[[File:2046.jpg|thumb|left|252px|Fig. 1, Nathaniel Currier, "''Hyde Park. Hudson River''," n.d. (ca. 1838-56)]]
In 1704 four men petitioned the Governor of New York, Sir Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury (1661-1723), for a grant of land along the east side of the Hudson River in Dutchess County. Among them was Cornbury's secretary, the French Huguenot Peter (Pierre) Fauconnier (1659-1746), who received a 3,600-acre tract of valuable river-front property, that he named Hyde Park in his patron's honor.<ref>Abraham Ernest Helffenstein, ''Pierre Fauconnier and His Descendants: With Some Account of the Allied Valleaux'' (Philadelphia: Press of S. H. Burbank & Company, 1911), 17, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/BCAXR4J4 view on Zotero].</ref> The undeveloped property descended through Fauconnier's family until 1764 when it was inherited by his granddaughter, Suzanne Valleau (1720-1784), and her husband, the surgeon John Bard (1715-1799), himself the descendant of Huguenot immigrants. Dr. Bard initially contemplated developing Hyde Park as a country [[seat]] and settling there after retiring from his medical practice in New York City. He received advice on "laying out your grounds" and "planning a [[pleasure ground]]" from his son, [[Samuel Bard]], a medical student in Edinburgh who was well versed in contemporary British landscape design.<ref>John McVickar, ''A Domestic Narrative of the Life of Samuel Bard, M. D., LL. D.'' (New York: A. Paul, 1822), [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/8NP6WKE8 view on Zotero]</ref> In a letter of April 1, 1764 the younger Bard urged his father to be guided by nature, allowing <span id="Bard_1764_cite"></span> the selection and positioning of plants to be dictated by the natural conditions of terrain and atmosphere (the moisture or dryness of the soil, the fall of sun or shade, the exposure to wind). In addition, ornamental landscape features should contrast with one another, and either be experienced unexpectedly while following serpentine [[walks]] ("so that by the surprise, the pleasure may be increased") or as focal points at the end of long [[vista]]s. When viewed from the house, these features should "appear as links of the same chain, contribut[ing] to the beauties of the whole" ([[#Bard_1764|view text]]).<ref>For the suggestion that Samuel Bard derived his views on landscape aesthetics from the writings of William Hogarth or William Shenstone, see Patricia M. O’Donnell, Charles A. Birnbaum, and Cynthia Zaitzevsky, ''Cultural Landscape Report for Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site'', Volume I: Site History, Existing Conditions, and Analysis (Boston: U.S. Department of the Interior. National Park Service, 1992), 13, [https://www.zotero.org/groups/54737/items/itemKey/K6W3KBMH view on Zotero].</ref>
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