Times Past has previously recounted the eventful life of Prince Hermann von Puckler-Muskau, who first arrived in Leeds in 1827 with the sole intention of bagging himself a rich bride.
His description of Leeds was of a city illuminated by the fires of industry and of great Gothic churches.
Puckler was the subject of a book, The Fortune Hunter: A German Prince in Regency England, by James Bowman.
Now a new chapter in his story has emerged, this time detailing his visit to Harewood House, Leeds.
It was October 1, 1827.
Puckler, who ended up becoming something of a celebrity for his habit of social commentary, had this to say: “The magnificent seats in England are really almost countless. One must confine oneself to the most remarkable. Ten miles from Harrowgate (ibid) I found Harewood Park, a delightful residence; fine natural wood, with glens, rocks, a copious mountain stream, the ruin of an old castle on a hill, all situated in the richest country, and with distant views of the Cumberland mountains.
“The scene was enlivened in a striking manner. Just as I drove past the house, I saw the possessor, Lord Harewood, with his pack of a hundred hounds, his red-coated huntsmen, and a number of high-mettled horses coming down a hill, on their return from a fox-hunt. I could not avoid going up to him, to explain the cause of my being here.
“I found a tall handsome man, of remarkably winning air, in appearance and manner young and active, in years (which one must be assured of to believe it) sixty-five. He received me with singular courtesy, said he had had the pleasure of seeing me several times in London and begged me to allow him to show me his park.
“I entreated him not to give himself the trouble, after the toils of the chase but all my entreaties were in vain; and this fine old man accompanied me, up hill and down dale, over the whole of his princely domain. What interested me most, as being new to me, was the kennel. Here I saw a hundred and fifty dogs in two perfectly clean rooms, each containing a large bed for seventy dogs, and each having its own enclosure in front.
“In each yard was a tub with running water, and a man armed with a broom, whose whole business it is to keep the ground continually washed, for which purpose he can let the water flow over it at pleasure. The dogs are accustomed to perfect obedience, and keep their bed and room very clean. It is a great art to feed them properly; for to sustain their great exertions, they must be kept very lean, and yet their flesh ought to be as firm as iron. This was perfectly accomplished here; and there could not be a more beautiful sight than these slender, obedient, and happy-looking animals, half of whom were just returned from the chase, and yet seemed quite unwearied. They all lay however on their huge common bed, and looked at us affectionately, wagging their tails; while the other half sprang eagerly and wildly forward, into their court.
“I forgot to say we had first made a tour through the house, which is richly and handsomely furnished, and contains family pictures by Vandyk, Reynolds, and Lawrence, the three best painters of England in their respective centuries.
“The long drive through the park, a good league, was very delightful. The road lay at first along the lake, with a majestic view of the house, and then through the wood to the river, which forms various cascades and little lakes.
“The wood itself was full of variety, now thick and almost impervious to the view; then grove-like; then open patches with a dense inclosure; or young copse from which deer were peeping out; or anon a long and narrow vista to the distant mountains.”
The Fortune Hunter: A German Prince in Regency England, by James Bowman, (Signal Books) costs £14.24.