Notes and Queries, Number 74, March 29, 1851 online

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* * * * *

"When found, make a note of." - CAPTAIN CUTTLE.

* * * * *

No. 74.]
[Price Threepence. Stamped Edition 4d.

* * * * *


NOTES: - Page
On Portraits of Distinguished Men, by Lord Braybrooke 233
Story of a Relic 234
Illustration of Chaucer, No. II: Complaint of Mars
and Venus 235
Charles the First and Bartolomeo della Nave's Collection
of Pictures, by Sir F. Madden 236
Minor Notes: - Nonsuch Palace - Ferrar and Benlowes -
Traditions from remote Periods through few Links -
Longevity - Emendation of a Passage in Virgil - Poems
discovered among the Papers of Sir K. Digby -
Matter-of-Fact Epitaph 236

Ancient Danish Itinerary: Prol in Angliam, by R. J.
King 238
Chiming, Tolling, and Peal-ringing of Bells, by Rev.
A. Gatty 238
Mazer Wood: Gutta Percha, by W. Pinkerton 239
Minor Queries: - Paul Pitcher Night - Disinterment
for Heresy - "Just Notions," &c. - Pursuits of Literature -
Satirical Medal - Matthew's Mediterranean
Passage - Inscription on an Oak Board - Expressions
in Milton - Saints' Days - Chepstow Castle - The
Wilkes MSS. and "North Briton" - "O wearisome
Condition of Humanity!" - Epitaph in Hall's "Discovery" 239

MINOR QUERIES ANSWERED: - Canon and Prebendary -
What Amount of Property constitutes an Esquire? -
Cromwell Family - Daughters of the Sixth Earl of
Lennox - Wife of Joseph Nicholson - Six Abeiles -
Southey - Epigram against Burke - Knight's Hospitallers 242

Mesmerism, by Dr. Maitland 243
Lord Howard of Effingham 244
Iovanni Volpe, by William Hughes 244
Replies to Minor Queries: - Sir Andrew Chadwick -
Manuscript of Bede - Closing of Rooms on account
of Death - Enigmatical Epitaph on Rev. J. Mawer -
Haybands in Seals - Notes on Newspapers - Duncan
Campbell - Christmas-day - MS. Sermons by Jeremy
Taylor - Dryden's Absolom and Achitophel - Rev.
W. Adams - Duchess of Buckingham - "Go the
whole Hog" - Lord Bexley's Descent from Cromwell -
Morse and Ireton Families - The Countess of Desmond -
Aristophanes on the Modern Stage - Denarius
Philosophorum - On a Passage in the Tempest -
Meaning of Waste-book - Arthur's Seat and Salisbury
Craigs - Meaning of "Harrisers" &c. 247

Notes on Books, Sales, Catalogues, &c. 253
Books and Odd Volumes wanted 254
Notices to Correspondents 254
Advertisements 255

* * * * *



In submitting to you the following brief observations, it is neither my
wish nor intention to undervalue or disparage the labours of Horace
Walpole, and Granger, and Pennant, and Lodge, and the numerous writers who
have followed in their train, and to whom we are so much indebted for their
notices of a great variety of original portraits of distinguished
Englishmen, which still adorn the mansions of our aristocracy, and are
found in the smaller collections throughout the realm. But I may be
permitted to express my surprise and regret that in this age of inquiry no
general catalogue of these national treasures should ever have been
published. It is true that the portraits, as well as the other objects of
attraction in our royal palaces, have been described in print with
tolerable accuracy, and some good accounts are to be met with of the
pictures at Woburn, and Blenheim, and Althorpe, and many of the residences
of the nobility which can boast their local historian. We are, however, in
most cases obliged to content ourselves with the meagre information
afforded by county topography, or such works as the _Beauties of England_,
_Neale's Country Seats_, and unsatisfactory guide-books.

No one, then, can doubt that such a compilation as I am advocating would
prove a most welcome addition to our increasing stock of historical lore,
and greatly assist the biographer in those researches upon which, from no
sufficient materials being at hand, too much time is frequently expended
without any adequate result. A catalogue would also tend to the
preservation of ancient portraits, which, by being brought into notice,
would acquire more importance in the estimation of the possessors; and in
the event of any old houses falling into decay, the recorded fact of
certain pictures having existed there, would cause them to be inquired
after, and rescue them from destruction. Opportunities would likewise be
afforded of correcting misnomers, and testing the authenticity of reputed
likenesses of the same individual; further, the printed lists would survive
after all the family traditions had been forgotten, and passed away with
the antiquated housekeeper, and her worn-out inventory. The practice, too,
of inscribing the names of the artist and person represented on the backs
of the frames, would probably be better observed; and I may mention as a
proof of this precaution being necessary, the instance of a {234} baronet
in our day having inherited an old house full of pictures, which were _one
and all_ described, in laconic and most unsatisfactory terms, as
"_Portraits of Ladies and Gentlemen Unknown_." The losses of works of art
and interest by the lamentable fires that have occurred so frequently
within the memory of man, may furnish a further motive for using every
endeavour to preserve those pictures that remain to us; but probably a far
greater number have perished from damp or neglect, and a strange
combination of mischief and ignorance. Let us hope that in this respect the
times are improving. For one, I cannot consent to the wanton destruction of
a single portrait, though Horace Walpole assures us -

"That it is almost as necessary that the representations of men should
perish and quit the scene to their successors, as it is that the human
race should give place to rising generations; and, indeed, the
mortality is almost as rapid. Portraits that cost twenty, thirty, sixty
guineas, and that proudly take possession of the drawing-room, give way
in the next generation to the new married couple, descending into the
parlour, where they are slightly mentioned as my _father_ and
_mother's_ pictures. When they become my _grandfather_ and
_grandmother_, they mount to the two pair of stairs, and then, unless
dispatched to the mansion-house in the country, or crowded into the
housekeeper's room, they perish among the lumber of garrets, or flutter
into rags before a broker's shop at the Seven Dials." - _Lives of the
Painters_, vol. iv. pp. 14, 15.

I am tempted to add, that many years ago I saw a large roll of canvass
produced from under a bed at a furniture shop in "Hockley in the Hole,"
which, when unfolded, displayed a variety of old portraits, that had been
torn out of their frames, and stowed away like worn-out sail-cloth; the
place was so filthy that I was glad to make my escape without further
investigation, but I noticed a whole-length of a judge in scarlet robes,
and I could not help reflecting how much surprised the painter and the son
of the law whom he delineated would have been, could they have anticipated
the fate of the picture.

Having made these remarks, I am not unaware how much easier it is to point
out a grievance than to provide a remedy; but perhaps some of your readers
more conversant with such matters, may form an opinion whether it would
answer to any one to undertake to compile such a catalogue as I have
described. Though much would remain to be done, a great deal of information
is to be gleaned from printed works, and doubtless lists of portraits might
be in many instances procured from the persons who are fortunate enough to
possess them. It should also be remembered that amongst the MSS. of Sir
William Musgrave in the British Museum, there are many inventories of
English portraits, affording a strong presumption that he may once have
meditated such a publication as I have pointed out.

But, whether we are ever to have a catalogue or not, some advantage may
arise from the discussion of the subject in "NOTES AND QUERIES;" and if it
should lead to the rescue of a single portrait from destruction, we shall
have advanced one step in the right direction.


Audley End, March 18.

* * * * *


P. C. S. S. found, some days ago, the following curious story in a rare
little Portuguese book in his possession, and he now ventures to send a
translation of it to the "NOTES AND QUERIES." The work was printed at
Vienna in 1717, and is an account of the embassy of Fernando Telles da
Sylva, Conde de Villa Mayor, from the court of Lisbon to that of Vienna, to
demand in marriage, for the eldest son of King Pedro II. of Portugal, the
hand of the Archduchess Maria Anna of Austria. It was written by Father
Francisco da Fonseca, a Jesuit priest, who accompanied the ambassador in
quality of almoner and confessor, and is full of amusing matter,
particularly in reference to the strange opinions concerning our laws,
government, and religion, which the worthy padre appears to have picked up
during his short stay in England.

The original of the annexed translation is to be found at pp. 318, 319,
320. ยง 268. of Fonseca's Narrative.

"As we are now upon the subject of miracles wrought by Relics in
Vienna, I shall proceed to relate another prodigy which happened in the
said city, and which will greatly serve to confirm in us those feelings
of piety with which we are wont to venerate such sacred objects. The
Count Harrach, who was greatly favoured by the Duke of Saxony, begged
of him, as a present, a few of the many relics which the duke preserved
in his treasury, assuredly less out of devotion than for the sake of
their rarity and value. The duke, with his usual benignity, acceded to
this request, and gave orders that sundry vials should be dispatched to
the count, filled with most indubitable relics of Our Lord, of the
Blessed Virgin, of the Apostles, of the Innocents, and of other holy
persons. He directed two Lutheran ministers to pack these vials
securely in a precious casket, which the duke himself sealed up with
his own signet, and sent off to Vienna. On its arrival there, it was
deposited in the chapel of the count, which is situated in the street
called Preiner. The count immediately informed the bishop of the
arrival of this treasure, and invited him to witness the opening of the
casket, and to attend for the purpose of verifying its contents.
Accordingly the bishop came, and on opening the casket, there proceeded
from it such an abominable stench, that no man could endure it,
infecting, as it did, the whole of the chapel. The bishop thereupon
ordered all the vials to be taken out, and carefully examined one by
one, hoping to ascertain the cause of this strange incident, which did
not long remain a mystery, for they soon {235} found the very vial from
which this pestilent odour was issuing. It contained a small fragment
of cloth, which was thus labelled, '_Ex caligis Divi Martini Lutheri_,'
that is to say, '_A bit of the Breeches of Saint Martin Luther_,' which
the aforesaid two Lutheran ministers, by way of mockery of our piety,
had slily packed up with the holy relics in the casket. The bishop
instantly gave orders to burn this abominable rag of the great
heresiarch, and forthwith, not only the stench ceased, but there
proceeded from the true relics such a delicious and heavenly odour as
perfumed the entire building."

* * * * *


_Complaint of Mars and Venus._

I am not aware that the obvious astronomical allegory, which lurks in
Chaucer's "Complaint of Mars and Venus," has been pointed out, or that any
attempt has been made to explain it. In Tyrwhitt's slight notice of that
poem, prefixed to his glossary, there is not the most remote hint that he
perceived its astronomical significance, or that he looked upon it in any
other light than "that it was intended to describe the situation of _some_
two lovers under a veil of mystical allegory."

But, as I understand it, it plainly describes an astronomical conjunction
of the planets Mars and Venus, in the last degree of Taurus, and on the
12th of April.

These three conditions are not likely to concur except at very rare
intervals - it is possible they may have been only theoretical - but it is
also possible that they may have really occurred under Chaucer's
observation; it might therefore well repay the labour bestowed upon it if
some person, possessed of time, patience, and the requisite tables, would
calculate whether any conjunction, conforming in such particulars, did
really take place within the latter half of the fourteenth century: if it
was considered worth while to search out a described conjunction 2500 years
before Christ, in order to test the credibility of Chinese records, it
would surely be not less interesting to confirm the accuracy of Chaucer's
astronomy, of his fondness for which, and of his desire to bring it forward
on all possible occasions, he has given so many proofs in his writings.

The data to be gathered from the little poem in question are unfortunately
neither very numerous nor very definite; but I think the following points
are sufficiently plain.

1st. The entrance of Mars into the sign Taurus (_domus Veneris_), wherein
an assignation has been made between him and Venus:

"That Mars shall enter as fast as he may glide,
In to her _next palais_ to abide,
Walking his course 'till she had him ytake,
And he prayed her to hast her for his sake."

2nd. The nearly double velocity in apparent ecliptic motion of Venus as
compared with Mars:

"Wherefore she spedded as fast in her way
Almost in one day as he did in tway."

3d. The conjunction:

"The great joy that was betwix hem two,
When they be mette, there may no long tell.
There is no more - but into bed they go."

4th. The entrance of the Sun into Taurus, as indicated in the unceremonious
intrusion of Phebus into Venus' chamber; which, as though to confirm its
identity with Taurus,

"Depainted was with white _boles_ grete;"

whereupon Mars complains:

"This twelve dayes of April I endure
Through jelous Phebus this misaventure."

(It is scarcely necessary to remind the reader of Chaucer, that in the
poet's time the Sun would enter Taurus on the 12th of April.)

"Now flieth Venus in to Ciclinius tour,
With void corse, for fear of Phebus light."

These two lines, so obscure at first sight, afford, when properly
understood, the strongest confirmation of the astronomical meaning of the
whole; while, by indicating the conjunction on the last degree of Taurus,
they furnish a most essential element for its identification.

I confess that this "CICLINIUS" gave me a good deal of trouble; but, taking
as a guide the astronomical myth so evident throughout, I came to the
conviction that "Ciclinius" is a corruption, and that Chaucer wrote, or
intended to write, CYLLENIUS - a well-known epithet of _Mercury_, and used
too in an astronomical sense by Virgil, "_ignis coeli Cyllenius_."

Now _the sign Gemini_ is also "_domus Mercurii_;" so that when Venus fled
into the tour of Cyllenius, she simply slipped into the next door to her
own house of Taurus - leaving poor Mars behind to halt after her as he best

6th. Mars is almost stationary:

"He passeth but a sterre in daies two."

There still remain one or two baffling points in the description, one of
which is the line -

"Fro Venus Valanus might this palais see,"

which I am convinced is corrupt: I have formed a guess as to its true
meaning, but it is not as yet fully confirmed.

The other doubtful points are comprised in the following lines, which have
every appearance of significance; and which, I have not the least doubt,
bear as close application as those already explained: but, as yet, I must
acknowledge an inability to understand the allusions. After Venus has
entered Gemini -

"Within the gate she fled into a cave:
Dark was this cave and smoking as the hell;
Nat but two paas within the gate it stood,
_A natural day in darke I let her dwell_."

A. E. B.

Leeds, March 17.


* * * * *


Among some miscellaneous papers in a volume of the Birch MSS. in the
British Museum (Add. 4293. fol. 5.) is preserved a curious document
illustrative of the love of Charles I. for the fine arts, and his anxiety
to increase his collection of paintings, which, as it has escaped the
notice of Walpole and his annotators, I transcribe below.


"Whereas wee vnderstand that an excellent Collection of paintings are
to be solde in Venice, whiche are knowen by the name of Bartolomeo
della Nave his Collection, Wee are desirous that our beloved servant
Mr. William Pettye, should goe thither to make the bargayne for them,
Wee our selues beinge resolved to goe a fourthe share in the buyinge of
them (soe it exceed not the s[=o]me of Eight hundred powndes
sterlinge), but that our Name be concealed in it. And if it shall
please God that the same Collection be bought and come safelye hither,
Then wee doe promise in the word of a Kinge, that they shall be divyded
with all equallitye in this maner, vid^t. That, they shall be equallie
divyded into fower partes by some men skillfull in paintinge, and then
everie one interested in the shares, or some for them, shall throwe the
Dice severallye, and whoesoever throwes moste, shall chose his share
first, and soe in order everye one shall choose after first, as he
castes most, and shal take their shares freelye to their owne vses, as
they shall fall vnto them. In wittnes whereof wee haue sett our hande,
this Eight daye of July, in the Tenth year of our Reigne, 1634."

The individual employed by Charles in this negotiation is the same who
collected antiquities in Greece for the Earl of Arundel. He was Vicar of
Thorley, in the Isle of Wight, and is believed to have been the uncle of
the celebrated Sir William Petty, ancestor of the Marquis of Lansdowne. It
would be curious to learn the particulars of the "bargayne" made by him,
and how the pictures were disposed of after their arrival in England. Were
the Warrant and Privy Seal books of the period (still remaining among the
Exchequer records) easily accessible, no doubt some information on these
points might be gained. That this collection of Bartolomeo della Nave was a
celebrated one, we have the testimony of Simon Vouet, in a letter to
Ferrante Carlo, written from Venice, August 14, 1627, in which he speaks of
it as a "studio di bellissime pitture" (Bottari, _Lettere Pittoriche_, vol.
i. p. 335.: Milano, 1822): and that it came over to England, is asserted
repeatedly by Ridolfi, in his _Vite degli illustri Pittori Veneti_, the
first edition of which appeared at Venice in 1648. He mentions in this work
several paintings which were in Della Nave's collection, and which it may
be interesting to refer to here, in case they are still to be traced in
England. In vol. i. p. 107. (I quote the Padua edition of 1835) is noticed
a painting by Vincenzio Catena, representing Judith carrying the head of
Holofernes in one hand, and a sword in the other. In the same volume, p.
182., a portrait of Zattina by Palma il Vecchio, holding in her hand "una
zampina dorata;" and at p. 263. several sacred subjects by Titian among
which is specified one of the Virgin surrounded by Saints, and another of
the woman taken in adultery, with "multi ritratti" by the same. Again, at
p. 288., a head of a lady, supposed to be the mother of the artist Nadelino
da Murano, one of the most talented pupils of Titian; and at p. 328. a
painting by Andrea Schiavone, and some designs of Parmigiano. In vol. ii.
p. 123. are mentioned two paintings by Battista Zelotti from Ovid's Fables;
and at p. 141. a picture of the good Samaritan, by Jacopo da Ponte of
Bassano. For these references to Bottari and Ridolfi, I own myself indebted
to Mr. William Carpenter, the keeper of the department of engravings in the
British Museum; and, probably, some of your readers may contribute further
illustrations of Bartolomeo della Nave's collection of pictures, and of the
purchase of them by Charles I. I do not find this purchase noticed in
Vanderdort's list of Charles's pictures, published by Walpole in 1757.


* * * * *

Minor Notes.

_Nonsuch Palace._ - Our antiquarian friends may not be aware that traces of
this old residence of Elizabeth are still to be seen near Ewell. Traditions
of it exist in the neighbourhood and Hansetown, and Elizabethan coins are
frequently dug up near the foundations of the "Banquetting House," now
inclosed in a cherry orchard not far from the avenue that joins Ewell to
Cheam. In a field at some distance is an old elm, which the villagers say
once stood in the court-yard of the kitchen. Near this is a deep trench,
now filled with water, and hedged by bushes, which is called "Diana's
Dyke," now in the midst of a broad ploughed field, but formerly the site of
a statue of the Grecian goddess, which served as a fountain in an age when
water-works were found in every palace-garden, evincing in their subjects
proofs of the revival of classical learning. The elm above-mentioned
measures thirty feet in the girth, immediately below the parting of the
branches. Its age is "frosty but kindly;" some two or three hundred summers
have passed over its old head, which, as yet, is unscathed by heavens fire,
and unriven by its bolt. The ground here swells unequally and artificially,
and in an adjoining field, long called, no one knew why, "the Conduit
Field," pipes that brought the water to the palace have lately been found,
and may be seen intersected by the embankments of the Epsom railway.

The avenue itself is one of the old approaches to the palace, and was the
scene of a skirmish during the civil wars. {237}

Your readers may, perhaps, forget that this palace was the scene of the
fatal disgrace of young Essex.


_Ferrar and Benlowes._ - The preface to that very singular poem, _Theophila:
Love's Sacrifice_. Lond. 1652, by Edw. Benlowes, contains a passage so
closely resembling the inscription "in the great parlour" at Little Gidding
(Peckard's _Life of Nic. Ferrar_, p. 234), that the coincidence cannot have
been accidental, and, if it has not been elsewhere pointed out, may be
worth record. As the inscription, thought not dated, was set up during the
life of Ferrar, who died in 1637, the imitation was evidently not _his_.
Only so much of the inscription is here given as is requisite to show the

"He who (by reproof of our errors, and remonstrance of that which is
more perfect) seeks to make us better, is welcome as an Angel of God:
and he who (by a cheerful participation of that which is good) confirms
us in the same, is welcome as a Christian friend. But he who faults us
in absence, for that which in presence he made show to approve of, doth
by a double guilt of flattery and slander violate the bands both of
friendship and charity."

Thus writes Benlowes:

"He who shall contribute to the improvement of the author, either by a

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