Thursday, 10 September 2015

Posh vandals

While in Norfolk during the summer we visited Felbrigg Hall and nearby Felbrigg church. Both hall and church are worth a detour if you are in the area. The church is loaded with history and one of the best collections of brasses I’ve seen. Many are memorials to the Felbriggs who originally owned the estate and built the church.

The Wyndham family, later spelled Windham, gained possession of Felbrigg Hall in the fifteenth century and as well as the brasses the church has a much later monument to catch the eye.  A large marble bust by Joseph Nollekens of William Windham, Secretary of State for War under Pitt the elder. 

As you see from the picture, beautiful fourteenth century sedilia were hacked away to make room for it.

Perhaps Windham’s distinctly superior air was a subtle jibe by Nollekens. Or maybe that's how his surviving family wished him to be remembered. 


James Higham said...

One is reminded of the doorway hacked through The Last Supper.

Sam Vega said...

I don't know, but it's possible that Nollekens and his contemporaries thought little of the architectural style they were defacing - gothic crudity, etc. Perhaps future generations will judge us harshly for demolishing 1960s neo-brutalist monstrosities like Portsmouth's Tricorn Centre.

I suspect, though, that self-assertive upper-class people don't care about aesthetics all that much in any age. They want to be remembered and liked, and sod everything else...

Anonymous said...

A sort of selfie with Julius Caesar overtones, nicely done but naff.

Demetrius said...

What I wonder is the alternatives that might have been considered. For example putting the bust on the altar surrounded by unclothed vestal virgins?

A K Haart said...

James - yes, it's not easy to imagine the thinking.

Sam - I think you are right, although the hall is mostly untouched.

Roger - it is certainly naff.

Demerius - it is close to the altar so the idea may have occurred.