Addison lived at one time at Hilton, in Warwickshire, and his garden there is not in a "natural style" either. Part of the garden dates from 1623; some of it was altered in the early part of the century, but the arbour used by Addison is still there. It is of classical "Queen Anne" style of architecture, with a straight bench, facing a view of the garden, with nothing rustic about it. There are still, however, in the garden, two old cut yew arbours, also good yew and holly hedges.
Bridgeman, the other designer of this date, who followed up the ideas of these two writers, was not himself an author like Switzer, so one must look at his work to judge of his ideas. Walpole, writing some years later, praises Bridgeman very highly. He was the successor to London and Wise in the charge of the Royal Gardens, and was, writes Walpole, " far more chaste " than his predecessors. "He enlarged his plans, disdained to make every division tally to its opposite, and though he still adhered much to strait walks with high dipt hedges, they were only his great lines; the rest he diversified by wilderness, and with loose groves of oak, though still within surrounding hedges. I have observed in the gardens at Gubbins, in Hertfordshire, the seat of the late Sir Jeremy Sambrooke, many detached thoughts, that strongly indicate the dawn of modern taste. As his reformation gained footing, he ventured farther, and in the Royal Garden at Richmond, dared to introduce cultivated fields, and even morsels of a forest appearance. But this was not till other innovators had broke loose too, from rigid symmetry".
The names of several landscape-gardeners are known in connection with Stow, in Buckinghamshire, each in turn having added something to the place. The garden was looked upon as quite the acme of perfection, by this school of garden-designers. Pope's lines on the principles of landscape gardening are summed up in the one word, Stow:—
" Still follow Sense, of ev'ry art the soul, Parts answ'ring parts shall slide into a whole ; Spontaneous beauties all around advance, Start ev'n from difficulty, strike from chance, Nature shall join you ; time shall make it grow, A work to wonder al—perhaps a STOW".
Sir Richard Temple, who died in 1697, commenced rebuilding the house at Stow, and his son, Lord Cobham, continued it, and began the gardens, which were constantly being added to until I755- By that time they covered a space of five hundred acres. Bridgeman was the first designer, and after him, Kent, while Vanburgh constructed several of the temples and monuments. In one of the numerous descriptions of Stow, a pyramid is specially mentioned as being the last design Vanburgh executed * :—
The pointed pyramid; this, too, is thine, Lamented Vanburgh ! this thy last design, Among the various structures, that around, Formed by thy hand adorn this happy ground".
As this was the ideal garden of the period, there are several contemporary guides and descriptions to it published. As smaller places copied it, and were composed of the same sort of collection of temples, gardens, and vistas: it will be necessary to go through its varied features in detail, so I have transcribed in full a letter from that same delightful correspondent, Lord Percival, to his brother-in-law, Dering, giving his own impressions of the gardens, to which he paid a visit in 1724 :†
" Brackley. 14 Aug: 1724 Friday night, 7 a clock.
" Dear Daniel,
" Yesterday we saw Lord Cobham's house, which within these five years, has gained the reputation of being the finest seat in England. . . . The gardens by reason of the good contrivance of the walks, seem to be three times as large as they are. They contain but 28 acres, yet took us up two hours. It is entirely new, and tho' begun but eleven years ago, is now almost finished. From the lower end you ascend a multitude of steps (but at several distances) to the parterre, and from thence several more to the house, which, standing high, commands a fine prospect. One way they can see 26 miles. It is impossible to give you an exact Idea of this garden, but we shall shortly have a graving of it. It consists of a great number of walks, terminated by summer houses, and heathen Temples of different structure, and adorned with statues cast from the Anticks. Here you see the Temple of Apollo, there a Triumphal Arch. The garden of Venus is delightful; you see her standing in her Temple, at the head of a noble bason of water, and opposite to her an Amphitheater, with statues of Gods and Goddesses ; this bason is sorounded with walks and groves, and overlook'd from a considerable heigth by a tall Column of a Composite order on which stands a statue of Pr: George in his Robes. At the end of the gravel walk leading from the house, are two heathen Temples with a circle of water, 2 acres and a quarter large. In the midst whereof is a Gulio or pyramid, at least 50 foot high, from the top of which it is designed that water shall fall, being by pipes convey'd thro' the heart of it. Half way up this walk is another fine bason, with pyramid in it 30 foot high, and nearer the house you meet a fountain that plays 40 foot. The cross walks end in vistos, arches and statues, and the private ones cut thro' groves are delightful. You think twenty times you have no more to see, and of a sudden find yourself in some new garden or walk, as finish'd and adorn'd as that you left. Nothing is more irregular in the whole, nothing more regular in the parts, which totally differ the one from the other. This shows my Lord's good tast, and his fondness to the place appears by the great expense he has been at. We ail know how chargeable it is to make a garden with tast; to make one of a sudden more so; but to erect so many Summer houses, Temples, Pillars, Piramids, and Statues, most of fine hewn stone, the rest of guilded lead, would drain the richest purse, and I doubt not but much of his wife's great fortune has been sunk in it. The Pyramid at the end of one of the walks is a copy in mignature of the most famous one in Egypt, and the only thing of the kind, I think, in England. Bridgman * laid out the ground and plan'd the whole, which cannot fail of recommending him to business. What adds to the bewty of this garden is, that it is not bounded by walls, but by a Ha-hah, which leaves you the sight of a bewtifull woody country, and makes you ignorant how far the high planted walks extend".
* Stow. The Gardens of the Rt. Hon. Richard, Lord Viscount Cobham, 1732. Anon.
† MS. belonging to the Earl of Fgmont. In St. James's Place.
* Note in the margin :—"Mr. Bridgman was afterwards made the Kings ch : Gardiner".