HotFreeBooks.com
A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume Three
by Thomas Frognall Dibdin
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Having sauntered round and round, and returned almost to the very spot whence I had set out, I at last found the residence of the librarian.—On being admitted, I was introduced to a tall, sharp-visaged, and melancholy-complexioned gentleman, who seemed to rise six feet from the ground on receiving me. He read the Professor's note: but alas! could not speak one word of French. "Placetne tibi, Domine, sermone latino uti?" I answered in the affirmative; but confessed that I was totally out of the habit of speaking it in England: and besides, that our mode of pronunciation was very different from that of other countries. The man of dark vestments and sombre countenance relaxed into a gentle smile, as I added the latter part of this remark: and I accompanied him quickly, but silently, to the library in question. Its situation is surely among the most whimsical in existence. It is placed up one pair of stairs, to the left of the choir; and you ascend up to it through a gloomy and narrow stone staircase. If I remember rightly, the outward door, connecting with the stairs, is in the cathedral yard. The library itself is very small; and a print, being a portrait of its Donor, hangs up against the shelves—facing as you enter. I had never seen this print before. It was an interesting portrait; and had, I think, a date of somewhere about 1584. The collection was chiefly theological; yet there were a few old classics, but of very secondary value. The only book that I absolutely coveted, was a folio, somewhat charged with writing in the margins, of which the title and colophon are as follow:—for I obtained permission to make a memorandum of them. "Gutheri Ligurini Poetae clarissimi diui Frid. pri Dece libri foeliciter editi: impssi per industriu & ingeniosu Magistru Erhardu Oeglin ciuem augustesem Ano Sesquimillesimo & septimo mese Apprilio" This edition contains M vj, in sixes. The preceding article is followed by six leaves, containing supplemental matter.

I asked my sable attendant, if this book could be parted with—either for money, or in exchange for other books? he replied, "that that point must be submitted to the consideration of a chapter: that the library was rarely or never visited; but that he considered it would not be proper to disturb its order, or to destroy its identity, since it was a sacred legacy." I told him that he reasoned well; but that, should the chapter change such a resolution, my address would be found at Vienna, poste restante, till the 20th of the following month. We parted in terms of formal politeness; being now and then a little checked in my discourse, by the reply, on his part, of "Non prorsus intelligo." I am glad, however, to have seen this secluded cabinet of books; which would have been the very place for the study of Anthony Wood or Thomas Hearne. It had quite an air of monastic seclusion, and it seemed as if scarcely six persons had trod the floor, or six volumes had been taken down from the shelves, since the day when the key was first turned upon the door which encloses the collection. After a few "salves," and one "vale," I returned to the White Stag.

The CATHEDRAL of ULM is doubtless among the most respectable of those upon the continent. It is large and wide, and of a massive and imposing style of architecture. The buttresses are bold, and very much after the English fashion. The tower is the chief exterior beauty. Before we mounted it, we begged the guide, who attended us, to conduct us all over the interior. This interior is very noble: and even superior, as a piece of architecture, to that of Strasbourg. I should think it even longer and wider—for the truth is, that the tower of Strasbourg Cathedral is as much too tall, as that of Ulm cathedral is too short, for its nave and choir. Not very long ago, they had covered the interior by a white wash; and thus the mellow tint of probably about five centuries—in a spot where there are few immediately surrounding houses—and in a town of which the manufactories and population are comparatively small—the latter about 14,000—thus, I say, the mellow tint of these five centuries (for I suppose the cathedral to have been finished about the year 1320) has been cruelly changed for the staring and chilling effects of whiting.

The choir is interesting in a high degree. At the extremity of it, is an altar—indicative of the Lutheran form of worship[24] being carried on within the church—upon which are oil paintings upon wood, emblazoned with gilt backgrounds—of the time of Hans Burgmair, and of others at the revival of the art of painting in Germany. These pictures turn upon hinges, so as to shut up, or be thrown open; and are in the highest state of preservation. Their subjects are entirely scriptural; and perhaps old John Holbein, the father of the famous Hans Holbein, might have had a share in some of them. Perhaps they may come down to the time of Lucas Cranach. Whenever, or by whomsoever executed, this series of paintings, upon the high altar of the cathedral of Ulm, cannot be viewed without considerable satisfaction. They were the first choice specimens of early art which I had seen on this side of the Rhine; and I of course contemplated them with the hungry eye of an antiquary.

After a careful survey of the interior, the whole of which had quite the air of English cleanliness and order, we prepared to mount the famous tower. Our valet, Rohfritsch, led the way; counting the steps as he mounted, and finding them to be about three hundred and seventy-eight in number. He was succeeded by the guide. Mr. Lewis and myself followed in a more leisurely manner; peeping through the interstices which presented themselves in the open fretwork of the ornaments, and finding, as we continued to ascend, that the inhabitants and dwelling houses of Ulm diminished gradually in size. At length we gained the summit, which is surrounded by a parapet wall of some three or four feet in height. We paused a minute, to recover our breath, and to look at the prospect which surrounded us. The town, at our feet, looked like the metropolis of Laputa. Yet the high ground, by which we had descended into the town—and upon which Bonaparte's army was formerly encamped—seemed to be more lofty than the spot whereon we stood. On the opposite side flowed the Danube: not broad, nor, as I learnt very deep; but rapid, and in a serpentine direction. The river here begins to be navigable for larger boats; but there is little appearance of bustle or business upon the quays. Few or no white sails, floating down the stream, catch the morning or the evening sun-beam: no grove of masts: no shouts of mariners: no commercial rivalry. But what then? Close to the very spot where we stood, our attention was directed to a circumstance infinitely more interesting, to the whimsical fancy of an Antiquary, than a whole forest of masts. What might this be? Listen.

"Do you observe, here, gentlemen?" said the guide—pointing to the coping of the parapet wall, where the stone is a little rubbed, "I do"—(replied I) "What may this mean?" "Look below, Sir, (resumed he) how fearfully deep it is. You would not like to tumble down from hence?" This remark could admit but of one answer—in the negative; yet the man seemed to be preparing himself to announce some marvellous fact, and I continued mute. "Mark well, gentlemen; (continued he) it was here, on this identical spot, that our famous EMPEROR MAXIMILIAN stood upon one leg, and turned himself quite round, to the astonishment and trepidation of his attendants! He was a man of great bravery, and this was one of his pranks to shew his courage. This story, gentlemen, has descended to us for three centuries; and not long ago the example of the Emperor was attempted to be imitated by two officers,—one of whom failed, and the other succeeded. The first lost his balance, and was precipitated to the earth—dying the very instant he touched the ground; the second succeeded, and declared himself, in consequence, MAXIMILIAN the SECOND!" I should tell you, however, that these attempts were not made on the same day. The officers were Austrian.

The room in the middle of the platform, and surmounted by a small spire does not appear to be used for any particular purpose. Having satisfied our curiosity, and in particular stretched our eyes "as far (to borrow Caxton's language) as we well might"—in the direction of Hochstedt—we descended, extremely gratified; and sought the hotel and our dinner. Upon the whole, the cathedral of Ulm is a noble ecclesiastical edifice: uniting simplicity and purity with massiveness of composition. Few cathedrals are more uniform in the style of their architecture. It seems to be, to borrow technical language, all of a piece. Near it, forming the foreground of the Munich print, are a chapel and a house surrounded by trees. The chapel is very small, and, as I learnt, not used for religious purposes. The house (so Professor Veesenmeyer informed me) is supposed to have been the residence and offices of business of JOHN ZEINER, the well known printer, who commenced his typographical labours about the year 1470,[25] and who uniformly printed at Ulm; while his brother GUNTHER as uniformly exercised his art in the city whence I am now addressing you. They were both natives of Reutlingen; a town of some note between Tubingen and Ulm.

Let no man, from henceforth, assert that all culinary refinement ceases when you cross the Rhine; at least, let him not do so till he has tasted the raspberry-flavoured soufflet of the White Stag of Ulm. It came on the table like unto a mountain of cream and eggs, spreading its extremities to the very confines of the dish; but, when touched by the magic-working spoon, it collapsed, and concentrated into a dish of moderate and seemly dimensions. In other words, this very soufflet—considered by some as the crux of refined cookery—was an exemplification of all the essential requisites of the culinary art: but without the cotelette, it would not have satisfied appetites which had been sharpened by the air of the summit of the tower of the cathedral. The inn itself is both comfortable and spacious. We dined at one corner of a ball-room, upon the first floor, looking upon a very pleasant garden. After dinner, I hastened to pay my respects to Professor Veesenmeyer, according to appointment. I found him, where all Professors rejoice to be found, in the centre of his library. He had doffed the first dress in which I had seen him; and the long pipe was reposing horizontally upon a table covered with green baize. We began a bibliographical conversation immediately; and he shewed me, with the exultation of a man who is conscious of possessing treasures for which few, comparatively, have any relish—his early printed volumes, upon the lower shelf of his collection.

Evening was coming on, and the daylight began to be treacherous for a critical examination into the condition of old volumes. The Professor told me he would send me a note, the next morning, of what further he possessed in the department of early printing,[26] and begged, in the mean time, that he might take a walk with me in the town. I accepted his friendly offer willingly, and we strolled about together. There is nothing very interesting, on the score of antiquities, except it be the Rath Haus, or Town Hall; of which the greater part may be, within a century, as old as the Cathedral.[27]

On the following morning I left Ulm, well pleased to have visited the city; and, had the time allowed, much disposed to spend another twenty-four hours within its walls. But I had not quitted my bed (and it was between six and seven o'clock in the morning) before my good friend the Professor was announced: and in half a second was standing at the foot of it. He pulled off his green cloth cap, in which I had first seen him—and I pulled off my night cap, to return his salutation—raising myself in bed. He apologised for such an early intrusion, but said "the duties of his situation led him to be an early riser; and that, at seven, his business of instructing youth was to begin." I thanked him heartily for his polite attentions—little expecting the honour of so early a visit. He then assumed a graver expression of countenance, and a deeper tone of voice; and added, in the Latin language—"May it please Providence, worthy Sir, to restore you safely, (after you shall have examined the treasures in the imperial library of Vienna) to your wife and family. It will always gratify me to hear of your welfare." The Professor then bowed: shut the door quickly, and I saw him no more. I mention this little anecdote, merely to give you an idea of the extreme simplicity, and friendliness of disposition, (which I have already observed in more than this one instance) of the German character.

The day of my departure was market-day at Ulm. Having ordered the horses at ten o'clock, I took a stroll in the market-place, and saw the several sights which are exhibited on such occasions. Poultry, meat, vegetables, butter, eggs, and—about three stalls of modern books. These books were, necessarily, almost wholly, published in the German language; but as I am fond of reading the popular manuals of instruction of every country—whether these instructions be moral, historical, or facetious—I purchased a couple of copies of the Almanac Historique nomme Le Messager Boiteux, &c: a quarto publication, printed in the sorriest chap-book manner, at Colmar, and of which the fictitious name of Antoine Souci, Astronome et Hist. stands in the title-page as the author. A wood-cut of an old fellow with a wooden leg, and a letter in his right hand, is intended to grace this title-page. "Do you believe (said I to the young woman, who sold me the book, and who could luckily stammer forth a few words of French) what the author of this work says?" "Yes, Sir, I believe even more than what he says—" was the instant reply of the credulous vender of the tome. Every body around seemed to be in good health and good spirits; and a more cheerful opening of a market-day could not have been witnessed. Perhaps, to a stranger, there is no sight which makes him more solicitous to become acquainted with new faces, in a new country, than such a scene as this. All was hilarity and good humour: while, above, was a sky as bright and blue as ever was introduced into an illuminated copy of the devotional volumes printed by the father of the ULM PRESS; to wit, John Zeiner of Reutlingen.

We crossed the Danube a little after ten o'clock, and entered the territories of the King of BAVARIA. Fresh liveries to the postilion—light blue, with white facings—a horn slung across the shoulders, to which the postilion applied his lips to blow a merry blast[28]all animated us: as, upon paying the tax at the barriers, we sprung forward at a sharp trot towards Augsbourg. The morning continued fine, but the country was rather flat; which enabled us, however, as we turned a frequent look behind, to keep the tower of the cathedral of Ulm in view even for some half dozen miles. The distance before us now became a little more hilly: and we began to have the first glimpse of those forests of firs which abound throughout Bavaria. They seem at times interminable. Meanwhile, the churches, thinly scattered here and there; had a sort of mosque or globular shaped summit, crowned by a short and slender spire; while the villages appeared very humble, but with few or no beggars assailing you upon changing horses. We had scarcely reached Guenzbourg, the first stage, and about fourteen miles from Ulm, when we obtained a glimpse of what appeared to be some lofty mountains at the distance of forty or fifty miles. Upon enquiry, I found that they were a part of a chain of mountains connected with those in the Tyrol.

It was about five o'clock when we reached AUGSBOURG; and, on entering it, we could not but be struck with the painted exteriors, and elaborate style of architecture, of the houses. We noticed, with surprise not wholly divested of admiration, shepherds and shepherdesses, heroes and heroines, piazzas, palaces, cascades, and fountains—in colours rather gay than appropriate—depicted upon the exterior walls:—and it seemed as if the accidents of weather and of time had rarely visited these decorations. All was fresh, and gay, and imposing. But a word about our Inn, (The Three Moors) before I take you out of doors. It is very large; and, what is better, the owner of it is very civil. Your carriage drives into a covered gate way or vestibule, from whence the different stair-cases, or principal doors, lead to the several divisions of the house. The front of the house is rich and elegant. On admiring it, the waiter observed—"Yes, Sir, this front is worthy of the reputation which the Hotel of the Three Moors possesses throughout Europe." I admitted it was most respectable. Our bed rooms are superb—though, by preference, I always chose the upper suit of apartments. The caffe for dining, below, is large and commodious; and I had hardly bespoke my first dinner, when the head-waiter put the travelling book into my hands: that is, a book, or album, in which the names and qualities of all the guests at that inn, from all parts of Europe, are duly registered. I saw the names of several of my countrymen whom I well knew; and inscribed my own name, and that of my companion, with the simplest adjuncts that could be devised. In doing so, I acted only according to precedent. But the boast and glory of this Inn is its GALLERY OF PICTURES: for sale. The great ball-room, together with sundry corridores and cabinets adjoining, are full of these pictures; and, what renders the view of them more delectable, is, the Catalogue:—printed in the English language, and of which a German is the reputed author.

My attention, upon first running over these pictures was, unluckily, much divided between them and the vehicle of their description. If I turned to the number, and to the description in the printed catalogue, the language of the latter was frequently so whimsical that I could not refrain from downright laughter.[29] However, the substance must not be neglected for the shadow; and it is right that you should know, in case you put your travelling scheme of visiting this country, next year, into execution, that the following observations may not be wholly without their use in directing your choice—as well as attention—should you be disposed to purchase. Here is said to be a portrait of Arcolano Armafrodita, a famous physician at Rome in the XVth century, by Leonardo da Vinci. Believe neither the one nor the other. There are some Albert Durers; one of the Trinity, of the date of 1523, and another of the Doctors of the Church dated 1494: the latter good, and a choice picture of the early time of the master. A portrait of an old man, kit-cat, supposed by Murillo. Two ancient pictures by Holbein (that is, the Father of Hans Holbein) of the Fugger family—containing nine figures, portraits, of the size of life: dated 1517 and deserving of notice. An old woman veiled, half-length, by J. Levens: very good. Here are two Lucas Cranachs, which I should like to purchase; but am fearful of dipping too deeply into Madame Francs's supplemental supply. One is a supposed portrait (it is a mere supposition) of Erasmus and his mistress; the other is an old man conversing with a girl. As specimens of colouring, they are fine—for the master; but I suspect they have had a few retouches. Here is what the catalogue calls "A fuddling-bout. beautyful small piece, by Rembrand:" n. 188: but it is any thing but a beautiful piece, and any thing but a Rembrandt.

There is a small picture, said to be by Marchessini, of "Christ dragged to the place of execution." It is full of spirit, and I think quite original. At first I mistook it for a Rubens; and if Marchessini, and not Otho Venius, had been his master, this mistake would have been natural. I think I could cull a nosegay of a few vivid and fragrant flowers, from this graphic garden of plants of all colours and qualities. But I shrewdly suspect that they are in general the off-scourings of public or private collections; and that a thick coat of varnish and a broad gilt frame will often lead the unwary astray.

While I am upon the subject of paintings, I must take you with me to the TOWN HALL ... a noble structure; of which the audience room, up one pair of stairs—and in which Charles V. received the deputies respecting the famous Augsbourg Confession of Faith, in 1530,—is, to my taste, the most perfectly handsome room which I have ever seen. The wainscot or sides are walnut and chestnut wood, relieved by beautiful gilt ornaments. The ceiling is also of the same materials; but marked and diversified by divisions of square, or parallelogram, or oval, or circular, forms. This ceiling is very lofty, for the size of the room: but it is a fault (if it be one) on the right side. I should say, that this were a chamber worthy of the cause—and of the actors—in the scene alluded to. It is thoroughly imperial: grave, grand, and yet not preposterously gorgeous.

Above this magnificent room is the PICTURE GALLERY. It is said to receive the overflowings of the gallery of Munich—which, in turn, has been indebted to the well known gallery of Dusseldorf for its principal treasures. However, as a receiver of cast-off apparel, this collection must be necessarily inferior to the parent wardrobe, yet I would strongly recommend every English Antiquary—at all desirous of increasing his knowledge, and improving his taste, in early German art—to pay due attention to this singular collection of pictures at Augsbourg. He will see here, for the first time in Bavaria—in his route from the capital of France—productions, quite new in character, and not less striking from boldness of conception and vigor of execution. Augsbourg may now be considered the soil of the Elder Holbein, Hans Burgmair, Amberger, and Lucas Cranach. Here are things, of which Richardson never dreamt, and which Walpole would have parted with three fourths of his graphic embellishments at Strawberry Hill to have possessed. Here are also portraits of some of the early Reformers, of which an excellent Divine (in the vicinity of Hackney church) would leap with transport to possess copies, wherewith to adorn his admirable collection of English ecclesiastical history. Here, too, are capricious drolleries, full of character and singularity—throwing light upon past manners and customs—which the excellent PROSPERO would view with ... an almost coveting eye!

But to be more particular; and to begin with the notice of a curious performance of John, or the ELDER HOLBEIN. It is divided, like many of the pictures of the old German masters, into three compartments. The Nativity occupies one; the Assumption another: and the decapitation of St. Dorothy the third. In the Assumption, the Trinity, composed of three male figures, is introduced as sanctifying the Virgin—who is in front. Below this group is the church of "Maria Maior," having two bells in the steeple; upon one of which, in the act of being tolled, is the date of 1499: upon the other, in a quiescent state, are the words HANS HOLBEIN: with the initial L.B. to the right. To the left, at bottom, is the inscription HIE LITBE GRA; to the right, below, on a piece of stone, the initial H. The third piece in this composition, the death of St. Dorothy, exhibits a sweetly-drawn and sweetly coloured countenance in that of the devoted Saint. She is kneeling, about to receive the uplifted sword of the executioner; evincing a firmness, yet meekness of resignation, not unworthy the virgin martyrs of the pencils of Raphael and Guido. Her hair is long, and flows gracefully behind. A little boy, habited in a whimsical jacket, offers her a vase filled with flowers. The whole picture is rich and mellow in its colouring, and in a fine state of preservation.

Another piece, by the same uncommon artist, may be also worth particular notice. It is a miscellaneous performance, divided into three compartments; having, in the upper part of the first, a representation of the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our Saviour is placed in a very singular situation, within a rock. The comforting angel appears just above him. Below is the Pope, in full costume, in the character of St. Peter, with a key in his left hand, and in his right a scroll; upon the latter of which is this inscription: "Auctoritate aplica dimitto vob omia pcta"[30] The date of 1501 is below. This picture, which is exceedingly gorgeous, is in the purest state of preservation. Another compartment represents our Saviour and the Virgin surrounded by male and female martyrs. One man, with his arms over his head, and a nail driven through them into his skull, is very striking: the head being well drawn and coloured. To the left, are the Pope, Bishops, and a Cardinal between St. Christopher and a man in armour. One Bishop (St. Erasmus) carries a spit in his left hand, designating the instrument whereby he suffered death. This large picture is also in a very fine state of preservation.

A third display of the graphic talents of the Elder Holbein (as I should conceive, rather than of the son, when young—as is generally believed) claims especial notice. This picture is a representation of the leading events in the Life of St. Paul; having, like most other performances of this period, many episodes or digressions. It is also divided into three compartments; of which the central one, as usual, is the most elevated. The first compartment, to the left, represents the conversion of St. Paul above, with his baptism by Ananias below. In this baptism is represented a glory round the head of St. Paul—such as we see round that of Christ. Before them stands a boy, with a lighted torch and a box: an old man is to the left, and another, with two children, to the right. This second old man's head is rather fine. To the left of the baptism, a little above, is St. Paul in prison, giving a letter to a messenger. The whole piece is, throughout, richly and warmly coloured, and in a fine state of preservation. The central piece has, above, ["Basilica Sancti Pauli."] Christ crowned with thorns. The man, putting a sceptre in his hand, is most singularly and not inelegantly clothed; but one or two of the figures of the men behind, occupied in platting the crown of thorns, have a most extraordinary and original cast of countenance and of head-dress. They appear ferocious, but almost ludicrous, from bordering upon caricature; while the leaves; and bullrush-like ornaments of their head-dress, render them very singularly striking personages. To the right, Joseph of Arimathea is bargaining for the body of Jesus; the finger of one hand placed against the thumb of the other telling the nature of the action admirably.

Below this subject, in the centre, is St. Paul preaching at Athens. One of the figures, listening to the orator with folded arms, might have given the hint to Raphael for one of his figures, in a similar attitude, introduced into the famous cartoon of the same subject. Before St. Paul, below, a woman is sitting—looking at him, and having her back turned to the spectator. The head-dress of this figure, which is white, is not ungraceful. I made a rude copy of it; but if I had even coloured like * * * I could not have done justice to the neck and back; which exhibited a tone of colour that seemed to unite all the warmth of Titian with all the freshness of Rubens. In the foreground of this picture, to the right, St. Peter and St. Paul are being led to execution. There is great vigour of conception and of touch (perhaps bordering somewhat upon caricature) in the countenances of the soldiers. One of them is shewing his teeth, with a savage grin, whilst he is goading on the Apostles to execution. The headless trunk of St. Paul, with blood spouting from it, lies to the left; the executioner, having performed his office, is deliberately sheathing his sword. The colouring throughout may be considered perfect. We now come to the remaining, or third compartment. This exhibits the interment of St. Paul. There is a procession from a church, led on by the Pope, who carries the head of the Apostle upon a napkin. The same head is also represented as placed between the feet of the corpse, in the foreground. There is a clever figure, in profile, of a man kneeling in front: the colouring of the robe of a Bishop, also kneeling, is rich and harmonious. A man, with a glory round his head, is let down in a basket, as from prison, to witness the funeral. But let me not forget to notice the head of an old man, in the procession, (coming out of the church-door) and turning towards the left:—it is admirably well touched.

I shall now give you a notion of the talents of HANS BURGMAIR—a painter, as well as engraver, of first-rate abilities. I will begin with what I consider to be the most elaborate specimen of his pencil in this most curious gallery of pictures. The subject is serious, but miscellaneous: and of the date of 1501. It consists of Patriarchs, Evangelists, Martyrs, male and female, and Popes, &c. The Virgin and Christ are sitting, at top, in distinguished majesty. The countenances of the whole group are full of nature and expression: that of the Virgin is doubtless painted after a living subject. It exhibits the prevailing or favourite mouth of the artist; which happens however to be generally somewhat awry. The cherub, holding up a white crown, and thrusting his arm as it were towards the spot where it is to be fixed, is prettily conceived. Upon the whole, this picture contains some very fine heads.

Another picture of Hans Burgmair, worth especial attention, is dated 1504. It is, as usual, divided, into three compartments; and the subject is that of St. Ursula and her Virgins. Although of less solid merit than the preceding, it is infinitely more striking; being most singularly conceived and executed. The gold ornaments, and gold grounds, are throughout managed with a freedom and minuteness of touch which distinguish many of the most beautiful early missals. In the first compartment, or division, are a group of women round "Sibila Ancyra Phrygiae." The dresses of these women, especially about the breast, are very curious. Some of their head dresses are not less striking, but more simple; having what may be called a cushion of gold at the back of them. In the second compartment is the Crucifixion—in the warmest and richest (says my memorandum, taken on the very spot) glow of colour. Beneath, there is a singular composition. Before a church, is a group of pilgrims with staves and hats on; a man, not in the attire of a pilgrim, heads them; he is habited in green, and points backwards towards a woman, who is retreating; a book is in his left hand. The attitudes of both are very natural. Further to the right, a man is retreating—going through an archway—with a badge (a pair of cross keys) upon his shoulder. The retreating woman has also the same badge. To the left, another pilgrim is sitting, apparently to watch; further up, is a house, towards which all the pilgrims seem to be directing their steps to enter. A man and woman come out of this house to receive them with open arms. The third division continues the History of St. Ursula. Her attire, sitting in a vessel by the side of her husband Gutherus, is sumptuous in the extreme. I would have given four ducats for a copy of it, but Mr. Lewis was otherwise engaged. A Pope and Cardinal are to the right of St. Ursula: the whole being in a perfect blaze of splendour. Below, they are dragging the female Saint and her virgin companions on shore, for the purpose of decapitation. An attitude of horror, in one of the virgins, is very striking.

There is a small picture by Burgmair of the Virgin and Christ, in the manner of the Italian masters, which is a palpable failure. The infant is wretchedly drawn, although, in other respects, prettily and tenderly coloured. Burgmair was out of his element in subjects of dignity, or rather of repose. Where the workings of the mind were not to be depicted by strong demarcations of countenance, he was generally unsuccessful. Hence it is, that in a subject of the greatest repose, but at the same time intensity of feeling—the Crucifixion—this master, in a picture here, of the date of 1519, has really outdone himself: and perhaps is not to be excelled by any artist of the same period. I could not take my eyes from this picture—of which the figures are about half the size of life. It is thus treated. Our Saviour has just breathed his dying exclamation—"it is finished." His head hangs down—cold, pale death being imprinted upon every feature of the face. It is perhaps a painfully-deadly countenance: copied, I make no doubt, from nature. St. Anne, Mary, and St. John, are the only attendants. The former is quite absorbed in agony—her head is lowly inclined, and her arms are above it. (The pattern of the drapery is rather singular). Mary exhibits a more quiet expression: her resignation is calm and fixed, while her heart seems to be broken. But it is in the figure and countenance of St. John, that the artist has reached all that an artist could reach in a delineation of the same subject. The beloved disciple simply looks upwards—upon the breathless corpse of his crucified master. In that look, the world appears to be for ever forgotten. His arms and hands are locked together, in the agony of his soul. There is the sublimest abstraction from every artificial and frivolous accompaniment—in the treatment of this subject—which you can possibly conceive. The background of the picture is worthy of its nobler parts. There is a sobriety of colouring about it which Annibal Caracci would not have disdained to own. I should add, that there is a folding compartment on each side of the principal subject, which, moving upon hinges, may be turned inwards, and shut the whole from view. Each of these compartments contains one of the two thieves who were crucified with Our Saviour. There is a figure of S. Lazarus below one of them, which is very fine for colour and drawing.

The last, in the series of old pictures by German masters, which I have time to notice, is an exceedingly curious and valuable one by CHRISTOPHER AMBERGER. It represents the Adoration of the Magi. There are throughout very successful attempts at reflected light; but what should set this picture above all price, in my humble estimation, is a portrait—and the finest which I remember to have seen—of MELANCTHON:—executed when he was in the vigour of life, and in the full possession of physiognomical expression. He is introduced in the stable just over those near the Virgin, who are coming to pay their homage to the infant Christ: and is habited in black, with a black cap on. Mr. Lewis made the following rough copy of the head in pencil. To the best of my recollection, there is no engraving of it—so that you will preserve the enclosed for me, for the purpose of having it executed upon copper, when I reach England. It is a countenance full of intellectual expression.



Of the supposed Titians, Caraccis, Guidos, Cignanis, and Paolo Veroneses, I will not presume to say one word; because I have great doubts about their genuineness, or, at any rate, integrity of condition. I looked about for Albert Durer, and Lucas Cranach, and saw with pleasure the portraits of my old friends Maximilian I. and Charles V. by the former—and a Samson and Dalila by the latter: but neither, I think, in the very first rate style of the artist.

There was a frightful, but expressive and well coloured, head of a Dwarf, or Fool, of which Mr. Lewis took a pencil-copy; but it is not of sufficient importance to enclose in this despatch. It is the EARLY GERMAN SCHOOL of Art which is here the grand and almost exclusive feature of attraction—speaking in an antiquarian point of view. ReIchard estimates the number of these pictures at twelve hundred, but I should rather say seven hundred.

I find, however, that it will be impossible to compress all my Augsbourg intelligence in one epistle; and so I reserve the remainder for another opportunity.

[23] [Several years have elapsed since I have received a letter from Mons. Le Bret. Is he alive? If he be living, let him be assured of my unalterable and respectful attachment: and that I have unfeigned pleasure in annexing a fac-simile of his AUTOGRAPH—from a letter to me of the date of June 8th 1819: a letter, which I received on the 17th of the same month following—the very day of our Roxburghe Anniversary Dinner. Singularly enough, this letter begins in the following strain of bibliographical jocoseness: "Monsieur, et tres reverend Frere de Boocace l'Immortel!"]



[24] The predominant religion is the Protestant. Indeed I may say that the number of Catholics is exceedingly limited: perhaps, not an eighth part of the population of the town.

[25] I presume this to be the earliest date which any of his books exhibit. His brother GUNTHER, or GINTHER (for the name is spelt both ways in his colophons) began to print in 1468. Lord Spencer possesses a beautiful copy (which I obtained from the library of St. Peter's Monastery, at Salzbourg) of Bonaventure's Meditations upon the Life of Christ, of the date of 1468, printed by G. Zainer, or (Zeiner) at Augsbourg; and considered to be the first effort of his press.

[26] The note, above mentioned, was written in Latin: the Professor telling me that he preferred that language to the French, as he thought he could write it more grammatically. A Latin note must be rather a curiosity to my readers: which, as it is purely bibliographical, and in other respects highly characteristic of the bon-hommie of the writer, shall receive a place here. After mentioning the books above specified, the Professor goes on thus:

"Haec paucula e pluribus notare libuit, quae reliqua temporis angustia ostendere non permisit. Habeo enim alias, quas vocant, editiones principes, e.g. Diogenis Laertii, Bas. 1533-4. Josephi, Bas. 1544. fol. Jo. Chrysostomi [Greek: peri pronoias] 1526-8. Ej. [Greek: peri hierosunes], ib 1525-8. Aliorum Graecorum et Patrum. Calpurnii et Nemesiani Eclogarum editionem, ab. do. Alex. Brassicano curatam editionem ad MS. antiquum factam et Argent. 1519-4. impressam. Praeterea aliquot Aldinas et Juntinas editiones, aliquot a Mich. Vascosano, Paris. factas, in quibus Thucydidis Libri III. priores, Paris. 1548. 4. cujus margini Lectt. Varr. e MSto adscriptae sunt, non memoratae in editione Bipontina. AEschylus, ex edit. Franc. Robortelli, Venet. 1552. 8. Idem ex ed. Henr. Stephani, ex offic. Henr. Stephani, 1557. 4. Dionysii Halic. Opera Rhet. ex. ed. Rob. Stephani, Par. 1547. Fol. Diodor. Sicul. ex edit. Henr. Stephani, 1559. Fol.

"Pauculos Codd. MSS. e. gr. Ciceronis de Officiis, Aratoris in Acta App. Fragmenta Liuii et Terentii ostendere tempus non concessit: praeter eos habeo aliquot Ciceronis Orationes, Excerpta ex Liuio, duos Historiae Griseldis, et alios minoris pretii.

"Maximam collectionis, Bibliothecam appellare non fas est, meae partem efficit magnus librorum et libellorum numerus ab Ao. 1500. usque ad 1550. editorum a Reformatoribus eorumque aduersariis, qui numerum sex millium superant, in quibus adsunt Serueti de Trinitatis erroribus, eiusdemque Dialogi, Tomi Pasquillorum, Henr. Corn. Agrippae aliquot opera, Lemnii Epigrammata, aliquot libelli, Lutheri et Melancthonis manu ornati; praeterea alia Collectio Documentorum, quorum antiquissimum est ab. A. 1181 et Epistolarum [Greek: autographon], a viris doctis Saeculorum XV. XVI. XVII. XVIII. conscriptarum, in quibus Henr. Steinhoevvelii, Raym. Peraudi, Lutheri, Melancthonis, Zwinglii, Gruteri, Casauboni, Ludolfi, Camerarii, Patris, Rittershusiorum, Piccarti, aliorumque.

"Sed nolo longiore enarratione molestus esse, ne vanus esse uidear, a quo vitio nemo me alienior est. Vt divina providentia iter prosperum esse iubeat, est, quod ex animo TIBI, VIR—precatur

Vlmae, Aug. MDCCCXVIII.



P.S. Et TIBI praesenti, et superiora heri nocte et somno ingruente scribens referre omiseram, esse mihi ex XXII. libris ab Academia Veneta, della Fama dicta, editis XV. Omnes adeo sunt rari, ut vel instructissimae bibliothecae vix aliquot eorum habeant. Addo germanicam Sixti Papae Bullae datae 1474 versionem, sine dubio Vlmae eodem anno impressam, et quinque foliis constantem; quam apud me vidisti."

The Professor, with the above note, was also so obliging as to present me with a copy of his "Specimen Historico-Litterarium de Academia Veneta. Qua Scholarchae et Vniversum Gymnasii quod Ulmae floret Consilium Maecenates Patronos Fautores ejusdem Gymnasii ad Orationem aditialem A.D. XXIV. Febr. A. 1794, habendam officiose atque decenter invitant."—A Latin brochure of twelve pages: "Ulmae ex Officina Wagneri, Patris."

[27] [There is an excellent lithographic print of this Rath Haus, which I possess.]

[28] The postboys in the Duchy of Baden, and in the territories of Wuertemberg, have also horns; but I never could get any thing, in the character of a tune, performed by either of them. The moment you enter BAVARIA, you observe a greater elasticity of character. [The ARMS of Bavaria head the first page of this third volume of my Tour.]

[29] The reader may try the effect of perusing the following articles (taken from this printed catalogue) upon his own muscles. The performance, as I suspect, is by a native of Augsbourg.

75. Portrait of Justus Lipsius by Rembrand. This head of a singulary verity shews of draughts of a man of science: the treatement of Clothing is most perfectful, the respiring of life, the hands all wunder-worthy to be admired. 208. A hunting-piece of great beauty by Schneyders, the dogs seem to be alife, the wild-fowls, a hare, toils, just as in nature. 341. Queen Marie Christine of Sweden represented in a very noble situation of body and tranquility of mind, of a fine verity and a high effect of clair-obscure. By Rembrand. 376. Cromwell Olivier, kit-cat the size of life, a Portrait of the finest carnation, who shews of a perfect likeness and verity, school of Vandyk, perhaps by himself. 398. Portrait of Charles the first king of England (so many Portraits of famous persons by Classick painters will very seldom be found into a privat collection) good picture by Janson van Miereveld. 399. A large and precious battle piece representing a scene of the famous victory by Blindheim wonen by Marleborough over the frensh 1704. We see here the portrait of this hero very resembling, he in a graceful attitude on horsebak, is just to order a movement: a many generals and attendance are arround him. The leaguer, the landscape, the groups, the fighting all with the greatest thruth, there is nothing that does not contribute to embellish this very remarcable picture, painted by a contemporary of the evenement and famous artist in battle pieces, George Philipp Rugendas.

[30] This was no uncommon representation in the early period of art. "In the church of St. Peter the Younger, at Strasbourg, about the year 1515, there was a kind of large printed placard, with figures on each side of it, suspended near a confessional. On one side, was a naked Christ, removing the fire of purgatory with his cross, and sending all those, who came out of the fire, to the Pope—who was seated in his pontifical robes, having letters of indulgence before him. Before him, also, knelt emperors, kings, cardinals, bishops and others: behind him was a sack of silver, with many captives delivered from Mahometan slavery—thanking the supreme Pontiff, and followed by clergymen paying the ransom money to the Turks. There might also be seen captives, at the bottom of a deep well, shut down by bars of iron; and men, women, and children, making all manner of horrible contortions. "Those, says the chronicler Wencker, "who saw such a piteous sight, wept, and gave money liberally—for the possession of indulgences;—of which the money, raised by the sale, was supposed to be applied towards the ransom of Christian captives." HERMANN; Notices Historiques, &c. de Strasbourg: vol. ii. p. 434.



LETTER IV.

AUGSBOURG. CIVIL AND ECCLESIASTICAL ARCHITECTURE. POPULATION. TRADE. THE PUBLIC LIBRARY.

In ancient times—that is to say, upwards of three centuries ago—the CITY OF AUGSBOURG was probably the most populous and consequential in the kingdom of Bavaria. It was the principal residence of the noblesse, and the great mart of commerce. Dukes, barons, nobles of every rank and degree, became domiciled here. A thousand blue and white flags streamed from the tops of castellated mansions, and fluttered along the then almost impregnable ramparts. It was also not less remarkable for the number and splendour of its religious establishments. Here was a cathedral, containing twenty-four chapels; and an abbey or monastery (of Saints Vlric and Afra) which had no rival in Bavaria for the size of its structure and the wealth of its possessions. This latter contained a LIBRARY, both of MSS. and printed books, of which the recent work of Braun has luckily preserved a record;[31] and which, but for such record, would have been unknown to after ages. The treasures of this Library are now entirely dispersed; and Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is the grand repository of them. Augsbourg, in the first instance, was enriched by the dilapidations of numerous monasteries; especially upon the suppression of the order of the Jesuits. The paintings, books, and relics, of every description, of such monasteries as were in the immediate vicinity of this city, were taken away to adorn the town hall, churches, capitals and libraries. Of this collection, (of which no inconsiderable portion, both for number and intrinsic value, came from the neighbouring monastery of Eichstadt,[32]) there has of course been a pruning; and many flowers have been transplanted to Munich. Yet there are graphic treasures in Augsbourg well deserving the diligent search and critical examination of the English Antiquary. The church of the Recollets has an organ which is considered among the noblest in Europe: nor must I forget to notice the pulpit, by Eichlen, and some old pictures in the church of St. Anne.



The TOWN HALL in this city, which I mentioned in my last letter, is thought to be the finest in Germany. It was yet exceeded, as I learn, by the old EPISCOPAL PALACE, now dismembered of its ancient dimensions, and divided into public offices of government. The principal church, at the end of the Maximilian Street, is that which once formed the chief ornament of the famous Abbey of Sts. Ulric and Afra.[33] I should think that there is no portion of the present building older than the fourteenth century; while it is evident that the upper part of the tower is of the middle of the sixteenth. It has a nearly globular or mosque-shaped termination—so common in the greater number of the Bavarian churches. It is frequented by congregations both of the Catholic and Protestant persuasion; and it was highly gratifying to see, as I saw, human beings assembled under the same roof, equally occupied in their different forms of adoration, in doing homage to their common Creator. It was also pleasing, the other day, to witness, upon some high religious festival, the crowds of respectable and well-dressed people (chiefly females) who were issuing from the Church just above mentioned. It had quite an English Sunday appearance. I have said that these females were "well dressed"—I should, rather have said superbly dressed: for their head-ornaments—consisting of a cap, depressed at top, but terminating behind in a broad bow—are usually silk, of different colours, entirely covered with gold or silver gauze, and spangles. The hair appeared to be carefully combed and plaited, either turned up in a broad mass behind, or terminating in ringlets. I asked the price of one of the simplest of these caps—worn by the common order of servants—and found it to be little less than a guinea. But they last long, and the owners attach some importance to them.

Augsbourg was once distinguished for great learning and piety, as well as for political consequence; and she boasts of a very splendid martyrological roll.[34] At the present day, all is comparatively dull and quiet; but you cannot fail to be struck with the magnificence of many of the houses, and the air of importance hence given to the streets; while the paintings upon the outer walls add much to the splendid effect of the whole. The population of Augsbourg is supposed to amount to about thirty thousand. In the time of Maximilian, and Charles V. it was, I make no doubt, twice as numerous.

Of the TRADE of Augsbourg, I am not enabled to transmit any very flattering details. Silks, stuffs, dimity, (made here for the first time) and jewellery, are the chief commodities; but for the latter, connected with articles of dress, there is rather a brisk demand. The reputation of the manufactory of Seethaler, is deserving of mention. In the repository of this respectable tradesman you will find varieties of every description: rings, buckles, clasps, bracelets, and images of Saints, of peculiar and interesting forms. Yet they complain here of stagnation of commerce in almost every one of its branches: although they admit that the continuance of peace will bring things comfortably round again. The late war exhausted both the population and the treasury of Bavaria. They do a good stroke of business in the concerns of the bank: and this is considered rather a famous place for the management of letters and bills of exchange. With respect to the latter, some singular customs and privileges are, I understand, observed here: among others, if a bill become due on a Wednesday, eight days of grace are invariably allowed.

It was the thoughts of the PUBLIC LIBRARY alone that afforded the chief comfort to the depressed state of my spirits, from the excessive heat of the day. What I might do, and at last, what I had done, within the precincts of that same library, was sure to be my greatest solace during the evening rambles near the ramparts. The good fortune which attended me at Stuttgart, has followed to this place. Within two yards' length of me repose, at this present instant, the first Horace, and the finest copy imaginable of the Polish Protestant Bible of Prince Radzivil—together with a Latin Bible of 1475, by Frisner and Sensenschmidt, in two enormous folio volumes, of an execution of almost unparalleled magnificence. These are no common stimulants to provoke appetite. It remains to see whether the banquet itself be composed of proportionably palatable ingredients.

On leaving Stuttgart, M. Le Bret told me that Messrs. BEYSCHLAG and MAY were the principal librarians or curators of the Public Library of this place; and that I should find them intelligent and pleasant gentlemen. Professor Veesenmeyer at Ulm confirmed this statement. I had a letter from the latter, to the Rector Beyschlag, which procured me an immediate entrance into the library. The Rector's coadjutor, Professor May, was also most prompt to shew me every rarity. In the countenance of the latter, I saw, what you could not fail to call that of a handsome-looking English gentleman. I had never before so vehemently desired to speak the German language, or for my new acquaintance to speak my own. However, the French tongue was the happy medium of imparting my ideas and propositions to both the gentlemen in question; and we had hardly exchanged half a dozen sentences, when I opened what I considered (and what eventually turned out to be) a well directed fire upon the ancient volumes by which I was at the time surrounded.

The exterior of this library has a monastic form. The building is low and unpretending, having an octangular tower, up the staircase of which you mount to the library. It is situated within a stone's throw of the High Street. The interior of the library is not less unpretending than its exterior: but in a closet, at the hither end, (to the left on entering) are preserved the more ancient, choice, and curious volumes. In one compartment of this cabinet-like retreat are contained the books printed at Augsbourg in the infancy of the press of this town:[35] a collection, extremely creditable in itself and in its object; and from which, no consideration, whether of money, or of exchange for other books, would induce the curators to withdraw a volume. Of course I speak not of duplicates of the early Augsbourg press. Two comparatively long rooms, running in parallel lines, contain the greater part of the volumes of the public library; and amongst them I witnessed so many genuine, fair, and original conditioned copies of literary works, of the early period of the Reformation, that I almost sighed to possess them—except that I knew they could not possibly pay the expenses of conveyance.

But for the "well directed fire" above alluded to. It produced a capitulation respecting the following articles—which were selected by myself from the boudoir just mentioned, and about which neither mystery was observed nor secrecy enjoined. In fact, the contract, of the venders was to be submitted to, and sanctioned by, the supreme magistracy of the place. The Rector Beyschlag hath much of merriment and of wit in his composition. "Now, Sir,"—observed he—"bring those treasures forward which we can spare, and let us afterwards settle about their value: ourselves affixing a price." I desired nothing better. In consequence forth came the first (quarto) Horace, without date or place, fair, sound, and perfect: the Familiar Epistles of Cicero of the date of 1469, by S. and Pannartz, in a condition perfectly unparalleled in every respect; the Latin Bible of Frisner and Sensenschmidt of 1475, in an equally desirable and pristine condition;[36] the Polish Protestant Bible of 1563, with its first rough-edged margins and in wooden binding; St. Jerom's Epistles, printed at Parma, by A. de Portilia—most captivating to the eye; with a curious black-letter broadside, in Latin sapphics, pasted in the interior of the cover; the History of Bohemia, by Pope Pius II, of 1475, as fresh and crackling as if it had just come from the printer: Schuzler's edition of the Hexameron of Ambrosius, 1472: the Hungarian Chronicle of 1485.... "Ohe jam satis est...." for one bargain, at least,—methinks I hear you remark.

It may be so; but the measure must be fuller. Accordingly, after having shot off my great guns, I brought my howitzers into play. Then commenced a pleasant and not unprofitable parley respecting little grammatical tracts, devotional manuals, travels, philology, &c. When lo!—up sprung a delightful crop of Lilies, Donatuses, Mandevilles, Turrecrematas, Brandts, Matthews of Cracow—in vellum surcoats, white in colour, firm in substance, and most talkative in turning over their leaves! These were mere florin acquisitions: the preceding were paid for in heavy metal of a golden hue. It is not fair to betray all that took place upon this Cockerian transaction; but there may be no harm in mentioning that my purse was lightened by upwards of 100 louis d'or. My spirits were lightened in the same proportion. Neither venders nor vendee grieved at the result. Professor May was most joyous; and although the Rector Beyschlag was sonorous in voice, restless in action, and determined in manner—about fixing an alarmingly high price upon the first Horace—yet, by degrees, he subsided into a softer note, and into a calmer action—and the Horace became mine by a sort of contre-projet proposition.

Nothing would please Professor May but that I must go home with him, and try my luck in purchasing a few similar rarities out of his own collection. I did so. Madame Francs' supplemental supply became gradually diminished, and I began to think that if I went on in this manner I should not only never reach Vienna, but not even Munich. This doubt was frankly stated to my book-guardians; and my ducats were immediately commuted into paper. The result will doubtless prove the honour of the purchaser; for I have drawn upon a quarter which I had exclusively in view when I made the bargain, and which was never known to fail me. "Surely," thought I to myself as I returned to my hotel, "Messrs. Beyschlag and May are among the most obliging and the most enlightened of their fraternity."

I returned to the Public Library the next morning, as well to conclude a bargain for an exchange of books for certain recent bibliographical publications, as to take a list of a few of the more rare, fine, and curious volumes, in their own collection, which were destined always to retain their situations.

They have, very properly, the FIRST BOOK PRINTED AT AUGSBOURG: namely, Aurbach's Meditations upon the Life of Christ, of the date of 1468, printed by Gunther Zainer. But one of the most uncommon books examined by me was "Augustinus Ypponensis Episcopus De Consensu Evangelistarum: In ciuitate Langingen. Impressus. anno a partu virginis salutifero. Millesimoquadringentesimoseptuagesimotercio. Pridie Idus. Aprilis." The type is very singular; half gothic and half roman. Of the printer and place I know nothing; except that I learnt from the librarians that "Langingen" is situated about ten leagues from Augsbourg, upon the Danube. I made every effort—as well by the ducat as by the exchange method—to prevail upon them to part with this book; but to no purpose. The blood-freezing reply of Professor Veesenmeyer was here repeated—"ca reste, a ... Augsbourg." This book is unbound. Another volume, of the same equivocal but tempting description, was called "Alcuinus de Trinitate:—IMPRESSUM IN UTTIPURRHA Monasterio Sacto^{4} marty^{4}, Alexadri et Theodri. Ordiis Scti Bndicti. Anno Sesquimillesimo KL. septembris [Hebrew]." It is printed in a rude gothic letter; and a kind of fly leaf contains a wood-cut portrait of Alcuin. The monastery, where this volume was printed, is now suppressed. A pretty little volume—"as fresh as a daisy" (so says my ms. note taken upon the spot) of the "Hortulus Rosarium de valle lachrymarum" (to which a Latin ode by S. Brandt is prefixed), printed by I. de Olpe, in 1499, in the original wooden binding—closed my researches among the volumes executed in the fifteenth century.

As I descended into the sixteenth century, the choice was less, although the variety was doubtless greater. A fine genuine copy of Geyler's Navicula Fatuorum, 1511, 4to. in its original binding, was quickly noted down, and as quickly secured. It was a duplicate, and a ducat made it my own. It is one of the commonest books upon the continent—although there was a time when certain bibliomaniacal madcaps, with us, pushed the bidding for this volume up to the monstrously insane sum of L42:[37]—and all, because it was coated in a Grolier binding! Among the theological books, of especial curiosity, my guides directed my attention to the following: "Altera haec pars Testam^ti. veteris emendata est iuxta censuras Inquisitionis Hispanicae an^o 79. Nouu testam. recusandu omnino est; rejicienduq. propter plurimos errores qui illius scholiis sunt inserti." This was nothing else than the younger R. Stephen's edition of the vulgate Bible of 1556, folio, of which the New Testament was absolutely SEALED UP. It had belonged to the library of the Jesuits. There was a copy of Erasmus, "Expurgatus iuxta censuram Academiae Louaniae an^o 79." The name of the printer—which in the preceding Bible had been tried to be cancelled—was here uniformly erased: but it was doubtless the Basil edition of Erasmus by good old honest Froben and his sons-in-law.[38]

What think you of undoubted proofs of STEREOTYPE PRINTING in the middle of the sixteenth century? It is even so. What adds to the whimsical puzzle is, that these pieces of metal, of which the surface is composed of types, fixed and immoveable, are sometimes inserted in wooden blocks, and introduced as titles, mottoes, or descriptions of the subjects cut upon the blocks. Professor May begged my acceptance of a specimen or two of the types, thus fixed upon plates of the same metal. They rarely exceeded the height of four or five lines of text, by about four or five inches in length. I carried away, with his permission, two proofs (not long ago pulled) of the same block containing this intermixture of stereotype and block-wood printing.

I believe I have now told you all that appears worthy of being told, (as far as my own opportunities of observation have led me) of the CITY OF AUGSBOURG. I shall leave it (to-morrow) with regret; since a longer residence would, I am persuaded, have introduced me to very pleasant society, and made me acquainted with antiquities, of all kinds, well deserving of some record, however trivial. As it is, I must be content with what the shortness of my time, and the more immediately pressing nature of my pursuits, have brought me in contact. A sight of the Crucifixion by Hans Burgmair, and the possession of the most genuine copy of the editio princeps of Horace, have richly repaid all the toil and expense of the journey from Stuttgart. The Horace, and the Protestant Polish Bible of 1563, will be my travelling companions—at least as far as Munich—from whence my next despatch will be dated.[39] I hope, indeed, to dine at that renowned city ere "the set of to-morrow's sun." In the mean while, adieu.

[31] His account of the PRINTED BOOKS in the XVth century, in the monastery above mentioned, was published in 1786, in 2 vols. 4to. That of the MANUSCRIPTS, in the same monastic library, was published in 1791, in 2 vols. or rather perhaps, six parts, 4to.

[32] Among the books in this monastery was an uncut copy of the famous edition of the Meditationes J. de Turrecremata, of the date of 1467, which is now in the Library of Earl Spencer. In Hartmann Schedel's Chronicon Norimbergense, 1493, fol. CLXII, are portraits of the Founders of the Town and Monastery of Eichstadt, or EISTETT; together with a large wood-cut view of the town. This monastery appears to have been situated on a commanding eminence.

[33] [This Abbey was questionless one of the most celebrated and wealthy in Europe. The antiquarian reader will be pleased with the OPPOSITE PLATE—presenting a bird's eye view of it, in the year 1619—(when it stood in its pristine splendour) from the Monasteriologia, attached to the Imagines Sanctorum.]

[34] In the BAVARIA SANCTA of RADERUS, 1615-27, 3 vols. folio, will be found a succession of martyrological details—adorned by a series of beautiful engravings by Ralph Sadeler. The text is in Latin, and the author has apparently availed himself of all the accessible authorities, in manuscript and print, which were likely to give interest and weight to his narrative. But it seems to have been composed rather for the sake of the ENGRAVINGS—which are generally most admirably executed. Great delicacy and truth of drawing, as well as elegance of grouping, are frequently discernible in them; and throughout the whole of the compositions there is much of the air of Parmegiano's pencil; especially in the females. Sadeler makes his monks and abbots quite gentlemen in their figures and deportment; and some of his miracles are described with great singularity and force of effect.

[35] Such is ZAPF'S work, entitled Annales Typographiae Augustanae, 1778; 4to. republished with copious additions in 1786, two volumes, 4to. The text of the latter is (unfortunately, for the unlearned) printed in the German language.

[36] [This Latin Bible came from the Eichstadt Monastery.]

[37] Bibliographical Decameron, vol. iii. p. 115.

[38] See the Bibliographical Decameron, vol. ii. p. 170. &c.

[39] [The first Horace, the Cicero Epist. ad Familiares, 1469, the Latin Bible by Frisner and Sensenschmidt, 1475 and the Polish Bible of 1563, (all so warmly and so justly eulogised in the above pages) have been reposing these last ten years in the library of Earl Spencer: and magnificent and matchless as is that library, it contains no FINER volumes than the four preceding. I conclude this detail by subjoining the Autographs of the two BIBLIOGRAPHICAL WORTHIES who have cut such a conspicuous figure in the scene above described. The latter is now NO MORE.]

[Autographs]



LETTER V.

MUNICH. CHURCHES. ROYAL PALACE. PICTURE GALLERY. PUBLIC LIBRARY.

Munich; Hotel of the Black Eagle; Aug. 16, 1818.

MY DEAR FRIEND;

Behold me, now, in the capital of Bavaria: in a city remarkable for its bustle, compared with the other German cities which I have visited, and distinguished rather for the general creditable appearance of the houses and public buildings, than for any peculiar and commanding remains of antiquity. But ere I speak of the city, let me detain you for a few seconds only with an account of my journey thither; and of some few particulars which preceded my departure from Augsbourg.

It turned out as I predicted. "Ere the set of sun," ensuing my last despatch, I drove to the principal front of this large, comfortless, and dirty inn; and partook of a dinner, in the caffe, interrupted by the incessant vociferations of merchants and traders who had attended the market (it being market day when I arrived), and annoyed beyond measure by the countless swarms of flies, which chose to share my cutlet with me.

On taking a farewell look of Augsbourg, my eyes seemed to leave unwillingly those objects upon which I gazed. The Paintings, the Town Hall, the old monastery of Saints Ulric and Afra, all—as I turned round to catch a parting glance—seemed to have stronger claims than ever upon my attention, and to reproach me for the shortness of my visit. However, my fate was fixed—and I now only looked steadily forward to Munich; my imagination being warmed (you will say "inflamed") with the thoughts of the countless folios, in manuscript and in print—including block-books, unheard and undreamt of—which had been described to me as reposing upon the shelves of the Royal or PUBLIC LIBRARY. In consequence, Hans Burgmair, Albert Durer, and the Elder Holbein were perfectly forgotten—after we had reached the first stage, and changed horses at Merching. From Augsbourg to Munich is but a pleasant and easy drive of about forty-five English miles. The last stage, from Fuerstenfelbruck to this place, is chiefly interesting; while the two tall brick towers of the cathedral church of Notre Dame keep constantly in view for the last seven or eight miles. A chaussee, bordered on each side by willows, poplars, and limes, brings you—in a tediously straight line of four or five miles—up to the very gates of MUNICH.

At first view, Munich looks like a modern city. The streets are tolerably spacious, the houses are architectural, and the different little squares, or places, are pleasant and commodious. It is a city of business and bustle. Externally, there is not much grandeur of appearance, even in the palaces or public buildings, but the interiors of many of these edifices are rich in the productions of ancient art;—whether of sculpture, of painting, of sainted relics, or of mechanical wonders. Every body just now is from home; and I learn that the bronzes of the Prince Royal—which are considered to be the finest in Europe—are both out of order and out of view. This gallant Prince loves also pictures and books: and, of the latter, those more especially which were printed by the Family of Aldus.

Upon the whole, there is something very anglicised in the appearance both of this city and of its inhabitants. Of the latter, I have reason to speak in a manner the most favourable:—as you shall hear by and by. But let me now discourse (which I must do very briefly) of inanimate objects—or works of art—before I come to touch upon human beings ... here in constant motion: and, as it should seem—alternately animated by hope and influenced by curiosity. The population of Munich is estimated at about 50,000. Of course, as before, I paid my first visit to the CATHEDRAL, or mother church of NOTRE DAME, upon the towers of which I had fixed my eyes for a whole hour on the approach to the city. Both the nave and towers, which are of red brick, are frightful in the extreme; without ornament: without general design: without either meaning or expression of any kind. The towers cannot be less than 350 feet in height: but the tops are mere pepper-boxes. No part of this church, or cathedral, either within or without, can be older than the middle of the fifteenth century.[40]

The interior has really nothing deserving of particular description. But I check myself in an instant: It has something—eminently worthy of distinct notice and the most unqualified praise. It has a monument of the EMPEROR Louis IV. which was erected by his great-grandson Maximilian I. Duke of Bavaria, in 1603-12. The designer of this superb mausoleum was Candit: the figures are in black marble, the ornaments are in bronze; the latter executed by the famous Krummper, of Weilheim. I am ignorant of the name of the sculptor. This monument stands in the centre of the choir, of which it occupies a great portion. It is of a square form, having, at each corner, a soldier, of the size of life, bending on one knee and weeping: supporting, at the same time, a small flag between his body and arm. These soldiers are supposed to guard the ashes of the dead. Between them are three figures, of which two stand back to back. Between these two, somewhat more elevated, is raised the figure of the Emperor Louis IV.—dressed in his full imperial costume. But the two figures, just mentioned, are absolutely incomparable. One of them is Albert V. in armour, in his ducal attire:[41] the other is William V. habited in the order of the golden fleece. This habit consists of a simple broad heavy garment, up to the neck. The wearer holds a drawn sword in his right hand, which is turned a little to the right. This figure may be full six feet and a half high. The head is uncovered; and the breadth of the drapery, together with the erect position of the figure, and the extension of the sword, gives it one of the most commanding, and even appalling, airs imaginable. I stood before it, till I almost felt inclined to kneel and make obeisance. The entire monument is a noble and consummate specimen of art: and can hardly have any superior, of its kind, throughout Europe.

Perhaps I should add that the interior of this Church contains twenty-four large octagonal pillars, dividing the nave from the side aisles: and that around these latter and the choir, there are not fewer than twenty-four chapels, ornamented with the tombs of ancient families of distinction. This interior is about 350 English feet in length, by about 145 in width.

Of the other Churches, that of St. MICHAEL, attached to the late College of the Jesuits,—now forming the Public Academy or University, and containing the Public Library—is probably the most beautiful for its simplicity of ornament and breadth of parts. Indeed at this moment I can recollect nothing to be put in competition with it, as a comparatively modern edifice. This interior is, as to Roman architecture, what that of St. Ouen is as to Gothic: although the latter be of considerably greater extent. It is indeed the very charm of interior architecture: where all the parts, rendered visible by an equal distribution of light, meet the eye at the same time, and tell their own tale. The vaulted roof, full 300 English feet in length, has not a single column to support it. Pilasters of the Corinthian order run along each side of the interior, beneath slightly projecting galleries; which latter are again surmounted by rows of pilasters of the Doric order, terminating beneath the spring of the arched roof. The windows are below the galleries. Statues of prophets, apostles, and evangelists, grace the upper part of the choir—executed from the characteristic designs of Candit. The pulpit and the seats are beautifully carved. Opposite the former, are oratories sustained by columns of red marble; and the approach to the royal oratory is rendered more impressive by a flight of ten marble steps. The founder of this church was William V., who lies buried in a square vault below: near which is an altar, where they shew, on All Saints Day, the brass coffins containing the ashes of the Princes of Bavaria. The period of the completion of this church is quite at the end of the sixteenth century.[42] But ere I quit it, I must not fail to direct your attention to a bronze crucifix in the interior—which is in truth a masterpiece of art. My eye ran over the whole of this interior with increased delight at every survey; and while the ceremony of high mass was performing—and the censers emitted their clouds of frankincense—and the vocal and instrumental sounds of a large congregation pervaded every portion of the edifice—it was with reluctance (but from necessity) that I sought the outward door, to close it upon such a combination of attractions!

Of the nine or ten remaining churches, it will not be necessary to notice any other than that of St. CAETAN, built by the Electress Adelaide, and finished about the year 1670. It was built in the accomplishment of a vow. The pious and liberal Adelaide endowed it with all the relics of art, and all the treasures of wealth which she could accumulate. It is doubtless one of the most beautiful churches in Bavaria:—quite of the Italian school of art, and seems to be a St. Peter's at Rome in miniature. The architect was Agostino Barella, of Bologna. This church is in the form of a cross. In the centre is a cupola, sustained by pillars of the Corinthian order. The light comes down from the windows of this cupola in a very mellow manner; but there was, when I saw it, rather a want of light. The nave is vaulted: and the principal altar is beneath the dome, separating the nave from the choir. The facade, or west front, is a building of yesterday, as it were: namely, of 1767; but it is beautiful and striking. This church is considered to be the richest in Munich for its collection of pictures; but nothing that I saw there made me forget, for one moment, the Crucifixion by Hans Burgmair.[43] I should say that the interior of this church is equally distinguished for the justness of its proportions, the propriety of its ornaments, and the neatness of its condition. It is an honour to the city of Munich.

There were, some half century ago, about a dozen more churches;—but they have been since either destroyed or desecrated. From the Churches, I must conduct you, but in a very rapid manner, to some of the public buildings; reserving, as usual, my last and more leisurely description for the PUBLIC LIBRARY. Of these buildings, the Hotel de Ville, Theatres, and Royal Residence, are necessarily the most imposing in size, and most attractive from their objects of public utility or amusement. The Royal Palace was built by Maximilian I.—a name as great in the annals of Bavaria, as the same name was in those of Austria about a century before. This palace is of about two centuries standing: and its eastern facade measures 550 English feet in length. It abounds, within and without, with specimens of bronze ornaments: and two bronze lions (the work of Krummper, after the designs of Candit) which support the shields of the Electoral houses of Bavaria and Lorraine, have been considered superior to the Lion in the Place of. St. Mark at Venice. This immense pile of building contains three courts. In that of "the Fountain," to the left, under an arch, is a huge black pebble stone, weighing nearly 400 Bavarian pounds. An old German inscription, of the date of 1489, tells you that a certain Bavarian Duke, called Christopher the Leaper, threw this same pebble stone to a considerable distance. Near it, you observe three large nails driven into the wall. The highest of them may be about twelve feet from the ground:—the mark which Christopher the Leaper reached in one of his frolicksome jumps. I find they are lovers of marvellous attainments, in Bavaria:—witness, the supposed feat of the great Emperor Maximilian upon the parapet wall at the top of the cathedral of Ulm.[44]

To describe the fountains and bronze figures, in these three courts, would be endless; but they strike you with a powerful degree of admiration—and a survey of every thing about you, is a convincing proof that you have entered a country where they shrink not from solidity and vastness in their architectural achievements: while the lighter, or ornamental parts, are not less distinguished by the grace of their design and the vigour of their execution. Will you believe it—I have not visited, nor shall I have an opportunity of visiting, the Interior? An interior, in which I am told that there are such gems, jewels, and varieties—such miracles of nature and of art, as equally baffle description and set competition at defiance. As thus:—a chapel, of which the pavement is mosaic work, composed of amethysts, jaspers, and lapis lazuli: of which the interior of its cupola is composed of lapis lazuli, adorned with gilt bronze: wherein is to be seen a statue of the Virgin, in a drapery of solid gold, with a crown upon her head, composed of diamonds:—a massive golden crucifix, adorned with precious stones—and upon which there is an inscription cut upon an emerald an inch square: again, small altars, supported by columns of transparent amethyst, &c.

I will say nothing of two little caskets, studded with cameos and turquoises, in this chapel of fairy land—(built by Maximilian I.) of which one contains two precious pictures by Jean d'Aix la Chapelle—and the other (of massive gold, weighing twenty-four pounds) a painting of the resurrection and of paradise, in enamel. Even the very organ is constructed of gold, silver, ebony, turquois and lapis lazuli ornaments; of pearls and of coral. As to the huge altar of massive silver—adorned with cariatides, candelabra, statues, vases, and bouquets of the same metal—and especially the pix, lined with diamonds, rubies, and pearls—what shall I say of these—ALL the fruit of the munificent spirit of MAXIMILIAN? Truly, I would pass over the whole with an indifferent eye, to gaze upon a simple altar of pure gold—the sole ornament of the prison of the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots; which Pope Leo XI. gave to William V. Elector of Bavaria—and which bears the following inscription:

EXILII COMES ET CARCERIS IMAGO HAEC MARIAE STUARDAE, SCOT. REG. FUIT, FUISSET ET CAEDIS, SI VIXISSET.

Not less marvellous things are told of the Jewellery in this palace of wonders:—among which the BLUE DIAMOND ... attached to the order of the Golden Fleece—which is set open, and which, opposed to the sun, emits rays of the most dazzling lustre,—is said to be the nonpareil of coloured precious stones. It weighs 36 carats and 144 grains. Of the Pearls, that called the PALATINAT, half white and half black, is considered the greatest curiosity; but in a cabinet is preserved the choicest of all choice specimens of precious art and precious metals. It is a statue of St. George and the Dragon, of the height of about a foot and a half, in pure and solid gold: the horse is agate: the shield is of enamelled gold: the dragon is jasper: the whole being thickly studded with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and pearls—to the number of at least two thousand! Another cabinet contains the crowns of emperors, dukes and.... But you are already dazzled and bewildered; and I must break off the description of this ENCHANTED PALACE.

What is of easy access is rarely visited. I asked several of my acquaintance here, whether this spectacle were worth seeing?—and they as frequently replied in the negative as in the affirmative. But the PICTURE GALLERY I have seen, and seen with attention;—although I am not likely to pay it a second visit. I noted down what I saw: and paid particular attention to the progress of art in the early German school of painting. I knew that this collection had long enjoyed a great celebrity: that it had been the unceasing object of several of the old Dukes of Bavaria to enrich it; and that the famous Theodore, equally the admirer of books and of pictures, had united to it the gallery of paintings collected by him at Manheim. It moreover contained the united collections of Deux-Ponts and Dusseldorf. This magnificent collection is arranged in seven large rooms on the same floor. Every facility of access is afforded; and you observe, although not so frequently as at Paris, artists at work in copying the treasures before them. In the entrance-hall, where there is a good collection of books upon the fine arts, are specimens by Masaccio, Garofalo, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Lucas de Leyden, Amberger, Wohlgemuth, Baldonetti, Aldegrave, Quinten Matsys—with several others, by masters of the same period, clearly denoting the order of time in which they are supposed to have been executed. I was well pleased, in this division of the old school, to recognise specimens of my old friends Hans Burgmair and the Elder Holbein; and wished for no individual at my elbow so much as our excellent friend W.Y. Ottley:—a profound critic in works of ancient art, but more particularly in the early Italian and German Schools.

To conduct you through all these apartments, or seven rooms, with the methodical precision of an experienced guide, is equally beyond my inclination and ability. Much as I may admire one or two Titians, one or two of the Caracci school, the same number of Veroneses and Schidones, and a partial sprinkling of indifferent Raffaelles, I should say that the boast of this collection are the pictures by Rubens and Vandyke. Of the former there are some excellent portraits; but his two easel pictures—the one, the Fall of the Damned, and the other the Beatitude of the Good—are marvellous specimens of art. The figures, extending from heaven to earth, in either picture, are linked, or grouped together, in that peculiarly bold and characteristic manner which distinguishes the pencil of the master.[45] The colouring throughout is fresh, but mellow and harmonious. Among the larger pictures by this renowned artist, are Susanna and the Elders, and the Death of Seneca; the latter considered as a distinguished production. But some of the whole length portraits, by the same hand, pleased me better. The pictures of Rubens occupy more particularly the fourth room. Vandyke shines in the second, sixth, and seventh rooms: in which are some charming whole length portraits—combining, almost, the dignity of Titian with the colouring of Rembrandt:—and yet, more natural in expression, more elegant in attitude, and more beautiful in drawing, than you will find in the productions of either of these latter artists.

If the art, whether of sculpture or of painting, take not deep root, and send forth lusty branches laden with goodly fruit, at Munich—the fault can never be in the soil, but in the waywardness of the plant. There is encouragement from every quarter; as far as the contemplation of art, in all its varieties, and all its magnificence, can be said to be a stimulus to exertion. When the re-action of a few dozen years of peace shall have nearly obliterated the ravages and the remembrance of war—when commerce and civil competition shall have entirely succeeded to exaction and tyranny from a foreign force—(which it now holds forth so auspicious a promise of accomplishing)—and when literature shall revert within its former fruitful channels of enlightening the ignorant, gratifying the learned, and illustrating what is obscure among the treasures of former times—then I think Munich will be a proud and a flourishing city indeed.[46] But more of this subject on a future occasion.

Let us take a walk abroad—in the fields, or in the immediate vicinity of the town—for methinks we have both had sufficient in-door occupation of late. One of the principal places of resort, in the immediate vicinity of Munich, is a garden—laid out after the English fashion—and of which the late Count Rumford had the principal direction. It is really a very pleasing, and to my taste, successful effort of art—or rather adaptation of nature. A rapid river, or rivulet (a branch of the Iser) of which the colour is a hazy or misty blue, very peculiar—runs under a small bridge which you pass. The bed of the river has a considerable descent, and the water runs so rapidly, as to give you the idea that it would empty itself in a few hours. Yet—"Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis aevum." I strolled frequently in the shady walks, and across the verdant lawns, of this pleasant garden; wherein are also arbour-covered benches, and embowered retreats—haunts of meditation—where

... voices, through the void deep sounding, seize Th'enthusiastic ear!

But SKELL must not be deprived of his share of praise in the construction of this interesting pleasure ground. He was the principal active superintendant; and is considered to have had a thorough knowledge of optical effect in the construction of his vistas and lawns. A Chinese pagoda, a temple to Apollo—and a monument to Gessner, the pastoral poet—the two latter embosomed in a wood—are the chief objects of attraction on the score of art. But the whole is very beautiful, and much superior to any thing of the kind which I have seen since leaving England.

I told you, at the beginning of this letter, that it was market-day when we arrived here. Mr. Lewis, who loses no opportunity of adding to the stores of his sketch book, soon transferred a group of MARKET PEOPLE to his paper, of which you are here favoured with a highly finished copy. The countenances, as well as the dresses, are strongly indicative of the general character of the German women.



I was surprised to be told, the other day, that the city of Munich, although lying upon a flat, apparently of several miles in circumference, is nevertheless situated upon very lofty ground:—full twelve or thirteen hundred feet above the level of the sea—and that the snow-charged blasts, from the Tyrolese mountains, towards the end of autumn, render it at times exceedingly cold and trying to the constitution. But I must now revert to the city, and proceed at once to an account of the most interesting of ALL the public edifices at Munich—in my very humble, and perhaps capricious, estimation. Of course you will instantly catch at what I mean. "What, BUT the edifice which contains THE PUBLIC LIBRARY?" 'Tis wisely conjectured; and to this boundless region of books, of almost every age and description, let us instantly resort: first paying our respects to the Directors and Librarians of the establishment.

Of the former, the BARON VON MOLL, and MR. FREDERIC SCHLICHTEGROLL are among the principal: of the latter, Messrs. SCHERER and BERNHARD have the chief superintendence: of all these gentlemen, more in my next.[47] At present, suffice it to say, that I was constantly and kindly attended during my researches by M. Bernhard—who proved himself in the frequent discussions, and sometimes little controversies, which we had together, to be one of the very best bibliographers I had met upon the continent. In the bibliographical lore of the fifteenth century, he has scarcely a superior: and I only regretted my utter ignorance of the German language, which prevented my making myself acquainted with his treatises, upon certain early Latin and German Bibles, written in that tongue. But it was his kindness—his diffidence—his affability, and unremitting attention—which called upon me for every demonstration of a sense of the obligations I was under. It will not be easy for me to forget, either the kind-hearted attentions or the bibliographical erudition of M. Bernhard ...

"Quae me cunque vocant terrae."

Be it known to you therefore, my good friend, that the PUBLIC LIBRARY at MUNICH is attached to what was once the College of Jesuits; and to which the beautiful church, described in a few preceding pages, belonged. On the suppression of the order of Jesuits, the present building was devoted to it by Charles Theodore in 1784: a man, who, in more than this one sense, has deserved well of his country. Would you believe it? They tell me that there are at least half a hundred rooms filled by books and MSS. of one kind or other—including duplicates—and that they suppose the library contains nearer four, than three hundred thousand volumes! I scarcely know how to credit this; although I can never forget the apparently interminable succession of apartments—in straight lines, and in rectangular lines: floor upon floor: even to the very summit of the building, beneath the slanting roofs—such as I had seen at Stuttgart. But here it should seem as if every monastery throughout Bavaria had emptied itself of its book-treasures ... to be poured into this enormous reservoir.

But I will now begin my labours in good earnest. An oblong, narrow, boudoir-sort of apartment, contains the more precious MSS., the block books, and works printed upon vellum. This room is connected with another, at right angles, (if I remember well) which receives the more valuable works of the fifteenth century—the number of which latter, alone, are said to amount to nearly twenty thousand. In such a farrago, there must necessarily be an abundance of trash. These, however, are how under a strict assortment, or classification; and I think that I saw not fewer than half a dozen assistants, under the direction of M. Bernhard, hard at work in the execution of this desirable task.

LATIN MS. OF THE GOSPELS; in small folio. I have no hesitation in ascribing this MS. to the ninth century. It is replete with evidences of this, or even of an earlier, period. It is executed in capital letters of silver and gold, about a quarter of an inch in height, upon a purple ground. Of course the MS. is upon vellum. The beginning of the text is entirely obliterated; but on the recto of the XVth leaf we read "Explt Breuiarium."

LATIN MS. of the GOSPELS; in large folio. This is a more superb, but more recent, MS. than the preceding. Yet I suspect it to be not much later than the very early part of the eleventh century. It is executed in a large, lower-case, roman letter: somewhat bordering upon the Gothic. But the binding, at the very outset, is too singular and too resplendent to be overlooked. The first side of it has the crucifixion, in a sort of parallelogram frame work—in the centre: surrounded by a double arabesque, or Greek border, of a most beautiful form. The whole is in ivory, of a minute and surprisingly curious workmanship. The draperies partake of the character of late Roman art. Round this central ivory piece of carving, is a square, brass border, with the following inscription; which, from the character of the capital letters, (for it is wholly composed of such) is comparatively quite modern:

GRAMMATA QVI QVERIT COGNOSCERE VERE HOC MATHESIS PLENE QVADRATVM PLAVDAT HABERE EN QUI VERACES SOPHIE FULSERE SEQUACES ORNAT PERFECTAM REX HEINRICH STEMMATE SECTAM.

In the outer border are precious stones, and portraits, with inscriptions in Greek capital letters. These portraits and inscriptions seem to me to be perfect, but barbarous, specimens of Byzantine art. Around the whole are the titles of the Four Gospels in coeval capital letters. The general effect of this first side of the book-cover, or binding, is perfect—for antiquarian genuineness and costliness. The other side of the binding contains representations of the cardinal virtues, in brass, with the lamb in the centre: but they are comparatively modern. The interior of this book does not quite accord with its exterior. It is in pure condition, in every respect; but the art is rather feeble and barbarous. The titles to the Gospels are executed upon a purple ground. The larger subjects, throughout the illuminations, are executed with freedom, but the touch is heavy and the effect weak. The gold back grounds are rather sound than resplendent. Yet is this MS., upon the whole, a most costly and precious volume.

LATIN PSALTER. Probably of the latter part of the twelfth century. The text is executed in a lower-case gothic. In the Calendar of Saints are found the names of Edward the Martyr, Cuthbert, Guthlac, Etheldrith, and Thomas a Becket. I think I am fully justified in calling this one of the richest, freshest, and most highly ornamented PSALTERS in existence. The illuminations are endless, and seem to comprise the whole history of the Bible. In the representations of armour, we observe the semicircular and slightly depressed helmet, and no nasels. I must now lay before you a MS. of a very different description—called

The ROMANCE OF SIR TRISTRANT;[48] in verse. This ms. is wholly in the German language; written in the XIIIth century, and containing fifteen illuminations. M. Scherer, the Head Librarian, was so obliging as to furnish me with an account of it; having himself translated, as literally as possible, the original text into our own language.

I shall now put together a few miscellaneous notices, taken, like all the preceding, from the articles themselves—and which you will find to relate chiefly to books of Missals and Offices, &c. I shall begin, however, with a highly illuminated MS. called

The TWELVE SIBYLS. This beautiful book is doubtless of the XVth century. It begins with a representation of the "Sibila Persica." The principal merit of these illuminations may, by some, be thought to consist in their freshness; but others will not fail to remark, that the accompaniments of these figures, such as the chairs on which they sit, and the pillars which form the frame work of the pieces, are designed and executed in a style of art worthy of the Florentine School of this period. Every Sibyl is succeeded by a scriptural subject. If the faces of these figures were a little more animated and intelligent, this book would be a charming specimen of art of the XVth century. The Erythraean Sibyl holds a white rose very prettily in her left hand. The Agrippinian Sibyl holds a whip in her left hand, and is said "to have prophesied XXX years concerning the flagellation of Christ." This volume is a thin quarto, in delightful condition; bound in yellow morocco, but a sufferer by the binding.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse