This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The great circle, four or five miles round, will be one unbroken line of carriages, of all sizes ed, will be gay with Its hundreds of ladies and gentlemen on horseback - the banks of the Serpentine will be crowded with thousands on foot, enjoying the beauty of the "flood and field." At the same moment - especially on the days when the band plays, Kensington Gardens - which joins Hyde Park, will be filled with thousands of pedestrians - for no carriages are allowed there - though there are over three hundred acres of park there. When we state that we have seen over fifty thousand persons in Hyde Park and Kensington gardens, riding, driving, and walking, in a single afternoon, and that at the same moment St. James' Park was as gay with its thousands, it will, we think, be understood that the immense parks of London are no larger breathing zones than the lungs of a great, populous and wealthy city, require. Parks for promenade merely, are delightful features in a city, but much more delightful are carriage parks, which include the privilege of taking exercise in all ways.
Hundreds and thousands of invalids, who are unable to walk, are enabled to enjoy the luxury of the open air, without the annoying rattle of the pavement, in the carriage path - while to those who own carriages, the pleasure of driving over a smooth park road, instead of round stones, is almost the whole difference of enjoy meat or no enjoyment. What our great cities, therefore, should really aim at now, is, not little green squares, of no value except for promenades - but spacious carriage parks, large enough for all purposes of recreation and enjoyment in the widest sense.
As a specimen of the chasteness and beauty of Mr. Ware's style, and the excellence of bis architectural criticism, we quote the following passages upon some of the edifices of Florence:
"There are no palaces for a dark and sombre magnificence, like those of Florence. If one looked no higher than the ground floor, he would think much more of a prison than a palace; but if of a prison, it would be one for the incarceration of nothing less than princes or kings. But lifting the eye upward, and no one can longer doabt that he is examining the residences of some of the long descended inheritors of the power and wealth of Tuscany. They have about them, in a remarkable degree, an air of nobility. The forms are extremely simple, even to severity; no ornament which seems to be ornament for its own sake. The architecture, you will observe too, will have all the parts which properly belong to it, but beyond that, not a line, not a curve, not a moulding - nothing beyond the strictest demands of the order; and the order chosen you will find for the most part to be the simplest and severest of the fine, that to which the country has given its name, the Tuscan. 1 do not believe there is a more impressive building in Europe than the Ricardi Palace in Florence, the ancient residence of the Medici, in the days of the first Cosmo and Lorenzo. It preaches like a sermon; it harangues like an oration; it inspires like a poem.
I came upon it unexpectedly the first day I was in Florence, and as I stood beneath its black walls of chisselled rock, with its massive overhanging cornice, I felt for the first time the power of architecture. And yet, palace though it be, it presents but two sheer, unbroken fronts, on the carner of two streets - no projection, no recesses, no towers, pediments, columns or piazzas. - two simple fronts with their magnificent cornice, that is all; but so grand are the proportions of all, as if Michael Angelo had written his name all over it, that for true sublimity, it far surpasses all other structures there, even the huge Cathedral itself.
The famous Cathedral - the Duomo, begun in the fourteenth century by Arnolfo, and finished by Brunelschi, in the fifteenth, is very vast, having a length of four hundred and fifty, and a height of three hundred and eighty-seven feet. And had it been built of one kind of marble, it would not have been without a very grand effect. It is impressive as it is, especially in its interior, with its rich painted windows, rich as if Titian had been the artist - but much is lost to the exterior, owing to its parti-colored material, being made of with admiration and a feeling of despair of ever being able to equal or surpass it; and was accustomed to say, as he looked up to it, "Like thee I will not build, and better I cannot;" yet he ended in building both like it and better. The dome of St. Peter's is both larger and far more grceful in its design. The style of this Cathedral is especially interesting, as it marks the point of departure from the Greek and Roman forms, and the introduction of the modern style of the Gothic. It is of a mixed character, like the great Cathedral of Pisa, (neither wholly the one nor wholly the other - the new, however, predominating very decidedly) - and which, in its more completed forms, has erected the noblest religious buildings in the world."