May 19, 2009

Soane Bowood House and Rhododendron Walk

Bowood House (Grade I listed) was first built ~1725, expanded and contracted over the centuries. Many famous architects and garden designers were employed, including Robert and James Adam, ‘Capability’ Brown, C.R. Cockerell and Sir Charles Barry. Interior photos were allowed, and I captured the room in which Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen (1774) while a tutor to the 1st Marquess’ two sons. All of the scientific equipment was sold when the 1st Marquess died.

A rockwork garden, cascade, grottoes and hermit's cave were developed in the 1780s.

In the 1800s, the 4th Marquess moved the small Doric Temple from the Pleasure Grounds to the far side of the lake. The boathouse was fenced off from visitors.

We enjoyed lunch at the new Golf Club restaurant before proceeding to the Rhododendron Walks, only open during May and June when the rhododendrons are in bloom. The first rhododendrons were planted by the 3rd Marquis of Lansdowne around 1854 and have been augmented regularly.

The Mausoleum was designed by Robert Adam and commissioned in the early summer of 1761 by the Dowager Countess of Shelburne as a memorial to her husband, the purchaser of Bowood.

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