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History of Early American Landscape Design

Difference between revisions of "Summerhouse"

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===Usage===
 
===Usage===
  
Nicholson, Gov. Francis, 1696, describing  
+
* Nicholson, Gov. Francis, 1696, describing Annapolis, Md. (quoted in Sarudy 1989:120)  
Annapolis, Md. (quoted in Sarudy 1989:120)  
 
  
“requested to have a Certain parcell of land in  
+
:“requested to have a Certain parcell of land in the publick pasture according to the Demencons thereof mentioned and layd down in the Platt of the Town for planting or makeing a Garden, Vineard, or Somerhouse or other use”  
the publick pasture according to the Demencons  
 
thereof mentioned and layd down in the Platt of  
 
the Town for planting or makeing a Garden, Vineard,  
 
or Somerhouse or other use”  
 
  
Thomas, Gabriel, 1698, describing the residence
 
of Edward Shippen, Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in
 
Watson 1857: 1:368–69)
 
  
“Edward Shippen, who lives near the capital
+
* Thomas, Gabriel, 1698, describing the residence of Edward Shippen, Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Watson 1857: 1:368–69)
city, has an orchard and gardens adjoining to his
 
great house that equals any I have ever seen, being
 
a very famous and pleasant summer house,erected in the middle of his garden, and abounding
 
with tulips, carnations, roses, lilies, &c., with
 
many wild plants of the country besides.”
 
  
Beverley, Robert, 1705, describing Westover,  
+
:“Edward Shippen, who lives near the capital city, has an orchard and gardens adjoining to his great house that equals any I have ever seen, being a very famous and pleasant summer house,erected in the middle of his garden, and abounding with tulips, carnations, roses, lilies, &c., with many wild plants of the country besides.
seat of William Byrd II, on the James River, Va.  
 
(quoted in Beverley 1947: 298–99)
 
  
“Have you pleasure in a Garden? . . . Colonel
 
Byrd, in his Garden [at Westover], which is the
 
finest in that Country, has a Summer-House set
 
round with the Indian Honey-Suckle.”
 
  
Anonymous, 9 June 1733, describing a plantation
+
* Beverley, Robert, 1705, describing Westover, seat of William Byrd II, on the James River, Va. (quoted in Beverley 1947: 298–99)  
for rent in Charleston, S.C. (South Carolina
 
Gazette)  
 
  
“a very good Dwelling-House, with two Summer
+
:“Have you pleasure in a Garden? . . . Colonel Byrd, in his Garden [at Westover], which is the finest in that Country, has a Summer-House set round with the Indian Honey-Suckle.”  
Houses, two Cellars under them, a Kitchen,
 
Store-House, large Garden, with other Conveniencies,
 
commonly called the Summer-House.”  
 
  
Anonymous, 6 February 1746, describing a bath-
 
garden in Boston, Mass. (Boston Weekly News
 
Letter)
 
  
“TO BE LETT, (exclusive of the Bath-House)  
+
* Anonymous, 9 June 1733, describing a plantation for rent in Charleston, S.C. (South Carolina Gazette)  
  
“The Bath-Garden, at the Westerly Part of the
+
:“a very good Dwelling-House, with two Summer Houses, two Cellars under them, a Kitchen, Store-House, large Garden, with other Conveniencies, commonly called the Summer-House.
Town, which has for many Years been improv’d as
 
a publick Garden, and contains a Variety of the
 
best Fruit-Trees, a great Quantity of Currant and
 
Gooseberry Bushes, some of the best Grape Vines,
 
a handsome Summer-House, Glasses for Hot-
 
Beds, &c. Enquire of John Welch, and know further.
 
N.B.  
 
  
“The Cold Bath is in good Order for Use and
 
has been found beneficial to several that have used
 
it, even this Winter-Season: Price 40 Shillings a
 
Year or 5 Shillings each single Time, old Tenor.”
 
  
Anonymous, 19 March 1753, describing in the
+
* Anonymous, 6 February 1746, describing a bath-garden in Boston, Mass. (Boston Weekly News Letter)  
South Carolina Gazette a property for rent in  
 
Charleston, S.C. (Colonial Williamsburg
 
Foundation)  
 
  
“TO BE LET. . . . To the said house there is a  
+
:“TO BE LETT, (exclusive of the Bath-House)
good kitchen, stable and chair-house, a large garden
+
<p></p>
and handsome summer house & etc.”  
+
:“The Bath-Garden, at the Westerly Part of the Town, which has for many Years been improv’d as a publick Garden, and contains a Variety of the best Fruit-Trees, a great Quantity of Currant and Gooseberry Bushes, some of the best Grape Vines, a handsome Summer-House, Glasses for Hot-Beds, &c. Enquire of John Welch, and know further. N.B.
 +
<p></p>
 +
:“The Cold Bath is in good Order for Use and has been found beneficial to several that have used it, even this Winter-Season: Price 40 Shillings a Year or 5 Shillings each single Time, old Tenor.”  
  
Callender, Hannah, 1762, describing Belmont
 
Mansion, estate of Judge William Peters, near
 
Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Vaux 1888: 455)
 
  
“We left the garden for a wood cut into vistas.  
+
* Anonymous, 19 March 1753, describing in the South Carolina Gazette a property for rent in Charleston, S.C. (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
In the midst is a Chinese temple for a summer
 
house.
 
  
Drowne, Samuel, 7 June 1767, describing Mal-
+
:“TO BE LET. . . . To the said house there is a good kitchen, stable and chair-house, a large garden and handsome summer house & etc.
bone Hall, country seat of Godfrey Malbone,
 
Newport, R.I. (Rhode Island Landscape Survey)
 
  
“There was a fine Garden and a summer
 
house there. . . . In his garden was a fish pond and
 
a duck pond. The water was drawn out of the fish
 
pond when his house burned.”
 
  
Drowne, Samuel, 23 June 1767, describing Redwood
+
* Callender, Hannah, 1762, describing Belmont Mansion, estate of Judge William Peters, near Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Vaux 1888: 455)
Farm, seat of Abraham Redwood, Jr., New
 
  
 +
:“We left the garden for a wood cut into vistas. In the midst is a Chinese temple for a summer house.”
  
port, R.I. (Brown University, John Hay Library,
 
Drowne Family Papers, typescript)
 
  
“We saw Mr. Redwoods garden one of the
+
* Drowne, Samuel, 7 June 1767, describing Mal-bone Hall, country seat of Godfrey Malbone, Newport, R.I. (Rhode Island Landscape Survey)
finest gardens I ever Saw in my Life in it grows all
 
Sorts of West India fruit. Viz. Oranges Lemmons
 
Limes Pineapples Tamirinds and other Sorts it has
 
also West-India flowers very pritty ones and a Fine
 
Summer House it was Told my Father by a Credible
 
person that the garden was worth 40.000
 
pounds and that the man that Takes Care of the
 
garden Has above 100 Dolars per annum it Has
 
Hot Houses were [sic] things that are Tender are
 
put in the Winter and Hot Beds for the West India
 
fruit & I Saw one or Two of these gardens.
 
  
Anonymous, 28 January 1771, describing Vauxhall
+
:“There was a fine Garden and a summer house there. . . . In his garden was a fish pond and a duck pond. The water was drawn out of the fish pond when his house burned.”
Garden, New York, N.Y. (New York Gazette)
 
  
“To be sold at private Sale, the commodious
 
house and large gardens, in the out ward of this
 
city, known by the name of VAUXHALL; the situation
 
extremely pleasant, having a very extensive
 
view both up and down the North River. . . . there
 
are 36 lots and a half of ground laid out to great
 
advantage in a pleasure, and kitchen garden, well
 
stock’d with fruit and other trees, vegetables, &c.
 
and several summer houses which occasionally
 
may be removed; the whole in extreme good order
 
and repair, well fenced in, very fit for a large family,
 
or to entertain the gentry, &c. as a public garden,
 
&c. The premises are on lease from Trinity
 
Church, sixty one years of which are yet to come.”
 
  
Peale, Charles Wilson, 15 February 1772,  
+
* Drowne, Samuel, 23 June 1767, describing Redwood Farm, seat of Abraham Redwood, Jr., Newport, R.I. (Brown University, John Hay Library, Drowne Family Papers, typescript)
  
describing a portrait of William Paca, including
+
:“We saw Mr. Redwoods garden one of the finest gardens I ever Saw in my Life in it grows all Sorts of West India fruit. Viz. Oranges Lemmons Limes Pineapples Tamirinds and other Sorts it has also West-India flowers very pritty ones and a Fine Summer House it was Told my Father by a Credible person that the garden was worth 40.000 pounds and that the man that Takes Care of the garden Has above 100 Dolars per annum it Has Hot Houses were [sic] things that are Tender are put in the Winter and Hot Beds for the West India fruit & I Saw one or Two of these gardens.
his garden in Annapolis, Md. (Miller, Hart, and  
 
Appel, eds., 1983: 1:113)
 
  
“I have spent some time about Mr. Paca’s whole
 
lenght [sic] . . . if you remember the action he is
 
resting on a pedestal on which I have introduced
 
the Bust of Tully but believe [I] will be obliged to
 
put some other in its [ ] place in the distance is a
 
View of his Summer house.” [Fig. 7]
 
  
Bucktrout, Benjamin, 1 September 1774, advertisement
+
* Anonymous, 28 January 1771, describing Vauxhall Garden, New York, N.Y. (New York Gazette)  
in the Virginia Gazette (quoted in Martin
 
1991: 206fn. 24)  
 
  
“[will build] all sorts of Chinese and Gothick
+
:“To be sold at private Sale, the commodious house and large gardens, in the out ward of this city, known by the name of VAUXHALL; the situation extremely pleasant, having a very extensive view both up and down the North River. . . . there are 36 lots and a half of ground laid out to great advantage in a pleasure, and kitchen garden, well stock’d with fruit and other trees, vegetables, &c. and several summer houses which occasionally may be removed; the whole in extreme good order and repair, well fenced in, very fit for a large family, or to entertain the gentry, &c. as a public garden, &c. The premises are on lease from Trinity Church, sixty one years of which are yet to come.”  
PALING for gardens and summer houses.”  
 
  
Cutler, Rev. Manasseh, 16 August 1778,
 
  
describing a garden in Rhode Island (1987:  
+
*Peale, Charles Willson, 15 February 1772, describing a portrait of William Paca, including his garden in Annapolis, Md. (Miller, Hart, and Appel, eds., 1983: 1:113)  
1:68–69)  
 
  
“At the lower end of the aisle is a large summerhouse,
+
:“I have spent some time about Mr. Paca’s whole lenght [sic] . . . if you remember the action he is resting on a pedestal on which I have introduced the Bust of Tully but believe [I] will be obliged to put some other in its [ ] place in the distance is a View of his Summer house.” [Fig. 7]
a long square containing three rooms—the
 
middle paved with marble and hung with landscapes
 
and other pictures. On the right is a very
 
large private library adorned with very curious
 
carvings. The collection of French and English
 
authors, maps, etc., is valuable. The room is furnished
 
with a table, chairs, etc. . . . The room on  
 
the left in the summer-house, beautifully prepared
 
and designed for music, contains a spinnet.”  
 
  
Hunnewell, Mr., 1790–91, describing the VassallCraigie-
 
Longfellow House, Cambridge, Mass.
 
(quoted in Hammond 1982: 160)
 
  
“the Vault under the Summerhouse is equal to
+
* Bucktrout, Benjamin, 1 September 1774, advertisement in the Virginia Gazette (quoted in Martin 1991: 206fn. 24)
any spot for the Construction of an icehouse & the
 
distance (from the mansion house) is no obstacle
 
in the least—as on occasion you may keep ice in
 
the Cellar three days.
 
  
Constantia [pseud.], 24 June 1790, “Description
+
:“[will build] all sorts of Chinese and Gothick PALING for gardens and summer houses.”
of Gray’s Gardens, Pennsylvania” (Massachusetts
 
Magazine 3: 414–15)
 
  
“We ascend the [ ], five easy steps in the first,
 
and ten in the second, produces us in the area
 
exactly before the door, and we then command a
 
full view of a romantick summer house, in the
 
front of which is a whole length transparent picture
 
of Columbia’s illustrious Chief—Fame, is
 
crowning him with the laurel—the picture is as
 
large as the life, and the likeness, it is said, is happily
 
preserved. Underneath this summer house, is
 
an ice house, convenient and well planned, and
 
upon the right of this building, is an oblong section
 
of the garden, prettily enclosed, which is
 
chiefly devoted to exotics. . . .
 
  
“At every turn shaded seats are artfully contrived,  
+
*Cutler, Rev. Manasseh, 16 August 1778, describing a garden in Rhode Island (1987: 1:68–69)
and the ground abounds with arbours,
 
alcoves, and summer houses, which are handsomely
 
adorned with odoriferous flowers. Among
 
the little federal temple claims the principal
 
regard. It is the very edifice, that upon the celebration
 
of the ratification of the constitution, was carried
 
in triumphant procession through the streets
 
of this metropolis; and, upon a gentle acclivity,
 
upon the summit of a green mound infixed, it
 
hath now obtained a basis. It is a Rotunda, its
 
cupola is supported by thirteen pillars handsomely
 
finished; their base, is to receive the cypher of the
 
several slates, which they represent, with a star
 
upon every capital, and its top is crowned with the
 
figure of Plenty grasping the cornucopia and other
 
insignia. The ascent to this Temple is easy, and we
 
gain it by the semicircular steps neatly turned, and
 
the view therefrom is truly interesting.”
 
  
Bentley, William, 12 June 1791, describing Pleasant
+
:“At the lower end of the aisle is a large summerhouse, a long square containing three rooms—the middle paved with marble and hung with landscapes and other pictures. On the right is a very large private library adorned with very curious carvings. The collection of French and English authors, maps, etc., is valuable. The room is furnished with a table, chairs, etc. . . . The room on the left in the summer-house, beautifully prepared and designed for music, contains a spinnet.
Hill, seat of Joseph Barrell, Charlestown, Mass.  
 
(1962: 1:264)
 
  
“Was politely received at dinner by Mr Barrell,
 
& family, who shewed me his large & elegant
 
arrangements for amusement, & philosophic
 
experiments. . . . His Garden is beyond any example
 
I have seen. . . . The Chinese manner is mixed
 
with the European in the Summer house which
 
fronts the House, below the Flower Garden. Below
 
is the Hot House. In the apartment above are his
 
flowers admitted more freely to the air, & above a
 
Summer House with every convenience. ... No
 
expense is spared to render the whole amusing,
 
instructive, & friendly.”
 
McIntire, Samuel, 8 June 1795, describing a
 
statement of account with Elias Hasket Derby
 
(quoted in Kimball 1940: 74)
 
  
“1793 Dec 4th to Sundrie Drawings for  
+
* Hunnewell, Mr., 1790–91, describing the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House, Cambridge, Mass. (quoted in Hammond 1982: 160)
 +
 
 +
:“the Vault under the Summerhouse is equal to any spot for the Construction of an icehouse & the distance (from the mansion house) is no obstacle in the least—as on occasion you may keep ice in the Cellar three days.”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
* Constantia [pseud.], 24 June 1790, “Description of Gray’s Gardens, Pennsylvania” (Massachusetts Magazine 3: 414–15)
 +
 
 +
:“We ascend the [ ], five easy steps in the first, and ten in the second, produces us in the area exactly before the door, and we then command a full view of a romantick summer house, in the front of which is a whole length transparent picture of Columbia’s illustrious Chief—Fame, is crowning him with the laurel—the picture is as large as the life, and the likeness, it is said, is happily preserved. Underneath this summer house, is an ice house, convenient and well planned, and upon the right of this building, is an oblong section of the garden, prettily enclosed, which is chiefly devoted to exotics. . . .
 +
<p></p>
 +
:“At every turn shaded seats are artfully contrived, and the ground abounds with arbours, alcoves, and summer houses, which are handsomely adorned with odoriferous flowers. Among the little federal temple claims the principal regard. It is the very edifice, that upon the celebration of the ratification of the constitution, was carried in triumphant procession through the streets of this metropolis; and, upon a gentle acclivity, upon the summit of a green mound infixed, it hath now obtained a basis. It is a Rotunda, its cupola is supported by thirteen pillars handsomely finished; their base, is to receive the cypher of the several slates, which they represent, with a star upon every capital, and its top is crowned with the figure of Plenty grasping the cornucopia and other insignia. The ascent to this Temple is easy, and we gain it by the semicircular steps neatly turned, and the view therefrom is truly interesting.”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
*Bentley, William, 12 June 1791, describing Pleasant Hill, seat of Joseph Barrell, Charlestown, Mass. (1962: 1:264)
 +
 
 +
:“Was politely received at dinner by Mr Barrell, & family, who shewed me his large & elegant arrangements for amusement, & philosophic experiments. . . .His Garden is beyond any example I have seen. . . . The Chinese manner is mixed with the European in the Summer house which fronts the House, below the Flower Garden. Below is the Hot House. In the apartment above are his flowers admitted more freely to the air, & above a Summer House with every convenience. ... No expense is spared to render the whole amusing, instructive, & friendly.”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
* McIntire, Samuel, 8 June 1795, describing a statement of account with Elias Hasket Derby (quoted in Kimball 1940: 74)
 +
 
 +
:“1793 Dec 4th to Sundrie Drawings for  
 
Summer Houses @ 24/ £1: 4:  
 
Summer Houses @ 24/ £1: 4:  
 
1794 Apl 25 to Carving 4 Vases for  
 
1794 Apl 25 to Carving 4 Vases for  
Line 246: Line 108:
 
July to Building the Summer  
 
July to Building the Summer  
 
House at the Farm @ 100: 0:0  
 
House at the Farm @ 100: 0:0  
 
 
to Extra work on the Same,  
 
to Extra work on the Same,  
 
Viz., finishing four Closets  
 
Viz., finishing four Closets  
Line 252: Line 113:
  
  
Brown, Charles Brockden, 1798, describing the  
+
* Brown, Charles Brockden, 1798, describing the fictional estate of Wieland, near Philadelphia, Pa. (p. 9)
fictional estate of Wieland, near Philadelphia, Pa.  
+
 
 +
:“At the distance of three hundred yards from his house, on the top of a rock whose sides were steep, rugged, and encumbered with dwarf cedars and stony asperities, he built what to a common eye would have seemed a summer-house. ... It was no more than a circular area, twelve feet in diameter, whose flooring was the rock, cleared of moss and shrubs, and exactly levelled, edged by twelve Tuscan columns, and covered by an undulating dome. My father furnished the dimensions and outlines, but allowed the artist whom he employed to complete the structure on his own plan. It was without seat, table, or ornament of any kind.”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
* Anonymous, 6 July 1799, describing in The Spectator Vauxhall Garden, New York, N.Y. (quoted in Eberlein and Hubbard 1944: 171)
 +
 
 +
:“His beautiful garden was opened at 6 o’clock in the morning, and the colours were hoisted under a discharge of 16 guns. The 16 summer houses being the names of the Sixteen United States, each were decorated with the Emblematical Colours belonging to each State, and ornamented with Flowers and Garlands. At 5 o’clock in the evening, the sixteen colours of each Summer-house were carried, at the sound of the music, to the Grand Temple of Independence, which is 20 feet diameter, and 20 feet high . . . in the middle of which was presented, the Bust of the great Washington as large as life, and near him a Grand Gold Column, representing the Constitution, and below the said Column the Figure of Fame, 6 feet high, presenting to him with one hand a Crown of Laurel, and with the other holding a Trumpet, announcing to the public that she crowns Real Merit. Round the Pedestal were seen Military Trophies. The sixteen colours above-mentioned were placed round the Pedestal, at the sound of Martial Music—and at each colour being placed round the Bust it was announced by the firing of cannon.”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
* Ogden, John Cosens, 1800, describing the garden of the recitation room and inspector’s study in Nazareth, Pa. (p. 46)
 +
 
 +
:“The strait and circular walks, the windings up the hill, the falling gardens ascended by steps, the banks, summer-houses, seats, trees, herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers are seen in great variety.
 +
<p></p>
 +
:“Most of the American forest trees and many exotic plants are here. It is an elegent garden in miniature.”
 +
 
 +
 
 +
* Clitherall, Eliza Caroline Burgwin (Caroline Elizabeth Burgwin), active 1801, describing the Hermitage, seat of John Burgwin, Wilmington, N.C. (quoted in Flowers 1983: 125–26)
 +
 
 +
:“The Gardens were large, and laid out in the English style—a Creek wound thro’ the largest, upon its banks grew native shrubbery; in this Garden were several Alcoves, Summer Houses, a hothouse—an Octagon summer house high and a Gardener’s tool house beneath—a fishpond, communicating with the Creek, both producing abundance of fish—The Second Garden was ornamental, and in front—The ‘Cook’s Garden,’ was on the opposite side to the large. . . . These [gardens] were extensive and beautifully laid out. There was [sic] alcoves and summer houses at the termination of each walk, seats under trees in the more shady recesses of the Big Garden, as it was called, in distinction from the flower garden in front of the house.”
 +
 
 +
* Southgate, Eliza, 6 July 1802, describing Elias Hasket Derby Farm, Peabody, Mass. (quoted in Kimball 1940: 75–76)
 +
 
 +
:“There are 3 divisions in the gardens, and you pass from the lower one to the upper thro’ several arches rising one above the other. From the lower gate you have a fine perspective view of the whole range, rising gradually until the sight is terminated by a hermitage. The summer house in the center has an arch thro’ it, with 3 doors on each side which open into little apartments and one of them opens to a staircase by which you ascend into a square room, the whole size of the building; it has a fine airy appearance and commands a view of the whole garden; two large chestnut trees on each side almost shade it from my view when seen from the sides.”
 +
 
  
(p. 9)
+
* Cuming, Fortesque, 1810, describing a home in Pittsburgh, Pa. (p. 227)
“At the distance of three hundred yards from
 
his house, on the top of a rock whose sides were
 
steep, rugged, and encumbered with dwarf cedars
 
and stony asperities, he built what to a common
 
eye would have seemed a summer-house. ... It
 
was no more than a circular area, twelve feet in  
 
diameter, whose flooring was the rock, cleared of
 
moss and shrubs, and exactly levelled, edged by
 
twelve Tuscan columns, and covered by an undulating
 
dome. My father furnished the dimensions
 
and outlines, but allowed the artist whom he
 
employed to complete the structure on his own
 
  
plan. It was without seat, table, or ornament of  
+
:“Still continuing to turn to the right, the next prominent object is the house of Mr. James Ross, an emanent [sic] lawyer, which he purchased form a Mons. Marc, a Frenchman, who had taken great pains to cultivate a good garden, which Mr. Ross does not neglect, and in which, on the top of an ancient Indian tumulus or barrow, is a handsome octangular summer house of lattice work, painted white, which forms a conspicuous and pleasing object.”  
any kind.”  
 
  
Anonymous, 6 July 1799, describing in The Spectator
 
Vauxhall Garden, New York, N.Y. (quoted in
 
Eberlein and Hubbard 1944: 171)
 
  
“His beautiful garden was opened at 6 o’clock
+
* Gerry, Elbridge, Jr., July 1813, describing Mount Vernon, plantation of George Washington, Fairfax County, Va. (1927: 174)
in the morning, and the colours were hoisted under
 
a discharge of 16 guns. The 16 summer houses
 
being the names of the Sixteen United States, each
 
were decorated with the Emblematical Colours
 
belonging to each State, and ornamented with
 
Flowers and Garlands. At 5 o’clock in the evening,  
 
the sixteen colours of each Summer-house were
 
carried, at the sound of the music, to the Grand
 
Temple of Independence, which is 20 feet diameter,
 
and 20 feet high . . . in the middle of which was presented,  
 
the Bust of the great Washington as large as
 
life, and near him a Grand Gold Column, representing
 
the Constitution, and below the said Column
 
the Figure of Fame, 6 feet high, presenting to
 
him with one hand a Crown of Laurel, and with the
 
other holding a Trumpet, announcing to the public
 
that she crowns Real Merit. Round the Pedestal
 
were seen Military Trophies. The sixteen colours
 
above-mentioned were placed round the Pedestal,
 
at the sound of Martial Music—and at each colour
 
being placed round the Bust it was announced by
 
the firing of cannon.
 
  
Ogden, John Cosens, 1800, describing the garden
+
:“Back of the mansion is a summer house, which commands an elegant view of the Potomac.” [Fig. 9]
of the recitation room and inspector’s study in
 
Nazareth, Pa. (p. 46)
 
  
“The strait and circular walks, the windings up
 
the hill, the falling gardens ascended by steps, the
 
banks, summer-houses, seats, trees, herbs, fruits,
 
vegetables and flowers are seen in great variety.
 
  
“Most of the American forest trees and many
+
* Peale, Charles Willson, 2 August 1813, in a letter to his daughter, Angelica Peale Robinson, describing Belfield, estate of Charles Willson Peale, Germantown, Pa. (Miller, Hart, and Ward, eds., 1991: 3:202)
exotic plants are here. It is an elegent garden in
 
miniature.
 
  
Clitherall, Eliza Caroline Burgwin (Caroline
+
:“We are now beginning to ornament about the House Our Garden is much admired, Franklin is shewing his taste in neat workmanship. He has built an Elligant Summer House on that commanding spot which you may remember being pointed out to you. It is a hexicon base with 6 well turned Pillars supporting a circular Top & dome on which is placed a bust of Genl. Washington, it would have been more appopriate [sic] to have had 13 pillars, but I did not want so large a building, and it was work enough for Franklin to turn those 6 pillars which he was able to execute will [with] the layth in the mill.
Elizabeth Burgwin), active 1801, describing
 
the Hermitage, seat of John Burgwin,  
 
Wilmington, N.C. (quoted in Flowers 1983:
 
125–26)
 
  
“The Gardens were large, and laid out in the
 
English style—a Creek wound thro’ the largest,
 
upon its banks grew native shrubbery; in this Garden
 
were several Alcoves, Summer Houses, a hothouse—
 
an Octagon summer house high and a
 
Gardener’s tool house beneath—a fishpond,
 
communicating with the Creek, both producing
 
abundance of fish—The Second Garden was ornamental,
 
and in front—The ‘Cook’s Garden,’ was
 
on the opposite side to the large. . . . These [gardens]
 
were extensive and beautifully laid out.
 
There was [sic] alcoves and summer houses at the
 
termination of each walk, seats under trees in the
 
more shady recesses of the Big Garden, as it was
 
called, in distinction from the flower garden in
 
front of the house.”
 
  
Southgate, Eliza, 6 July 1802, describing Elias
+
* Peale, Charles Willson, 22 November 1815, in a letter to his daughter, Angelica Peale Robinson, describing Belfield, estate of Charles Willson Peale, Germantown, Pa. (quoted in Rudnytzky 1986: 43)  
Hasket Derby Farm, Peabody, Mass. (quoted in  
 
Kimball 1940: 75–76)  
 
  
“There are 3 divisions in the gardens, and you
+
:“The objects in sight, are the road ascending to the Dwelling, Stone wall & Thorn hedge on it inclosing the Garden, The Garden Gate at the Fountain, Green House, Summer house a doom supported by 6 Pillars, and bust of Washington crowning it—beyond that an Obelisk; the Hay barracks; Barn with the wind-mill on top of it to pump water for the stock, stables; Mantion-House, Wash-House and connecting Piaza; Carriage House; Spring House, Bath-House and cover of the Ice-house.” [Fig. 10]
pass from the lower one to the upper thro’ several
 
arches rising one above the other. From the lower
 
gate you have a fine perspective view of the whole
 
range, rising gradually until the sight is terminated
 
by a hermitage. The summer house in the center
 
has an arch thro’ it, with 3 doors on each side
 
which open into little apartments and one of them
 
opens to a staircase by which you ascend into a
 
square room, the whole size of the building; it has
 
a fine airy appearance and commands a view of  
 
the whole garden; two large chestnut trees on each
 
side almost shade it from my view when seen from
 
the sides.”  
 
  
Cuming, Fortesque, 1810, describing a home in
 
Pittsburgh, Pa. (p. 227)
 
  
“Still continuing to turn to the right, the next
+
* Silliman, Benjamin, 1824, describing Monte Video, property of Daniel Wadsworth, Avon, Conn. (p. 12)
prominent object is the house of Mr. James Ross,  
 
an emanent [sic] lawyer, which he purchased form
 
a Mons. Marc, a Frenchman, who had taken great
 
pains to cultivate a good garden, which Mr. Ross
 
does not neglect, and in which, on the top of an
 
ancient Indian tumulus or barrow, is a handsome
 
octangular summer house of lattice work, painted
 
white, which forms a conspicuous and pleasing
 
object.
 
  
Gerry, Elbridge, Jr., July 1813, describing
+
:“It [the path] then gradually passes down the north extremity of the lake, where it unites with other paths, at a white picturesque building, overshadowed with trees, standing on the edge of the water, commanding a view of the whole of it, and open on every side during the warm weather, forming at that season, a delightful summerhouse, and in the winter being closed, it serves as a shelter for the boat.
Mount Vernon, plantation of George Washington,  
 
Fairfax County, Va. (1927: 174)
 
  
“Back of the mansion is a summer house,
 
which commands an elegant view of the
 
Potomac.” [Fig. 9]
 
  
Peale, Charles Willson, 2 August 1813, in a
+
* Sheldon, John P., 10 December 1825, describing Fairmount Waterworks, Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Gibson 1988: 5)  
letter to his daughter, Angelica Peale Robinson,  
 
describing Belfield, estate of Charles Willson
 
Peale, Germantown, Pa. (Miller, Hart, and Ward,
 
eds., 1991: 3:202)  
 
  
“We are now beginning to ornament about the
+
:“Delightful seats, surrounded by various kinds of trees and shrubbery, with gardens containing summer houses, vistas, embowered walks, &c meet your view in almost every direction.” [Fig. 11]
House Our Garden is much admired, Franklin is
 
shewing his taste in neat workmanship. He has
 
built an Elligant Summer House on that commanding
 
spot which you may remember being
 
pointed out to you. It is a hexicon base with 6 well
 
turned Pillars supporting a circular Top & dome
 
  
on which is placed a bust of Genl. Washington, it
 
would have been more appopriate [sic] to have
 
had 13 pillars, but I did not want so large a building,
 
and it was work enough for Franklin to turn
 
those 6 pillars which he was able to execute will
 
[with] the layth in the mill.”
 
  
Peale, Charles Willson, 22 November 1815, in  
+
* Connor, Juliana Margaret, 1827, describing the garden at the pottery (Lot 48) on Main Street in Salem, N.C. (quoted in Bynum 1979: 28)  
a letter to his daughter, Angelica Peale Robinson,
 
describing Belfield, estate of Charles Willson
 
Peale, Germantown, Pa. (quoted in Rudnytzky
 
1986: 43)  
 
  
“The objects in sight, are the road ascending to  
+
:“Afterwards walked into the garden belonging to the establishment where we saw what I conceived to be a curiosity and in itself extremely beautiful. It was a large summer house formed of eight cedar trees planted in a circle, the tops whilst young were chained together in the center forming a cone. The immense branches were all cut, so that there was not a leaf, the outside is beautifully trimmed perfectly even and very thick within, were seats placed around and doors or openings were cut, through the branches, it had been planted 40 years.”  
the Dwelling, Stone wall & Thorn hedge on it
 
inclosing the Garden, The Garden Gate at the
 
Fountain, Green House, Summer house a doom
 
supported by 6 Pillars, and bust of Washington
 
crowning it—beyond that an Obelisk; the Hay
 
barracks; Barn with the wind-mill on top of it to
 
pump water for the stock, stables; Mantion-
 
House, Wash-House and connecting Piaza;
 
Carriage House; Spring House, Bath-House and
 
cover of the Ice-house.” [Fig. 10]
 
  
Silliman, Benjamin, 1824, describing Monte
 
Video, property of Daniel Wadsworth, Avon,
 
Conn. (p. 12)
 
  
“It [the path] then gradually passes down the
+
* Martineau, Harriet, 4 May 1835, describing New Orleans, La. (1838: 1:274)
north extremity of the lake, where it unites with
 
other paths, at a white picturesque building, overshadowed
 
with trees, standing on the edge of the
 
water, commanding a view of the whole of it, and
 
open on every side during the warm weather,
 
forming at that season, a delightful summerhouse,
 
and in the winter being closed, it serves as a shelter
 
for the boat.
 
  
Sheldon, John P., 10 December 1825, describing
+
“All the rest [of the villas] were an entertainment to the eye as they stood, white and cool, amid their flowering magnolias, and their blossoming alleys, hedges, and thickets of roses. In returning, we alighted at one of these delicious retreats, and wandered about, losing each other among the thorns, the ceringas, and the wilderness of shrubs. We met in a grotto, under the summer-house, cool with a greenish light, and veiled at its entrance with a tracery of creepers. There we lingered, amid singing or silent dreaming. There seemed to be too little that was real about the place for ordinary voices to be heard speaking about ordinary things.”
Fairmount Waterworks, Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted
 
in Gibson 1988: 5)
 
  
“Delightful seats, surrounded by various kinds
 
of trees and shrubbery, with gardens containing
 
summer houses, vistas, embowered walks, &c meet
 
your view in almost every direction.” [Fig. 11]
 
  
Connor, Juliana Margaret, 1827, describing  
+
* Lester, N., 30 November 1837, describing Hermitage, estate of Andrew Jackson, Nashville, Tenn. (Ladies Hermitage Association Research #231)  
the garden at the pottery (Lot 48) on Main Street
 
in Salem, N.C. (quoted in Bynum 1979: 28)  
 
  
“Afterwards walked into the garden belonging
+
:“The General has a very fine garden; I culled some choice seeds which I will divide with you the first opportunity. The garden is tastefully laid off in plats, ornamented with various kinds of flowers and shrubbery. The tomb of his lamented lady is in one corner of the garden, but a short distant from his dwelling. It is surrounded by rose bushes, and the weeping willow, and covered by a plain summer-house.”  
to the establishment where we saw what I conceived
 
to be a curiosity and in itself extremely
 
beautiful. It was a large summer house formed of  
 
eight cedar trees planted in a circle, the tops whilst
 
young were chained together in the center forming
 
a cone. The immense branches were all cut, so
 
that there was not a leaf, the outside is beautifully
 
trimmed perfectly even and very thick within,  
 
were seats placed around and doors or openings
 
were cut, through the branches, it had been
 
planted 40 years.”  
 
  
Martineau, Harriet, 4 May 1835, describing
 
New Orleans, La. (1838: 1:274)
 
  
“All the rest [of the villas] were an entertainment
+
* Willis, Nathaniel Parker, 1840, describing Mount Vernon, plantation of George Washington, Fairfax County, Va. ([1840] 1971: 261)
to the eye as they stood, white and cool, amid their flowering magnolias, and their blossoming
 
alleys, hedges, and thickets of roses. In
 
returning, we alighted at one of these delicious
 
retreats, and wandered about, losing each other
 
among the thorns, the ceringas, and the wilderness
 
of shrubs. We met in a grotto, under the
 
summer-house, cool with a greenish light, and
 
veiled at its entrance with a tracery of creepers.
 
There we lingered, amid singing or silent dreaming.  
 
There seemed to be too little that was real
 
about the place for ordinary voices to be heard
 
speaking about ordinary things.”
 
  
Lester, N., 30 November 1837, describing Hermitage,  
+
:“About two hundred yards from the house, in a southerly direction, stands a summer-house, on the edge of the river-bank, which is here lofty and sloping, and clothed with wood to the water’s edge. The summer-house commands a fine prospect of the river and the Maryland shore; also of the White House, at a distance of five or six miles down the river, where an engagement took place with the British vessels which ascended the river during the last war.
estate of Andrew Jackson, Nashville, Tenn.  
 
(Ladies Hermitage Association Research #231)
 
  
“The General has a very fine garden; I culled
 
some choice seeds which I will divide with you the
 
first opportunity. The garden is tastefully laid off
 
in plats, ornamented with various kinds of flowers
 
and shrubbery. The tomb of his lamented lady is
 
in one corner of the garden, but a short distant
 
from his dwelling. It is surrounded by rose bushes,
 
and the weeping willow, and covered by a plain
 
summer-house.”
 
  
Willis, Nathaniel Parker, 1840, describing  
+
* Committee of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, September 1846, describing its annual exhibition in Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Boyd 1929: 102)  
Mount Vernon, plantation of George Washington,
 
Fairfax County, Va. ([1840] 1971: 261)  
 
  
“About two hundred yards from the house, in
+
:“Archibald Henderson, gardener to Wharton Chancellor, displayed, ‘a gothic temple or cottage summer-house of handsome form with evergreen envelope, embellished appropriately with flowers, rising to the height of sixteen feet.’”
a southerly direction, stands a summer-house, on
 
the edge of the river-bank, which is here lofty and
 
sloping, and clothed with wood to the water’s
 
edge. The summer-house commands a fine
 
prospect of the river and the Maryland shore; also
 
of the White House, at a distance of five or six
 
miles down the river, where an engagement took
 
place with the British vessels which ascended the
 
river during the last war.
 
  
Committee of the Pennsylvania Horticultural
 
Society, September 1846, describing its
 
annual exhibition in Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in
 
Boyd 1929: 102)
 
  
“Archibald Henderson, gardener to Wharton
+
* Kirkbride, Thomas S., April 1848, describing the pleasure grounds and farm of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, Philadelphia (American Journal of Insanity 4: 349)
Chancellor, displayed, ‘a gothic temple or cottage
 
summer-house of handsome form with evergreen
 
envelope, embellished appropriately with flowers,
 
rising to the height of sixteen feet.’”
 
  
Kirkbride, Thomas S., April 1848, describing the  
+
:“The summer-houses, rustic-seats, exercising-swings &c., in this division are all in particularly pleasant positions. The cottage fronts the woods, and in every part this portion of the grounds is completely protected from intrusion and observation.”
pleasure grounds and farm of the Pennsylvania
 
Hospital for the Insane, Philadelphia (American
 
Journal of Insanity 4: 349)
 
  
“The summer-houses, rustic-seats, exercising-
 
swings &c., in this division are all in particularly
 
pleasant positions. The cottage fronts the woods,
 
and in every part this portion of the grounds is
 
completely protected from intrusion and
 
observation.”
 
  
Downing, A. J., 13 June 1848, in a letter to Cora L.  
+
* Downing, A. J., 13 June 1848, in a letter to Cora L. Barton, describing Highland Place, estate of A. J. Downing, Newburgh, N.Y. (quoted in Haley 1988: 33–34)  
Barton, describing Highland Place, estate of A. J.  
 
Downing, Newburgh, N.Y. (quoted in Haley 1988:  
 
33–34)  
 
  
“I have also been making some little improvements  
+
:“I have also been making some little improvements in my own garden—and especially building a rustic summer house which we call the ‘hermitage,’ and which I think is so much in your own taste that I should be heartily glad to show it to you.”
in my own garden—and especially building  
 
a rustic summer house which we call the ‘hermitage,’  
 
and which I think is so much in your own  
 
taste that I should be heartily glad to show it to  
 
you.”
 
  
 
===Citations===
 
===Citations===

Revision as of 19:39, June 1, 2015

History

A free-standing structure in the garden that provided shelter from the sun or rain was often called a summerhouse. It was found in both public and private gardens throughout colonial and early republican America. As early as 1696 Gov. Francis Nicholson, who laid out the colonial capitals of Annapolis, Md., and Williamsburg, Va., suggested a summerhouse for the public grounds. Examples were plentiful in eighteenth-century publications and pattern books, and they exhibited a broad stylistic range: classical [Fig. 1], Gothic [Fig. 2], and Chinese, to name a few. Historic evidence corroborates that summerhouses were constructed in a rich variety of styles, such as the Gothic example at Sedgeley, near Philadelphia [Fig. 3]; the classical temple style at Charles Willson Peale’s Belfield in Germantown, Pa.; and the Georgian summerhouse at the garden of William Paca in Annapolis, Md.

From New England to South Carolina, “summerhouse” seems to have been used as an umbrella term, which subsumed more specific terms for a variety of garden structures such as “hermitage,” “kiosk,” “temple,” “pavilion,” and “Chinese seat.” The materials and scale ranged widely. At the high end was the summerhouse at the Elias Hasket Derby Farm in Peabody, Mass. This extant building, designed by Samuel McIntire (1795), is a well-documented example of federal-period architecture. Rev. Manasseh Cutler in 1778 described a richly decorated summerhouse that had three rooms and contained a large library, works of art, and a piano. The summerhouse described by Juliana Margaret Connor (1827), which was constructed of eight cedar trees chained together, presented a very different type of structure. In the Horticulturist, A. J. Downing referred to this variety of types when he explained that structures ranged from light wooden frames covered in painted canvas to highly finished, fanciful structures, such as those illustrated in his journal. He echoed many earlier writers who concluded that summerhouses served three purposes: First, they provided shelter and resting places; second, they were sited to command the finest points of view [Fig. 4]; and third, they provided the termination of a view or prospect.

Some summerhouses had additional utilitarian functions, such as those which surmounted cellars and vaults. An icehouse under the summerhouse was reported in 1791 at the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House [Fig. 5]. Both Pleasant Hill in Charlestown, Mass. [Fig. 6], and Charles Will-son Peale’s Belfield had summerhouses that incorporated hothouses. The summerhouse at John Burgwin’s Hermitage in Wilmington, N.C., served as a tool shed. At Monte Video, according to Benjamin Silliman (1824), the summerhouse was used to shelter a boat. These and other examples capitalized on a favorable spot and ornamented an otherwise strictly utilitarian feature.

-- Therese O'Malley

Texts

Usage

  • Nicholson, Gov. Francis, 1696, describing Annapolis, Md. (quoted in Sarudy 1989:120)
“requested to have a Certain parcell of land in the publick pasture according to the Demencons thereof mentioned and layd down in the Platt of the Town for planting or makeing a Garden, Vineard, or Somerhouse or other use”


  • Thomas, Gabriel, 1698, describing the residence of Edward Shippen, Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Watson 1857: 1:368–69)
“Edward Shippen, who lives near the capital city, has an orchard and gardens adjoining to his great house that equals any I have ever seen, being a very famous and pleasant summer house,erected in the middle of his garden, and abounding with tulips, carnations, roses, lilies, &c., with many wild plants of the country besides.”


  • Beverley, Robert, 1705, describing Westover, seat of William Byrd II, on the James River, Va. (quoted in Beverley 1947: 298–99)
“Have you pleasure in a Garden? . . . Colonel Byrd, in his Garden [at Westover], which is the finest in that Country, has a Summer-House set round with the Indian Honey-Suckle.”


  • Anonymous, 9 June 1733, describing a plantation for rent in Charleston, S.C. (South Carolina Gazette)
“a very good Dwelling-House, with two Summer Houses, two Cellars under them, a Kitchen, Store-House, large Garden, with other Conveniencies, commonly called the Summer-House.”


  • Anonymous, 6 February 1746, describing a bath-garden in Boston, Mass. (Boston Weekly News Letter)
“TO BE LETT, (exclusive of the Bath-House)

“The Bath-Garden, at the Westerly Part of the Town, which has for many Years been improv’d as a publick Garden, and contains a Variety of the best Fruit-Trees, a great Quantity of Currant and Gooseberry Bushes, some of the best Grape Vines, a handsome Summer-House, Glasses for Hot-Beds, &c. Enquire of John Welch, and know further. N.B.

“The Cold Bath is in good Order for Use and has been found beneficial to several that have used it, even this Winter-Season: Price 40 Shillings a Year or 5 Shillings each single Time, old Tenor.”


  • Anonymous, 19 March 1753, describing in the South Carolina Gazette a property for rent in Charleston, S.C. (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
“TO BE LET. . . . To the said house there is a good kitchen, stable and chair-house, a large garden and handsome summer house & etc.”


  • Callender, Hannah, 1762, describing Belmont Mansion, estate of Judge William Peters, near Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Vaux 1888: 455)
“We left the garden for a wood cut into vistas. In the midst is a Chinese temple for a summer house.”


  • Drowne, Samuel, 7 June 1767, describing Mal-bone Hall, country seat of Godfrey Malbone, Newport, R.I. (Rhode Island Landscape Survey)
“There was a fine Garden and a summer house there. . . . In his garden was a fish pond and a duck pond. The water was drawn out of the fish pond when his house burned.”


  • Drowne, Samuel, 23 June 1767, describing Redwood Farm, seat of Abraham Redwood, Jr., Newport, R.I. (Brown University, John Hay Library, Drowne Family Papers, typescript)
“We saw Mr. Redwoods garden one of the finest gardens I ever Saw in my Life in it grows all Sorts of West India fruit. Viz. Oranges Lemmons Limes Pineapples Tamirinds and other Sorts it has also West-India flowers very pritty ones and a Fine Summer House it was Told my Father by a Credible person that the garden was worth 40.000 pounds and that the man that Takes Care of the garden Has above 100 Dolars per annum it Has Hot Houses were [sic] things that are Tender are put in the Winter and Hot Beds for the West India fruit & I Saw one or Two of these gardens.”


  • Anonymous, 28 January 1771, describing Vauxhall Garden, New York, N.Y. (New York Gazette)
“To be sold at private Sale, the commodious house and large gardens, in the out ward of this city, known by the name of VAUXHALL; the situation extremely pleasant, having a very extensive view both up and down the North River. . . . there are 36 lots and a half of ground laid out to great advantage in a pleasure, and kitchen garden, well stock’d with fruit and other trees, vegetables, &c. and several summer houses which occasionally may be removed; the whole in extreme good order and repair, well fenced in, very fit for a large family, or to entertain the gentry, &c. as a public garden, &c. The premises are on lease from Trinity Church, sixty one years of which are yet to come.”


  • Peale, Charles Willson, 15 February 1772, describing a portrait of William Paca, including his garden in Annapolis, Md. (Miller, Hart, and Appel, eds., 1983: 1:113)
“I have spent some time about Mr. Paca’s whole lenght [sic] . . . if you remember the action he is resting on a pedestal on which I have introduced the Bust of Tully but believe [I] will be obliged to put some other in its [ ] place in the distance is a View of his Summer house.” [Fig. 7]


  • Bucktrout, Benjamin, 1 September 1774, advertisement in the Virginia Gazette (quoted in Martin 1991: 206fn. 24)
“[will build] all sorts of Chinese and Gothick PALING for gardens and summer houses.”


  • Cutler, Rev. Manasseh, 16 August 1778, describing a garden in Rhode Island (1987: 1:68–69)
“At the lower end of the aisle is a large summerhouse, a long square containing three rooms—the middle paved with marble and hung with landscapes and other pictures. On the right is a very large private library adorned with very curious carvings. The collection of French and English authors, maps, etc., is valuable. The room is furnished with a table, chairs, etc. . . . The room on the left in the summer-house, beautifully prepared and designed for music, contains a spinnet.”


  • Hunnewell, Mr., 1790–91, describing the Vassall-Craigie-Longfellow House, Cambridge, Mass. (quoted in Hammond 1982: 160)
“the Vault under the Summerhouse is equal to any spot for the Construction of an icehouse & the distance (from the mansion house) is no obstacle in the least—as on occasion you may keep ice in the Cellar three days.”


  • Constantia [pseud.], 24 June 1790, “Description of Gray’s Gardens, Pennsylvania” (Massachusetts Magazine 3: 414–15)
“We ascend the [ ], five easy steps in the first, and ten in the second, produces us in the area exactly before the door, and we then command a full view of a romantick summer house, in the front of which is a whole length transparent picture of Columbia’s illustrious Chief—Fame, is crowning him with the laurel—the picture is as large as the life, and the likeness, it is said, is happily preserved. Underneath this summer house, is an ice house, convenient and well planned, and upon the right of this building, is an oblong section of the garden, prettily enclosed, which is chiefly devoted to exotics. . . .

“At every turn shaded seats are artfully contrived, and the ground abounds with arbours, alcoves, and summer houses, which are handsomely adorned with odoriferous flowers. Among the little federal temple claims the principal regard. It is the very edifice, that upon the celebration of the ratification of the constitution, was carried in triumphant procession through the streets of this metropolis; and, upon a gentle acclivity, upon the summit of a green mound infixed, it hath now obtained a basis. It is a Rotunda, its cupola is supported by thirteen pillars handsomely finished; their base, is to receive the cypher of the several slates, which they represent, with a star upon every capital, and its top is crowned with the figure of Plenty grasping the cornucopia and other insignia. The ascent to this Temple is easy, and we gain it by the semicircular steps neatly turned, and the view therefrom is truly interesting.”


  • Bentley, William, 12 June 1791, describing Pleasant Hill, seat of Joseph Barrell, Charlestown, Mass. (1962: 1:264)
“Was politely received at dinner by Mr Barrell, & family, who shewed me his large & elegant arrangements for amusement, & philosophic experiments. . . .His Garden is beyond any example I have seen. . . . The Chinese manner is mixed with the European in the Summer house which fronts the House, below the Flower Garden. Below is the Hot House. In the apartment above are his flowers admitted more freely to the air, & above a Summer House with every convenience. ... No expense is spared to render the whole amusing, instructive, & friendly.”


  • McIntire, Samuel, 8 June 1795, describing a statement of account with Elias Hasket Derby (quoted in Kimball 1940: 74)
“1793 Dec 4th to Sundrie Drawings for

Summer Houses @ 24/ £1: 4: 1794 Apl 25 to Carving 4 Vases for the Summer House at 18/s each 3: 18: July to Building the Summer House at the Farm @ 100: 0:0 to Extra work on the Same, Viz., finishing four Closets @20/each 4: 0:0” [Fig. 8]


  • Brown, Charles Brockden, 1798, describing the fictional estate of Wieland, near Philadelphia, Pa. (p. 9)
“At the distance of three hundred yards from his house, on the top of a rock whose sides were steep, rugged, and encumbered with dwarf cedars and stony asperities, he built what to a common eye would have seemed a summer-house. ... It was no more than a circular area, twelve feet in diameter, whose flooring was the rock, cleared of moss and shrubs, and exactly levelled, edged by twelve Tuscan columns, and covered by an undulating dome. My father furnished the dimensions and outlines, but allowed the artist whom he employed to complete the structure on his own plan. It was without seat, table, or ornament of any kind.”


  • Anonymous, 6 July 1799, describing in The Spectator Vauxhall Garden, New York, N.Y. (quoted in Eberlein and Hubbard 1944: 171)
“His beautiful garden was opened at 6 o’clock in the morning, and the colours were hoisted under a discharge of 16 guns. The 16 summer houses being the names of the Sixteen United States, each were decorated with the Emblematical Colours belonging to each State, and ornamented with Flowers and Garlands. At 5 o’clock in the evening, the sixteen colours of each Summer-house were carried, at the sound of the music, to the Grand Temple of Independence, which is 20 feet diameter, and 20 feet high . . . in the middle of which was presented, the Bust of the great Washington as large as life, and near him a Grand Gold Column, representing the Constitution, and below the said Column the Figure of Fame, 6 feet high, presenting to him with one hand a Crown of Laurel, and with the other holding a Trumpet, announcing to the public that she crowns Real Merit. Round the Pedestal were seen Military Trophies. The sixteen colours above-mentioned were placed round the Pedestal, at the sound of Martial Music—and at each colour being placed round the Bust it was announced by the firing of cannon.”


  • Ogden, John Cosens, 1800, describing the garden of the recitation room and inspector’s study in Nazareth, Pa. (p. 46)
“The strait and circular walks, the windings up the hill, the falling gardens ascended by steps, the banks, summer-houses, seats, trees, herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers are seen in great variety.

“Most of the American forest trees and many exotic plants are here. It is an elegent garden in miniature.”


  • Clitherall, Eliza Caroline Burgwin (Caroline Elizabeth Burgwin), active 1801, describing the Hermitage, seat of John Burgwin, Wilmington, N.C. (quoted in Flowers 1983: 125–26)
“The Gardens were large, and laid out in the English style—a Creek wound thro’ the largest, upon its banks grew native shrubbery; in this Garden were several Alcoves, Summer Houses, a hothouse—an Octagon summer house high and a Gardener’s tool house beneath—a fishpond, communicating with the Creek, both producing abundance of fish—The Second Garden was ornamental, and in front—The ‘Cook’s Garden,’ was on the opposite side to the large. . . . These [gardens] were extensive and beautifully laid out. There was [sic] alcoves and summer houses at the termination of each walk, seats under trees in the more shady recesses of the Big Garden, as it was called, in distinction from the flower garden in front of the house.”
  • Southgate, Eliza, 6 July 1802, describing Elias Hasket Derby Farm, Peabody, Mass. (quoted in Kimball 1940: 75–76)
“There are 3 divisions in the gardens, and you pass from the lower one to the upper thro’ several arches rising one above the other. From the lower gate you have a fine perspective view of the whole range, rising gradually until the sight is terminated by a hermitage. The summer house in the center has an arch thro’ it, with 3 doors on each side which open into little apartments and one of them opens to a staircase by which you ascend into a square room, the whole size of the building; it has a fine airy appearance and commands a view of the whole garden; two large chestnut trees on each side almost shade it from my view when seen from the sides.”


  • Cuming, Fortesque, 1810, describing a home in Pittsburgh, Pa. (p. 227)
“Still continuing to turn to the right, the next prominent object is the house of Mr. James Ross, an emanent [sic] lawyer, which he purchased form a Mons. Marc, a Frenchman, who had taken great pains to cultivate a good garden, which Mr. Ross does not neglect, and in which, on the top of an ancient Indian tumulus or barrow, is a handsome octangular summer house of lattice work, painted white, which forms a conspicuous and pleasing object.”


  • Gerry, Elbridge, Jr., July 1813, describing Mount Vernon, plantation of George Washington, Fairfax County, Va. (1927: 174)
“Back of the mansion is a summer house, which commands an elegant view of the Potomac.” [Fig. 9]


  • Peale, Charles Willson, 2 August 1813, in a letter to his daughter, Angelica Peale Robinson, describing Belfield, estate of Charles Willson Peale, Germantown, Pa. (Miller, Hart, and Ward, eds., 1991: 3:202)
“We are now beginning to ornament about the House Our Garden is much admired, Franklin is shewing his taste in neat workmanship. He has built an Elligant Summer House on that commanding spot which you may remember being pointed out to you. It is a hexicon base with 6 well turned Pillars supporting a circular Top & dome on which is placed a bust of Genl. Washington, it would have been more appopriate [sic] to have had 13 pillars, but I did not want so large a building, and it was work enough for Franklin to turn those 6 pillars which he was able to execute will [with] the layth in the mill.”


  • Peale, Charles Willson, 22 November 1815, in a letter to his daughter, Angelica Peale Robinson, describing Belfield, estate of Charles Willson Peale, Germantown, Pa. (quoted in Rudnytzky 1986: 43)
“The objects in sight, are the road ascending to the Dwelling, Stone wall & Thorn hedge on it inclosing the Garden, The Garden Gate at the Fountain, Green House, Summer house a doom supported by 6 Pillars, and bust of Washington crowning it—beyond that an Obelisk; the Hay barracks; Barn with the wind-mill on top of it to pump water for the stock, stables; Mantion-House, Wash-House and connecting Piaza; Carriage House; Spring House, Bath-House and cover of the Ice-house.” [Fig. 10]


  • Silliman, Benjamin, 1824, describing Monte Video, property of Daniel Wadsworth, Avon, Conn. (p. 12)
“It [the path] then gradually passes down the north extremity of the lake, where it unites with other paths, at a white picturesque building, overshadowed with trees, standing on the edge of the water, commanding a view of the whole of it, and open on every side during the warm weather, forming at that season, a delightful summerhouse, and in the winter being closed, it serves as a shelter for the boat.”


  • Sheldon, John P., 10 December 1825, describing Fairmount Waterworks, Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Gibson 1988: 5)
“Delightful seats, surrounded by various kinds of trees and shrubbery, with gardens containing summer houses, vistas, embowered walks, &c meet your view in almost every direction.” [Fig. 11]


  • Connor, Juliana Margaret, 1827, describing the garden at the pottery (Lot 48) on Main Street in Salem, N.C. (quoted in Bynum 1979: 28)
“Afterwards walked into the garden belonging to the establishment where we saw what I conceived to be a curiosity and in itself extremely beautiful. It was a large summer house formed of eight cedar trees planted in a circle, the tops whilst young were chained together in the center forming a cone. The immense branches were all cut, so that there was not a leaf, the outside is beautifully trimmed perfectly even and very thick within, were seats placed around and doors or openings were cut, through the branches, it had been planted 40 years.”


  • Martineau, Harriet, 4 May 1835, describing New Orleans, La. (1838: 1:274)

“All the rest [of the villas] were an entertainment to the eye as they stood, white and cool, amid their flowering magnolias, and their blossoming alleys, hedges, and thickets of roses. In returning, we alighted at one of these delicious retreats, and wandered about, losing each other among the thorns, the ceringas, and the wilderness of shrubs. We met in a grotto, under the summer-house, cool with a greenish light, and veiled at its entrance with a tracery of creepers. There we lingered, amid singing or silent dreaming. There seemed to be too little that was real about the place for ordinary voices to be heard speaking about ordinary things.”


  • Lester, N., 30 November 1837, describing Hermitage, estate of Andrew Jackson, Nashville, Tenn. (Ladies Hermitage Association Research #231)
“The General has a very fine garden; I culled some choice seeds which I will divide with you the first opportunity. The garden is tastefully laid off in plats, ornamented with various kinds of flowers and shrubbery. The tomb of his lamented lady is in one corner of the garden, but a short distant from his dwelling. It is surrounded by rose bushes, and the weeping willow, and covered by a plain summer-house.”


  • Willis, Nathaniel Parker, 1840, describing Mount Vernon, plantation of George Washington, Fairfax County, Va. ([1840] 1971: 261)
“About two hundred yards from the house, in a southerly direction, stands a summer-house, on the edge of the river-bank, which is here lofty and sloping, and clothed with wood to the water’s edge. The summer-house commands a fine prospect of the river and the Maryland shore; also of the White House, at a distance of five or six miles down the river, where an engagement took place with the British vessels which ascended the river during the last war.”


  • Committee of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, September 1846, describing its annual exhibition in Philadelphia, Pa. (quoted in Boyd 1929: 102)
“Archibald Henderson, gardener to Wharton Chancellor, displayed, ‘a gothic temple or cottage summer-house of handsome form with evergreen envelope, embellished appropriately with flowers, rising to the height of sixteen feet.’”


  • Kirkbride, Thomas S., April 1848, describing the pleasure grounds and farm of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, Philadelphia (American Journal of Insanity 4: 349)
“The summer-houses, rustic-seats, exercising-swings &c., in this division are all in particularly pleasant positions. The cottage fronts the woods, and in every part this portion of the grounds is completely protected from intrusion and observation.”


  • Downing, A. J., 13 June 1848, in a letter to Cora L. Barton, describing Highland Place, estate of A. J. Downing, Newburgh, N.Y. (quoted in Haley 1988: 33–34)
“I have also been making some little improvements in my own garden—and especially building a rustic summer house which we call the ‘hermitage,’ and which I think is so much in your own taste that I should be heartily glad to show it to you.”

Citations

Chambers, Ephraim, 1741–43, Cyclopaedia

(2:n.p.)

“PAVILLION*, in architecture, signifies a kind of turret, or building usually insulated, and contained under a single roof; sometimes square, and sometimes in form of a dome: thus called from the resemblance of its roof to a tent.

“* The word comes from the Italian padiglione, tent, and that from the Latin papilio.

“Pavillions are sometimes also projecting pieces, in the front of a building, marking the middle thereof. . . .

“There are pavillions built in gardens, popularly called summer-houses, pleasure-houses, &c.—Some castles or forts consist only of a single pavillion.”

Halfpenny, William and John, 1755, Rural Architecture in the Chinese Taste ([1755] 1968: 7)

“PLATE X. Represents the Plan and Elevation of an Octagon Summer-house, 14 Feet Diameter, and 14 Feet high from the Floor to the Cieling [sic], elevated on an artificial Rock, in which a Cellar, or Grotto, may be made. The Walls may be Brick, Stone, or Timber, and the Ornaments cut in Stone or Wood, and the Rails of the Steps Lattice Work. This Building, not including the Rock, may be executed, in a good Manner, for about 230 l.” [Fig. 12]

Sheridan, Thomas, 1789, A Complete Dictionary of the English Language (n.p.)

“SUMMERHOUSE, sum’-mer-hous. s. An appartment in a garden used in the summer.”

Gregory, G., 1816, A New and Complete Diction


ary of Arts and Sciences (2:n.p.)

“GARDENING. . . .

“Near some pieces of water, as a cool retreat, it is desirable that there should be something of the summer-house kind; and why not the simple rustic arbour, embowered with the woodbine, the sweetbriar, the jessamine, and the rose? Pole arbours are tied well together with burk or ozier twigs.”

Webster, Noah, 1828, An American Dictionary of the English Language (n.p.)

“SUM’MER-HOUSE, n. 1. A house or apartment in a garden to be used in summer. Pope, Watts.

“2. A house for summer’s residence.”

Sayers, Edward, 1838, The American Flower Garden Companion (p. 18)

“In many flower gardens, trellises, arbors, and summer houses, may be introduced to a very good purpose for concealing offices and unseemly appendages.”

Downing, A. J., February 1848, “Hints and Designs for Rustic Buildings” (Horticulturist 2: 363)

“It must be a very highly finished scene, and a garden where all the details are in a very decided and ornate style of art, in which marble temples, statues, or even highly finished pavilions and summer-houses, may be introduced with harmony and propriety.”

Downing, A. J., 1849, A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening ([1849] 1991: 458)

“There is no limit to the variety of forms and patterns in which these rustic seats, arbors, summerhouses, etc., can be constructed by an artist of some fancy and ingenuity. After the frame-work of the structure is formed of posts and rough boards, if small straight rods about an inch in diameter, of hazel, white birch, maple, etc., are selected in sufficient quantity, they may be nailed on in squares, diamonds, medallions, or other patterns, and have the effect of a mosaic of wood.”

Ranlett, William H., 1849, The Architect ([1849] 1976: 1:33)

“Design V.—Elevations, plans, details, ground plot and scenic view of a cottage in the Tudor style, designed for a country residence on the bank of the Bronx river, in Weschester County, N. Y. The tenement comprises ten acres of ground, lying on both sides of the river, and mostly covered by forest trees. The premises will contain a gardener’s lodge, summer-house, stone bridge, coach-house, bath-house, and outbuildings, screened by ornamental shrubbery.”

Jaques, George, January 1852, “Landscape Gardening in New-England” (Horticulturist 7: 36)

“A man of refinement would in these days, scarcely tolerate a geometrical arrangement of grounds of this extent. Such places admit of a winding carriage-way, leading through a fine lawn

studded with groups of trees, irregularly circuitous walks, bordered with various shrubbery; here and there a massive forest tree, standing in its full development singly upon the lawn; a summerhouse embowered in the midst of a little retired grove; arabesque forms of flower beds occasionally inserted in the midst of the smooth green of a grass-plot; a vase, pretty even when empty, but better over-flowing with water, which it costs not much to bring in a leaden pipe from some neighboring hill:—such are among the charms which almost seem to make a little paradise of home.”

Downing, A. J., July 1852, “Domestic Notices: Kiosques or Summer Houses” (Horticulturist 7: 339)

“In the warm climates of the East, the delight of gardens seems to be enjoyed more by looking at them from summer houses, than rambling about in them, and examining them in detail. Accordingly there is a great deal of fancy and considerable taste exercised in the East in these buildings—usually of wood, built in light and pleasing forms. The roof may be covered with canvass [sic], stretched over a wooden frame; when well painted, this forms the most durable covering. Its surface being smoother than one of wood, it may be made ornamental by being prettily tinted in subdued and delicate shades. Summer houses, in a somewhat finished and elaborate style, like these [shown in the accompanying frontispiece], are better suited for the more ornate grounds of a country residence, where there is a considerable degree of finish and keeping, than rustic arbors and summer houses. In long walks, structures of this kind afford more agreeable resting places, and, when erected in any fine points of view, they serve the double purpose of calling the attention to the best position for seeing it, and affording shade and rest while enjoying the outstretched landscape. In all buildings of this kind, the design should be rather simple than complex, and the roof-outline is one which should receive most attention—particularly if the building is seen from any distance.” [Fig. 13]

Images

Notes

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