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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Lady M – The Life and Loves of Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne by Colin Brown - a review

Front cover of Lady M – The Life and Loves of Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne 1751-1818 by Colin Brown

Lady M is the story of Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne (1751-1818), a powerful and ambitious Georgian socialite and political hostess for the Whigs. Lady Melbourne is much less known than her son William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, who became Prime Minister to William IV and Queen Victoria, or her intimate friend, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire

In Lady M, Brown paints a vivid picture of the powerful Lady Melbourne and the society in which she lived. I enjoyed reading this comprehensive biography but feel that it is let down by a number of errors and a poor index. 

The ruthless Lady Melbourne

Having blogged about Lady Melbourne’s life back in 2013 (you can find the post here), I came to this biography with a good understanding of Lady Melbourne’s immoral and ruthlessly ambitious character. Brown’s book did nothing to change this.

Lady Melbourne’s identity is characterised by the way she related to the important people in her life – her husband, her children, her lovers and her intimate friends. Her desire for status over faithfulness is illustrated by her relationship with her husband – the weak and extravagant Sir Peniston Lamb. She was seemingly indifferent to his adulterous relationship with the actress Sophia Baddeley and remained ambitious to improve his – and therefore her own – rank and position.

Lady Melbourne had numerous lovers, most importantly George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont; George, Prince of Wales (the future George IV); and Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford. She did not seem to give or require exclusivity. 

George, Prince of Wales, by Hoppner © The Wallace Collection
George, Prince of Wales, by Hoppner
© The Wallace Collection
Her most enduring passion was for her children and she was severe on anything or anyone that threatened her ambitions for them. Her relationship with her daughter-in-law, Lady Caroline Lamb, was stormy. She was furious at Lady Caro’s lack of discretion in her affair with Lord Byron and how it threatened William’s political career. 

What I liked about Lady M

I love to see quotes from original sources and in this, Brown did not disappoint. There is evidence throughout the book of Brown’s extensive research with numerous quotes from contemporary letters and memoirs, including some from manuscript sources in the Chatsworth Archives and the Lamb papers in the British Library.

There is a good-sized colour plate section in the middle of the book which includes some contemporary prints and portraits as well as up-to-date photographs of places connected with Lady Melbourne, including Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, Melbourne Hall in Derbyshire and Melbourne House in Whitehall.
 
Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire © Colin Brown
Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire © Colin Brown
Though I wasn’t surprised to learn of the Melbournes’ ongoing financial difficulties (so many Georgian peers seemed to struggle with money), I don’t think I realised the extent of this before reading Lady M.

The detail included in the chapter devoted to the military encampment on Cocks Heath was largely new to me. The encampment was visited by many ladies of consequence including Lady Melbourne, the Duchess of Devonshire and the scandalous Lady Worsley. It was here that Lady Melbourne’s son William was conceived with Lord Egremont.

Where’s the family tree?

I feel there are several things that let the book down. Although the contents section lists a family tree – a very useful tool for a historical biography – the family tree itself is missing!

A bevy of errors

It is a hard task writing a historical biography. Not only do you need to research the life of the chosen person; you also need to understand the world in which they lived and the myriad of people with whom they interacted. There is danger in almost every sentence. A throwaway comment or line written from memory may prove to be inaccurate if every single fact and name is not checked and double-checked. 

I know how easy it is for errors to creep in during the editing stage and typos to pass unnoticed. If it was not for my editor spotting my typo in What Regency Women Did For Us, I would have had Jane Austen born in Stevenage instead of Steventon!

In my opinion, Lady M would have benefitted from a beta reader who is familiar with the characters and period. Too many errors crept into the manuscript that someone like me would have spotted (and did). It is not my intention to list every mistake I found. Some were clearly typos eg calling Lady Elizabeth Foster’s illegitimate daughter by the Duke of Devonshire Caroline St James instead of Caroline St Jules. Others, however, were not. I will mention a few.

Special licences

Lady Melbourne was married by special licence – not, as Brown says, because she was a minor, but because this enabled her to be married in the house of the Lord Bishop of Peterborough. A special licence was the only way to be married anywhere else other than the parish church. As a minor, she could have been married in the parish church by ordinary licence with her father’s consent or by banns if her father did not file an objection. 

George III in Sidmouth?

Having written extensively about George III’s recuperation in my home town of Weymouth in Dorset (you can read about George III in Weymouth here), I was considerably surprised to read that the king went to Sidmouth in Devon instead! And though he certainly brought a good deal of popularity to Weymouth through his repeated visits, the king could hardly be said to have started the fashion for sea bathing there.

Titles

 Writing a historical book about the aristocracy is always a tricky business as there are rules about titles and it is not easy to get them right. I recently re-researched the subject. You can find my blog post here: A Regency History guide to dukes, marquesses and other titles.

Peers (from left to right): duke, marquess, earl, viscount, baron from A book explaining the ranks and dignitaries of British Society (1809)
Peers (from left to right): duke, marquess, earl, viscount, baron
from A book explaining the ranks and dignitaries of British Society (1809)
I spotted a number of instances in Lady M where titles were used incorrectly. A person’s title should only include their Christian name if the title comes from their father. For example, when she was single, Lady Sarah Lennox was so called as she took her title from her father, the 2nd Duke of Richmond, but Lord Byron was a baron in his own right and should never be referred to as Lord George Gordon Byron. 

It should also be noted that the wife of a duke should never referred to as Lady So and So, but always as the Duchess of So and So. For example, when talking about the Duchess of Richmond’s ball, the Duchess should not have been referred to as Charlotte, Lady Richmond, but as Charlotte, Duchess of Richmond, or Charlotte Lennox, Duchess of Richmond, or simply as the Duchess of Richmond (and her husband, the 4th Duke of Richmond, was called Charles, by the way, and not George – that was his father). Whilst getting titles right is not a deal breaker for most people, it is a detail that I like get right.

Poor indexing

In my opinion, for a historical biography to be useful as a reference book, it needs a comprehensive and easy-to-use index so that names of people and places can be easily looked up. Unfortunately, I found the index to Lady M sadly lacking. 

Having written a historical book myself, I know how difficult it is to decide how to index names, especially when you are referring to the nobility whose titles may change over their lifetimes, but whatever policy is chosen, it is essential to apply it consistently with plenty of cross-references.

The naming policy in the index is all over the place. Sometimes a person is listed under their title eg Lady Oxford is listed under Oxford; other times under their surname eg Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford, is listed under Russell. Bizarrely, sometimes a person is listed under their rank eg Frederick, Duke of York, is listed under Duke, or even, in the case of Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, under her Christian name with no reference to her surname at all. George III is listed under King whilst Queen Victoria is listed under Victoria. 

Some people appear in the index multiple times eg Lady Bessborough appears under Spencer, Ponsonby, Duncannon and Bessborough, whilst others you might have expected to find an entry for eg William Cavendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire, don’t appear to be there at all. I would have expected to find one entry for a person under either title or surname with cross-references under the other and previous titles if necessary eg I would have expected to find a ‘see Russell, Francis, 5th Duke of Bedford’ entry under Bedford. 

This is also where the correct use of titles comes into play again. Several of the index entries incorrectly include Christian names in the title eg Lady Harriet Duncannon. The entry for George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont is even worse. He is incorrectly listed under Egremont as Lord George Egremont and there is no mention of his surname at all! 

One final gripe. There is only one index entry for Lady Jersey, but there are two different Lady Jerseys referred to in the text – Sarah Child Villiers, Countess of Jersey and Patroness of Almack’s, and Frances Villiers, Countess of Jersey, her mother-in-law.

In summary

Lady M is a comprehensive biography but it is let down by a number of errors and a poor index. 

Friday, 3 August 2018

A Regency History guide to dukes, marquesses and other titles

Peers (from left to right): duke, marquess, earl, viscount, baron  from A book explaining the ranks and   dignitaries of British Society (1809)
Peers (from left to right): duke, marquess, earl, viscount, baron
from A book explaining the ranks and 
dignitaries of British Society (1809)
The trouble with titles

Although Jane Austen rarely wrote about the aristocracy, many of today's Georgian and Regency romances typically include a fair smattering of peers. In the same way, most Georgian biographies are about peers or their families or those who have at least some interaction with them. The trouble is, I have come to realise that titles are like apostrophes – a lot of people use them wrongly. Some people care as little about getting titles right as they do about apostrophes. I am not one of those people. (And I do care about apostrophes being used correctly too.) 

I picked up most of the basic rules for using peers’ titles whilst researching for blog posts and books but having come across some titles recently that I thought were used wrongly, I decided to revisit the subject. This blog is the result of my research. I have limited the scope of this blog to how you would refer to a peer and the members of his family in narrative.

There are five different ranks in the British peerage: dukes, marquesses, earls, viscounts and barons. Baronets are hereditary titles but are not members of the peerage. 

Courtesy titles of eldest sons

Typically, a duke has various other titles besides his dukedom. His eldest son takes the rank of a marquess – the next grade down of the peerage – but his courtesy title will depend on the other titles that his father has at his disposal. He takes the highest of these as his courtesy title eg the heir to the Duke of Devonshire takes the title of the Marquess of Hartington whereas the heir to the Duke of Norfolk takes the title of the Earl of Surrey.

This designation does not make him a peer (so he cannot sit in the House of Lords) but in every other respect this title is treated in the same way as if he were a member of the peerage.

These rules also apply to the eldest sons of marquesses and earls but not to those of viscounts even if they have a barony as well. If a duke, marquess or earl does not have a subsidiary title, his eldest son uses the family name as his courtesy title.

Note that it is only direct heirs that are entitled to use a subsidiary title, so if the duke’s heir is, for example, a cousin, rather than a son or grandson, he will not have a courtesy title.

Dukes

A duke from A book explaining the ranks and dignitaries of British Society (1809)
A duke from A book explaining
the ranks and dignitaries of British Society
(1809)
A duke’s title always relates to a place and not his family name eg The Duke of Richmond rather than the Duke of Lennox.

Let us use the fictitious example of George Hampton, Duke of Wessex, to illustrate. The duke would be formally referred to as His Grace, the Most Noble Duke of Wessex.1


When a duke’s daughter marries, her title will depend on the status of her husband. I am writing a separate blog post on titles of married daughters of peers.

Marquesses

A marquess from A book explaining the ranks and dignitaries of British Society (1809)
A marquess from A book explaining
the ranks and dignitaries of British Society
(1809)
Either marquess or marquis can be used for this title. I am choosing to stick to the older, British designation of marquess.

These titles are usually taken from the name of a place and in most cases the preposition ‘of’ is used eg The Marquess of Lansdowne. There are a few exceptions eg The Marquess Conyngham (from a family name and without the ‘of’); The Marquess Douro (from a place name but still without the ‘of’).

Let us use the fictitious example of George Hampton, Marquess of Denmead, to illustrate. The marquess would be formally designated The Most Honourable The Marquess of Denmead but would normally be referred to as Lord Denmead.


Earls

An earl from A book explaining the ranks and dignitaries of British Society (1809)
An earl from A book explaining
the ranks and dignitaries of British Society
(1809)
The title of earl may be taken from a place name or a family name. If a place name is used, the preposition ‘of’ is usually used; if a family name, ‘of’ is not usually used.

Let us use the fictitious example of Robert Hampton, Earl Hampton, to illustrate. The earl would be formally designated The Right Honourable The Earl Hampton but would normally be referred to as Lord Hampton.


Viscounts

A viscount from A book explaining the ranks and dignitaries of British Society (1809)
A viscount from A book explaining
the ranks and dignitaries of British Society
(1809)
The title of viscount may be taken from a place name or a family name. The preposition ‘of’ is only used between the style and the title in the names of some Scottish peers.

Let us use the fictitious example of Francis Hampton, Viscount Hampton, to illustrate. The viscount would be formally designated The Right Honourable The Viscount Hampton but would normally be referred to as Lord Hampton.


Barons

A baron from A book explaining the ranks and dignitaries of British Society (1809)
A baron from A book explaining
the ranks and dignitaries of British Society
(1809)
The title of baron or baroness may be taken from a place name, a family name or something else.

Let us use the fictitious example of James Hampton, Baron Hampton, to illustrate. The baron would be formally designated The Right Honourable Lord Hampton but would normally be referred to as Lord Hampton.2


Baronesses and other peeresses in their own right

There are some peerages which descend in the female line. These are mostly baronies. The husband of a peeress in her own right takes no title from his wife but the children are treated in the same way as if their father possessed the title.

I have interpreted the rules to the best of my ability but please send me a message if you think I have got something wrong in case I have made a mistake. 

Notes
1. Dukes are entitled to the prefix: The Most Noble; Marquesses are entitled to the prefix: The Most Honourable; all other peers are entitled to the prefix: The Right Honourable. However, in all but the most formal situations, this is usually shortened to a simple ‘The’. I have used the shortened form in all my tables.
2. The heirs of Scottish barons where the peerage dates to before the Union of 1707 are called The Master of [Place name] and their wives are called The Honourable Mrs [Surname] of [Place name].

Sources used include:
Black, Adam and Charles, Titles and forms of address - a guide to their correct use (9th edition)(1955)
Debrett, John, The Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1820)

Laura Wallace’s excellent website which you can find here.




Friday, 22 June 2018

Painshill - a stunning Georgian landscaped garden

Painshill - view of Gothic temple and five-arch bridge © Andrew Knowles
Painshill - view of Gothic temple and five-arch bridge
Painshill is a Georgian landscaped garden situated near Cobham in Surrey. It was created by Charles Hamilton between 1738 and 1773, and had many Georgian visitors including Horace Walpole, Sir Joseph Banks, and Charles Von Linne, the eldest son of the eminent botanist.

Since 1981, the Painshill Park Trust has been working to restore the garden to its Georgian splendour. The garden is open to visitors. For more information see the Painshill website.

Charles Hamilton – creator of Painshill

Painshill was the masterpiece of Charles Hamilton (1704 – 1786), the youngest son of the 6th Earl of Abercorn. Having made the Grand Tour – not once, but twice – Hamilton was inspired to produce a living memento of what he had seen. As the youngest son, he did not have great wealth at his disposal, but he did have good connections. He went to school with Henry Hoare of Stourhead, of the wealthy banking family, and Henry Fox, later 1st Baron Holland. Both men lent him large amounts of money.

In addition, Hamilton’s sister Jane1 was First Lady of the Bedchamber to Princess Augusta of Wales, and most likely the mistress of Princess Augusta’s husband Frederick, George III’s father. Through her influence, Hamilton was appointed Clerk of the Household to Prince Frederick (1738-47) and MP for Truro (1741-47). He was also Receiver General of the Revenues of Minorca from 1743, and when this post was lost in 1756, Henry Fox arranged for him to be given a government pension of £1,200 a year.

Living pictures at Painshill

In 1738, Hamilton acquired some land in the Cobham area and started to build Painshill. The garden was designed to present the visitor with living pictures incorporating a variety of man-made features including a Gothic temple and a crystal grotto. Hamilton created a path around the garden that presented the visitor with different vistas as they walked.

View of bridge and Gothic Temple at Pains Hill  from Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey by Prosser (1828)
View of bridge and Gothic Temple at Pains Hill
from Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey by Prosser (1828)
Sir John Parnell wrote in his journal on his visit in 1763:
You enter at a disadvantageous part of the garden by a little old house. Nothing before you but a flat, fine-grassed sheepwalk, with clumps of Scots firs and laurel interspersed with flowering shrubs: these are surrounded with pitched network to prevent the sheep, which are here in abundance, from spoiling the plants. In this plain you wait some time till the footman who opened the gate to you has brought a gardener who conducts you about two hundred yards, when all at once a beautiful country bursts on your eye at one side, and at the other an hill wooded and interspersed with pretty pavilions, which from its distance you are surprised to hear is within the pales of the improvement. You then enter some wilderness work of flowering shrubs which leads to an orangery where are some exotic plants and abundance of oranges. Here the gardener asks each person’s name and formally writes it down in a book for what purpose I cannot say, except that his master may thence make an estimate of what the gardener receives for showing the improvements.2
Horace Walpole visited Painshill in 1748 and wrote:
I have been to see Mr Hamilton's, near Cobham, where he has really made a fine place out of a most cursed hill.3
View from the Gothic Temple at Pains Hill  from Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey by Prosser (1828)
View from the Gothic Temple at Pains Hill
from Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey by Prosser (1828)
In Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey (1828), Prosser wrote:
‘There may be scenes,’ observes a writer in his description of this seat, ‘where nature has done more for herself, but in no place that I ever saw has so much been done for nature as at Pains Hill. The beauty and unexpected variety of the scene, the happy situation, elegant structure, and judicious form of the buildings, the flourishing state, uncommon diversity, and contrasted groupage of the trees, and the contrivance of the water, will not fail to awaken the most pleasing sensations.’4
In his Observations on Modern Gardening (1770), Thomas Whately wrote that Painshill
… is little benefited by external circumstances; but the scenes within itself are both grand and beautiful; and the disposition of the gardens affords frequent opportunities of seeing the several parts, the one from the other, across the park, in a variety of advantageous situations.5
The crystal grotto from across the lake, Painshill
The crystal grotto from across the lake, Painshill
Whately continued:
An easy winding descent leads from the Gothic building to the lake, and a broad walk is afterwards continued along the banks, and across an island, close to the water on one hand, and skirted by wood on the other: the spot is perfectly retired; but the retirement is chearful; the lake is calm; but it is full to the brim, and never darkened with shadow; the walk is smooth, and almost level, and touches the very margin of the water; the wood, which secludes all view into the country, is composed of the most elegant trees, full of the lightest greens, and bordered with shrubs and with flowers; and though the place is almost surrounded with plantations, yet within itself it is open and airy; it is embellished with three bridges, a ruined arch, and a grotto; and the Gothic building, still very near, and impending directly over the lake, belongs to the place; but these objects are never visible all together; they appear in succession as the walk proceeds; and their number does not croud the scene which is enriched by their frequency.6
A pioneer of English wine-making

Hamilton planted a vineyard, probably in the early 1740s, and by 1748, the vines were producing grapes. He was a pioneer of English wine-making and sold wine from his vineyard for more than two decades. His attempts at making red wine were not successful but he decided to try again with white wine. In 1748, he employed David Geneste, a Huguenot refugee from Clairac, part of the wine-making region of Bordeaux.

Painshill vineyard (2018) © Andrew Knowles
Painshill vineyard (2018)
Hamilton claimed that:
The very first year I made white Wine, it nearly resembled the flavour of Champaign; and in two or three years more, as the Vines grew stronger, to my great amazement, my Wine had a finer flavour than the best Champaign I ever tasted … The surest proof I can give of its excellence is, that I have sold it to Wine-merchants for fifty guineas a hogshead.7
The Gothic temple

The Gothic Temple at Pains Hill  from Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey by Prosser (1828)
The Gothic temple at Pains Hill
from Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey by Prosser (1828)
The Gothic temple was situated at the top of a hill, looking down onto the lake.

Gothic temple, Painshill © A Knowles
Gothic temple, Painshill
Interior of Gothic temple, Painshill © A Knowles
Interior of Gothic temple, Painshill
Horace Walpole seemed to take exception to the fact that the design was not based on a real Gothic building. On visiting Painshill in 1761 he wrote:
Went again to Mr Charles Hamilton’s at Payne’s hill near Cobham, to see the Gothic building & the Roman ruin. The former is taken from Battey Langley’s book (which does not contain a single design of true or good Gothic) & is made worse by pendent ornaments in the arches, & by being closed on two sides at bottom, with cheeks that have no relation to Gothic. The whole is an unmeaning edifice. In all Gothic designs, they should be made to imitate something that was of that time, a part of a church, a castle, a convent, or a mansion. The Goths never built summer-houses or temples in a garden. This at Mr Hamilton’s stands on the brow of a hill – there an imitation of a fort or watchtower had been proper.8
Design for a Gothic temple from Gothic architecture, improved by rules and proportions by B & T Langley (1747)
Design for a Gothic temple from Gothic architecture,
improved by rules and proportions
by B & T Langley (1747)
The ruin and mausoleum

Ruined abbey, Painshill
Ruined abbey, Painshill
View through archway of ruined abbey, Painshill
View through archway of ruined abbey, Painshill
Prosser wrote:
On the borders of the lake is an artificial ruin, and a mausoleum containing some antiquarian remains brought from Italy.9
Walpole was more complimentary about the ruin than the Gothic temple:
The Ruin is much better imagined, but has great faults. It represents a triumphal Arch, & yet never could have had a column, which would certainly have accompanied so rich a Soffite. Then this Arch is made to have been a Columbarium. You may as well suppose an Alderman’s family buried in Temple bar. Had it been closed behind, & there is no reason it should not, for it leads no where, one might imagine it a private burial-place, tho the fashion uncommon. The upper row of niches in the columbarium are too high, & in a proportion more gothic than Roman. The tessellated pavement unluckily resembles a painted oil-cloth.10
The mausoleum, Painshill
The mausoleum, Painshill
The lake

Hamilton used the water of the nearby River Mole to create water features for his garden. Whately described how the lake sat below the Gothic temple:
… an open Gothic building, on the very edge of a high steep, which rises immediately above a fine artificial lake in the bottom: the whole of this lake is never seen at once; but by its form, by the disposition of some islands, and by the trees in them and on the banks, it always seems to be larger than it is.11
View of Gothic temple from the lake, Painshill © A Knowles
View of Gothic temple from the lake, Painshil
The grotto

One of the highlights of Painshill today is the restored crystal grotto. Prosser wrote:
A descending walk to the left of this building [the Gothic temple] conducts to an island, connected by a bridge over the lake. This island is also connected with another by an arch built of the same material as the grotto which adjoins it … The grotto is well designed and admirably executed by the same artist who formed that at Oatlands; its situation, also, is well chosen for a mimic display of those beautiful cavern scenes which nature sometimes presents. Near the entrance and in various situations are masses of artificial rockwork fancifully disposed. 12
Bridge leading to grotto island, Painshill
Chinese Bridge, Painshill
Entrance to the crystal grotto, Painshill
Entrance to the crystal grotto, Painshill
Inside the crystal grotto, Painshill
Inside the crystal grotto, Painshill
View from inside the crystal grotto, Painshill
View from inside the crystal grotto, Painshill
View from inside the crystal grotto, Painshill
View from inside the crystal grotto, Painshill
View from inside the crystal grotto, Painshill
View from inside the crystal grotto, Painshill
The ceiling of the crystal grotto, Painshill
The ceiling of the crystal grotto, Painshill
Replica of the Woollett bridge, Painshill
The Woollett bridge, Painshill
The five-arch bridge

Whately wrote:
A broad river, issuing from the lake, passes under a bridge of five arches near the outlet.13
The five-arch bridge, Painshill
The five-arch bridge, Painshill
The waterwheel

ir John Parnell wrote:
At about two hundred yards from the water you see the River Mole lying 13 feet beneath you, yet it is raised up by one of the most ingenious wheels I ever saw, and supplies all the water in the improvements. Mr Hamilton brought the invention from some waterwork abroad.14
The current wheel dates from the 1830s.

The waterwheel, Painshill
The waterwheel, Painshill
The waterwheel, Painshill
The waterwheel, Painshill
The hermitage
On the side of the hill is couched a low hermitage, encompassed with thicket, and overhung with shade … composed of logs and of roots; the design is as simple as the materials; and the furniture within is old and uncouth; all the circumstances which belong to the character, are retained in the utmost purity, both in the approach and the entrance; in the second room they are suddenly changed for a view of the gardens and the country, which is rich with every appearance of inhabitants and cultivation.15
Hamilton engaged a real hermit to live in the hermitage, but it was not a success.
The hermit, sad to relate, was a failure. He was offered £700 to live a Nebuchadnezzar-like existence in his cell, sleeping on a mat, never speaking a word, and abandoning all the conveniences of a toilet. He would gladly have taken the £700, but threw up his post after three weeks.16
The Gothic tower

Gothic tower, Painshill
Gothic tower, Painshill
At the far end of Painshill stands the Gothic tower.

Sir John Parnell wrote:
From the wood you enter a walk which leads to the extremity and highest part of the improvements. On it is erected the Belvidere or Gothic castle: it is five storeys high from the ground, with a round staircase at one angle and about 15 feet in the clear. From the upper rooms you command a truly charming scene of this fine cultivated place on two sides, you see to Windsor Forest on another side, and the fourth looks to the heath we came over. It is inconceivable how beautiful Mr Hamilton’s grounds appear, all spotted with pavilions, clumps of evergreens or forest tress, while the rough heath withoutside show what Industry and the Power of Cultivation can do, as most of Mr Hamilton’s was once as rough as it.17
Whately described it:
From the tower on the top of the hill is another prospect, much more extensive, but not more beautiful; the objects are not so well selected, nor seen to so great advantage; some of them are too distant; some too much below the eye; and a large portion of the heath intervenes, which casts a cloud over the view.18
The Temple of Bacchus

The Temple of Bacchus, Painshill
The Temple of Bacchus, Painshill
The temple was
… a large Doric building, called the temple of Bacchus, with a fine portico in the front, a rich alto relievo in the pediment, and on each side a range of pilasters: within, it is decorated with many antique busts, and a noble statue of the god in the centre; the room has none of that solemnity which is often affectedly ascribed to the character, but without being gaudy is full of light, of ornament, and splendour.19
The ‘statue of the god’ referred to was a huge marble statue of Bacchus, the god of wine, which was 7 feet tall. Prosser’s description of Painshill in 1828 told of the fate of the statue:
Not far from this [the Turkish tent], amid a scene rich with flowery shrubs and majestic trees, is the temple of Bacchus, a large building of the Doric order, having a portico and a fine alto relieve in the pediment. It formerly contained a celebrated antique colossal statue of Bacchus of great merit, which is said to have cost £3,000. It was afterwards purchased by Mr Beckford, and removed to Fonthill.20
A replica of the statue of Bacchus, Painshill
A replica of the statue
of Bacchus, Painshill
The ceiling is thought to have been the work of Robert Adam.

The Turkish tent
A Turkish tent is erected on an eminence, commanding a pleasing view of the lake and adjacent scenery. 21
View from the Gothic temple, Painshill  showing the five-arch bridge and the Turkish tent
View from the Gothic temple, Painshill
showing the five-arch bridge and the Turkish tent
Sir John Parnell wrote:
The tent is elegantly finished, the back is built and plastered, the top leaded and painted blue, joining a sailcloth marquee that covers all and is painted white with a blue fringe drawn up before in festoons, like Darius’s Tent.22
Whately praised the view from the Turkish tent:
… an open walk through the park; in the way a tent is pitched, upon a fine swell, just above the water, which is seen to greater advantage from this point than from any other.23
The Turkish tent, Painshill
The Turkish tent, Painshill
A new owner

Eventually Hamilton’s money problems caught up with him and he was forced to sell Painshill. After visiting in October 1771, John Wesley commented:
And now, after spending his life bringing it to perfection, the grey-headed owner advertises it to be sold! 24
In July 1773, Hamilton sold Painshill to Benjamin Bond Hopkins for £25,000 and moved to the Royal Crescent in Bath. Hamilton died in Bath in 1786 aged 82 and is buried in Bath Abbey.

Hopkins built the house that Hamilton had never got round to building: 
The principal front … has its centre adorned with four columns, to which is an ascent by a flight of steps. Connected with the building, on the south side, is a neat private chapel; its windows are ornamented with various subjects painted on glass. On this side is a small flower-garden, with aviary and a well stocked gold and silver fish-pond.25
Pains Hill from Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey by Prosser (1828)
'Pains Hill' from Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey by Prosser (1828)
Hopkins continued to open the garden to visitors but spent very little time at Painshill. After his death in 1794, it was owned by various people including Henry Lawes Luttrell, Earl of Carhampton, from 1805 to 1821, and then his widow, the Dowager Countess, who was the owner in 1828 when Prosser was writing his guide.

Notes
1. You may be interested to know that Charles Hamilton was connected to Emma Hamilton, the famous mistress of Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, through his sister Jane. Jane and her husband Lord Archibald Hamilton, a younger brother of James Hamilton, 4th Duke of Hamilton, were the parents of Emma’s husband, Sir William Hamilton.
2. James Sambrook, 'Painshill Park in the 1760s' Garden History vol 8 no.1 (1980) – excerpt from manuscript journal of Sir John Parnell – An account of the many fine seats of nobles I have seen, with other observations, made during my residence in England in 1763.
3. Horace Walpole, Letters from the Hon Horace Walpole to George Montagu Esq (1818) - in a letter from Horace Walpole to George Montagu dated 11 August 1748.
4. George Frederick Prosser, Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey (1828).
5. Thomas Whately, Observations on modern gardening, illustrated by descriptions (1770).
6. Ibid.
7. Sir Edward Barry, Observations Historical, Critical and Medical on the Wines of the Ancients and the Analogy between Them and Modern Wines (1775).
8. Paget Toynbee, ‘Horace Walpole’s Journals of Visits to Country Seats, &c’ The Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 16 (1927) - entry dated 22 August 1761.
9. Prosser op cit.
10. Toynbee op cit.
11. Whately op cit.
12. Prosser op cit.
13. Whately op cit.
14. Sambrook op cit.
15. Whately op cit.
16. Eric Parker, Highways and Byways in Surrey (1921).
17. Sambrook op cit.
18. Whately op cit.
19. Ibid.
20. Prosser op cit.
21. Ibid.
22. Sambrook op cit.
23. Whately op cit.
24. The World of Fine Wine website – A most Cursed Hill: Painshill and the Beginnings of English Wine
25. Prosser op cit.

Sources used include:
Brayley, Edward Wedlake, A Topographical History of Surrey (1850)
Barry, Sir Edward, Observations, Historical, Critical, and Medical on the Wines of the Ancients: And the Analogy Between Them and Modern wines (1775) pp471-76
Hodges, Alison, 'Painshill Park, Cobham, Surrey (1700-1800): Notes for a History of the Landscape Garden of Charles Hamilton' Garden History vol 2 no.1 1973 pp39-68 JSTOR www.jstor.org/stable/1586476
Langley, Batty & Thomas, Gothic architecture, improved by rules and proportions (1747)
Parker, Eric, Highways and Byways in Surrey (1921)
Prosser, George Frederick, Select Illustrations of the County of Surrey (1828)
Sambrook, James, 'Painshill Park in the 1760s' Garden History vol 8 no.1 1980 p91-106 JSTOR www.jstor.org/stable/1586682
Toynbee, Paget, Horace Walpole's Journals of Visits to Country Seats &c., The Volume of the Walpole Society, vol 16, 1927, pp9-80 JSTOR www.jstor.org/stable/41830706
Walpole, Horace, Letters from the Hon Horace Walpole to George Montagu Esq (1818)
Whately, Thomas, Observations on modern gardening, illustrated by descriptions (1770)

History of Parliament online 
Painshill website
The World of Fine Wine website – A most Cursed Hill: Painshill and the Beginnings of English Wine

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