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miles round, and being in the finest part of England, abounds in exquisite landscapes. The grotto is the curiosity of this place, which chiefly attracts strangers. It cost 12,000l., and here also is a cemetary for the favourite dogs of the amiable Duchess, who keeps a considerable number in a state of whimsical luxury.
Claremont Park is situated near the village of Esher, about seventeen miles from London. Sir John Vanburgh, so well known for his practical style of architecture, built a low brick house, for his own habitation, upon it.
Thomas Holles Pelham, Earl of Clare, afterwards created Duke of Newcastle, bought it of Sir John, and added a magnificent room for the entertainment of large companies. He also increased the grounds by further purchases: it now contains about 420 acres. He adorned the park by numerous plantations, and a beautiful small lake, edged by a winding bank with scattered trees and shrubbery. On an eminence in the park he erected a building in the shape of a castle, and called it Claremont, from his Grace's title.
After the death of the Duke it was purchased by Lord Clive, who gave directions to Mr. Brown to build him a house and model the grounds, without any limitation of expence, which he performed to his Lordship's satisfaction at the expence of upwards of 100,0007.
After Lord Clive's death, this estate was sold to Viscount Galway, by him sold to the Earl of Tyrconnel, who (1807) sold it to Charles Rose Ellis, Esq. who occupied it until 1816, when it was purchased by Government for the country residence of Prince Leopold, and his consort, the late Princess Charlotte, who died here in November 1817.
CHERTSEY AND ST. ANNE'S HILL.
Near Oatlands is the beautiful village of Chertsey, and adjoining is St. Anne's Hill, the residence of Mrs. Fox, and once the favoured retirement of that ever to be admired patriot C. J. Fox, whose conduct is a model for
statesmen, and whose speeches contain the purest specimens of political wisdom, which are to be found in the history of the world.
This village is famous for its manufactory of Salts, from a natural spring which once drew large resorts of fashionable company, but in that respect has long been disused.
It enjoys equal celebrity for its extensive and much frequented race course, where the metropolitan admirers of horse-racing assemble in hundreds, in the spring season, when the races are held. Epsom Downs likewise present a fine ride in every season of the year.
DORKING, AND ITS VICINITY.
The neighbourhood of Dorking is perhaps the most picturesque, and the most highly cultivated and decorated of any in England. It merits three days or a week's residence better than any watering place in England, Matlock or Malvern alone excepted. The village of Mickleham, Norbury Park, Box Hill, Leith Hill, and the noblemen and gentlemen's seats which cover the neighbourhood, render it a sort of fairy region.
This village is also celebrated for its annual races, which are much frequented, and take place nearly on the scite of Runnymede, where the encamped Barons extorted from the tyrant John, the Great Charter of Liberties, called Magna Charta. It is disgraceful to the country that no monument yet honours the station, though one has long been in contemplation.
The Iron Bridge of one arch, over the Thames, from this place to Staines, merits notice.
Beyond Staines is Hounslow Heath, famous for its extensive Powder Mills. It must excite surprize that so extensive a tract should remain waste amid the Paradise and high cultivation of the surrounding country.
Twenty-two miles west of London, on the south bank of the Thames, stands the proud residence of the kings of England, Windsor Castle. It has always been the favourite retreat of George III. and at this time is the only palace which England can boast of, as worthy of the residence of its chief magistrate.
The castle is situated on a hill, which commands a delightful prospect over the adjacent country. The terrace is one of the most enchanting walks in the world, and is 1870 feet in length. It extends along the east, and part of the northern side of the castle; but since the unfortunate illness of the king it has been inaccessible to the public.
The castle is divided into two courts, the upper and the lower, which are separated from each other by the Round Tower, in which resides the governor. On the north of the upper court are situated the state apartments, on the east are the Regent's apartments; and on the south various apartments belonging to officers of state. The lower court is chiefly remarkable as containing St. George's Chapel. The new entrance to the royal apartments is one of the most splendid specimens of Gothic architecture in England, and was erected under the immediate direction of George III.
As many strangers who visit Windsor wish to see the Royal Family, it may be proper to observe, that they regularly attend divine service every Sunday morning, at St. George's Chapel.
The state appartments are full of pictures by the greatest masters, and may be seen for a gratuity of one or two shillings; but as it is impossible to describe them in the limited compass allotted to this part of our work, we shall refer the curious stranger to a description of Windsor, which may be bought of Mr. Knight.
Frogmore is a beautiful establishment of the Queen's, situated about half a mile from Windsor, the grounds of which are fitted up with great taste and elegance, and the apartments and library in which are superb.
The principal inns are the White Hart and the Castle,
where families and single persons are elegantly but expensively entertained, and, if necessary, are provided with beds. Post chaises or glass coaches may also be had at these inns, by the day or morning, to make the tour of the Great Park and the vicinity. There are five or six inns of inferior consequence.
BRANDENBURGH HOUSE, Hammersmith, Was erected in the reign of Charles the First, by Sir N. Crispe, Bart. It belonged afterwards to Prince Rupert. It was purchased in 1792, for 85,000l. by the late Margrave of Anspach, who married Lady Craven. The Margravine's taste is eminently conspicuous in the improvements and decorations of the house, which are both elegant and magnificent. The state drawing-room, gallery, hall, library, &c. &c. exhibit marks of princely taste and grandeur; the writing closet has some fine cabinet pictures, particularly a head by Fragonard. Near the water side (the Thames) is an elegant theatre, where the Margravine used to entertain the public with dramatic exhibitions.
A little beyond the village of that name, and six miles from Hyde Park Corner, stands the most beautiful villa in England, the property of the Duke of Devonshire. It was built by Lord Burlington, from a design of Palladio's.The front, as seen from the road, and softened by the beautiful cedars, is truly fascinating, and excites, when it first bursts upon the sight, the highest degree of ecstacy. The inside is equal, if not superior, in effect, to the outside. The walls are covered with pictures, by all the Flemish and Italian masters; and every part of the structure, the ceilings, cornices, mouldings, &c. are richly gilt, and finished with the utmost elegance.
The late duchess, who was justly celebrated for her taste, genius, and liberality, made several considerable improvements and additions to the house; and in the gardens, which have always been famous for their classic ele gance, she assembled all the modern improvements in the art of picturesque planting.
The present Duke, by pulling down Morton House, and joining its gardens to his own, has still further improved
The house may be viewed by tickets, which can be obtained, on proper explanation, at Devonshire House, in Piccadilly.
This is a royal hospital for invalid soldiers, situated on the northern bank of the river, about a mile above the western extremity of the town. It is a handsome building of brick ornamented with stone; having two main fronts, one facing towards Hyde Park, and the other to the river. The former is simple in its style, consisting of a centre and wings, in a straight line, and having no other ornament than a plain portico. Before it, is a very extensive inclosed area having avenues, planted with trees. The front next the Thames is more decorated, and has a very elegant and pleasing appearance. The principal parts form three sides of a square, the centre building having a fine portico, with a piazza on each side; and the other two, noble and corresponding porticos. From the centre building, extend wings, covering two spacious quadrangles; the whole front of the hospital being 804 feet. The plan of this edifice was the design of Sir Christopher Wren.
The area, formed by the principal building on this side terminates with a dwarf balustrade, beyond which are spacious gardens, extending the whole length of the hospital, along the river, with which they communicate by stairs. The gardens are laid out in a dull taste, in straight lines; and are besides blemished with this extraordinary absurdity, that, although bounded in front by the noble expanse of the Thames, they contain within them two insignificant canals. Chelsea Hospital, with its garden, &c. covers above forty acres of ground.
The interior of this hospital is in a simple but elegant style. In the centre are the chapel and the great dininghall. The former is a large plain building: the floor is paved with marble, alternately of black and white flags. The latter is a fine room, decorated at the upper end with