Temples, woodland, grottoes, hills, even a man-made lake – Stourhead is landscape gardening at its very best. Dating back to the eighteenth century, the gardens of the Stourhead Estate were planned and planted by Henry Hoare ‘The Magnificent’. Hoare was a lover of landscape painting, particularly the classical vistas of Poussin and Lorraine. But he didn’t just want his gardens to match the beauty of their art – he wanted to surpass them.
It’s easy to see why Hoare was given the nickname ‘Henry The Magnificent’. The gardens were a life’s work: the lake was artificially created by damming a small stream, and the planting required a huge team of fifty gardeners. Paths meander through the trees from one temple to the next, making the gardens a living work of art – like a painting you can walk through; an imaginary garden with real trees.
This design shows a typical autumn scene at Stourhead. Nestled between the trees is the Pantheon, modelled on the Pantheon built by the Roman Emperor Augustus. And in the foreground is the Palladian Bridge, built in 1762 and inspired by the work of 16th century architect Palladio. Go on – give your kitchen an artwork of its own with this beautiful tea towel!