Biography of Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543
Survey London Volume 4 Chelsea Part II. The Site of Beaufort House
In the whole history of Chelsea, a history which is indeed famous, so many notable men and women has this little village known—the chief interest has centred about Beaufort House. From those early days in the 16th century, when it was the well-loved home of Sir Thomas More, until the 18th, when it was the seat of the Duke of Beaufort, it yielded to no other house in importance, not to King Henry VIII's manor house in Cheyne Walk, nor to the Earl of Shrewsbury's mansion, nor to the old manor house with which it shared the dignity of a proprietary chapel in the old Church. It did not carry with it the lordship of the manor, but its property was extensive, including practically the frontage of the Thames between Milman Street and Church Street, and its gardens stretched northwards as far as the King's Road.
The house stood across the line of the present Beaufort Street and rather nearer King's Road than the river. Between it and the way along the waterside were two large courtyards, and opposite was a quay. The remainder of the estate, south of the present King's Road, was laid out in gardens and orchards, with the exception of the stable buildings, where now is the Moravian Burial Ground, and the farmhouse and barns on the site of Lindsey House. The situation, attractive as it is now, was far lovelier then, when across the Surrey bank was a view of undisturbed wood and pasture.
Sir Thomas More lived here for some fourteen years until his attainder in 1535. He loved to escape from London and from the Court, and to give himself up to his family and his own literary pursuits in his Chelsea home, and here he entertained many friends, among whom were Erasmus and Holbein. The latter may well have designed the beautiful capitals in the More chapel, in the old church (dated 1528), which show his hand as plainly as the ceiling of the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace, which was executed in 1540.
More's estate was granted to Sir William Paulet [See Patent Roll, I Edward VI., pt. 3.] (first Marquess of Winchester): it was inherited by his son the second Marquess, and in 1575 passed to Gregory Fiennes, Lord Dacre of the South, and his wife Anne — the foundress of those charming almshouses, Emmanuel Hospital, Westminster, now destroyed — who was a daughter of the Marchioness of Winchester by her former husband, Sir Robert Sackville. Baroness Dacre, who died in 1595, left the house to Lord Burleigh, who is said to have lived here, and he was followed by his youngest son, Sir Robert Cecil, afterwards Earl of Salisbury, who took possession in 1597. It is to Cecil's passion for building, which was not exhausted until he had parted with his fortune in completing Hatfield, that we owe the earliest representations on paper of the house at Chelsea. In his Chelsea Old Church Mr. Randall Davies published a reproduction of a beautiful plan of the Chelsea Estate, preserved among the Hatfield papers, and the present writer in some further research among Lord Salisbury's MSS. found five plans to a larger scale, all of which have reference to Cecil's schemes for rebuilding Sir Thomas More's house. For a detailed examination of these plans, the reader is referred to the Architectural Review of March and May, 1911, but by the courtesy of the proprietors of the Review, the reproductions are included here.
Cecil does not seem to have carried out his larger schemes and he sold the house to Henry Clinton, second Earl of Lincoln, in 1599.
Lincoln settled the estate on Sir Arthur Gorges, who had married his daughter. He lived in the house just mentioned, adjoining the great house, built for him by his father-in-law, and some four years after the latter's death in 1615, he sold Sir Thomas More's house to Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Middlesex. [See Close Roll, 18 Jas. I., pt. 18.] The new owner purchased several additions to the property, including "Brick Barn Close" and "The Sandhills," both north of the King's Road. These he converted into the Park, which is shown in Kip's view and was not built upon until after 1717. Cranfield fell under the displeasure of the King, and in consequence forfeited his property, which Charles I. granted in 1627 to George Villiers, first Duke of Buckingham. After the Duke's assassination, the family continued to reside here until the outbreak of the Civil War, when the house was seized by the Parliament, and Mr. Randall Davies has referred to the record in the Perfect Occurrences of the petition in 1646 of the Duchess of Lennox, Buckingham's daughter, for leave to come to London, or to her house in Chelsea, to be under Dr. Mayerne's hands for her health. The great physician was then living at Lindsey House, the old farmhouse belonging to the estate.
In the account in the Architectural Review (May, 1911) I have summarised the later history of the house as follows:—"After the great house had been occupied during the Commonwealth by the Parliamentary Commissioners, Sir Bulstrode Whitlocke and John Lisle, the second Duke of Buckingham regained possession. Lost to him, through his debts, the house ultimately passed (1674) into the hands of the trustees for George Digby, Earl of Bristol, and his Countess sold it in 1682 to Henry, Marquess of Worcester, afterwards Duke of Beaufort, the house remaining in his family until 1720. It was during this period, about the year 1699, that Kip's beautiful view of the mansion - now called Beaufort House — was published, a priceless record of the property, so ruthlessly defaced and destroyed by Sir Hans Sloane after he purchased it in 1737. Mr. Randall Davies, whom I have followed in the account of the occupants of the house, has printed the interesting conveyance of the property to Sloane, and if its description is carefully collated with the information in Kip's view, one is struck by the wonderful accuracy of the latter. Here is the great house as shown by Thorpe, its lodges and its forecourts, the wharf, with its brick towers east and west, the orchard and 'one garden environed with brick walls … and a terrace on the north end, with a banqueting house on the east end of the terrace,' as well as 'one great garden … extending from the terrace and banqueting house into the highway on the north.' This banqueting house is alike in detail to the sketch of 'a summer house, Chelsea,' in the Smithson collection of seventeenth-century drawings, now in the possession of Colonel Coke. But valuable as is the representation of the great house, the print has much more information to give us. The great park is there shown in all its original beauty; the Duke of Beaufort's stables and yard, since converted into the historic chapel and burying ground of the Moravians is to the west; and nearer the river the beautiful Jacobean house of Sir Arthur Gorges (our sole evidence of its character and design) and the house and gardens of the Earls of Lindsey. And to the east, below the wide area of Dovecote Close, laid out as a huge kitchen garden, are the fine pleasure grounds of Danvers House, which had been destroyed but three years before the drawing was published.".
Around 1497 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 was born in Augsburg.
Around 1526 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (29). Portrait of John More 1508-1547 (18).
1527 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (30). Known as "Lady with a Squirrel and a Starling". The subject is believed to be Anne Ashby -1539 wife of Francis Lovell -1552 (18). The starling is probably intended as a rhyming pun of East Harling, where the family had recently inherited the estate of East Harling Hall, East Harling. Squirrels nibbling on nuts feature on the heraldry of the Lovell family: the windows of the Church of St Peter and St Paul, East Harling include two of the family’s arms in stained glass, each showing six red squirrels. The commission may commemorate the birth of a son to the couple in the spring of 1526, but it also showed off their new status as wealthy landowners.
In 1527 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (30). Portrait of Mary Wotton 1499-1535 (28) when she was thirty-two commissioned with that of her husband Henry Guildford 1489-1532 (38) possibly to celebrate their marriage. Hung with gold chains and embellished with pearls, Baroness Guildford embodies worldly prosperity, and with her prayer book she is also the very image of propriety.
Around 1527 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (30). Portrait of Brian Tuke -1545.
Around 1527 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (30). Portrait of Cecily More 1507-.
Around 1527 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (30). Portrait of John More 1451-1530 (76).
In 1527 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (30). Portrait of Henry Guildford 1489-1532 (38) wearing the Garter and Inter-twined Knots Collar with St George Pendant. Standing three-quarter length, richly dressed in velvet, fur and cloth-of-gold. Holbein has meticulously shown the varied texture of his cloth-of-gold double which is woven into a pomegranate pattern with a variety of different weaves including loops of gold thread. Similarly, he has carefully articulated the band of black satin running down Guildford’s arm against the richer black of the velvet of his sleeve. A lavish use of both shell-gold paint and gold leaf (which has been used to emulate the highlights of the gold thread in the material) emphasises the luxuriousness of the sitter’s dress and his high status. In his right-hand he holds the Comptroller of the Household Staff of Office.
Around 1533 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (36). Drawing of Thomas Elyot 1490-1546 (43).
Around 1533 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (36). Drawing of Margaret Barrow 1500-1560 (33).
1533 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (36). The Ambassadors.
Around 1535 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (38). Drawing of Catherine Willoughby Duchess Suffolk 1519-1580 (15).
Around 1535 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (38). Portrait of Thomas Wriothesley 1st Earl of Southampton 1505-1550 (29).
Around 1536 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (39). Drawing of Margaret More 1505-1544 (31) known by her married name of "Margaret Roper".
Around 1536 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (39). Drawing of Thomas Wyatt 1503-1542 (33).
Before 1537 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543. Portrait of Thomas Boleyn 1st Earl Wiltshire and Ormonde 1477-1539.
Around 1537 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (40). Drawing of Elizabeth Jenks Baroness Rich Leez 1510-1558 (27).
Around 1538 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (41). Drawing of the wife of Robert Radclyffe 1st Earl of Sussex 1483-1542 (55). He had three wives. The sitter is believed to his third wife.
Around 1538 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (41). Drawing of Mary Shelton 1510-1571 (28).
After 1538 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543. Drawing of Elizabeth Grey Baroness Audley Waldon -1564 based on she having become Baroness Audley on 29 Nov 1538. Coloured chalks, silverpoint, pen and ink on pink-primed paper, 29.2 × 20.7 cm, Royal Collection, Windsor Castle. The drawing is inscribed, by a later hand than Holbein's, "The Baroness Audley".
Around 1539 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (42). Portrait believed to be of Elizabeth Seymour Baroness Cromwell Oakham 1518-1556 (21).
Around 1539 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (42). Portrait of Anne of Cleves Queen Consort England 1515-1557 (23).
Around 1539 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (42). Drawing of William Parr 1st Marquess Northampton 1512-1571 (27).
1540 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (43). Miniature portrait of Henry VIII King England and Ireland 1491-1547 (48).
Around 1542 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 (45). Drawing of William Sharington 1495-1553 (47).
Before 29 Nov 1543 Hans Holbein The Younger Painter 1497-1543 died.
John Evelyn's Diary 1649 February. 15th February 1649. I went to see the collection of one Trean, a rich merchant, who had some good pictures, especially a rare perspective of Stenwyck; from thence, to other virtuosos.
The painter, La Neve has an Andromeda, but I think it a copy after Vandyke from Titian, for the original is in France. Webb, at the Exchange, has some rare things in miniature, of Breughel's, also Putti, in twelve squares, that were plundered from Sir James Palmer (64).
At Du Bois, we saw two tables of Putti, that were gotten, I know not how, out of the Castle of St. Angelo, by old Petit, thought to be Titian's; he had some good heads of Palma, and one of Stenwyck. Bellcar showed us an excellent copy of his Majesty's Sleeping Venus and the Satyr, with other figures; for now they had plundered, sold, and dispersed a world of rare paintings of the King's, and his loyal subjects. After all, Sir William Ducy showed me some excellent things in miniature, and in oil of Holbein's; Sir Thomas More's head, and a whole-length figure of Edward VI., which were certainly his Majesty's; also a picture of Queen Elizabeth; the Lady Isabella Thynne; a rare painting of Rothenhamer, being a Susanna; and a Magdalen, of Quintin, the blacksmith; also a Henry VIII., of Holbein; and Francis I., rare indeed, but of whose hand I know not.
John Evelyn's Diary 1654 May. 08 May 1654. I went to Hackney, to see Lady Brook's garden, which was one of the neatest and most celebrated in England, the house well furnished, but a despicable building. Returning, visited one Mr. Tomb's garden; it has large and noble walks, some modern statues, a vineyard, planted in strawberry borders, staked at ten feet distances, the banqueting-house of cedar, where the couch and seats were carved à l'antique; some good pictures in the house, especially one of Vandyke's, being a man in his shirt; also some of Stenwyck. I also called at Mr. Ducie's, who has indeed a rare collection of the best masters, and one of the largest stories of H. Holbein. I also saw Sir Thomas Fowler's aviary, which is a poor business.
John Evelyn's Diary 1655 August. 10th August 1655. To Albury, to visit Mr. Howard (27), who had begun to build, and alter the gardens much. He showed me many rare pictures, particularly the Moor on horseback; Erasmus, as big as the life, by Holbein; a Madonna, in miniature, by Oliver; but, above all, the skull, carved in wood, by Albert Durer, for which his father was offered £100; also Albert's head, by himself, with divers rare agates, intaglios, and other curiosities.
John Evelyn's Diary 1660 December. 6th December, 1660. I waited on my brother (43) and sister Evelyn to Court. Now were presented to his Majesty (30) those two rare pieces of drollery, or rather a Dutch Kitchen, painted by Dowe, so finely as hardly to be distinguished from enamel. I was also shown divers rich jewels and crystal vases; the rare head of Jo. Bellino, Titian's master; Christ in the Garden, by Hannibal Caracci; two incomparable heads, by Holbein; the Queen-Mother (51) in a miniature, almost as big as the life; an exquisite piece of carving; two unicorn's horns, etc. This in the closet.
John Evelyn's Diary 1677 September. 10th September 1677. To divert me, my Lord (59) would needs carry me to see Ipswich, when we dined with one Mr. Mann by the way, who was Recorder of the town. There were in our company my Lord Huntingtower (28), son to the Duchess of Lauderdale (50), Sir Edward Bacon, a learned gentleman of the family of the great Chancellor Verulam, and Sir John Felton, with some other knights and gentlemen. After dinner came the bailiff and magistrates in their formalities with their maces to compliment my Lord (59), and invite him to the town-house, where they presented us a collation of dried sweetmeats and wine, the bells ringing, etc. Then, we went to see the town, and first, the Lord Viscount Hereford's (3) house, which stands in a park near the town, like that at Brussels, in Flanders; the house not great, yet pretty, especially the hall. The stews for fish succeeded one another, and feed one the other, all paved at bottom. There is a good picture of the blessed virgin in one of the parlors, seeming to be of Holbein, or some good master. Then we saw the Haven, seven miles from Harwich. The tide runs out every day, but the bedding being soft mud, it is safe for shipping and a station. The trade of Ipswich is for the most part Newcastle on Tyne coals, with which they supply London; but it was formerly a clothing town. There is not any beggar asks alms in the whole place, a thing very extraordinary, so ordered by the prudence of the magistrates. It has in it fourteen or fifteen beautiful churches: in a word, it is for building, cleanness, and good order, one of the best towns in England. Cardinal Wolsey was a butcher's son of Ipswich, but there is little of that magnificent Prelate's foundation here, besides a school and I think a library, which I did not see. His intentions were to build some great thing. We returned late to Euston, having traveled about fifty miles this day.
Since first I was at this place, I found things exceedingly improved. It is seated in a bottom between two graceful swellings, the main building being now in the figure of a Greek II with four pavilions, two at each corner, and a break in the front, railed and balustered at the top, where I caused huge jars to be placed full of earth to keep them steady upon their pedestals between the statues, which make as good a show as if they were of stone, and, though the building be of brick, and but two stories besides cellars and garrets covered with blue slate, yet there is room enough for a full court, the offices and outhouses being so ample and well disposed. the King (47)'s apartment is painted à fresco, and magnificently furnished. There are many excellent pictures of the great masters. The gallery is a pleasant, noble room; in the break, or middle, is a billiard table, but the wainscot, being of fir, and painted, does not please me so well as Spanish oak without paint. The chapel is pretty, the porch descending to the gardens. The orange garden is very fine, and leads into the greenhouse, at the end of which is a hall to eat in, and the conservatory some hundred feet long, adorned with maps, as the other side is with the heads of the Cæsars, ill cut in alabaster; above are several apartments for my Lord, Lady, and Duchess, with kitchens and other offices below, in a lesser form; lodgings for servants, all distinct for them to retire to when they please and would be in private, and have no communication with the palace, which he tells me he will wholly resign to his son-in-law and daughter, that charming young creature.
The canal running under my Lady's (43) dressing room chamber window, is full of carps and fowl, which come and are fed there. The cascade at the end of the canal turns a cornmill that provides the family, and raises water for the fountains and offices. To pass this canal into the opposite meadows, Sir Samuel Morland (52) has invented a screw bridge, which, being turned with a key, lands you fifty feet distant at the entrance of an ascending walk of trees, a mile in length,—as it is also on the front into the park,—of four rows of ash trees, and reaches to the park pale, which is nine miles in compass, and the best for riding and meeting the game that I ever saw. There were now of red and fallow deer almost a thousand, with good covert, but the soil barren and flying sand, in which nothing will grow kindly. The tufts of fir, and much of the other wood, were planted by my direction some years before. This seat is admirably placed for field sports, hawking, hunting, or racing. The mutton is small, but sweet. The stables hold thirty horses and four coaches. The out-offices make two large quadrangles, so as servants never lived with more ease and convenience; never master more civil. Strangers are attended and accommodated as at their home, in pretty apartments furnished with all manner of conveniences and privacy.
There is a library full of excellent books; bathing rooms, elaboratory, dispensary, a decoy, and places to keep and fat fowl in. He had now in his new church (near the garden) built a dormitory, or vault, with several repositories, in which to bury his family.
In the expense of this pious structure, the church is most laudable, most of the houses of God in this country resembling rather stables and thatched cottages than temples in which to serve the Most High. He has built a lodge in the park for the keeper, which is a neat dwelling, and might become any gentleman. The same has he done for the parson, little deserving it for murmuring that my Lord put him some time out of his wretched hovel, while it was building. He has also erected a fair inn at some distance from his palace, with a bridge of stone over a river near it, and repaired all the tenants' houses, so as there is nothing but neatness and accommodations about his estate, which I yet think is not above £1,500 a year. I believe he had now in his family one hundred domestic servants.
His lady (43) (being one of the Brederode's daughters, grandchild to a natural son of Henry Frederick, Prince of Orange) [Note. Evelyn confused here. Elisabeth Nassau-Beverweert Countess Arlington 1633-1718 (43) was the daughter of Louis Nassau-Beverweert 1602-1665 who was the illegitimate son of Maurice Orange-Nassau I Prince Orange 1567-1625. Frederick Henry Orange-Nassau II Prince Orange 1584-1647 was the younger brother of Maurice Orange-Nassau I Prince Orange 1567-1625.] is a good-natured and obliging woman. They love fine things, and to live easily, pompously, and hospitably; but, with so vast expense, as plunges my Lord (59) into debts exceedingly. My Lord (59) himself is given into no expensive vice but building, and to have all things rich, polite, and princely. He never plays, but reads much, having the Latin, French, and Spanish tongues in perfection. He has traveled much, and is the best bred and courtly person his Majesty (47) has about him, so as the public Ministers more frequent him than any of the rest of the nobility. While he was Secretary of State and Prime Minister, he had gotten vastly, but spent it as hastily, even before he had established a fund to maintain his greatness; and now beginning to decline in favor (the Duke being no great friend of his), he knows not how to retrench. He was son of a Doctor of Laws, whom I have seen, and, being sent from Westminster School to Oxford, with intention to be a divine, and parson of Arlington, a village near Brentford, when Master of Arts the Rebellion falling out, he followed the King (47)'s Army, and receiving an HONORABLE WOUND IN THE FACE, grew into favor, and was advanced from a mean fortune, at his Majesty's (47) Restoration, to be an Earl and Knight of the Garter, Lord Chamberlain of the Household, and first favorite for a long time, during which the King (47) married his natural son, the Duke of Grafton (13), to his only daughter (22) and heiress, as before mentioned, worthy for her beauty and virtue of the greatest prince in Christendom. My Lord is, besides this, a prudent and understanding person in business, and speaks well; unfortunate yet in those he has advanced, most of them proving ungrateful. The many obligations and civilities I have received from this noble gentleman, extracts from me this character, and I am sorry he is in no better circumstances.
Having now passed near three weeks at Euston, to my great satisfaction, with much difficulty he suffered me to look homeward, being very earnest with me to stay longer; and, to engage me, would himself have carried me to Lynn-Regis, a town of important traffic, about twenty miles beyond, which I had never seen; as also the Traveling Sands, about ten miles wide of Euston, that have so damaged the country, rolling from place to place, and, like the Sands in the Deserts of Lybia, quite overwhelmed some gentlemen's whole estates, as the relation extant in print, and brought to our Society, describes at large.
John Evelyn's Diary 1678 August. 23d August 1678. Upon Sir Robert Reading's (38) importunity, I went to visit the Duke of Norfolk (50), at his new palace at Weybridge, where he has laid out in building near £10,000, on a copyhold, and in a miserable, barren, sandy place by the street side; never in my life had I seen such expense to so small purpose. The rooms are wainscotted, and some of them richly pargeted with cedar, yew, cypress, etc. There are some good pictures, especially that incomparable painting of Holbein's, where the Duke of Norfolk, Charles Brandon and Henry VIII., are dancing with the three ladies, with most amorous countenances, and sprightly motion exquisitely expressed. It is a thousand pities (as I told my Lord of Arundel (23), his son), that that jewel should be given away.
John Evelyn's Diary 1678 August. 27th August 1678. I took leave of the Duke (50), and dined at Mr. Henry Bruncker's (51), at the Abbey of Sheene, formerly a monastery of Carthusians, there yet remaining one of their solitary cells with a cross. Within this ample inclosure are several pretty villas and fine gardens of the most excellent fruits, especially Sir William Temple's (lately Ambassador into Holland), and the Lord Lisle's (29), son to the Earl of Leicester (59), who has divers rare pictures, above all, that of Sir Brian Tuke's, by Holbein.
After dinner I walked to Ham, to see the house and garden of the Duke of Lauderdale (62), which is indeed inferior to few of the best villas in Italy itself; the house furnished like a great Prince's; the parterres, flower-gardens, orangeries, groves, avenues, courts, statues, perspectives, fountains, aviaries, and all this at the banks of the sweetest river in the world, must needs be admirable.
Hence, I went to my worthy friend, Sir Henry Capel (40) [at Kew], brother to the Earl of Essex (47); it is an old timber-house; but his garden has the choicest fruit of any plantation in England, as he is the most industrious and understanding in it.
John Evelyn's Diary 1680 September. 2d September 1680. I had an opportunity, his Majesty (50) being still at Windsor, of seeing his private library at Whitehall, at my full ease. I went with expectation of finding some curiosities, but, though there were about 1,000 volumes, there were few of importance which I had not perused before. They consisted chiefly of such books as had from time to time been dedicated, or presented to him; a few histories, some Travels and French books, abundance of maps and sea charts, entertainments and pomps, buildings and pieces relating to the navy, some mathematical instruments; but what was most rare, were three or four Romish breviaries, with a great deal of miniature and monkish painting and gilding, one of which is most exquisitely done, both as to the figures, grotesques, and compartments, to the utmost of that curious art. There is another in which I find written by the hand of King Henry VII., his giving it to his dear daughter, Margaret, afterward Queen of Scots, in which he desires her to pray for his soul, subscribing his name at length. There is also the process of the philosophers' great elixir, represented in divers pieces of excellent miniature, but the discourse is in high Dutch, a MS. There is another MS. in quarto, of above 300 years old, in French, being an institution of physic, and in the botanical part the plants are curiously painted in miniature; also a folio MS. of good thickness, being the several exercises, as Themes, Orations, Translations, etc., of King Edward VI., all written and subscribed by his own hand, and with his name very legible, and divers of the Greek interleaved and corrected after the manner of schoolboys' exercises, and that exceedingly well and proper; with some epistles to his preceptor, which show that young prince to have been extraordinarily advanced in learning, and as Cardan, who had been in England affirmed, stupendously knowing for his age. There is likewise his journal, no less testifying his early ripeness and care about the affairs of state.
There are besides many pompous volumes, some embossed with gold, and intaglios on agates, medals, etc. I spent three or four entire days, locked up, and alone, among these books and curiosities. In the rest of the private lodgings contiguous to this, are divers of the best pictures of the great masters, Raphael, Titian, etc., and in my esteem, above all, the "Noli me tangere" of our blessed Savior to Mary Magdalen after his Resurrection, of Hans Holbein; than which I never saw so much reverence and kind of heavenly astonishment expressed in a picture.
There are also divers curious clocks, watches, and pendules of exquisite work, and other curiosities. An ancient woman who made these lodgings clean, and had all the keys, let me in at pleasure for a small reward, by means of a friend.
John Evelyn's Diary 1687 March. 10 Mar 1687. His Majesty (53) sent for the Commissioners of the Privy Seal this morning into his bedchamber, and told us that though he had thought fit to dispose of the Seal into a single hand, yet he would so provide for us, as it should appear how well he accepted our faithful and loyal service with many gracious expressions to this effect; upon which we delivered the Seal into his hands. It was by all the world both hoped and expected, that he would have restored it to my Lord Clarendon; but they were astonished to see it given to Lord Arundel, of Wardour (80), a zealous Roman Catholic. Indeed it was very hard, and looked very unkindly, his Majesty (53) (as my Lord Clarendon protested to me, on my going to visit him and long discoursing with him about the affairs of Ireland) finding not the least failure of duty in him during his government of that kingdom, so that his recall plainly appeared to be from the stronger influence of the Papists, who now got all the preferments.
Most of the great officers, both in the Court and country, Lords and others, were dismissed, as they would not promise his Majesty their consent to the repeal of the test and penal statutes against Popish Recusants. To this end, most of the Parliament men were spoken to in his Majesty's closet, and such as refused, if in any place of office or trust, civil or military, were put out of their employments. This was a time of great trial; but hardly one of them assented, which put the Popish interest much backward. The English clergy everywhere preached boldly against their superstition and errors, and were wonderfully followed by the people. Not one considerable proselyte was made in all this time. The party were exceedingly put to the worst by the preaching and writing of the Protestants in many excellent treatises, evincing the doctrine and discipline of the reformed religion, to the manifest disadvantage of their adversaries. To this did not a little contribute the sermon preached at Whitehall before the Princess of Denmark (22) and a great crowd of people, and at least thirty of the greatest nobility, by Dr. Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells (49), on John viii. 46 (the Gospel of the day), describing through his whole discourse the blasphemies, perfidy, wresting of Scripture, preference of tradition before it, spirit of persecution, superstition, legends, and fables of the Scribes and Pharisees, so that all the auditory understood his meaning of a parallel between them and the Romish priests, and their new Trent religion. He exhorted his audience to adhere to the written Word, and to persevere in the Faith taught in the Church of England, whose doctrine for Catholic and soundness he preferred to all the communities and churches of Christians in the world; concluding with a kind of prophecy, that whatever it suffered, it should after a short trial emerge to the confusion of her adversaries and the glory of God.
I went this evening to see the order of the boys and children at Christ's Hospital. There were near 800 boys and girls so decently clad, cleanly lodged, so wholesomely fed, so admirably taught, some the mathematics, especially the forty of the late King's foundation, that I was delighted to see the progress some little youths of thirteen or fourteen years of age had made. I saw them at supper, visited their dormitories, and much admired the order, economy, and excellent government of this most charitable seminary. Some are taught for the Universities, others designed for seamen, all for trades and callings. The girls are instructed in all such work as becomes their sex and may fit them for good wives, mistresses, and to be a blessing to their generation. They sang a psalm before they sat down to supper in the great Hall, to an organ which played all the time, with such cheerful harmony, that it seemed to me a vision of angels. I came from the place with infinite satisfaction, having never seen a more noble, pious, and admirable charity. All these consisted of orphans only. The foundation was of that pious Prince King Edward VI., whose picture (held to be an original of Holbein is in the court where the Governors meet to consult on the affairs of the Hospital, and his statue in white marble stands in a niche of the wall below, as you go to the church, which is a modern, noble, and ample fabric. This foundation has had, and still has, many benefactors.
John Evelyn's Diary 1696 April. 23 Apr 1696. I went to Eton, and dined with Dr. Godolphin, the provost. The schoolmaster assured me there had not been for twenty years a more pregnant youth in that place than my grandson (14). I went to see the King's House at Kensington. It is very noble, though not great. The gallery furnished with the best pictures [from] all the houses, of Titian, Raphael, Correggio, Holbein, Julio Romano, Bassan, Vandyke, Tintoretto, and others; a great collection of porcelain; and a pretty private library. The gardens about it very delicious.