Thursday, 3 August 2017

Wrest Park - English Heritage

Wrest Park is a country estate located in Silsoe, Bedfordshire managed by English Heritage since 2007. The country house is Grade 1 listed as is the formal gardens surrounding the mansion.  The house is grand and in the French architectural style.
The 92 acres gardens are impressive and are an illustration of 18th  century garden design.  They were originally laid out by George London and Henry Wise for Henry Grey, 1st Duke of Kent, then modified by Lancelot "Capability" Brown in a more informal landscape style. He softened the contours of the perimeter canals creating a more informal style that created many new visas to be enjoyed by anyone walking in the garden.

A long canal leads to a Baroque pavilion designed by Thomas Archer and completed in 1711. The interior  of the pavilion is decorated with impressive Ionic columns with cherubs in trompe -l'oeil.

There is a memorial dedicated to "Capability" Brown remodelled by Battey Langley in 1735 that is located in the western part of the gardens. The inscription on the column reads: 

"These gardens originally laid out by Henry Duke of Kent were altered by Philip Earl of Hardwire and Jemina Marchioness Grey with the professional assistance of Lancelot Brown Esq. in the yard 1758, 1759, 1760".

Thomas, 2nd Earl de Grey (1781–1859) was responsible for designing the new house at Wrest Park and furnishing its interiors. He scoured auction houses and dealers to find the perfect pieces to complement the 18th-century French style of the house.  He personally oversaw his project.

I took pictures of the walk we did round the grounds and think the gardens would be impressive what ever time of year one visited.  There was evidence of wild flower beds in the walled garden.






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