2015年12月3日 星期四

Sir Christopher Wren / The cathedrals of England, History, Hogwarts and houses of God

Google Doodle forgets to celebrate Christopher Wren the man of science Today's Google Doodle marks the birthday of Christopher Wren, the architect,

but we should also remember him as an astronomer and founding figure for
 the Royal Society and Royal Observatory

A portrait of Sir Christopher Wren at Wadham College in Oxford. Photograph: Chris Andrews Publications/CORBIS

If people have heard of , they tend to know him as an architect. As the plaque in St Paul's 
Cathedral says, “if you seek his monument –​​ look around you”. It is unsurprising, then, 
that celebrates him as the man behind that building and the city churches rebuilt after
 the great fire of London.

He was, however, also a very significant figure for the history of science. He was central to 
all the groups that, come the end of the commonwealth and the restoration of the monarchy 
in 1660, formed the Royal Society of London . At Oxford he became part of the group 
around John Wilkins , he was key to the correspondence network known as the 
Invisible College , and in London he became professor of astronomy at Gresham College in 

At Oxford, Wren had engaged in many of the areas of research that marked the new, 
experimental science the Royal Society was to champion. He made astronomical observations,
explored the phenomenon of magnetism and investigated the possibility of transfusing blood, 
or other substances, into living creatures. Two key elements of the new approach were 
emphasised: the use of instruments, such as telescopes, microscopes, clocks, rain gauges
 and barometers, and the aspiration of producing useful knowledge, whether to aid medicine, navigation, defence or (of course) architecture.

Wren, naturally, turned some of his investigations to the question of longitude, in search of a 
method of finding east-west position at sea. He explored both the use of the moon's motion
 (the ) and . He spoke of both on his inaugural lecture at Gresham College, saying that the 
state of research in the latter was a thing, I confess, as yet crude, yet what may prove of 
consequence in philosophy, and of so great use, possibly to the navigator, and thereby we may
 attain the knowledge of longitudes, than which, former industry hath hardly left any thing 
more glorious to be aimed at in art.

Wren also left a coded manuscript containing three potential longitude methods, delivered to
 the Royal Society in November 1714. This was just months after the passing of the first 
Longitude Act, which offered rewards of up to £20,000 for successful methods. The
 manuscript was rediscovered by David Brewster in the 1850s, and . They were rather brief
 allusions to a timekeeper kept in a vacuum, a device for steadying a telescope (probably to )
 and a screw that would measure the water a ship passed through , potentially assisting .

Wren was also involved in one eminently practical scheme for finding longitude, which was 
the establishment of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. He was one of the commissioners 
who advised Charles II that an observatory ought to be established, in order to undertake the
 basic observations and mapping of the sky needed to underpin the lunar-distance method. He 
was subsequently asked to make recommendations about the building and staffing of the 

It seems to have been Wren's idea to have the observatory on Greenwich Hill, where there
 was a Royal park, a wrecked castle with strong foundations, handy river transport and an 
excellent view of the northern skies. It is uncertain how directly involved Wren was with 
designing the building now known as Flamsteed House , or whether most of it was left to his colleague in the Royal Society and surveyor of London, Robert Hooke or, indeed, the builders.

We do know that Wren felt sufficiently involved to later write about the choices made. It was built, he said , “for the Observator's habitation and a little for pompe”. The pompe was largely revealed in the Great Star Chamber (now Octagon Room ) , with its high ceiling, long windows for 
telescopes and built-in clocks by Thomas Tompion .

It was hoped that Charles II would take an interest in “his” observatory, but he never actually
 visited, although he may have enjoyed the pomp supplied by the view of the observatory on its hill 
from Queen's House below. Wren was very aware of the importance of ro​​yal patronage and of delivering  the required impression. Back in 1663, when Charles II did deign to visit “his” Royal Society, Wren was clear that the right kind of show was required. They needed “a notable experiment” and, of course, “something of pomp”.

Architecture, with its technical challenges and delivery of useful and impressive spaces, was by no means a separate project for Wren. On his birthday it is worth remembering the sheer range of his interests and the impressive and lasting legacies of his skill in delivering “pomp ”.

Rebekah Higgitt is author, with Richard Dunn, of (Collins, 2014)

前天讀A. Huxley。他引了這。很幸運,這句辭典有:

si mo·nu·men·tum re·qui·ris, cir·cum·spi·ce

Pronunciation: \ˌsē-ˌmȯ-nu̇-ˌmen-tu̇m-re- ˈkwē-ris kir-ˈku̇m-spi-ke\

Function: foreign term
Etymology: Latin: if you seek his monument, look around —epitaph of Sir  Christopher  Wren  in  St. Paul's, London , of which he was architect

Born  ‪#‎ onthisday‬  in 1632: architect Sir Christopher Wren. Here's a freehand drawing showing the relationship of the domes of the new St Paul's Cathedral  http://ow.ly/CUdhG

‪#‎onthisday‬ in 1697: Christopher Wren’s new St Paul’s Cathedral was consecrated, 32 years after the old St Paul’s was destroyed in the Great Fire of London http://ow.ly/V6MMO

Luxury liners laden with souls,
Holding to the East their hulls of stone

---WH Auden

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The cathedrals of England (1979)

Author: Clifton-Taylor, Alec
Subject: Cathedrals
Publisher: [London] : Thames and Hudson
Possible copyright status: NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Language: English
Digitizing sponsor: Google
Book from the collections of: Harvard University
Collection: americana

Full catalog record: MARCXML

[Open Library icon]This book has an editable web page on Open Library .

A Point of View: History, Hogwarts and houses of God

(Clockwise) Vaulted ceiling of Exeter Cathedral; Gloucester Cathedral; St Paul's Cathedral in M​​​​elbourne, Australia; St Paul's Cathedral in London
In the run-up to Easter, David Cannadine looks at a selection of the world's cathedrals and the important contribution that they have made to the broader lives of their respective cities and countries.
Perhaps it's because Easter's been approaching, or maybe it's just coincidence, but either way, there's been quite a bit of news lately about cathedrals, though it's not been very cheerful.
A few weeks ago, it was reported that what was left of Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand, which had been badly damaged in an earthquake last year, would have to be demolished. Built in the second half of the 19th Century, the cathedral had long been an essential part of the Christchurch cityscape and community, and the announcement that the surviving shell was too unsafe to be restored was greeted with widespread and understandable dismay.
Earthquake-damaged Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand was damaged by an earthquake in 2011
And just a few days ago, it was reported that England's cathedrals are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet, even when they charge for admission. Running costs amount to thousands of pounds a week, and serious restoration, of the roof, the windows , or the stonework, can run into tens of millions of pounds.
These rather gloomy tidings were much in my mind when I recently went to Exeter to deliver a lecture at the university. With time to spare beforehand, I paid a visit to the cathedral, which was, like so many of its kind, a combination of comforting familiarity and breathtaking surprise.
There's a homely and attractive cathedral close, and a welcoming if slightly unprepossessing west front. But that's no preparation for the spectacular view which opens up once you go in: a high and heady vault running the whole length of the nave and the choir, constructed in the most elaborate Decorated style of the early 14th Century.
It's a glorious vista, lifting the eye and the spirit heavenwards; and it's easy to see why the great architectural historian, Nikolaus Pevsner, included Exeter Cathedral as one of his twelve favourite English buildings.

Find out more

David Cannadine
  • A Point of View, with David Cannadine, is on Fridays on Radio 4 at 20:50 GMT and repeated Sundays, 08:50 GMT
  • David Cannadine is a British historian, author and professor ​​​​of history at Princeton University
If, like me, you're an historian by trade, there are many good reasons for visiting our cathedrals. The monuments, as on the walls at Exeter - to civic worthies, aristocratic neighbours, and local regiments - are a vivid reminder of the important part that has been played, and is played today, by cathedrals in the broader lives of their cities and counties.
And because I had the chance to listen to the Exeter choir, which was rehearsing for evensong, I was also reminded of the essential contribution that cathedrals have made, and still make, to the ancient and modern musical culture of their communities.
Edward Elgar may have lamented that he grew up poor and provincial in 19th Century Worcester, but because the cathedral was the focus of a vibrant and vigorous musical life, including the Three Choirs Festival held in collaboration with Hereford and Gloucester, it was in fact an ideally nurturing and encouraging environment for an aspiring composer.
Along with churches, castles and country houses, cathedrals are among our greatest architectural glories, and I suppose we all have our favourites among them. Perhaps Salisbury - unrivalled for its soaring spire and the grace and beauty of its setting, immortalized in the paintings of John Constable.

“Start Quote

Along with churches, castles and country houses, cathedrals are among our greatest architectural glories”
Or perhaps Gloucester, with its exquisite fan vaulted cloisters that have become familiar, as part of Hogworts School, to millions of people through the Harry Potter films.
Or perhaps Durham, standing high and strong on the city skyline, close by the castle - sacred power and secular power side by side, and often fleetingly glimpsed by travellers from the windows of the London to Edinburgh train.
As these examples suggest, we tend to think that the construction of cathedrals had ended by the 16th Century, and that Sir Christopher Wren's subsequent re-building of St Paul's in London was the exception that proved the rule.
And it's certainly true that when many of England's great industrial cities were given Anglican bishoprics, they often took over a large parish church and re-named it a cathedral, as in the case of Newcastle, Manchester, my home town of Birmingham, and also nearby Coventry.
A film set at Gloucester Cathedral Gloucester Cathedral doubled as a film set for the Harry Potter film franchise
But that's far from being the whole of the story, for, in many ways, the 19th Century was a great age of cathedral construction, including St Chad's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Birmingham, designed by Augustus Welby Pugin, and St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh , by George Gilbert Scott.
And in the aftermath of the Restoration of the Catholic hierarchy and diocesan structure in England and Wales by Pope Pius IX, many new Catholic cathedrals were constructed, culminating in the building of Westminster Cathedral in the Byzantine style, consecrated in 1910.
If we look further afield, to what was then the rapidly expanding British Empire, the 19th and early 20th Centuries were something of a golden age for the construction of Anglican cathedrals. From Toronto to Calcutta, Cape Town to Cairo, Hong Kong to Singapore, the British built churches wherever they went.

“Start Quote

Great Anglican churches are among the most enduring legacies of Britain's once far-flung realms”
One of my favourites is St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne. Designed in the Gothic revival style by the English architect William Butterfield, it's diagonally opposite Flinders Street railway station, and thus at the very heart of the city.
Another is the Cathedral Church of the Redemption, in New Delhi, which was constructed between 1927 and 1931 as part of Sir Edwin Lutyens's master plan for the new capital of the Raj.
Indeed, it's no exaggeration to say that these great Anglican churches are among the most enduring legacies of Britain's once far-flung realms, and when Jan Morris brought her imperial trilogy to a close, in Farewell the Trumpets, it was with an account of an evensong service in a cathedral of the old empire.
By the late 19th Century, new Anglican cathedrals were also being built back in England, beginning with Truro, designed by John Loughborough Pearson, and once again in the Gothic revival style, on which work was begun in 1880.

Find out more

St Pauls Cathedral engulfed in smoke during attacks of the German Luftwaffe on London in 1940
Two decades later, a competition was held to select the architect for the new Liverpool Cathedral, and it was won by the 22-year-old Giles Gilbert Scott, who was the grandson of George Gilbert Scott. It turned out to be an unhappy commission : the construction of the building, which was once again in the Gothic style, was fraught with difficulty, and was interrupted during both World Wars.
When Scott died in 1960, Liverpool Cathedral was still unfinished, and it would only be completed nearly 20 years later. Nor did Scott fare any better with Coventry, whose cathedral had been horrifically damaged in a German bombing raid in November 1940. Once peace had returned, he was invited to design a new building, but his highly traditional Gothic scheme was deemed inappropriate for the brave new post-war world.
The project was then thrown open to a full-scale architectural competition. The winner was a young man named Basil Spence, and his cathedral was an imaginative and exciting mixture of the traditional and the modern.
The shapes and spaces and configurations, of the nave, the choir and the sanctuary, were very familiar, but Spence also ensured that the cathedral was a showcase of contemporary British art, including Graham Sutherland's tapestry of Christ in Glory, John Piper's Baptistry Window, and Jacob Epstein's statue of St Michael and the Devil.
Coventry Cathedral Coventry Cathedral was conceived "in a spirit of peace and hope"
In recognition, but also in defiance, of the death and destruction wrought during World War II, Coventry's new cathedral was conceived from the outset in a spirit of peace and hope, reconciliation and resurrection, and to that end, Benjamin Britten was commissioned to compose a War Requiem, first performed soon after the building was consecrated, which was exactly fifty years ago, in the spring of 1962.
Like so many of our cathedrals, Coventry is an extraordinary and exhilarating place to visit, for it is, and yet it is not, a quintessentially 60s building: both of its time, yet also unique. Norman Tebbit once claimed that the 1960s was a third rate decade, full of third rate minds, which were (among other things) smug, wet, sanctimonious, naïve, guilt-ridden and insufferable.
Like the rest of us, he's entitled to his point of view, but a decade which produced Coventry Cathedral was far from being all wrong or all bad. And its abiding message, of peace and hope, of reconciliation and resurrection, is surely a good and noble one at any time, and especially at Easter time.