY, MARCH, 1854.

From SIR C. BARRY to the Treasury.

Clapham Common, 14 March, 1854.

     SIR,--I regret that in consequence of a severe attack of illness
     more than two months since, from which I have not yet entirely
     recovered, I have been prevented from replying at an earlier period
     to your letter of the 8th ultimo, relative to my remuneration as
     the architect of the New Palace at Westminster.

     The desire evinced by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s
     Treasury to be guided, in determining the amount of my
     remuneration, by the precedent established in respect of the
     payments hitherto made to architects for the public buildings of
     the country generally, is all that I can fairly expect at their
     Lordships’ hands, and is accordingly acknowledged with feelings of
     gratitude on my part. The fixed sum of 25,000_l._, originally
     proposed by the late Lord Bessborough as a recompense for my
     services as the architect of the New Palace at Westminster, which,
     be it observed, was no less than 10,000_l._ below what I was justly
     entitled to upon the amount of my estimate, was unfairly forced
     upon me, and I was compelled, under the existing circumstances, to
     acquiesce, but under a protest as to its insufficiency, the force
     of which has been greatly strengthened by the experience I have now
     had during a period of 17 years, in carrying into effect those
     portions of the New Palace which are now completed.

     My acquiescence in the sum proposed by the late Lord Bessborough
     has, notwithstanding my protest and the manifest insufficiency of
     the amount, been deemed to be a bargain, the conditions of which
     were, that for a given sum of money the architect should carry into
     effect a given design in a given period, namely, six years, which
     conditions have been long set aside by circumstances over which I
     have had no control. By what process the late Lord Bessborough
     arrived at the conclusion that 25,000_l._ was a fit and proper
     remuneration for the architect of such a building as the New Palace
     at Westminster, I have no means of knowing; but certainly it could
     not have been, as the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury
     seem to imagine, from any precedent then existing in his
     department, when all architects, without distinction, received at
     the least 5 per cent. upon the cost of their respective works. The
     precedent to which their Lordships allude, of paying the
     architects, who were formerly attached for a time to that Board, at
     the rate of 3 per cent., had then been abolished nearly seven
     years. But assuming, for the sake of argument, that his Lordship
     could have been guided, which is not in the least degree likely, by
     the precedent which had formerly been acted upon in his department
     in respect of its attached architects, it should be borne in mind,
     that although they received only 3 per cent. upon works, they were
     relieved of one of the most important of their professional duties,
     namely, the labour and responsibility of making contracts,
     measuring and making up accounts, &c., which it is evident the
     Board of Works has always considered to be equal to a further
     allowance of 2 per cent.; for as regards all other architects (with
     the exception, under special circumstances, of Mr. Burton in
     respect of a portion only of the public works executed under his
     direction) who have been, both formerly and since, employed upon
     public works, and who have been called upon to perform that duty,
     they have invariably received the accustomed amount of remuneration
     of 5 per cent. upon the cost of the respective works.

     The following is a list of the most important public buildings upon
     which the respective architects have received 5 per cent. since the
     year 1832:--

The British Museum;
The General Post Office;
The State Paper Office;
Whitehall Chapel;
Westminster Hall;
The National Gallery;
The New Front of Buckingham Palace;
The Museum of Economic Geology;
The New Money Order Office (St. Martin’s-le-Grand);
The Royal Pavilion at Brighton;
St. Katherine’s Hospital, Regent’s Park;
The Lodges and Gateways in the Parks;
Kensington Palace;
Temporary Houses of Parliament;
Chapel Royal, St. James’s;
The Courts of Law, &c. &c.

     In some of these instances the architects were also relieved of the
     measuring, making up accounts, &c. It appears, therefore, that
     payment at the rate of 5 per cent. to the architects of all public
     buildings, has invariably been the rule of the Board of Works
     since the year 1832; and that prior to that date the same rule
     prevailed, except in respect of those buildings which were carried
     into effect under the direction of those architects who were for a
     time attached to the Board, who received 3 per cent., for the
     reasons already mentioned.

     With reference to the additions and alterations made under the
     direction of Mr. Nash, at Buckingham Palace, and the subsequent
     alterations under Mr. Blore, at the same building; the remuneration
     received by those two gentlemen was, not only at the rate of 5 per
     cent. but they were also relieved from the labour, cost, and
     responsibility as to measuring, &c.

     As to the works at Windsor Castle, Sir Jeffrey Wyattville was not
     only paid at the rate of 5 per cent., but he also had the same
     relief afforded to him as to measuring, &c.; which circumstance,
     and not the payment to him of 5 per cent. as supposed by their
     Lordships, was, as appears by a Treasury Minute of the 6th October,
     1826, considered to be an equivalent for his journeys and some
     other extras usually charged by architects. Notwithstanding,
     however, this arrangement in lieu of a charge for journeys, Sir
     Jeffrey had also the advantage of having a residence assigned to
     him in the Castle free of charge, during the whole of the time he
     was employed upon the works of that building. In short, the
     payments made to the architects of the two above-mentioned works,
     together with the immunities and advantages which they enjoyed,
     constituted a remuneration fully equal to 7 per cent.

     With respect to my own case, as regards the New Palace at
     Westminster, I have not only performed all the professional duties,
     which Sir Jeffrey Wyattville and Mr. Nash performed in respect of
     Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, but I have in addition been
     called upon to take upon myself the labour and responsibility of
     making contracts, forming elaborate schedules of prices, measuring,
     and making up accounts amounting to nearly a million and a half of
     money, and of adjusting disputed claims to a considerable extent,
     from which onerous duties they were altogether exempt; and I have
     had at least as great, if not much greater, difficulties than they
     had to contend with in carrying into effect the works at the New
     Palace at Westminster, owing to the necessity of forming an
     artificial foundation in the river; the limited clearances from
     time to time of the site; the necessity of keeping up old
     buildings, often a work of much difficulty and danger, and
     constantly adding temporary accommodation, so that the sittings of
     Parliament might not be interrupted; the interferences with the
     works by Parliamentary Committees and other authorities, involving
     numerous alterations and delays; and the impossibility, in
     consequence of spending upon an average more than about 90,000_l._
     per annum, by which the works have now been in hand more than 11
     years beyond the time originally assumed for their completion.

     With reference to the measuring and making up accounts, &c., I beg
     to state that the mere reimbursement of my expenses, as proposed by
     their Lordships, would be no remuneration whatever to me for the
     share which I have personally taken, and the responsibility which I
     have incurred in that important portion of my duty.

     In my letter to the New Palace Commissioners of the 6th February,
     1849, which has been laid before Parliament, and to which letter,
     as it touches generally upon the prominent points of my case, I beg
     most respectfully to direct the attention of the Lords
     Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury, I enumerated the extra
     duties which have devolved upon me in consequence of my position as
     the architect of the New Palace, and which are not included in the
     ordinary remuneration of an architect. I have only to add to what I
     have therein stated, that the difficulties in acting with Dr. Reid
     were imposed upon me after the original design and construction had
     been matured and exemplified in all requisite drawings, &c., and
     the works had been actually commenced; and that the same
     difficulties have continued in a greater or less degree up to
     within about the last 18 months; and, as a further illustration of
     the extra labours to which I have adverted in that letter in
     respect of designing and re-designing each department of the New
     Palace successively, I may mention that with reference to that
     large portion of the building now in hand in Old Palace Yard,
     designs have been made and working drawings prepared no less than
     four times before the works were commenced, in consequence of the
     ever-varying directions of the chiefs of the department which is
     therein contained.

     As regards Mr. Pugin, whose services are alluded to in your letter,
     their Lordships are altogether under an erroneous impression. The
     salary paid to that gentleman was not for any duties that usually
     devolve upon the architect in respect of designs, which designs
     have all emanated from myself, but for taking the charge and
     direction of the men employed by the Government in the wood-carving
     department, for which office he was pre-eminently qualified, not
     only on account of his knowledge of decorative art, but practically
     on account of the experience which he had previously acquired in
     following, at one period of his life, wood-carving as a business. A
     similar arrangement was made in respect of the stone-carving, which
     is also executed by workmen employed by the Government, by which a
     like appointment was conferred upon Mr. Thomas, who is still at the
     head of that department. Their Lordships will therefore perceive,
     that it would be manifestly unjust to make any reduction, as
     proposed, in my remuneration in respect of the salaries paid to the
     executive chiefs of either of these departments.

     Their Lordships advert to the great increase of expenditure beyond
     the original estimate, and the circumstances under which such
     increase has from time to time taken place as, apparently, an
     element in the consideration of my claim; but I would most
     respectfully submit that the increase adverted to cannot fairly
     affect the amount of my remuneration, inasmuch as it has brought
     upon me more than a full and proportionate amount of extra labour,
     anxiety, and responsibility, and has been occasioned by
     circumstances beyond my control, as set forth in a Report of a
     Committee of the House of Commons in 1844, and subsequently by the
     New Palace Commissioners, in a letter addressed by them to the
     Treasury on the 15th June, 1849.

     When, therefore, the difficulties which I have had to encounter
     for nearly 20 years, in conducting the great work at Westminster to
     its present state, are borne in mind, and it is considered that I
     have devoted, almost exclusively, the best part of my life to that
     work, and that in consequence of being its architect I have
     experienced the loss of nearly the whole of a lucrative private
     practice; that the invariable rule of the Board of Works has been
     to pay all architects at least 5 per cent., or in the same ratio,
     according to the duties which they have been required to discharge;
     and more especially when it is considered that the offer of
     remuneration now made to me for designing and carrying into effect
     the New Palace at Westminster, under all the circumstances and
     disadvantages already adverted to, does not, owing to the length of
     time during which the works have been in hand, exceed, after
     deducting my expenses, the sum of 1500_l._ per annum, I cannot
     doubt but that the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury
     will, upon a review of all the circumstances adverted to, admit
     that such an offer is very far short of meeting the justice of the
     case; and that with reference to its merits and to the precedents
     established, particularly in respect of the works of Windsor Castle
     and Buckingham Palace, &c., I am most fairly and justly entitled to
     at least the accustomed remuneration of the profession of 5 per
     cent., including the measuring, &c., and an allowance for extra
     services, with such interest as may be due to me upon deferred
     payments, for designing and carrying into effect, under very
     peculiar and difficult circumstances, the largest, the most
     elaborate in its design and details, and the most important
     building in modern times.

I have, &c.,

(Signed)      CHARLES BARRY.

(_d_). LETTER OF J. M. WHITE, ESQ., JULY, 1855.


10, Whitehall Place, 14 July, 1855.

     _Sir Charles Barry’s Claims._

     SIR,--Owing to Sir Charles’s absence in Paris, I have not been able
     to obtain his final reply on the subject of these claims till this
     morning. I explained the purport of my interview with you last
     Saturday, when you stated that your offer was limited to the
     written paper which you read to me, and of which you had previously
     furnished me with a copy. The terms of this paper are as follows:--


     “Commission on works to which commission is applicable, 3 per cent.

     “Amount to 2nd October, 1854, 1,506,845_l._

     “Commission for measurement on the cost of works to which
     measurement applies, 1 per cent.

“These commissions to cover all questions of claims of any kind in
respect to the Houses of Parliament.


     “Commission on works performed, 3 per cent.

     “Commission for measurement on all expenditure to which measurement
     is applicable, 1 per cent.

“Treasury, 26 May, 1855.


     “To prevent misunderstanding in future, Sir C. Barry is to order no
     furniture, &c., except under an authority through the Board of
     Works from the Treasury.”[123]

     To these terms I objected that they did not cover a very large
     amount of services relating to the Houses of Parliament, but not
     leading to expenditure; and further, there was another claim for
     interest on outlay, and on deferred payments, and generally,
     assuming the rates of commission were of the amounts offered by
     you, I considered that they ought to be on the amount expended,
     past and future. To your remark, “that the claim for extra services
     could not be of large amount, and hence you considered it was
     covered by the commission offered,” and that the claim for interest
     you could not admit in any way, I replied first, that the services
     were very considerable, in corroboration of which I now beg to
     forward a rough statement of them. And I feel I am justified in
     adhering to this part of the claim, which I fully believe would
     extend to a sum of at least 10,000_l._ For you will have the
     goodness to bear in mind that these claims run over nearly twenty
     years, that they have been the subject of inquiry by no less than
     seven Committees of the House of Commons, besides two official
     references relating to Dr. Reid’s plans of ventilation (exclusive
     of that relating to his final claims, which has been duly met), and
     that in every case Sir C. Barry has acted with full sanction and

     I put forward this claim therefore with perfect confidence, because
     had it been an ordinary case between an independent architect and
     an ordinary employer, the claim could be supported fully on a
     _quantum meruit_; and why an independent architect like Sir C.
     Barry should not have at least the same payment from the Government
     I am wholly at a loss to understand.

     The claim for interest, if worked out in detail, would amount at
     least to as much as the other class of claims. You will recollect
     that I pointed out, in reference to the 25,000_l._ alluded to in
     Lord Duncannon’s offer, Sir Charles, instead of being paid in six
     years as proposed, was not paid in twelve; and even in the
     measuring, to which your offer of 1 per cent. extends, he is
     actually in advance from 11,000_l._ to 12,000_l._, and his other
     outlay, especially in more remote years, has been in large advance
     from time to time, independently of the balance now due to him, and
     the sacrifice he is willing to make if a final settlement be now
     made. It is true that advances are almost incidental to cases of
     this kind, and that, if disputes arise, it is an inconvenience
     which must often be shared between the disputing parties; but such
     incidents are covered and the inconvenience met by adhering to the
     customary rules and amount of remuneration, which in works like
     these is 5 per cent., as claimed by Sir C. Barry. That amount being
     departed from, the present claim has a substance and a reality
     about it calling for full and fair consideration from the
     Government. And finally, on the main point of the commission, I
     must again advert to the following facts:--

     1st. That the Board of Woods and Works in the first instance
     themselves added 5 per cent. as due to the architect. This had all
     the effect of a legal contract, if not disturbed by subsequent

     2nd. Lord Duncannon’s offer of 25,000_l._ was made on the original
     estimate, coupled with the condition of the work being completed in
     six years, and other terms, not one of which has been kept. The
     works have nearly reached three times their amount, and have
     extended over three times the stipulated period. The offer itself
     was also acceded to under protest, and in fact has never had a
     legal existence.

     3rd. Hence Sir C. Barry has either a right to fall back on the
     original estimate, or on the custom. Both of these are 5 per cent.,
     including the measuring and taking out quantities; and by way of
     illustration I have already referred to the British Museum, and to
     Dover Harbour; the latter being mere plummet and line work, and
     sinking square blocks of stone, whilst Sir Charles has in many
     cases to make, it may be, even one thousand working drawings for
     parts of the vast and elaborate work he has in hand.

     But, as acting on his behalf with a view to a settlement, and not a
     perpetuation of these disputed claims, I now beg to offer as a
     counter proposition to your own--

     1st. To accept 3 per cent. as architect’s commission on all
     certified works, taking the present amount as stated in your offer.

     2nd. To accept 1 per cent. for quantities and measurement on the
     like amount.

     3rd. The same commissions respectively on all future certified

     4th. To refer the claims for extra works to some eminent person,
     who can hear such evidence as either the Government or Sir Charles
     may adduce in support of their respective views.

     5th. The same referee to decide the question of interest; or

     6th. A specific sum to be at once received as a closing of all
     claims for such services, and interest to the present day.

     As to the referee, I would name by way of illustration Sir John
     Patteson, Sir Edward Ryan, or Mr. J. Lefevre, or any other of like

     These points I have severed in order as far as possible to meet the
     views already discussed in personal conference. But as a whole I
     can only say, in conclusion, as I have said before, that Sir C.
     Barry is willing to submit the whole question to a reference of
     this kind, and to abide the result. He is prepared to justify his
     claim to 5 per cent. by his original engagement and the custom; to
     vouch for all he has done by showing he has never acted without
     full authority; and if anything be needed to support his views, he
     finds it in the attack which has been made on him, and the way in
     which, up to the present discussion, what he believes to have been
     his just and reasonable claims have been resisted by the successive
     Governments with whom he has had to deal.

     I will wait on you for your reply to this suggestion, and beg to
     subscribe myself,

Yours, &c.,



My Lords advert to their minute of the 6th February, 1854, in reference
to the claims of Sir Charles Barry, as architect of the new Houses of

By that minute my Lords arrived at the opinion that a commission of 3
per cent. upon the cost of the building already incurred would be a fair
and liberal remuneration to Sir Charles Barry, and that the same rate
of commission should be allowed on the future expenditure.

My Lords, however, reserved for further consideration a claim which had
been made for the payment for certain services performed by the late Mr.
Pugin, upon which, as well as with regard to the question of measurement
of works, past and future, my Lords called for a Report from the Board
of Works. My Lords also requested to be informed of the exact cost of
the buildings up to the latest date then ascertainable, and of the
amount of moneys which from time to time had been paid to Sir Charles

From the Report of the Board of Works it appears that up to the 2nd of
October, 1853, the cost of the building amounted to 1,506,845_l._
10_s._, but with regard to which the Board of Works reports that works
to the amount of 14,439_l._ were not strictly subject to commission.
They also report, that up to that date Sir Charles Barry had received
payments on account of commission, amounting in all to 44,735_l._ 3_s._

With regard to measurements, it appears by the same Report that Sir
Charles Barry had paid out of pocket the sum of 11,457_l._ 18_s._ 10_d._
for that work, and that he had employed, in a portion of that duty,
officers of the Board of Works, but who had been paid extra for such
services. From explanations made, my Lords arrived at the conclusion
that the moneys paid to Mr. Pugin should be allowed as extras. The
Report of the Board of Works referred to, dated the 22nd January, 1855,
however, brought before this Board several new claims upon the part of
Sir Charles Barry for extra remuneration over and above his commission,
but which appeared to my Lords to be generally of a nature which were
covered by the commission of 3 per cent. upon the outlay.

Mr. Wilson now states to the Board that, at the instance of Sir Charles
Barry, Mr. Meadows White, as his friend, sought several interviews with
him for the purpose of endeavouring to come to a settlement in respect
to the numerous questions in dispute.

A list of Sir Charles Barry’s claims for extra payment was put in by Mr.
White, and consisted of:--

     1. Services for plans in connexion with some contemplated
     arrangements in the new building for the deposit of Public Records.

     2. Services in assisting and advising the Fine Arts Commission in
     respect to arrangements to be made in the Houses of Parliament.

     3. Services in respect to warming and ventilating the Houses of

     4. Returns to Parliament, and attendance on Parliamentary

     5. Other services in respect to warming and ventilating.

     6. For directions to workmen, &c., in the wood and stone carving

     7. For purchase of stock on behalf of Government.

     8. For procuring casts from the best examples of mediæval carving,

     9. For extra designs after the original plans were made.

     10. For miscellaneous services, resisting unfair claims of
     contractors, &c.

It appears to my Lords, that with the exception of any charge which Sir
Charles Barry may be able to show he is entitled to for conducting the
ventilation and lighting of the houses of Parliament, all the other
charges were fairly to be included in the commission of the architect.

Looking, however, at the question as a whole, and desirous to put an end
to these long disputed points, and after having consulted the Board of
Works, the following offer was made to Mr. White, as acting for Sir C.
Barry, on the 26th of May last, with a view finally to settle all
questions as to commission, measurement, and all other claims, up to the
2nd of October, 1853, to which date the closed accounts extended.

     1st. That a commission of 3 per cent. should be allowed on the
     entire outlay of 1,506,845_l._, up to the 2nd of October, 1853.

     2nd. That a remuneration for measurement upon the whole of the
     works included in that outlay should be paid at the rate of 1 per

     3rd. That these commissions should cover all demands of every kind
     whatsoever for the past, the services for warming, lighting, and
     ventilating alone excepted, which should be dealt with separately,
     and upon their own merits.

     4th. That the remuneration of Sir Charles Barry for the future
     should be fixed at

     Three per cent. commission on the outlay as architect, and 1 per
     cent. for measurement upon all works to which measurement applies;
     and that no furniture, &c. should in future be furnished by Sir C.
     Barry except by the special order of the Treasury.

After numerous further interviews and discussions with Mr. White, that
gentleman, on the part of Sir Charles Barry, declined the terms of
settlement thus offered, and pressed again the claims for the extra
services performed.

My Lords having again referred Sir C. Barry’s claims for a report to the
Board of Works, and having very carefully reviewed the whole case,
continue to be of opinion that the terms herein stated are not only fair
but liberal; that they include all remuneration to which Sir C. Barry is
justly entitled for the services he has performed, and that their
Lordships could not extend the same consistently with their duty to the

Considering, moreover, that this matter has gone on for nearly twenty
years without any distinct understanding being arrived at,
notwithstanding the efforts of every successive Board of Treasury to do
so, my Lords are of opinion that it is inconsistent with the public
interests that it should be any longer delayed; and they therefore, as
far as they are concerned, must record these terms as their final
decision upon the questions at issue. They are pleased, consequently, to
direct that no further payment be made on account until a final
settlement of the past, and an agreement as to the future, are

Let a copy of this Minute be forwarded to Sir Charles Barry, and to the
Board of Works.



Old Palace Yard, 9 February, 1856.

     SIR,--I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th
     instant, enclosing copy of a Minute of the Lords Commissioners of
     her Majesty’s Treasury, dated the 29th ultimo, on the subject of my
     claims as the architect of the New Palace at Westminster.

     As there are some passages in that Minute that appear to be founded
     upon a misapprehension of what has passed, I am anxious to call
     your attention to several of the explanations which I have already
     given in my letters and communications on the subject.

     1st. With respect to the employment of the late Mr. Pugin, I have
     already stated, with reference to a claim made by their Lordships
     for a set-off on my commission for moneys paid to him, that he was
     not employed upon any duties that devolve upon me as the architect
     of the New Palace, inasmuch as all designs for that building have
     emanated from myself, but as the superintendent of the wood-carving
     department, in carrying my designs into effect, to which office he
     was appointed by the Government at a salary.

     2ndly. With reference to the measurement of the work, I have
     already explained, that a portion of it was executed by my own
     clerks of works, and not, as stated in their Lordships’ Minute, by
     the officers of the Board of Works.

     3rdly. That as the mention which is made of the furniture in the
     Minute may possibly lead to an inference that I have been in the
     habit of supplying furniture to the New Palace, I am anxious to
     repeat, that I have only been employed to make the designs for it,
     see to the proper execution of the contract, and check the

     With reference to the remark in their Lordships’ Minute, as to the
     duration of the misunderstanding between myself and the Government
     in respect of my claims, I have to observe, that one of my greatest
     hardships has been the constant delays and postponements which have
     occurred in the consideration of my case; and that, during a period
     of more than 15 years, I have made every effort in my power to
     effect a settlement upon fair and honourable terms, and have
     constantly urged, without effect, the propriety of a reference by
     which I should have been perfectly willing to abide.

     Lastly, I would beg to notice an omission in their Lordships’
     Minute on the subject of Mr. White’s reply to their last proposal
     on the 12th December last, and to observe, that he did not then
     decline to accept the principle of it, but, on the contrary,
     accepted it, reserving only a question of a portion of the extra
     services to which that principle does not apply, and for which he
     proposed a fixed sum, or a reference to arbitration, to which
     proposal no official answer has yet been returned.

     With respect to the decision recorded in their Lordships’ Minute, I
     regret extremely that I cannot consider it to be worthy of the
     character which their Lordships assign to it, as being either fair
     or liberal, for the following reasons:--

     1st. Because it appears to be founded upon reports and statements
     upon which I have not been furnished with the means of making any
     reply or observations.

     2ndly. Because the remuneration proposed is at variance with the
     long-established custom of my profession, and is far from adequate,
     when the elaboration of the work upon which I am engaged, and the
     extraordinary difficulties and disadvantages which have attended
     its progress, are duly considered.

     3rdly. Because it is also at variance with all past and present
     practice, in respect of the rate of professional remuneration paid
     by the Government for all other architectural and engineering works
     of the country.

     4thly. Because it deprives me, not only of all remuneration
     whatever for many extra services, forming no part of my duties as
     the architect of the New Palace at Westminster, but also of the
     repayment of a considerable sum of money which I have disbursed on
     account of them; and,

     Lastly. Because the several questions at issue, both those which
     are strictly professional as well as those which are of a legal
     character, can only, in my opinion, be fairly solved upon evidence
     before an arbitrator of high standing, such as those whom I have
     ventured to propose for the purpose, by whose decision I should be
     perfectly wiling to abide.

I remain, &c.,

(Signed)        CHARLES BARRY.


     My Lords can arrive at no other conclusion on this part of the
     question than that Sir Charles Barry has failed altogether to
     establish his position, that the remuneration of 25,000_l._ awarded
     to him in 1838, amounted to 4 per cent. on the estimate then before
     the Board of Woods, &c.

     My Lords now advert to the correspondence which passed in the
     following year on the subject.

     It appears that when the Commissioners of Woods, &c. came to the
     conclusion communicated in their Report to the Treasury, of the
     20th February, 1838, they had before them the detailed and verified
     estimates from which they had reason to believe that the building
     would be completed for the sum stated, subject to such considerable
     additions as must be made according to the report of their
     surveyors in respect to fittings and other works which had not been
     the subject of estimate. They, therefore, well knew the whole duty
     and labour which would devolve on the architect, and with this
     knowledge they stated their opinion that “the sum of 25,000_l._
     would be a fair and liberal remuneration for the labour and
     responsibility to be imposed on Mr. Barry, in the _superintendence,
     direction and completion_ of the intended edifice.” In the opinion
     of my Lords these terms are not susceptible of any other
     interpretation than that such remuneration was intended to cover
     every service which would devolve upon the architect in the
     _completion_ of the building according to the estimates and
     specifications then before them, and the further contingent
     services; that it was proposed in lieu of the ordinary per-centage
     remuneration, and was intended to cover every charge, including
     that of measuring, which usually devolves on architects receiving
     such ordinary professional remuneration.

     It is clear, also, that it was accepted by Sir Charles Barry on
     that understanding. When the Treasury Letter of the 25th February,
     1839, was communicated to him, he requested to be informed of the
     principle on which the proposed sum had been recommended, in order
     that he might offer the Board of Woods, &c. a few observations on
     the subject. This application having been refused by the letter of
     the surveyor of the Board of 4th April, 1839, Sir Charles Barry
     addressed a letter to that officer on the 22nd April, 1839, in
     which he stated that he had no doubt that the proposed amount,
     _although far short of the customary remuneration which had
     hitherto been paid to architects for extensive works_, was
     considered by the Board to be liberal under all the circumstances
     of the case, and that with this impression he had no wish to do
     otherwise than bow to its decision. He expressed at the same time
     his opinion that the amount was very inadequate to the great labour
     and responsibility that would devolve upon him in the
     superintendence, direction, and _completion of the intended
     edifice_, and his trust that when that should be made manifest,
     there would not be any indisposition on the part of the Board to
     award to him the remainder of the remuneration which had hitherto
     been customary on similar occasions.

     Three points are evident from this letter. First, that Sir Charles
     Barry accepted the proposed sum after a distinct refusal of
     explanation regarding the principle on which it was proposed.
     Secondly, that he was well aware at the time that it was far short
     of the customary remuneration to architects; and thirdly, that he
     also well understood that it was intended as the whole remuneration
     which he was to receive for the _superintendence, direction, and
     completion of the intended edifice_.

     It is therefore too late for him now to raise questions regarding
     the principle on which the recommendation of the Board of Works in
     1839 was based, and to found claims on the supposition that that
     Board had in view the payment to him of an amount equivalent to the
     customary remuneration of architects, when the only reservation
     contained in his letter of the 22nd April, 1839, was founded on the
     admitted fact that the proffered sum was considerably less than
     such an amount.

     On reconsidering the whole circumstances, the only doubt which my
     Lords entertain is, whether they have not taken too liberal a view
     of the considerations by which the Board of Woods, &c. were
     influenced when they recommended the payment of the fixed sum of
     25,000_l._; and whether, especially in admitting Sir Charles
     Barry’s claim to the payment of the expense of measuring, they have
     not gone beyond the intentions of the arrangement of 1839.

     My Lords have, however, no disposition now to re-open this
     question, and they are prepared to give effect to the arrangement
     proposed in their Minute of the 29th January last. With this view
     they proceed to consider the Report of the First Commissioner of
     Works, of the 11th April last, regarding the two points which were
     reserved in that Minute for future settlement, viz.:--

     1st. The amount of remuneration for services rendered in the
     warming, lighting, and ventilating arrangements connected with the
     New Palace.

     2nd. The works upon which he should hereafter be allowed the
     commission of 1 per cent. on measuring.

     On these two points the First Commissioner has made the following

     “As to the first point, I am of opinion that Sir C. Barry is
     entitled to receive, as a remuneration for his services under that
     head, a payment of 4,925_l._; and I arrive at this amount by
     allowing him 300_l._ per annum from January 1840 to April 1847, in
     respect of the preparation of plans and estimates for the various
     schemes suggested by Dr. Reid, which were either abandoned or
     greatly modified previously to carrying into effect the existing
     arrangements, and 500_l._ per annum from April 1847 to November
     1852, for a continuance of the same duties, and also for taking
     charge of the warming, ventilating, and lighting apparatus
     throughout the entire building, with the exception of the House of

     “Upon the second point, I am of opinion that an allowance for
     measurement of 1 per cent. should, for the future, be made only
     upon such accounts as require the services of a surveyor for their
     preparation, unless the architect should be authorised in writing
     by the First Commissioner of this Board, and with the approval of
     your Lordships’ Board, to make any special charge for special
     services so authorised.”

     My Lords concur in these recommendations, and desire that the First
     Commissioner of Works will govern himself thereby. They will be
     prepared, in compliance therewith, to direct the issue to Sir
     Charles Barry of 4,925_l._, in full satisfaction of his claim for
     services connected with the warming, lighting and ventilating
     arrangements, and on the understanding that the whole principle of
     remuneration for his services is now finally settled, as defined by
     the Minute of 29th January last, and the further directions now
     given, and that in order to prevent any misapprehension as to the
     future, Sir Charles Barry will enter into an undertaking with the
     Board of Works to complete the buildings for the rate of commission
     and remuneration for measurement therein provided for.

     In bringing this matter to a conclusion, my Lords feel it right to
     observe, with reference to statements which Sir Charles Barry has
     advanced in contravention of the grounds of the decision of this
     Board, that when their Lordships agreed to a payment being made to
     him at the rate of 1 per cent. for measuring, they had before them
     a report from the Board of Works, from which it appeared that, if
     the measuring were conducted under the direction of that Board, the
     remuneration to professional measurers for the work would be made
     “by a commission varying from one-half to three-quarters per cent.”
     Their Lordships therefore consider that in allowing him 1 per cent.
     he will be afforded ample remuneration for any duties imposed upon
     him personally in connexion with the service of measuring. Their
     Lordships have also to observe that the principle proposed by the
     Board of Works, that the allowance for measuring should be made
     only on such accounts as require the services of a surveyor for
     their preparation, except under special circumstances, is not only
     right as respects works executed subsequently to the 2nd October,
     1853, but would in strictness be applicable to past works. Their
     Lordships therefore feel that, in allowing him remuneration at the
     rate of 1 per cent. for measuring on the gross expenditure of
     1,508,174_l._ on account of works certified by him up to the 2nd
     October, 1854, they will have conceded payments to him considerably
     exceeding the sum to which he would have been entitled for the mere
     duty of measuring, and that that sum will afford full remuneration
     for all the extra services referred to in the Minute of this Board
     of 29th January last, excepting only those connected with services
     for warming, lighting, and ventilating, for which a special payment
     is now directed.

     Their Lordships have before them a certified statement prepared in
     the Office of Works, from which it appears that the proportion of
     the said expenditure of 1,508,174_l._, which represent works which
     would not require the services of a measurer, is 215,000_l._ Sir
     Charles Barry will receive under the arrangement sanctioned by this
     Board 1 per cent. on the latter sum, being 2,150_l._ above the
     amount to which he would be properly entitled for the actual
     service of measuring, and they consider that a payment of that
     amount will afford him ample remuneration for all the undefined
     extra services referred to.

     Transmit copy of this Minute to Sir Charles Barry for his

     Transmit also copy thereof to the First Commissioner of Works for
     his information and guidance.

Whitehall Treasury Chambers,
July, 1856.


Brief statement of the grounds of difference between the
Architect of the New Palace at Westminster and the
Lords of the Treasury.

     1. Because their Lordships have assumed to themselves the right in
     their own case to put a value upon the architect’s services, at
     variance with professional custom, and contrary both to law and

     2. Because that, whilst the ordinary rate of professional
     commission is far from an adequate remuneration for more than 20
     years’ devotion of the architect’s life to the carrying into
     effect, under peculiarly trying circumstances and great
     responsibilities, a work so extensive, intricate, and elaborate, as
     the New Palace at Westminster, their Lordships’ offer involves a
     sacrifice on his part of at least 20,000_l._ of his accustomed
     commission, exclusive of interest of money upon payments unduly
     withheld, amounting to not less than 15,000_l._

     3. Because the offer made by their Lordships, which is assumed to
     be in accordance with precedent, is really at variance with the
     allowance hitherto made to architects for all public buildings. For
     where they have been employed upon the whole of the duties
     undertaken by the architect of the New Palace of Westminster, the
     allowance has been _invariably_ 5, and in some instances equal to
     more than 5 per cent. upon the expenditure; and although, in some
     cases, architects have been paid less than 5 per cent., it is only
     when they have been relieved of the financial portion, which is by
     no means the least onerous of their duties and responsibilities.

     4. Because, with one exception, their Lordships do not recognise
     several claims for extra services, which form no part of the duties
     of the architect of the New Palace, to which no payment by
     commission can apply, and upon which he has incurred a considerable

     5. Because that, whilst, for the sake of avoiding all further
     contention with a Government and affecting an immediate settlement,
     the architect had consented to forego his full claims as to
     percentage by complying with the principle of their Lordships’
     offer, and only awaited their promised explanation of its details,
     and an answer relative to a proposition made to them respecting a
     portion of his services which had not been recognised, their
     Lordships without any further communication with him, framed their
     Minute of the 29th January, 1856, containing a decision on the
     case, and immediately laid that and a previous Minute on the table
     of each House of Parliament, unaccompanied by the correspondence or
     any notice of the negotiation which led to them.

     6. Because of the order contained in their Lordships’ Minute of the
     29th of January, 1856, for withholding all further payments to the
     architect until he consented to a settlement upon their own terms,
     although by such terms it is admitted that a balance is due to him
     of 20,000_l._, and although a further sum on account of his claims
     is included in the vote for the current year.

     And finally, because of their Lordships’ refusal hitherto of all
     offers that have been made by the architect of a reference of his
     claims to arbitration, which, it is obvious, is the only just mode
     of arriving at an impartial decision in all cases of difference,
     where both parties only wish for what is fair and reasonable.





[I CANNOT refuse myself the pleasure of recording the names of those,
who thus did honour to my father’s memory.--A. B.]

       *       *       *       *       *

                               £  _s._ _d._
Ainslie, C., Esq.              3  3  0
Angell, S., Esq.               5  5  0
Ashpitel, A., Esq.             3  3  0
Banks, R. R., Esq.            10 10  0
Barr, E., Esq.                 1  1  0
Barry, J., Esq.               20  0  0
Bayne, R., Esq.                1  1  0
Bell, Jas., Esq.               3  3  0
Bell, John, Esq.               1  1  0
Bellamy, T., Esq.              5  5  0
Booth, W. J., Esq.             2  2  0
Boulnois, W. A., Esq.          1  1  0
Boxall, W., Esq., R.A.         2  2  0
Brakspear, W. H., Esq.         2  2  0
Brandon, D., Esq.              5  5  0
Brodrick, Cuthbert, Esq.       5  0  0
Browne, J. H., Esq.            2  2  0
Bryce, D., Esq.                3  3  0
Bunning, J. B., Esq.           3  3  0
Burton, A., Esq.               1  1  0
Burton, D., Esq.               3  3  0
Carlisle, The Earl of, K .G.  10 0  0
Chalk, J., Esq.                1  1  0
Chatwin, J. A., Esq.           2  2  0
Clarke, G. S., Esq.           10 10 0
Clarke, Joseph, Esq.           1  1  0
Clutton, H., Esq.              2  2  0
Cockerell, C. R., Esq.,
R.A. (Trustee)                10 10  0
Cole, J. J., Esq.              2 12  6
Cooke, E. W., Esq., R.A.       2  2  0
Cowper, Rt. Hon. W. F.,
M.P. (Trustee)                10  0  0
Crace, J. G., Esq.            10 10  0
Cubitt and Co., Messrs. W.     5  5  0
Currey, H., Esq.               2  2  0
Cust, The Hon. Sir E.,
K.C.H. (Trustee)              10 10  0
Cuthell, A., Esq.              5  5  0
Dangerfield, H., Esq.          1  1  0
Darbishire, H. A., Esq.        1  1  0
Davies, J., Esq.               1  1  0
St. Pauls, The Dean of         5  0  0
De Ville, L., Esq.             2  2  0
Donaldson, T. L., Esq.        10 10  0
Eastlake, Sir C. L., P.R.A.
(Trustee)                     10 10  0
Edmeston, J., Esq.             1  1  0
Ferrey, B., Esq.              3   3   0
Feversham, Rt. Hon. Lord     10  10   0
Francis, Messrs. F. & H.      1   1   0
Fraser, J. W., Esq.           2   2   0
Friend, An Humble             1   1   0
Garling, H., Esq.             5   5   0
Gassiott, J. P., Esq.        10  10   0
Gibson, J., Esq.             10  10   0
Glyn, G. Carr, Esq., M.P.     1   1   0
Glyn, G. Grenfell, Esq., M.P. 1   1   0
Godwin, G., Esq.              3   3   0
Good, J. H., Esq.             1   1   0
Goodridge, A. S., Esq.        1   1   0
Goodridge, H. E., Esq.        1   1   0
Grissell, T., Esq.           21   0   0
Groves, F. H., Esq.           0  10   0
Gye, F., Esq.                 5   5   0
Hardwick, P., Esq., R.A.      5   5   0
Hardwick, P. C., Esq.         5   5   0
Hawkes, W., Esq.             10   0   0
Hawkshaw, J., Esq.           10  10   0
Hayward, C. F., Esq.          1   0   0
Hayward, John, Esq.          10   0   0
Haywood, W., Esq.             1   1   0
Herbert, W., Esq.             5   5   0
Hesketh, R., Esq.             2   2   0
Hirst, J. H., Esq.            1   1   0
Holmes, E. N., Esq.           1   1   0
Hope, A. J. B.  Beresford,
Esq.                         10   0   0
Humbert, A. J., Esq.          2   2   0
Hunt, H. A., Esq.            50   0   0
I’Anson, E., Esq.             3   3   0
Inman, W. S., Esq.            1   1   0
James, J., Esq.               5   5   0
Jay, J., Esq.                 5   5   0
Jeakes, Messrs.               3   3   0
Jennings, J., Esq.            1   1   0
Jones, Owen, Esq.             5   5   0
Judge &  Winstanley, Messrs.  2   2   0
Kendall, H. E., Esq.          1   1   0
Kendall, H. E., Jun., Esq.    1   1   0
Kennedy, G. P., Esq.          5   5   0
Kerr, R., Esq.                1   1   0
Knowles, J. T., Esq.          5   5   0
Knowles, J. T., Jun., Esq.    1   1   0
Knowles, G., Esq.             1   1   0
Lansdowne, The Marquis
of, K.G.                     10   0   0
Lawrence, C. B.               1   1   0
Lawrie, W.                    0   7   0
Leicester, G. O., Esq.        1   1   0
Leslie & Whitely, Messrs.     1   3   0
Lewis, T. Hayter, Esq.        3   3   0
Lucas, Messrs.              100   0   0
M’Clean, J. R., Esq.          5   5   0
Maclise, D., Esq., R.A.       5   5   0
Mair, G. J. J., Esq.          1   1   0
Marochetti, Baron, A.R.A.     5   5   0
Martineau, E. H., Esq.        1   1   0
Marshall, W. Calder, Esq.,
R.A.                          1   1   0
Mason, W. A., Esq.            1   1   0
Mayhew, C., Esq.              3   3   0
Middleton, Lady              20   0   0
Mocatta, D., Esq.             5   5   0
Morgan, G., Esq.              3   3   0
Murchison, Sir R.            10  10   0
Murray, J., Esq.              5   5   0
Nash, Edwin, Esq.             1   1   0
Nelson, Charles C., Esq.
(Hon. Sec.)                   3   3   0
Newcastle, the Duke of, K.G. 20   0   0
Newton, H. R., Esq.           1   1   0
Norton, J., Esq.              5   5   0
Parris, R., Esq.              5   5   0
Parsons, H., Esq.             1   1   0
Pearce, M., Esq.              1   1   0
Pennethorne, J., Esq.         3   3   0
Penrose, F. C., Esq.          1   1   0
Peto, Sir Morton, Bart.,
M.P.                         21   0   0
Pickersgill, F. R., Esq.,
R.A.                          5   5   0
Porter, F. W., Esq.           1   1   0
Poynter, A., Esq.             1   1   0
Prichard & Seddon, Messrs.                  3  3  0
Pye, K. J., Esq.                            2  2  0
Reeks, C. F., Esq.                          1  1  0
Richardson, C. J., Esq.                     1  1  0
Roberts, D., Esq., R.A.                     5  5  0
Roberts, H., Esq.                           1  0  0
Robins, E. C., Esq.                         1  1  0
Rowsell, Rev. T. J.                         1  1  0
Scott, G. Gilbert, Esq., R.A.               5  5  0
Shuttleworth, Sir J. K., Bart.              5  5  0
Slater, W., Esq.                            1  1  0
Smart, Sir G.                               2  2  0
Smirke, Sydney, Esq., R.A.                  5  5  0
Smith, C. H., Esq.                          1  1  0
Smith, Montagu, Esq., Q.C.                  3  3  0
Smith, P. G., Esq.                          1  1  0
Soden, J. R., Esq.                          1  1  0
Spiers, R. P., Esq.                         1  1  0
Stanley, Lord, M.P.                        10 10  0
Strudwick, J. H., Esq.                      5  5  0
Thompson, J. Esq.                           1  1  0
Tite, W., Esq., F.R.S., M.P. (Trustee)     10 10  0
Tress, R., Esq.                             2  2  0
Turner, J., Esq.                            1  1  0
Tweedie, Dr.                               10 10  0
Vulliamy, G., Esq.                          2  2  0
Ware, C. N. Cumberlege, Esq.                5  5  0
Waring, J. B., Esq.                         1  1  0
Weightman, J. G., Esq.                      2  2  0
Whitely, H., Esq.                           5  5  0
Wilkinson, Sir Gardner                      3  0  0
Wilson, F. R., Esq.                         2  2  0
Wolfe, J. L., Esq.                        200  0  0
Wolfe, L. M., Esq.                         20  0  0
Woodthorpe, E., Esq.                        1  1  0
Workmen, (Clapham)                          2 14  6
Wright, W., Esq.                            2  2  0
Wyatt, M. Digby, Esq. (Hon. Sec.)           3  3  0
Wyatt, T. H., Esq.                          5  5  0





Maclure, Macdonald & Macgregor Lith.ᵀᴮ to the Queen, 17ᴮ. Great George
Sᵀ. Westminster.

The Dark Hatching shews Public and important Buildings as now existing,

The Light Hatching outlined shews the new Streets and Buildings proposed
along them, thus

The Thick Blue Edging shews the line of the existing Banks on each side
of the River.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_October, 1866_.



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[1] This is the case, for example, in respect of some valuable
information as to the works at Trentham Hall.

[2] The “fils d’un simple ouvrier” in M. Hittorf’s ‘Éloge’ is therefore

[3] Thus, for example, he notes over and over again the curious
contrast of dirt, bad drainage, and bad paving in the Paris of that
day, with the external brilliancy of the city, so unlike anything
he had ever seen in England. It was, it seemed, symbolical of the
state of the country, in which apparent peace and gaiety covered much
political stagnation and discontent with the Bourbons, breaking out,
as he himself experienced, into personal insult to Englishmen in
out-of-the-way places.

[4] Thus at Rome he writes of the great staircase at the Vatican: “The
columns stepping up one after another, and the cornice and entablature
following the rise of the steps, have to my mind an unnatural, and
therefore a disgusting, appearance.”

[5] At a small town in Italy, having stopped for sketching purposes
without his passport, he found his bedroom invaded by a file of
soldiers who insisted on his leaving instantly. But they retired before
a resolute refusal and a drawn pistol, and contented themselves with
posting a sentinel at the door.

[6] Criticisms on special buildings are better deferred till the period
of his return.

[7] The Toledo at Naples is noticed as “the finest street, _except the
High Street of Oxford_, I ever saw.”

[8] The difficulty of travelling at that time is curiously illustrated
here. They had to search at Bari for a vessel, and at last to cross in
a small felucca, bearing and deserving the ominous name of Le Anime di

[9] For this remark I am indebted to Sir C. Eastlake.

[10] At Smyrna (for example) the houses of English merchants were
scattered along the coast, and almost all the trade engrossed by them.

[11] At Bondroon (Halicarnassus) not even the governor dared to allow
them to inspect the castle; and when they rowed under the walls to
see the famous marbles embedded in them, and just “whitewashed in
expectation of the Capudan Pasha,” they were ordered off by the
soldiers on pain of death.

[12] He had received a similar offer at Corfu from Mr. Bonar, but with
this important difference, that no copies were to be taken. On this
ground it was thankfully but unhesitatingly refused.

[13] Several of these were afterwards engraved in Finden’s
‘Illustrations of the Bible.’

[14] The Chapel of the Nativity at Bethlehem seems (as usual) to have
struck them most for simple solemnity, and Naplous (Shechem) for
natural beauty, with its fertile plain and the “whole town full of

[15] In his house they found a volume of Palladio, given him by a
Coptic patriarch, and highly prized.

[16] In after years Mr. Barry published the results of his observations
in an article in the ‘Architectural Dictionary’ on Baalbec. It
describes the ruins with great minuteness, and is an excellent
specimen of his accuracy of observation and clearness of description.
It speaks of the three Temples as having great magnificence and
“exuberance of decoration,” notices the “breaking of the entablature
over each projecting columnar pier,” as producing, especially in the
circular temple, “great movement in the skyline of the building, and
a very picturesque effect,” and criticizes the style of decoration as
showing much imagination and power. The description was written some
thirty-five years after his visit, but it seemed as though drawn up on
the spot.

[17] The Bourbon _régime_ was detested, and its wretchedness aggravated
by the recollections of English rule; why England did not keep the
island the Sicilians could not conceive.

[18] Here they saw a famous telescope of Ramsden’s, as to which they
were told that, “if it should be injured there was no one in the whole
island who could repair it.”

[19] From this point, almost to the end of his career, much of this
memoir is based on MS. notes supplied by Mr. Wolfe.

[20] MS. notes, _W_.

[21] He adds, “The Egyptians, who made such use of colossal figures,
being fully aware of their tendency to diminish the apparent size of
the building, always placed at their feet other figures of the natural
size, to give the true scale.”

[22] It ought to be known that fountains, not unlike these in design,
and not much inferior in magnificence, would, if means had permitted,
have been made in Trafalgar Square.

[23] In his only design for a grand portico (that for the Town-hall at
Birmingham) this principle was fully carried out.

[24] At Vicenza, as many of Palladio’s works were scattered about in
out-of-the-way places in the neighbourhood, he hired a crazy gig,
and without a guide, in spite of bad roads and worse information, he
managed to hunt out every one. At the (so-called) “House of Palladio”
there was some foliage which he wished to sketch by artificial light;
he got ladders and torches, and proceeded with his work till he was
stopped by the police.

[25] This was a point which often struck him in many cases of
restoration or new buildings where colour and gilding were only
partially employed. He insisted that in this partial and incomplete
use lay the real cause of gaudiness or tawdry effect. Of all the new
buildings at Munich, the one which he admired must was the Royal
Chapel, because in it the decoration was thoroughly and perfectly
carried out.

[26] I find (for example) that in 1822 he was commissioned to make
a copy of his drawing of the Zodiac at Esneh for H.R.H. the Duke of

[27] In November, 1832, he contributed several sketches for the
engravings in Finden’s Bible Illustrations, but these give little idea
of the style of his original sketches.

[28] Church architects seem to have been beset then, as now, by the
tendency of their clients to extensive requirements on very limited
resources. He speaks of a clergyman, who had some negotiation with
him at this time, “as an Evangelical preacher, with a great idea of
building churches for nothing.”

[29] He had previously made designs for the alteration of Stoke
Newington church.

[30] He used to retaliate by reference to Mr. Pugin’s early work at
Windsor Castle, which certainly gave him full opportunity for retort.

[31] An amusing incident occurred on this occasion. The freemasons of
the parish claimed the right of laying the stone, which the clergy
not unnaturally contested. After the ceremony began, music was heard
in the distance, and down came a body of freemasons in full costume,
ready to take all by storm. The workmen were prepared to resist; but
a parley ensued, and the freemasons allowed the ceremony to go on
without disturbance, on condition of performing their own mystic rites

[32] This design was not carried out. But I believe it was the only
design of the kind among those sent in by the competing architects. As
a matter of fact, the whole competition was practically set aside, in
favour of a firm, who offered to unite the functions of architect and
builder, and erect a building in Anglesey marble for whatever other
firms might ask for its erection in stone. The building carried out by
them is a Greek temple. The feelings of the competing architects may
be easily imagined, for these are the things which make competition a
thankless and sometimes a hopeless work.

[33] At a much later period, as will be seen, he made a Greek design
for the proposed Law Courts in Lincoln’s-inn-Fields. Here also
the requirements for the true application of Greek principles of
architecture were fulfilled by the circumstances of the case.

[34] After the completion of the church he returned to the charge. As
late as 1841 I find a notice of his designing a spire to be added to
the existing tower.

[35] They cost 11,890_l._, 10,947_l._, and 11,535_l._ respectively,
sums which many a church architect would consider liberal now.

[36] On these points, as may be expected, he differed widely from his
friend Mr. Pugin, and warm discussions of principle often arose in

[37] I can remember his calling attention to the octagonal form of Sta.
Maria della Salute at Venice as capable of supplying a hint for English
church-building, and referring to certain forms of Norman and Early
English, as well fitted, by their spaciousness and unity of effect, for
our congregational requirements.

[38] Mr. Ferguson, in his ‘History of Architecture,’ notes in the same
way the prominence of the cornice as the characteristic feature of
Mr. Barry’s Italian; but, by a slight chronological error, refers to
the alteration of the College of Surgeons, designed in 1833, as the
earliest instance of it, and to the Travellers’ Club as a later design.

[39] Studies and examples of the Modern School of English Architecture,
by W. H. Leeds. (Weale, 1839.)

[40] ‘The Revue de l’Architecture,’ edited by M. César Daly,
contained in vol. i., 1840, pp. 333, 334, a careful description (with
illustrations) of the Travellers’ Club. Its criticism concludes as
follows:--“Le défaut qu’on peut adresser avec raison au plus grand
nombre des travaux d’architecture en Angleterre, est le peu de soin
apporté dans l’étude des détails; sous ce rapport M. Charles Barry
forme une exception. Il suffit d’examiner la feuille des détails du
monument qui nous occupe pour y reconnaître les qualités d’un artiste
consciencieux, qui étudie toutes les parties en elles-mêmes et dans
leur rapport avec l’ensemble.”

[41] Extracted from a paper read at the Institute of British
Architects, May 21st, 1860, by M. Digby Wyatt, Esq., V.P.

[42] On this point, it was remarked by the ‘Building News,’ immediately
after his death (May 18th, 1860),--“It is the perfection of invention
to invest with novelty that which is old, to adapt what has hitherto
been useless, to make artistic that which is commonplace, and to impart
life and beauty to dead forms. Greater inventive powers are required to
accomplish this transformation than perhaps to devise new forms, which
will never move or have their being.... Critics who prefer the charge
of copyism against him probably mistake eccentricity for originality;
in that sense Sir Charles was never original, for he was never

[43] A list, which is believed to be complete, is added in the Appendix.

[44] See p. 9 of Mr. Digby Wyatt’s Memoir, already referred to.

[45] It happened curiously enough that he was near being employed
for the new building of the Carlton Club, adjoining and rivalling
the Reform Club. He was invited by the committee to enter a select
competition for it; and when he declined to do so, and the appointment
of architect was put to the vote, Messrs. Basevi and Smirke were
preferred only by a slight majority (220 votes against 210).

[46] The only example of an original building in which he afterwards
employed it was Cliefden. At the Board of Trade the necessity of the
case led him to employ the columns of the old design as an engaged
order. But though he was not entirely consistent in practice, the
“astylar” principle of design still continued to be regarded by him us
absolutely the best.

[47] It ought to be noted, that the position of the building, which
on the Pall Mall side is very unfavourable, and the exact line of its
front were determined in reference to a plan for the extension of Pall
Mall into the Green Park, having the Marble Arch as its entrance to the
Park. A plan of this proposed alteration is given in Chapter VIII.

[48] The building was actually carried out by my brother, E. M. Barry,
Esq., A.R.A.; and, under these circumstances, at the risk of some
slight repetition, I have thought it better to subjoin _verbatim_ an
account of the building written by him.

[49] At a still later period he made a design, almost entirely new, to
meet an intention, afterwards abandoned, of a considerable enlargement
of the building.

[50] The “Italian tiles” were, I believe, first manufactured in
England, to be used in Walton House.

[51] ‘The English Gentleman’s House.’

[52] The garden-front of Clare College, Cambridge, was an example which
he much admired.

[53] The work was going on about the same time as the erection of
Bridgewater House.

[54] In this work I believe he was much assisted by suggestions from
Mr. Nesfield, the well-known landscape gardener.

[55] The illustration will show how greatly this fact tended to
influence the general effect, and limit the originality of the design.

[56] I remember his quoting one day with great satisfaction the
criticism of a working stonemason, behind whom he happened to stand,
on a new building. “Well, it’s very fine; but somehow this here top
doesn’t go with that ’ere bottom.”

[57] This arrangement was no doubt necessary from the confined nature
of the ground. It cannot be considered as abstractedly desirable from a
practical point of view; those who know the habits of boys will always
desire to give them as few stairs as possible.

[58] He desired a larger and better lighted clerestory, but here
economy interfered.

[59] A letter from Mr. Borrer on the subject ends thus:--“It is
admirably adapted for the purpose for which it was designed--to be a
house of prayer and Christian worship, according to the rites of the
Church of England. I can never forget the kind way in which Sir Charles
listened to a young man’s fancies, and tried to carry out all my

[60] The black lines mark the old work--all the lighter parts represent
the new.

[61] I owe my information on this subject chiefly to the kindness of W.
Leslie, Esq., architect, of Aberdeen, under whose direction the works
were executed.

[62] Extract from Report of the Commissioners appointed by His Majesty
to examine and Report upon the Plans which might be offered by the
competitors for re-building the Houses of Parliament. Dated, Feb. 29th,

[63] The exact sum named by Messrs. Seward and Chawner was (deducting
14,000_l._ as the value of old materials) 693,104_l._, to which was
to be added 129,000_l._ for the embankment, purchase of land, &c.,
together with “a further and considerable expense, which cannot at
present be satisfactorily ascertained,” for fittings and furniture
of the residence, libraries, committee-rooms, offices, &c., for the
provision for the records, for lighting, warming, and ventilating, for
the great clock and bell. See quotation in pp. 3, 4 of Parliamentary
Paper, No. 374, of Session of 1856.

[64] The first vote of money was passed on July 3rd, 1837.

[65] See ‘Recollections of A. W. Pugin,’ c. xviii. p. 242.

[66] The ground of this monstrous statement was the warm personal
friendship and constant support, which he had received from Sir E.
Cust, ever since the building of the Travellers’ Club, and more
especially their connection in a late discussion as to the alteration
and improvement of the National Gallery.

[67] Extract from Minutes of Evidence taken 10th March, 1836, by the
Select Committee on Houses of Parliament, Sir John Hobhouse in the
Chair. _Ordered to be printed, 9th March, 1836._

[68] When Mr. Barry was attacked again in 1844, one of those, who
had taken a prominent part against him, wrote to him, begging to be
allowed to take part in any movement of his professional friends in
his defence, and offering any consultation or advice, which might be
“offered by a friend and admirer.”

[69] Those who know Professor Donaldson, will be surprised at nothing
in him, which indicates indignation at supposed injustice and generous
support of a character unjustly assailed. But these motives were here
quickened by a warm personal friendship, of which Mr. Barry always
preserved a deep and grateful sense.

[70] Some delay also was caused by a great strike of masons in the
employment of Messrs. Grissell and Peto, in September, 1841.

[71] It was thought by some that the architect’s protest should have
been made earlier. But in the early part of Dr. Reid’s career such
protest would have been entirely unavailing. His plans had succeeded,
on the whole, well in the temporary House of Commons, and nothing but
experience could prove the futility of their application on an enormous
scale. Mr. Barry contented himself with quietly making provision for
the substitution of more practicable arrangements, when the crash,
which he foresaw to be inevitable, should arrive.

[72] Thus, for example, in a letter to the ‘Times,’ Mr. Denison thinks
proper to speak of the “stupidity of Sir C. Barry and his crew of
handmakers and certificate-writers.”

[73] In a treatise on “Clocks and Watches” (4th edition), Weale, 1860.

[74] Professor Wallis, the President of the Astronomical Society, and
the President of the Society of Civil Engineers, were suggested by Mr.
Vulliamy in his letter. Mr. Dent in a letter to the Board of Works on
November 14th, 1845, requested permission to erect the clock, “subject
to the approbation of the Astronomer Royal, Mr. Barry, and Sir John (or
Mr. George) Rennie being referees.”

[75] Their estimated expense was 100_l._, about 5-1/2 per cent. on the
original contract.

[76] The evidence on this point is conflicting, and my father has left
no papers on the subject. I feel, therefore, unable to enter into it.

[77] The great bell was not hoisted till 1859, and, had the completion
of the tower been delayed for it, the work would not have been finished
till 1860. This should be noted by any who have read Mr. Denison’s
denunciations on this subject.

[78] Before quitting the subject of Mr. Denison’s relations to Sir C.
Barry, I think it right to notice an error, contained in a statement
made by Mr. Denison to the Courts of Justice Commission. After stating
that architects are all ignorant of ventilation, and volunteering some
information, that the works of the architect in this direction at the
New Palace of Westminster “are reported to have cost 200,000_l._,” he
continues, “the ceilings of both Houses of Parliament were--one of them
is--in such a state, that they may be set on fire at any instant.” No
one could fail to draw the inference, that this was an error on the
part of the architect. But the fact is, that “the roof of the House
of Commons is wholly constructed of incombustible materials, and the
question of danger can only apply to the wooden fittings which have
been placed in the roof since its completion, by those intrusted with
the ventilation and lighting of the House _without any architectural
supervision_.” (See official letter of E. M. Barry, Esq., printed in
Parliamentary Paper, No. 527 of Session of 1866.) The fact, rightly
understood, tells directly against the advice (to discard architects on
this point, and trust all to ventilators proper) which it is made to

[79] In 1842 Mr. Barry had visited Munich, then in the zenith of its
artistic reputation, to see both the new buildings, rising under the
auspices of the late king, and the great fresco and encaustic pictures,
which had made the names of Cornelius, Schnorr, Hess, and other artists
well-known throughout Europe. Admiring greatly the artistic genius
displayed in many individual works, he was yet convinced that they
often wanted the harmony alluded to in the text, and tended rather to
injure than to enhance the architectural beauty of the buildings which
they would have otherwise adorned.

[80] The most important parts of the Reports appear to be the Report
of the Committee of Selection of Subjects in Painting and Sculpture,
contained in the Seventh Report of the Commission (in 1847), and the
Twelfth Report, presented in 1861.

[81] See ‘Recollections of A. W. Pugin,’ by Benjamin Ferrey, Esq.,
c. xviii. Mr. Ferrey, although writing with the greatest candour and
friendly spirit towards Sir C. Barry, is clearly in ignorance as to the
exact position of Mr. Pugin in the matter, and is obliged accordingly
to speak vaguely.

[82] “It was no ordinary amount or quality of work which satisfied
Mr. Barry. But with no tools but a rule and rough pencil, amidst a
continuous rattle of marvellous stories, slashing criticisms, and
shouts of laughter, Mr. Pugin would get through an amount of good work
which astonished his friend.... Whenever Mr. Barry’s fire of enthusiasm
began to pale, a visit from his ‘Comet’ sufficed to brighten it."--MS.
note _W_.

[83] It may be well here to quote a letter of Mr. Pugin’s, in which,
with his usual generosity, he disclaims the credit, which some of his
admirers imputed to him, in respect of his services in the decoration
of the New Palace.

  (_From the ‘Builder’ of Sept. 6th, 1845._)


“SIR,--As it appears by an article in the last number of the ‘Builder,’
as well as in notices contained of late in other periodicals, that
a misconception prevails as to the nature of my employment in the
works of the New Palace at Westminster, I think it incumbent on me,
in justice to Mr. Barry, to state that I am engaged by him, and
by him alone, with the approval of the Government, to assist in
preparing working drawings and models from his designs of all the
wood-carvings and other details of the internal decorations, and to
procure models and drawings of the best examples of ancient decorative
art of the proper kind, wherever they are to be found, as specimens
for the guidance of the workmen in respect of the taste and feeling
to be imitated, to engage with artists and the most skilful workmen
that can be procured in every branch of decorative art, and to
superintend personally the practical execution of the works upon the
most economical terms, compatible with the nature of it and its most
perfect performance. In fulfilling the duties of my office, I do not
do anything whatever on my own responsibility; all models and working
drawings being prepared from Mr. Barry’s designs, and submitted to him
for his approval or alteration, previous to their being carried into
effect; in fine, my occupation is simply to assist in carrying out
practically Mr. Barry’s own designs and views in all respects. Trusting
to your fairness in giving insertion to this letter in your next number,

  “I am, Sir, &c.,


“_London, Sept. 3rd, 1845._

[84] The professional reader will find a full description of the
scaffolding used, especially in the three towers, in a paper read
before the Institute of British Architects, June 15th, 1857, by my
brother, C. Barry, Esq., Fellow.

[85] This is, of course, not generally known, and for all insufficient
accommodation the architect is held responsible. Thus, for example,
the ladies’ gallery is neither large nor convenient; but it was with
great difficulty that any accommodation for ladies at all was allowed.
In the Building Committee in 1835, Lord Brougham spoke thus of the
admission of ladies: “If such a proposition is to be made, I enter my
protest against it, and shall take the sense of your lordships upon it,
as being contrary to the principle which ought to govern legislative
proceedings. I think the ladies would be better employed in almost
any other way, than in attending parliamentary debates. I like to see
them in their proper places.” The Marquis of Lansdowne added: “Ladies
are not mentioned in the Report, and, so far as I can prevent it, they
never shall be.”

[86] The office was then called that of the “Woods and Forests,” but,
to prevent confusion, I use throughout the name by which it has been
known ever since the remodelling of the department.

[87] These services are given in detail in a subjoined paper. They
were connected with the provision for public records, the Fine Arts
Commission, the warming, lighting, and ventilating, the various
Parliamentary Committees, superintendence of the Government carving
works for the New Palace of Westminster, &c.

[88] The whole of the correspondence will be found in the following
Parliamentary Papers, No. 491, of Session 1849; No. 405, of Session
1856; No. 108, Session 2 of 1857. Such portions are printed in the
appendix as contain the chief statements on both sides.

[89] There were a few members who did question it, in defiance of the
fashion of the day and the economical leanings of the House. Mr. Henry
Drummond once told the Government, that no increase of expenditure or
supposed architectural defects could be an excuse for “robbing--yes!
for robbing--Sir Charles Barry.”

[90] The design was afterwards attached, as involving the “destruction”
of the old chapel. But on investigation in 1836, evidence was given
by Sir R. Smirke, and Messrs. Inwood, Montague, Kay, Wilkins, and
Laing, that it could not with safety be preserved or restored. Sir
J. Wyattville and Messrs. Savage and Cottingham were of a contrary
opinion; but the balance of evidence was against all hope of its
preservation. It might doubtless have been rebuilt, and its intrinsic
beauty would have justified such a step; but, if rebuilt, it could
hardly have been used for secular purposes as before; and if not so
used, its position would have destroyed the whole arrangement of the

[91] The restoration, which he began, was still incomplete at the time
of his death. It was accordingly carried out by his son, Mr. E. M.
Barry, and is designed to serve as a chapel for the accommodation of
the numerous inmates of the New Palace. It appears now restored to more
than its original splendour, and the result is one which, in beauty and
richness of effect, will bear comparison with any chapel in Europe.

[92] Thus (for example) on the whole of the principal floor, except in
the altered lobbies of the House of Commons, there is not one single
step. All is on one level, and that level approached by comparatively
few and easy steps from Westminster Hall.

[93] Mr. Pugin is reported to have said (see Mr. Ferrey’s
‘Recollections,’ c. xviii. p. 247), “Barry’s grand plan was
immeasurably superior to any that “I could at that time have produced;”
adding, characteristically enough, “besides, the Commissioners would
have killed me in a twelvemonth.” He allowed that in the symmetry of
the general plan convenience was as well preserved, as it could have
been under the greatest irregularity.

[94] “In composing, he always began with the simplest forms, and never
made a break, till he felt it absolutely necessary. If the length of a
front was too great for its height he admitted flanking towers. These
did not destroy the unity of the mass. But to raise the centre was
to cut the mass into three separate parts--a decomposition which he
abhorred.” In the river front “the excessive length compelled him to
raise the centre, but nothing would induce him to advance it."--MS.
note _W_.

[95] The present central tower was not a feature of the original
design. It was added to meet the requirements of Dr. Reid.

[96] He had already ventured to remove on his own responsibility one of
the enormous buttresses, supposed to support the roof, which interfered
with the development of his plan.

[97] His general inclination to sacrifice a grand staircase, if by the
sacrifice he could obtain a great hall, has been noticed in Chapter
IV. In his original design a great staircase led from the central hall
direct to the committee-rooms. This was also given up.

[98] I remember that he was greatly struck with the windows of the
churches at Nuremberg in this respect. The new Munich glass, beautiful
in itself, he thought wrong in principle, as ignoring the primary
object of a window, and attempting the effects of regular painting.

[99] Two stories, equal in importance, were not satisfactory. There
was duality of design. In grand compositions he preferred, on a base
well raised above the ground, three stories nearly alike; but the
upper one somewhat more important (as in the Farnese Palace), so as,
in some measure, to combine the three. When the three stories differed
much, they should be perfectly dissimilar. By making the middle one
the principal; the upper, of little importance; and the lower, a mere
basement, the eye would not be distracted by three separate objects,
but would rest upon the one principal story, by viewing the others as
subordinate. When two stories only could be introduced, he preferred
that the upper should be the principal, and the lower, a basement--as
in the Thiene Palace at Vicenza. In the Reform Club and Bridgewater
House, where he could not make the upper story important, he would, had
convenience allowed, have made the lower one much less so than we now
see it. Two stories of nearly equal importance, as in Whitehall and his
New Palace, jarred with his principle of unity.--MS. note _W_.

[100] This tower has no diminution. He was quite aware, from the
time he noticed Giotto’s Campanile, that such objects will, under
certain aspects, appear larger above than below; and had this tower
been plain, and without turrets, no doubt the optical illusion would
have been corrected. But a diminution in the turrets would have made
their inner sides out of parallel with the vertical lines on the
face of the towers, and set-offs would have caused dislocation in
the panelling--irregularities not to be thought of. For, full as Mr.
Barry’s mind was of grand ideas, he was acutely sensitive in matters
of the minutest detail. In the architectural decorations of his New
Palace, extensive and elaborate as they are, every part has exquisite
finish, and there will hardly be found the smallest defect, or even
irregularity, that care or ingenuity could avoid.--MS. note _W_.

[101] This tendency to alteration grew upon him perhaps to excess
in his later years. His taste, always fastidious, became morbidly
sensitive; he could not tolerate the slightest appearance of defect in
proportion or detail. The inevitable effect was not only great waste
of labour and money, but occasionally a danger of losing the original
harmony of a design in the multiplicity of alterations. But it was only
an exaggeration of the one true secret of success and perfection--“the
capacity of taking infinite pains.”

[102] Thus, for example, the panels on the river front contain the
coats of arms of all the sovereigns of England, from William I. to
Victoria; the niches on the flanks contain statues of the Saxon kings
and queens; the reigning family is exalted in the niches of the
Victoria tower, &c.

[103] I do not think it necessary to give a detailed description of
the design and decoration of the building. For this I would refer to
the illustrations of the New Palace of Westminster by E. N. Holmes,
Esq. (Warrington), to the official Handbook to the New Palace of
Westminster, and to a paper read before the Institute of British
Architects, on February 1st, 1858, by E. M. Barry, Esq., A.R.A.

[104] At the foot of this staircase stands the statue of the architect,
in a position sufficiently public, but not very central or commanding.

[105] For almost the whole of this chapter I am indebted to Mr. Wolfe.
He alone aided Sir Charles by encouragement and help, by suggestion and
criticism, in the labour of the first conception of the design, and the
greater labour of its subsequent development.

[106] He did not regard even Clapham Church as hopeless, as a sketch
for a chancel made in his Prayer-book before service can testify. But
such sketches were sometimes dangerously artistic, and excited hopes
which it was hard to realize.

[107] Thus in the competition for the New Palace at Westminster it was
thought highly liberal to offer four premiums of 500_l._ each. In the
competition (now going on) for the new Law Courts, each of the selected
competitors, some twelve in number, receives 800_l._

[108] It is strange that great builders, who are encircling our chief
towns with lines of “villa residences” generally vile in point of
architecture, so seldom take the trouble to secure from some good
architect a series of designs (to be carried out by themselves), both
for the general laying out of a district, and for individual houses.
The cost to them, and therefore the increase of rent to tenants, would
be trifling, where the work was on a large scale; the gain to the
public would be incalculable.

[109] In speaking of this as an advantage, it was, of course,
conceived that some provision should be made for the hundreds of
people dispossessed. Sir Charles surveyed the district, not without
considerable difficulty, and he found that inordinate profits were made
out of the misery of its crowded and filthy dens.

[110] At the present time (1866) the site is being cleared of the
buildings upon it at a cost roughly estimated at 1,250,000_l._; and
designs are being prepared in competition by a limited number of
architects for a “Palace of Justice” on a scale of unprecedented

[111] The information on this subject is derived from my eldest
brother. He adds, “It may be doubted whether any ability of treatment
would have made a design perfectly satisfactory, which involved so
large a surface of stone wall, unrelieved by windows. But, had this
proved to be the case, Sir Charles would certainly have modified it
in execution, in the course of that consideration and reconsideration
which he invariably bestowed upon his designs.”

[112] It has been already stated that the position of Bridgewater House
was fixed in distinct relation to this plan.

[113] I find the first notice of such designs in his Diary for 1843.

[114] See Parliamentary Paper No. 55, Session 1863.

[115] See Parliamentary Paper No. 333, Session 1855.

[116] Mr. Digby Wyatt, whose official connection gave him the
opportunity of accurate knowledge in the matter, says: “The section of
the columns, with its ingenious provisions for attachment of girders
and superposition of other columns, the general proportions and
arrangement of the leading parts, and the form of the transept roof
(which I saw him sketch on the suggestion of Brunel, that, rather than
cut down or exclude the great trees, it would be better to roof them
in), were all his.”

[117] M. Hittorf is clearly a strong anti-Gothicist. Whatever praise he
gives to the New Palace at Westminster is, as it were, under protest.
But the Gothic School of French Architecture were not behindhand in
their appreciation of Sir Charles Barry’s works.

[118] I subjoin it, as his last architectural opinion delivered:--

“Protest of the undersigned, a member of the Committee for carrying
into effect certain internal alterations and decorations of St. Paul’s
Cathedral, in respect of a proposed second organ, and a new screen to
the choir, upon the following grounds:--

 “1. Because upon æsthetical as well as practical grounds, it is
 undesirable to have an organ of large dimensions in the south transept.

 “2. Because if a second organ be required, it might be erected, not
 only without any disfigurement of the cathedral, but with advantage
 to its effect, in a capacious gallery over the western entrance to
 the nave, where it is considered that an instrument and a choir of
 sufficient power might be accommodated, and heard with striking effect
 throughout the cathedral.

 “3. Because, owing to the great size of the proposed organ and
 gallery, &c., it would have the effect of a gigantic piece of
 furniture out of scale with the building, and tend to destroy the
 simplicity, harmony, capacity, and grandeur of the interior of the

 “4. Because, as it is proposed to make use of the marble columns of
 the old screen to the choir to support the gallery for the proposed
 organ, the opportunity will be lost of employing those columns (in
 connexion with certain beautiful iron work, in and about the choir,
 and no longer required in its present situation), with striking effect
 and great economy, in the formation of the proposed new screen to the
 choir of the peculiar character required.

 “And lastly. Because if a second organ must be placed in the south
 transept, the sub-committee have not had sufficient opportunity of
 duly considering the design of the proposed organ-case, gallery, &c.

  “_8th May, 1860._


[119] He never built himself a house, but wherever he went he carried
out his delight in alterations and reconstructions. No house of his
was ever quite untouched; and his landlords must have found him a most
excellent tenant.

[120] A “Barry Club,” formed and kept up for some years by those who
belonged to his office, was a practical evidence of their feelings. It
seems almost invidious to single out any one of these, to whose aid he
owed so much. But I cannot pass over the name of R. R. Banks, Esq., the
head of his office for many years (the years in which the chief work of
design was done), and afterwards the partner of my eldest brother. All
who know anything of the work then done, know how much it owed to his
single-hearted energy, ability, and conscientiousness. And Sir Charles
himself was well aware of the warmth of attachment, which animated that
active and conscientious labour.

[121] One great inventor (a German) passed into a proverb with us. He
had some invention which was to cure smoky chimneys, and his favourite
declaration was “All men are fools; it is me shall make him (the smoke)
go straight high.” But he was only an extreme type of a very numerous
class, and he certainly acted as if he believed his preliminary axiom.

[122] Report in ‘Times,’ May 23rd, 1860.

[123] Agreed to, as a matter of course.

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