Monday, 7 September 2015

Rousham House Park & Garden

William Kent, the eminent English architect, landscape and furniture designer introduced the Palladian style of architecture into England when he designed the villa 'Chiswick House'. It was Kent who was also responsible, before Capability Brown, of originating the "natural" style of gardening known as the English landscape garden which he did at Chiswick House, Stowe House, and here at Rousham House, Oxfordshire, in the northern Cotswolds
Rousham House was built in 1635 by Sir Robert Dormer and is still in the ownership of the same family. 
About 200 years later Kent added wings to the north and south side of the existing house and also a fine Palladian stable block seen here on the left
Kent's south and north wings have windows showing distinctive lozenge or octagonal glazing bars complimented by niches containing figures from classical antiquity
Discobolos - the discus player
Dionysus
A rare breed of 'Longhorn' cattle graze just beyond the Ha Ha within a landscape designed by Kent
It is almost 300 years since William Kent designed the landscape at Rousham House, and I like to think that if he could have joined us for a stroll he would have been delighted to discover that, although matured, its integrity remained unchanged 
The blowsy flower borders nestling within the walled gardens are done in a typically English Tudor style with lots of traditional herbaceous plants restrained at the edges by box hedging. This area of the garden is in delightful contrast to Kent's 'Augustan' landscape
Dahlia - santa claus
Rousham's historic dovecote dates back to 1685 and  still serves as home to a host of doves and pigeons.
We were in the middle of a journey home and did not have either the time or the energy to do justice to Kent's landscape. We intend a return visit during the autumn when we shall walk Kent's landscape to see the ponds, cascades in Venus's Vale, the Cold Bath, the Rill, and the seven arched Praeneste, and on the skyline, a sham ruin known as the 'Eye-catcher'. By then the majestic trees within Rousham Park should be wearing their autumn gowns.
The gardens are open every day and cost £5 each - their leaflet states 'Rousham is uncommerical and unspoilt - bring a picnic, wear comfortable shoes and it is yours for the day to enjoy'. We had the gardens completely to ourselves apart from 3 gardeners. There is a very large antiquated machine, resembling a 60s jukebox, that takes your garden entrance money situated within Kent's fine Palladian stable block. We had insufficient coins and had to resort to putting a £20 note in the machine, wondering if it would be gobbled up and lost forever, but no, out came an entrance ticket along with a very large pile of £1 coins. They cascaded out of the machine with a heavy clatter, but added up to the correct change.

52 comments:

  1. Oooh, that's a nice one!
    The lavender against the smoke bush is a cracking combo.

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  2. The British have sunch beautiful old houses in the country with amazing gardens. It is a joy to watch your posts about them.

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    1. That is so kind of you to say so, sometimes I wonder whether I show too many

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  3. That sounds - and looks - absolutely splendid. My kind of place - have immediately put it on the list! Loved your shots - I can never do justice to colours in borders like that. the shot with the dovecot in the background is a peach.

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    1. It seems to be a landscape and garden that is not widely known, but one of great historical importance

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  4. Oh, I love a dove cote and that one is magnificent, Rosemary. William Kent was certainly brilliant, as both buildings and landscape are very beautiful. The cattle in their perfect landscape are the perfect subjects for paintings. I love studying the gardens you show us, trying to figure out how the effects are created. We live in hope at our place...

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    1. I agree with you Patricia that the cattle and landscape would make a lovely oil painting

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  5. Another amazing place. Love those gardens. Thanks for the tour. Intrigued as to what you will find when you go back for a longer visit.

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    1. I have only shown a brief glimpse of Kent's landscape, next time I will show more of it. Kent's landscapes were redolent of those from ancient times replete with statuary, temples, grottos and hermit's caves.

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  6. what a treasure...and your photos captured it beautifully. Thanks for the tour.

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    1. You are welcome, and I am pleased you enjoyed accompanying me

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  7. A fine and splendid structure indeed.

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  8. This one's been on my list for a while, maybe next time we're in England (2017)

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    1. You must go, it is so unspoilt with hardly anybody around, and I like the way you are on trust regarding payment

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  9. Its pleasing that the garden hasn't been changed since planted.
    It is truly lovely..

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    1. I am looking forward to returning on a lovely autumn day to walk the landscape now

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  10. Hello Rosemary, Another old English house that appears to have everything, and seemingly beautifully kept. My favorite detail today was the wrought iron gate--an especially appealing one.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim, so much here to admire and enjoy - glad that you enjoyed the details in the wrought iron gate

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  11. I cannot almost believe that there is something so beautiful exists. This castle and garden is incredibly beautiful, and your photos tell it to us.

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    1. Thank you - it was such a pleasure to visit here and to enjoy it all by ourselves

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  12. Oh, what a gorgeous place. I had a jolt when I read about the ha ha. I hadn't heard of that in such a long time and was just recently reminded of it. I remembered reading it in a book when I took a 20th century British literature course in college. But I couldn't remember which book I'd read it in and thought maybe I'd imagined it. I'm glad to see the ha ha is indeed a real thing. :)

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    1. Claydon House on my side bar also has a Ha Ha, I presume that you know their concept! It is a deep hidden ditch which gives an impression of a continuous landscape. For example the landscape that we were viewing with cattle in it also contained had a huge bull, but it was no threat to us as the ditch was our protection.

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  13. So beautiful, I love the walled garden with all the flowers but ooooh how I should like to explore the landschape designed by William Kent. Our youngest daughter was at Rousham and she told me already to go there. So another place on my wishlist, I visited over the years already many English houses and gardens, but it is as drop in the ocean, you have in your country so many historic houses and great gardens.

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    1. You would definitely enjoy it Janneke - Rousham lies in an idyllic spot - I shall pick a good autumn day when we make our return.

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  14. Dear Rosemary,

    Looking closely at your second photograph, it appears as though parts of the ground floor are boarded up — is that the case? The red flower in your round photograph is gorgeous.

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    1. Dear Mark - the house isn't boarded up - it's lived in by the family and is still a working farm. Those are wooden shutters which I imagine they keep shut to prevent daylight despoiling the interiors and possibly to stop prying eyes. They kindly allow people access to their garden and landscape, on trust, every day.
      The red flower is a Dahlia santa claus, and your are right it is lovely.

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  15. Hello Rosemary,

    The Ha Ha always amuses and what a clever concept. I also love the dovecote. I will be looking forward to your return visit to Chiswick House when the trees are in their Autumn glory.
    Helen xx

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    1. Hello Helen - like you I love the word Ha Ha and I agree such a very simple but clever concept - by the way I shall be returning here to Rousham House not to Chiswick House. I have visited Chiswick house though in London, and if I dare to say, almost as lovely as anything Palladian himself built in Italy.

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  16. Oh my! More English Longhorns, beautiful gardens and the knock-out red and white dahlia....

    Ms Soup

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    1. Actually this is the same herd of Longhorns that you saw before - I have now named the Dahlia it is appropriately called Santa Claus.

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  17. Dear Rosemary, It looks like the Longhorn cattle are making their way through a large and fallen tree limb. I watched the same scene in our pasture.
    The flower beds of Rousham House are especially pleasing.

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    1. Dear Gina - you are correct - just as we arrived, and for no apparent reason, a large healthy branch suddenly fell to earth. The cows immediately came over and started eating the leaves. After about 10 minutes a gigantic bull lumbered across the field and joined in with them. They were all loving it, including the calves, and by the time we had wandered around the garden and returned the branches were bare.

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  18. We went to Rousham a couple of years ago, so it was great to go again through your eyes! So glad that you enjoyed it, there is even more loveliness to see if you get the chance to return. The car parking arrangements are funny and so trusting aren't they. Good to know that there are still thinks like that around! xx

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    1. I am pleased that you have been too - it is a little off the beaten track but such a lovely spot. It is not too far from us so we shall return in a few weeks when the grounds should look lovely in their autumn splendour.

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  19. A very impressive building and a gorgeous flower garden , one of the things England is so famous for .

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    1. The herbaceous borders were lovely indeed

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  20. Boa tarde, combinação perfeita na arquitectura paisagista, a fotorreportagem é magnifica com belíssimas fotos.
    AG.

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    1. Obrigado por sua visita e comentário tipo

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  21. Another beautiful place I would love to visit - or maybe live in! Why not?! Love the garden too...so English and lovely.
    Great pictures Rosemary!
    Warm hug,
    Titti

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    1. Why not indeed Titti - but I suspect that it takes a lot of upkeep with help from many cleaners, and gardeners etc.

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  22. That garden looks so lovely the borders are so full. The dovecote and the blue gate are also so eye catching. It must have been wonderful to have had it all to yourselves. Sarah x

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    1. It is a very special place Sarah, and I look forward to returning

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  23. I am glad to know Rousham is still unspoilt. We loved to visit it when we lived in Oxford, and like you, we usually had it pretty much to ourselves.

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    1. I am so pleased that you know Rousham too - the whole ambience of the place and its situation is idyllic

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  24. Hello, Rosemary! I fell in love with Rousham House at first sight. I was intrigued with the simple rustic colored architecture with attractive details and the contrasting colorful walled garden. The place wouldn’t fail to impress people at any season but I think it’s a good idea to return there in autumn. I really love English Landscape Garden which I have been familiar with the films like Pride and Prejudice. Look forward to seeing the Rousham landscape garden on your returning.

    Yoko

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    1. Thank you Yoko - I am actually really looking forward to returning, hopefully choosing a lovely day, when we can walk the landscape. It is an important landscape being one of the few that remains just as Kent laid it out, so many others were tweaked by Capability Brown who followed in Kent's footsteps.

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  25. I sure like the gate into the garden.

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    1. It is a pretty gate and its colour enhances the flowers seen through it

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  26. I just want to be there. Every time I look at these photos I want to go pack my bags :)

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    1. I am looking forward to returning myself

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