These Gardens are situated near the Thames, on the south side, in the parish of Lambeth, about two miles from London. They are opened every [p.354] day, except Sunday, at five o'clock in the evening from May till August, each person paying 1s. admittance. You enter by the great gate upon a noble gravel walk about 900 feet in length, planted on each side with very lofty trees, which form a fine vista, terminated by a landscape of the country, a beautiful lawn of meadow ground, and a grand gothic obelisk. At the corners of the obelisk 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.
To the right of this walk, and a few steps within the garden, is a square, which, from the number of trees planted in it, is called the Grove: In the middle of it is a magnificent orchestra of Gothic construction, ornamented with carvings, niches, &c. the dome of which is surmounted with a plume of feathers, the crest of the Prince of Wales. In fine weather, the musical entertainments are performed here. 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.
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 !
The second represents 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 seem to partake in the triumph for the defeat of the French fleet (represented on the back ground) by Sir Edward Hawke, Nov. 10, 1759. The third represents Lord Clive receiving the homage of the Nabob: and the fourth, Britanniadistributing laurels to Lord Granby, Lord Albemarle, Lord Townshend, and the Cols. Monckton, Coote, &c.
The pavillions continue in a sweep, which leads to a beautiful piazza, and a colonnade 500 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 the 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 [p.354] 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. 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 to it; and that on the left, Friendship on the grass drinking. This semi circle leads to a sweep of pavillions that terminate in the great walk.