[John Francis Clark of Newmarket, architect and 'racing judge'.] Three unpublished Autograph lectures, one a vivid account of a visit to 'Naples and Mount Vesuvius' in 1841, the second a similar account of Rome; the third a history of architecture.

John Francis Clark (1816-1898) of Newmarket, Suffolk architect and 'racing judge' [Horse Racing]
Publication details: 
The first paper signed 'J. F. Clark | Newmarket | Feb. 2. 1852 read at Kirtling [Suffolk]'. The second dated 'Jan. 1860'. The third without date or place.
SKU: 15426

For more information on Clark, see the account by Eric C. Graham, privately printed in 2010. All texts clear and legible, on aged and worn paper (especially the outer ones). ONE: Headed 'J. F. Clark | Newmarket | Feb. 2. 1852 read at Kirtling'. 30pp., foolscap 8vo. Saddle stitched. Begins: 'Ladies and Gentlemen, | Having been solicited to Lecture this Evening on some subjects most congenial to my taste I shall endeavour to give you a brief history and description of Architecture, from the earliest period to the present times, and I hope you will excuse the very epitomizing and general account I am about to give you it being impossible to enter into the technical description of all the various styles within the space allotted to a single lecture.' A fair copy, with very few corrections. A conventional account, with the customary emphasis on Ancient Greece and Rome. Concludes: 'I hope it has not been a barren field of instruction that I have plodded through this evening, that it has been an unamusing one I am prepared to hear you acknowledge, as it is food more suited for the historian and antiquary than those engaged in agricultural pursuits nevertheless if you have derived either amusement or instruction from the history of the buildings of the ancients and the description given you of the different styles of architecture made use of from the Creation to the present day I shall feel amply repaid and in conclusion I beg to thank you for the kind attention paid me this Evening.' TWO: Dated 'Jan. 1860'. Begins: 'The subject for this Evening is a description of Naples and Mount Vesuvius; volcanic regions rich in classic fables and full of interest to the traveller and scholar, it is also interesting to us perhaps on account of the political troubles of Italy at this particular period, and the intensity of feeling existing all over Europe to know what the meeting of a congress of the principal powers that be, will do, for this unhappy country'. 38pp., foolscap 8vo. On leaves attached with a piece of pink ribbon. Heavily corrected and revised, with some pencil additions in the margins. An initial overview is followed by a personal account of Clark's own visit in 1841. He explains that he 'visited Naples about 18 years since on my way southward from Rome and I well remember my voyage thereto from Civita Vecchia on board the Charlemagne a boat of 200 horse power said to be a very good boat and I found it a very rolling & pitching boat which it did a very great deal too much for my liking. I sat on deck the whole of the night in a rather deplorable & delicate condition, longing for the morning to break and Naples to be near'. He describes how he was, 'as all other travellers have been, delighted with the picture before me [...] the sun was just rising in a deep blue sky over the snow-tipped mountains and distant tangled forests; below which were the bright green pastures, vineyards, mulberry Orange and Olive groves with villas terraces & churches forming a happy mixture of nature and art. Vesuvius appearing proudly & in majesty above all else [...] one thing particularly struck me as something singular the clearness of the atmosphere making distances appear to me less than they really were & heights less than I found them[.] An Englishman accustomed to look through fog and cloudy atmosphere can hardly realise distances in Italy - When I asked the Captain of the vessel if we were not within a mile of shore, he immediately smiled and told me we were at least 6 miles off it - Every traveller tells you of the beauty of the Bay of Naples and the teasing he had at the Dogana so I suppose I must tell you how I got on at the Dogana or Custom House with my luggage which never exceeded what I could readily carry.' He describes his treatment 'at the hands of the fat priest who presides over the book inspection department', before moving to his 'first impressions' of Naples: 'I seemed to be pitched into a 4 o'clock Cheapside crowd, all was bustle and talk, very clean streets, very dirty vagabond looking Lazzaroni were basking full sun at breakfast on Maccaroni, ladies, beggars, monks and soldiers were mixed in the greatest variety and confusion [...]'. He explains how he had 'jumped into the hotbed of tyranny and must take care of my P's & Q's, four during my stay of 3 weeks, I found all the Neapolitans treated like schoolboys by the priests confessors, and Spies whose name is legion, and are continually being told you shan't do that sir! You musn't do tis; You shall be punished Sir! You shall not says the state paper wear hats of a strange fashion or the entire beard you must give the age of your beard and the style of your hat to the proper authorities, & if not according to rule both will be ordered off or else you will be in prison; What's in a hat? some triflers may ask but King Ferdinand thought there was a great deal and fancied he could see treason, Muratism, Mazzinism and every other ism, crouching like so many imps within the supple bum of a wideawake. The mortal fear of hats and bears that his Majesty had was so great that for many a month he sent forth his myrmidons to cut and slash right and left hats and beards in the public streets and even private houses.' He continues on this theme, describing 'Policemen with shears in hand', and the risks in a 'change of a collar, waistcoat or a pink bordered handkerchief'. He now turns to the cost of living, which he finds 'exceedingly cheap', his 'good companions at the Hotel De L'Europe', and the climate, with tales of 'Boys crowding round the maccaroni stalls', and 'goats milk being drank [sic]'. He discusses 'the Lazzaroni [who] are to be seen in great numbers, they are houseless and clad in the quaint costume of the Lepers of old after whom they are named, [...] Two Americans had daily lost their pocket handkerchief without knowing how it could have been effected [...] They had very little trouble in discovering the offender, for no sooner where they on the "mole" when a Lazzaroni extracted the coveted pockethandkerchief, & he was immediately collared by brother Jonathan - A bystanding Lazzaroni seeing this plunged his poignard into the Americans breast and he fell dead at his feet'. He describes the city and the Museo Borbonico, where 'it is very interesting to see the frescoes, mosaics, and papyri brought from Pompeii where they had been entombed for nearly 2000 years [...] taken from a bed of lava and ashes'. He next turns to the 'Palazza Reall or Royal Palace', and the cathedral, the convents ('more [...] than any other city in Europe') and catacombs, 'the happy faces of some dozen of Neapolitan lads and lasses enjoying a drive in a vehicle called a calash' ('I well remember driving one of these conveyances from Salermo to Pestum accompanied by a Russian who had joined me in sight seeing'. He describes his 'journey up Vesuvius' ('A Volcano is something wonderful to an Englishman who has never been in an earthquake country'), including a visit to 'the Hermitage [...] situated on a high ridge of lava with a ravine on each side which carries off the liquid lava during an eruption, and saves this dwelling'. He is 'much disappointed with the top of Vesuvius [...] A Guide who stood by me said that it was possible to descend to the bottom without any risk, as she (meaning the mountain) was very quiet, so I determined to try it attended by him; He told me to be sure if I saw a puff of smoke coming to me to lie down with my handkerchief over my mouth till it was passed, or I might suffocate, and this advice was needful as I had to carry it into effect more than once. At the bottom the view or rather appearance is singularly wonderful & demoniacal if I may be allowed the phrase'. He discusses earthquakes generally ('Mr. Sidney in the lecture he kindly gave us told that all rocks and strata's [sic] of earth were naturally disposed in a horizontal position'). He comments: 'I read lately in the Newspapers that "Those English" had formed a company for the purpose of extinguishing Mount Vesuvius by forming a canal from the sea so as to drown it out.' He ends with a discussion of the political situation: 'Englishmen who have visited Naples cannot help drawing this contrast - Liberty to us even in the varying temperature of foggy England is preferable to a fairy land where the luxuries of life are free to all at a nominal cost and it is a matter of regret that the country Providence has thus blessed with a fine climate & a Paradise of scenery & every thing that can make man happy should be cursed by misrule & priestly tyranny'. THREE: 36pp., foolscap 8vo, including five pages of interpolations and a draft of the first page. Heavily revised with additions in the margins. An account of Rome, far less personal in tone than that of Naples, and concentrating on the city's architecture, on which he comments with the informed judgment of a professional. Begins: 'Gentlemen | When I was at School and read Goldsmiths History of Rome I was often led to enquire within myself whether such extraordinary accounts as therein represented could possibly be true and I always felt that I should like to be more intimately acquainted with their country & buildings so as to realise more accurately all the legends & traditions handed down to us in so amusing and interesting a manner. I wished much to see Rome, the scene of so many historical events, where heathen Temples, palaces, & churches, once filled the whole world with their magnificence & splendour, and on my visit to it in 1841 I was far from eing disappointed [...]'. His 'first impression of St Peters was one of disappointment as I did not feel those ideas of vastness and grandeur I had heard so much talked of. I walked slowly up its long nave - empannelled with the rarest & richest marbles and adorned with the finest sculpture, I looked up at its gilded roof and frescoed ceilings, I examined its mosaic pictures and I felt that if there was not that vastness I had heard so much of, that there was a degree of splendour and magnificence that I had never seen or contemplated as possible before'. He records that 'On Christmas morning 1841 I had the pleasure of seeing high mass performed in St Peters by Pope Gregory 16th. a hardy looking old Gentleman about 82, it was most a impressive & really solemn sight but it reminded me more of the pageantry of a Tournament or a Coronation festival than a religious ceremony - the breathless quiet of the thousands assembled there to witness the raising and bearing away of the Host or Holy Wafer by the Pope himself, the grouping of the cardinals, legates, monks, soldiers, and worshippers all clad in the richest dresses device could furnish, the drowsy perfume of the ascending incenses the half kneeling posture, the solemn yet warlike tone of the Swiss Guards band, all gave a kind of half celestial & half pageant character to the scene I shall never forget'. He describes the raising of an obelisk in 'an immense Piazza of an oval form once the circus of Nero [...] under the direction of Fontana an architect of great skill who in order to raise it out of the earth in which it was buried made use of 41 strong machines, eight hundred men and 160 horses for eight days - [...] The finishing touch was given by an English Sailor as in consequence of the Ropes stretching more than Fontana had expected it was found impossible to raise it quite high enough - Our English Jack Tar who was looking on, in defiance of the order given not to speak lest the signals should not be heard by the workmen hitched up his trowsers [sic], turned his quid & sand out "Wet the ropes and make them taught [sic]" which being accordingly done was raised immediately to its destined height'.