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At Chiswick House

November 10, 2023
by the gentle author


I decided to take advantage of the November sunshine by enjoying an excursion to Chiswick House. I have to confess that it is thirty years since I visited, in the footsteps of the writer Denton Welch who came here in the thirties with a picnic including a hardboiled egg and a piece of fruitcake. Yet it was a great consolation to encounter these gardens again, like a old friend that has not been changed by the years.

William Kent’s garden was inspired by the paintings of Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin, and seeing it illuminated by the perfectly crystalline autumn sunlight this week, I could not resist the feeling I was exploring an eternal landscape that was outside time. I half expected to turn a corner of a box hedge and discover Denton with his blanket spread out upon the grass, waiting for me with a picnic for two of hardboiled eggs and fruitcake.

I can think of no better place to lose an afternoon in London than these gardens, why did I take thirty years to go back?


The Doric Column with Venus on the top at the centre of the Rosary

Sculpture of a lioness by Pieter Scheemakers, 1733

The Ionic Temple and Obelisk, 1722

In the Excedra

Herm in the Excedra

A Sphinx beneath the Lebanon Cedar

Classical villa designed by Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington

Designed by Inigo Jones for Beaufort House in Chelsea in 1621, this gateway was acquired by Lord Burlington in 1738 from his friend Hans Sloan

Bust of Caesar Augustus

The Corinthian capitals on the portico were carved by John Boson

Andreas Palladio by by John Michael Rysbrack

Inigo Jones by John Michael Rysbrack

In the Italian Garden

The Conservatory was designed by Samuel Ware and completed in 1813

Geraniums overwintering

The Classic Bridge, attributed to James Wyatt, was built for the 5th Duke of Devonshire in 1774

The Ionic Temple

Bust of Napoleon in the Rustic House designed by Lord Burlington about 1719

The Eye Catcher installed in 1970

The Cascade by William Kent

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At Fulham Palace

4 Responses leave one →
  1. John French permalink
    November 10, 2023

    I visited a couple of years ago and was surprised that there is no admission fee. The gardens are larger than I had imagined and there is plenty of impressive architecture to admire. Possibly less well known than other gardens and, as a result, less visited.

  2. Bernie permalink
    November 10, 2023

    My teenage years as a Londoner (the late 40’s and 50’s) were enlivened by much walking the streets inspired by reading but, sadly, Chiswick House never made it into the list of places to go. Indeed, I think it was never heard of. So I am grateful to you, Gentle Author, for filling a very particular hole.

  3. David Ellis permalink
    November 10, 2023

    I am lucky to have Chiswick House on my doorstep and visit regularly. I love the place. The Beatles seemed to like it here too, check out this link which was filmed at Chiswick House in May 1966…
    Looks like it was filmed yesterday.
    Don’t be a stranger, 30 years is way too long, visit again soon.
    All the best

  4. Gilbert O’Brien permalink
    November 10, 2023

    Is the Gentle Author turning his hand to photography? More an d more of his excellent photos in various blogs, these being particularly excellent. And no pesky human beings to get in the way of the beautiful buildings and gardens!

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