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Belvoir Castle, from the admirable natural advantages of its situation; from the skill and taste which have been displayed in adapting the architecture, both to its site, and the importance of the historical recollections with which it is associated; has acquired a celebrity, by no means confined to England. Scarcely any foreigner of cultivated taste, visiting this country for either business or pleasure, omits the gratification of a pilgrimage to Belvoir. One of the marked proofs of its fame in this country, is the variety of forms, in which attempts have been made to preserve some memorial of its magnificent grandeur. From pictorial representations of the highest class, to the most unpretending sketches of the amateur draftsman ;-in topographical works of a permanent form, or in the more fleeting shape of annuals and periodicals,—a continually recurring evidence of its appreciation may be discerned. The variety of points of view from which it has been observed and admired, is almost analogous in extent, to the diversified shades of opinion of its numerous visiters. And, probably, in most instances, an opinion has been formed from the first impression received, on approaching the Castle, by the several avenues of communication with the surrounding counties. If the author may

be allowed to avail himself of a more attentive consideration of its various aspects, than is usually bestowed by the casual visiter, as the groundwork of a settled opinion on the subject, he would prefer the view, which is obtained by the ordinary road from Grantham; a near representation of which is given in the plate, described as the north-east front. The centre tower of Norman massiveness in the basement, first, and principal stories; slightly, but appropriately decreasing in its solid proportions towards the turrets and battlements, forms, in connexion with the Staunton and north towers, and the projections of the porch and cloister-like entrance, on the north-west side, a magnificent arrangement of castellated architecture.

By many persons, whom, in other respects, we might be inclined to suppose most capable of forming an accurate judgment, it has been asserted, that the four sides of the Castle are intended to be specimens of the four styles of architecture, which prevailed in this kingdom, to the end of the reign of Henry VII. The most cursory examination will shew, that such an arrangement does not exist. And what is perhaps of more importance to state, the author can positively assert, that no such arrangement formed part of the architectural design. It may, however, be readily ascertained, how such a mistaken opinion has been formed. The most prominent features of the north-east front are Norman:the plain circular headed windows of the basement story, and the multiplied courses of zigzag moulding of those gems of Norman architecture,-the windows of the Elizabeth saloon, in the centre tower, may be especially instanced. But even in this very tower, where such marked Norman features are seen, uniformity has not been preserved: and its absence has materially contributed to the striking beauty of the structure. Whoever looks on those panelled buttresses, decorated with armorial insignia, would scarcely desire, that

their place had been supplied by the bald, unsightly pilasters of Norman æra. A less obvious innovation on Norman style, may be seen in the corbel table, on this, and the northwest, or grand entrance front. It may admit of question, whether this series of elegantly elongated, moulded trefoils, may not belong, if not to the early English style peculiarly, at least to a very late period of transition from the Norman. But there can be no question, that, it is infinitely preferable for effect, to the series of segmental blocks, which mark the battlements of the south-east and south-west fronts; and determine also at the same time, the portion which the fire of 1816 left untouched, and the difference in taste between the professed architect and the amateur ;— between Wyatt and Sir John Thoroton. The north-east and north-west fronts were built under the superintendence of Sir John Thoroton after the fire; the south-east and south-west fronts, by Wyatt, previous to the fire.

It was a happy, if not a designed co-incidence, that the north-east front, in which are the magnificent Norman windows above alluded to, looks upon the site of St. Mary's Priory; in whose consecrated ground were deposited the remains of the founder, Robert de Todeni, and his successors, William de Albini I, II, and IV; who lived in a period, during which Norman architecture commenced in this kingdom, and arrived at its highest perfection.

On walking round from this portion of the Castle, to the north-west front, the principal feature is, the grand entrance of decorated character. Previous to the fire no such entrance existed; but immediate ingress into the Castle was afforded by a door, into what is now called the guard room. It would be tame language to speak of the present entrance as an improvement. Nothing can be in better taste than the porch with its lofty doors, its pointed arches, its ogee shaped canopies with finials; and the cloister-like entrance.

Reserving, however, a detailed account of this portion of the architecture, till we enter the Castle, we pass the bastion, and proceed to the

South-west front. Here we are principally struck with the boldness of the outline, and the massiveness of the proportions, especially of the centre tower. Yet, with the exception of the chapel, which is of purely perpendicular character, the architectural details are plain, even to baldness. The chapel has some good features about it, especially in the parapet above the arcade, in the basement story, which formed no part of the original design by Wyatt, but was added by Sir John Thoroton, in imitation of a portion of the parapet, in Lincoln Cathedral. The windows are of elegant proportions, and harmonise well with the general character and intention of the building. We might, perhaps, have wished, that the embattled parapet of the two towers, had been of a rather less gossamer character; and that more substantiality had been imparted to the pinnacles. But, upon the whole, the architecture of the chapel, forms an exquisite break upon the general plainness of this part of the Castle. It comes upon the view as unexpectedly, and contrasts as effectually with the remainder of this front of the Castle, as the little cultivated spots, which we meet with in the surrounding scenery; when, after passing through the dense foliage of gigantic trees, we suddenly arrive at an open area, where the tasteful skill of the floriculturist has been at work.

The terrace, upon which the south-east front of the Castle abuts, being for the private use of the family, is not ordinarily accessible to visiters. But the character of the architecture may be observed from a lower terrace; and from its varied details, its towers at the angles, its turrets and oriel windows, it is inferior in graphic effect to the north-east front only. To this latter we will now return

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