John Evelyn.

Diary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) online

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watered and furnished with fountains, statues, and groves;
the walks are very fair ; the fountain of Laocoon is in a
large square pool, throwing the water near forty feet high,
and having about it a multitude of statues and basins,
and is a surprising object. But nothing is more esteemed
than the cascade falling from the great steps into the
lowest and longest walk from the Mount Parnassus, which
consists of a grotto, or shell-house, on the summit of the
hill, wherein are divers waterworks and contrivances to
wet the spectators ; this is covered with a fair cupola, the
walls painted with the Muses, and statues placed thick
about it, whereof some are antique and good. In the
upper walks are two perspectives, seeming to enlarge the
alleys, and in this garden are many other ingenious con-
trivances. The palace, as I said, is not extraordinary.
The outer walls only painted a fresco. In the court is a
Volary, and the statues of Charles IX., Henry III., IV.,
and Louis XIII. on horseback, mezzo-relievo' d in plaster.
In the garden is a small chapel ; and under shelter is the
figure of Cleopatra, taken from the Belvidere original,
with others. From the terrace above is a tempest well
painted ; and thence an excellent prospect towards Paris,
the meadows, and river.

At an inn in this village is a host who treats all the
great persons in princely lodgings for furniture and plate,
but they pay well for it, as I have done. Indeed, the

1U44.] JOHN EVELYN. 53

entertainment is very splendid, and not unreasonable,
considering the excellent manner of dressing their meat,
and of the service. Here are many debauches and
excessive revellings, as being out of all noise and

From hence, about a league farther, we went to see
Cardinal Richelieu's villa, at Ruell. The house is small,
but fairly built, in form of a castle, moated round. The
offices are towards the road, and over-against it are large
vineyards, walled in. But, though the house is not of the
greatest, the gardens about it are so magnificent, that I
doubt whether Italy has any exceeding it for all rarities
of pleasure. The garden nearest the pavilion is a parterre,
having in the midst divers noble brass statues, perpetually
spouting water into an ample basin, with other figures of
the same metal ; but what is most admirable is the vast
inclosure, and variety of ground, in the large garden, con-
taining vineyards, corn-fields, meadows, groves (whereof
one is of perennial greens), and walks of vast length, so
accurately kept and cultivated, that nothing can be more
agreeable. On one of these walks, within a square of tall
trees, is a basilisk* of copper, which, managed by the
fountaineer, casts water near sixty feet high, and will of
itself move round so swiftly, that one can hardly escape
wetting. This leads to the Citronire, which is a noble
conserve of all those rarities ; and at the end of it is the
Arch of Constantine, painted on a wall in oil, as large as
the real one at Rome, so well done, that even a man
skilled in painting, may mistake it for stone and sculpture.
The sky and hills, which seem to be between the arches,
are so natural, that swallows and other birds, thinking to
fly through, have dashed themselves against the wall. I
was infinitely taken with this agreeable cheat. At the
further part of this walk is that plentiful, though artificial
cascade, which rolls down a very steep declivity, and over
the marble steps and basins, with an astonishing noise
and fury; each basin hath a jetto in it, flowing like sheets
of transparent glass, especially that which rises over the
great shell of lead, from whence it glides silently down
a channel through the middle of a spacious gravel walk,
terminating in a grotto. Here are also fountains that

* The imaginary animal, or serpent, so called.


cast water to a great height, and large ponds, two of
which have islands for harbour of fowls, of which there
is store. One of these islands has a receptacle for them
built of vast pieces of rock, near fifty feet high, grown
over with moss, ivy, &c., shaded at a competent distance
with tall trees : in this rupellary nidary do the fowl lay
eggs, and breed. We then saw a large and very rare
grotto of shell-work, in the shape of Satyrs, and other wild
fancies : in the middle stands a marble table, on which a
fountain plays in divers forms of glasses, cups, crosses,
fans, crowns, &c. Then the fountaineer represented a
shower of rain from the top, met by small jets from below.
At going out, two extravagant musketeers shot us with a
stream of water from their musket barrels. Before this-
grotto is a long pool into which ran divers spouts of water
from leaden escalop basins. The viewing this paradise
made us late at St. Germains.

The first building of this palace is of Charles V., called
the Sage; but Francis I. (that true virtuoso) made it
complete ; speaking as to the style of magnificence then
in fashion, which was with too great a mixture of the
Gothic, as may be seen in what there is remaining of his
in the old Castle, an irregular piece as built on the old
foundation, and having a moat about it. It has yet some
spacious and handsome rooms of state, and a chapel neatly
painted. The new Castle is at some distance, divided
from this by a court, of a lower, but more modern design,
built by Henry IV. To this belong six terraces, built of
brick and stone, descending in cascades towards the river,
cut out of the natural hill, having under them goodly
vaulted galleries; of these, four have subterranean grots
and rocks, where are represented several objects in the
manner of scenes and other motions, by force of water,,
shown by the light of torches only ; amongst these, is
Orpheus with his music, and the animals, which dance
after his harp ; in the second, is the King ,and Dolphin ; *
in the third, is Neptune sounding his trumpet, his chariot
drawn by sea-horses ; in the fourth, the story of Perseus
and Andromeda ; mills ; hermitages ; men fishing ; birds
chirping; and many other devices. There is also a dry
grot to refresh in ; all having a fine prospect towards the

* Dauphin.

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 55

river, and the goodly country about it, especially the forest.
At the bottom, is a parterre ; the upper terrace near half
a mile in length, with double declivities, arched and
balustered with stone, of vast and royal cost.

In the pavilion of the new Castle are many fair rooms,
well painted, and leading into a very noble garden and park,
where is a pall-mall, in the midst of which, on one of the
sides, is a chapel, with stone cupola, though small, yet of
a handsome order of architecture. Out of the park you
go into the forest, which being very large, is stored with
deer, wild boars, wolves, and other wild game. The Tennis
Court, and Cavallerizzo, for the menaged horses, are also

We returned to Paris by Madrid, another villa of the
King's, built by Francis I. and called by that name to
absolve him of his oath that he would not go from Madrid
(in which he was prisoner), in Spain, but from whence he
made his escape. This house is also built in a park, and
walled in. We next called in at the Bonnes-homines,
well-situated, wih a fair chapel and library.

1 March. I went to see the Count de Liancourt's Palace
in the Rue de Seine, which is well built. Towards his
study and bedchamber joins a little garden, which, though
very narrow, by the addition of a well-painted perspective,
is to appearance greatly enlarged ; to this there is another
part, supported by arches, in which runs a stream of
water, rising in the aviary, out of a statue, and seeming to
flow for some miles, by being artificially continued in the
painting, when it sinks down at the wall. It is a very
agreeable deceit. At the end of this garden, is a little
theatre, made to change with divers pretty scenes, and
the stage so ordered, with figures of men and women
painted on light boards, and cut out, and, by a person
who stands underneath, made to act as if they were speak-
ing, by guiding them, and reciting words in different tones,
as the parts require. We were led into a round cabinet,
where was a neat invention for reflecting lights, by lining
divers sconces with thin shining plates of gilded copper.

In one of the rooms of state was an excellent painting
of Poussin, being a Satyr kneeling; over the chimney,
the Coronation of the Virgin, by Paulo Veronese ; another
Madonna over the door, and that of Joseph, by Cigali ; in


the Hall, a Cavaliero di Malta, attended by his page, said
to be of Michael Angelo ; the Rape of Proserpine, with a
very large landscape of Correggio. In the next room, are
some paintings of Primaticcio, especially the Helena, the
naked Lady brought before Alexander, well-painted, and
a Ceres. In the bed-chamber a picture of the Cardinal
de Liancourt, of Raphael, rarely coloured. In the cabinet
are divers pieces of Bassano, two of Polemburg, four of
Paulo Brill, the skies a little too blue. A Madonna of
Nicholao, excellently painted on a stone; a Judith of
Mantegna ; three women of Jeronimo ; one of Stenwick ;
a Madonna after Titian, and a Magdalen of the same
hand, as the Count esteems it : two small pieces of Paulo
Veronese, being the Martyrdoms of St. Justina and St.
Catherine ; a Madonna of Lucas Van Leyden, sent him
from our King ; six more of old Bassano ; two excellent
drawings of Albert ; a Magdalen of Leonardo da Vinci ;
four of Paulo ; a very rare Madonna of Titian, given him
also by our King ; the Ecce Homo, shut up in a frame of
velvet, for the life and accurate finishing exceeding all
description. Some curious agates, and a chaplet of ad-
mirable invention, the intaglios being all on fruit stones.
The Count was so exceeding civil, that he would needs
make his Lady go out of her dressing-room, that he might
show us the curiosities and pictures in it.

We went thence to visit one Monsieur Perishot, one of
the greatest virtuosos in France, for his collection of pic-
tures, agates, medals, and flowers, especially tulips and
anemonies. The chiefest of his paintings was a Sebastian,
of Titian.

From him we went to Monsieur Frene's, who shewed
us many rare drawings, a Rape of Helen in black chalk ;
many excellent things of Sneiders. all naked; some of
Julio and Michael Angelo; a Madonna of Passignano;
some things of Parmensis, and other masters.

The next morning, being recommended to one Monsieur
de Hausse, President du Parliament, and once Ambas-
sador at Venice for the French King, we were very civilly
received, and shewed his library. Amongst his paintings
were, a rare Venus and Adonis of Veronese, a St. Anthony,
after the first manner of Correggio, and a rare Madonna
of Palma.

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 57

Sunday, the 6th. I went to Charenton, two leagues
from Paris, to hear and see the manner of the French
Protestant Church service. The place of meeting they
call the Temple, a very fair and spacious room, built of
freestone, very decently adorned with paintings of the
Tables of the Law, the Lord's Prayer, and Creed. The
pulpit stands at the upper end in the middle, having an
inclosure of seats about it, where the Elders, and persons
of greatest quality and strangers, sit ; the rest of the con-
gregation on forms and low stools, but none in pews, as
in our churches, to their great disgrace, and nothing so
orderly, as here the stools and other cumber are removed
when the assembly rises. I was greatly pleased with their
harmonious singing the Psalms, which they all learn per-
fectly well, their children being as duly taught these, as
their catechism.

In our passage, we went by that famous bridge over the
Marne, where that renowned echo returns the voice of a
good singer nine or ten times.

7th . I set forwards with some company towards

Fontainebleau, a sumptuous Palace of the King's, like ours
at Hampton Court, about fourteen leagues from the city.
By the way, we pass through a forest so prodigiously
encompassed with hideous rocks of whitish hard stone,
heaped one on another in mountainous heights, that I
think the like is nowhere to be found more horrid and
solitary. It abounds with stags, wolves, boars, and not
long after a lynx, or ounce, was killed amongst them, which
had devoured some passengers. On the summit of one of
these gloomy precipices, intermingled with trees and
shrubs, the stones hanging over, and menacing ruin, is
built an hermitage. In these solitudes, rogues frequently
lurk and do mischief (and for whom we were all well
appointed with our carabines) ; but we arrived save in the
evening at the village, where we lay at the Home, going
early next morning to the Palace.

This House is nothing so stately and uniform as Hamp-
ton-Court, but Francis I. began much to beautify it;
most of all Henry IV. (and not a little) the late King.
It abounds with fair halls, chambers, and galleries; in
the longest, which is 360 feet long, and 18 broad, are
painted the Victories of that great Prince, Henry IV.


That of Francis I. called the grand Gallery, has all the
King's Palaces painted in it ; above these, in sixty pieces
of excellent work in fresco, is the History of Ulysses,
from Homer, by Primaticcio, in the time of Henry III.,
esteemed the most renowned in Europe for the design.
The Cabinet is full of excellent pictures, especially a
Woman, of Raphael. In the Hall of the Guards is a
piece of tapestry painted on the wall, very naturally, re-
presenting the Victories of Charles VII. over our country-
men. In the Salle des Festins is a rare Chimney-piece,
and Henry IV. on horseback, of white marble, esteemed
worth 18,000 crowns; dementia and Pax, nobly done.
On columns of jasper, two lions of brass. The new stairs,
and a half circular court, are of modern and good archi-
tecture, as is a chapel built by Louis XIII., all of jasper,
with several incrustations of marble through the inside.

Having seen the rooms, we went to the volary, which has
a cupola in the middle of it, great trees and bushes, it
being full of birds who drank at two fountains. There is
also a fair tennis-court, and noble stables ; but the beauty
of all are the gardens. In the Court of the Fountains
stand divers antiquities and statues; especially a Mercury.
In the Queen's Garden is a Diana ejecting a fountain,
with numerous other brass statues.

The great Garden, 180 toises long and 154 wide, has in
the centre a fountain of Tyber of a Colossean figure of
brass, with the Wolf over Romulus and Remus. At each
corner of the garden rises a fountain. In the garden of
the piscina, is a Hercules of white marble : next, is that of
the pines, and without that a canal of an English mile in
length, at the end of which rise three jettos in the form
of a fleur-de-lis, of a great height; on the margin are
excellent walks planted with trees. The carps come
familiarly to hand [to be fed] . Hence, they brought us
to a spring, which they say being first discovered by a
dog, gave occasion of beautifying this place, both with the
palace and gardens. The white and terrific rocks at some
distance in the forest, yield one of the most august and
stupendous prospects imaginable. The park about this
place is very large, and the town full of noblemen's

Next morning, we were invited by a painter, who was

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 59

keeper of the pictures and rarities, to see his own col-
lection. We were led through a gallery of old Rosso's
work, at the end of which, in another cabinet, were three
Madonnas of Raphael, and two of Andrea del Sarto. In
the Academy where the Painter himself wrought, was a
St. Michael, of Raphael, very rare; St. John Baptist, of
Leonardo, and a Woman's head ; a Queen of Sicily, and
St. Margaret, of Raphael ; two more Madonnas, whereof
one very large, by the same hand; some more of del
Sarto; a St. Jerome, of Perino del Vaga; the Rape of
Proserpine, very good ; and a great number of drawings.

Returning part of our way to Paris, that day, we visited
a house called Maison Rouge, having an excellent prospect,
grot, and fountains, one whereof rises fifty feet,and resem-
bles the noise of a tempest, battles of guns, &c. at its issue.

Thence to Essone, a house of Monsieur Essling, who is
a great virtuoso; there are many good paintings in it; but
nothing so observable as his gardens, fountains, fish-pools,
especially that in a triangular form, the water cast out by
a multitude of heads about it ; there is a noble cascade
and pretty baths, with all accommodations. Under a
marble table is a fountain of serpents twisting about a

We alighted next at Corbeil, a town famous for the siege
by Henry IV. Here we slept, and returned next morning
to Paris.

18th . I went with Sir J. Cotton, a Cambridge-
shire Knight, a journey into Normandy. The first day, we
passed by Gaillon, the Archbishop of Rouen's Palace. The
gardens are highly commended, but we did not go in,
intending to reach Pontoise, by dinner. This town is
built in a very gallant place, has a noble bridge over the
Oise, and is well refreshed with fountains.

This is the first town in Normandy, and the farthest
that the vineyards extend to on this side of the country,
which is fuller of plains, wood, and enclosures, with some
towns towards the sea, very like England.

We lay this night at a village, called Magny. The next
day, descending a very steep hill, we dined at Fleury,
after riding five leagues down St. Catherine, to Rouen,
which affords a goodly prospect, to the ruins of that
chapel and mountain. This country so abounds with


wolves, that a shepherd whom we met, told us one of his
companions was strangled by one of them the day before,
and that in the midst of his flock. The fields are mostly
planted with pears and apples, and other cider fruits. It
is plentifully furnished with quarries of stone and slate,
and hath iron in abundance.

I lay at the White Cross, in Rouen, which is a very
large city, on the Seine, having two smaller rivers besides,
called the Aubette and Robec. There stand yet the ruins
of a magnificent bridge of stone, now supplied by one of
boats only, to which come up vessels of considerable bur-
then. The other side of the water consists of meadows,
and there have the Reformed a Church.

The Cathedral Notre Dame was built, as they acknow-
ledge, by the English; some English words graven in
Gothic characters upon the front seem to confirm it. The
towers and whole church are full of carving. It has three
steeples, with a pyramid ; in one of these, I saw the famous
cell so much talked of, thirteen feet in height, thirty -two
round, the diameter eleven, weighing 40,000 pounds.

In the Chapel d'Amboise, built by a Cardinal of that
name, lies his body, with several fair monuments. The
Choir has behind it a great dragon painted on the wall,
which they say had done much harm to the inhabitants,
till vanquished by St. Romain, their Archbishop ; for which
there is an annual procession. It was now near Easter,
and many images were exposed with scenes and stories
representing the Passion; made up of little puppets, to
which there was great resort and devotion, with offerings.
Before the church is a fair palace. St. Ouen is another
goodly church and an abbey with fine gardens. Here the
King hath lodgings, when he makes his progress through
these parts. The structure, where the Court of Parliament
is kept, is very magnificent, containing very fair halls and
chambers, especially La Chambre Doree. The town-
house is also well built, and so are some gentlemen's
houses ; but most part of the rest are of timber, like our
merchants' in London, in the wooden part of the city.

21st . On Easter Monday, we dined at Totes, a

solitary inn between Rouen and Dieppe, at which latter
place we arrived. This town is situated between two

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 61

mountains, not unpleasantly, and is washed on the north
by our English seas.

The port is commodious ; but the entrance difficult. It
has one very ample and fair street, in which is a pretty
church. The Fort Pollet consists of a strong earth- work,
and commands the haven, as on the other side does the
castle, which is also well fortified, with the citadel before
it ; nor is the town itself a little strong. It abounds with
workmen, who make and sell curiosities of ivory and
tortoise-shells; and indeed whatever the East Indies
afford of cabinets, porcelain, natural and exotic rarities,
are here to be had, with abundant choice.

23rd. We passed along the coast by a very rocky and
rugged way, which forced us to alight many times before
we came to Havre de Grace, where we lay that night.

The next morning, we saw the citadel, strong and
regular, well stored with artillery and ammunition of all
sorts : the works furnished with fair brass cannon, having
a motto, Ratio ultima Regum. The allogements of the
garrison are uniform; a spacious place for drawing up
the soldiers, a pretty chapel, and a fair house for the
Governor. The Duke of Richelieu being now in the
fort, we went to salute him ; who received us very civilly,
and commanded that we should be shewed whatever we
desired to see. The citadel was built by the late Cardinal
de Richelieu, uncle of the present Duke, and may be
esteemed one of the strongest in France. The haven is
very capacious.

When we had done here, we embarked ourselves and
horses to pass to Honfleur, about four or five leagues
distant, where the Seine falls into the sea. It is a poor
fisher-town, remarkable for nothing so much as the odd,
yet useful habits which the good women wear, of bears'
and other skins, as of rugs at Dieppe, and all along these
maritime coasts.

25th. We arrived at Caen, a noble and beautiful
town, situate on the river Orne, which passes quite
through it, the two sides of the town joined only by a
bridge of one entire arch. We lay at the Angel, where
we were very well used, the place being abundantly
furnished with provisions, at a cheap rate. The most
considerable object is the great Abbey and Church, large


and rich, built after the Gothic manner, having two
spires and middle lantern at the west end, all of stone.
The choir round and large, in the centre whereof, elevated
on a square, handsome, but plain sepulchre, is this
incription :

" Hoc sepulchrum invictissimi juxta et clementissimi conquestoris,
Gulielrai, dum viverat Anglorum Regis, Normannorum Cenomanno-
rumque Principis, hujus insignis Abbatiae piissimi Fundatoris : Cum
anno 1562 vesano haereticorum furore direptum fuisset, pio tandem
nobilium ejusdem Abbatiae religiosorum gratitudinis sensu in tarn
beneficum largitorem, instauratum fuit, a D'ai 1642. D'no Johanne
de Bailhache Assaetorii proto priore. D. D."

On the other side are these monkish rhymes :

" Qui rexit rigidos Northmannos, atq. Britannos

Audacter vicit, fortiter obtinuit,
Et Cenomanensis virtute coercuit ensis,

Imperiique sui Legibus applicuit.
Rex magnus parva jacet hac Gulielm' in Urna,

Sufficit et magno parva domus Domino.
Ter septem gradibus te volverat atq. duobus

Virginis in gremio Phoebus, et hie obiit."

We went to the castle, which is strong and fair, and so
is the town-house, built on the bridge which unites the
two towns. Here are schools and an University for the

The whole town is handsomely built of that excellent
stone so well known by that name in England. I was led
to a pretty garden, planted with hedges of alaternus,
having at the entrance a skreen at an exceeding height,
accurately cut in topiary work, with well-understood
architecture, consisting of pillars, niches, friezes, and
other ornaments, with great curiosity; some of the
columns curiously wreathed, others spiral, all according
to art.

28th. We went towards Paris, lying the first night
at Evreux, a Bishop's seat, an ancient town, with a fair
cathedral ; so the next day we arrived at Paris.

1st April. I went to see more exactly the rooms of the
fine Palace of Luxemburg, in the Fauxbourg St. Germains,
built by Mary di Medicis, and I think one of the most
noble, entire, and finished piles that is to be seen, taking
it with the garden and all its accomplishments. The

1644.] JOHN EVELYN. 63

gallery is of the painting of Rubens, being the history
of the Foundress's Life, rarely designed ; at the end of
it is 'the Duke of Orleans' library, well furnished with
excellent books, all bound in maroquin and gilded, the
valance of the shelves being of green velvet, fringed with

Online LibraryJohn EvelynDiary and correspondence, To which is subjoined the private correspondence between King Charles I. and Sir Edward Nicholas, and between Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards earl of Clarendon, and Sir Richard Browne (Volume 1) → online text (page 8 of 46)