SAINT PAUL'S CATHEDRAL in London is noted from its being the largest and most magnificent Protestant church in the world, and second only to St. Peter's in Rome among the religious structures of modern times. The site of the present Witting was o,-en pied about 610 by a Christian church dedicated to St. Paul. This church continued till 1083, when it was destroyed by fire. From its ruins arose a much more splendid edifice—die immediate precursor of the present cathedral. Iu 1137 the building suffered severely Lem tire; but, that being the great age for splendid churches, it was soon restored with treat magnificeifee, the bishops and the people contributing: most liberally to defray the cost. Old St. Paul's was the largest church in the country, being 650 ft. in length, 130 in breadth. and about 150 ft. high. The total height of the stone tower and the spire, covered with lead, which sithmounted it, was 520 feet. The cloister was r ft. square, with a beautiful chapter-house in the center. In 1666 the great fire of London completely destroyed the old cathedral, along with a large portion of the city and most of the douches: and thereafter sir Christopher Wren was employed to design about 50 of the new churches, and, among others, the new cathedral. In 1673 he sub mitted several designs for a new cathedral to the king, who selected one, and ordered a model of it on a large scale to be. prepared. This wits clone by Wren, and the model still exists. Its plan is in the fman of a Greek cross, having a large dome over the cen ter, supported on eight arches This was, however, eventually departed from; and the new design was modeled on that of a Gothic cathedral, with an interior length of 460 ft., width 240 ft. across transepts, and a nave 94 ft. wide. The dome and the eight sup porting arches of the model are preserved; but in the new design the angle arches lead to no spacious compartment, but to small dark passages only, while the upper portions of these !Teat arches are blocked up with other arches, introduced for constructive pur pose-4, but very destructive of the architectural effect. The plan of supporting the dome on eight arches had the charm of novelty, and also of simplcity of construction, but it made the arches themselves too small in proportion to the great span of the dome. The constructive skill displayed by Wren in this building is universally acknowledged and admired, but it is thought that he has allowed the mechanical exigencies of the work to interfere too much with its decorative requirements. The dome, for example, is constructed on a new and most masterly principle, the thrust of the vault being coun by the weight of a Mick cone, which is carried up to support the stone lan tern over the exterior dome. But in order to carry this out with the least expenditure
possible, the drum, or plain cylindrical wall under the dome, is sloped inward, so that the columns with which it is decorated appear to the spectator below to be falling inward, thus producing a painful and disagreeable effect. Great exception is taken to the fact that the external dome is of wood, and not of stone, and so liable to premature decay; but the same may be said of the wooden roofs. over the vaults of Gothic cathe drals; and by making it of wood sir Christopher was enabled to rare it to a height which makes it one of the noblest buildings of the kind in the world. The design of the nave, from the classic vaulting with which"it is covered, is necessarily to a great extent a failure. When domes, or intersecting vaults, are used in a classic building the compart ments must be about square; there can therefore be but a small number of nave piers, as compared with those of a Gothic cathedral, and the perspective effect of the latter is thus entirely wanting. The same is the case at St. Peter's. The dome is particularly successful, and is admit ed to be the finest in existence; no other being so graceful and varied iu outline, and yet so massive in general effect. Its height from the pavement to the top of time cross is 404 feet. The w. front, as seen from Ludgate hill, is most striking; the two campaniles group most harmoniously with the dome, and, together with the portico, produce a most pleasing and rein:irk:dile effect. This front must, however, be condemned. along with the screen-walls, if strictly criticised. The upper portico appears to indicate an upper story where there is none, and the actual construction and true form of the building are not expressed at all. St. Paul's is the burial-place of many heroes and men of distinction, whose tombs are in the crypt, and whose monuments adorn the interior of the cathedral: Among these are Nelson and Wellington, Collingwood, Aber cromby, Moore, Howe, St. Vincent, Piston. Rodney, and many other celebrated soldiers and sailors; Howard, Johnson, Reynolds, Barry, Opie, West, Astley Cooper, sir William Jones, sir Christopher Wren, and other distinguished civilians. Several of the monu ments are by Flaxman, Chautrey, Bacon, and Rossi; but it must he confessed that they savor generally too much of heathen mythology to be appropriate in a Christiau cathedral.