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by six cherubim, executed by Coade: on each side are two elegant candelabra. Above is a painting by West, in a superb frame, representing The Preservation of St. Paul from Shipwreck on the island of Melita.
This picture is twenty-five high, and fourteen wide, and consists of three principal groups. The first, or fore-ground group, represents the mariners and prisoners bringing on shore the various articles which have been preserved from the wreck. Near them is an elegant figure, supposed to be a Roman lady of distinction, clasping with affection an urn containing the ashes of her deceased husband, who had fallen in the wars of Judæa: and before her is an aged, infirm man, carried in the arms of two robust younger ones. The chief group occupies the centre of the picture: and here we behold St. Paul himself, shaking into the fire the viper that had fastened on his hand; the brethren who had accompanied him; his friend the Centurion; and a band of Roman soldiers, with their proper insignia. The figures above, on the summits of the rocks, form the third group; and consist of the hospitable islanders, lowering down fuel and other necessaries for the relief of the mariners. The sea and wrecked ship, (which at this point of time are to be considered as an episode,) appear in
the back-ground: the whole combining to form a scene, that can scarcely fail in its due effect upon the minds of sea-faring men; impressing them with a sense of their past preservations, and their present comfortable situation and support in this noble asylum for naval misfortune and naval worth.
On either side the arch which surmounts this grand altar-piece, are angels of statuary marble, of the full size of the human form, by Bacon; one bearing the cross, the other the emblems of the eucharist. Still above, in the segment between the great cornice and the ceiling, is a painting of the Ascension, designed by West, and executed, in chiaro-scuro, by Rebecca; forming the last of the series of paintings, of the life of our Saviour, which surround the Chapel.
The middle of the aisle, and the space round the altar and organ-gallery, are paved with black and white marble, in golochi, frets, and other ornaments; having, in the centre, an anchor and a seaman's compass.
The pulpit is circular, supported by six fluted columns of lime-tree, with a richly carved entablature. In the inter-columns are altorelievos, designed by West, and executed by Coade, on scriptural subjects. The reader's desk is square, with columns at the angles, an entablature similar to that of the pulpit, and
alto-relievos of the same description in the inter-columns.
The Chapel altogether is one hundred and eleven feet long, and fifty-two broad, and capable of conveniently accommodating one thousand pensioners, nurses, &c. exclusively of the pews for the Directors and Officers.
The COUNCIL ROOM adjoins the Governor's apartments in King Charles's Building, and is so called as being the room in which a council is held weekly by the Officers of the Hospital, and in which the Directors occasionally meet to regulate its affairs. In this room are several paintings, of which the most important are the following:
George the Second, in his robes, by Shackle
King William, and Queen Mary, by Sir Godfrey Kneller.
Edward, the first Earl of Sandwich, by Sir Peter Lely.
Head of a venerable Old Man, one of the first Pensioners admitted into the Hospital.* Representation of the burning of the Royal James, of one hundred guns, in the Battle of Solebay, 1672. Supposed by Vandevelt.
* John Worley, a native of Wales, admitted in 1704-5, died in 1721, aged 97.
Engagement between Hawke and Conflans,
Nov. 20th, 1759.
The Anti-Chamber to this apartment contains a bust of Lord Hawke, and various paintings of naval exploits. The most remarkable of the latter are two large pieces, representing engagements, in the reign of Charles II., between Captain Thomas Harman, of the Tiger frigate, and the Dutch: in the first of which the English commander is successfully repelling the efforts of eight privateers to deprive him of a large fleet of colliers placed under his convoy; and in the other he is capturing a Dutch man of war, which he towed into the harbour of Cadiz, in sight of a squadron of the enemy's ships there riding.
The parts undescribed of this extensive fabric, include the commodious apartments of the Officers, and the various wards of the Pensioners and Nurses. The Pensioners comprehend boatswains, mates, and private seamen; to the first of whom is allowed, weekly, 2s. 6d., to the second Is. 6d., and to the last 1s., for pocket money: the present number of these within the walls, is about two thousand three hundred and fifty. There are besides an indefinite number of Out-pensioners. Of the Nurses there are about one hundred and fifty on the foundation, who are all widows of
seamen, and are required to be at least fortyfive years of age at the time of their admission. The Hospital diet is liberal, and the general appearance of its inmates, particularly of such as have not received any extraordinary wounds in the service, remarkably healthy.
Admission to this grand national institution may be obtained daily, the hours allotted to Divine service on Sundays only excepted: and a small fee to the proper attendants secures a sight of every object worthy inspection within the different buildings.