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him to Charles II. Evelyn calls him "without controversy, the greatest master both for invention and rareness of work, that the world had in any age ; nor doubt I. at all,” he adds," that he will prove as great a master in the statuary art.” He executed the base of Charles I.'s statue at Charing Cross, and also the bronze statue of James VI. in the Privy Garden, Whitehall, for which, it is said, he received £300. Not for his statuary, however, but for his carving in wood, which for fidelity, grace, and delicacy has never been surpassed, is he most highly esteemed. His industry must have been little inferior to his ability—so many of our great houses and churches contain specimens of his skill. At Petworth is a very elaborate series of carvings, for some of the panels of which Turner, two centuries later, painted landscapes. At Fawley Church, Bucks, is a finely-carved pulpit, which formerly belonged to the private chapel at Canons, the seat of Pope's Duke of Chandos, and the satirist's “Timon's Villa." Some beautiful carvings of fruit, flowers, and dead game, are extant at Cassiobury. The carved monument to Dorothy Clarke, in Fulham Church came from his patient chisel; and the Londoner will find much of his best work at Hampton Court. At Cranbrook House, Ilford, and at Burleigh, in Northamptonshire, further proofs of his genius may be obtained; and at Bush Hill Park (near Winchmore Hill) is preserved his famous · large carving in wood of St. Stephen Stoned.” Of course bis art is illustrated at Windsor, and some of its finest specimens may be seen in the State Ante-Room. The tomb of Viscount Camden, in Exton Church, Rutlandshire, contains both statuary and ornament, and is a masterpiece of faithful execution.
Gibbons died at his house in Bow Street, in 17Horace Walpole describes him as “an original genius, a citizen of nature. There is no instance before him," he adds, “ of a man who gave to wood the loose and airy lightness of flowers, and chained together the various productions of the elements with the free disorder natural to each species.
It is said that he lived in Belle Sauvage Court, Ludgate Hill, and was employed by Betterton in decorating the theatre in Dorset Gardens. He lived afterwards at Deptford with a musician, where the beneficent and curious Mr. Evelyn found and patronized both. This gentleman, Sir Peter Lely, and Baptiste May, who was something of an architect himself, recommended Gibbons to Charles II., who was too indolent to search for genius, and too indiscriminate in his bounty to confine it to merit; but was always pleased when it was brought home to him. He gave the artist a place in the Board of Works, and employed his hand on ornaments of most taste in his palaces, particularly at Windsor.”
We continue our quotations from Evelyn :-
“1683-4, January 1st.—The weather continuing intolerably severe, streets of booths were set up on the Thames; the air was so very cold and thick, as of many years there had not been the like.
January 6th.—The river quite frozen. “ January 9th.—I went across the Thames on the ice, now become so thick as to bear not only streets of booths, in which they roasted meat, and had divers shops of wares, quite across as in a town, but coaches, carts, and horses passed over.
January 16th.--The Thames was filled with people and tents, selling all sorts of wares as in the city.
“ January 24th.—The frost continuing more and more severe, the Thames before London was still planted with booths in formal streets, all sorts of trades and shops furnished, and full of commodities, even to a printing press, where the people and ladies took a fancy to have their names printed, and the day and year set down when printed on the Thames. This humour took so universally, that it was estimated the printer gained £5 a day for printing a line only, at sixpence a name, besides what he got by ballads, &c. Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, and from several other stairs to and fro, as in the streets, sheds, sliding with skates, a bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet-plays and interludes, casks, tippling, and other lewd plans, so that it seemed to be a Bacchanalian triumph, a carnival on the water, whilst it was a severe judgment on the land, the trees not only splitting as if lightning-struck, but men and cattle perishing in divers places, and the very seas so locked up with ice, that no vessels could stir out or come in. The fowls, fish, and birds, and all our exotic plants and greens, universally perishing. Many packs of deer were destroyed, and all sorts of food so dear, that there were great contributions made to preserve the poor alive. Nor was this severe weather much less intense in most parts of Europe, even as far as Spain and the most southern tracts. London, by reason of the excessive coldness of the air hindering the ascent of the smoke, was so filled with the fuliginous steam of the sea coal, that hardly could one see across the streets, and this filling the lungs with its gross particles, exceedingly obstructed the breast, so as one could scarcely breathe. Here was no water to be had from the pipes and engines, nor could the bearers and divers other tradesmen work, and every moment was full of disastrous accidents.”
The frost lasted for seven weeks, producing ice eighteen inches thick. The pastimes on the river were visited by King Charles, accompanied by his Queen, the Princesses Mary and Anne, and Prince George of Denmark, on the 31st of January.
The Thames had previously been frozen over in 1564; and the same thing has since occurred in 1715-16, 1740, 1788-9, and 1814.
"1685, January 25.-Dr. Dove preached before the King. I saw this evening such a scene of profuse gaming, and the King in the midst of his three concubines,* as I had never before seen-luxurious dallying and profaneness.'
“February 4th.- I went to London, hearing His Majesty had been the Monday before (February 2), surprised in his bed-chamber with an apoplectic fit, so that if, by God's providence, Dr. King (that excellent chirurgeon as well as physician) had not been accidentally present to let him bleed (having his lancet in his pocket) † His Majesty had certainly died that moment; which might have been of direful consequence, there being nobody else present with the King save this doctor and one more, as I am assured. It was a mark of the extraordinary dexterity, resolution, and presence of mind in the doctor to let him blood in the very paroxysm, without staying the coming of other physicians, which regularly should have been done, and for want of which he must have a regular pardon, as they tell me.* This rescued His Majesty for the instant, but it was only a short reprieve. He still complained, and was relapsing, often fainting, with sometimes epileptic symptoms till Wednesday, for which he was cupped, let bleed in both jugulars, had both vomit and purges, which so relieved him that on Thursday hopes of recovery were signified in the public Gazettes ; but that day, about noon, the physicians thought him feverish. This they seemed glad of, as being more easily allayed and methodically dealt with than his former fits; so they prescribed the famous Jesuit's powder. But it made him worse, and some very able doctors who were present did not think it a fever, but the effect of his frequent bleeding and other sharp operations used by them about his head, so that probably the powder might stop the circulation and renew his former fits, which now made him very weak. Thus he passed Thursday night with great difficulty ; when, complaining of a pain in his side, they drew twelve ounces more of blood from him. This was by six in the morning on Friday, and it gave him relief; but it did not continue, for being now in much pain, and struggling for breath, he lay dying, and, after some conflicts, the physicians despairing of him, he gave up the ghost at half an hour after eleven in the morning, being the 6th of February, 1685.”
* Barbara, Duchess of Cleveland; Louise de la Querouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth ; and Hortensia Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin,
of Others say a penknife was used.
Evelyn adds an inevitable moral reflection :
“I can never forget the inexpressible luxury and profaneness, gaming and all dissoluteness, and, as it were, total forgetfulness of God (it being Sunday evening), which this day se’nnight I was witness of, the King sitting and
* The Privy Council approved of his action, and ordered him a gift of £1,000, but it was never paid.