Hentzner's Narrative


Paul Hentzner's Travels in England (1598)


Nonesuch, a royal retreat, in a place formerly called Cuddington, a very healthful situation, chosen by King Henry VIII. for his pleasure and retirement, and built by him with an excess of magnificence and elegance, even to ostentation: one would imagine everything that architecture can perform to have been employed in this one work. There are everywhere so many statues that seem to breathe so many miracles of consummate art, so many casts that rival even the perfection of Roman antiquity, that it may well claim and justify its name of Nonesuch, being without an equal; or as the post sung -

"This, which no equal has in art or fame, Britons deservedly do NONESUCH name."

The palace itself is so encompassed with parks full of deer, delicious gardens, groves ornamented with trellis-work, cabinets of verdure, and walks so embrowned by trees, that it seems to be a place pitched upon by Pleasure herself, to dwell in along with Health.

In the pleasure and artificial gardens are many columns and pyramids of marble, two fountains that spout water one round the other like a pyramid, upon which are perched small birds that stream water out of their bills. In the Grove of Diana is a very agreeable fountain, with Actaeon turned into a stag, as he was sprinkled by the goddess and her nymphs, with inscriptions. There is besides another pyramid of marble full of concealed pipes, which spurt upon all who come within their reach.