View of the Hot House and Green House at Bellevue. The Seat of Peter La Touche Esqr.

On ground sweeping down to trees, with the sea beyond, a range of glasshouses of various shapes and sizes, all apparently joined together. In the foreground a group of five elegantly dressed men and women are seen to gesture towards the buildings.
A man pulling a garden roller proceeds up a path towards the nearest greenhouse. The trees are mixed conifer and deciduous. There are sailing ships on the sea.

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Engravings
Subject(s) Architecture, Horticulture
Geographical Location
  • Bellevue House, Co. Wicklow - Named locality
  • Wicklow - County
  • Leinster - Province
Keywords(s) Agricultural equipment, Buildings, Gardens & parks, Men, People, Seas, Ships, Trees, Women
Colour Monochrome
Dimensions 15.5 x 11
Published / created 1797

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account A View of ancient and modern Dublin
Print or manuscript Print
Location of image in copy opposite p. 104
Source copy National Library of Ireland Jp 5350
Rights Private Collection

Related text from travel account

The green-houses and hot-houses now claimed our attention. From Mrs. La Touche's dressing-room—containing many very good portraits and paintings—designed and furnished with skilful taste and elegance, we entered a beautiful conservatory, passing on the right hand a richly Ornamented little bath room. The conservatory [p. 104] is two hundred and sixty-four feet in length, with a handsome walk in the middle. On each side of this delightful walk is planted a surprizing variety of rare exotic plants, natives of Asia, Africa and America. Above the border, on the south side, is a flue for warming the house in winter, the entire length of which is covered with rare plants in pots which form the toute [sic] ensemble, and clothes the whole with unequalled taste and neatness. Travellers agree nem. con. in saying, that it far supasses [sic] in health and vigour any group of foreign plants to be found in Ireland*.
[Footnote] *Much of the southern part of Africa is yet unexplored by botanists. Many new and rare plants have been sent to the king’s gardens at Kew, by Mr. Masson, who has been appointed by government to go out and search for them. Such is the love of science in the reign of George III.
The description of Mr. Darwin, the ingenious author of “The Botanic Garden,” is well applied here.

“Obedient sails from realms unfurrowed bring,
For her the unnam’d progeny of spring;
Attendant nymphs her dulcet mandates hear,
And nurse in fostering arms the tender year,
Plant the young bulbs, inhume the living seed,
Prop the weak stem, the erring tendril lead,
Or fan in glass-built frames the stranger flowers,
With milder gales, or steep with warmer showers;
In one bright point admiring nature eyes
The fruits and foliage of discordant skies!

The apparatus of glass-work, of which we have given an engraved view—cost above three thousand pounds, and we were not a little surprized when we were informed it is only ten years since
[Image: View of the Hot House]
[p. 105] this amazing work was commenced, and the outline nearly finished by a Mr. Shanley, a native of Ireland, and an ingenious honest man, deservedly esteemed for his good natural talents, whose death was a public loss. To enumerate all the plants in the Bellevue collection would not only be attended with great labour, but probably appear prolix and unentertaining to those who are not lovers of botany. We shall therefore only remark such as are very curious for their size, for their rarity, or for their quick growth.
A plant of the Ceratonia Siliqua Edules Carob, or locust tree, which covers twenty feet of wall; remarkable for being the fruit on which St. John was providentially fed in the wilderness; a geranium otto of roses, sixteen feet dito; a Myriacae Quercifolia, or oak leaved, candle berried Myrtle, ten feet ditto; a Geranium Cordifolium, or heart-leaved crane’s bill, twenty-four feet ditto; with many others which have certainly grown prodigiously in such a short space of time. A superb orangery next offered its blooming fruit to our view. It is erected in a square form, planted in 1789, with orange trees in the centre. The northern part covered with fig trees and cherries in the angles, intermixed with many curious plants in pots; and in a border on the south east and western sides are mignionettes, sweet peas and lupins, in bloom in the month of March; even mignionette all the year. For these annuals, al- [p. 106] though hardy, are very difficult to force, and in general thought unmanageable in these seasons.
A walk three feet broad led us to an extensive and lofty peach-house, in full bearing, sixty feet in length, and eighteen in breadth; the flues of which are also covered in uncommon and curious exotic plants in pots, and some rare tropical plants, raised from seeds this year. We walked through this luxurious and fertile house, on a painted walk, to a splendid vinery, well stocked with fifteen sorts of grapes, some bunches of which are twenty-seven inches in length; one trained horizontally, another obliquely and alcove-ways, which is the principal crop. The vinery is forty-two feet in length and twenty-four in breadth; the back in the highest part twenty feet. In this house is a large cistern, which collects, for the use of the plants, all the water falling from the roof; an useful and good contrivance.
Adjoining to this vinery is a grand conservatory of an oval form, nearly forty feet long, twenty-four broad, and twenty in heighth [sic]. The shell altogether has much the resemblance of the hull of a large ship; the southern and northern ends being higher than the middle. The roof and sides are glazed and finished at a very considerable expence. The north end of this house is covered with the Geranium Zonale, or zone-marked crane’s bill, at present (August 1795) eighteen [p. 107] feet high. Jasminum Azoricum, twenty feet ditto, interspersed with the beautiful Indian climber. Dolichas Lignosus intermingled with other foreign plants. In the middle is a large clump of African and American evergreens ; the Jasminum Azoricum, or azorian jasmine in particular, is very large, covering a space of forty yards, hanging in festoons, mixed with the Jasminum Odoratissimum; Malva Capensis, or cape mallow; Rhus Fomentosum, or downy-leaved sumach; Rhus Lucidum, or shining-leaved sumach; and Geranium Cucullatum, or hollow leaved crane's bill. This last plant is now sixteen feet high, and its stem meafures eighteen inches in circumference. A fine plant of the Borassus Flabellifer, or fan-leaved palm. Ditto of the Phoenix Dactylifera, or date-bearing palm, with frondose, pinnated, branched leaves. The male plants producing male flowers only, and the female date tree producing female flowers and fruit, when impregnated by the male.
Leaving this richly perfumed green-houfe, we entered a pinery, containing two tan beds well stored with the choicest of the Bromelia tribe, and heated by two fires; the flues and vacant spots of which are covered with plants, natives of the hot regions of Asia, Africa and America; a few names of the most useful for domestic purposes we shall subjoin. The Amomum Zingiber, or ginger; Annona Squamosa, or custard apple; a fine large plant in fruit of the Coffea Arabica, or [p. 108] Arabian coffee; a large plant of the true Cayenne pepper; the Hibiscus Rosa Sinensis, or rose of China, fix feet high; Myrtus Pimenta, or Allspice tree, six feet; the Passiflora Quadranguleris*, which bears the passion-flower, and also produces an excellent eatable fruit, shaped like a large melon; the stove of this pinery is of the same dimensions of the grapery before described. Joining this is a neat little vinery, the grapes of which are of the Tokay and black Hamburgh kinds, extremely large and prolific. The vacant places of this houfe are also covered with curious and rare plants. One of the Jasminum Grandiflorum covers the back wall, and a large plant of the Geranium Hermanifolia covers twelve feet of glass at one side; the vines being trained over them within sixteen inches of the glass.
A luxurious peach-house next presented itself to our view; but really we are apprehensive that by this time some of our readers have been set longing for the rich fruits we have tasted, and have attempted to describe. Wherever hospitality and politeness reign, it is the poet's happy privilege not only to sip the nectarious beverage, but to taste the fruits of the earth; and here they grow in such perfection, he envied not the princes of Circassia, the nabobs of India, or the rich
[Footnote] *The flower of this plant exhibits the instruments of our Saviour's passion—from whence it had its specific name—and is succeeded by its fine melon-shaped fruit, the pulp of which is famed for its pleasing and grateful flavor—it flowered at Bellevue at Christmas last.
[p. 109] chants at the Cape of Good Hope. This peach-houfe is sixty feet in length and eighteen broad, heated by two fires when wanted early in the season. The flues are also clothed with rare exotics, and the trees on this day (9th August) laden with abundance of ripe fruit of large size. The next is a good cherry-house, which produces annually extraordinary crops of fruit, agreeing with the orangery in size and form, which terminates this astonishing and uncommonly uniform range of glass work. A serpentine gravel walk on the left brought us to the Turkish tent, a much admired piece of architecture, erected in 1793 by the ingenious Francis Sandys; another walk on the right led us into a flower garden, blooming in all the modest pride of unaffected beauty, which cannot be better described than in the language of the poet:

"Hither emerging from yon orient skies,
BOTANIC GODDESS! bend thy radiant eyes;
O'er these soft scenes assume thy gentle reign,
Pomona, Ceres, Flora in thy train;
In noon's bright blaze thy vermil vest unfold
And wave thy emerald banner star'd with gold."
Thus spoke the GENIUS, as he stept along,
And bade these lawn to Peace and Truth belong;
Down the steep slopes he led with modest skill
The willing pathway, and the truant rill,
Rais'd the young woodland, smooth'd the wavy green,
And gave to Beauty all the quiet scene."

We were now led to another flower garden, which, with the one we parted, was filled with [p. 110] rare flowers disposed in a novel and fanciful stile. Here are two small forcing-houses*, on an improved and good plan for ripening early fruits and blowing early flowers. They are heated by one fire only, on a truly economical plan, which is deserving of imitation. In this happy isle in the dark days at Christmas, may be found the blushing rose and the carnation in full bloom, the luscious pine apple in fruit, and in the different stages of its growth; the peach and the grape are also found here very early. After viewing these various works, arising from the inspiration of the ALMIGHTY, on the mind of man, we will be naturally led to exclaim with Job, "He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection. He putteth forth his hand on the rock; he overturneth mountains by the roots. He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing."
The kitchen garden is divided by a good brick wall, well furnished with every article of culinary use, or of elegance in the desert, and replete with every requisite appendage for bringing it to perfection. From hence we could see the boundless ocean over the garden wall of fourteen feet; and
[Footnote] *These forcing-houses were erected in the years 1791 and 1792 by Mr. Michael Pennick, the gardener, to whom the author is indebted for much interesting and useful information. Bellevue is a striking proof that he is ingenious, laborious and extremely skilful in his profession. He also has a natural taste for poetry, having published some good descriptions of Bellevue in the Hibernian Magazine for June 1794—for October 1794—and for May 1795.
[p. 111] the eye darts over a cheerful landscape to the eastward. Having finished this agreeable course of botany and gardening, we went by a gravel walk to the octagon building* and gothic rooms ; where there is an extensive view of the Scalp, the Sugar-loaf hills, Dromin, Howth, Dalkey, Lambay, Dunran†, and Kindlestown hill, at the foot of which is an old castle, almost demolished in Cromwell's time. We now passed by a gravel walk, on the summit of the noted hill over the Glen of the Downs, until we again arrived at the Turkish tent, which marks the refined taste of the owner. From hence is seen a rustic habitation, which gives the scene a natural character. It is formed of stumps and roots of wood, thatched with heath, and Gothic arches in front, with an extensive view of the Glen of the Downs. Vain would be the attempt of the most fertile imagination to display by description the variegated scenery and enchanting prospect which this spot commands. The soft and rude touches of nature are
[Footnotes] *The octagon building was erected in 1766 by Enoch Johnson. The Gothic dining-room—which is extremely curious, and seems like a rock, was added in the year 1788, by Francis Sandys, who was an excellent architect. The design and execution of his various works will remain a lasting honour to his name and to his country. He was a native of Ireland, and died at Bellevue on the 15th of July 1785.
† Dunran is a romantic, woody, rocky tract of ground, much admired by travellers—it belongs to General Cunningham, two miles from his seat at Mount Kennedy.
[p. 112] are so finely blended, that the eye alone can delineate them; and in an instant we behold mountains, hills, villages, vallies, meadows, promontories, rivers, winding streams, and the ocean.

Emblem of life!—where waves on waves arise,
While hope looks up, and views serener skies;
Where still the troublous sea incessant roars,
And still hope flatters, as we eye the shores!
[p. 103-112]
View of the Hot House and Green House at Bellevue. The Seat of Peter La Touche Esqr.