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Woodman, William, ca. 1654–1731?
Masons' report concerning the roof-line balustrade of St. Paul's Cathedral.
1719 January 26.
Physical Description:
1 item (1 p.) ; 31 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
NA5470.S5 W66 1719+
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Manuscript report, in a single secretarial hand, concerning construction of the balustrade along the roof-line of St. Paul's Cathedral ca. 1717. Written in pen and ink, the report begins: "We whose names are hereunder written, citizens & masons of London, having this 26 day of January 1719 viewed ye stone ballistrades of St. Paul's London, do certifye as follows". It is signed: Wm. Woodman. Christo. Horsnaile, Wm. Holland, Jonathan Beaumont. There is no indication who commissioned the survey. The report occupies the entirety of the first page of a folded leaf; the inner two pages are blank, and the last page is docketed "Certificat abt. ye Balustrade of St. Paul's".
Christopher Wren's original designs included a balustrade around the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, but not along the roof-line. In a letter dated 28 Oct. 1717, Wren articulated his reasons for opposing construction of a second balustrade, noting, "Persons of little skill in architecture did expect, I believe, to see something they had been used to in Gothic structures, and ladies think nothing well without an edging". Wren's objections were ignored and the balustrade was constructed, along designs by John James, supervised by Christopher Cass.
The present manuscript provides the report of a survey, by four London masons, on the resulting balustrade. The masons are satisfied with Wren's original balustrade around the dome but very critical of the lower balustrade, which is not "perform'd in a workman like manner, neither does it deserve ye name of mason's worke, there not being as we can perceive 20 true ballistors in ye whole worke". The report concludes: "Therefore ye church is not only wroung'd in point of stone but likewise in the measurement, of the workemanship, which is a disgrace to all artists that shall see it ... ".
Subject Terms:
Cass, Christopher, 1678-1734.
Church architecture -- England -- London.
James, John, -1746.
St. Paul's Cathedral (London, England)
Stonemasonry -- England -- London.
Wren, Christopher, Sir, 1632-1723.
Horsnaile, Christopher, fl. 1700-1742.
Holland, William, fl. 1719.
Beaumont, Jonathan, fl. 1719.

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