The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Mon Repos Garden

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343. Mon Repos (fig. 89.) is a highly finished retreat belonging to the king, in the neighbourhood of Ludwigsburg. The pavilion is small, but in regular Roman architecture, surrounded by an arcade, over which is a broad terrace on a level with the first floor. The apartments are full of curiosities; china, mirrors, sculptures, time-pieces, &c. Some of the largest mirrors are composed of several plates, joined together at the angles, in a manner considered new in this country some years ago (Gard. Mag. vol. iv. p. 178.), but which is evidently old enough here. The situation of the house is on tho margin of a large artificial lake, irregular in shape, and yet not natural in appearance. The house, on the garden front, contains several terraces, ornamented vases statues, and other sculptures; and these, in November, 1828, were covered with cases of boards, with far-projecting, mushroom-like tops to throw off the rain, which had an exceedingly good effect. The boundary fence to the grounds is composed of stone piers, with intermediate panels of wood. After being shown the house, strangers are taken in a boat to an island in the lake. Here they ascend some bold artificial rock-work, and, by a circuitous route, shaded by Scotch pines and other evergreens, arrive at a spacious cave, containing a number of grotesque figures, modelled in wax, as large as life, and sitting round a table, which we were told were representations of the ancient judges of the country. The president was pointed out to us, with a book under his hand, and his secretary standing beside him. From this cave we ascended still through rockwork, and under the shade of pines, to a small Catholic chapel, at one end of which is a low building thatched with heath, about the size of a cottager's pigsty, containing a mechanical hermit, whose interior machinery, by the opening of the door, lifts up his hand, stretches it out, and shakes his head. Our attendant informed us that the late king took pleasure in frightening women with this gewgaw.