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THE view of this beautiful spot is taken from the bottoni of a wood, which declines from the upper part of the park to the banks of the Thames, which are here enlivened by two pleasing cottages: the bridge, by connecting the island with the shore, adds to the picturesque appearance of the scene, and the house in the distance crowns the whole. As we consider this place to be the most distinguished for beauty along the course of the river, we consider ourselves as called upon to give an enlarged description of it.

Nuneham Courtenay, at the General Survey, belonged to Richard de Curcy and afterwards to the family of Riparys or Redvers. Mary, youngest daughter of William de Redvers, Earl of Devon, who, as well as his uncle William, was surnamed de Vernon, married Robert de Courtenay, Baron of Okenhampton, in 1214. It is probable, that by this marriage the manor of Nuneham passed into the family of Courtenay, and thence assumed the name of Nuneham Courtenay. The Poliards of Devonshire next succeeded to the possession of it: from them it went to Audley, of the Court of Wards, called the rich Audley. From him it passed to Robert Wright, Bishop of Litchfield, whose son, Calvert Wright, sold it to John Robinson, Merchant of London, in the time of Oliver Cromwell, who was knighted in 1660, by Charles the Second, and made Lieutenant of the Tower. From the Robinsons it descended to David, Earl of Wemyss, who married Mary, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Robinson, Baronet, of whom it was purchased in the year 1710, by Simon, first Lord Harcourt, Lord High Chancellor of England.

The present house was built by the father of the late and the present earl, after a design of Ledbeater; but has been

since much altered and enlarged under the direction of Mr. Brown, who superintended the disposition of the grounds and plantations. It is a plain, regular, and elegant stone edifice, consisting of a principal floor, between a basement and attic story, and connected with two projecting wings, by inflected corridores, with galleries over them. Of the simplex munditüs, it affords a very rare and most pleasing example. Its interior arrangement comprehends convenience, elegance, and magnificence. Its principal

apartments are of grand proportions, and fitted up both as to furniture and embellishment, in a very superior and splendid taste. It may be said with great truth of this mansion, that it is not too small for the first station, nor too large for any comfort. A considerable and very fine collection of pictures enhance its decoration; among which are those of the following distinguished masters :-Annibal Caracci, Murillo, Claude Lorrain, Albano, Guido, Salvator Rosa, Nicolo Poussin, Gasper Poussin, Domenichinô, Titian, Rubens, Tempeste, Andrea de Turto, Wouwermans, Ruysdaal, Snyders, Fytt, Teniers, Cuyp, Vandervelde, Wycke, Swanefeld, Van Artois, Filippo Lauri, Berchem, Taverner, Vandycke, Sir Godfrey Kneller, Cornelius Janssen, Rosalba, Angelica, Miss Read, Sir Peter Lely, Sir Joshua Reynolds, &c. &c. &c.

The immediate approach to the house, through the park, is on a descent, which, though gradual and judiciously broken by its lateral course, is a circumstance that will scarcely admit of grandeur: but, in the example before us, and considering all the concomitants of the spot, grandeur may, perhaps, be thought to yield to something better-to that calm tranquil appearance which the painters call repose. This effect is, in a great measure, produced by three groupes of large elms, which, in different forms, present themselves at a short distance in the front, and are connected by side screens of trees, with the wings of the building. One of these groupes is nearly central, and the others are at such distances from it, as to leave considerable intervals between


them and though they do not prevent the eye from ranging over a part of the park, they form a kind of venerable inclosure, that gives the verdant area before the house the tranquil appearance which we have endeavoured to describe. Indeed, if it may be considered as a merit merely to produce effect, these circumstances may claim an ample share of it; because, on passing through this entrance to the apartments of the back front, the blaze of prospect, which there bursts upon the view, is greatly heightened by the comparative gloom of the passage to it.

The park is a noble domain, containing twelve hundred acres, is finely varied with wood and forest scenery. The home part is broke into waving lawns, enlivened by single trees, and occasional groupes of them of various size and figure. Thick woods form the general boundary, and where they offer an opening, prospects appear, which have the contrasted charms of distance, grandeur, and beauty. On the eastern side, the scene is broken into two distinct views by the hills of Wettenham, at the distance of about five miles; to the right of which the country opens to the distant parts of Berkshire, which border on Hampshire; and on the left there is a broad expanse of cultivated country, which is terminated by the hills that form the hithermost boundary of the county of Buckingham. To the south, the horizon is varied by the long range of hills which rise above the vale of White Horse. To the west, the park falls in thick wood or open grove towards the Thames; and, on the north, it is bounded by the village of Nuneham.

Nuneham is a curious, pleasing, and interesting object. It is built on a regular and uniform plan; house answering to house, and garden to garden, on either side of the road; and though regularity is generally thought to, and certainly does, destroy picturesque effect, nevertheless, the screens of trees that stretch along before the cottages, with the intervals of garden ground, produce, in certain points of view,

a peculiar mixture of trees and buildings, which the eye cannot regard with indifference as a rural picture.

All these various objects, with their accessory circumstances, are seen in delightful succession and to the best advantage, in the course of a riding that leads from one charming scene to another, along the boundary of the park.

The garden part of Nuneham, and which may be considered as the pride of it, does not contain more than forty acres, but its command of country is very comprehensive, and the inlets of park scenery give an artificial extent to its beauties. From the centre of the back front of the house, round the south side of the garden, and back again by a returning walk, is something more than half a mile. From the same place along the terrace on the northern side, round the hill, at termination of it, and back again, is somewhat more than twice that length. From this central point we shall begin our description.

The fore ground, from the house, is a small lawn, or rather large knoll, of a triangular form, which, however, softens off into the glades on either side, so as to be totally devoid of formality. To the right it sinks to rise again, after an easy bend, to another knoll of corresponding acclivity, but different form, and crowned with thicker shade. It falls more gently to the left, and continues in a succession of various undulating surface, to the rising woodlands of the park. From the centre of this spot, a very extensive and delightful prospect presents itself to the view, which is broken into two separate pictures by a groupe of fine elms on the projecting point of the lawn. To the right, the eye, forced onwards by a grove to the north, glances over a charming glade, and is first caught by a long reach of the Thames, somewhat interrupted by trees, which flows, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile through the meadows in the bottom; it then passes over several gleamy snatches of the river, as it meanders on, in various directions, towards Oxford, whose towers, domes, and spires, compose a very


superb object: the high part of Blenheim park is seen beyond it; and the eye, returning over the dark mass of the distant woods, in Berkshire, and the fertile intervening country, completes its view of the right hand picture. Its companion on the left, comprehends a larger foreground, from whence the eye, after passing a broad indented sweep of lawn, slightly broken by a clump of birches, rises to the verdant prominence that supports the venerable pile of Carfax, with the majestic oaks in which it is embosomed; and then stretches on to the park wood, beneath whose impending shade the Thames takes its course towards Abingdon, and after one lingering meander is seen no more. The nearer part of the wood bounds one side of the prospect; but the extreme line of it, inclining gradually to the water, lets in the blue hills of Berkshire, which, ranging on to join those of Wiltshire, above the White Horse Vale, are at length lost in the azure of a very distant horizon. Faringdon Hill, with the tuft of trees that crowns it, is distinctly seen at the distance of eighteen miles; and the eye, returning over the rich intermediate level, is relieved from its luxuriant sameness by the airy spire of Abingdon. Such are the two distinct pictures which are divided by the central group of elms, in the front of which they are both united.

This spot being more prominent, not only comprehends more of the northern meadows, glades, and woods of Nuneham, but brings a great variety of new objects into the view. The village of Heddington, situate on a range of high ground, at the distance of five miles, forms a pleasing boundary to the north, which falls gradually down to Oxford. Here also Ifley Tower, on its high bank of the river, more sensibly unites with the towers of the city; and thus, by lengthening its form, aggrandizes its character. The objects of the prospects are here in more determined contrast; the variety is increased, and the Thames is seen in all the meandering beauty with which it flows from Oxford; in its fine long reach as it passes before the grounds of Nune

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