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Stowe Landscape Gardens & Monuments, Buckinghamshire, England

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  • Stephen Switzer (bef.1682 - 1745)
    From Stephen Switzer and Garden Design in Britain in the Early 18th Century by WILLIAM ALVIS BROGDE Chapter 1: Biography Stephen Switzer was a native of Hampshire' and was brought up at Stratton near W...
  • James Gibbs (1682 - 1754)
    James Gibbs= James Gibbs (23 December 1682 – 5 August 1754) was one of Britain's most influential architects. Born in Scotland, he trained as an architect in Rome, and practised mainly in England. His ...

Stowe Landscape Gardens & Monuments, Buckinghamshire, England

The history of the gardens

In the 1690s, Stowe had a modest early-baroque parterre garden, owing more to Italy than to France, but it has not survived, and, within a relatively short time, Stowe became widely renowned for its magnificent gardens created by Lord Cobham. The Landscape Garden was created in three main phases, showing the development of garden design in 18th-century England (this is the only garden where all three designers worked):

From 1711 to c.1735 Charles Bridgeman was the garden designer,[29] and John Vanbrugh from c.1720 until his death in 1726 the architect,[30] they designed an English baroque park, inspired by the work of London, Wise and Switzer. After Vanbrugh's death James Gibbs took over as architect in September 1726,[31] he also worked in the English Baroque style.
In 1731 William Kent was appointed[32] to work with Bridgeman, whose last designs are dated 1735 after which Kent took over as the garden designer. Kent had already created the glorious garden at Rousham House, and he and Gibbs built temples, bridges, and other garden structures. Kent's masterpiece at Stowe is the Elysian Fields with its Temple of Ancient Virtue that looks across to his Temple of British Worthies, Kent's architectural work was in the newly fashionable Palladian style.
In March 1741, Capability Brown was appointed head gardener.[33] He worked with Gibbs until 1749 and with Kent until the latter's death in 1748. Brown departed in the autumn of 1751 to start his independent career as a garden designer.[34] In these years, Bridgeman's octagonal pond and 11-acre (4.5 ha) lake were extended given a "naturalistic" shape, and a Palladian bridge was added in 1744 probably to Gibbs's design. Brown contrived a Grecian valley which, despite its name, is an abstract composition of landform and woodland and developed the Hawkwell Field, with Gibbs's most notable building the Gothic Temple (now one of the properties owned and maintained by The Landmark Trust). As Loudon remarked in 1831, "nature has done little or nothing; man a great deal, and time has improved his labours".


After Brown left, Earl Temple who had inherited Stowe from his uncle Lord Cobham, turned to a garden designer called Richard Woodward,[5] who had been gardener at Wotton House the Earl's previous home. The work of naturalising the landscape started by Brown was continued under Woodward, this was accomplished by the mid-1750s. At the same time Earl Temple turned his attention to the various temples and monuments. He altered several of Vanburgh's and Gibbs's temples to make them conform to his taste for Neoclassical architecture, to accomplish this he employed Giovanni Battista Borra from 1752 to 1756, also at this time several monuments were moved to other parts of the garden. Earl Temple made further alterations in the gardens from the early 1760s, this is when several of the older structures were demolished and this time he turned to his cousin Thomas Pitt, 1st Baron Camelford who was assisted by Borra, whose most notable design was the Corinthian Arch.

The next owner of Stowe, the Marquess of Buckingham made relatively few changes to the gardens. He planted the two main approach avenues, added 28-acre (11 ha) to the garden east of the Cobham Monument and altered a few buildings, Vincenzo Valdrè was his architect, most notably the Queen's Temple and built a few new structures, such as The Menagerie with its formal garden and the Buckingham Lodges at the southern end of the Grand Avenue. He also created the formal gardens within the balustrade he added to the south front of the house and demolished a few more monuments in the gardens.

The last significant changes to the gardens were made by the next two owners of Stowe, the 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. He succeeded in buying the Lamport Estate in 1826, which was immediately to the east of the gardens, adding 17 acres (6.9 ha) to the south-east of the gardens to form the Lamport gardens, this work was overseen by the head gardener, James Brown, he remodelled the eastern arm of the Octagon Lake and created a cascade beyond the Palladian Bridge, from 1840 2nd Duke of Buckingham's gardener Mr Ferguson created rock and water gardens in the new garden, the architect Edward Blore was also employed to build the Lamport Lodge and Gates as a carriage entrance, he also remodelled the Water Stratford Lodge at the start of the Oxford Avenue.

As Stowe evolved from an English baroque garden into a pioneering landscape park, the gardens became an attraction for many of the nobility, including political leaders. Indeed, Stowe is said to be the first English garden for which a guide book was produced. Wars and rebellions were reputedly discussed among the garden's many temples; the artwork of the time reflected this by portraying caricatures of the better-known politicians of history taking their ease in similar settings. Stowe began to evolve into a series of natural views to be appreciated from a perambulation rather than from a well-chosen central point. In their final form the Gardens were the largest and most elaborate example of what became known in Europe as the English garden. The main gardens, enclosed within the ha-has (sunken or trenched fences) over four miles (6 km) in length, cover over 400 acres (160 ha),[35] but the park also has many buildings, including gate lodges and other monuments.

Many of the temples and monuments in the garden celebrate the political ideas of the Whig party and include quotes by many of the writers who are part of Augustan literature, also philosophers and ideas belonging to the Age of Enlightenment.

The fame of the gardens was spread by various means.

Alexander Pope who first stayed at the house in 1724, wrote about Stowe gardens in the lines 47-70 of the poem An Epistle to the Right Honourable Richard Earl of Burlington, Occasion'd by his Publishing Palladio's Designs of the Baths, Arches, Theatres, &c. of Ancient Rome. In 1730 James Thomson published his poem Autumn, part of his four works The Seasons, the lines 1033-81 are about Stowe.

In 1732 Lord Cobham's nephew Gilbert West wrote a lengthy poem The Gardens of the Right Honourable Richard Viscount Cobham that is actually a guide to the gardens in verse form. Charles Bridgeman commissioned 15 engravings of the gardens from Jacques Rigaud, these were published in 1739. In 1744 Benton Seeley published A Description of the Gardens of Lord Cobham at Stow Buckinghamshire. In 1748 William Gilpin produced the Views of the Temples and other Ornamental Buildings in the Gardens at Stow followed in 1749 by A Dialogue upon the Gardens at Stow. A Pirated copy of all three books was published in 1750 by George Bickham as The Beauties of Stow. To cater to the large number of French visitors in 1748 a French guidebook Les Charmes de Stow was published. In the 1750s Jean-Jacques Rousseau had visited the gardens and his writings about the gardens helped spread their fame and influence throughout Europe, he had this to say[36] 'Stowe is composed of very beautiful and very picturesque spots chosen to represent different kinds of scenery, all of which seem natural except when considered as a whole, as in the Chinese gardens of which I was telling you. The master and creator of this superb domain has also erected ruins, temples and ancient buildings, like the scenes, exhibit a magnificence which is more than human'. George Louis Le Rouge published in 1777 Détails de nouveaux jardins à la mode that included engravings of buildings at Stowe as well as at other famous gardens in Britain. In Germany Christian Cay Lorenz Hirschfeld published Theorie der Gartenkunst in 5 volumes in Leipzig 1779–1785, that included Stowe. The last edition of the Seeley guide was published in 1827. In 1805-9 John Claude Nattes painted 105 wash drawings of both the house and gardens.

The Approaches

There are two main entrances to the Park, the Grand Avenue, from Buckingham to the south and the Oxford Avenue from the south-west, this leads to the forecourt of the house. The Grand Avenue was created in the 1770s, 100 feet (30 m) in width and one and half miles in length, lined originally with elm trees. The elms succumbed in the 1970s to Dutch elm disease and were replaced with alternate beech & chestnut trees. The Grand Avenue by the Corinthian Arch turns to the west to join the Queen's Drive that connects to the Oxford Avenue just below the Boycott Pavilions. The Oxford Avenue was planted in the 1790s, and sold to the National Trust in 1985 by the great-great grandson of the 3rd Duke, Robert Richard Grenville Close-Smith (1936-1992), a local landowner. Close-Smith was the grandson of the Honourable Mrs. Caroline Mary Close-Smith, who was the 11th Lady Kinloss's daughter. This was one of the first acquisitions of the Trust at Stowe.

The buildings in this area are:

The Buckingham Lodges[37] these are over three miles (5 km) due south of the centre of the House, probably designed by Vincenzo Valdrè, dated 1805 they flank the southern entrance to the Grand Avenue.


The Corinthian Arch [38] designed in 1765 by Thomas Pitt, 1st Baron Camelford, Lord Temple's cousin. Built from stone 60 feet (18 m) in height and 60 feet (18 m) wide. It is modelled on ancient Roman Triumphal arches. This is located at the northern end of the Grand Avenue over a mile and a half due south of the centre of the House, it is on the top of a hill. The central arch is flanked on the south side by paired Corinthian pilasters and on the north side by paired Corinthian engaged columns. The arch contains two four-storey residences originally for game-keepers. The flanking Tuscan columns were added in 1780.


The New Inn situated about 100 metres to the east of the Corinthian Arch. Built in 1717 specifically to provide accommodation for visitors to the gardens, the red brick Inn included a mini brewery where barley was brewed into beer, a farm and dairy. The Inn closed in the 1850s, it then being used as a farm, smithy and kennels for deer hounds. The building was purchased in a ruinous condition, by the National Trust in 2005. In 2010 work started on converting it into the new visitor centre, and since 2011 this has been the entrance for visitors to the gardens. They formerly used The Oxford Gates. The New Inn is linked by the Bell Gate Drive to the Bell Gate next to the eastern Lake Pavilion, so called because visitors had to ring the bell by the gate to gain admittance to the Garden.

The Water Stratford Lodge this is located over a mile from the house near the border with Oxfordshire, at the very start of the Oxford Avenue, by the village of the same name. Built in 1843 the single storey lodge is in Italianate style with a porch flanked by two windows, the dressings are of stone, with rendered walls. The architect was Edward Blore.

The Oxford Gates[39] The central piers were designed by William Kent in 1731, for a position to the north-east, they were moved to their present location in 1761, and iron railings added either side, pavilions at either end were added in the 1780s to the design of the architect Vincenzo Valdrè. The piers have coats of arms in Coade stone manufactured by Eleanor Coade.

The Oxford Bridge[39] built in 1761 to cross the river Dad after this had been dammed to form what was renamed the Oxford Water. Probably designed by Earl Temple. It is stone of hump-backed form, having three arches the central one being slightly wider and higher than the flanking ones. With a solid parapet, there are eight decorative urns places at the ends of the parapets and above the two piers.
The Boycott Pavilions[40] of stone designed by James Gibbs, the eastern one built 1728 the western in 1729. They are named after the nearby vanished hamlet of Boycott. Located on the brow of a hill overlooking the river Dad, they flank the Oxford drive. Originally both were in the form of square planned open belvederes with stone pyramidal roofs. In 1758 the architect Giovanni Battista Borra altered them, replacing them with the lead domes, with a round dormer window in each face and an open lantern in the centre. The eastern pavilion was converted into a three storey house in 1952.

The forecourt Located in front of the north facade of the house, this has in its centre:

The Statue of George I[41] a greater than life size equestrian statue of King George I by Andries Carpentière located in the middle of the Forecourt, made of cast lead in 1723. It is on a tall stone plinth.

The south vista

This includes the tree-flanked sloping lawns to the south of the House down to the Octagon Lake and a mile and a half beyond to the Corinthian Arch beyond which stretches the Grand Avenue of over a mile and a half to Buckingham. This is the oldest area of the gardens. There were walled gardens on the site of the south lawn from the 1670s that belonged to the old house. These gardens were altered in the 1680s when the house was rebuilt on the present site. They were again remodelled by Bridgeman from 1716. The lawns with the flanking woods took on their current character from 1741 when 'Capability' Brown re-landscaped this area.

The buildings in this area are:

The Doric Arch[42] of stone erected in 1768 for the visit of Princess Amelia, probably to the design of Thomas Pitt, 1st Baron Camelford, is a simple arch flanked by fluted Doric pilasters, with an elaborate entablature with triglyphs and carved metopes supporting a tall attic. This leads to the Elysian fields.

Statue of George II on the western edge of the lawn was rebuilt in 2004 by the National Trust. This is a monument to King George II, originally built in 1724 before he became king. The monument consists of an unfluted Corinthian column on a plinth over 30 feet (9.1 m) high that supports the Portland stone sculpture of the King which is a copy of the statue sold in 1921.The pillar has this inscription from Horace's Ode 15, Book IV.

The Lake Pavilions[43] these were designed by Vanbrugh in 1719, they are on the edge of the ha-ha flanking the central vista through the Park to the Corinthian Arch. They were moved further apart in 1764 and their details made neo-classical by the architect Borra. Raised on a low podium they are reached by a flight of eight steps, they are pedimented of four fluted Doric columns in width by two in depth, with a solid back wall and with coffered plaster ceiling. Behind the eastern pavilion is the Bell Gate. This was used by the public when visiting the gardens in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Elysian fields

The Elysian Fields is to the immediate east of the South Vista; designed by William Kent, work started on this area of the gardens in 1734. The area covers about 40 acres (16 ha). There is a series of buildings and monuments surrounding two narrow lakes, called the river Styx, that step down to a branch of the Octagon Lake. The adoption of the name alludes to Elysium, and the monuments in this area are to the virtuous dead of both Britain and ancient Greece. The main species of trees originally planted included alder, elm, chestnut and pine also ivy was planted and encouraged to grow over dead tree-trunks to create a suitable melancholy mood.

The buildings in this area are:

Saint Mary's Church – located in the woods between the House and the Elysian Fields is Stowe parish church. This is the only surviving structure from the old village of Stowe. Dating from the 14th century, the building consists of a nave with aisles and a west tower, a chancel with a chapel to the north and an east window c. 1300 with reticulated tracery. Lancelot "Capability" Brown was married in the church in 1744. The church contains a fine Sir Laurence Whistler CBE etched glass window in memory of The Hon. Mrs. Thomas Close-Smith of Boycott Manor, eldest daughter of the 11th Lady Kinloss, who was the eldest daughter of the 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos. Thomas Close Smith himself was the High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire in 1942, and died in 1946.[44] Caroline Mary, his wife, known as May, died in 1972[45]

The Temple of Ancient Virtue[46] built in 1737 to the designs of Kent, in the form of a Tholos, a circular domed building surrounded by columns. In this case they are unfluted Ionic columns, 16 in number, raised on a podium. There are twelve steps up to the two arched doorless entrances. Within are four niches one between the two doorways. They contain four life size sculptures (plaster copies of the originals by Peter Scheemakers sold in 1921). They are Epaminondas (general), Lycurgus (lawmaker), Homer (poet) and Socrates (philosopher).

The Temple of British Worthies[47] designed by Kent and built 1734-5. Built of stone, it is a curving roofless exedra with a large stone pier in the centre surmounted by a stepped pyramid containing an oval niche that contains a bust of Mercury, a copy of the original. The curving wall contains 6 niches either side of the central pier. With further niches on the two ends of the wall and two more behind. These are filled by busts, half carved by John Michael Rysbrack these are John Milton, William Shakespeare, John Locke, Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Francis Bacon, Elizabeth I, William III and Inigo Jones the other eight are by Peter Scheemakers these are Alexander Pope, Sir Thomas Gresham, King Alfred the Great, The Black Prince, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, John Hampden and Sir John Barnard (Whig MP and opponent of the Whig Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole). There is a small pediment above each niche that breaks forward slightly from the wall. There are three broad steps following the curving wall. The choice of who was considered a 'British Worthy' was very much influenced by the Whig politics of the family, the chosen individuals falling into two groups, eight known for their actions and eight known for their thoughts and ideas.

The Shell Bridge[48] designed by Kent, and finished by 1739, is actually a dam disguised as a bridge of five arches and is decorated with shells.
The Grotto[49] probably designed by Kent in the 1730s, is located at the head of the serpentine 'river Styx' that flows through the Elysian Fields. There are two pavilions, one ornamented with shells the other with pebbles and flints. In the central room is a circular recess in which are two basins of white marble. In the upper is a marble statue of Venus rising from her bath, and water falls from the upper into the lower basin, there passing under the floor to the front, where it falls into the river Styx. A tablet of marble is inscribed with these lines from Milton: Goddess of the silver wave,"

To thy thick embower'd cave,

To arched walks, and twilight groves,

And shadows brown, which Sylvan loves

When the sun begins to fling

"His flaring beams, me, Goddess, bring.

The Seasons Fountain[50] probably erected in 1805, built from white statuary marble. Spring water flows from it, the basic structure is made from an 18th-century chimneypiece, it used to be decorated with Wedgwood plaques of the four seasons and had silver drinking cups suspended on either side.

The Grenville Column[51] originally erected in 1749 near the Grecian Valley, it was moved to its present location in 1756; Earl Temple probably designed it. It commemorates one of Lord Cobham's nephews, Captain Thomas Grenville RN killed in 1747 while fighting the French off Cape Finisterre aboard HMS Defiance under the command of Admiral Anson, the monument is based on an Ancient Roman naval monument, a rostral column, one that is carved with the prows of Roman galleys sticking out from the shaft. The order used is Tuscan, and is surmounted by a statue of Calliope holding a scroll inscribed Non nisi grandia canto (Only sing of heroic deeds); there is a lengthy inscription in Latin added to the base of the column after it was moved.

The Cook Monument[52] was built in 1778 as a monument to Captain James Cook; it takes the form of a stone globe on a pedestal. It was moved to its present position in 1842. The pedestal has a carved relief of Cook's head in profile and the inscription Jacobo Cook/MDDLXXVIII.

The Hawkwell Field

Is to the east of the Elysian Fields, also known as The Eastern Garden. This area of the gardens was developed in the 1730s & 1740s, an open area surrounded by some of the larger buildings.

The buildings in this area are:


The Gothic Temple[53] designed by James Gibbs in 1741 and completed about 1748, this is the only building in the Gardens built from ironstone, all the others use a creamy-yellow limestone. The building is triangular in plan of two storeys with a pentagonal shaped tower at each corner, one of which rises two floors higher than the main building, while the other two towers have lanterns on their roofs. Above the door is a quote from Pierre Corneille's play Horace: Je rends grace aux Dieux de n'estre pas Roman (I thank the gods I am not a Roman). The interior includes a circular room of two storeys covered by a shallow dome that is painted to mimic mosaic work including shields representing the Heptarchy. Dedicated 'To the Liberty of our Ancestors'. To quote John Martin Robinson: 'to the Whigs, Saxon and Gothic were interchangeably associated with freedom and ancient English liberties: trial by jury (erroneously thought to have been founded by King Alfred at a moot on Salisbury Plain), Magna Carta, parliamentary representation, all the things which the Civil War and Glorious Revolution had protected from the wiles of Stuart would-be absolutism, and to the preservation of which Lord Cobham and his 'Patriots' were seriously devoted.'[54] The Temple was used in the 1930s by the school as the Officer Training Corps armoury. It is now available as a holiday let through the Landmark Trust.

The Pebble Alcove [55] built of stone before 1739 probably to the designs of Kent. It takes the form of an exedra enclosed by a stone work surmounted by a pediment. The exedra is decorated with coloured pebbles, including the family coat of arms below which is the Temple family motto TEMPLA QUAM DELECTA (How Beautiful are thy Temples).

The Chatham Urn[56] this is a copy of the large stone urn known as the Chatham Vase carved in 1780 by John Bacon. It was placed in 1831 on a small island in the Octagon Lake. It is a memorial to William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham former Prime Minister, who was a relative of the Temple family. The original was sold in 1848 and is now at Chevening House.

Congreve's Monument[56] of stone designed by Kent in 1736, this is a memorial to William Congreve. It is in the form of a pyramid with an urn carved on one side with Apollo's head, pan pipes and masks of comedy and tragedy; the truncated pyramid supports the sculpture of an ape looking at itself in a mirror.

The Temple of Friendship[57] built of stone in 1739 to the designs of Gibbs. It is located in the south-east corner of the garden. Inscribed on the exterior of the building is AMICITIAE S (sacred to friendship). It was badly damaged by fire in 1840 and remains a ruin. Built as a pavilion to entertain Lord Cobham's friends it was originally decorated with murals by Francesco Sleter including on the ceiling Britannia, the walls having allegorical paintings symbolising friendship, justice and liberty. There was a series of ten white marble busts on black marble pedestals around the walls of Cobham (this bust with that of Lord Westmoreland is now in the V&A Museum) and his friends: Frederick, Prince of Wales; Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield; George Lyttelton, 1st Baron Lyttelton; Thomas Fane, 8th Earl of Westmorland; William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham; Allen Bathurst, 1st Earl Bathurst; Richard Grenville-Temple, 2nd Earl Temple; Alexander Hume-Campbell, 2nd Earl of Marchmont; John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower. Dated 1741, three were carved by Peter Scheemakers: Cobham, Prince Frederick & Lord Chesterfield, the rest were carved by Thomas Adye. All the busts were sold in 1848. The building consisted of a square room rising through two floors surmounted by a pyramidal roof with a lantern. The front has a portico of four Tuscan columns supporting a pediment, the sides have arcades of one arch deep by three wide also supporting pediments. The arcades and portico with the wall behind are still standing.


The Palladian Bridge[58] This is a copy of the bridge at Wilton House. The main difference is that the Stowe version is designed to be used by horse-drawn carriages so is set lower with shallow ramps instead of steps on the approach. It was completed in 1738 probably under the direction of Gibbs. Of five arches, the central wide and segmental with carved keystone, the two flanking semi-circular also with carved keystones, the two outer segmental. There is a balustraded parapet, the middle three arches also supporting an open pavilion. Above the central arch this consists of colonnades of four full and two half columns of unfluted Roman Ionic order. Above the flanking arches there are pavilions with arches on all four sides. These have engaged columns on their flanks and ends of the same order as the colonnade which in turn support pediments. The roof is of slate, with an elaborate plaster ceiling. It originally crossed a stream that emptied from the Octagon Lake, and when the lake was enlarged and deepened, made more natural in shape in 1752, this part of the stream became a branch of the lake.


The Queen's Temple[59] originally designed by Gibbs in 1742 and was then called the Lady's Temple. This was designed for Lady Cobham to entertain her friends. But the building was extensively remodelled in 1772-4 to give it a neo-classical form. The architect was probably Thomas Pitt, the portico is based on the Maison Carrée. Further alterations were made in 1790 by Vincenzo Valdrè to commemorate George III recovering from madness with the help of Queen Charlotte after whom the building was renamed. The main floor is raised up on a podium, the main facade consists of a portico of four fluted Composite columns, these are approached by a balustraded flight of steps the width of the portico. The facade is wider than the portico, the flanking walls having niches containing ornamental urns. The large door is fully glazed. The room within is the most elaborately decorated of any of the Garden's buildings. The Scagliola Corinthian columns and pilasters are based on the Temple of Venus and Roma, the barrel-vaulted ceiling is coffered. There are several plaster medallions around the walls, Britannia Deject, with this inscription Desideriis icta fidelibus Quaerit Patria Caesarem (For Caesar's life, with anxious hopes and fears Britannia lifts to Heaven a nation's tears), Britannia with a palm branch sacrificing to Aesculapius with this inscription O Sol pulcher! O laudande, Canam recepto Caesare felix (Oh happy days! with rapture Britons sing the day when Heavenrestore their favourite King!) and Britannia supporting a medallion of the Queen with the inscription Charlottae Sophiae Augustae, Pietate erga Regem, erga Rempublicam Virtute et constantia, In difficillimis temporibus spectatissimae D.D.D. Georgius M. de Buckingham MDCCLXXXIX. (To the Queen, Most respectable in the most difficult moments, for her attachment and zeal for the public service, George Marquess of Buckingham dedicates this monument). Other plaster decoration on the walls are 1. Trophies of Religion, Justice and Mercy, 2. Agriculture and Manufacture, 3. Navigation and Commerce and 4. War. Almost all the decoration was the work of Charles Peart except for the statue of Britannia by Joseph Ceracchi. In 1842 the 2nd Duke of Buckingham inserted in the centre of the floor the Roman mosaic found at nearby Foscott. The Temple has been used for over 40 years by the School as its Music School.

The Saxon Deities[60] these are sculptures by John Michael Rysbrack of the seven deities that gave their names to the days of the week. Carved from Portland stone in 1727. They were moved to their present location in 1773, (the sculptures are copies of the originals that were sold in 1921-2). They are arranged in a circle. Each sculpture (with the exception of Sunna a half length sculpture) is life size, the base of each statue has a Runic inscription of the god's name, and stands on a plinth. They are: Sunna (Sunday), Mona (Monday), Tiw (Tuesday), Woden (Wednesday), Thuner (Thursday), Friga (Friday) and a Saxon version of Seatern (Saturday), the original Sunna & Thuner statues are in the V&A Museum, the original Friga stood for many years in Portmeirion but was sold at auction in 1994 for £54,000, the original Mona is in the Buckinghamshire County Museum.

The Lamport Gardens Lying to the east of the Eastern Gardens,and named after the vanished hamlet of Lamport, the gardens were created from 1826 by Richard Temple-Grenville, 1st Duke of Buckingham and Chandos and his gardener James Brown, from 1840 2nd Duke of Buckingham's gardener Mr Ferguson and the architect Edward Blore as an ornamental rock and water garden.

The buildings in this area are:

The Chinese House[61] is known to date from 1738 making it the first known building in England built in the Chinese style. It is made of wood and painted on canvas inside and out by Francesco Sleter. Originally it was on stilts in a pond near the Elysian Fields. In 1750 it was moved from Stowe and was purchased by the National Trust in 1996 and returned and placed in its present position. The Chinoiserie Garden Pavilion at Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand is based on the Chinese House.[62]

The Lamport Lodge this uniquely for the gardens red brick lodge, in a Tudor Gothic style, with two bay windows either side of porch and is a remodelling of 1840-1 by Blore of an earlier building. It acts as an entrance through the ha-ha. There are three sets of iron gates, that consists of one carriage and two flanking pedestrian entrances. They lead to an avenue of Beech trees planted in 1941 that lead to the Gothic Temple.
The Grecian valley Is to the north of the Eastern Garden. Designed by Capability Brown and created from 1747 to 1749, this is Brown's first known landscape design. An L-shaped area of lawns covering about 60 acres (24 ha), was formed by excavating 23,500 cubic yards (18,000 m3) of earth by hand and removed in wheelbarrows with the original intention of creating a lake. Mature Lime and Elm trees were transplanted from elsewhere on the estate to create a mature landscape. Other tree species that Brown used in this and other areas of the gardens include: Cedar, Yew, Beech, Sycamore, Larch & Scots Pine.

The buildings in this area are:

The Temple of Concord and Victory The designer of this the largest of the garden buildings is unknown, both Earl Temple and Thomas Pitt, 1st Baron Camelford have been suggested as the architect. Built from stone, between 1747 and 1749, the building is located where the two legs of the valley meet. It is raised on a podium with a flight of steps up to the main entrance, the cella and pronaos is surrounded by a peristyle of 28 fluted Roman Ionic columns, ten on the flanks and six at each end. The main pediment contains a sculpture by Peter Scheemakers of Four Quarters of the World bringing their Various Products to Britannia, there are six statues acroterion of cast lead painted to resemble stone on both the east and west pediments. In the frieze of the entablature are the words CONCORDIAE ET VICTORIAE, the sculpture on the building dates from the 1760s when it was converted into a monument to the British victory in the Seven Years' War. The ceiling of the peristyle is based on an engraving by Robert Wood of a ceiling in Palmyra. Within the pronaos and cella are 16 terracotta medallions commemorating British Victories. The wooden doors are painted a Prussian blue with gilded highlights on the moldings.

The Fane of Pastoral Poetry,[64] located in a grove of trees at the eastern end of the Grecian Valley at the north-east corner of the gardens, it is a small belvedere designed by James Gibbs in 1729 it was moved to its present position in the 1760s. It is square in plan with chamfered corners that, built of stone, each side is an open arch, Herma protrude from each chamfered corner. It is surmounted by an octagonal lead dome.

The Circle of the Dancing Faun Located near the north-east end of the Valley near the Fane of Pastoral Poetry, the Dancing Faun commanded the centre of a circle of five sculptures of shepherds and shepherdesses, all of the sculptures had been sold. Two of these statues were located in Buckingham and restored in 2009 to their original place in the garden. It is intended eventually to replace both the Faun and the other statues.

The Cobham Monument,[64] to the south of the Grecian Valley is the tallest structure in the gardens rising 104 feet (32 m). Built 1747-49 of stone, probably designed by Brown. It consists of a square plinth with corner buttresses surmounted by Coade stone lions holding shields added in 1778. The column itself is octagonal with a single flute on each face, with a molded doric capital and base. On which is a small belvedere of eight arches with a dome supporting the sculpture of Lord Cobham.

The western garden

Is to the immediate west of the South Vista, including the Eleven-Acre Lake. This area of the gardens was developed from 1712 to 1770s when it underwent its final landscaping. The Eleven-acre lake was extended and given a natural shape in 1752.

The buildings in this area are:

The Rotondo[65] designed by Vanbrugh and built 1720-1, this is a circular temple, consisting of ten unfluted Roman Ionic columns raised up on a podium of three steps. The dome was altered by Borra in 1773-4 to give it a lower profile. In the centre is a statue of Venus raised on a tall decorated plinth. The current sculpture is a recent replacement for the original and is gilt.

Statue of Queen Caroline [66] this takes the form of a Tetrapylon, a high square plinth surmounted by four fluted Roman Ionic columns supporting an entablature which in turn supports the statue of Queen Caroline on its pedestal around which is inscribed Honori, Laudi, Virtuti Divae Carolinae (To honour, Praise and Virtue of the Divine Caroline). Probably designed by Vanbrugh.

The Temple of Venus[67] dated 1731 this was the first building in the gardens designed by William Kent. Located in the south-west corner of the gardens on the far side of the eleven-acre lake. The stone building takes the form of one of Palladio's villas, the central rectangular room linked by two quadrant arcades to pavilions. The main pedimented facade has an exedra screened by two full and two half Roman Ionic columns, there are two niches containing busts either side of the door of Cleopatra & Faustina, the exedra is flanked by two niches containing busts of Nero and Vespasian all people known for their sexual appetites. The end pavilions have domes. Above the door is carved VENERI HORTENSI "to Venus of the garden". The interior according to the 1756 Seeley Guidebook was decorated with murals painted by Francesco Sleter the centre of the ceiling had a painting of a naked Venus and the smaller Compartments were painted with a variety of intrigues. The walls had paintings with scenes from Spenser's The Faerie Queene. The paintings were destroyed in the late 18th century. Reverend John Wesley, who visited in 1779, said the paintings were "lewd".

The Hermitage[68] designed c1731 by Kent, heavily rusticated and with a pediment containing a carving of panpipes within a wreath, and a small tower to the right of the entrance.

Dido's Cave[69] is little more than an alcove, probably built in the 1720s, originally decorated with a painting of Dido and Aeneas. In c.1781 the facade was decorated with tufa by the Marchioness of Buckingham. Her son the 1st Duke of Buckingham turned it into her memorial by adding the inscription Mater Amata, Vale! (Farewell beloved Mother). The designer is unknown.

The Artificial Ruins & The Cascade[70] constructed in the 1730s the cascade links the Eleven Acre Lake which is higher with the Octagon Lake. The ruins are a series of arches above the cascade built to look ruinous.

The Menagerie[71] of stone built c1781 probably to the designs of Valdrè. Hidden in the woods to the west of the south vista. It was built by the Marquess of Buckingham for his wife as a retreat. The 1st Duke converted it to display stuffed animals, including a 32 feet (9.8 m) long Boa constrictor and 10,000 geological specimens that he acquired in 1819 at the sale of William Bullock's collection, these were all sold in the 1848 sale. The central room is surmounted by a dome that has an exterior clad in copper, the interior used to have a mural. The facade consists of four evenly spaces Ionic pilasters the centre pair flanking the arched entrance doors, the outer pair niches. There are two quadrant wings of five bays flanked by Ionic columns matching the pilasters, between which are windows the rooms behind being orangeries the ends of which are solid walls with arched doors in the middle flanked by herms, the whole surmounted by pediments. There used to be a formal rectangular flower garden in front of the building, but it is now covered by tennis courts.

This project is on History Link