Tuesday, 9 June 2009

CINTRA from a Sketch by Col. Sir Samuel Hawker

Drawn by C. Stanfield, Esq., A.R.A.,

from a Sketch by Col. Sir Samuel Hawker.

" I must just observe, that the village of Cintra, in Estremadura, is the most beautiful perhaps in the world."
Byron's Letter to Mr. Hodgson.

" The climate of Cintra is decidedly damp, owing to its western aspect and its proximity to the sea; and, indeed, such is the humidity of the atmosphere early in the autumn, that families are often compelled to return to their residences in Lisbon, in order to avoid colds, fevers, and rheumatism, before the end of September. The houses of the town are prettily scattered about the breast of the hill, and their gardens abound with all those flowers, shrubs, and trees whose nature is congenial with warmth of climate. The principal street, if it deserve the appellation, is allowed to remain encumbered with filth, which, were the temperature of the atmosphere as high here as at Lisbon, would render Cintra equally insupportable in the summer. The shops are sufficiently numerous and good; and the manufacture of open-worked stockings and cheesecakes affords employment to a considerable portion of the inhabitants. The open grated windows of the prison, as in other Portuguese towns, even upon the ground- floor, allow free communication between the prisoners and their friends, and every passing stranger. The view down the valley, from the space in front of the church, is singularly beautiful, comprising all the quintas and gardens in the lower part of the town."

The various views of Cintra, and of the most interesting objects around it, given in these Illustrations, will convey an idea beyond language of the scenes which Byron so highly eulogised.

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