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Kensington Gardens.)



and counter-scarps of regular fortifications. This room, and ball-room; and thither the queen was curious upper garden, we are told, was long "the conveyed in her chair from the western end of the admiration of every lover of that kind of horticul- palace. Here were given full-dress fêtes à la tural embellishment,” and, indeed, influenced the Watteau, with a profusion of brocaded robes, general taste of the age; for Le Nautre, or Le hoops, fly-caps, and fans,' songs by the court Notre, who was gardener to the Tuileries, and had lyrists, &c.” When the Court left Kensington, been personally favoured by Louis XIV., in con- this building was converted into an orangery and junction with the royal gardeners, was employed by greenhouse. most of the nobility, during the reign of William, Just within the boundary of the gardens at the in laying out their gardens and grounds. Addison, south-eastern corner, on slightly rising ground, is in No. 477 of the Spectator, thus speaks of the the Albert Memorial, which we have already dehorticultural improvements of this period :-“Iscribed,* and not far distant is the statue of think there are as many kinds of gardening as of Dr. Jenner, the originator of vaccination. This poetry: your makers of pastures and flower-gardens statue, which is of bronze, represents the venerable are epigrammatists and sonneteers in this art; doctor in a sitting posture. It is the work of contrivers of bowers and grottoes, treillages and William Calder Marshall, and was originally set cascades, are romantic writers; Wise and Loudon up in Trafalgar Square in 1858, but was removed are our heroic poets; and if, as a critic, I may hither about four years afterwards. single out any passage of their works to commend, The eastern boundary of the gardens would seem I shall take notice of that part in the upper garden to have been in Queen Anne's time nearly in the at Kensington which was at first nothing but a line of the broad walk which crosses them on the gravel-pit. It must have been a fine genius for east side of the palace. The kitchen-gardens, gardening that could have thought of forming such which extended north of the palace, towards the an unsightly hollow into so beautiful an area, and to gravel-pits, but are now occupied by some elegant have hit the eye with so uncommon and agreeable villas and mansions, and the thirty acres lying a scene as that which it is now wrought into.” north of the conservatory, added by Queen Anne

In 1691 these gardens are thus described :— to the pleasure-gardens, may have been the fifty-five “ They are not great, nor abounding with fine acres "detached and severed from the park, lying plants.

The orange, lemon, myrtle, and what in the north-west corner thereof,” granted in the other trees they had there in summer, were all reign of Charles II. to Hamilton, the Ranger of removed to London, or to Mr. Wise's greenhouse Hyde Park, and Birch, the auditor of excise, “to at Brompton Park, a little mile from there. But be walled and planted with 'pippins and redthe walks and grass were very fine, and they were streaks,' on condition of their furnishing apples or digging up a plot of four or five acres to enlarge cider for the king's use." This portion of the their gardens.” Queen Anne added some thirty garden is thus mentioned in Tickell's poem acres more, which were laid out by her gardener, “ That hollow space, where now, in living rows, Wise. Bowack, in 1705, describes here" a noble Line above line, the yew's sad verdure grows, collection of foreign plants, and fine neat greens, Was, ere the planter's hand its beauty gave, which makes it pleasant all the year.

.. Her A common pit, a rude unfashion'd cave.

The landscape, now so sweet, we well may praise; Majesty has been pleased lately to plant near

But far, far sweeter, in its ancient days— thirty acres more to the north, separated from the Far sweeter was it when its peopled ground rest only by a stately greenhouse, not yet finished.” With fairy domes and dazzling towers was crown'd. It appears from this passage that, previous to the Where, in the midst, those verdant pillars spring, above date, Kensington Gardens did not extend

Rose the proud palace of the Elfin king; further to the north than the conservatory, which,

For every hedge of vegetable green,

In happier years, a crowded street was seen; as stated in the previous chapter, was originally Nor all those leaves that now the prospect grace built for a banqueting-house, and was frequently Could match the numbers of its pigmy race.” used as such by Queen Anne. This banqueting

At the end of the avenue leading from the south house was completed in the year 1705, and is part of the palace to the wall on the Kensington considered a fine specimen of brickwork. The Road is an alcove built by Queen Anne's orders ; south front has rusticated columns supporting a so that the palace, in her reign, seems to hav

have Doric pediment, and the ends have semi-circular stood in the midst of fruit and pleasure gardens, recesses. “The interior, decorated with Corinthian with pleasant alcoves on the west and south, and columns," Mr. John Timbs tells us in his “Curiosities," " was fitted up as a drawing-room, music

See p. 38, ante.

the stately banqueting-house on the east, the whole rural to make a home for the nightingale, whose confined between the Kensington and Uxbridge voice is often heard in the summer nights, espeRoads on the north and south, with Palace Green cially in the part nearest to Kensington Gore. on the west, the line of demarcation on the east

“Here England's daughter, darling of the land, being the broad walk before the east front of the Sometimes, surrounded with her virgin band, palace.

Gleams through the shades. She, towering o'er the rest, Bridgeman, who succeeded Wise as the fashion- Stands fairest of the fairer kind confest;

Form'd to gain hearts that Brunswick's cause denied, able designer of gardens, was employed by Queen

And charm a people to her father's side. Caroline, consort of George II., to plant and lay out, on a larger scale than had hitherto been at- “Long have these groves to royal guests been known,

Nor Nassau, first, preferred them to a throne. tempted, the ground which had been added to the

Ere Norman banners waved in British air ; gardens by encroaching upon Hyde Park. Bridge

Ere lordly Hubba with the golden hair man's idea of the picturesque led him to abandon Pour'd in his Danes; ere elder Julius came; "verdant sculpture," and he succeeded in effecting Or Dardan Brutus gave our isle a name; a complete revolution in the formal and square pre

A prince of Albion's lineage graced the wood, cision of the foregoing age, although he adhered

The scene of wars, and stained with lover's blood.” in parts to the formal Dutch style of straight walks On King William taking up his abode in the and clipped hedges. A plan of the gardens, pub-palace, the neighbouring town of Kensington and lished in 1762, shows on the north-east side a low the outskirts of Hyde Park became the abode of wall and fosse, reaching from the Uxbridge Road fashion and of the hangers-on at the Court, whilst to the Serpentine, and effectually shutting in the the gardens themselves became the scene of a plot gardens. Across the park, to the east of Queen for assassinating William, and replacing James II. Anne's Gardens, immediately in front of the palace, on the throne. The large gardens laid out by a reservoir was formed with the “round pond;" | Queen Caroline were opened to the public on thence, as from a centre, long vistas or avenues Saturdays, when the King and Court went to Richwere carried through the wood that encircled the mond, and on these occasions ail visitors were rewater—one as far as the head of the Serpentine ; quired to appear in full dress. When the Court another to the wall and fosse above mentioned, ceased to reside here, the gardens were thrown open affording a view of the park; a third avenue led to in the spring and summer; they, nevertheless, long a mount on the south-east side, which was raised continued to retain much of their stately seclusion. with the soil dug in the formation of the adjoining the gardens are mentioned in the following terms canal, and planted with evergreens by Queen Anne. by the poet Crabbe, in his “Diary:"_“Drove to This mount, which has since been levelled again, Kensington Gardens : . . . effect new and striking. or, at all events, considerably reduced, had on the Kensington Gardens have a very peculiar effect ; top a revolving “prospect house.” There was also not exhilarating, I think, yet alive [lively] and in the gardens a “hermitage :” a print of it is to pleasant.” It seems, however, that the public had be seen in the British Museum. The low wall not always access to this pleasant place; for, in and fosse was introduced by Bridgeman as a sub- the “Historical Recollections of Hyde Park," by stitute for a high wall, which would shut out the Thomas Smith, we find a notice of one Sarah Gray view of the broad expanse of park as seen from the having had granted her a pension of £18 a year, palace and gardens; and it was deemed such a as a compensation for the loss of her husband, novelty that it obtained the name of a “Ha! ha!” who was “accidentally shot by one of the keepers derived from the exclamation of surprise involun- while hunting a fox in Kensington Gardens.” tarily uttered by disappointed pedestrians. At According to Sir Richard Phillips, in “Modern each angle of this wall and fosse, however, semi- London,” published in 1804, the gardens were open circular projections were formed, which were termed to the public at that time only from spring to bastions, and in this particular the arrangement autumn; and, curiously enough, servants in livery accorded with the prevailing military taste. Bridge were excluded, as also were dogs. Thirty years man's plan of gardening, however, embraced the later the gardens are described as being open “all beauties of flowers and lawns, together with a the year round, to all respectably-dressed persons, wilderness and open groves; but the principal from sunrise till sunset.” About that time, when it embellishments were entrusted to Mr. Kent, and happened that the hour for closing the gates was subsequently carried out by a gentleman well known eight o'clock, the following lines, purporting to have by the familiar appellation of “ Capability" Brown. been written “by a young lady aged nineteen,” were The gardens, it may be added, are still sufficiently discovered affixed to one of the seats :

Kensington Gardens.)



"Poor Adam and Eve were from Eden turned out, palace is a quaintly-designed flower garden, sepaAs a punishment due to their sin ;

rated from the Kensington Road by some fine old But here after eight, if you loiter about,

elm-trees. The broad walk, fifty feet in width, was As a punishment you 'll be locked in."

once the fashionable promenade. “Tommy Hill,” It may be added that now, on stated days during and his friend John Poole, who made him his the “ London season,” the scene in these gardens great character in Paul Pry, with “I hope I don't is enlivened by the exhilarating strains of military intrude,” used to walk daily together here. All the bands. It is stated by Count de Melfort, in his surrounding parts are filled in with stately groups “ Impressions of England,” published in the reign of ancient trees; and the total absence of anything of William IV., that the Duke of St. Albans—we that indicates the proximity of the town, renders suppose, as Grand Falconer of England—is the this spot particularly pleasant and agreeable for a only subject, except members of the royal family, stroll on a summer's evening. Keeping along the who has the right of entering Kensington Palace eastern margin of the gardens, and crossing the end Gardens in his carriage. The fact may be true, of the broad avenue, the visitor soon reaches a new but it wants verifying.

walk formed about the time of the first Great ExThe author of an agreeable “Tour of a Foreigner hibition. Here will be found a large number of in England,” published in 1825, remarks :-“The new and rarer kind of shrubs, with their popular Palais Royale gives a better idea of the , London and technical names all legibly inscribed. Weale, squares than any other part of Paris. The public in his work on London, published in 1851, says :promenades are St. James's Park, Hyde Park, and “ It is in the introduction of these rarer plants that Kensington Gardens, which communicate with the idea of a 'garden' is, perhaps, better sustained each other. I am sometimes tempted to prefer than in most of the other features of the place, these parks to the gardens of the Luxembourg and which are those of a park. The demand, indeed, the Tuileries, which, however, cannot give you any for evergreens and undergrowth in these gardens is idea of them. St. James's Park, Hyde Park, and most urgent; and if (which we greatly doubt) there Kensington Gardens are to me the Tuileries, the exists a well-founded objection to the use of shrubs Champs Élysees, and the Jardin des Plantes united. and bushes in tufts or in single plants, there cerOn Sundays the crowd of carriages which repair tainly can be no reason why solitary specimens, or thither, and the gentlemen of fashion who exhibit varied groups of the many kinds of thorn, pyrus, their horsemanship with admirable dexterity in the mespilus, laburnum, pine and fir, evergreen, oaks, ride, remind me of Long Champs ; but hackney hollies, yews, &c., should not be most extensively coaches are not allowed to enter here to destroy planted, and a large portion of the younger and the fine spectacle which so many elegant carriages smaller

, trees in the densest parts cut away to make afford. Sheep graze tranquilly in Hyde Park, room for them.” With reference to the trees in where it is also pleasing to see the deer bounding these gardens, a correspondent of the Times news about. At Kensington Gardens you are obliged paper, in May, 1876, observes :—“The crowds who to leave your horse or carriage standing at the gate. flock to Bushy Park or Kew do not see anything Walking through its shady alleys I observed with more fair than the tree-pictures now in Kensington pleasure that the fashionable ladies pay, in regard Gardens, to which I beg to call the attention of all to dress, a just tribute to our fair countrywomen. lovers of trees. The hawthorns and horse-chestnuts Judging from the costumes of the ladies, you might are now in marvellous beauty, though one rarely sometimes fancy yourself walking under the chestnut sees anybody taking the least notice of them. All trees of the Tuileries. A line of Tasso may very the blaze of the autumnal ‘bedding out'is in point well be applied to Kensington Gardens :

of beauty as nothing to what is now afforded here * L'arte che tutto fa, nulla si scuopre.'

by a few kinds of ordinary hardy trees that cost

little at first and take care of themselves afterwards. Within the last half century these gardens have There is a little open lawn with a small lime-tree been greatly improved by drainage, relaying, and in its centre, quite near the 'Row'corner of the replanting. Much of the surrounding walls, too, gardens, around which there are several charming have been removed, and in their place handsome aspects of tree-beauty. One hawthorn is about iron railings have been substituted. The lead-forty feet high. Some of the central and uning features of the gardens at the present time frequented portions of the gardens are the most are the three avenues above mentioned, radiating attractive. Nobody can despair of growing flowerfrom the east front of the palace, through dense ing trees to his heart's content in London after masses of trees. Immediately in front of the seeing the mountains of horse-chestnut bloom and other masses of tree-flowers here. Let those inte- whether the branch can be removed without injury rested see the old trees in the central parts as well to the royal tree.” “I accordingly wrote to my as the newer plantations, which, however, are also friend in the evening (Tuesday),” continues the beautiful.”

author, "and on Thursday morning my friends disAt the north side, nearly facing Porchester covered, to their infinite satisfaction, that the obTerrace, there are some fine trees, including Scotch trusive branch had disappeared ; and, as a natural pines, which, a few years ago, were a glory to the sequence, I came in for a warm benediction, and neighbourhood, and are duly celebrated by Mr. the Woods and Forests for their full share of praise Matthew Arnold in his verses on Kensington as an exceptional department of the State, where

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Gardens. Some of these, however, became so red tape was not used, and circumlocution undecayed that they were cut down by order of Her known. The Chief Commissioner, on reading my Majesty's Woods and Forests, in 1875.

note to his relative, gave orders on the Wednesday The author of “Reminiscences of Fifty Years” to the superintendent of Kensington Gardens to tells an amusing story with reference to one of the look at the tree, and if the branch could be taken trees in this part of the gardens. He was one day off without serious prejudice, it was to be done. praising the charming view which some friends of The superintendent reported at head-quarters on his commanded from their drawing-room window the Thursday that on visiting the tree at an early overlooking the gardens. “Yes, the view would hour that morning he found the branch in question be perfect, if the branch of that large tree," to lying on the ground, having been struck off by lightwhich they specially drew his attention, " did not ning during the heavy storm of the previous night. interrupt it.” “Well,” remarked the other, “it is The Chief Commissioner wrote an amusing letter somewhat singular that I walked to your door on the occasion, alleging that I really must be with the nearest relative in London of the Chief one who could call spirits from the vasty deep,' Commissioner of Woods and Forests (the Right and had evidently transferred my powers to KenHon. Mr. Milne), and I shall ask him to inquire sington Gardens, acting on the suggestion given in

Kensington Gardens. ]



Richard III., ‘With lightning strike the murderer running between the basins, there is a larger foundead.' The same day,” adds the author, “I visited tain, of octagonal form. The end of the reservoir the tree, which appeared, saving the amputation of nearest the bridge forms an ornamental façade, the large branch, to have escaped all other injury. enriched with vases of various patterns, filled with Had other trees not suffered severely in Kensington flowers. The centre of this façade has two draped Gardens that night, it might have led to a special female figures, seated, holding vases, from which inquiry or inquest to ascertain whether it was flow streams; and between these two figures, but lightning or a saw that I had employed in obliging projecting forward, is another large fountain. The my friends.

I told them they owed everything height of this balustraded façade is about eight feet

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to the lightning; as I was much inclined to think above the water-level. At the other end of the that the Chief Commissioner, with every desire to reservoirs is an engine house, containing engines meet their wishes, might possibly have deemed it for working the fountains. This building is of his duty to postpone the consideration of the Italian design, and roofed with red Italian tiles. removal of so large and umbrageous a branch from It stands just within the Gardens, at a short distance the royal demesne to the Greek Calends."

from the Bayswater Road. Of the bridge over the Serpentine, at the north- Kensington Gardens have been celebrated by east corner of the Gardens, we have already given Tickell in the poem which bears their name, and an illustration.* At some distance on the west from which we have quoted above; “ verses," says side of this bridge, as it leaves the Uxbridge Road, Charles Knight, "full of fairies and their dwarfs, the Serpentine has been divided into a series of and Dryads and Naiads; verses made to order, four large basins or reservoirs, of octangular form, and which have wholly perished as they deserve to each of which has a small fountain in the centre, perish.” Tickell enjoyed the patronage of Addison, encompassed with marble. In the central pathway, contributed papers to the Spectator, was contem

porary with Pope, and published a translation of . See Vol. IV., p. 396.

the “First Book of the Iliad,” from his own pen, in

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