A. W. N. Pugin

The Collected Letters of A. W. N. Pugin, Vol. 4: 1849–1850

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To JOHN HARDMANRamsgate, Thursday, 28 March 1850?

Text: MS PC [HLRO 854]   Address: none   Postmark: none

N° 1

My dear Hardman

The veil arrived to night & is a capital job so you may tell Miss Brown to save me 1d. in Writing. we wanted it Badly for the usual veil is unworthy.

what dreadful work it is conducting functions in holy season. one alternates in anguish fear & fury. Powell did not trim the Lantern by which we sing the miserere in tenebrae & though I know the miserere perfectly to say it I could not sing without a book. I am doing Mr. Benz St Cecelia the same size piece of tracery as we have got pg 468for Mrs. Waring.1 I dont mean to depreciate his book.2 it has done & will do much good but—the fullness & solemnity of the true music is gone—what a vidi aquam J. Lambert has sent me.3 the confitemino comes direct from the other world.4 you are always writing for a list of New windows. you know them better than I do—except 2 arrived to night one from Revd Mr. Mallock & another from Herbert Minton & another to come next week for a church—by Ferrey.5 dont forget the Brass plate for Xchurch.6 I should like to get it done early this year.

I am very glad to have such an encouraging account of iron work for the church. I hope it is not to good to be true & that I shall not see hinges of this kind which have the most remarkable property for cold iron of smoking or rather terminating in smoke. [Sketch: hinge from the end of which smoke billows. Fig. 17]

The hinges have arrived & are Smoke & I am on Fire.7 I reserve another Chapter for them.

N° 2.8 The hinges have arrived—& the templets. they dont corespond with the same templets by 5 8 of an inch so there is 5 8 between the crank of hinge & stone jamb. the Brass patterns you sent were quite right. [Sketch: hinge and jamb, inscribed ' 5 8 '] it is no use our writing & fretting about them any more. no smith ever comprehended a plan or a mould or anything but the thing itself. now we have got a respectable smith a convert of 3 years standing & he will alter them & when altered if we cant tin them we must send them back to be galvanished.

Now in your Letter you say I send you the hinges for the chancel cloister door but instead of this the 4 Lower hinges of the two cloister doors have come for of course the only cranked hinges are the 2 lower ones. [Sketch: hinges on doors] [Sketch: hinge]

Figure 17 An unsatisfactory hinge illustrated for John Hardman on perhaps 28 March 1850

Figure 17 An unsatisfactory hinge illustrated for John Hardman on perhaps 28 March 1850

pg 469the upper ones cannot be cranked on account of the arch. I fear you have forgotten the arch—the best way is to send Us the hinges ungalvanished & we will alter them here & get them to fit—unless the Devil is mixed up in this. it is a joke. when Mayman came to tell me that the hinges did not fit I Laughed a shout of Der Freichutz maniac Laugh.9 a Laugh more terrible than a yell but it was a Laugh—for it does seem almost ridiculous—for the brass patterns &c. were all perfectly right. they fitted beautifuly—it is no use—they are not to be. it cant be done.

  • ever dear Hardman    
  • your devoted friend
  • ✠AWelby Pugin  

They say a poor wretch broken on the wheel only feels the first blow & that is the reason I am so Calm. Quite Calm. [Sketch: calm sea] not a ruffle on the smooth surface. Diavolo.10 [Sketch: lightning shooting down the rest of the page till in the bottom left corner it strikes a running figure carrying a hinge. Fig. 18]pg 470pg 471

Figure 18 Pugin's curse pursuing the maker of unsatisfactory hinges, to fill John Hardman with terror on perhaps 28 March 1850

Figure 18 Pugin's curse pursuing the maker of unsatisfactory hinges, to fill John Hardman with terror on perhaps 28 March 1850

pg 472

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 Pugin's first reference to an image of St Cecilia, to be given by Benz and placed in a window in St Chad's, occurs in a letter probably written more than a year earlier.
Editor’s Note
2 Benz's book is Cantica sacra.
Editor’s Note
3 The 'vidi aquam', the Latin meaning 'I beheld water', is an antiphon sung on Holy Saturday at Easter; the words are taken from Chapter 47 of the book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament.
Editor’s Note
4 The Latin 'Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus; quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus' is sung immediately after the 'vidi aquam'; these are the opening words of Psalm 117 (or 118 in the Book of Common Prayer), as of some other psalms, and are translated 'O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious: because his mercy endureth for ever'.
Editor’s Note
5 William Mallock, who went up to Balliol College, Oxford, in 1827 at the age of seventeen, became rector of Cheriton Bishop, Devon, in 1844; he married Margaret Froude, sister of R. H. and J. A. Froude. This letter to Pugin was apparently not his first communication: Pugin makes a note of 'Rev J. Mallock cheriton Bishop' on the front end-paper [e] of his diary for 1845; and an exchange of correspondence with Hardman early in 1847, preserved in ML, opens with Mallock telling Hardman that 'Mr. Pugin informs me that you execute all his Designs for Ironwork for him'; Mallock was in need of hinges. His present letter to Pugin is held in SGL.

  • The Rectory Cheriton Bishop
  • Dunsford Exeter
  • March 23 1850

Dear Sir,

a year or two since, you Sent me a design for a memorial Window, for the sons of the family of Mr. Ralph Barnes, of Bellair, near Exeter;—they have been on the Continent since, but would now be glad to get your sketch properly Executed;—they have desired me therefore, to remind you of the above circumstances, which you may have forgotten, & to say that they will Send you your original sketch & the templets of the lights in a few days;—

  • I am dear Sir     
  • yrs faithly     
  • W: Mallock

AW Pugin Esq.

Ralph Barnes was deputy registrar of the diocese of Exeter and secretary to the bishop. His letter to Pugin, also extant in SGL, closely follows Mallock's.

Dr Sir

My Friend the Revd Willm Mallock corresponded with you some years ago, as to a design for a Memorial Window, intended to be put up in the Parish Church of Stoke Canon to the memory of my 8 children. I have since lost my wife, their mother, and I am desirous of completing this work.

and in the enclosed notes, & this letter, every particular will be mentioned.

I shall be glad to know the expense, and altho' I would not say unlimited, I would wish the work to be superior—being quite of opinion that such work, if not the best, had as well be foregone.

In respect to the design, I approve of your design—that is, I think the only figure in the centre of the 3 lights, is just what I like, and prefer it to the Virgin. How to record, or pourtray the memorial of my wife, I am at a loss to say. I wish for your suggestion therein. There could be an inscription on brass beneath, but I do not imagine, how to have any special regard to it in the Window. yet I would, if I well could.

I refer to the Notes—

as to the execution, I should wish to have it executed, under your recommendation and subject to your approval.

  • (Please address
  •       Ralph Barnes E
  •          Exeter)
  • I beg to subscribe myself

  • Your very obedient
  • Ralph Barnes   
  • Exeter 28 March 1850

A. Pugin Esq.

  • In this change of circumstances, you are not confined to this design.
  • I could wish to judge of the Colours as far as possible.
  • Instead of Shields, Christian symbols.

No notes are preserved with this letter. The parish church of St Mary Magdalene at Stoke Canon was built in 1835; the volume for Devon in the Buildings of England series makes no mention of stained glass at all. Anna Barnes, Ralph's daughter, sends instructions to Hardman on 23 October 1850 from Bellair; the iron bars are to be sent to Mr Rowe so that the mason can put them in with the stone; on 7 November she reports from Exmouth that the bars arrived the previous day, so Hardman can now send the glass and a glazier; the railway station to use is Stoke Canon. The window is entered to Barnes in SGDB at 19 November 1850; the three lights with figures and eleven pieces of tracery cost £70, with an extra £2. 18s. 8d. for bars for the window, and £5. 10s. for a man's time and travel to fix the glass. Pugin forwards Anna Barnes's letter about the completed window to Hardman in November 1850. Ralph Barnes pays his account of £78. 16s. on 17 December 1850 and in his covering letter, mistakenly filed among correspondence from clients whose surnames begin with C, states that he approves of the window but requires that the inscription regarding the central figure and set at the foot of the window be redone because the lettering is so 'crowded' as to be illegible.
What appears to be the first reference in the correspondence preserved among SGL to the window in the church 'by Ferrey' occurs in a letter from Butterfield of 25 April 1850 which may have been addressed to Pugin. Butterfield returns the sketch of the design but would like the figure of Our Lord to be 'more square with the light—i. e turning due west in a stiff severe manner'; he will see that the architect sends templates and he wishes the cartoons to be made at once. On 2 May Butterfield tells Hardman that the cartoons, which depict the Crucifixion and the four evangelists, are coming from Pugin and are to be executed as soon as possible, for they are wanted by the beginning of July. Writing on 20 July, Butterfield asks Hardman to send Pugin's sketch of the design to the donor; Hardman's dilatoriness makes Butterfield angry: 'This delay should not have happened after what I said. All other windows which I had ordered should have been delayed till this was done.' The donor writes direct to Hardman on 25 July to thank him for the forwarded sketch; she is Miss E. Hulme of Sunbury; she also instructs him to do nothing about the inscription, if Butterfield has passed it on. After mentioning it on 20 July, Butterfield sends the inscription on 12 August 1850; it is to be placed at the foot of the window and there is to be no cross at either the beginning or the end: 'D. O. M. Patri Filio Spiritui Sancto in Memoriam Georgii Hulme A M. Presbyteri qui obdormivit in Christo die Feb. 9. A. S. MD.CCC.XLV. æt. sua LVIII D. D. Filiæ.' After the opening abbreviation of 'Deo optimo maximo', 'To God the best and greatest', the Latin inscription continues: 'Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in memory of George Hulme MA Priest who died on 9 February in the year of salvation 1845 at the age of 58'; the abbreviation 'D. D.' is probably to be rendered as 'gave as a gift' and the donors are his daughters. George Hulme, who entered Balliol College, Oxford, in 1805 at the age of eighteen, was the incumbent of Grazeley. The wording of the inscription is accompanied by a request to Hardman to inform Miss Hulme when the work will be finished and to ask her whether 'ejus' should
not be added at the end of the inscription; 'ejus' is Latin for 'his'. Butterfield also wants the figure of Christ to be 'a more full front figure than shewn in the sketch'; he 'mentioned this as a point to Mr Pugin'. On 16 August 1850 he instructs Hardman to proceed with the inscription, and on 19 August Miss Hulme writes about having the window installed as the consecration will soon take place; should she employ a mason? The window, she tells Hardman, is for Grazeley, about three miles from Reading. It is Butterfield who first notifies Hardman of trouble: on 10 September 1850 he reports that Miss Hulme informs him of 'a mistake in the length of the glass sent to Grazeley'; Miss Hulme writes to Hardman about it herself on 11 September and 14 September. In the mean time Butterfield is in haste and at pains to point out in his letter of 13 September 1850 that it is not his mistake, he never saw the church, he is not the architect, and a mason blundered; it was fortunate that his correspondent was 'passing through' and could inspect the error, and he hopes that Hardman will manage to hide the cost of alteration in his bill. The window was in place before the consecration on 18 September, and on 23 September 1850 Miss Hulme expresses her pleasure in it but she wishes the 'alphabet' could have been 'rather more legible, as it is scarcely possible to decipher the words on the scrolls'. The glass is entered to Miss E. Hulme in SGDB at 30 August 1850: a three-light window with tracery at a cost of £100. The entry records that the window was 'originally made too long by 3 feet' and an extra charge of £8. 5s. covers the alterations necessary and the leader's journey to fix. It is also noted in SGDB that the commission came through Butterfield; but the architect of the new church, Holy Trinity, was Ferrey. The account for the window is paid on Miss Hulme's behalf on 27 November 1850 by Robert Swayne of Chepstow, his covering note preserved in ML.
Editor’s Note
6 The plate commemorating Pugin's wife Anne.
Editor’s Note
7 These hinges are entered to Pugin in MWDB at 26 March 1850: '4 Large Iron Wrought Galvanized Hinges with 24 Bolts & Screws for do for East Cloister St Augustines' at a price of £10. The word 'Smoke' is written in large letters.
Editor’s Note
8 The new 'Chapter' begins on a new sheet which is headed 'N° 2' in the top left corner.
Editor’s Note
9 Pugin notes in his 'Autobiography' printed in Wedgwood 1985 that in July 1829 he 'Served as a super flyman at the English Opera House in the revival of Der Freischuetz, which was not remarkably sucessful [sic]' (p. 27). Carl Maria von Weber's opera was first performed in Berlin in 1821.
Editor’s Note
10 The word, Italian for 'devil', is written in large letters.
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