tulse hill terry wrote:what IS the plural for sphinx?
The plural for sphinx is either "Sphinges" or "Sphinxes".
The Community Voice for London SE26
1. What can you tell me about the two grand external staircases that lead from the main entrance to the upper terrace. I contend that they were built quite late, but I'm not sure why or when.
tulse hill terry wrote: I don't know about marks, but there were pairs of sphinx either side of the central steps, removed perhaps when the external were erected.
Statue on the island in the lake at Brooklands Park, Blackheath. The statue is by Raffaelle Monti (1818-1881) & was once situated in the grounds of The Crystal Palace together with others representing rivers/oceans Nile, Pacific, Thames, Amazon, Indian, Atlantic and Artic. These statues were auctioned off in the early 1950's. & this one ended up here in what was once the grounds of a now demolished large house.
JUNE 28 1856
THE FOUNTAINS, WATER TOWERS, AND CASCADES, AT THE CRYSTAL PALACE.
Wednesday week, the 18th June, was the day which her Majesty had been graciously pleased to appoint for the display of the great fountains at the Crystal Palace, it being her intention to honour the occasion with her Royal presence. In addition to the fountains already in action, the water temples, the cascades, the two large waterfalls, and the fountains of the grand lower basins, were to make their first gushes before an indulgent season-ticket audience.
Under these overwhelming circumstances, we considered it to be our duty to make our toilet as elaborate as possible. We determined on celebrating the Royal visit by a costly and artistic decoration of our person. for all we knew, the august eyes of our Queen might be attracted by the blazon of our splendid waistcoat; who could tell but the gaze of the Prince Consort might for a second be refreshed with the beauty of our studs, glittering like illumination lamps down the grand centre avenue of our shirt front. It was our hope that the scrupulous neatness might be fascinatingly united to reckless extravagance. Our hair was curled tightly as the paper edging around a twelfth cake; our cravat - magnificent as the Royal Standard - hung in folds luxuriant and regular as those of a drawing-room curtain; and our patent boots shone like new wine bottles. Nor must we forget the watch-chain, thick enough to suspend a chandelier; nor the gloves, delicate as lily leaves. Scented as a rose-bush, we sent for a cab. the driver was visibly affected when we appeared before him in all the glory of fashionable attire, and at the windows around the heads of our neighbours rose up suddenly as fish on the surface of the wire-blinds, and stared with respectful awe as we exclaimed, in a tone loud enough to be heard ten doors off, "Crystal Palace railway - first-class entrance !"
We found the doors of the railway station completely blocked with the fashionable multitude bound for Sydenham. The flock of lambs in silk, satin, and muslin dresses, guarded by the fierce dogs in Saxony and Russian duck, stood with their bonnets turned towards the narrow door, trembling with the dread of crumpled skirts before their eyes, and nervously awaiting the moment of trial. We stood watching the crowd of fair textile fabrics. Each time the whistle of a departing train sounded within the building, it was answered by the rustling of the impatient dresses on the pavement without, and the soft-looking mob pressed gently forwards, gradually collapsing as if it were so much cotton wool. We believe that no serious accidents occurred.
The carriage into which we entered was already in the possession of four young ladies and their papa. These damsels were busily putting on the tightest of gloves and aiding each other to do the buttoning. The parent, after restlessly rubbing his head into the corner cushions, as if making for himself a comfortable nest, quietly went off into a nap. by the time we reached New Cross, the toilets of the daughters had been completed, including the smoothing of hair, the removal of smuts, and the rounding of each other's bonnets, and then we all of us sat as upright as we could, and looked straight before us; in fact, handled ourselves with as much care as if we had been so many bottles of fine old crested port, which a shake would have unsettled and spoilt.
When at last we reached the Palace, instead of journeying up that long, naked passage, known as the Railway Colonnade, we hurried on to the gardens by the entrance of the Rosary. It was only two o' clock, and yet thousands of visitors had already arrived. The grass was dotted all about with them, and on the terraces, and in the open corridors facing the grand transept, there was a long, slowly moving line of bright dresses creeping about in the sunlight, with a thousand little dots of parasols, scarcely larger than wafers, raised in the air. It was a beautiful day, with only one or two little white clouds, floating like feathers against the deep-blue sky, and the sun was shining with a vigour that made your shoulders and back glow again. The very flowers seem to be slowly rotating in the hot rays, and indeed we noticed some scarlet geraniums in a marble vase close to us, that seemed to get redder and redder as if on the verge of bursting into flame.
Numbers of the visitors had ascended the mound where the Rosary is situated, and were intently watching the weathercock on the top of the flagstaff, and, thinking that something extraordinary was to be seen, we joined them. We found that an inquiry was going on as the state of the wind, in order to discover which way the spray of the fountains would be blown; but, as there was just then no wind at all, the inquiry appeared to be useless and uninteresting. So we looked around us at the big arabesque iron-work circus, that seems like the wreck of some monster bird-cage, and wondered to ourselves how long it would be before the naked metal would be surrounded and covered with the innumerable roses promised to us by the guide books. as yet the rose-trees in the beds about the place are not taller than those sold in pots. One or two thin, taper-looking creepers are struggling up the posts, but they seem worn out with having attained a yard's elevation, droop their scanty leaves as if exhausted.
We had come to Sydenham to see the fountains, and to them we went. The basins from which the water was to be thrown up, are situated on each side of the broad centre walk, that leads to the great centre transept. Nearest to the Palace are the fountains on the terrace, then come the water temples and cascades, ending in the grand lower basins, which are little less than two large lakes of water bordered by a stone coping. we had been told that these fountains were composed of 11,785 jets, that to supply them an artesian well had been sunk to the depth of 570 feet, that the pipes for conveying the water were ten miles in length, and that the engines to force the streams into the air were of the united power of 320 horses, and naturally enough we were expecting tremendous results. Again, immense reservoirs have been formed, and the two square towers terminating the wings erected, so that altogether never had fountains been before made on so extensive a scale.
With these facts on our mind, we commenced our survey. From the tops of the two tall towers, long lines of smoke were curling forth, showing the steam-engines were at work, and all about you was the sound of rushing water. The first objects we saw were the two temples, decorated with gilding, and painted purple and red. They looked so very fresh, gay, and pretty, that we began to feel uneasy lest the water would damage them. The Mercury on one of the domed roofs seemed to be standing on one leg, so as to get out of the wet. We at once knew the water was to spirt down from the mouths of the cupids round the cornices, for they all seemed to be sucking little bits of lead piping.
A workman was putting the finishing chisel touches to the stone-work situated at the end of the long flight of steps which compose the cascade. The dead sound of the mallet, and indeed the notion of anybody being at work on such a day, seemed so strange, that we found ourselves walking in the direction of the man with a feeling of strong curiosity to see what he was about.
The man was working at one of the waterfalls above the ground lower basin. Beneath stretched out the broad sheet of water, which from its yellow, clayey hue, had evidently not long been turned on. Sticking up in all directions were what might have been at first mistaken for stakes driven into the ground, but which a second glance told you were the metal mouths of jets. As you looked more earnestly, you could catch sight of the rusty iron pipes, thick as a nine-gallon cask, running like a huge serpent down the centre of the long basin. the surface of the tranquil water served as a mirror to reflect the different coloured dresses of the forms walking around the paths at the edge, and those at the furthest end were only distinguishable in the distance by the two bright dots that, one above the other, slowly crept along the border. It struck as that this vast expanse, with nothing but the black stumps shining on its surface, had a naked, deserted look, and that a few statues would have broken up its monotony; for as the fountains themselves never play longer than one hour at a time, the water, during the other hours of the day, remains without any ornament to interest the visitor.
From where we were standing, we could every now and then catch the sound of a burst of trumpets and the thumping of a drum, and our legs grew unruly as a war-horse at the blowing of a clarion, and carried us off in the direction of the music. As we ascended the broad, gravel path, we could distinguish the little cluster of red dots raised on a platform, and surrounded by a crowd of different-coloured specks, and at each step the various instruments became more and more distinct. We paused by the statues without noticing them, beyond making a mental observation that Hercules was looking very well after resting the entire winter on his club, and that Mercury was playing on his marble pipes in the same graceful manner that distinguished his lat year's performance.
The music had drawn together a large audience of ladies, who had taken possession of the chairs and benches, and were enjoying the double luxury of the performance and a bask in the sun. The red dots on the platform now changed into selections from "Norma."
Never before, in the whole course of our existence, has it pleased the Fates to favour us with a glance at so many lovely and elegant ladies as were assembled at the Crystal Palace Wednesday week. It seemed like the beauty-show of all England. A single man might lose his heart as easily as an umbrella. to call it falling in love is too mild a term, for it was like throwing yourself headlong from the top of an amatory monument. There was one Venus in a silken dress, delicately green as an opening bud, and from her temples hung long flaxen ringlets, that, as she nodded her head to the music, vibrated with elastic grace about her lace-covered bust. There was another, in a transparent muslin, that allowed a waist, slender as a wrist, whilst a foot, cased in a white kid boot that would have pinched a Cinderella, peeped out from the worked border of that petticoat. A third in a rich robe of silver-grey silk, that shone with the subdued pearly lustre, held in her hand, almost small enough for a letter-clip, a parasol of fluttering lace, which cast a transparent shade upon a countenance which must be accustomed to , at least, its ten matrimonial offers per diem. Some of the fair audience were listening as intently to the music as if a secret were being whispered in their ears, with their large sentimental eyes opened, until the long lashes bent like springs against the lids; others were unconcernedly chatting together with a lively indifference, asking whether "so-and so was in the gardens," or "How everybody was at home."
Leaving the dreadful scene, we entered the Palace. At least a hundred policemen were idling about the Agricultural Implement gallery in the basement. In honour of the Queen's visit, their Berlin gloves were so white as turbots, and their uniforms brushed as free from dust as the cloth on a billiard table. They passed their time in examining the mahogany model manure carts, and highly varnished model ploughs, or in trying to establish an intimacy with the damsels managing the cotton spinning machines.
The stairs were soon mounted, and we entered the Palace itself. The attendants were watering the plants just as we arrived, and a beautiful odour of freshness filled the air. The atmosphere seemed blue with the reflection of the bright sky above the glittering glass roof, and made the white statues appear cool as snow; and gave a mystic grace to the baskets of flowers suspended halfway in the air, with their long shoots and drooping branches hanging downward, as if making for the parent earth again.
On our way to the Alhambra Court, we passed by the ornamental water in the centre of the nave. The lilies have grown out of all knowledge. The leaves of the Victoria Regia, which last year we left scarcely bigger than dessert plates, have grown into the dimensions of the paper hoops employed at a circus, and lay like big rafts on the pool. It struck us with amazement that such big leaves could not make better flowers than they do – it seemed like a great waste of mountain strength to produce such mice of blooms.
As we expected the hall of Abencerrages was filled with ladies. They were seated on the red cushions on the side, and were gazing up at the wonderful roof, with it's small round windows of stained glass, flooding the gilt mouldings with purple, crimson, and yellow rays, until the dome seemed one crumpled mass of jewels. What would those young ladies give if they could have the fairy dwelling transported to Belgrave or Eaton Squares ? One of them whispered in a luxurious mellow voice, that “She could stop a week in this beautiful abode." How sorry we feel that such a wish is against the hard-hearted regulations of the directors; for, although the little palace was not made for her, she looks as if she were made for the little palace, with her dress of Indian muslin, and dainty bonnet, with the jessamine prigs meandering over he white sides of dotted lace.
More music ! The glass roof seemed to rattle with the vibration of the instruments. Up jumped the Indian muslin dress; up started every silk and satin robe ; and off they went in direction of the sound.
A delicious perfume seized us violently by the nose, made us stop, sniffing, for a moment or two, a thought of weddings crossed our mind, for the odour was of orange blossom. Scenting our way like around, we reached a tall round tree, against whose dark-green leaves we distinguished the white star-shaped blossom of the orange flower. Two ladies are standing on tip-toe, and sniffing at the boughs, making strange sounds of satisfaction as they draw in the air. if a policeman, a savage-looking man, had not been close by, we would have broken off a branch, and presented it to them, for they were lovely enough to warrant petty larceny.
The band had taken possession of the orchestra in front of the violet coloured temple, where the opera concerts have been given. It was a German band we were told, and as most of the musicians had heavy beards, turn-down collars, and wore spectacles, no doubt the information was correct. The leader, who stood in front with his violin, had the most wonderful hair we have ever witnessed for it was tucked behind his ears, and was long, black, and bushy like a pony's tail. He was a very energetic leader, and stamped his foot, and waved his fiddlestick, as if he were fencing. At the quick movements, he lashed his bow about him, like the whip of a jockey winning the race, as though he were flogging on the sluggish musicians. Never did the overture to "William Tell" receive such a beating. Even Jullien might have envied the energy and enthusiasm of this model conductor. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Antoine_Jullien]
It was four o' clock, and as the Queen was not to arrive until half-past five, the elegant multitude began to think of the refreshment stalls, and a clatter of spoons and plates succeeded to the music of the band. We soon found ourselves at one of the round tables, near the centre transept, with a bottle of bitter ale and a plate of sandwiches before us; but although very hungry, still we could not enjoy the feast, for a small boy, with pale green eyes, and a wet hungry mouth, came to within a yard of our chair, and stood staring at each mouthful, watching it as a dog does. It was like having an evil conscience tormenting you, for despite our attempts at a compromise, there was no getting rid of him - the gluttonous, disagreeable child !
When we entered the gardens again, we found the people taking up their places for seeing the Queen pass. The favourite spot was on the sloping grass banks beyond the furthest gravel walk. Already the mound was covered with a speckled multitude, and others were hurrying in the same direction, the gentlemen carrying chairs, and the ladies walking at a pace that made their full-skirted dresses tremble like a load of hay on the London stones.
Accompanied by the talented artist who has illustrated the scene, we mingled with the crowd. but it was yet too soon; and to pass the time, the gentlemen sought out places where they could smoke a quiet cigar, and the ladies rested themselves on the grass slopes, or made their admirers transport their chairs near to the band of the Royal Artillery, who were playing selections from Verdi's "Travatore."
As the time for the Queen’s arrival drew near, the company arranged themselves one each side of the gravel walks up which the pony carriage was to pass. The ladies stood up on chairs, or in the front rows, and in fact, had the best places politely given up to them; whilst the gentlemen took their chance to see as best they could. Now the police were marched down from their retreat in the machine compartment, and began to enter on their order-keeping functions. Never did the sons of Peel behave with such gallant forbearance as on that day. The obstreperous damsels were restrained by appeals such as - "Why don't you gentlemen keep her back ?" In a short time all the apple-green, the pink, the lemon-yellow dresses; the pert satin jackets, the tantalising rose-tinted cloaks, the aerial white, blue, and lilac bonnets, were ravaged into a thick hedge on each side of the path; and as if to reward them for their good behaviour, the national anthem suddenly was heard above the hum of the voices, to strike up at the other end of the park. the Artillery band took up the air, and the Coldstream musicians followed their example. Then arose the shout of - "The Queen has come!" and inquiries of - "Which way ?"
Then a sound of hissing and spitting and spirting, followed by the loud roar of rushing waters filled the air, and the fountains sent the foaming columns high up towards the sky.
Between the temptation of the fountains and the expected arrival of the Queen, the elegant crowd scarcely knew which way to look or which sight to sacrifice. This uncertainty was soon put an end to by a heavy shower of spray, which, carried by the wind, came down upon the devoted bonnets with a stormy drenching violence, in vain did the police pray for order. In an instant the crowd was in agitation, scampering off to dryer spots. The roses and lilies and jasmine twigs in their bonnets drooped their wet heads and hung in damp disorder. Everybody laughed, and delicate parasols, scarcely larger than mushrooms, were in vain opposed to the torrent. Those who had umbrellas used them, but those less fortunate took to their legs.
In the mists of confusion, the scarlet-coated outriders before the Royal carriages made their appearance. The line was once more formed, and hats and handkerchiefs waved, while shrill "hurrahs" from the ladies and gruff ones from the gentlemen welcomed the august visitors.
In the first carriage rode the Queen with t he Prince consort, the Regent of Baden [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_I_of_Baden], and the prince of Prussia. Next following the phantom, in which were seated the Prince of Wales (who laughed heartily and appeared to enjoy the ducking from the falling spray), the Princess royal, the Princess Alice, and the ladies and gentlemen in waiting.
As soon as the Royal party had gone by, a rush was made towards some other spot where the carriage would again have to pass. Away went the crowd, scampering over the wet grass, the most delicate of kid boots plunging heedlessly into ankle-deep puddles, bounding over paths, scrambling up slopes, until the desired locality had been reached. In their enthusiastic flights how many toilettes were deranged, was proved by the spoils left on the grass. When the Queen had a second time been cheered and hurrah'd we looked about us, and at our feet lay a superb velvet knot for a lady’s back hair, with the hair pins in it ready for use. Wishing to try if morality still existed in the world, we enquired of an elderly lady who had never been near the place, whether the gorgeous ornament was hers. We blush to write that she claimed the magnificent property, put it in her pocket without a shudder, and walked off with eyes twinkling with delight. We rushed off to the fountains with a heart heavy as cold Yorkshire pudding, and sighing in sorrow for the middle-aged and wicked dame.
The fountains were certainly wonderful, and went as high as steam- engines and tall square towers could send them. The two monster jets sent up their streams of opaque crystal so high into the air, that the neck ached with keeping the head thrown back as you watched the topmost spray jerk and jerk towards the clouds as though it were leaping in madness at the sky. Around the base of some of the fountains jets had been arranged that the lines crossed and recrossed one another, making a kind of lace-work border, something similar to the wire-work bordering that encircles a flower bed. The water-falls at the base of the cascades fell in a smooth sheet, that roared and splashed as it tumbled into the basins below, and above them the water came gurgling and foaming down the stone steps of the cascade itself, with lines of white spray the edge of each descent. On either side, the bronze figures spirted out their silvery streams, and above all the temples poured forth from their gilt domes a heavy stream of glittering water.
On every side were seen the foaming mounds spirting out from the countless jets. The air was filled with a roaring sound, and was cool as in a grotto. at some of the fountains, the spray falling in the sunlight became dyed with bright rainbow tints, or else it formed a thin silvery cloud, which the wind carried away until it melted in the distance.
Everybody was sorry when the turncocks made their appearance, and with their big iron keys began the circular walk of turning off the water. Slowly the different jets decreased in height, until at last the silvery streams ceased altogether, and the nozzles of the pipes again appeared like black stumps above the quiet surface of the basin.
To compare the fountains of the Crystal Palace with Versailles, is about absurd as to compare English with French cookery. They are two entirely different things. The one is substantial, the feast gigantic and soon satisfying; the other is light and elegant, so that even when the entertainment is over; the appetite still remains. At Sydenham; the display of water partakes something of the baron-of-beef style of banquet: it is the intensest feast of fountains to be obtained. But the display once over, what remains ? - a blank sheet of water. Now, at Versailles, whether the water is playing or not, the fountains are still interesting from the sculptures about them, which certainly help to destroy the monotony of a vast watery expanse, and please the eye and excite the imagination. Both styles are essentially distinct, and both of them come as near perfection as they in their various characters can approach.
When the fountains had ceased playing, the vast multitude hurried into the Palace, some to feast on pigeon-pie and salad, others to walk about and examine the dresses of the promenaders. Now the smell of the Vanilla ices burst forth from the refreshment stalls. We saw one young lady with a large frozen clot of the restring luxury sliding slowly down her peach-coloured bonnet strings, and we heard another damsel laughingly wish that they could warm the lees a little before serving them.
Soon the crowd set in for the railway station. As the hour grew late, the gentlemen boldly lighted their cigars, and openly smoked in hitherto forbidden places. The ladies who valued their dresses avoided the crush at the door of those impatient to get away, and many who prized an uncrumpled skirt above a speedy return home, had to wait patiently until past nine o' clock for an opportunity of making their escape from the gardens.
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests