Monday, 2 September 2013

A Sense of Time and Place

The source of the River Thames is just a few miles from our home; a spring supplied by water deep from under the ground. Mostly there is nothing to see apart from a stone which marks the spot and a few small stones lying in a shallow dip in the ground. If it has been raining the stones are submerged in clear water, and on looking closer the occasional burst of tiny bubbles making their way up from the ground can be seen.
20 miles on from this inauspicious beginning and a small river is now wandering through the Gloucestershire countryside. 
As it crosses the border into Oxfordshire it has already swelled from its infancy and is well on its way to becoming 'Old Father Thames', eventually flowing on through the city of London - it's destination the North Sea.
Sitting on the river bank we muse - Kelmscott Manor is in the meadows beyond the trees. Did William Morris wander here too? maybe take a stroll along the towpath with his wife, Jane, Rossetti or Burne-Jones! 
Loiter we must not, our destination is on this side of the river. As the crow flies a mere hop from Morris's abode.
Buscot Park and House, home to Lord Faringdon, a spectacular garden, unsurprisingly, a house hung with paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood.
Lord Faringdon, a very genial character, served us both with ice-cream. The day was too hot for the house, so we took to the shade of the trees.
A quote from Lord Faringdon - "My father died when I was 16, and my mother lived abroad, so rather to his surprise, my bachelor uncle, Gavin Faringdon, suddenly found himself landed with a philistine nephew, I was passed around the family - particularly to him but also to his sister (both of whom I loved) - during school holidays from Eton."
Lord Faringdon inherited Buscot in 1977 on the death of his much loved uncle.
In the Saloon is the most spectacular series of paintings by Burne-Jones - the story of Sleeping Beauty. When Burne-Jones was staying with William Morris at Kelmscott Manor, he walked across the meadows to the house to see his work on the walls, but was not satisfied with their setting. At this stage there were four large paintings. He wanted them linked to give unity to the story and designed a framework of carved and gilt wood for the intervening spaces which he filled with different paintings of briar rose motifs. 
A garden of great vistas
The renown Harold Peto designed the Italianate water gardens at the turn of the 20th century - it is delightful - a pleasure to wander along.
A playful dolphin and putti fountain
The house is a dignified example of the architecture of Andrea Palladio, but unusually for a house of the mid 18th century period there is no portico nor pilasters to the front facade. It does, however, have a carved stone pediment.

60 comments:

  1. Dear Rosemary,
    Kelmscott Manor I visited with my best friend Anne on our tour 'Bed and Breakfast for Garden Lovers' - we had left our husbands in Germany behind, and, all on our own, organized a wonderful tour. Much helped by Wendy Dare (Proprietor of Mille Dene Garden in Gloucester).
    I love your photos of Buscot Park and House (will put it on the list of 'Gardens I want to see' - and hope for the best that there is a time public is allowed to. The water gardens are impressive!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Buscot Park and Gardens you would love - the house is full of the most wonderful treasures called the 'Faringdon" collection. The colour schemes in the house are perfect - it is, put simply, a little gem. You can find the opening times on the website, it is now in the hands of the National Trust. The estate continues to be run and administered by Lord Faringdon - he is very much 'hands on' and involved, including continually adding to the collection of treasurers.

      Delete
  2. I love the gardens, and the incredibly contorted figure fountains....but what I really love is the Sleeping Beauty Burne- Jones paintings. They are spectacular, and look so right in their setting. A lovely post Rosemary, from the meanderings of the Thames to some beautiful house and garden images and words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Sleeping Beauty paintings by Burne-Jones make a wonderful scheme in the Saloon. The only chance of ever seeing these wonderful paintings is by visiting the house. Thank you for your much appreciated comment Janice.

      Delete
  3. Oh that is lovely. So many times I have passed through Faringdon and not stopped there. What an omission!
    The walled garden and the water gardens do indeed look delightful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is one of my favourite houses and gardens in the NT book to visit, but it is still very much Lord Faringdon's baby. He administers the estate still, and continually adds to the treasures within the house and the gardens.

      Delete
  4. Another wonderful post Rosemary and another place I would love to see and a canal with narrowboats nearby that is even better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Susan - our visit was last week on the UK Bank holiday Monday so there were a lot of people present. Fortunately the grounds are extensive so it was possible to escape them.

      Delete
  5. Hello Rosemary, How magical, living near the source of the Thames. Your description recalls the words of Coleridge: "And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever, It flung up momently the sacred river." How I would love to explore the upper reaches of the Thames.

    Your photos and story of Buscot Park reveal it as a place of enchantment, especially with its current host.

    This is one of my favorite of your posts--we accompany you on a perfect excursion, mingling natural history, architecture, gardening and art.
    --Road to Parnassus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello jim - your comment has set me up for the day - thank you very much I appreciate what you have said enormously.
      If you are ever serious about exploring the upper reaches of the Thames you might be interested to know that it is, in fact, possible to walk from its source in the Cotswolds right into London. It takes about 13 days at a pace of 14 - 16 miles per day - it is an easy walk as it is all on the level. There are companies that can organise such a trip for you with overnight stays, meals etc.

      Delete
  6. What a beautiful place to visit, there seems to be plenty to see both inside the house and in the grounds. I didn't realise until now that this is a NT property but unfortunately only open during the week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure that you would enjoy a visit, and it is an easy trip for you to make. Both the house and gardens are actually open on Sat. 28th and Sun 29th September from 14.00 until 18.00 hours, so make a note in your diary. You can arrive an hour before opening time and have a picnic in the grounds.

      Delete
  7. Now that is lovely all of it. Interesting regarding the river Thames :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who would think that such a big river, and the second longest in the country would have such humble origins. Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Delete
  8. What a beautiful gardens, I love the pond.
    The long pond is so nice.
    Have a nice Day.

    Greetings,
    Inge, my choice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Inge - glad you enjoyed seeing the beautiful gardens.

      Delete
  9. What an interesting fact about the Thames, I had no idea! Buscot Park gardens look beautiful and Lord Faringdon must be a very Interesting character.
    In answer to your question Rosemary, I have just arrived in Athens in transit to Santorini with my daughter. From there it is to Stockholm, Iceland, Copenhagen and London in early October, then back home! x
    Penny x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for letting me know what you are up to. It all sounds very exciting, and I hope that this brilliant weather we are enjoying continues for your whole visit.
      You will have some wonderful adventures to write about and show when you return home. Have a great time both of you.

      Delete
  10. Beautiful scenery along the Thames from source to wid river. And then you treat us to a huge and amazing garden as well! Beautiful! Must have been a wonderful visit. Thanks for sharing Rosemary!
    Marian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The garden is one of my favourites, the house is too, as inside it is so tastefully done with some exceptional treasures.
      Glad you enjoyed seeing it Marian.

      Delete
  11. The water on the river look so fresh and clear. It's interesting how everything is interconnected starting from that River to Thames to the North Sea. The Estate is beautiful and the gardens are so elegant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The river was pure as crystal, all the fishes and plants in the water were clearly visible. Buscot estate is well worth a visit - fantastic gardens, and a house full of wonderful treasures.

      Delete
  12. I'm reading this from my home in Wales, just a few miles from the source of the river Severn, Rosemary. :-) What a glorious garden and fine house. Not being overfond of porticos and pilasters, I like its austere and dignified frontage. As for the walled garden, I'm green with envy. I would so love a house with a walled garden....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Perpetua - the house and gardens have so much to commend them - a house I could readily live in. The rooms are a perfect scale, the furnishing tasteful, the decor colouring used is sophisticated, and on top of all that the house is full of treasures that I love and admire. I haven't even got round to the garden, but that speaks for itself.

      Delete
  13. This is just wonderful! The kind of place I would love to visit and maybe I will. All seems a lifetime away, as I am here in Italy, in the sun, a different lifestyle and missing the English rain. I can't wait to come back. It's weird being in the country where you were born and feeling that maybe you love another country, more. Story of my life!

    You were lucky being able to spend some time at this beautiful place, where so much beauty and art is being looked after, preserved and shared by so many people, because those who own works of art might think they "own" but art, produce of free spirits and minds, belongs to humanity!

    Bye, Rosemary... not having a good day, today, I'm afraid!

    Hugs

    ANNA
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them too.”

      Just read this below my comment. It's by A.A.Milne and very true!

      XX
      ANNA

      Delete
    2. Dear Anna - there is no rain here for you to miss - we have enjoyed the most wonderful summer with occasional small amounts of rain in the middle of the night to keep everything growing. We now seem headed into an Indian Summer with blue skies and wall to wall sunshine - it is lovely.
      When you are next over you should try and visit Buscot - have a weekend break in the Cotswolds. You would love the Burne-Jones paintings too.

      Delete
    3. Yes, I saw the A.A. Milne quote somewhere recently, and thought it was very suitable for bloggers.

      Delete
  14. Beautiful photos, as always, Rosemary. I'm completely fascinated by rivers; their sources, their history and their landscapes. I'd love to see the source of the Thames - incredible to think it becomes this wide and powerful river from a small spring.
    I love those watergardens, too and the flower beds are lovely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is incredible the way it grows from a few bubbles so rapidly. One area where the Thames becomes a stream is at Cricklade, and during the winter months the meadows either side often become water logged becoming the perfect habitat for the Snakeshead fritillaries. During the flowering season 80% of the British population are in flower there - it is a sight to behold.

      Delete
  15. A lovely Burne Jones painting. You were right about the stained glass in my last post, the angel was designed by Burne Jones and made by Morris & co. Well spotted, go to the top of the class!
    I really like the AA Milne quote, very apt for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two of the things that particularly gave it away for me were the large red angel wings and the distinctive hair so reminicent of Burne-Jones.

      Delete
  16. Like the enterior of this castle and the green plants in the crytal clear water.

    Greetings,
    Filip

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The water running over the ribbons of bright green water plants looked beautiful on that lovely morning last week.

      Delete
  17. You are so fortunate! Once again I am struck by the wealth of history, the feasts for the eyes that seem to be on your doorstep. I might love the trees and mountains, but there is a point at which I long to see something that is beautiful in another way. Thank you for such a lovely tour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a mountain person myself, and always need to have a fix at least once during the year. Around our home, as you have probably gathered, we do have 5 very deep valleys. There is an inexhaustible supply of historic homes and gardens in the Cotswold of which I can only scratch the surface.
      So pleased that you enjoyed the post, and thank you.

      Delete
  18. Dear Rosemary,Gloucestershire is such a beautiful place!!Lovely countrysides!
    You are so lucky living there!The castle and garden looks fantastic!!!Thank you for sharing!!!Have a nice week and a happy new month of September!
    Dimi...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This area is considered to be quintessential England - so pleased that you enjoyed seeing it Dimi - thank you.

      Delete
  19. Hi Rosemary,
    I'm a new visitor to your blog and I see we have much in common!
    It was lovely to read your post about Buscot Park and to see your lovely collection of photos of the house and the Gloucestershire countryside.
    Last week I visited Kelmscott Manor and I adore the place. I have now visted twice this year!
    I have never been to Buscot, I must go this autumn after reading your post about the house!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Best wishes,
    Jo.
    P.S. I am now following you! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jo - thank you for your visit and for becoming a follower. Our trip to Buscot was last week, we must have been within a stones throw of each other. I must return to Kelmscott, I have two friends who do volunteering work at the house, and they have promised me free tickets, must remind them.
      Do visit Buscot, there is plenty to admire both within the house and out in the gardens.

      Delete
  20. Thank you for this lovely post Rosemary. The upper reaches of the tranquil Thames look so pretty.
    Another beautiful house and gardens you have shared. The photos are delightful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Following the beginnings of the River Thames to London is a walking trip that many people make in the summer months. It takes about 2 weeks, but it is of course possible to just do sections. The first part in the upper reaches is particularly lovely, but then may be I am a little biased.

      Delete
  21. A very interesting post and I can understand why Buscot Park would be an enjoyable place to visit especially if Lord Faringdon was around to engage in a conversation. He sounds as if he's an endearing character. Do you have special permission to photograph in the house? Some properties do not allow this I've found. The gardens are also very beautiful enhanced by the water features.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lord Faringdon is a perfect English gentleman - all of the National Trust properties now allow photography inside their properties except for places like Buscot where the original owners still have their own personal treasures in the house. These two interior photos were from wikipedia.
      It is a place that is well worth a visit - one of my favourite houses and gardens.

      Delete
  22. Piękny dom, ale zauroczył mnie ogród z wodą i pięknymi fontannami. Pozdrawiam.
    Beautiful house, but I fell in love with the water garden and beautiful fountains. Yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The water gardens are very special cascading gently down the the lake.

      Delete
  23. Dear Rosemary,

    I've enjoyed all the elements that you've woven into this story. I don't know which is more romantic — to live so near the source of the Thames, or to be able to drop by a monumental room designed by Burne-Jones! I think his solution was perfect.

    By the way, I was a little startled to see the fountain with the boy. The patina on his hand and left leg look as though he is becoming flesh and blood!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mark - I must agree the hand and leg do look as if they are becoming flesh. A bit of cleaning will no doubt be required during the autumn.
      We are quite fortunate that so many great houses and places of interest are nearby, but that is the case over much of Britain, we are such a very small country.

      Delete
  24. I enjoyed this post very much, Rosemary. What wonderful photographs. You are so fortunate to be just a few miles from all this splendor. Oh how I wish I could visit England again. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely to hear from you Yvette - as I mentioned to Mark, we are a tiny country compared with the States so everything is pretty close at hand in comparison. We can even get to the top of Scotland in a day. Glad you enjoyed the post - do hope that you may visit England again one day.

      Delete
  25. Wow, what the stunning series of the beautiful pictures! love the garden.and best for walk...
    thanks for sharing..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - glad that you enjoyed seeing the gardens.

      Delete
  26. Dear Rosemary, I love the way you describe the source of the Thames in your first paragraph. It is almost like poetry. You have so many gifts, writing and photography and also picking places and subjects that are most interesting and also very beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Gina - so delighted that you enjoyed seeing the post - it was a glorious day at the very end of August. We had a picnic sitting on the river bank and then spent the afternoon wandering around the beautiful gardens.

      Delete
  27. What a very delicious post Rosemary. Buscot House and the Peto Garden are already on my list of places to visit even more so upon seeing your delightful photographs.
    I absolutely adore the Burne-Jones paintings. I think by now its is readily apparent that anything with the merest whiff of the romantic or magical has my ears pricked up like a Pharaoh Hound. Check out you, getting served your Mr Whippy by a Lord, how fabulous:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would love a trip to Buscot Paul - the house is on a scale that I could happily call home. The treasurers in it are fabulous.
      How did you know it was a Whippy ice cream? whilst not exactly Mr. Whippy - it was a Buscot Whippy.

      Delete
  28. Dearest Rosemary , I am be late for this post but is my pleasant when I see this wonderful photos that you share with us !You are so lucky that you live near all this beauty !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Olympia - this is a house and garden that I any tire of visiting, and I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing it too.

      Delete
  29. I can't imaagine that the provenance of the majestic River Thames is a mere spring from the ground. The history of Buscot Park & House makes a rich tapestry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River sources are an intriguing natural conundrum. Buscot Park and House makes for a wonderful day out.

      Delete

❖PLEASE NOTE❖ Comments made by those who hide their identity will be deleted

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them sometimes”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh