A visit through an 18th Century time capsule – my review of Dennis Severs’ House

I am now writing as an exhibitions and museums reviewer for One Stop Arts which is an online guide to London’s arts events including listings and reviews.

Do read my review of Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields which can be found here and my author profile on the site is here. I look forward to seeing many exhibitions and museums in the future and writing more reviews for One Stop Arts.


Chiswick House and Gardens. A neo-Palladian dream

Chiswick House and Gardens in West London were designed by the third Earl of Burlington and architect, William Kent.

The villa was built as a pavilion in the classical temple style, to showcase the Earl’s art collection. The design demonstrates Burlington’s admiration of Italian Renaissance architect Palladio’s ideals (which he would have seen much evidence of during his Grand Tour in Italy) and the celebrated style of designs by British architect Inigo Jones, being enjoyed in England.

Chiswick House & Gardens from above. Image Credit: http://www.chgt.org.uk/index.asp?Pageid=12

The house functioned as a mini pleasure palace    where the Earl entertained guests, who also flocked to Chiswick House to enjoy the stunning grounds, designed by William Kent. The gardens were experimental and launched the birth of English Landscape Movement which became the inspiration for great gardens such as New York’s Central Park.

The gardens are beautiful and the range of spaces cleverly changes from wide and open lawns to hidden nooks, with sculpture, architecture and water playing their parts.

There are some wonderful features to the gardens including:

The Exedera

which housed Burlington’s collection of 18th century Italian sculpture, the originals of which are now inside the house.

panoramic view of the Exedera in the gardens at Chiswick House

In more recent times, the Exedera served as the backdrop for The Beatles in making their promotional videos for singles ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain’.

The Beatles by the Exedera at the gardens to Chiswick House Image Credit: http://www.chgt.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=383

The little temple, amphitheatre and obelisk provide a beautiful vista

Temple, Amphitheatre and Obelisk at the gardens at Chiswick House

The Cascade

was inspired by designs Burlington and Kent had seen in Italian Renaissance gardens

The Cascade at the gardens at Chiswick House

The Cascade at the gardens at Chiswick House

The Conservatory

currently displaying the Camellia Festival 2012, launched by local artist Sir Peter Blake who has a long association with Chiswick House and Gardens.

The festival includes an array of beautiful, rare and historically important Camellias, including those that are descendants from the original planting in 1828.

Conservatory at Chiswick House Gardens

The River

home to many different types of birds

the river at Chiswick House Gardens

the river at Chiswick House Gardens

Sphinxes

There are sphinxes in a number of places in the grounds of Chiswick House.

Sphinxes were considered creatures of wisdom, of protectorship and guardians of arcane and occult knowledge

Sphinx at Chiswick House

Inside the House

The classical temple style theme continues with the interior decoration including acanthus leaf ornamentation and coffered ceilings as shown below

Interior of a room at Chiswick House

Ceiling of a room at Chiswick House

Chiswick House and Gardens are a wonderful escape from the urban buzz of central London and a chance to fully imagine genteel 18th century life at leisure.

Here’s a fun 360-degree image of Chiswick House and Gardens that you can use to have a little look around