PD Smith

Enchanted Ground

23 July 2011 | cities, London, Reviewing | Post a comment

Thomas Rowlandson's famous image of Vauxhall Gardens, depicting some of the celebrities of the day who visited the gardens to enjoy the music, fresh air and (as one person put it) the "strumpets". David Coke and Alan Borg have just written a wonderfully illustrated and engaging history of Vauxhall Gardens, which I've reviewed for today's Guardian:

'It must have been a truly magical experience to wander through the gardens at night, along tree-lined gravel walks, with bird-song and music in the air and light from the 20,000 oil-lamps twinkling among the branches (William Wordsworth, who visited aged 18, was struck by the "wilderness of lamps / Dimming the stars"). For 18th-century Londoners, it must have seemed like stepping into a dream world. As Fanny Burney's heroine Evelina says, it was "enchanted ground".'

Read the rest of my review here.

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