Tuesday, October 10, 2017

1779 Spas, Wells, & Baths for Health - Bagnigge Wells "loose women & boys whose morals are depraved."

The Beauties of Bagnigge Wells. 1778 by Robert Sayer published by J. Bennett.  Bagnigge Wells was a popular spa in St Pancras. It thrived to the end of the 18C having a reputation for "loose women and boys whose morals are depraved." In this mezzotint a highly fashionable woman with an enormous hat - perhaps a prostitute - flirts with a passing rake while his faithful spaniel looks on.  In the background another lady is walking arm in arm with a short, older man, while 2 other couples walk or converse by a small round pond with a fountain.  At the rear, a party dine in the arch of a colonnade in the manner of a Vauxhall supper box.

Bagnigge Wells became a place of entertainment for rusticating Londoners as early as 1680. The garden possessed fruit-trees; & at the north side stood a picturesque gable-ended house, the front luxuriously covered with vines. At the back stood a small brewery, The "Pinder of Wakefield" was an old public-house in the Gray's Inn Road.  It was said that a black woman named Woolaston lived near one of the fountains, & sold the water, & that it sometimes was called "Black Mary's Hole."  In the "Shrubs of Parnassus," poems on several occasions, by W. Woty, otherwise "John Copywell," published in 1760, there are some lines entitled "Bagnigge Wells," wherein the following allusion is made to these springs:
"And stil'd the place
Black Mary's Hole—there stands a dome superb,
Hight Bagnigge; where from our forefathers hid,
Long have two springs in dull stagnation slept;
But taught at length by subtle art to flow,
They rise, forth from oblivion's bed they rise,
And manifest their virtues to mankind."


THY arbours, Bagnigge, and the gay alcove,
Where the frail Nymphs in am'rous dalliance rove;
Where prentic'd Youths enjoy the Sunday feast,
And City Matrons boast their Sabbath's rest
Where unfledged Templars first as fops parade,
And new made Ensigns sport their first cockade.
(Probably by CHURCHILL), 1779.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Friday, October 6, 2017

Adding Attractions to London's Marybone Gardens - Gambling, Food, Flying, & Fireworks

Map of Marybone Gardens

Marybone or Marylebone Gardens were mentioned by John Gay in The Beggar's Opera (1728) as a haunt of its "hero," the highwayman Macheath. The tavern had become a resort for gambling, & "There will be deep play tonight" Macheath says to a confederate, "& consequently money may be pick'd up on the road. Meet me there, & I'll give you the hint who is worth setting." Mary Wortley Montagu’s line "Some dukes at Marybone bowl time away" (in Town Eclogues) is a reference to John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham, who died in 1721 – supposedly a frequenter of "the noted gaming-house at Marybone," resort of "all the infamous sharpers." The gardens were used for gambling, cock-fighting, bull-baiting & boxing matches (with both male & female contestants). The Prince of Wales (Prince Frederick Louis) was reported bowling there in 1737; and by 1747, it was acknowledged, that the greens at Marylebone had become pre-eminent among the many greens scattered around London. A bowling green remained until 1752.

Daniel Gough, who ran the tavern from 1732, was interested in raising the level of entertainment at the gardens.  In 1736, a high scaffold tower was set up for the "Flying Man", whose stunt was to "fly" headfirst down an inclined tightrope, using a contraption with a grooved wheel – the same man had half-demolished the church steeple at Bromham, Wiltshire, flying off it a year earlier. He also proposed to push a boy up (or down) the rope in a wheelbarrow. Wind brought the scaffold down before the show could be held, & subsequent entertainments were safer, musical ones.

Refreshments were another draw for the mid-century Marybone Gardens, under the direction of the caterer John Trusler, who took over the management about 1756, & presented public dinners & breakfasts. His daughter made the popular Marybone tarts & cakes. "Tarts of a twelvepenny size," reads the advertisement of 1760, "will be made every day from one to three o'clock... The almond cheesecake will be always hot at one o'clock as usual." Once the Great Room for balls & supper had been erected on the site (1739-40), breakfasts were added to the schedule.  The gardens were also famous for their regular firework displays, organized from 1772 to 1774 by Signor Torre. 

Poster announcing additions to Marybone Gardens
JULY 30th, 1776,
Various Alterations and Additions
In the Manner of the AMUSEMENTS on
The GARDENS cannot be opened till
Thursday next,
Which have beer, receivcd with such
Will be again repeated.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

1775 Spas, Wells, & Baths for Health - Bagingge Wells in George Coleman's Poem Bon Ton

Bagnigge Wells 'A Bagnigge Wells Scene, or, No Resisting Temptation', Carington Bowles, 1776. Apparently one of the two old mineral springs was now a decorative garden fountain. Published by the famous print-seller, Carrington Bowles, of St. Paul's Churchyard, the scene is laid in the gardens, close by the boy & swan fountain; with a young lady, in an elaborate old-fashioned head-dress, & a gaily-trimmed petticoat & long skirt, is plucking a rose from one of the flower-beds, while another damsel of corresponding elegance looks on.
 AH! I loves life and all the joy it yields,
Says Madam Fussock, warm from Spittlefields,
Bon Ton's the space twixt Saturday and Monday,
And riding in a one-horse chair o' Sunday!
Tis drinking tea, on summer's afternoons
At Bagnigge Wells, with china and gilt spoons!


-George Colman, 1732-1794. Prologue to Poem Bon Ton, 1775.

Monday, October 2, 2017

A History of Marybone Gardens + a 1775 Comedian Entertains

1761 A View of the Orchestra with the Band of Music, the Grand Walk &c in Marybone Gardens, engraving from a 1755 drawing by John Donowell (British, active 1753-1786)

This once celebrated place of entertainment was at the back of & attached to a tavern called 'The Rose of Normandy' (or briefly 'The Rose'), which stood on the east side of High Street, Marylebone, & was erected about the middle of the 17th century. 

The earliest notice of it is in 'Memoirs by Samuel Sainthill, 1659,' printed in 'The Gentleman's Magazine,' vol. 83, p. 524, where the garden is thus described: 'The outside a square brick wall, set with fruit trees, gravel walks, 204 paces long, seven broad; the circular walk 485 paces, six broad, the centre square, a Bowling Green, 112 paces one way, 88 another; all except the first double set with quickset hedges, full grown and kept in excellent order, and indented like town walls.' 

It is next mentioned by Samuel Pepys, May 7, 1668: 'Then we abroad to Marrowbone & there walked in the garden, the first time I ever was there, & a pretty place it is.' 

Long's bowling green at the Rose at Marylebone, half a mile distant from London, is mentioned in the London Gazette, Jan 11, 1691–2. 

In June of 1699, Count de Tallard, the French ambassador, gave a splendid entertainment before leaving England to the Marquis of Nonnanby (afterwards Duke of Buckinghamshire) & other persons of note "at the great Bowling Green at Marylebone,"

About that time the house became noted as a gaming house much frequented by persons of rank; Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire, was a constant attendant, &, as Quin told Pennant, gave every spring a dinner to the chief frequenters of the place, at which his parting toast was 'May as many of us as remain unhanged next spring meet here again.' It was he who was alluded to in Lady Mary Wortley Montague's oft-quoted line, 'Some dukes at Marybone bowl time away.' 

Gay, in his ' Beggar's Opera,' 1727, makes Marylebone one of Macheath's haunts, & mentions the 'deep play' there. 

Prior to 1737, admission to the gardens was gratuitous, but in that year Daniel Gough, the proprietor, charged 1s. each for admission, giving in return a ticket which was taken back in payment for refreshments to that amount. 

In 1738, Gough erected an orchestra & engaged a band of music 'from the opera and both theatres,' which performed from 6 to 10 o'clock, during which time they played 18 pieces. In August 'two Grand or Double Bassoons, made by Mr. Stanesby, junior, the greatness of whose sound surpass that of any other bass instrument whatsoever; never performed with before,' were introduced. 

In 1740, an organ was erected by Bridge. 

In 1746, robberies had become so frequent & the robbers so daring that the proprietor was compelled to have a guard of soldiers to protect the visitors from & to town. 

In 1747, Miss Falkner appeared as principal singer (a post she retained for some years), & the admission to the concert was raised to 2s. 

In 1748, an addition was made to the number of lamps, & Defesch was engaged as first violin, & about the same time fireworks were introduced. 

In 1751, John Trusler became proprietor; 'Master (Michael) Arne' appeared as a singer, balls & masquerades were occasionally given, the doors were opened at 7, the fireworks were discharged at 11, & 'a guard was appointed to be in the house and gardens, and to oblige all persons misbehaving to quit the place.' 

In 1752, the price of admission was reduced to 6d., although the expense was said to be £8 per night more than the preceding year. 

In 1753, the bowling green was added to the garden, & the fireworks were on a larger scale than before. 

In 1758, the first burletta performed in the gardens was given; it was an adaptation by Trusler jun. & the elder Storace of Pergolesi's 'La Serva Padrona,' & for years was a great favorite. 

The gardens were opened in the morning for breakfasting, & Miss Trusler made cakes which long enjoyed a great vogue. In 1762, the gardens were opened in the morning gratis & an organ performance given from 5 to 8 o'clock. 

In 1763, the place passed into the hands of Thomas (familiarly called Tommy) Lowe, a popular tenor singer, the admission was raised to 1s. & Miss Catley was among the singers engaged. In the next year the opening of the gardens on Sunday evenings for tea drinking was prohibited; & in October a morning performance, under the name of a rehearsal, was given, when a collection was made in aid of the sufferers by destructive fires at Montreal, Canada, and Honiton, Devonshire. Lowe's management continued until 1768, when he retired, having met with heavy losses. 

In 1769, Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Arnold became proprietor, & engaged Mrs. Pinto (formerly Miss Brent), Master Brown, & others as vocalists, Pinto as leader, Hook as organist & music director, & Dr. Arne to compose an ode. 

In 1770, Barthelemon became leader, & Mrs. Barthelemon, Bannister & Reinhold were among the singers. A burletta by Barthelemon, called 'The Noble Pedlar,' was very successful. 

In 1771, Miss Harper (afterwards Mrs. John Bannister) appeared, Miss Catley reappeared, & several new burlettas were produced. 

In 1772, Torrè, an eminent Italian pyrotechnist, was engaged, &the fireworks became a more prominent feature in the entertainments, to the great alarm of the neighboring inhabitants, who applied to the magistrates to prohibit their exhibition, fearing danger to their houses from them. 

Torrè however continued to exhibit during that & the next 2 seasons. But the gardens were losing their popularity: in 1775 there appear to have been no entertainments of the usual kind, but occasional performances of Baddeley's comedic entertainment, 'The Modern Magic Lantern,' deliveries of George Saville Carey's 'Lecture upon Mimicry,' or exhibitions of fireworks by a Signor Caillot. 

In 1776, entertainments of a similar description were given, amongst which was a representation of the Boulevards of Paris. The gardens closed on Sept. 23, & were not afterwards regularly opened. 

In or about 1778, the site was let to developers.

See: A Dictionary of Music and Musicians.(1900) edited by George Grove  Marylebone Gardens by William H. Husk

Marybone Gardens was strenuously promoted by advertising & press reports throughout the 18C. Much was promised, but apparently, less was delivered. "As thin as a slice of beef at Marybone-Gardens" says one character in Samuel Foote’s 1772 play The Nabob.  Dr Samuel Johnson’s anger over the firework cancellation was, he thought, because the management meant "to save their crackers for a more profitable company." A complainant in 1774, drew attention to the "shameful roughness of the walks … so little attended to as to be over the shoes in loose gravel & dust" & to the seldom cleaned lamps "so glimmering & dismal as to render the whole most infernally gloomy." In the same season, a visitor reported that the decorations & entertainment were so tawdry & over-priced, that resentment finally turned to violence. "The Lamps suffered severely – the Stage was in Danger of being demolished, in short, from One to Three in the Morning was...a scene of Riot & Confusion." The garden decorations in 1776, ran to mere "Paper ribbons twined round the Trees, & Stuff Festoons hanging over the Boxes & much of the promised entertainment failed to appear."

To-morrow, the 30th inst., will be presented
In Three Parts, being an attempt at a Sketch of the Times, in a Variety of Caricatures, accompanied with a whimsical and satirical Dissertation on each Character. By R. BADDELEY, Comedian.
A Serjeant at Law
Andrew Marvel,
Lady Fribble
A bilking Courtezan
A Modern Widow

  A Modern Patriot
  A Duelling Apothecary
  And a Foreign Quack

  A Man of Consequence
  A Hackney Parson
  A Macaroni Parson
  A Hair Dresser
  A Robin Hood Orator

  Lady Tit for Tat
   An Italian Tooth Drawer
   High Life in St. Giles'
   A Jockey, and
   A Jew's Catechism

And PART THE THIRD will consist of a short Magic Sketch called
Coftee and Tea included.
The Doors to be opened at Seven, and the Exordium to be spoken at Eight o'clock.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Spas, Wells, & Baths for Health - Bagnigge Wells with Tea & Elegant "Marcaroni" in 1772

The Bread and Butter Manufactory, or the Humors of Bagnigge Wells; print; John Sanders   at The British-Museum
The museum notes: “The interior of the long room at Bagnigge Wells, filled with a crowd of tea-drinkers, fashionably dressed in the macaroni manner. The central group consists of a courtesan who stands arm-in-arm with a macaroni, while with her left hand she beckons to another macaroni (right) who bows, hat in hand.  On the right. are groups seated and standing at tea-tables; a serving-boy walks (left to right.) holding a tea-tray in one hand, a large kettle in the other. In the foreground (right) a couple in deep shadow sit at a table. Two chandeliers with lighted candles hang from the ceiling. 15 June 1772”

This plate portraying several parties of anciently-dressed ladies & gentlemen, & a boy-waiter with a tray of cups & saucers, was hung up, framed & glazed, in the bar of Old Bagnigge Wells House.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

1771 Tobias Smollett 1721–1771 has a curmudgeon describe Vauxhall Gardens

Vauxhall Centre Cross walk in Vauxhall Gardens. Edward Rooker, after a painting by Canaletto printed and sold by Robert Sayer
From Tobias Smollett (1721–1771), The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771)
The Expedition of Humphry Clinker takes the form of letters written by various members of a Welsh family as they travel around England and Scotland. This section is written by Matthew Bramble, a curmudgeon with a heart of gold, who is anxious about his health as well as what he regards as the deteriorating state of the nation. 

The diversions of the times are not ill suited to the genius of this incongruous monster, called the public. Give it noise, confusion, glare, and glitter; it has no idea of elegance and propriety ... Vauxhall is a composition of baubles, overcharged with paltry ornaments, ill conceived, and poorly executed; without any unity of design, or propriety of disposition. It is an unnatural assembly of objects, fantastically illuminated in broken masses; seemingly contrived to dazzle the eyes and divert the imagination of the vulgar — Here a wooden lion, there a stone statue; in one place, a range of things like coffee-house boxes, covered a-top; in another, a parcel of ale-house benches; in a third, a puppet-shew representation of a tin cascade; in a fourth, a gloomy cave of a circular form, like a sepulchral vault half lighted; in a fifth, a scanty slip of grass-plat, that would not afford pasture sufficient for an ass's colt. The walks, which nature seems to have intended for solitude, shade, and silence, are filled with crowds of noisy people, sucking up the nocturnal rheums of an aguish climate; and through these gay scenes, a few lamps glimmer like so many farthing candles.

Monday, September 25, 2017

1771 Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) views Vauxhall through the eyes of a sheltered Boarding School young Lady

Vauxhall French print of the Water Cascade at Vauxhall Gardens, c 1750
Tobias Smollett (1721–1771), The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771)
The Expedition of Humphry Clinker takes the form of letters written by various members of a Welsh family as they travel around England and Scotland. This section is written by Lydia, whose experience of the world has until recently been confined to boarding school.

I no sooner entered, than I was dazzled and confounded with the variety of beauties that rushed all at once upon my eye. Image to yourself, my dear Letty, a spacious garden, part laid out in delightful walks, bounded with high hedges and trees, and paved with gravel; part picturesque and striking objects, pavilions, lodges, groves, grottoes, lawns, temples, and cascades; porticoes, colonades, and rotundos; adorned with pillars, statues, and painting: the whole illuminated with an infinite number of lamps, disposed in different figures of suns, stars, and constellations; the place crowded with the gayest company, ranging through those blissful shades, or supping in different lodges on cold collations, enlivened with mirth, freedom, and good-humour, and by an excellent band of musick. Among the vocal performers I had the happiness to hear the celebrated Mrs. —, whose voice was so loud and so shrill, that it made my head ake through excess of pleasure.

In about half an hour after we arrived we were joined by my uncle, who did not seem to relish the place. People of experience and infirmity, my dear Letty, see with very different eyes from those that such as you and I make use of —  Lydia Melford

Saturday, September 23, 2017

1770s Sports & Games - Skittles on "Saint Monday" at the Local Tavern or Inn

Saint Monday in the Afternoon, or All Nine and Swallow the Bowl 1770s.  In this print, 9 tradesman; a weaver, barber, tailor, blacksmith, cobbler, butcher, carpenter, bricklayer, and house-painter play skittles in tavern garden, with wife of weaver arriving from left to berate him. Saint Monday was the traditional unofficial, day-long holiday taken by tradesmen in the 17C to 20C. 

Explaining the angry wife in this print, an 18C folk song from Sheffield, England, "The Jovial Cutler," portrays a craftsman enjoying a lazy Saint Monday, much to the dismay of his wife:
"Brother workmen, cease your labour,
Lay your files and hammers by.
Listen while a brother neighbour
Sings a cutler's destiny:
How upon a good Saint Monday,
Sitting by the smithy fire,
We tell what's been done o't Sunday,
And in cheerful mirth conspire."

Soon I hear the trap-door rise up,

On the ladder stands my wife:
"Damn thee, Jack, I'll dust thy eyes up,
Thou leads a plaguy drunken life;
Here thou sits instead of working
Wi' thy pitcher on thy knee;
Curse thee, thou'd be always lurking
And I may slave myself for thee."

"Ah, the bright, fat, idle devil

Now I see thy goings on,
Here thou sits all day to revel
Ne'er a stroke o' work thou'st done.
See thee, look what stays I've gotten,
See thee, what a pair o' shoes;
Gown and petticoat half rotten,
Ne'er a whole stitch in my hose."

"Pray thee, look here, all the forenoon

Thou's wasted with thy idle way;
When does t'a mean to get thy sours done?
Thy mester wants 'em in to-day.
Thou knows I hate to broil and quarrel,
But I've neither soap nor tea;
Od burn thee, Jack, forsake thy barrel,
Or nevermore thou'st lie wi' me."

The tradition of taking Monday off has been common among craft workers since at least the 17C, often ascribed to the regimentation of working class life which occurred with industrialization, before then people could choose their own working hours. Since many workers were taking Monday off, there was often convivial company to be had.  They invented a new holiday, Saint Monday, which was usually observed after a late Sunday night at the tavern. Saint Monday became the traditional unofficial holiday taken by tradesmen in the 17C to the early 19C. 

British work had always been interrupted to commemorate the annual feasts of Christmas, New Year, & Whitsuntide (the week beginning with the 7th Sunday after Easter). These traditional holidays were universally observed, but the length of the breaks varied. Depending on local convention, work stopped for anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks. There were also communal holidays associated with special, occasional events such as horse races, sporting competitions, and local fairs & traveling circuses & menageries. When one of these attractions arrived in a village or town, regular work more or less stopped, while people flocked to marvel at exotic animals, equestrian acrobats, & assorted oddities. 

With only Sunday off to relax, the occurrence of Monday hangovers seems to have been high. Hence the idea of "keeping Saint Monday," a common phrase in the 17C to 19C used to describe taking Mondays off "to relax, to recover from drunkenness, or both." The custom was already well known in the 17C, as evidenced by the line in the play: "They say Monday's Shooemaker's holliday, I'le fall to that trade" (Dekker, If It Be Not Good, The Diuel Is In It (1612). 

Monday was sacrosanct. It was the unofficial day off. It was to be spent drinking with friends. In A Collection of Letters for the Improvement of Husbandry and Trade, John Houghton, Fellow of the Royal Society, wrote in his 2nd volume 1683. "When the Frame-work Knitters, or Makers of Silk-Stockings had a great Price for their Work, they have been observed seldom to work on Mundays and Tuesdays, but to spend most of that time at the Ale-House and Nine-Pins. . . . The Weavers, 'tis common with them to be drunk on Munday, to have their Heads ache on Tuesday, and their Tools out of order on Wednesday. As for the Shoemakers, they'l rather be hang'd than not remember St. Crispin on Munday; and it commonly holds as long as they have a penny of Money or pennyworth of Credit."

A rhyme printed in 1639,
You know that Munday is Sundayes brother;
Tuesday is such another;
Wednesday you must go to Church and pray;
Thursday is half-holiday;
On Friday it is too late to begin to spin;
The Saturday is half-holiday again.

Then the industrial revolution came along and imposed strict working schedules on the peasants. But according to E P Thompson, Saint Monday was still widely honored throughout the 18C, 19C, and even the 20C. A moralist complained of London saddlers in 1811, that "we see Saint Monday so religiously kept in this great city...in general followed by a Saint Tuesday also."

See: Tom Hodgkinson, “In Defence of Skiving” in New Statesman, 30 August 2004 
Douglas A. Reid, “The Decline of Saint Monday” in Essays in Social History Volume 2

This print is evidently based on one of Francis Hayman's paintings of the early 1740s for the supper-boxes at Vauxhall Gardens: "The Play of Skittles and the Husband upbraided by the Wife." The Hayman painting is lost, but its composition is recorded in a drawing at Birmingham City Art Gallery. See B. Allen, Francis Hayman, Exhibition Catalogue, Yale Center for British Art, 1987, Lettered with title, 15 lines of verse beginning, "Just at the Finish of a Game ...", and publication line: "Sold by R. Marshall, at No, 4, in Aldermary Church Yard London."

Thursday, September 21, 2017

1770s Everyday British Inns, Taverns, & Public Houses which often had small Outdoor Garden Areas

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) A Country Inn with Two Soldiers

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) A Wayside Inn

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) An Inn on an English Common

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Figures Outside a Village Pub

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Near Hackney

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Public House

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) The Fox Public House on Old Winsor Green

Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) The Spread Eagle Tavern, Millbank

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) The Old Swan Inn

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) A Carriage And Figures Travelling The High Road Near An Inn

 Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Back of the Public House near Bayswater

Paul Sandby (English map-maker turned landscape painter, 1731-1809) Carriage at Inn

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

1770 Spas, Wells, & Baths for Health - Bagnigge Wells, Summer Retreat of King Charles' II (1630-1685) Mistress Nell Gwyn (1650-1687)

Bagnigge Wells, near Battle Bridge, Islington; print; Anonymous 1770-1790

Bagnigge Wells House was originally the summer residence of Nell Gwyn. Here, near the Fleet & amid fields, she entertained Charles & his brother with concerts & merry breakfasts. The ground where the house stood was then called Bagnigge Vale.  Eleanor "Nell" Gwyn (1650-1687; also spelled Gwynn, Gwynne) was the most famous Restoration actress & a long-time mistress of King Charles II of England & Scotland. Called "pretty, witty Nell" by Samuel Pepys, she has been regarded by many as a living embodiment of the spirit of Restoration England.  Gwyn had 2 sons by King Charles: Charles Beauclerk (1670–1726); & James Beauclerk (1671–1680). 
Portrait of Nell Gwyn in a summer Garden (1650-1687) by Peter Lely (1618-1680) c. 1675

Bagnigge House became famous, from the discovery in the garden of 2 mineral springs. Dr. Bevis, who wrote a pamphlet on Bagnigge Wells, describes them as near Coppice Row & Spa Fields, & about 1/4 of a mile from Battle Bridge Turnpike, & the great new road from Paddington to Islington.  The doctor also mentions that over one of the chimney-pieces was the garter of St. George, the Royal arms, & a bust of "Eleanor Gwynne, a favorite of Charles II.'s." 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

1770s Description of Vauxhall Gardens

Vauxhall Gardens Thomas Rowlandson 1785

A Sketch of the Spring-Gardens, Vaux-Hall, in a letter to a Noble Lord

To the Right Honourable Frederick Calvert, 6th Lord Baltimore 1731-1771, 4th Proprietor of Maryland
My Lord, 
Your Lordship bestows a very unmerited Compliment upon me, when you are pleased to declare, that a Description, from my Hand, of the Spring-Gardens at Vaux-hall, would give as much Pleasure as the Sight of them. This, indeed, would have been no Compliment to your Lordship, had you now taken up the Pen, which, like Raphael's Pencil, throws a Grace round every Object. Perfectly acquainted as you (my Lord) are, with every Beauty among the Antients; and having been a curious Spectator of the most exquisite modern Performances of Art, as well as of the loveliest Scenes of Nature, in foreign Countries; a Picture from your Lordship, of this Elizium, would have inchanted every Reader; and transmitted it, in all its Charms, to late Posterity. —But you are pleased to command a Description from me. I therefore must obey, tho' with all possible Diffidence; and, in return for your too favourable Opinion, will exert the utmost of my slender Abilities; and only wish, that these varying Scenes of elegant Delight, may not suffer greatly by my too faint Description of them.— Waving therefore all farther Apologies, I, with your Lordship's Leave, will enter upon my Draught.

These Gardens, containing about twenty Acres and a Half, make part of a Mannor, belonging to His Royal Highness the PRINCE OF WALES, as Earl of Kennington; the famous black Prince, son to our immortal Edward III, having anciently had a Palace there. —But leaving Antiquity, I shall proceed to the present State of the Spot, which is the Subject of your Lordship's obliging Command; after observing, that the Hint of this rational and elegant Entertainment, was given by a Gentleman, whose Paintings exhibit the most useful Lessons of Morality, blended with the happiest Strokes of Humour.

Being advanc'd up the Avenue, by which we enter into the Spring-Gardens; the first Scene that catches the Eye, is a grand Visto or Alley about 900 Feet long, formed by exceedingly lofty Sycamore, Elm, and other Trees. At the Extremity of this Visto, stands a gilded Statue of Aurora, with a Ha ha; over which is a View into the adjacent Meads; where Haycocks, and Haymakers sporting, during the mowing Season, add a Beauty to the Landskip. This Alley (a noble Gravel Walk throughout) is intersected, at right Angles, by two others. One of these Alleys (at the Extremity whereof, to the Left, a fine Picture of Ruins is seen) extends about 600 Feet; being the whole Breadth of the Garden, or Spring-Gardens, as they are commonly called, which Terms I shall use indiscriminately.

Advancing a few Steps within the Garden, we behold a Quadrangle or Square, within which is the Grove, as 'tis call'd. This Grove is the grand Rendezvous of the joyous Multitudes who visit this Place, and the Seat of the Music when the Weather is fine. As it contains a great Variety of Embellishments, it will be necessary, (for Perspicuity sake) that I postpone a little my Description of the Grove itself; and proceed to that of its four Sides, with the several Parts of the Garden seen from those Sides.

But, as we walk, let us (with your Lordship's Permission) attend a Moment to the extempore Muse.

Says Apollo to Bacchus —"For a Frolick let's fly

To yon lessening Speck, on the Skirts of the Sky;
"To the Earth, where we'll visit Man's whimsical Race;
And rove, till we fix on some favourite Place;
On some Shade to which Nymphs, blest with Swains, shall retire,
Allur'd by the Charms of your Juice, and my Lyre:
For these, when united, must fondly controul,
The wav'ring Impulses of each human Soul."

Agreed, (says blithe Bacchus) so their Godships descend;

Quickly range o'er this Ball; and, at last, gayly bendTo a Grove*, whose wing'd Choristers ravish the Ear;
When Apollo says, smiling, "We must pitch our Tent here:
For see how the Graces exult in yon Bower. —
By your Nectar, my Warbling, and their magic Power,
Sweetest Joys shall rise round, and pale Spleen mix with the Wind." —
They open'd the Scene, and inchanted Mankind.

That of Vaux-hall Gardens

To begin with that Side of the Quadrangle or Square, when we turn to the right, at our Entrance into the Garden: —Here we perceive a shorter Visto than the above-mention'd, stretching beyond the Grove. This Side of the Square is adorned with Pavillions or Alcoves, one whereof attracts the Eye in a particular Manner. This Pavillion is a handsome Portico, to which we ascend by a double Flight of Steps, and is supported by Doric Columns and Pilasters, before which a grand red Curtain hangs, in Festoons. In the Cieling of the Portico are three little Domes, (with gilt Ornaments) whence the like Number of Glass Chandeliers descend. The Portico is also adorn'd with four large beautiful Pictures, the Subjects of which are from our divine Shakespeare. The very ingenious Artist, to whom we owe these Pieces, as well as the Designs of most of the Others in the Gardens, has here describ'd the Passions with a masterly Hand. —Behind this Portico is a Saloon, embellish'd with Busts, Looking-Glasses, a Chandelier, &c. The PRINCE, who lately form'd the Nation's Delight, and is now the just Subject of their unfeigned Sorrow has ennobled this Saloon by his Presence; His Royal Highness, attended by many distinguish'd Persons of both Sexes, sometimes supping in it, and closing the Night with Country Dances. Hence the Portico, before this Salon, is usually stiled the Prince of Wales's Pavillion.

Advancing beyond this Side of the Quadrangle, we walk between two Rows of Pavillions and Alcoves; the Former being adorn'd with Pictures, design'd by the Artist above hinted at. From this End of the Alley in question, (looking up the Garden) we perceive two Vistos, parallel with the grand one at our Entrance, and running the whole Length of the Gardens. The first Visto is formed of very tall Trees, arch'd over, and terminated by a Gothic Obelisk. —To change our Situation for a Moment: A Spectator, who, in the Night, should stand at that Obelisk, and look down the Garden, would perceive at the Extremity of this View, a glimmering Light, (that in the opposite Alcove) which might image to him an Anchoret's Cave; for instance, that of the imaginary Robinson Crusoe.

To return to our former Place. —This Alley is exceedingly agreeable, especially in sultry Weather; and is styled by some, the Druids; and, by Others, the Lover's Walk. 'Tis delightful, as we stray up and down this Visto in a fine Night, to gaze at the distant Lamps, and listen to the Music. —Please to hear the Poet address his Mistress:

How fondly we the Time beguile,

When treading, slow ,th'embower'd Walk,
We muse as in some verdant Isle,
Where Druids dream, and Echoes talk!

 Then hear the distant Sounds invite,

Softn'd, and dying in the Breeze:
Or, from the Lamps, see magic Light,
Dart like a Glory thro' the Trees.

Adjoining to, and parallel with the Druids or Lover's Walk, is another of equal Length, and form'd of as lofty Trees, but open at Top; which diversifies the Scene very agreeably.

Returning to the Corner or Angle of this Side of the Square, and directing our Eye up the Garden, we spy the second Side of the Quadrangle, form'd partly of Pavillions beautified with Pictures. Here we see a Visto, of the same Length, and running parallel with the Druid's Walk. This Visto is also compos'd of very lofty Trees; and greatly embellish'd by means of three splendid triumphal Arches, design'd by an ingenious Italian; but the Figures were drawn, as well as coloured, by another able Hand. These Arches are so finely design'd and painted, and the Perspective is so happy, that the whole has the Appearance of a noble Edifice. On each Side of the grand Arches, (consisting of Columns, and a double Pediment enrich'd with Basso Relievos, Figures, &c.) is a less Arch, heightened by a Balustrade, and other Ornaments. The three Arches form the like Number of Vistos, at the Extremity whereof a grand Piece of Architecture is painted, representing the Temple of Neptune; with his (suppos'd) Statue, standing on its Pedestal, and Tritons underneath. Four other Deities, large as the Life, are there painted; with the same Number of Genii or Boys, expressive of the four Seasons. The several Figures, Basso Relievos, and other pictured Ornaments, have abeautiful Effect, and sometimes deceive the Eye very agreeably.

Turning about, and looking down the Garden, we spy a little Semi-circle of Pavillions, in an elegant Gothic Style, if this Expression may be allow'd me. At each Foot of this Semi-Circle, stands a lofty Gothic Tent, each having a fine Glass Chandelier, the Lamps in which are of a very peculiar frame, as are those in the grand Tent, built in the Grove, &c. In the Center of this Semi-Circle is a Pavillion, with a Portico before it; and over the Pavillion, a kind of Gothic Tower, with a Turret at Top. Here a Glass Moon was to have been seen; but its Light was found too dazzling for the Eye. Those who survey'd the Alley, the Grove, &c. thro' this Glass, saw a lovely Representation of them in Miniature. As the painted triumphal Arches before mentioned are in the Grecian Style, and these Pavillions in the Gothic, they form a very pleasing Contrast.

The above Mention of the Moon, will not permit me to pass by the following Address to that Planet, on the shutting up of Vaux-hall Gardens last Season:

Dispel, auspicious Queen of Night!

Those envious Clouds which Beauty hide;
And round my Phyllis dart thy Light,
Whilst o'er Thames' silver Stream we glide.

Give me, once more to clasp the Fair,

In those dear Shades, where first she charm'd:
Give her, again, that killing Air
Which fondly all my Soul alarm'd.

 Then clos'd the Ev'ning, gay, serene,

Weeping to other Regions fly;
Sure not to view a sweeter Scene,
In thy bright Progress thro' the Sky.

To return. —Being advanc'd a little way up the second Side of the Quadrangle, we come to a spacious Semi-Circle of elegant Pavillions, in a different Style from the above-mention'd. In the Area, before this Semi-Circle, stand lofty Trees; and, in the Center of it, is a beautiful Marble Statue of Mr. Handel, in the character of Apollo, playing on the Lyre; with a Boy underneath, taking down the Notes. The rising Genius shewn in this Piece of Sculpture, at its being first set up, gave Occasion to the following Verses.

Drawn by the Fame of these embower'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.
Sweetly this Miracle attracts the Eye: —
But hark! for o'er the Lyre his Fingers fly.

That Statue stood, some Years since, not so far up this Side of the Quadrangle, in a kind of Alcove of Verdure; when the following Compliment was paid to the Sculptor, in a Song, entitled Greenwood-Hall; wherein a Peasant (Colin) is suppos'd to be gazing with stupid Wonder, on the countless Beauties round him:

As still, amaz'd, I'm straying

Thro' this inchanted Grove
I spy a HARPER playing,
All in his proud Alcove.

  I doff my Hat, desiring

He'd tune up buxom Joan :—
But what was I admiring ?
Odzooks! a Man of Stone.

At the two Extremities of this Semi-Circle, and at the Head of it, are three little Temples, as they are term'd. Over the uppermost of them, is a beautiful Groop of Figures, representing Harmony, with Genii, (all by the Sculptor above hinted at;) on which Groop, Light being thrown unperceiv'd by the Spectator, has a surprizing Effect.

On the third Side of the Quadrangle, is seen a Row of agreeable Pavillions, all decorated with Paintings.

The fourth Side of the Quadrangle, consists of Pavillions in a noble Style of Gothic Architecture. As these Pavillions are in the same Taste with those which compose a grand Semi-Circle, (to be mention'd hereafter) I shall postpone the Description of them, till I come to that Semi-Circle: And first survey the great round Room (or Rotunda) as it appear'd last Summer, and from which it differs little the present.

Turning under this range of Gothic Pavillions, which form the fourth Side of the Quadrangle, we enter the Rotunda, (70 Feet in Diameter;) an Edifice fram'd in the highest Delicacy and Taste. The Roof or Cieling is adorned with grand painted Festoons of Flowers, terminating in a Point; and looks like the Dome, if I may so speak, of a most august, royal Tent. This Roof is so contriv'd, that Sounds never vibrate under it; by which means, Music is heard to the greatest Advantage here. The Walls are elegantly painted in Mosaic. There were 16 Sash Windows, the Frames whereof, (design'd by a very able Artist, to whom the Rotunda owes many Embellishments,) are in an elegant Style of Carving, (each Window being crown'd with a Plume of Feathers, the Crest of His Royal Highness the PRINCE OF WALES;) as were likewise the Frames of 16 oval Looking-Glasses, with two-arm'd Sconces. In all these Glasses the Spectator, when standing under the Balls of the grand Chandelier, might see himself reflected at once, to his pleasing Wonder. Under the Sash Windows, were 16 fine white Busts, standing on carv'd Brackets; and each between two white Vases, representing eminent Personages, antient and modern. In the Center of the Rotunda hangs the magnificent Chandelier above hinted at, it being eleven Feet in Diameter. It consists of three Rows of Arms, for Candles (72 in all;) and the whole is the Performance of a Gentleman, who having a Talent for Works of this kind, exercises himself in them, merely for his Amusement. Fronting the Door (within) fram'd of Tuscan Pillars and a Pediment, all agreeably painted, was an elegant Orchestra,* where the Band used to perform, in cold or rainy Weather. At the Extremity of this Orchestra, stood an Organ; and, before the whole, a Rail, over which were wax Candles, issuing from artificial Roses.

The Situation of it is now chang'd, as the Reader will see hereafter

Such was the Rotunda last Season; but it is now seen with the following additional Embellishments, form'd by laying open a Portion of the Circle of the Room in question, and enlarging it.

From this Opening is continued the new Room, if I may so speak, (for this Room, with the Rotunda, make at present but one Edifice) the former being about 70 Feet long, and 34 broad. At that Part of the Rotunda where the additional Room was made, is a Screen of Columns, in a very grand Style of Architecture. These Columns are embellish'd with Foliage, from the Base a considerable way upwards; and the remaining Part of the Shaft, to the Capital (of the Composite Order) is finely wreath'd with a Gothic Balustrade, where Boys are represented ascending it. Within this added Room, are ten three-quarter Columns, (five on each side.) The Architrave consists of a Balustrade; the Frieze is enrich'd with sportive Boys; and the Cornice supported by Women, in the Form of Terms. Between the three-quarter Columns, are four grand elegant Frames (with two smaller) made for Pictures. In the eliptical arch'd Roof, of the added Room, are two little Cupolas in a peculiar Taste. The Summit of each is a Sky-Light, divided into ten Compartments, glaz'd; and the Frames are in a pleasing Gothic Style. Each Cupola is adorn'd with Paintings: Apollo, the Muses, with Pan, being seen in the One; and Neptune, with Sea-Nymphs, in the Other: And both have a rich Entablature, with a swelling Soffita. Above each Cupola springs an Arch finely embellish'd, and forming Compartments. From the Center (a rich Gothic Frame) of each Cupola descends a noble Chandelier in the Form of a Basket of Flowers. —To proceed to the new Orchestra. This (as it stands at present) fronts the added Room. The Orchestra is inclos'd with a Balustrade, between a Screen of splendid Columns, like to those before describ'd. On the Cieling of this Orchestra, Venus, and the little Loves are painted, as are, on the Sides, Corinthian Columns, between which four Deities in Niches are represented. At the Extremity of the Orchestra is an Organ; before which stand the Desks, plac'd semi-circularly, for the musical Performers.

The Rotunda thus enlarg'd, by means of the Room above describ'd, the whole (as was said) forms a most elegant Edifice, which I must call the Temple of Pleasure, whose Architect must be a Genius.

To survey this Temple in all its Glory, we must enter it by the Portico, standing in the Semi-circle of Gothic Pavillions and fronting the new Orchestra within. A curious Observer thus plac'd, when the Temple is illuminated, fill'd with Company, and the Music playing in it; is so charm'd, by all he sees and hears, that the whole may appear to him a magical Scene. —Again, a Person who should stand at the Orchestra within the Temple, and look down it, would perceive (in the Day-time) the Prospect beautifully terminated by a verdant Wood, between the Sides of the Porticos; and (at Night) the distant Lights glittering amid the dark Verdure. —Let me add, that one who might place himself near this Verdure, under the Gothic Portico where the Moon is represented, would be most agreeably surpriz'd, to hear the Music as distinctly as if he was in the Temple. In a word, an intelligent Spectator of a warm Imagination, is so variously delighted here, that he need not envy the Transports felt by the antient Greeks, in their Idalian, Cnidian, or Paphian Temples of Venus; those tasted by him being equal, if not superior; and unsullied by the Guilt of which the Votaries of that Goddess were often conscious.—Thus much for the Temple of Pleasure, the four Sides of the Grove, and the Parts of the Garden seen from them.

Leaving the above Temple, by that Door which looks upon the Quadrangle; let us walk into, and survey the Grove, about which is a spacious gravel Walk; where a very great Part of the Company, (as was hinted) stray up and down, during the Time of the musical Entertainment.

Sweet Spot! where Sculpture, Painting join

With Music, to improve the Bowl:
Where Art and Nature both combine
To raise the Mind, and glad the Soul.

This Grove consists of lofty Trees, in the Center of which stands a grand ORGAN; and, joining to it, an Edifice term'd the musical Temple, rais'd in a pleasing Style; and from thence the Performers, both vocal and instrumental, are heard when the Weather is fine. —At a little Distance from those Buildings, and fronting each Face of them, are four triumphal Arches, (as they are term'd) of Lamps. Here the Splendor is so great, as well as in the Temple of Pleasure, that the juvenile Part of both Sexes may enjoy their darling Passion: —the seeing others, and being seen by them.

Lamps in curious Order planted,

Strike the Eye with sweet Surprize:—
Adam was not more inchanted
When he saw the Sun first rise.

Under the above-mentioned Edifices are a kind of Pavillions, to accommodate the Company. At a little Distance from this Seat of Music is a noble Tent, in a most elegant Style; design'd by an ingenious Artist, who has a happy Talent for such Works. In the Center of this Tent is a large Glass Chandelier, and four small Ones at each Corner. The Dome is finely carv'd; painted Blue and Gold, and supported by eight Columns of the Ionic Order. The outward Roof stands on twelve Columns. Between these (both within and without) hang very rich Festoons of Flowers, which have a fine Effect. The Outside of the Dome is variously embellished, and surmounted by a grand Plume of Feathers; with little glass Balls over the Doric Columns. Under this Tent are fourteen Tables, which, when fill'd with Company, form a delightful Picture.

Viewing this Tent, we think of Issus Plain,

Where fled Darius, half his Persians slain;
When Philip's Victor Son the Queens survey'd,
And weeping Sisygambis claim'd his Aid.

The GROVE containing about five Acres, is fill'd with numberless Tables, formerly cover'd with red Bays; which look'd very agreeably amid the Verdure. I am to observe, that most of the Pavillions which constitute the Boundaries of the Quadrangle, wherein the Grove stands, are adorn'd with a great Number of Pictures, the Subjects whereof are very various. Two or three of the most beautiful among them are particularly applauded in the Song, where Colin is supposed to attempt a Description of the various Embellishments of these Gardens.

Here Paintings, sweetly glowing,

Where e're our Glances fall;
Here Colours, Life bestowing,
Bedeck this Greenwood-Hall.

The King, there, dubs a Farmer,

There John his Doxy loves:
But my Delight's a Charmer,
Who steals a pair of Gloves.

Whilst Songs, &c. are performing, Multitudes croud round the Organ, and the Musical Temple, in this Grove. —Shall we attend for a Moment to the passionate Lover?

O how I long to tread thy Maze!

To wander thro' its Fairy Rounds;
On Groops of gliding Beauties gaze,
And listen to the warbling Sounds!

To these blest Powers [Bowers] of vivid Green,

If Chloe come, as Snow-Drops fair,
Her Presence will enrich the Scene,
And all Elysium open there.

In short, when the Night is warm and serene; the Gardens fill'd with fine Company, and different Parts of them are illuminated, the Imagination cannot frame a more inchanting Spectacle. A Person of an elegant turn of Mind, who had never heard of Vaux-hall Gardens, and should be conveyed to them in his Sleep, might, at his being awaked by the Music and the Company, be suppos'd to break into the following Exclamation:

Where am I? O what Wonders rise?

What Scenes are these that glitter round.
Some Vision, sure, must bless my Eyes;
Or this must be inchanted Ground!

If real Objects I behold,

What Being did me here convey? —
This Secret, (lovely Nymphs!) unfold
In Whispers, as you round me stray.

The Charms of this delicious Spot,

Give Credit to the Grecian Song;
The vocal Grove, the Sybil Grot;
The Trees by Music drawn along.

No more let fam'd Historians boast

The Banquet of the amorous Queen;*
When Cydnus Banks the World engross'd
Spectators of the dazzling Scene.

Nor China on its LANTHORN-FEAST,†

Again, in endless Praises run,
Tho' Lamps, on clust'ring Lamps increas'd
In Splendor emulate the Sun.

So fondly ev'ry Sense is charm'd

O whither shall I turn my Eye!
Each roving Faculty alarm'd,
In sweet Amaze enrapt I lie.

These are the suppos'd Exclamations of a Person of Reading and Taste, on his first seeing Vaux-hall Gardens, in the manner above described. The Effect which those Beauties had, on the admiring, rude Colin, tho' different, seems altogether as natural:

Methought, when first I enter'd,

Such Splendors round me shone,
Into a World I ventur'd
Where rose another Sun.

Whilst Music never cloying,

As Sky Lark's sweet I hear:
The Sounds I'm still enjoying;
They'll always sooth my Ear.

One great Pleasure felt in this Grove, by an intelligent, contemplative Spectator, is for him to observe, in how beautiful a Variety the several Objects of it groop, as he moves through the different Parts of this magical Spot; a Pleasure greatly superior to that met with in any other Entertainment of the same Kind. —Methinks I hear an enamour'd Youth, who was us'd to frequent these Shades with the Idol of his Affections, address her in the following Strains:

In this blest Grove, how oft have We

Observ'd the different Objects play?
A Statue, Tent, Alcove, or Tree,
Now seem to join, now break away.

One Step, and we the Picture change,

For other Objects groop'd we view:
Wond'ring, from Scene to Scene we range,
Ever delightful! ever new!
Having thus given a faint Description of the Grove with its four Sides, and the numberless Objects seen from them: If we proceed down that Side of it, which forms Part of the long Visto, seen at our first Entrance into these Gardens, and terminated by the Statue of Aurora; we shall come to the grand Semi-circle of Pavillions, (where the Sun, Moon and Stars are represented) hinted at above.

These Pavillions are in a noble Style of Gothic Architecture, as was observ'd. Almost at each Foot, and in the upper Part of this Semi-circle are three large Pavillions, called Temples. —To speak first of these. Their Cielings are set off with Rays, and separated (above) by painted Arches. The Front of each Pavillion is a Gothic Arcade, embellished with Rays, and a kind of Term. Before the three Temples, and these Gothic Pavillions throughout, is a Colonnade 500 Feet in length, under which the Company may walk very commodiously in rainy Weather. The Entablature consists of a carved Freeze, with Battlements over the Cornice. —To return to the three Temples: Their Cielings are painted Gothic. Each Temple has a Dome, with Pediments, and a beautiful Turret in the Summit. The uppermost Temple is the most magnificent; it being adorned with a Sun, Stars, Pinacles, wreathed Columns, and a great Variety of other rich Gothic Ornaments, all of which are far from looking heavy. The Cieling of this Temple has been decorated (this Season,) with a whimsical Piece of Painting; the Subject being Vulcan, catching Mars and Venus in his Net; the whole drawn in the Chinese Taste.

This Range of Temples and Pavillions has a noble Effect; they being built in a peculiar, and very elegant Style of Gothic Architecture, as was hinted. Before the uppermost Temple is a Visto of Lamps, as 'tis term'd. Adjoyning to these Gothic Pavillions, (in, and near the grand Cross-Walk, where the Picture of Ruins is seen) is the Representation of two antient Castles, with Turrets and Battlements. Over one of the two Temples, standing on the Sides of the Semi-circle, (and fronting the Portico by which we enter the Temple of Pleasure,) as [is] a Moon; and this, with the above-mentioned Sun, Stars, (all of them transparent) being illuminated, make a beautiful Appearance in a dark Night; spite of the Criticks, who would fain laugh our nocturnal Sun out of Countenance.

Leaving the Gothic Pavillions, we come to a very spacious gravel Walk, (already mentioned) at right Angles with the long Vistos, and crossing the whole Garden. One End of this Cross-Walk is terminated by lofty Trees; and, at the Extremity of the Other, is painted a fine Piece of Ruins, which has sometimes deceived the Eye very agreeably.

At the Extremity (to the Left,) of the wide gravel Walk in question, are rural Downs, as they are term'd, in the Form of a long Square; with little Eminences, after the Manner of a Roman Camp. In these Downs were three Openings, (last Season) covered with Shrubs; whence some styl'd them the musical Bushes, whilst others call'd the subterraneous Sounds heard there, the Fairy Music. —This Music is now heard, as we walk, from under Ground; as also from the Trees in the Thickets: a romantic Pleasure to some Dispositions, and may put them in mind of that imaginary Being, call'd the Genius of the Wood; or rather may image to them the vocal Forest.

These Downs, where Lambs were seen sporting, are cover'd with Turf; and pleasingly interspers'd with young Cypress, Fir, Yew, Cedar, and Tulip Trees. On one of the above Eminences in these Downs, is a Statue representing our great Poet Milton, as drawn by himself in his Il Penseroso, seated on a Rock; and in an Attitude listening to soft Music. Two Sides of these Downs are bordered with a gravel Walk, (fenced by a Net,) whence we have a delightful View of St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Lambeth, &c. A View far unlike the rest seen from the other Parts of these Gardens. The Company were very fond, last Season, of straying in the Hollow or Descent of these Downs. This Spot seemed to be the Rendezvous of Cupid; it being as much crouded in an Evening with Lovers, as the Royal Exchange is at two o'Clock, with Men of Business.

At the upper End of these Downs is a gravel Walk, which runs cross the whole Gardens; and terminates them this way. At one Extremity of this Walk is a Picture, representing an Alcove; consisting of three Niches, with Flora and Genii in them, all pleasingly decorated. At the other End of this gravel Walk, is a Piece of Painting representing another Alcove, with Scaffolding for Artists to work upon.—

At the Mention of the Goddess of Flowers, your Lordship will permit me to digress, for only a Stanza or two, on Occasion of a splendid NOSEGAY (gathered in Sight of Vaux-hall) which was presented to a Lady whose Accomplishments deserve every Elogium the Muse can bestow:

Behold the Treasures of the Spring,

In all the Pride of Nature gay;
Brought hither on Favonius' Wing,
To hail THEE Sovereign of the May.

To Sol their Birth these Flourets owe,

Their Fragrance and resplendent Dyes.—
Protection on thy Bard bestow,
And bright, as they, his Lays shall rise.

Nothing can be more entertaining to certain Minds, than to rove solitarily in the above-mentioned Walk, in a Moon-light Night; and to hear, (alternately or together) the distant Music of the Orchestra, the Philomelas in the Thickets, and the Peal of Bells from St Mary Overs.

Soon distant Bells, in tuneful Peal;

Soon plaintive Nightingales we hear:
Next, rival Flutes melodious steal;
Next, the full Concert charms our Ear.

The Concert, Bells, and Woodland Lays,

So sweetly in Confusion mix,
The various Sounds (by Turns) we praise,
And know not on which kind to fix.

Most of the above-mentioned Vistos and Walks, are the Boundaries of Wildernesses composed of Trees, which shoot to a very great Height; and are all inclosed with a handsome Espalier, in the Chinese Taste. These Wildernesses are the verdant Abode of Nightingales, Blackbirds, Thrushes, and other feather'd Minstrels, who, in the most delightful Season of the Year, ravish the Ears of the Company with their Harmony. —With what Rapture might a Lover, who was blessed with the Presence of his darling Fair-One, and tir'd with the Noise and Tumult of London, cry, as they were musing in the lonely Parts of this Garden!

Retir'd from Town, Life's idle Cares forgot,

How have I hail'd, (with Extasy!) my Lot,
When folding thee, from Bow'r to Bow'r we stray'd,
Whilst sportive Moon-Beams glitter'd thro' the Glade!
Or, darkling, sought the Glow-Worm's twinkling Ray!
Or listen'd to the Nightingale's fond Lay!
Thus blest, what Mortals cou'd with us compare,Eden this Spot, and we the happy PAIR!

Giving a farther Loose to his Imagination, he might fancy the above Wildernesses to be inhabited by Comus; and that he, with his jocund Companions, was gazing invidiously at the Company, who were amusing themselves with so much Innocence, in this delightful Garden. Heated, by his Enthusiasm, he might Hail

Its lengthn'd Walks, where reverend Elms aspire,

Its gay Alcoves, and its harmonious Choir:
Its moss-grown Thickets, where the Sylvans sport;
And COMUS keeps, unseen by Man, his Court:
Leads up the giddy Train, with Chaplets crown'd,
Quaffing and tripping wildly, round and round:
Stopping at Intervals, his giddy Rout,
Envious, to view the harmless Joys without.

The Mention of the revelling God, recalls to my Memory a supposed Proclamation, issued by that Deity, two or three Days before the closing of this Entertainment, a Season or two since:

O Yes! O Yes! O Yes! —Be it known,

In the Grove at Vaux-hall, I, this Night, fix my Throne.
By my Courtiers hemm'd round; a broad Laugh on my Face,
The Hyp I'll dispel, and the Vapours I'll chace.

Ye Nymphs then, and Swains, who are wounded at Heart,

By an Ogle or Frown, in the Shape of a Dart,
Haste hither: —I'll save you from Rope or from Stream,
And cure you of Love as you'd wake from a Dream.

Then fail not by Six, as you value your Peace,

A sweet-sounding Name, and your Beauty's increase.
Past three or four Days, from this Spot I shall fly,
Then what wou'd you give, were blithe Comus but nigh?

'Twould be endless to attempt a Description of every Beauty in these Gardens; many Parts of which being illuminated, shine forth in all their Glory, in a dark Night; and seem a strong Representation of the fam'd Elizium, (as was observ'd) on which antient Poets have lavished the most lovely Colours. Was it possible for Homer and Virgil to return to Earth, and visit this Spot, with Extasy would they seize their Lyres, and sing the various Charms of this Garden.

What different Pleasures here are found!—

Now wand'ring lonely, up and down,
The lofty Trees, which shade us round,
Waft us in Fancy far from Town.

Lo! the Magician waves his Wand,

And in some Monarch's Court we seem,
Such Crouds move round, so bright each Band:—
The whole is a delicious Dream!

After the Music is ended for the Night, 'tis vastly agreeable to wind round the Ranges of Pavillions, and gaze at the numberless Parties, (some of whom are frequently attended by French Horns) supping in their several Bowers. The Multitude of Groops surveyed on this Occasion, varying in Figure, Age and Dress; the different Attitudes in which the Parties appear, and the Disparity of their Humours, form methinks, (altogether) an exquisite School of Painting. And so many of our lovely Countrywomen visit these blissful Bowers, that was Zeuxis again to attempt the Picture of Venus, 'tis from hence, and not from Greece, that he would compose his Image of perfect Beauty.

After the Sketch thus attempted of these Gardens, it may not be improper just to hint at one Circumstance, that contributes very much to the Convenience, as well as to the Beauty, of this Entertainment; and for want whereof, indeed, it could not well subsist: I mean the Readiness with which the numberless Tables are serv'd, with whatever may be call'd for; a Decorum that could not take Place, nor the Master of the Gardens keep a just Account of the various Articles deliver'd out to his Waiters, was it not for Order. This, indeed, is so exact, that Many have wonder'd how it could be possible for three or four thousand Persons to be regularly entertain'd, at different Tables, at one and the same Time. The Bands thus feasting, form (altogether) as grand a Picture as the Imagination can frame. —Well, therefore, might the rural Colin suppose, as he was gazing on the silver Queen of Night, that

The Man i'th'Moon tweer'd slily,

Soft twinkling thro' the Trees;
As tho' 'twou'd please him highly,
To taste Delights like these.

As this Spot abounds with such an endless Variety of Charms, I should not wonder to hear an enthusiastic Admirer of them, thus fondly address his Mistress, on their being obliged to leave England, and consequently these Gardens for ever:

And must we, dear Belinda! bid adieu

To these fam'd Shades, which ev'ry Joy renew?
Where my fond trembling Heart first felt Alarms,
Struck with the Awful Lustre of thy Charms.
Must we no more with sweet Delusion stray,
Mid these gay Bow'rs, and their mix'd Charms survey?
The Bands of Nymphs and Swains; the proud Alcove;*
The winding Glade where Beauty us'd to rove.
Not see the Moon-Beams thro' the verdure play,
Till lost in Splendors that eclipse the Day:
Nor listen whilst sad Philomel complains,
Blending her tuneful Woe with sweeter Strains.—
'Tis done! —blest Scene! who can thy Beauties tell,
Nymphs, Swains, Bow'rs, Harmony:—a last farewell!

So our first Parents, when compell'd to fly

From Eden, view it with a watry Eye.
The Life of Bliss, which they no more must lead;
The baleful State, alas! for them decreed:
(Fatal Reverse!) their sorrowing Souls employ,
And, from their Breasts, shut ev'n a Glimpse of Joy.

The Prince's Pavillion

But this tender parting from so delicious a Scene, puts me in mind, that 'tis Time for me to leave it also; especially as my dwelling much longer upon it, might be too great a Trespass on your Lordship's Patience; which Circumstance only, will force me to lay down the Pen; for otherwise, I could have dwelt with Rapture for Hours, on this most delightful Subject. Here then I will close my imperfect Description of Vaux-hall Gardens:

Adieu, blest SPOT! —The fairy Glades,

The pensive Druids vocal Shades;
The Paphian Woods, th'Idalian Groves,
Where Dian' chid the laughing Loves;Alcinous' gay Retreats;
Enraptur'd Psyche's magic Seats:
The Paradise by Mahm't drawn,
Fade when your brighter Beauties dawn:
Ev'n fam'd Elizium yields to You.—
Adieu: delicious SPOT! —Adieu.

As these Gardens abound with so many Beauties, both natural and artificial (the Latter of which are increasing every Year,) 'tis no Wonder, that they should have been the darling Resort of all Persons of Taste, ever since their being opened in this Form. The extraordinary and very just Success, which the several Entertainments of them always met with, gave rise to many Copies in the Neighbourhood of our Metropolis, as well as in different Parts of our Island; but then, like Copies, they sink far below the admired ORIGINAL; Vaux-hall Garden being more immediately the Thing for which it was intended. Farther, this Imitation has not been confined merely to Great Britain; there having been one, to which the Manager gave the Name of Vaux-hall, at the Hague. This Entertainment met with Success, it having been frequented by Persons of the first Figure in Holland; and honoured with the Presence of the STATHOLDER and his illustrious CONSORT. There is an Entertainment of the same Kind in Ireland.

To return to Vaux-hall Garden. —The Charm and Innocence of the Entertainments exhibited there, have made them the Delight (as was declared) of all Persons of Reputation and Taste; so that even Bishops have been seen in this Recess, without injuring their Character. Its Fame is spread to such a Degree, in every Quarter of the World, that one of the first Enquiries made, by a polite Foreigner, who visits us in the Summer, is, when he may share in the Diversions of these Gardens. The Master, in return for the Favours with which he is perpetually honour'd by the Public, is adding Improvements to them every Year, as was hinted. —Whilst he is greatly indebted to the Public for their Countenance: They, (if I mistake not) may almost be said to owe some Obligations to him, upon a double Account. —First, for his having suppress'd a much-frequented rural Brothel, (as it once was;) which gave rise to the following Lines, on seeing leud Women refused Admittance into Vaux-hall Garden, after that an Orchestra had been introduced into it:

This SPOT in all the Pride of Spring array'd,

Improv'd by Music warbling thro' the Shade;
But, for the Serpent, did fam'd Eden seem,
(Sweet Fancy aiding the delicious Dream.)
The Serpent banish'd, justly 'tis design'd,
To charm an elegant and virtuous Mind.

'Twas in Allusion to the Sobriety and Chastity of this mirthful Entertainment, that the following Verses were hit off:

The Maid to whom Honour is dear,

Uncensur'd may take off her Glass:
And stray among Beaux without Fear,
No Snake lurking here in the Grass.

In blissful Arcadia of Old,

Where Mirth, Wit, and Innocence join'd;
The Swains thus discreetly were bold,
The Nymphs were thus prudently kind.

To return to my Argument. —The Public are (I presume,) obliged in some little measure, to the Master, on a second Account, viz. for his having chang'd the leud Scene above-mentioned, to another of the most rational, elegant, and innocent Kind. Those serious Persons who look upon it as One of the great Instruments of Luxury, (the Extremes whereof are very fatal to a Nation, and which makes too rapid a Progress among us) may please to reflect, that Multitudes, who inhabit this vast City, will take a Bottle, somewhere or other, every Evening; whatever grave Divines and Moralists might preach or write to the contrary: And that it is far more healthy, for such Persons to rove about, and take a Glass in these Gardens, than to be coop'd up every Night, in a Tavern in London; as was the Practice, before the Entertainment in question took place. Let me add, that many might not scruple to intoxicate themselves with Wine, when conceal'd by a Room; who yet would not hazard their being seen in Liquor, in a Place free and open to Thousands. 'Tis confess'd, that Inconveniences and Abuses, (from the Texture of all mortal Things) will creep into the wisest human Institutions; and that even Religion (fair Daughter of the Sky!) is not exempt from them: But it must be granted, on the other hand, that Diversions, of one sort or another, are absolutely necessary to Mankind; and therefore, the greatest Wisdom of Legislators seems to be, to make Choice of such Diversions as may polish; without corrupting the Minds, or enervating the Bodies, of the People whom they govern. The wise, rich Men among the Antients us'd to recreate their Spirits, after the Fatigues and Toils of the Day, with a Concert of Music; but never in a Morning, as is the Custom crept in lately among us; a Custom extremely illaudable, since it may (especially) prevent many of our Superiors, from discharging the Duties they owe to their native Country; and transform them to so many Sybarites. Farther, it seems not proper, that even these Summer-Evening Entertainments should be permitted to multiply, (especially the pedling ones;) because such lessen the Industry, promote the Expence, and consequently impoverish the common People, who are well known to be the Basis of a State. Let all Ranks among us be more or less industrious, but let us not be Goths. The Industry of the Dutch is very much to be commended; but then their Indelicacy deserves proportionable Contempt. The useful and the polite ARTS should go Hand in Hand, and be consider'd as Sisters; and none, except the Tasteless, will think their Union impracticable. To possess, like the Dutch, a mighty Magazine of all things useful and curious, for which every part of the Globe had been ransack'd, and not enjoy them; could convey (one would think) no other Satisfaction than that groveling one which a Miser feels, in counting over perpetually his Treasure, without daring to employ a single Farthing of it. Methinks one of the great Arts of Life is, to pass thro' it with elegant Innocence, if that Epithet may be allow'd. —'Tis evident, that what is said above, relates only to People of Education, and a polite Turn of Mind. —But to wave all Reflections of this Cast: Providence seems to have indulg'd these Gardens, one special Mark of its Favour, in not permitting a single Person to be drown'd, tho' so many Thousands have return'd from them by the Thames, in very boisterous Weather. And now all Fears of perishing in the Water, in the Passage to, or from Vaux-hall, are happily remov'd, by the very fine Bridge lately built cross our River at Westminster; a Structure, which is justly the Admiration of Foreigners; and forms one of the noblest Pieces of Art in this Island; and indeed, in the World, of the kind: The view of which Bridge, especially when illuminated, adds to the Delight of the Curious, in their Return from Vaux-hall. Another Pleasure found (occasionally,) in going to, or coming from thence by Water, is to hear the Trumpets or French Horns, which frequently attend on the Boats of Persons of Distinction. A Concert of this kind, in a fine Moon-light Night, is a great Addition to our Joy. —To crown the Reputation of this much-frequented Recess, the late PRINCE, and the PRINCESS OF WALES, the great Patrons of all things excellent, gave the highest Sanction to them, by sending (last Season,) their Commands, (the only Honour of this Sort) to the Master of the Spring-Gardens, for him to open them, (for once,) in the Morning. —The winning Condescension shown by their ROYAL HIGHNESSES on that Occasion (and indeed, on every other) gave Rise to the following just Elogium:

What Magic wins Ye thus our Hearts?

Why, as Ye pass, do Thousands bless? —
Your Temper sweet, Your Love of Arts;
Of Merit:—most if in Distress.

Your Acts, where we such Goodness trace,

Proclaim a Heav'n-resembling Mind.
Princes whom the mild Virtues grace,
Must be the Darlings of Mankind.

At the Mention of the above NAMES, my Pen naturally stops, and cannot pass to any other theme. These Names will for ever be dear to your Lordship, as no one was more perfectly acquainted with the Merit of the illustrious Personages, to whom they belong. To sketch a Garden is very easy; but to pourtray MINDS, where dwelt Grace, Benevolence; every Virtue that can adorn the Soul, and make a People happy: —This is a Task worthy of your Lordship, whose Heart is best fram'd, whose Head is best qualified, to delineate such rare Excellencies. You have been pleased to strike out a beautiful Miniature, on this Subject, already. Hence, in firm Hopes of seeing the Picture drawn to a much greater Length, by the same noble Hand, I beg leave to subscribe myself, with all possible Veneration,

MY LORD,Your Lordship's most obliged, most obedient, and most devoted Servant. Lord,

by John Lockman (according to John Nichol, The History and Antiquities of the Parish of Lambeth in the County of Surrey. Including Biographical Anecdotes of Several Eminent Persons. Compiled from Original Records, and Other Authentic Sources of Information (London, 1786) p.119