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قراءة كتاب The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 14, No. 389, September 12, 1829

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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
Volume 14, No. 389, September 12, 1829

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 14, No. 389, September 12, 1829

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 14, Issue 389, September 12, 1829, by Various

Title: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 14, Issue 389, September 12, 1829

Author: Various

Release Date: November 10, 2004 [eBook #14011]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


E-text prepared by Jonathan Ingram, David Garcia,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team


VOL. XIV., NO. 389.] SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1829. [PRICE 2d.


Sion House.

Taylor, the water poet, or Samuel Ireland, the picturesque Thames tourist, could not, in all their enthusiasm of jingling rhymes and aquatint plates, have exceeded our admiration of Sion House. Its whitened towers and battlemented roof are known to all the swan-hopping and steam navigators of our day, and none who have floated

To where the silver Thames first rural grows,—

can be strangers to the magnificence of the river-front.

Sion House stands in the parish of Isleworth, on the Middlesex bank of the Thames, and opposite Richmond gardens. It is called Sion from a nunnery of Bridgetines of the same name, originally founded at Twickenham, by Henry V. in 1414, and removed to this spot in 1432. This conventual association consisted of sixty nuns, the abbess, thirteen priests, four deacons, and eight lay brethren; the whole thus corresponding, in point of number, with the Apostles and seventy-two disciples of Christ. But the inmates were neither sinless nor spotless; many irregularities existed in the foundation, and consequently, Sion was among the first of the larger monastic institutions suppressed by Henry VIII. The estimated yearly value was 1,944l. 11s. 8-1/2d., now worth 38,891l. 14s. 2d.

After the dissolution of this convent, in 1532, it continued in the crown during the remainder of Henry's reign; and the King confined here his unfortunate Queen, Catherine Howard, from November 14, 1541, to February 10, 1542, being three days before her execution. Edward VI. granted it to his uncle, the Duke of Somerset, who, in 1547, began to build this spacious structure, and finished the shell of it nearly as it now remains. The house is a majestic edifice of white stone, built in a quadrangular form, with a flat and embattled roof, with a square turret at each of the outward angles. In the centre is an enclosed area, now laid out as a flower garden. The gardens were originally enclosed by high walls before the east and west fronts, so as to exclude all prospect; but the Protector, to remedy this inconvenience, built a high terrace in the angle between the walls of the two gardens. After his execution, in 1552, Sion was forfeited; and the house, which was given to John, Duke of Northumberland, then became the residence of his son, Lord Guildford Dudley, and of his daughter-in-law, the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey, who resided at this place when the Duke of Northumberland and Suffolk, and her husband, came to prevail upon her to accept the fatal present of the crown. The duke being beheaded in 1553, Sion House reverted to the crown. Queen Mary restored it to the Bridgetines, who possessed it till they were finally expelled by Elizabeth. In 1604, Sion House was granted to Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland, in consideration of his eminent services. His son, Algernon, employed Inigo Jones to new face the inner court, and to finish the great hall in the manner in which it now appears. In 1682, Charles, Duke of Somerset, by his marriage with the only child of Joceline, Earl of Northumberland, became possessed of Sion House: he lent the mansion to the Princess Anne, who resided here during the misunderstanding between her and Queen Mary. Upon the duke's death, in 1748, his son, Algernon, gave Sion House to Sir Hugh and Lady Elizabeth Smithson, his son-in-law and daughter, afterwards Duke and Duchess of Northumberland, who made many fine improvements here, under the direction of Robert Adam, Esq. The late duke (who distinguished himself at the battle of Bunker's Hill) passed the principal part of his time at this seat; and here, also, he died, in the year 1815. The present duke has expended immense sums in the improvement of the mansion, grounds, and gardens.

The entrance is from the great road through a fine gateway, having on each side an open colonnade, and on the top a lion passant, the crest of the noble house of Northumberland. A flight of steps leads into the great hall, sixty-six feet by thirty-one feet, and thirty-four in height, paved with white and black marble, and ornamented with colossal statues, and an extremely fine bronze cast of the Dying Gladiator, cast at Rome, by Valadier. A flight of veined marble steps leads to the vestibule, with a floor of scagliola, and twelve large Ionic columns and sixteen pilasters of verde antique. This leads to the dining room, ornamented with marble statues and paintings in chiaro oscuro, after the antique, with, at each end, a circular recess, separated by Corinthian columns, fluted, and a ceiling in stucco, gilt. The drawing room has a rich carved ceiling; and the sides are hung with three-coloured silk damask, the finest of the kind ever executed in England. The antique mosaic tables, and the chimney-piece of this apartment are very splendid, as are also the glasses, which are 108 inches by 65. The great gallery, serving for the library and museum, is 133-½ feet by 14, is in stucco, after the finest remains of antiquity, and is remarkable as the first specimen of stucco work finished in England. A series of medallion-paintings here represents the portraits of all the earls of Northumberland, in succession, and other principal persons of the houses of Percy and Seymour. At each end is a little pavilion, finished in exquisite taste; as is also a beautiful closet in one of the square turrets rising above the roof, which commands an enchanting prospect.

From the east end of the gallery is a suite of private apartments leading back to the great hall, and hung with valuable paintings, among which are the following portraits: Henry Percy, ninth Earl of Northumberland, who was implicated in the Gunpowder Plot, and imprisoned in the Tower; he died November 5, 1632, the anniversary of the day so fatal to his happiness. Lucy, Countess of Carlisle, his daughter, one of the most admired beauties of her time; she also died November 5, 1660. Algernon Percy, tenth Earl of Northumberland. Charles I. and one of his sons, by Sir P. Lely. Charles I. by Vandyke. Queen Henrietta Maria, Vandyke. The Duke of Gloucester, son of Charles I. The Princess Elizabeth, daughter of Charles I.; this is believed to be the only picture extant of this lady. The above portraits of the Stuart family are placed in the apartments in which Charles had so many tender interviews with his children, after the latter were committed to the charge of Earl Algernon Percy, and removed to Sion House, in August, 1646. The earl treated them with parental attention, and obtained a grant