This House is nothing so stately and uniform as Hampton Court, but Francis I. began much to beautify it; most of all Henry IV. (and not a little) the late King. It abounds with fair halls, chambers, and galleries; in the longest, which is 360 feet long, and 18 broad, are painted the Victories of that great Prince, Henry IV. That of Francis I., called the grand Gallery, has all the King’s palaces painted in it; above these, in sixty pieces of excellent work in fresco, is the History of Ulysses, from Homer, by Primaticcio, in the time of Henry III., esteemed the most renowned in Europe for the design1.
The Cabinet is full of excellent pictures, especially a Woman, of Raphael. In the Hall of the Guards is a piece of tapestry painted on the wall, very naturally, representing the victories of Charles VII. over our countrymen. In the Salle des Festins is a rare Chimney-piece, and Henry IV. on horseback, of white marble, esteemed worth 18,000 crowns; Clementia and Pax, nobly done. On columns of jasper, two lions of brass. The new stairs, and a half circular court, are of modern and good architecture, as is a chapel built by Louis XIII., all of jasper, with several incrustations of marble through the inside.
Having seen the rooms, we went to the volary, which has a cupola in the middle of it, great trees and bushes, it being full of birds who drank at two fountains. There is also a fair tennis court, and noble stables; but the beauty of all are the gardens. In the Court of the Fountains stand divers antiquities and statues, especially a Mercury. In the Queen’s Garden is a Diana ejecting a fountain, with numerous other brass statues.The great Garden, 180 toises long and 154 wide, has in the center a fountain of Tyber of a Colossean figure of brass, with the Wolf over Romulus and Remus2. At each corner of the garden rises a fountain. In the garden of the piscina, is a Hercules of white marble; next, is that of the pines, and without that a canal of an English mile in length, at the end of which rise three jettos in the form of a fleur-de-lis, of a great height; on the margin are excellent walks planted with trees. The carps come familiarly to hand (to be fed). Hence they brought us to a spring, which they say being first discovered by a dog, gave occasion of beautifying this place, both with the palace and gardens3. The white and terrific rocks at some distance in the forest, yield one of the most august and stupendous prospects imaginable. The park about this place is very large, and the town full of noblemen’s houses.
“ At the toppe of it there is represented in brasse the Image of Romulus very largely made, lying sidelong and leaning,, upon one of his elbowes. Under one of his legs is carved the shee Wolfe, with Romulus and Remus very little, like sucklings, sucking at her teats” (Coryat in l60S, Crudities, 1776, i. S6).J –AD ↩
The “ Fontaine Bleau ” or “de Belle Eau ” (supposed by some to give its name to the place), the source of which was lost in forming the artificial ponds. The gardens at Fontainebleau were laid out by Le Notre for Louis XIV. –AD ↩