Emlyn, Henry

Artificers bills for work done for His Majesty in St.George’s Chapel Windsor Castle from August the 8th 1785 to November the 9th 1791 both inclusive (title given thus on contemporary pen and ink label affixed to upper cover).


Reference: 09609
Price: £1 [convert currency]

Full Description

Folio. (6)pp on 4ff, two further blank leaves bound in. Manuscript in pen and ink, with Henry Emlyn’s signature and an added note in his hand at foot of final page. Contemporary marbled wrappers. A small ink stain towards foot of outer margin.

The architect and master builder Henry Emlyn’s personal copy of the final summarised building accounts for the restoration of St.George’s Chapel, Windsor between August 1785 and November 1791. It divides the costs incurred into five chronological periods, distinguishing the bills for joiners’ and carvers’ work, evidently prepared by Emlyn himself and itemised here in considerable detail, from the bills submitted by other tradesmen (stonemason, smith, plumber, glazier), for which totals only are given. On the final page there is a breakdown of those bills settled by “Dr.Fisher” (John Fisher, subsequently Bishop successively of Exeter and Salisbury, but at that time Canon Residentiary and Chapter Treasurer of Windsor) and of those settled by Emlyn himself, all “by Order of the King” (King George III, who was paying the costs of the restoration from his own pocket). It is noted in relation to the bills for joiners’ and carvers’ work that on these “ no profit has been charg’d”, and an added note in Emlyn’s own handwriting records that “For my Attendance and Direction of the Work no charge has been made”. Although the document is evidently in the handwriting of a clerk, it is apparent that it was prepared on Henry Emlyn’s instructions as a retrospective summary of the successful six-year building campaign during which the interior of the chapel was comprehensively restored and refitted, with a new Gothic style organ gallery in Coade stone, matching new woodwork in a similar style, and extensive repairs to the chapel’s existing East Window, the stalls of the Knights of the Garter, and so on. By this time all the bills had clearly been paid, and Emlyn’s principal motivation for having this summary drawn up was presumably his legitimate pride in having directed a project which was both prestigious in itself and personally approved and financed by George III. It is credible that Emlyn may have deposited other copies of this summary with the Windsor Chapter and the King, but the present copy, which seems to have descended via Emlyn’s son-in-law Capel Lofft, is the only one ever likely to be available for purchase.

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