(b. 1705, Wiltshire, d. 1785, Wiltshire)

View of the garden

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Stourhead in Wiltshire is one of the most famous gardens in England, and it is certainly the most romantic. The property was owned by Henry Hoare I (1677-1725), a banker, who had a country seat built by Colen Campbell (1676-c. 1729) in 1721 on the model of the Venetian villas by Andrea Palladio. Henry Hoare I unfortunately died the same year in which the house was completed. His son, Henry Hoare II, inherited the property. He was a successful partner in the family bank.

Henry II, an amateur garden designer, furnished Stourhead house with paintings and sculpture, and created Stourhead's iconic landscape garden, with its lake, temples and monuments. The extensive garden stretches to one side of the house and is arranged around an irregular chain of lakes. The curving line of the banks frequently affords surprising views of temples, waterfalls or bridges. Rhododendrons surround a Roman Pantheon, from which one looks across at the old village church and the temple of Flora.

An important source of English garden art in the 18th century was landscape painting. The English landscape gardeners saw the paintings of Claude Lorrain and Gaspar Dughet with new eyes. They were less concerned with the misty distance than to integrate antique buildings. Before Henry Hoare designed the landscape scenery at Stourhead, he may well have studied Claude Lorrain's Landscape with Aeneas at Delos, now in the National Gallery in London.

The photo shows a view over the bridge and the lake to the "Roman Pantheon."