On the occasion of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon the city was gorgeously ornamented with rich silks and tapestry, and Goldsmiths' Row (Cheapside) and part of Cornhill were hung with golden brocades.
The plumage of gorgeously-hued birds, the blossoms of flowers (especially the hydrangea), the folds of thick brocade, microscopic diapers and arabesques, are built up with tiny fragments of iridescent shell, in combination with silver-foil, goldlacquer and colored bone, the whole producing a rich and sparkling effect.
Between 70 and 80 species have already been described, many of them the most gorgeously adorned, and others, such as the Pteridophora albertisi, the most wonderful of feathered creatures.
The imperial parks and gardens cover 1680 acres; the chief of them is the "old" garden, containing the "old palace," built (1724) by Rastrelli and gorgeously decorated with mother-of-pearl, marbles, amber, lapis lazuli, silver and gold; the gallery of Cameron adorned with fine statues and entrance gates; numerous pavilions and kiosks; and a bronze statue (1900) of the poet Pushkin.
Ladies gorgeously clad, and knights, showing by their dress and bearing their anxiety to revive the glories and the follies of the age of chivalry, jostled mountebanks, mendicants and vendors of all kinds.