Imágenes de página

John Miel. Had they not been mentioned in the manner they are, by Cochin and Lalande, they are (in my opinion) such wretched daubs, that I should not have taken the trouble to have looked at them after the first glance. They are so much spoiled, that fome parts are effaced, and in what remains, I own I could not discover any kind of merit. The leaft frightful are, a Death of a Stag, and a Repose after Hunting. Over these are a great many equestrian paintings, all portraits, chiefly women. These Amazons are drefled in the Spanilh fashion, and are mounted upon prancing horses. If they were not portraits, they would not be worth a moment's consideration; but I shall only trouble you with two or three of them; as they represent people who have been distinguished in the annals of this court: and I believe they were all striking likenefles, if not caricatures, of their originals. The picture of the Countess de Sebastian, who was af. terwards married to the late King, is not so handfome as I should have imagined her to have been ; she appears indeed with child. Another, of the famous Countess of Verüe; not handsome neither, but piquante, her nose too long. Each lady is drawn dressed properly for the chace; and as all their hats and riding-dresses are much alike, they are distinguished by silk bridles to their horses of different colours : this was really the order of the late King, that he might be able to distinguish them from one another at a little distance *. The

See Keyfler, for anecdotes of these ladies.


men are also in hunting-dresses, but with full-bottomed periwigs, as large as those worn in the days of Charles the Second. Above these portraits, the compartments in the cove are badly painted in fresco. Here are no fine apartments except the gallery, which is of great extent. At each end is à saloon; their cielings are domes supported by pillars. There is neither picture, statue, nor giiding in this gallery; it is stuccoed and whitened only. Wethought the projections of the different members of the architecture of the sides, and the architraves of the windows, too strong and salient, even to heavi. ness; and that they have a very crowded appearance when viewed from one end. In one of the apartments is a table of lapis lazuli, which appears to confist of several pieces, and is by no means a fine thing. There is another table, composed of excellent morfels of lapis, amethyst, and agate, 22 inches broad, and 3 feet 10 inches long. In the apartment of the Dutchess of Savoy, is a cabinet de toilette and a boudoir, all wainscoted with the finest old japan (I suppose) in Europe. These pannels abound with the beautiful green leaves and silver dragons, so much admired by all connoiffeurs in japan; and in the boudoir, the compartments represent land. scapes, with stags, and Indian warriors on horseback, in bas relief, incrusted in Pierre de Lar, which is exceedingly fine. The above pieces of japan were presented by Prince Eugene to the Princess Victoire, from whom they came to the house of Savoy. The chapel is famous for the

beauty beauty and ingenuity of its architecture and proportions; it is built in the shape of a Greek cross, and is terminated by a dome. The coup d'æil is striking ; but there are some bad ftatues and other ornaments that had better have been left out. A picture of Saint Eusebe * ; I think the drawing not faultless, and the colouring glaring and tawdry. Cochin esteems it much, both for the one and the other, which surprises us both, and inclines us to think, he had taken his opinion from another, and had not seen it himself. Three rooms in this palace are furnished with portraits ; one contains the family of Savoy, another the Imperial family, and the third that of England, from the Saxon line down to Queen Anne: all vile copies. The portrait of Elizabeth is greatly Aattered; the appears to be about 18 years old, with the finest large black eyes and black hair, and the beautiful complexion the French call Brune clair. The Orangerie is much esteemed for its archi- Orange- ,

rie. tecture; ic is 582 feet long, 51 broad, and 40" high: the front is ornamented with pillars of the Ionic order.- The Stables are also very beautiful, Stables. and seem to be to the full as large as the Orangerie; we were told they contained two hundred horses..

-The gardens were laid out by a Frenchman; Gardens. one would think this good man had taken his idea of planning gardens from some of Euclid's problems. They are of great extent; the walks

[ocr errors]

Cochin says, of St. Augustin, but he is misaken.


all straight, and cutting each other at right angles, leaving square plantations, or quarters of beech and brushwood, which are frequently interfected by narrow alleys, so that they form triangular figures, wounding the eye by their uniformity, &C. They told us, that in these copses are great plenty of pheasants, hares, and chevreuls (roe. bucks). As all these right lines produce what is called stars, of one kind or another, his Majesty amuses himself with la chasse a fufil. Taking post in the centre of the star, where many of these angles meet, he is secure of much sport; the piqueurs enter the quarters, and drive out the game, who crossing the alley, seek the opposite problem; mean time the King lets Ay at them, and knocks them down at pleasure.

I walked till I was ready to expire, in order to see a sylvan theatre. You know my passion for these theatres * * * At last I reached it; but my disappointment was great indeed. Never was any thing of its kind so ill attempted. From hence we were conducted to another foolish affair, a labyrinth; in this is built a kind of summerhouse, which overlooks it; and when the royal family are to be diverted at La Venerie, a simple clown is sent into the labyrinth, who in vain attempts to get out; the turning and winding of the walks, joined to the thickness of the hedges, making it almost impossible he should, whilst the lookers on are highly amused from the balconies that command it.

We ] · We were struck (from their singularity) with the terminacions of many of the vistas, formed by the great alleys or wood walks, the mountains at a great distance covered with snow and glittering in the fun; as also with a most beautiful wood of poplars, of a wonderful height, and as Itraight as upright cypresses ; they call them here (from their manner of growing) Pines of Pavia, but they are properly speaking poplars of that country. They grow quite naturally, never having felt the sheers ; yet it is impossible that any trees, however pruned and dressed, should bear a more exact conical form than these do. What is called here le Bofquet de Charmille is prodigiously admired ; it confifts of beech and hornbeam, tortured into kinds of arbours, to imitate open galleries, with pillars fupporting domes. I believe they are brought to as great regularity, as branches of trees admit of; but Nature will not justify such paring. You have seen something of the same kind at Marly, where there is a continuation of what they call, des Cabinets de verdure*.

About a small league from Turin, by the side of the road, grows a very large elm-tree, beneath the shadow of whose spreading branches, the late King, when Duke of Savoy, held a council with Prince Eugene, the Prince of Anhalt, and the

• Lalande has the effronterie to assert these gardens to be in the taste of those at Rithmond. Il y a un labyrinthe curieux, un mail, & des vaste pieces de gazouille, belle fimplicité champétre, a peu près comme qux jardins de Richmond pres de Londres. Vol. i. p. 350.


« AnteriorContinuar »