Saturday, May 21, 2016

Stourhead, 2016, 1

Stourhead is on nearly everybody's list of great gardens, especially landscape gardens. It was created in the early 1700s by the Hoare family, principally Henry (the Magnificent) Hoare, but also many of his desendants. I think it out-Browns Capability's gardens long before he was in his prime. We visited Stourhead in 2013, and I posted on the great house at, and on the gardens at Both those posts do a fairly adequate job of representing Stourhead, so I will try not to duplicate them, particularly the house interiors. In 2013, we saw Stourhead in late June, so the rhododendra were largely spent. In May of 2016, however, they were just coming on when we were there, and we are actually contemplating a return, shortly, to see them at their height. According to some of the docents, one should not be overly taken with the rhodos, however, since they are a late addition, 19th century, and never part of the original grand scheme of Stourhead. For us, it's hard to be purists amid such beauty.
A better shot of the house, one of the first Palladium style,
the two side wings added later, left, the library, right, the art
gallery; the Hoare's (bankers) were immensely cultured, most
of them, as these things go

In the house, briefly, the last Hoares to own
the estate

Willing it to the National Trust

After the WWI death of their only son, Harry;
much of the narrative about the estate is about

In the Library

A long correspondence and friendship with Hardy

The agreement with the Trust stipulated that a Hoare always
reside at Stourhead; her apartments are partially open, very

Sitting room

Harry, at age 21, the painting a gift to the
Hoares by the estate's tenants

Another view of the house, walking toward the landscape garden

Yellow, fragrant azalea in the center
Spring color, with rhodos

Lavender rhodos

The red ones already pretty much spent

One of the first great views; in Henry the Magnificent's
design, you are given glimpses, then fuller views; this is
actually one of the teasers; you can't yet see the lake around
which all the garden and its many follies are arrayed

Verdant, yes?

Pink rhodos

One of many little rhodo groves

Full on

Lakeside; an artificial lake, of course; Capability would have

More color

And another grove

Copper beech

Not all the rhodos out yet

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