Page images
PDF
EPUB

together with an orangery, conservatory, and range of forcing-houses, three hundred feet in length.

Horace Walpole, being a connoisseur, must needs find fault with something. He desires that the lavish quantity of urns and statues behind the garden front should be retrenched; and this might be desirable if these urns and statues were not exquisite gems of art, and individually of great beauty and value, demanding a more undivided attention than would be given them, if considered merely as ornamental appendages to the grounds. The bronze statues of the Gladiator, Hercules with his club, the Faun, are worthy a place in any gallery. Three colossal statues, removed hither from Rome, although mutilated, are very fine, as are also the profusion of minor marbles scattered throughout the grounds. Nothing can be more exquisite than the taste that presides over this Versailles in little. The lofty walls of clipped yew, inclosing alleys terminated by rustic temples; the formal flower-garden, with walks converging towards a common centre, where a marble copy of the Medicean Venus woos you from the summit of a graceful Doric column; the labyrinthic involution of the walks, artfully avoiding the limits of the demesne, and deceiving you as to its real extent; the artificial water, with its light and elegant bridge, gaily painted barges, and wild-fowl preening themselves upon its glassy surface; the magnificent cedars feathered to the ground, kissing with pendent boughs their mother earth; the temples and obelisks, happily situate on the banks of the river, or embowered in wildernesses of wood; the breaks of landscape,' where no object is admitted but such as the eye delights to dwell upon; the moving panorama of the Thames, removed to that happy distance where the objects on its surface glide along like shadows; the absolute seclusion of the scene, almost within the hum of a great city, make this seat of the Duke of Devonshire a little earthly paradise. The house, notwithstanding Lord Hervey's sarcasm,

is a perfect gem, and a worthy monument of the genius and taste of the noble architect. Nowhere in the vicinity of London have wealth and judgment been so happily united; nowhere in the neighbourhood of the metropolis have we so complete an example of the capabilities of the Italian or classic style of landscape gardening.

The Horticultural Gardens were established at Chiswick in the years 1818 and 1819, and are held under His Grace the Duke of Devonshire.

The objects of the society may be best understood from the

Report of the proceedings lately published, from which we quote as follows:

1.—THE INTRODUCTION OF New, USEFUL, AND ORNAMENTAL PLANTS.

II.-THE ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF AUTHENTIC SPECIMENS OF

USEFUL OR ORNAMENTAL TREES, SHRUBS, AND PLANTS.

III.—THE PROSECUTION OF EXPERIMENTS TO ASCERTAIN THE MERITS OF ANY New PROCESSES OR

METHODS OF CULTIVATION CONNECTED WITH HORTICULTURE.

IV.—THE DETERMINATION OF THE COMPARATIVE VALUE OF SPECIES OR VARIETIES, EITHER NEWLY INTRO

DUCED OR ALREADY IN CULTIVATION.

V.-PUBLICATION OF HORTICULTURAL PAPERS AND REPORTS, EITHER THE RESULT OF EXPERIMENTS AND

OBSERVATIONS MADE BY THE SOCIETY, OR COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED FROM FELLOWS AND
OTHERS.

The Gardens, approached by a handsome broad avenue leading from the high road at Turnham Green to Chiswick House, contain thirty-four acres,

[graphic][merged small]

the surface rather flat, and not boasting any particular natural attractions, but laid out with considerable taste and judgment. There are three distinct departments of horticulture.

I.-THE ARBORETUM.

II.—THE ORCHARD, FORCING-HOUSES, AND KITCHEN-GARDEN.

III.-CONSERVATORY, HOTHOUSES, AND PLANT-HOUSES.

The conservatory, as yet incomplete, is the chief ornament of the Gardens. This frail but beautiful structure is one hundred and eighty-four feet long,

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

five-and-twenty feet high, and about thirty feet wide. It is intended merely as one wing of a grand vitreous mansion, to consist of a lofty dome, and another wing of the same extent as that already completed. When finished, this will be the most splendid structure of the kind near the metropolis. In addition to the conservatory, the plant-houses are worthy of notice. One is devoted entirely to plants from Australia, another contains the natives of the tropics, a third defends the orchideous tribes; there are also numerous forcing-houses, heated by the most approved contrivances. One gardener, three superintendants, and twenty-one assistant gardeners, are permanently employed; there are occasional supernumeraries.

Visitors are admitted by tickets from Fellows of the society. Three annual exhibitions take place. For the present year they are fixed for

[blocks in formation]

The intermediate exhibition, should the weather prove favourable, is generally considered the most attractive. Bands of music are in attendance, the gardens are crowded with the best company; and even to those not particularly attached to horticultural pursuits, a visit upon one of these gala days cannot fail to be productive of much gratification.

Tickets for the exhibition days are purchased by Fellows at the cost of three-andsixpence each, if purchased before the fifth of April; after that date, at five shillings each. All tickets issued at the garden on the days of exhibition, are at the advanced price of ten shillings each.

In the churchyard is a monument to the great painter of human character and life, HOGARTH, whose remains, with those of his wife, and her mother Judith, wife of Sir William Thornhill, lie in a vaulted grave beneath. We need not look here, however, for the monument of Hogarth ; wherever his works are to be found, there will be found his monument. To dwell upon the merits, or repeat the excellences, of this admirable satirist, humourist,

[graphic]

HOGARTH'S TOMB.

canvas.

and historian of ordinary life, would be a gross impertinence. That he was a great painter ; that he originated a line of art at once novel, exciting, and instructive; that he was original, having no master; unrivalled, none equal coming after him, we may say, if there is any necessity for repeating that which everybody knows and feels.

Of Hogarth Charles Lamb bas eloquently said :-“The quantity of thought which Hogarth crowds into every picture would alone unvulgarise every subject which he might choose. The faces of Hogarth have not a mere momentary interest, as in caricatures, or those grotesque physiognomies which we sometimes catch a glance of in the street, and, struck with their whimsicality, wish for a pencil and the power to sketch them down, and forget them again as rapidly; but they are permanent, abiding ideas. Not the sports of nature, but her necessary eternal classes. We feel that we cannot part with any of them, lest a link should be broken. Hogarth's mind was eminently reflective; and, as it has been well observed of Shakspeare that he has transfused his own poetical character into the persons of his drama, Hogarth has impressed a thinking character upon the persons of his

This reflexion of the artist's own intellect from the faces of his characters is one reason why the works of Hogarth, so much more than those of any other artist, are objects of meditation. Our intellectual natures love the mirror that gives them back their own likenesses. The mental eye will not bend long with delight upon vacancy.” Coleridge, with truth, observes, “Another line of eternal separation between Hogarth and the common painters of droll or burlesque subjects, with whom he is often confounded, is the sense of beauty which, in the most unpromising subjects, seems never wholly to have deserted him;—Hogarth, in whom the satirist never extinguished that love of beauty which belonged to him as a poet.” While the testimonies of such men as Lamb and Coleridge, to the excellences of a kindred spirit, exist, we trust the reader will see the propriety of our abstinence from criticism of the works of such a man as Hogarth.

Fielding pays a very just and happy tribute to the genius of Hogarth, saying: :-"He who would call the ingenious Hogarth a burlesque painter, would, in my opinion, do him very little honour: for sure it is much easier, much less the subject of admiration, to paint a man with a nose, or any other feature, of a preposterous size, or to expose him in some absurd or monstrous attitude, than to express the affections of men on canvas. It hath

been thought a vast commendation of a painter to say his figures seem to breathe; but surely it is a much greater and nobler applause that they appear to think."

When his health, about the sixty-fifth year of his age, began to decline, Hogarth purchased a small house at Chiswick, to which he retired during the summer, amusing himself with making slight sketches, and re-touching his plates. “This house stood till lately on a very pretty spot; but the demon of building,” says Cunningham, “came into the neighbourhood, choked up the garden, and destroyed the secluded beauty of Hogarth's cottage. The garden, well stored with walnut, mulberry, and apple trees, contained a small study, with a head-stone placed over a favourite bulfinch, on which the artist had etched the bird's head, and written an epitaph. The cottage contained many snug rooms, and was but yesterday the residence of a man of learning and genius, Mr. Cary, the translator of Dante."

The inscription upon the tomb is from the pen of the equally celebrated David Garrick:

Farewell, great painter of mankind,
Who reached the noblest point of art ;
Whose pictured morals charm the mind,
And through the eye correct the heart.
If genius fire thee, reader, stay ;
If nature move thee, drop a tear;
If neither touch thee, turn away
For Hogarth's bonour'd dust lies here."

[ocr errors]

!

The Earl of Macartney, well known as the ambassador to China, was buried in the churchyard; as also Loutherbourg, the painter, of whose character as a painter Fuseli says that—“As an artist Mr. De Loutherbourg exhibits an uncommon example of the possession of faculties directly opposed to each other. In his landscapes, and indeed his performances in general, he is not less remarkable for the most admirable dexterity of hand, and the most captivating facility of pencil, than for a seductive, though meretricious, gaudiness in his colouring, which is too frequently in opposition to the chaste and sober tinting of nature. The readiness with which he composed and executed his pictures could scarcely fail of betraying him into the foibles of a mannerist. Individual parts of his pictures are frequently uncommonly fine; but either from inattention to, or an ignorance of, the first principles of chiaro-scuro, there is often a want of generality in the effect, which is frequently scattered

« PreviousContinue »