Transcribed from British Library 578.a.29
The text has a number of typographical errors, inconsistent capitals &c.; I have left obvious typo's in place. Standard 18th century spellings and usages have been left unchanged and unmarked.
A Description of VAUX-HALL GARDENS
Being A proper companion and guide for all who visit that place.
London, printed for S. Hooper, at Caesar's Head, the corner of the New Church, in the Strand.
M D C C L X I I
[Price One Shilling]
[Frontispiece: a view of the Rotunda interior, as the B. Cole engraving, but with different ceiling decoration a central sun / star, with rows of disks radiating from it. Could this be the 'shell' decoration?]
Dedication to the Princess AUGUSTA
[P.5] A DESCRIPTION OF VAUX-HALL GARDENS
These beautiful gardens, so justly celebrated for the variety of pleasures and elegant entertainment they afford, during the spring and summer seasons, are situated on the south side of the river Thames in the parish of Lambeth about two miles from London; and are said to be the first gardens of their kind in England.
[p.6] They are so commodiously situated near the Thames, that those who prefer going by water, can be brought within two hundred yards of this delightful place at a much easier expence than by land.
The season for opening these gardens commences about the beginning of May, and continues till August. Every evening (Sunday excepted) they are opened at five o'clock for the reception of company.
As you enter the great gate to which you are conducted by a short avenue from the road, you pay one shilling for admittance. The first scene that salutes the eye, is a noble gravel walk about nine hundred feet in length, planted on each side with a row of stately elm and other trees; which form a fine vista terminated by a landscape of the country, a beautiful lawn of meadow ground, and a grand gothic obelisk, all which so forcibly strikes the imagination, that a mind scarce tinctured with any sensibility of order and grandeur, cannot but feel inexpressible pleasure in [p.7] viewing it. The gothic obelisk is to appearance a stately pyramid with a small ascent by a flight of steps, and its base decorated with festoons of flowers; but it is only a number of boards fastened together, and erected upright, which are covered with canvas painted in so masterly a manner, that it deceives the most discerning eye; at the corners are painted a number of slaves chained, and over them this inscription,
S P E C T A T O R
F A S T I D I O S U S
S I B I M O L E S T U S.
Advancing a few steps within the garden, we behold to the right a quadrangle or square, which from the number of trees planted in it, is called the grove; in the middle of it, is a superb and magnificent orchestra of gothic construction curiously ornamented with carvings, niches, &c. the dome of which is surmounted with a plume of feathers, the crest of the prince of Wales. The [p.8] whole edifice is of wood painted white and bloom colour. The ornaments are plaistic, a composition something like plaister of Paris, but only known to the ingenious architect who designed and built this beautiful object of admiration. In fine weather the musical entertainments are performed here by a select band of the best vocal and instrumental performers. At the upper extremity of this orchestra, a very fine organ is erected, and at the foot of it are the seats and desks for the musicians, placed in a semi-circular form, leaving a vacancy at the front for the vocal performers. The concert is opened with instrumental music at six o'clock, which having continued about half an hour, the company are entertained with a song; and in this manner several other songs are performed with sonatas or concertos between each, till the close of the entertainment which is generally about ten o'clock.
A curious piece of machinery has of late years been exhibited on the inside of one of [p.9] the hedges, situated in a hollow on the left-hand about half way up the walk already described, by drawing up a curtain is shewn a most beautiful landscape in perspective of a fine open hilly country with a miller's house and a water mill, all illuminated by concealed lights; but the principal object that strikes the eye is a cascade or water fall. The exact appearance of water is seen flowing down a declivity; and turning the wheel of the mill, it rises up in a foam at the bottom, and then glides away. This moving picture attended with the noise of the cascade has a very pleasing and surprising effect on both the eye and ear. About nine o'clock the curtain is drawn up, and at the expiration of ten or fifteen minutes let down again, and the company return to hear the remaining part of the concert; the last song is always a duet or trio, accompanied by a chorus.
Behind the orchestra in the center of the garden is a noble Turkish tent, the dome of [p.10] which is finely carved and supported by eight columns of the ionic order; the outward case stands on twelve columns of the doric; between these both within and with out, hang very rich festoons of flowers, which have a fine effect. The outside of the dome is variously embellished, and surmounted by a plume of feathers. From the center within hangs a large glass chandelier, and four lesser ones at each corner. In it are fourteen tables for the accommodation of company.
In that part of the grove which fronts the orchestra a considerable number of tables and benches are placed for the company; and at a small distance from them (fronting the orchestra) is a large pavillion of the composite order, which particularly attracts the eye by its size, beauty and ornaments. It was built for his late royal highness Frederic prince of Wales, who frequently visited these gardens, and was peculiarly fond of them. The ascent is by a double flight of stone steps [p.11] decorated with balustrades. The front is supported by stately pillars, and the entablature finely ornamented in the doric taste. In the cieling are three little domes, with gilt ornaments from which descend three glass chandeliers. There are put up in it four large paintings done by the ingenious Mr. Hayman, from the historical plays of shakespear, which are universally admired for the design, colouring and expression.
The first, next the entrance
into the gardens is a fine representation of the storm in the play of king
Lear. If ever the spirit and fire of a painter, were communicated to his works,
it is in this piece. Here is displayed in the king and the fool, objects of
magnanimity and terror: the fool clinging to the garments of Lear and his
looks strongly shewing confused signs of fear and amaze, is truly picturesque
of a strong desire to save himself from the thunder and lightening; while
Lear awaits the announcing vengeance in an attitude, justly expressive of
the speech which the poet [p.12] puts in his mouth and
which the spirit in his countenance seems to animate.
"Blow winds, and crack your cheeks; rage, blow
"You cataracts and hurricanoes spout
''Till you have drench'd our steeples, drown'd the cocks.
"You sulph'rous and thought-executing fires,
"Vaunt couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
"Singe my white head! And thou all-shaking thunder,
"Strike flat the thick rotundity o'th'world,
"Crack nature's mould, all germins spill at once
"That make ingrateful man!
"Rumble thy belly full, spit fire, spout rain!
"Nor rain, wind, thunder, fire, are my daughters;
"I tax not you, ye elements, with unkindness,
"I never gave you kingdoms, call'd you children,
"You owe me no submission. Then let fall
"Your horrible pleasure; here I stand your slave,
"A poor, infirm, weak, and despis'd old man!"
The second is a representation of the play in the tragedy of Hamlet, where the king and queen of Denmark with their court compose the audience,
"HAMLET. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna. Gonzago is
Duke's name; his wife's Baptista; you shall see anon 'tis a knavish piece
but what of that? Your majesty and we that have free souls, it touches us
[On one side of the painting is seen Lucianus pouring the poison into Gonzago's ear while he is a sleep in the garden.]
"LUCIANUS. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing.
"Confederate season, and no creature seeing,
"Thou mixture rank of midnight weeds collected,
"With Hecate's bane, thrice blasted, thrice infected;
"Thy natural magic, and dire property,
"On whelsom life usurps immediately.
HAMLET. He poisons him in the garden for his estate, the story is extant and written in very choice Italian; you shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife."
[p.14] But the king can hear no more; he startles suddenly and in wild astonishment at a subject which touches him to the quick All the figures are beautiful and a suitable expression appears in every countenance.
The next is a scene in Henry the Fifth preceding the famous battle of Agincourt, before Henry's tent, with the army at a distance; wherein mountjoy the French herald attended by a trumpeter demands of Henry, whether he will compound for his ransom to which the monarch seems to answer.
them atchieve me and then sell my bones.
"The man that once did sell the lion's skin
"While the beast liv'd, was killed with hunting him.
"And many of our bodies shall no doubt,
"Find native graves; upon the which I trust,
"Shall witness live in brass of this day's work
"And those that leave their valliant bones in France;
"Dying like men, though buried in your dunghills,
[p.15] "They shall be fam'd; for there the sun shall greet them,
"And draw their honours reeking up to heav'n,
"Leaving their earthly parts to choak your clime,
"The smell whereof shall breed a plague in France.
-------------------------- "Tell the Constable
"We are but warriors for the working day;
"Our gainess and our gilt are all be-smurch'd
"With rainy marching in the painful field,
"And time has worn us into slovenry,
"But my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night
"They'll be in fresher robes, for they will pluck
"The gay new coats o'er the French soldiers heads,
"And turn them out of service. If they do
"(And if God please, they shall) my ransom then
"Will soon be levied. Herald save thy labour.
"Come thou no more for ransom.
"They shall have none I swear but these my joints."
[pointing his finger to his breast, as in the picture]
The French trumpeter hearing Henry's refusal prepars to return, but at the same time casts a look of contempt at the sovereign that justly [p.16] bespeaks the vanity and pride of his country, and is finely expressive of that ill-grounded certainty on which the French officers laid their expectations of demolishing the English army. On the contrary Henry seizes the bridle of his white horse in order to mount him for the battle. The noble and generous beast discovers an admirable spirit peculiar to his nature; his fine appearance drawn by the masterly hand of the painter strikes the attention of the spectator; but to convey to the reader an idea of the animated spirit with which this noble creature is represented, I shall quote the following lines.
firm the manag'd war-horse keeps his ground,
Nor breaks his order tho' the trumpets sound!
With fearless eye the glitt'ring host surveys,
And glazes directly at the helmet's blaze:
The master's word, the law of war he knows,
And when to stop and when to charge the foes."
Nothing can be imagined more beautiful than [p.17] the youthful countenance of Henry whose complacency is blended with an air of dignity suitable to a sovereign. But the finest human figure, is the brave old standard bearer; who limits the distance of the French herald's approach and at the delivery of his presumtuous message, eyes him with such a look of disdain as is characteristic of that heroic valour for which those times were famous; his angry countenance discovers how strongly he feels the insult offered to his sovereign which is heightened by a noble expression of indignation and contempt.
The last, is a scene in the tempest where Mirando startles at the sight of Ferdinand: she is siting under a tree reading, but at his appearance, Ferdinand [sic] drops the book in an agreeable surprize, and is kneeling to the beautiful object of his no less astonishment. Prospero with great expression in his countenance of sterness and affected anger is [p.18] represented in his magic robes; and with his wand pointing to Ferdinand seems to say
The Duke of Milan
"And his Daughter could controul thee if
"now 'twere fit to do't. (aside.) At
"first sight they have changed eyes.
"MIR. Why speaks my father so ungently?
"This is the third man that e'er I saw:
"the first that e'er I sigh'd for.
"FER. O! if a virgin
"And your affection not gone forth, I'll make
"you Queen of Naples."
The expression of joy and amazement in the face of Miranda covered by a crimson blush is truly admirable: the sweetness of her looks, her virgin modesty, the beauty and bloom becoming, her age and sex, all join to fill the beholder's mind with a thousand soft and pleasing ideas. - Above is Ariel playing in the tree, and at a distance is the deformed, and surly Caliban gazing at the lovers [p.19] with a look of envy and ill-nature that is finely expressed.
All these pieces do great honour to Mr. Hayman, the expressions are remarkably animated; a peculiar beauty is expressed in the faces; grace in the attitudes, and elegance in the drapery: while the design and manner of the figures and the beauty and justness of the perspective, entitle them to be classed among the most celebrated performances.
Behind the pavillion is a very handsome square drawing room; built likewise for his royal highness Frederick late prince of Wales.
The space between this pavillion and the orchestra may be termed the grand rendezvous of the company who constantly assemble in this part, if the weather be fine to hear the vocal performers and as soon as the song is ended stray about the gardens. The groups of figures varying in age, dress, attitudes, &c. moving about on this occasion cannot fail giving great vivacity to the numberless [p.20] beauties of the place and a particular pleasure to every contemplative spectator.
The grove is beautifully illuminated in the evening with about fifteen hundred glass lamps, which glitter among the trees and appears exceeding light and brilliant, in the front of the orchestra they are contrived to form three triumphar arches, and are all lighted as it were in a moment to the no small surprise of the spectator.
In cold or rainy weather, on account of sheltering the company, the musical performance is in a great room or rotunda where an elegant orchestra is erected. This rotunda, which is seventy feet in diameter, is on the left side of the entrance into the gardens nearly opposite to the orchestra. Along the front next the grove is a pizza formed by a range of pillars under which is the entrance from the grove. Within this room on the left hand is the orchestra, which is inclosed within a balustrade, and in the cieling is painted [p.21] venus and the little loves: the front of this cieling is supported by four columns of the ionic order, embellished with foilage from the base a considerable way upwards, and the remaining part of the shaft to the capital, is finely wreathed with a gothic balustrade where boys are represented ascending it. On the sides of the orchestra are painted Corinthian pillars, and between them in niches are represented four deities: at the extremity, is the organ, and before it are placed the desks for the musical performers. In the center hangs a magnificent chandelier, eleven feet in diameter, containing seventy-two lamps in three rows, which when lighted add greatly to the beauty and splendour of the place.
In the middle of this chandelier is represented in plaister of Paris, the rape of semele by Jupiter, and round the bottom of it is a number of small looking glasses curiously set: round the rotundo is a convenient seat. [p.22] Above are sixteen white busts of eminent persons, ancient and modern, standing on carved brakets each between two white vases: a little higher are sixteen oval looking glasses, ornamented with pensile candlestics, or a two-armed sconce; if the spectator stands in the centre which is under the great chandelier, he may see himself reflected in all these glasses.
Above are fourteen sash windows with elegant frames finely carved, and crowned with a plume of feathers. The top is a dome, slated on the outside, and painted within in the resemblance of a shell. The rooof is so contrived that sounds never vibrate under it; and thus the music is heard to the greatest advantage. Formerly the orchestra was in a space which is now seen at the upper end; but since it was removed; a statue of Apollo in plaister of Paris has been fixed there on a pedestal of wood. For a few seasons after this Rotundo was erected, it was distinguished by the fashionable appellation of the umbrella.
[p.23] This rotundo has lately been inlarged by an additional saloon, which is so jointed to the building that the whole makes but one edifice: a part of the rotundo opposite the orchestra is laid open for receiving this saloon, and its entrance here is formed and decorated with columns, like those at the front of the orchestra already described. In the roof which is arched and eliptic are two little cupolas in a peculiar taste and in the summit of each is a sky-light divided into ten compartments, the frames are in the gothic style; each cupola is adorned with paintings, Apollo, Pan and the Muses are in one; and neptune with the sea nymphs in the other; both have rich entablatures and something like a swelling sofa [?soffit]. Above each cupola is an arch divided into compartments; from the center of each, which is a rich gothic frame, descends a large chandelier in the form of a basket of flowers. Adjoining to the walls are ten three quarter columns for the support of the roof; the architrave consists [p.24] of a balustrade. The frieze is enriched with sportive boys, and the entablature supported by termini.
Between these columns are four elegant frames and pannels, with two lesser ones at the upper end, originally designed for portraits of the royal family, but the death of the late Prince of Wales (who was the patron of these gardens) is supposed to have prevented their being executed and for some time they remained unfilled. At length in the year 1760. the ingenious Mr. Hayman was employed to celebrate with his masterly pencil, some of the most glorious transactions of the present war, and in the year 1761. the first picture was exhibited to view. It represents the surrender of Montreal in Canada, to the victorious arms of Great Britain, commanded by General Amherst. This officer is represented in his march to Montreal, as surrounded by a considerable number of miserable French, who throw themselves at his feet, imploring compassion, protection and relief; [p.25] they had abandoned their dwellings, through fear of those outrages which the vanquished are generally exposed to from the conquerors, and a dreadful apprehension that the savages who had been authorised by the French themselves, as well as instigated by their own cruel customs, should scalp all that fell into their power: but General Amherst who agreeable to his instructions and his own humane disposition, grants the whole of their suit, commands them to be replaced in their possessions, orders bread to be distributed amongst them and by a series of other benefits convinces them that clemency is the genius of the British nation. The marks of distress, grief and supplication are finely expressed in the countenances of the Indians. General Amherst is standing at the front of his tent, holding his instructions in one hand, and with the other pointing to a basket of loaves which are at his side, the French colours are laid at his feet, and the English ones are flying on the [p.26] carriage of a cannon. No portrait of the general being to be met with, the figure at present must be considered as a mere expletive. On a commemorating stone at one corner of the piece is this inscription.
P O W E R
E X E R T E D
C O N Q U E S T O B T A I N E D
M E R C Y S H E W N!
M D C C L X
In 1762, another historical painting was finished by the same artist in the adjoining pannel, representing Britannia, holding in her hand a medallion of his present Majesty, and sitting on the right-hand of Neptune in his chariot drawn by sea-horses, who by their attitudes, and the spirit they discover, seem to partake in the triumph, which is supposed to be occasioned by the defeat of the French fleet (represented on the back ground) by Sir Edward Hawke, November 10, 1759. The horses are guided by Neptune, as represented by the [p.27] poets. The car is preceeded by tritons blowing their shell, and surrounded by nereids or sea-nymphs who attend the triumph, and are gently impelled along by the agitation of the waves; they hold in their hands medallions as large as life of those heroic naval officers, viz. Howe, Keppel, Saunders, Anson, Hawke, Pococke, and Boscawen, over which last medallion the nereid weeps for his decease. When this painting was finished, admiral Anson was not dead. The sea-fight represents the engagement between the Royal George commanded by admiral Hawke in person, and the Soleil Royal commanded by admiral de Conflans.
The entrance into this saloon from the gardens is through a gothic portal, which is the best entrance when the candles are light for viewing the whole to advantage, the prospect being extensive and uninterrupted, abounding with variety on every side, and a gay and brilliant company adding a peculiar lustre to the grandeur of the place.
spot! where sculpture, painting join,
With music to improve the bowl:
Where art and nature both combine
To raise the mind and charm the soul.
Having described those principal objects in the grove which first attract the stranger's attention, we will now take a tour round it, and survey every thing that merits observation.
The first walk, as far as the great room is paved with Flanders bricks or Dutch clinkers, brought purposely from Holland, to prevent in wet weather the sand or gravel sticking to the feet of the company. In all other places the grove is bounded by gravel walks, and a considerable number of pavillions or alcoves, ornamented with paintings from the designs of Mr. Hayman and Mr. Hogarth, on subjects admirably adapted to the place; and each pavillion has a table in it that will hold six or eight persons. To give [p.29] a description of these pavillions, and a list of the paintings in them, we must begin for the sake of order, with our entrance into the garden. The first is on the left hand, under a gothic piazza and colonade formed by a range of pillars which stretch along the front of the great room. This colonade is extremely convenient in rainy weather, where the company may walk without being exposed to the wet, and enjoy the exhaling fragrance of a shower after sultry weather. The paintings in these pavillions are,
Mahometans gazing in wonder and astonishment at the many
beauties of the place.
2. A shepherd playing on his pipe and decoying a shepherdess into a wood.
3. New-river-head at Islington, with a family going a walking; a cow milking, andthe horns archly fixed over the husband's head.
[p.30] 4. The game of quadrille, and the tea-equipage.
5. Music and singing.
6. Children building houses with cards.
7. A scene in the mock doctor.
8. An archer, and a landscape.
9. The country dancers round the maypole.
10 Thread my needle.
11. Flying the kite.
12. A story in Pamela, who reveals to the house-keeper her wishes of returning home, while Mr. B. behind a curtain over-hears her sentiments; the bundle under the table to which she points contains the cloaths of Mr. B's mother, which he presented to her in order to accomplish his lascivious designs.
13. A scene in the devil to pay: the characters Jobson, Nell, and the conjurer.
14. Children playing at shuttlecock.
15. Hunting the whistle.
16. Another story in Pamela; to understand which we must observe that Mr. B. and [p.31] Pamela had made up their differences, he had carried her down to his country seat, and they had mutually appointed a day f or their marriage; but lady Davers, his sister, hearing of it, came down to prevent it; and one evening while Mr. B. was gone out with some of his friends, lady Davers took the opportunity of using Pamela extremely ill, who not liking such treatment, jumped out of the parlour window, and is represented in the painting as flying to the coach which is waiting without the court-yard, while lady Davers sends two of her footmen to stop her; but Mt. B's. gentleman luckily interferes, and threatens to drive them if they stir an inch further.
17. A scene in the merry wives of Windsor, where Sir John Falstaff is put into thebuck-basket.
18. A sea engagement between the Spaniards and African moors.
[p.32] Here the paintings end; but the pavillions continue in a sweep which leads to a beautiful piazza and a colonnade five hundred feet in length in the form of a semi-circle of gothic architecture, embellished with rays. The entablature consists of a carved frize with battlements or embrazures over the cornice. In this semi-circle of pavillions are three large ones called temples; one in the middle, and others at each end, adorned with a dome, a pediment, and a beautiful turret at the top; but the two latter are now converted into portals, one as an entrance into the great room, and the other as a passage to view the cascade, which are directly opposite to each other: however the middle temple is still a place for the reception of company, and is decorated with a piece of painting in the Chinese taste, representing Vulcan catching Mars and Venus in a net. This temple is adorned in front with wreathed columns and other gothic ornaments, and [Plate of the Semi-Circle of Gothic Pavillions] [p.33] formerly there were fixed at the top a sun, stars, pinnacles, &c. On each side of this temple the adjoining pavillion is decorated with a painting; that on the right represents the entrance into Vaux-hall, with a gentleman and lady coming into it; and that on the left friendship on the grass drinking.
Having traversed this semi-circle, we come to a sweep of pavillions that leads us into the great walk; the last of these is ornamented with a painting representing black-eyed Susan returning to shore, having been taking leave of her sweet William, who is on board one of the fleet in the Downs. It is proper to observe that the boxes in front are decorated with plaistic, wrought in the form of contra circles, and a star.
Returning to the grove, where we shall find the remainder of the boxes and paintings better than those heretofore seen, and beginning at the east end, which is behind the orchestra, and opposite the semi-circle above-[p.34]mentioned, the pavillions are decorated with the following pieces,
2. Sliding on the ice
3. Players on bagpipes and hautboys
4. A bonfire at Charing-cross, and other rejoycings; the Salisbury stage overturned, &c.
5. The play of blindman's-buff
6. The play of leap-frog
7. The Wapping landlady, and the tars who are just come ashore.
8. The play of skittles, and the husband upbraided by the wife, who breaks his shin with one of the pins.
Proceeding forward we see another range of pavillions in a different style, adorned with paintings forming another side of the quadrangle which in particular claims the observance of the spectator by a grand portico in the center and a marble statue underneath: [p.35] but we shall begin where we left off and describe these in their place. In the first pavillion is,
The taking of Porto bello in 1740. by by the late admirable Vernon.
2. Madamoiselle Catherina, the famous dwarf.
3. Ladies angling.
5. The play at bob-chery.
6. Falstaff's cowardice detected.
7. The bad family; with the parson coming in to make peace; the husband has the tongs ready lifted up to strike his wife, who is at his feet kneeling and supplicating mercy, and their three children are crying.
8. The good family; the husband is reading; the wife with an infant in her arms, and the other children are listening; the rest are spinning, and the maid is washing the dishes.
[p.36] 9. The taking of the St. Joseph a Spanish register-ship in 1742 by captain Tucker in the Fowey man of war.
Next is a piazza of five arches, which open into a semi-circle of pavillions, with a temple and dome at each end, and the space in front decorated with trees. In the middle of the piazza, which preserves the line and boundary of the grove, is a grand portico of the doric order, and under the arch on a pedestal is a beautiful marble statue of the famous Mr. Handel in character of Orpheus, playing on his lyre, done by the celebrated Mr. Roubiliac. The genius shewn in this piece of sculpture gave occasion to the following lines,
by the fame of these embow'r'd retreats,
See Orpheus rising from th'Elysian seats!
Lost to th'admiring world three thousand years,
Beneath great Handel's form he re-appears.
[p.37] In the pediment above is represented St. Cecilia, the goddess of music, playing on the violincillo, which is supported by a cupid, while another holds before her a piece of music. The figures in this pediment are lead, and the drapery cloth. The remainder of the paintings in this range are,
by a decoy with a whistle and net.
2. The play of see-saw
3. The fairies dancing on the green, by moonlight.
4. The milk-maid's garland with its usual attendants
5. The kiss stolen.
Here ends the boundary of the grove on this side; but turning on the left we to come a walk that runs along the bottom of the gardens: on each side of this walk are pavillions, and [p.38] those on the left hand are decorated with the following paintings,
northern chief with his princess and her favourite swan, placed in a sledge, and
drawn on the ice by a horse.
2. The play of hot cockles
3. An old gypsy telling fortunes by the coffee-cups.
4. The cutting of flower, a Christmas gambol [which is by placing a little ball at the top of a cone of flower into which all are to cut with a knife, and whoever causes the ball to fall from the summit must take it out with their teeth; which is represented in the painting.]
5. The play of cricket.
On the opposite side is a row of pavillions with a gothic railing in the front of them; and at the extremity of this walk is another entrance into the gardens from the road. At the [p.39] other end of the walk adjoining to the Prince's pavillion, is a small semi-circle of pavillions defended in front by a gothic railing and ornamented in the center and at each end with gothic temples; in both the latter are fine glass chandeliers and lamps, the former is ornamented in front with a portico, and the top with a gothic tower, and a handsome turret.
In all these pavillions the music is very distinctly heard, and from most of them are prospects of the noble vistas and other agreeable objects.
A person of a lively imagination, and possessed of an acute apprehension, to discover whatever is beautiful and grand, will enjoy a particular pleasure, that is easier conceived than described in beholding the variety of objects, with which the grove abounds as he walks round it. -
In this bless'd grove,
how oft have we
Observ'd the different objects play?
A statue, tent, alcove or tree,
Now seem to join, now steal away.
Step, and we the picture change,
For other object claim our view:
Wond'ring, from scene to scene we range,
Ever delightful! ever new!
Having finished our description of the grove, and every part of its ornaments, we will now take a survey of the other parts of the garden.
From the upper end of the walk last described where we concluded the list of the paintings, we may see a long narrow vista, that runs to the top of the garden; this is called the druid's or lover's walk and on both sides of it are rows of lofty trees, which meeting at the top and interchanging their boughs, form a delightful verdant [p.41] canopy. Among these trees build a number of fine singing birds, such as nightingales, blackbirds, thrushes, &c. whose sweet harmony add a peculiar pleasure to this rural scene.
This walk is very agreeable to all whose minds are adapted to contemplation, it seems devoted to Solitude and the votaries that court her shrine; and it must be confessed that there is certainly something in the amiable simplicity of unadorned nature that spreads over the mind a more noble sort of tranquility, and a greater sensation of pleasure, than can be raised from the nicer scenes of art.
Simple nature's hand, with noble grace,
Diffuses artless beauties o'er the place.
This walk in the evening is dark which renders it more agreeable to those minds, who love to enjoy the full scope of imagination, to listen to the distant music in the [p.42] orchestra, and view the lamps glittering thro' the trees.
How sweetly we the time beguile,
When treading slow th'embower'd walk,
We muse, as in some verdant isle,
Where druids dream, and echoes talk!
hear the distant sounds invite,
Soften'd, and dying on the breeze:
Or from the lamps see magic light,
Dart light a glory through the trees,
distant bells in tuneful peal;
Or plaintive nightingales we hear:
Next, rival flutes melodious steal;
Next, the full concert charms our ear.
Returning to the grove and placing ourselves near the statue of Handel, we may by looking up the garden behold a noble vista, which is called the grand south walk of the same size, [p.43] as that seen at our first entrance, and running parallel with it. This vista is formed by lofty trees on each side; but a peculiar air of grandeur is added to it by the splendid triumphal arches; the prospect is terminated by a large and fine painting of the ruins of Palmyra, which has deceived many strangers and induced them at first sight to imagine they really saw a pile of ruins at some distance; the triumphal arches conduce greatly towards this deception, as they confine the prospect to the painting only, and seem like an entrance to a nearer view of those decayed structures of ancient grandeur. The arches are made of wood, covered with canvas on which the columns are painted, and above is a double pediment enriched with figures, &c. On each side of the grand arch is a small one heightened by a balustrade and other ornaments.
Near the center of the garden, is a cross gravel walk, formed by stately trees on each side. On the right hand it is terminated by the [p.44] trees, which shade the lover's walk, and at the extremity of the left, is a beautiful landscape painting of ruins and running water, which with great justice to the artist is reckoned a master piece.
From our situation to view this painting is another gravel walk that leads up the garden, formed on the right side by a wilderness, and on the left by rural downs, as they are termed, in the form of a long square, fenced by a net; with several little eminences in it after the manner of a Roman camp. There are likewise several bushes, from under which a few years ago subterraneous musical sounds were heard, called by some the fairy music; hence they acquired the appellation of musical bushes, which no doubt put many people in mind of the vocal forest, or that imaginary being called the genius of the wood; but the natural damp of the earth, being found prejudicial to the instruments this romantic entertainment has ceased. The downs are covered with turf, and pleasingly interspersed [p.45] with cypress, fir, yew, cedar and tulip trees. On one of the eminences, is a statue of our great poet Milton, nearly surrounded with bushes and seated on a rock, in an attitude listening to soft music as described by himself in his Il Penseroso.
thou goddess, sage and holy,
Hail divinest Melancoly -
Me goddess bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown that sylvan loves
Of pine, or monumental oak,
Where the rude axe with heaved stroke
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt,
There in close covert -
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings in ry stream
Of lively portraiture displayed,
Softly on my eye-lids laid.
And as I wake, sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by some spirit to mortals good
Or th'unseen genius of the wood
May at last my weary age
Find out the peaceful hermitage,
The hairy gown and mossy cell,
Where I may sit and nightly spell
Of every star that heaven doth shew
And every herb that sips the dew;
Till old experience do attain
To something like prophetic strain.
These pleasures Melancholy give,
And I with thee will chuse to live.
At the upper end of these downs, is a gravel walk formed on each side by lofty trees which runs across the gardens and terminates them this way.
In this walk is a beautiful prospect of a fine meadow, in which the obelisk stands: this prospect is made by the trees being [p.47] opposite the grand walk (which runs from the entrance into the gardens) and a ha ha is formed in the ditch to prevent the company going into the field. At each end of this walk is a beautiful painting, one is a building with a scaffold and ladder before it, which has often deceived the eye very agreeably; the other is a view in a chinese garden.
The principal part of all these charming walks form the boundaries of wildernesses composed of trees which shoot to a great height, and are all inclosed with a beautiful espalier somewhat in the Chinese taste.
It would be endless to attempt a description of every object in these celebrated gardens. In a word they are justly esteemed for many beautiful and extraordinary productions of both art and nature; and it might be said that they seem a strong representation of the famed elizium, on which the ancient poets have lavished so many encomiums.
Enchanting scene! here Eden's bloom revives,
And teeming nature in thy valley thrives.
The gloomy thickets, and the op'ning glade,
The arch magnific, and the clear cascade,
Whose chrystal sheets in dazzling eddies play,
Pierc'd with th'effulgence of an inward ray;
Feast the fond sight with beauty unconfin'd,
And open endless pleasures to the mind!
How gay the garden, how serene each bow'r,
Where tranquil thought enjoys the blissful hour!
Lo! nature, here, and art, for ever vie;
As art the mind, so nature charms the eye!
In a dark night the illuminations are very beautiful, and cannot fail to surprise and delight every susceptible spectator. But in a moon light night there is something more peculiarly pleasing which so strongly affects the imagination, that it almost instills an idea of inchantment. Conception however in this [p.49] case is far better than any attempt to description, for the latter might fall short of truth, and yet appear to the stranger like ridiculous exaggeration.
When the music is finished, great numbers of the company retire to the pavillions to supper, and some are attended with French horns and other music. A curious and contemplative spectator may at this time enjoy a particular pleasure in walking round the grove, and surveying the brilliant guests; the multitude of groups varying in figure, age, dress, attitude and the visible disparity of their humours might form an excellent school of painting: and so many of our lovely country women visit these blissful bowers that were Zeuxis again to attempt the picture of Venus, it is from hence and not from Greece that he would borrow his image of perfect beauty. Nothing is wanting that can contribute towards the convenience of the entertainment, every thing is served in the best manner, and with the greatest readiness.
[p.50] Here it may not be amiss to subjoin an account of the provisions as they are sold in the gardens,
|Burgundy a bottle||6||0|
|Old hock with or without sugar||5||0|
|Two pounds of ice||0||6|
|Rhenish and sugar||2||6|
|Table bee, a quart mug||0||4|
|A dish of ham||1||0|
|A dish of beef||1||0|
|A cruet of oil||0||4|
|Orange or lemon||0||3|
|Sugar for a bottle||0||6|
|Ditto for a pint||0||3|
|A Slice of bread||0||1|
|Ditto of butter||0||2|
|Ditto of cheese||0||2|
|A Heart cake||0||2|
|A Shrewsbury cake||0||2|
|A quart of arrack||8||0|
[p.51] A peculiar attention is paid to the preservation of good order and decorum by a number of proper persons stationed in different parts of the gardens.
The present proprietor has studied every art, and exerted every means, however costly, to render these gardens worthy the reception and esteem of every polite person and indeed he has so far succeeded and by annually adding further improvements that Vauxhall has deservedly acquired public favour.
Such are the admirable beauties of these gardens, which every spectator, after viewing them, leaves with regret.
F I N I S
[Hooper also published a book on investment and the stock market 'Every Man his own Broker' by Thomas Mortimer, and a French Grammar by Mr Porney]
[Bound in to the back of the book is a single, double-sided sheet with the following text]
A description of the Historical Picture in the Great Room, painted by Mr HAYMAN.
The subject of this picture is of the most interesting nature to every Briton, who regards the honour and prosperity of his country. For the better understanding it, it is necessary to observe that General Clive, after gaining the battle of Plaissey in the East Indies, which restored the English interests that had been ruined in those parts of the world, found himself under a necessity of deposing the reigning Nabob; for that purpose sent from the field of battle for Meer Jaffer, a principal general under the Subah or Nabob, and an enemy to the French. Meer Jaffer when sent for, seeing the general surrounded by his victorious troops under their arms, approaches him with every symptom of doubt and diffidence in his countenance. The General is represented in the attitude of Friendship, by extending his hands to receive him. Behind the General stands his Aid de Camp with his spontoon in his hand; as bold, but as graceful a figure as can well be conceived, The British colours are display'd in the hands of another English officer with a most pleasing expression of modest triumph in his looks; and the third martial figure behind the General is another English officer, with the like appearance as the former, but all of them in different attitudes. A bold horse, supposed to be the General's that seems startled at the sight of the elephant, closes the fore ground of this copartment of the picture. It is but justice to the painter to say, that no figures were ever better detached from the canvas than these are; that of the [/] General, being the principal, is inimitably free, and in a most masterly style of painting. The painter could with no propriety avoid representing the British figures in their uniform, but to prevent a sameness in the composition, he has with great judgement introduced the Indian groom in the habit of his country, which forms a most happy contrast. Meer Jaffer wears on his face strong remains of the emotions already mentioned, but his dejection seems to be faintly alleviated by the General's manner of receiving him. The extension of his arms and the inclination of his body is most movingly expressive of doubt, submission and resignation, which is heightened by an Indian officer laying the Subah's standard at the General's feet. The future Subah or Nabob is attended by his son, a youth of about eighteen years of age, bewitchingly handsome, and painted with a masterly propriety. The other Indian figures behind Meer Jaffer are those of his friends and officers, and the countenances of them all strongly partake of the inquietudes of their principal. This copartment is terminated by an elephant on the back ground, which the greatest judges from the East-Indies say is the best they ever saw in painting. Both copartments of the picture (for so they may be called on account of the diversity of the figures they exhibit) are surrounded by English soldiers in the back ground drawn up round the scene of interview. The painter has here taken advantage of the various dresses of the Indians, which, as well as their arms and all their other attributes, are preserved with the utmost precision, to introduce a beautiful play of colours, without departing from propriety.
F I N I S
Return to: Contemporary Sources