'Brings both house and garden vividly to life ... A magnificent achievement' Gardens Illustrated
'A finely crafted work ... it is an important record of the history of one of the country's most splendid estates' The English Garden
The Palladian house of Stourhead, in Wiltshire, occupies a plateau above the confluence of three valleys. When you cross the south lawn and descend the tree-hung slopes, you glimpse a lake adorned with classical temples. Continue and you will find an allegorical grotto; a gothick hideaway; a Pantheon of demi-gods and, on high, a deserted temple to Apollo. To the west Alfred's Tower commands views over three counties, a gaunt landmark to English monarchy and patriotism.
This is how in Georgian times Henry Hoare – known as Henry the Magnificent – would have explored the garden he designed. Generations of the Hoare family, bankers who combined service with enlightened patronage and philanthropy, have developed and cultivated the garden at Stourhead, and for many its breathtaking vistas are paradise.
Dudley Dodd charts the owners of Stourhead and the history of the landscape, house and art collection. He describes how flights of folly, individual flair, taste and careful stewardship have nurtured a national treasure, which is among the finest English landscape gardens and, since 1946, a jewel of The National Trust. The stunning new pictures by the renowned photographer Marianne Majerus provide an up to date record of this enduring Elysium.