ABOUT two miles from Richmond is Aske
Hall, the mansion of Lord Dundas, backed by noble woods, and commanding
an agreeable prospect over the sloping lawns in front. It is a
place of great antiquity, and was long the residence of a family
of the same name; but consisted merely of a square tower, (which
still forms part of the present house) surrounded by bare and
swampy fields. In this state it remained until it was purchased,
in the year 1727, by Sir Conyers D'Arcy, who commenced those improvements
which have now rendered it one of the most complete country seats
to be found in the neighbourhood.
By the true English kindness of the noble owner, we are enabled to give the following list of the paintings and statuary in the different apartments:-
There are also in this room a painting of a Girl in the dress of a boarder at a convent; and two Scripture pieces.
*This Gentleman is highly spoken of by Lord Orford, who mentions some pictures of his, "which" says his Lordship, "would have done credit to Gaspar Poussin."
In the entrance Hall are two exquisite relics of antique Statuary, purchased. by Lord Dundas, at Rome:- the first, a Cupid,
Was found in an excavation near St. John Lateran, in the very spot which historic evidence identifies as the site of Asinius Pollio's Villa. The right arm has been restored, but the head, though broken off and cemented, is original.
Opposite to this is a Statue of Leda, in a remarkably good state of preservation. The Swan has been restored, but the head and the prominent right arm have not even been broken off; and it is very seldom that an antique Statue is met with, which has not sustained some such accident. If so rare a subject were to be found in any of the excavations at this day, equally free from defects, it would not be suffered to leave the imperial city.
The hall also contains two other ancient statues, and a striking Bust, in plaster, of the late Peregrine Wentworth, Esq.
In the adjoining ante room, are copies, in marble from the Venus and lesser Apollo of the Medicean collection; a bust of the Hon. Mrs. Lane, his Lordship's daughter; and a small group of two lions combatant.
There is an extensive prospect over the surrounding landscape from the top of the Temple, a tall building which towers above the woods behind the hall, and is, in fact, built on the exact model of a Hindoo Temple; and on Pinmore Hill (between Aske and Richmond) is a Tower, bearing the grotesque name of Oliver Ducat, which is said to be a perfect counterpart of a Hindoo Hill-Fort.
On the opposite side of the valley, is the Park and ancient Mansion of Sedbury, formerly inhabited by a branch of the D'Arcy family, now the residence of the Rev. J. Gilpin, a descendant of the venerable Bernard Gilpin, justly styled "The Apostle of the North."