St. Paul's Cathedral London England about 1892

ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL LONDON — The crowning feature of London is the Dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. It is sublime and noble in appearance, although so black with soot that a Frenchman suggested that it must have been built by chimney-sweeps! In fact, chimneys innumerable have offered up to this for years their grimy incense, till now it has a sooty grandeur which some think gives it added dignity. Hawthorne, for instance, said that it is much better so than staring white, and that it would not be one-half so grand without its drapery of black. The whole cost of St. Paul’s was defrayed by a tax on every ton of coal brought to the port of London; so that after all, no building in the world has a better claim than this to have a sooty exterior. At all events the mighty Dome is like a temple in the air, 365 feet above the street and 180 feet in diameter! It is so lofty that, unlike most other structures, it seems quite unaffected by its environment. It is perhaps the more impressive from standing here in the great throbbing heart of London. Despite the roar and tumult of the waves of life surging around its base, nothing disturbs its grand repose, it soars above it all, as Mt. Blanc rises above Chamonix. Within the vaults of this Cathedral lie the remains of the Duke of Wellington, Admiral Nelson, and the architect of the edifice, Sir Christopher Wren, whose funeral inscription is brief but eloquent: “If you seek his monument, look around you!” (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)


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