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A Picturesque Guide to Bath, Bristol Hot-17 ells, the River
Avon, and the adjacent Country; illustrated with a set of Views, taken in the Summer of 1792 ; by Mej. Ibbetson, Lás porte, and 7. Hallell; and engraved in Aquatinta. 8vo,
il. 15. Boards. Hookham and Carpenter. 1793. THIS is a very elegant and pleasing performance. The
1 beauty of the typography, and of the prints, is further recommended by the unassuming modesty, and good sense of the descriptions. One fault may be observed, not uncommon, though much to be avoided, in bocks ornamented with engravings: the prints are too large for the size of the work, in, somuch that it will hardly bear binding; and if, in the course of centuries, a second or third binding were required, the prints must be taken out, or extremely injured. The French artists carefully avoid this inattention, which the smallest reflection must point out as highly improper: and the rule is infallible, that no unfolded print should exceed the size of the printed page.
Our travellers thus set out;
"Leaving London by that beautiful and elegant outlet from it, Piccadilly, we are tempted out of the high road through Knights: bridge, by the attractions of Hyde Park, a spot that boasts a superiority over inost others of the fame description, by offering to the spectator, in defiance of all seasons, inceflant though varied loveliness. It is the resort of fashion, as the promenade of the town; but to fashion, all crowded places are equally acceptable. The contemplative mind will, however, gratefully acknowledge the falu, brious luxury of such an expanse of verdure and foliage, and will thank, at least the benevolence of the rural deities, who, to coun. teract the evils of a populous metropolis, extended their dominions and their cares to its termination.
• Few of those who delight in this favoured spot are, perhaps, aware of the imıninent danger they were in, a very few years ago, of losing the privilege of frequenting it, or, at least, the benefit resulting from that privilege. It is held by the crown, under a lease from the Brudenell family, at a rent, according to report, of 3000l. per annum. The lease being nearly expired, the avidity of the London builders would not suffer them to neglect applying for a part of it, particularly the east fide, which, in a short time, they would have covered, as they have Marybone; but the lease being renewed between the former contracting parties, the inhabitants of those houses, to which it affords air and a beautiful profpe&t, have escaped being immured, and the public may still enjoy their walks and their airings in Hyde Park.
. • Before we quit it, we must beg leave to suggest to those who have the care of this inclosure, our fears that their attention to convenience will entirely obliterate all the features of nature. If, becaufe a level road is pleasant to the driver, every rise and every hollow is to be converted into a plain; if, because a Itrait line is the shortest, the grace of a curve is to be given up; in a word, if all is to be regular, as seems the present plan of reformation in Hyde Park, we must be content with recollecting, it once was more various and more beautiful.
We heartily concur in these remarks, and hope that good raste will put a stop in time to the bold emendations of our modern improvers, who would reduce all the opulence and variety of nature to level lawns, and gravel walks, and clumps; as uniform and infipid as the old groves, and alleys, and platforms.
When, in p. 10, our ingenious authors inform us that the town of Windsor is much older than the castle, they are either mistaken, or inaccurate. The present town of Windfor certainly grew up after the erection of the castle, like many other villages and towns around the castle of the lord. Oid Windsor is, indeed, more ancient than the castle: and the Roman bricks, appearing in the walls of the church, seem to indicate even remote antiquity : but Old Windsor is two miles diítant from the castle; and can hardly be considered as having had any connection with it.
The compliment to Mr. West the painter, p. 12, we think unfounded. We are neither friends nor enemies to that artist, but, judging as impartial connoilleurs, we must say that to praise his works is a disgrace to national taste, as, without '' any pretensions to genius, they display only industry and hardness. His sketches exceed his finished pictures; but even they Strike the eye as if every outline were drawn with black chalk.
It is rather surprizing that, in passing Slough, p. 17, our artists did not observe Mr. Herschel's famous telescope, mounted on level ground, but of such a height as to catch every eye. Perhaps, indeed, they may retaliate, by Glence, a refusal of admittance; for common report says that the celebrated astronomer, forgetful of the high respect which he owes to this country and its natives, is little inclined to gratify even literary curiosity, though intrusive at no larry hour.
But we haiten to the chief scenes of the present work. Bath is described under the distinct heads of situation, soil, waters; prefent state of the city, projected improvements, amusimenis, &c. The account, if we except the latter articles, is chiefly borrowed from former publications; we shall extract One or two of the lattcr heads :
• Present state of the city. To give any methodical account of Bath at the present day, it is necessary to trace many things to a source that would hardly repay travellers or visitors for the tediousness of the detail. We will therefore only say as much as we think should be known by every person designing to go thither.
• Bath is governed by a mayor, recorder, eight other aldermen, twenty common-councilmen, and a town-clerk. It sends two members to parliament, has two fairs in a year, a market for meat, poultry, &c. &c. on Wednesdays and Saturdays: and one for fish on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. A greater variety or abun, dance of the very best provisions is no where to be found.
In its ecclefiaftical constitution, Bath is one fole rectory exclufive of Walcot. The corporation are the patrons : the income is not estimated at more than 2001. a year, and the churches are served by curates, who, for their emoluments, depend on the generosity of the inhabitants and visitors. Walcot is a rectory, and the patronage of it is vested in the lord of the manor.
• The trade of Bath, though at various times flourishing in the clothing branch, and afterwards by the manufacture of stone and metal, seems now to consist solely in the traffic of the waters, and the entertainment of strangers. The Avon was made navigable so long ago as 1727, and barges are employed on it to and from Bris
• The form of the city, though anciently a pentagon, is now nearly a triangle, the suburbs having spread wider in the heights towards Lansdown, than at the opposite part towards the river.
It would convey no distinct idea to the reader, were we to enumerate every street and lane in Bath. We will therefore confine ourselves to mentioning the principal parts of the city and suburbs.
• Orange-grove is a fine open area, one hundred and ninety feet by one hundred and seventy. It is planted with rows of elms. In the centre is the obelisk erected by Mr. Nash, in compliment to the prince of Orange. On the south side of the grove is a paved terrace walk, two hundred feet in length, and twenty-seven in breadth, called the Walks.
• The North Parade is a noble terrace, raised on arches, and is fifty-two feet broad, and near five hundred and forty long. The buildings are confined to the south side, and are very handsome and convenient. They command a lovely view of the beautiful vale to the eastward of Bath, watered by the Avon, and skirted by the hills.
• The South Parade nearly resembles the other ; but its prospect being that of Widcombe, Prior pork, and the hanging woods of Beechen cliff, is very different. The Avon flows at the cast end, and there is a ferry over it into the meadows. In the front of the buildings on this parade, lies the Ham, originally a large meadow, but now mostly converted into garden grounds.
• Here, • Here let us beg the reader's patience, while we notice a vulgar error respecting this meadow. The word Ham is of Saxon derivation, and inports a dwelling-place, as might easily be inferred from the usc made of it, as an adjunct to a variety of proper names, when a place was to be denominated from a person. It is, however, the opinion of some, who have been resident at Bath, that this meadow is so named from its fancied resemblance to a ham of bacon, and accordingly it has been represented in that form.
• King's mead Square, so called from a plot of ground, part of the ancient royal demesne, is an area of one hundred and fifty feet, by one hundred and twenty:
Queen square is on te north-west side of the city, and stands on an elevated spot. It is in length from north to fouth three hundred and fixteen feet, and in breadth three hundred and fix. In the centre is a planted inclosure, ornamented by the pointed obelisk erected by Mr. Nash, in honour of the prince and princess of Wales.
• Nothing can exceed, in correctness of architecture and elegance of design, the houses surrounding this area. The whole credit of them is due to the late Mr. Wood, who to a very rich fancy, joined that degree of architectural science, necessary for so great a work as the embellishment of this city.
• The King's Circus, which communicates with Queen-square, by Gay-street, is a grand circular range of houses, uniform in ap. pearance, exhibiting the graces of the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders, and magnificently ornamented. The centre is a reservoir of water.
• The Royal Crescent connects with the west side of the Circus by the medium of Brock-street. It is of an elliptical form, and the buildings are superb; a single row of Ionic columns supports the cornice. The Crescent contains only thirty houses, and commands a delightful view of great part of the city, the vale on each side of the river, and the opposite hills, among which Barrow hill makes a fingular, but highly picturesque appearance. This eminence, whose name imports that it is thought a tumulus, though it has been by many deemed a natural mount, stands on the brow of a high - ridge of hill, about half a mile eastward from the village of Inglishcombe, close by the side of the road from Bristol to Frome, and commands, from its summit, a full view of the city of Bath, the Wiltshire hills, Lansdown, the vale of Avon, and a long tract of Gloucestershire beyond it, bounded by the Severn, and Cambrian mountains.
• To return into Bath.—Marlborough buildings ftand at the weit end of the Crescent, are very handsome, and ferm the boundary of the city westward. It is towards the north that the extension now takes its cou.fe; Lansdown-place, the name of which denotes its situation, is very much elevated, and commands a noble prospect froin the Wiltshire hills on the east, to the environs of Bristol or the west, and including the lofty tower of Dundry.
• Between Marlborough buildings, and the Lansdown road, oc, cur a variety of elegant dwellings. At the end of Lansdown-street, and upon the edge of a projecting point, called Beacon-hill, is a fuperb range of buildings of an elliptic form, called Camden-plare, and now, after a variety of hindrances that would have damped the ardour of any but Bath builders, completed. Almost immediately under it lies Walcot, serving to decorate a profpe&t in itself extremely bejutisul.
• Catherine-place and Poriland-place, must not be omitted in our enumeration of the elegant troures of Bath ; but the additions on the Pulteney cftate forın almost another town, Laura-place, foar rows of Superb houses disposed in a lozenge, is one of the most dií. tinguished spots on it for space and magnificence. Thefe erections are aiter plans made by Mr. Baldwin, and every day is adding to the extent and grandeur of the city in this quarter.
• In this part the Avon has a handsome modern bridge, called the New Bridge, built over it at Mr. Pulteney's expence. It rests on two arches, and on each side is a row of small neat mops, which entirely conceal from the passenger that he is crosting the water.
Near this bridge, and to the south of Laura-place, is Springgarden, Vauxhall, a place of great resort in the suminer season; but the ground will ihortly be covered with houses, and this entertain ment removed. Opposite to this garden is the weir, above which the river is not navigable.
• The situation of the New Vauxhall, which supersedes the entertainments of this place, is an area of nineteen acres, at the east end of Great Pulteney-street.
• Grosvenor hotel and gardens are on the bank of the Avon, east of the London road, and within a small distance of the Guild-hall, Both this, and the Spring-garden, are to be supported by subscription; but the present situation of public affairs has stopped their corupletion.
Bath is divided from the parishes of Widcombe and Lincomb, by St. Laurence's gate and bridge.
• The streets in the new part of Bath are wide and airy, the footways paved with broad Hag stones, and most of them being on a declivity, they are made clean by a shower, and presently dry after the heaviest rain.
• The police of the city contributes much to the comfort of an abode tiere; and it is to its well digested and enforced by-laws, that the visitors own it, that they can never be imposed on. The corDoration have adjusted the price of the refpective baths, and the fees to be given to attendants; and if complaint is necessary, there are magiftrates ready to grant redress, sitting every Monday morning at the Guildhall. The chairmen are allo under the controul