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ANGLING IN THE THAMES.
for the delightful exercise of angling is here practised in perfection :
In genial Spring beneath ihe quiv'ring shade
Pope. Procuring a boat, usually called a punt, and fixing it at some little distance from the shore, they fling their lines and quietly seize the finny prey. Barbel, roach, and dace are pulled up in constant succession! The peaceableness of the surrounding scene, the gentle exercise of the faculties, and the never-failing assurance of success, impart no inconsiderable gratification. All this, contrasted with the bustle of a city life, heightens the pleasure, and a return to business in the winter season is accompanied with redoubled satisfaction.
My dear young Friend,
STRAWBERRY HILL; THE HOUSE AND SINGULAR APF BARANCE OF
THB PAINTED WINDOWS UPON THE ROAD; ITS ORIGIN AND
Islington, July, 1810. MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND, LEAVING Twickenham and the seat of the Muses, we proceed to STRAWBERRY Hill, the residence of the Hon. Mrs. Damer, so well known for her skill in the truly classic art of Statuary. It was the abode, for many years, of Mr. Horace Walpole, latterly EARL OF ORFORD. This is the gentleman with whom Mr. Gray, the poet, made the tour of Europe. He was a literary character, and his works were published in 1798, the year after his decease, in five pondrous quarto volumes, superbly embellished
with portraits, views, &c. In the second volume is an article of considerable length, entitled, A Description of the Villa of Mr. Horace Walpole, at Strawberry Hill, near Twickenham. Some curious particulars shall be transcribed. Having gone over the whole premises with this, my own abridged list, in my hand, I shall only note down what was to me most worthy of observation; some would probably add to my catalogue, and others, as probably, would diminish it. I have endeavoured to please myself.
The House is close by the road-side; and not having an idea of its being so near Twickenham, we came upon it very unexpectedly. What rendered this circumstance impressive was, the painted windows with which the whole edifice is adorned. We had entered a very shady, pleasant part, and turning short, the road was all at once enriched by the variegated splendours of the rainbow. The sun shining strong, and penetrating through the stained glass, yielded profusely the prismatic colours, so that the overshadowing branches of the trees were in a blaze ! It had, indeed, a pleasing effect, and seemed like a species of enchantment. Recollecting what I had read of the interior of this ELEGANT VILLA, I viewed the spot with a more than ordinary degree of satisfaction
At every step we take fresh raptures move,
DESCRIPTION OF THE VILLA.
What matchless colours in the solar beam,
This Gothic Castle stands where originally was a small tenement, built in 1698, and let as a lodging: house. We are told that Colley Cibber once took it and wrote one of his plays here, the Refusal, or the Lady's Philosophy. It afterwards passed through various hands, till, in the year 1747, it was purchased by Mr. Walpole. The castle, now existing, was not entirely built from the ground, but formed at different times by alterations and additions. The library and refectory, or great parlour, were entirely built in 1753; the gallery, round tower, great cloister and cabinet, in 1760 and 1761 ; the great north bedchamber in 1770, and in 1776 the Beauclerk Tower with the Hexagon Closet. The embattled wall to the road is taken from a print of Aston-house, Warwickshire, in Dugdale's History of that County. Indeed, Mr. Walpole, in the decoration of this edifice, chose the finest specimens of Gothic architecture ; which, having appropriate furniture and embellishments, give
ORATORY, ALTAR, HOLY WATER,
it the novel appearance of former times without the melancholy indications of decay. My worthy friend N-r having taken me down to Twickenham to see Pope's house, which has been already mentioned, I thought it an excellent opportunity of visiting Strawberry Hill, and which was shewn to me and my friend by the particular permission of the Hon. Mrs. Damer. Indeed, she very obligingly dispensed with the usual rule of applying for a ticket the day before, and for which special favour I would here make my grateful acknowledgment.
Entering by the great North Gate, the first object that presents itself is a small oratory, or recess, enclosed with iron rails : in front an altar, on which stands a saint in bronze, open niches and stone basins for holy water. On the right-hand is a small garden, called the Abbot's Garden, parted off by an open screen, taken from the tomb of Roger Niger, Bishop of London, in old St. Paul's. Passing on the left by a small cloister is the entrance to the house, the narrow front of which was designed by Richard Bentley, only son of Dr. Bentley, the learned Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. In this cloister is a bas-relief head in marble, inscribed Dia Helionoru, being the portrait of the Princess Eleanora D'Este, with whom Tasso was in love, and who was the cause of his misfortunes. This was sent to Mr. Walpole from Italy, by Sir William Hamilton, minister at Naples. And on a pedestal stands the large blue and white China tub in which Mr. Walpole's