The Gardens in Hamilton New Zealand: Part 2. The Picturesque Garden

Part 1: Introduction

The Hamilton Gardens garden recognise that there is another garden style beside the Chinese that relies on a linear itinerary, the picturesque landscape garden. At Hamilton this is done in an interestingly and quite original way by making a scenographic itinerary that recreates the Magic Flute and its Masonic symbolism.[1]  

The garden at Hamilton is called a ‘picturesque garden’, but, unlike a Chinese, Japanese, or even Italian Renaissance garden, this category does not readily lend itself to distillation into a set of recognisable forms in the same way as Chinese and Renaissance gardens. John Dixon Hunt recognises this when he gives what is the best definition I have read of the picturesque garden. The length of this definition, even in condensed form, is indicative of the complexity of the problem:

certain characteristics seemed to dominate picturesque design. It could be distinctly irregular …, it would feature if not try to show off the richness and variety of natural materials, even revelling in apparent randomness (heaped or scattered rocks, tangled shubs, meandering streams, ruined structures or dead trees; it would appeal to eyes roving across an extensive scenery and trained to attend to its every aspect, from detailed foreground through a middle distance of calculated effects to hazy distance; it would involve the imagination, memory or mind as well as the eye, perhaps by invoking historic events; it also invented exotic buildings (what the French usefully call fabriques) to stimulate these associations when no original structure was handy. In all it would be emotionally and aesthetically pleasing, the latter effect resulting at least in part of the design being reminiscent of landscape paintings or engravings or from suggesting itself as subject matter for them. But not every picturesque landscape needed this appeal to painting for its essential structure or impact.[2]

As this reveals, the picturesque garden requires a broad canvas, and does not lend itself easily to condensation into a small space. At Hamilton the essential property is not the pictorial aspects of the picturesque garden that are drawn upon, but the involvement of ‘imagination, memory or mind’ in a garden of sequential incidents. The best analogy is with Carmontelle (Louis Carrogis) at Parc Monceau, parts of which survive (Fig. 1).[3]

Fig. 1. Carmontelle (Louis Carrogis), Imaginative View of Parc Monceau, Paris. Painting.

Carmontelle was a theatre designer, and his garden is overtly a piece of theatrical entertainment, intended to be far more interesting than mere nature. It had a unidirectional itinerary, a variety of episodes, and Masonic allusions. The Hamilton garden is similarly unidirectional. If you approach it from the wrong end you are politely encouraged to go around the other way. At Parc Monceau, as in other picturesque gardens of fabriques, there is an attempt to represent ‘all times and places’ through discrete fabriques alluding to specific times or places, each is independent of the other.[4] At Hamilton, by contrast, the sequence of features is controlled by an iconographic program: Mozart’s opera, the Magic Flute (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2. Explanatory panel for the Picturesque Garden, Hamilton Gardens.

In the 1980s art historical interpretations of Stourhead tried to discover a program in the garden that unfolds logically as you traverse it in a particular direction, but these did not stick, especially when set against the chronology of its construction. So the programmatic nature of the Hamlton garden is unusual and original.

But does it work? The difficulty with unified programs is that you need the key. With a garden of allusions it does not matter if allusions are missed or misunderstood; indeed, the whole point of them is that the allusions are not rigidly defined in order to prompt an open-ended discussion. In a garden that represents an unfolding narrative like a play or opera you need to understand each element before moving onto the next, because that is how stories work. Unfortunately at Hamilton the site labelling describes the program in only the most general terms at the beginning. Even with some knowledge of the opera, which has an incomprehensible plot anyway, it is hard to construct a narrative. Nor is the key to be found in the visitor’s map, and I had to go to the Hamilton Gardens’ website to find out what it was (and I found there a useful map) (Fig. 3).[5]This meant that I only understood what was going on on my second visit. And even this description is laconic and not completely consistent, and I had to revisit the libretto of the opera to properly get my bearings.

Fig. 3. Map of the Picturesque Garden, Hamilron Gardens. From the Hamilton Gardens website.

In the libretto I could not discover some of the features described on the website, such as ‘the structure they enter symbolically divides the garden between Yesod (the realm of the night and moon) and Tiferet (the realm of higher consciousness)’. As far as I can tell this comes not from Mozart’s libretto but from the cabbalistic tradition. It seems to form part of a larger Masonic reading of the Magic Flute, and given that the Masons contributed to the project, this may be leading us in esoteric directions beyond the ken of the mere opera lover. The Masonic reading of the Magic Flute has not gone uncontested, in particular the issue of it whether it an extended allegory or simply a story that on occasion alludes to Freemasonry. Similarly, any allusions to Freemasonry at Parc Monceau seem to be possibilities rather than strictly programmatic.

There are therefore two conflicting forces at work here: allusion and narrative. If the Yesod and Tiferet themes are to be understood as esoteric allusions they should not be stated, but rather hinted at, through symbols. A symbolic garden works by presenting visible forms that are unintelligible at first sight, which prompts you to discover what they really mean. Egyptian hieroglyphs are the prototype of all symbolism, since their meaning was already lost in antiquity, so that later cultures, including the Freemasons, saw in them symbols of lost mysteries. But Yesod and Tiferet have no physical embodiment, and one only learns about them from the programme.

By establishing a narrative that follows in detail an opera the garden prompts memories of that opera, if you happen to have seen it. Because it is opera, what one recalls is powerful singers belting out famous arias, above all the Queen of the Night’s aria, but also ‘Pa-Pa-Pa-Papagena’ and Sarastro’s booming bass. But at Hamilton what you are most aware of is the absence of the protagonists. While there is a statue of Papageno in bronze, (Fig. 4),[6] and the three boys appear as three putti (Fig. 5), Sarastro and the Queen of the Night are absent in the form one expects them to take: impressively costumed human figures. Without the program one would never realise that some small statues of lions on the wall of the portals represent Sarastro: ‘Sarestro [sic] appears riding a chariot drawn by six lions (who sit on the top of the wall)’ (Fig. 6). Because you are primed by Papageno and the Three Boys to expect representations of the protagonists of the opera, this shift to allusiveness goes unremarked. Only on second viewing did I get the point that the throne in front of the Temple was the Queen of the Night’s throne and her presence, sitting on it, was implied. And the statue of Papageno is simply too small and lacking in the scale and presence needed for a garden.

Fig. 4. Statue of Papageno, Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 5. The Three Boys. Statues, Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 6. Lion alluding to the lions that draw Sarastro’s chariot, Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

The whole garden, in fact, has many such mis-cues. When you see the three trumpets that catch your eye at the beginning of the itinerary (Fig. 7), you read them as flutes, because you are primed to expect a Magic Flute theme. The explanation that they refer to the trumpet fanfare at the start of the Magic Flute is just too obscure an allusion without either signage or a deep knowledge of the opera. Conversely, when a bronze flute does appear it seems too literal (Fig. 8).

Fig. 7. Trumpets allusing to the opening fanfare of the Magic Flute. Bronze. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 8. The Magic Flute. Bronze, Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

The table of bronze food at the end is neither comprehensible without explanation (‘a table appears, full of food and wine which Papageno enjoys’) nor is it visually interesting, being too small and too far away (Fig. 9).

Fig. 9. Table of food and wine. Bronze. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

Only when the programme prompted me to look for it did I notice the cave on the other side (‘meanwhile Tamino moves onto his final test, entering a cave for the secret initiation’) (Fig. 10).

Fig. 10. The Cave. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

Without the programme there is no way anyone would read the open rough grassed space (which is how it appeared in autumn) as ‘a large hall represented here by a small meadow’ (Fig. 11).

Fig. 11. The Meadow/ Large Hall. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

The version of the antique dancing Maenad with her head cast back and fluttering draperies in triplicate within the tunnel is simply not seen because of the darkness (I only found it on my second visit because I looked for it with a torch) (Figs 12, 13). On reading the Hamilton program I learned that they represent ‘three rather frisky looking women’ practising ‘the guiles of women’ who tempt Tamino and Papageno.[7] This is not really how it is in the opera. There Papageno and Tamino are told to remain silent. A flirtatious old woman offers water to Papageno, but vanishes when he speaks. She is, of course, Papagena. Tamino, more strong willed, remains silent when Pamina appears, which she interprets as coldheartedness. I am not sure that you can both allude to a story and tweak it at the same time. The better you know the Magic Flute the more confusing things become.

Fig. 12. Tunnel behind the portal of Wisdom with the ‘frisky maidens’ at right. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 13. ‘Frisky Womwn’. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

Nearby is a structure that is clearly an artificial ruin, which is a common feature of landscape gardens, but because of its situation one tries unsuccessfully to fit it into the Magic Flute narrative, but I think it must simply be intended to be a period feature (Fig. 14).

Fig. 14. Artificial Ruins. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

To sum up, the problem with the conception is that the narrative is incomprehensible without the programme, and too literal if you have it. There is confusion between something that is allusive, which is first of all a visual presence that is open-ended it what it alludes to, and an iconographic programme, which needs to be consistent as a text and intelligible either through inscriptions or by being familiar to its audience (as with biblical iconography). More importantly, because of the reliance on small bronze statues, the whole has very little visual impact and you leave with an impression of fussiness in a nondescript setting. As garden sculpture, I find pieces like the Papageno to be unpleasant, in contrast to the sphinxes, which are magnificent.

It may be worth reimagining this garden as one that makes its points through architectural features that are individually allusive but diverse in theme or only loosely grouped thematically; in other words, a garden of fabriques, which in many ways more true to the picturesque garden tradition. The Temple of the Queen of the Night works well in this regard (Figs 15, 16). It is appropriate to an historical picturesque garden in that the default garden feature of such gardens is a classical temple, and the scale is good. So too is the architectural detail, presumably because this is a stock item available from a manufacturer somewhere. The painted stars and Egyptian details introduce the Magic Flute theme, made suitably explicit by the bronze flute on a broken column. The emptiness of the throne provides a deeper level of allusion, which one eventually realises implies the absent presence of the Queen of the Night. Simply naming it the Temple of the Queen of the Night is all the programming that is needed. If you have even only a slight acquaintance with the opera, all falls into place, if not necessarily immediately. If you don’t, your interest is piqued. That is how fabriques work.

Fig. 15. Temple of the queen of the Night. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 16. Temple of the queen of the Night. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

The three portals also have a strong architectural presence (Fig. 17).[8] In the Magic Flute libretto these are the portals of temples. The programme states that the Hamilton gateways are based on Mozart’s own designs for the opera, but as far as I can tell the designs of the first performance show individual temples, but this requires further research (Fig. 18).

Fig. 17. The Three Portals. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 18. Engravings of the temples from the first performance of the Magic Flute.

Practical concerns, such as the availability of the doorways, which are very well carved and must be architectural salvage (Fig. 19), and the desire to have the central door opening into the tunnel, might lead to the three portal idea, but having reached this point one might move sideways and think of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, where the three doors of choice idea first appears (Fig. 20), or even The Lord of the Rings and the gates of Moria (Fig. 21). That is the advantage of working visually, by association, rather than programmatically.

Fig. 19. Detail of carvings from the portal of Nature. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 20. The Three Portals (Glory of God, Love of the Mother, Glory of the World), from the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, 1499.
Fig. 21. Entering the Mines of Moris, from the moview of The Lord of the Rings.

I am not sure that having the names of the doors in German is helpful (Fig. 22). To be sure, their being in German creates the illusion that one is actually in a German garden, perhaps Wörlitz. Any garden that recreates an historical garden type necessarily has a dimension different from the original. In eighteenth-century Germany such a garden as this would simply have been another picturesque garden. In twenty-first century New Zealand the primary meaning of such a garden is found in its references to the eighteenth century. This adds an additional layer to the interpretation. But for the layer of meaning below this the inscriptions need to be immediately intelligible. I like Latin inscriptions, because they are not immediately intelligible and, being in Latin, allude to another world. But I am careful to provide disceet translations nearby. In this case, however, the viewer needs to immediately understand that these are gates of Reason, Wisdom and Nature. As such they could be understood as alluding to Elightenment ideas generally, but also to the Magic Flute if desired.

Fig. 22. The Portal of Nature. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

But inscriptions are not enough: there needs to be something that visually embodies those ideas.

This is where fabriques come into their own, as these features would be better as Temples of Reason, Wisdom, and Nature, rather than portals. In the libretto they are explicitly temples, although the action focuses on the portals of each temple.[9] Architecture has long had a repertory of associations that can be used to allude to ideas. For example, a Temple of Reason might be severly Neoclassical, a Doric tempietto. A Temple of Nature might draw on Art Nouveau or Gothic, all swirling tendrils. And a temple of Wisdom might draw on the iconography of wisdom, which often involves ziggurats and pyramids. The point about such fabriques is that you can throw in allusions to Freemasonry, the Magic Flute, and anything else that comes up, as you see fit. The practical problem is that in the space available such fabriques would simply stand in a line, whereas in European picturesque gardens each fabrique required a fair amount of walking to reach and were not all visible at once. But the passageways and portal do divide up the spaces and would hide each fabrique from the other, so this objection is not insuperable.

The portal idea is done quite well with the rocky cutting and the Sphinxes at the beginning. These sphinxes are copies of a well-known type which is, I think, French (Figs 23, 24).

Fig. 23. Left Sphinx. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 24. Second Sphinx. Hamilton ardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

The choice of this type was no doubt constrained by what was obtainable, and they are statues of very high quality (Figs 25, 26).

Fig. 25. First Sphinx, Head. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 26. Second Sphinx, head. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

However, because of the straightjacket of the Magic Flute theme they cannot utilise their more interesting associations. We are told that ‘sphinxes typically suggest this story is set in Egypt. These mythological creatures were also a Masonic symbol’. But these are in fact Theban sphinxes which have a woman’s face, but not, as is usually the case, winged and sitting on its haunches. The Theban sphinx bars the passage of the hero, Oedipus, who has to answer a riddle (Fig. 27).[10]

Fig. 27. Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Oedipus and the Sphinx. Painting. Paris, Louvre.

Fantasy literature often draws on this source, such as the children’s story The Neverending Story, which, in the film version (1984) has a pair of sphinxes guarding an entrance passage (Fig. 28). The Egyptian sphinx, by contrast, is not associated with this story, has a male face and is more benevolent. The sphinxes at Hamilton function in a similar way to the Theban sphinx as reimagined in the Neverending Story because they are placed on either side of a cutting and you have to pass between them (Fig. 29).

Fig. 28. Sphinx, still from The Neverending Story, 1984.
Fig. 29. Rocky passageway with guardian sphinxes. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

If you are cued to reading everything as the Magic Flute, you becomes confused by all this. But if you shed the Magic Flute theme you can very quickly cue the right associations by giving this feature a name, such as ‘The Passage of Oedipus’. Better still, one could generate a degree of audience participation by having a sign that states that the sphinxes will prevent you passing unless you answer the riddle, which is given on a sign. (The answer would be found in another sign that can only be seen once you reach the far side.) Of course, there is nothing to actually stop you passing, but children would enjoy the game. Or, if you wanted to go high-tech, you could have a system with red lights or something that are switched off through an audio receiver that can register a correct answer. The trick is to not have it all become tacky, and when inactive it is invisible, and the whole reverts to being stone statues in a rocky landscape, a weathered relic of an eighteenth century garden that used to be here.

Another passageway is the one behind the Gateway of Wisdom (Figs 17, 30). Running with the gateway idea a degree of interactivity could be introduced here by having doors to each of the gateways that are closed when you arrive. Behind two of the doors is something discouraging, but behind the third is the opening. The reason for the superiority of Wisdom over Reason and Nature may be a bit arcane today, but, again uncoupling it all from the Magic Flute, one could ask what other concepts those doors might symbolise. The one that does work would need to be a concept that is apolitical, which might be hard. It could not be ‘Freedom’, for example. Or perhaps not. The tradition of fabriques in eighteenth century gardens, especially Stowe, is to be dogmatic about asserting the rightness of a particular set of values. I like the idea of ‘Capitalism’ ‘Social Democracy,’ and ‘Authoritarianism’, with Social Democracy being the one that works. If you don’t like the message, too bad; it has made you think.

Fig. 30. Exist from the passageway behind the portal of Wisdom. Hamilton Gardens. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

Once into the passage there needs to be something at the middle or end of it, but at Hamilton there are only the maenad reliefs (Figs 12, 14, 30) and the the ‘hall’ (actually a meadow) after you emerge. More exciting would be a feature like the Cabinet of the Night with its statue of a Vestal Virgin lit by stars within the artificial Mount Vesuvius at Wörlitz (1788-94) (Figs 31-32).[11] The effect of entering the bowels of this (artifical) mountain (Lord of the Rings Moria again) and discovering this statue is magically mysterious and this, after all, is the intended effect of the Hamilton Picturesque Garden.

Fig. 31. Statue of a Vestal Virgin in the Chamber of Night in the Vesuvius, Garden at Wörlitz, Germany. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)
Fig. 32. Statue of a Vestal Virgin in the Chamber of Night in the Vesuvius, Garden at Wörlitz, Germany. (David R. Marshall, 2022.)

[1] The description of the Picturesque Garden from the Hamilton Gardens website is as follows: ‘The 18th century Picturesque Garden movement in England reflected a changing attitude to nature. / Rather than formality and control, garden design was inspired by the new fashion for paintings of wild, romantic landscapes. With banks of long grass, artificially aged structures, and respect for local flora, the Picturesque Garden movement made a revolutionary statement about the rigors of aristocracy. / These gardens were intended to appeal not only to the eyes, but to the heart and mind. Often they were deliberately kept wild and overgrown. / Within the naturalistic looking gardens of this era, there was often a sequence of features that referred to a fantasy story or classical legend. A recurrent theme was a ritual journey where an individual’s character is tested. / The Picturesque Garden at Hamilton Gardens makes reference to the story of The Magic Flute. Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1791, just months before his death, the fairy tale opera tells of a hero’s journey through trials to enlightenment and love. / Along with many other influential thinkers of the time, Mozart was a Mason. His fantasy-filled opera is laden with Masonic symbols, which were also commonly found in garden designs of that period. Symbolism that can found in our garden varies from lions and sphinxes to Palladian pavilions and the three forms of classical pillar. / The fashion for the Picturesque was at its peak in author Jane Austen’s time. “A prettyish kind of wilderness” (as she put it in her novel Pride and Prejudice) was highly sought after. This style of landscape architecture became widely popular outside of England too, from Stockholm and Naples to St Petersburg and the Hudson Valley. / … / Hamilton Gardens has an internationally unique concept: it tells the story of gardens through different periods and different civilisations. This garden is an important addition to the collection of gardens because the Picturesque Garden movement was a significant stage in the evolution of modern landscape architecture.’

[2] John Dixon Hunt, The Picturesque Garden in Europe, London [Thames and Hudson], 2002, p. 8.

[3] Carmontelle, View of Parc Monceau, painting.

[4] Hunt, Picturesque Garden, p. 8.

[5] From the Hamilton Gardens website:

‘Masonic Symbolism in the Picturesque Garden

If you’re not familiar with The Magic Flute opera or 18th century Masonic rituals, here are some symbolic features to look for in The Picturesque Garden:

At the entrance, three traditional trombones are set on a rough stone ashlar representing the fanfares at the start of the opera.

Sphinxes typically suggest this story is set in Egypt. These mythological creatures were also a Masonic symbol.

Caves were a popular feature of Picturesque gardens and in stories sometimes signalled the start of a journey.

Tamino, the hero of The Magic Flute, is pursued by a giant serpent and faints.

Three mysterious ladies appear from the Woodland Temple, with the Queen of the Night.

The curious figure of Papageno the Bird Catcher appears. He’s half man and half bird, with a birdcage on his back.

She sits on a throne, which in this garden faces the setting sun and features the symbol of seven stars.

A magic flute, set here on a pillar, is given to Tamino to help in his quest.

Tamino and Papageno are also assigned three genii or guardian angels to guide them to the temple of Sarastro, Priest of the Sun.

Tamino and Papageno have a choice of three portals by which to enter the temple: Vernunft (reason), Weisheit (wisdom) or Natur (nature). The design of this wall was based on Mozart’s own set design for The Magic Flute.

Sarestro appears riding a chariot drawn by six lions (who sit on the top of the wall).

The structure they enter symbolically divides the garden between Yesod (the realm of the night and moon) and Tiferet (the realm of higher consciousness).

Within the dark passage Tamino and Papageno undergo their first test ‘to resist in silence the guiles of women’. Three rather frisky looking women are represented in relief sculpture on the wall.

Next they arrive in a large hall represented here by a small meadow, another popular feature of Picturesque gardens.

A table appears, full of food and wine which Papageno enjoys.

Meanwhile Tamino moves onto his final test, entering a cave for the secret initiation.

It is a test by fire and water, symbolised here by a bowl and a brazier. Needless to say he passes the test and everyone lives happily ever after.

[6] One tends to read him as half bird and half man rather than a bird catcher, but on closer inspection one can read the wings as costume and his beak-like nose as job-determinism. His hands are human.

[7] Hamilton Gardens website: ‘Within the dark passage Tamino and Papageno undergo their first test “to resist in silence the guiles of women”. Three rather frisky looking women are represented in relief sculpture on the wall.’

[8] Hamilton Gardens website: ‘Tamino and Papageno have a choice of three portals by which to enter the temple: Vernunft (reason), Weisheit (wisdom) or Natur (nature). The design of this wall was based on Mozart’s own set design for The Magic Flute.’

[9] [From a translation of the libretto of The Magic Flute]:  Scene change. A grove. Three temples. The “Temple of Wisdom” in the centre, the “Temple of Reason” on the right, the “Temple of Nature” on the left.
The three boys lead Tamino to the temples.

FIRST BOY
Come, Tamino!
TAMINO
Where are you leading me, boys?
FIRST BOY
To the temple of wisdom.

TAMINO
Let these boys’ words of wisdom
be forever engraved on my heart.
Where am I now? What will happen to me?
Is this the seat of the gods here?
The gates show, the pillars show
that prudence and labour and arts live here.
Where activity is enthroned and idleness in retreat,
vice cannot easily hold sway.
I shall boldly dare to enter the gate.
My purpose is noble and true and pure.
Tremble, cowardly villain!
To me, rescuing Pamina is a duty.
He goes to the door of the right-hand temple. [The Τemple of Reason]
PRIESTS
from within
Go back!
TAMINO
Back? Then I’ll try my luck here!
He goes to the door of the left-hand temple. [The Temple of Nature]
PRIESTS
from within
Go back!
TAMINO
They’re calling “Go back” here as well!
looks round
Here I can see another door,
here perhaps I shall gain an entrance.
He knocks on the middle door, the Speaker appears. [The Temple of Wisdom]
SPEAKER
Bold stranger, where do you wish to go?
What do you seek here in the sanctuary?
TAMINO
That which belongs to love and virtue.

TAMINO
Does Sarastro rule in these parts?
SPEAKER
Yes, yes, Sarastro rules here!
TAMINO
Surely not in the Temple of Wisdom?
SPEAKER
He rules here in the Temple of Wisdom.
TAMINO
Then it is all a sham!

[10] Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Oedipus and the Sphinx, 1808-25. Oil on canvas, 189 x 144 cm. Musée du Louvre, Paris

[11] Kulturstiftung Dessau Wörlitz (ed.), Infinitely Beautiful: The garden realm of Dessau-Wörlitz, Berlin (Nicolai), 2005, p. 152. Part of this complex fabrique is the Villa Hamilton, modelled on the Villa Mappinola, Sir William Hamilton’s observatory on the Bay of Naples.  Sir William Hamilton was Envoy Extraordinary to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and famous archaeologist, vulcanologist, and husband of Emma. There is no connection with Hamilton in New Zealand, which was named by Colonel William Moule after Captain John Fane Charles Hamilton, the commander of HMS Esk, who was killed in the battle of Gate Pā, Tauranga. Not is there one with Hamilton in Western Victoria which was named by a surveyor called Henry Wade who was friends of the Hamiltons of Bringalbert, a town in the Wimmera district. Thanks for asking.

This entry was posted in All Posts, Architecture, Art, Baroque architecture, Baroque Gardens, Fabriques, Garden History, Plants, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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