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Thursday, 1 April 2010

A Garden of Surprises: Burghley House.



I stole a few moments for myself at the weekend and paid a visit to Burghley House and Gardens near Stamford. I mentioned my fondness for Stamford at Christmas and this trip was really a chance to visit the house rather than the gardens, but you know me, I never go anywhere without my camera... but oh my the house, if I were aloud to take pictures I would still be there. What a place to behold. I LOVED the kitchen. The Heaven Room was just out of this world! All I can say about Burghley house is WOW! You will have to see it to understand what I am wibbling on about I am afraid. So you will just have to peruse a few snaps of the grounds and sculpture gardens instead and that was only the first room.






The Gardens are a rather unusual mix of old and new. I think the best word to describe them is quirky. They were surprisingly child friendly which was something I had not expected at a stately home. "The Garden of Surprises" was a big hit with kids who were merrily splashing their way to a long afternoon nap by the time I arrived.




The child friendly nature of the grounds was less surprising when I made my way to the end of the formal gardens at the back of the house and discovered a Wendy house and climbing frame sneakily nestling behind the imposing yew hedge: The residents of Burghley House have three young children at home.






 The boathouse.


The part of the garden that surprised me the most was the contemporary sculpture garden. Much of the glorious landscape at Burghley was down to Capability Brown. Part of the lower gardens were however lost and in the 1990's they were reclaimed for the Burghley Sculpture Garden with the aim of exhibiting innovative sculptures made using both traditional and contemporary techniques.


Martyn Barratt "Gnomen"

Mike Kenny Sculpture

I'm afraid I was in a bit of a dreamy mood when I visited the sculpture garden and was not as well good as I should have been at noting the names of the sculptures. I really surprised myself how much I liked some of the modern works. This Mike Kenny Sculpture "Like Milk Spilt upon a stone" reflected the light in so many ways and left beautiful shadows it really drew you in at every angle.




I was really taken with Rick Kirby's sculptures. Strangely enough this was not the first time I had seen his work. I have been driving past one of his heads for sevearl years now as it lies on the street just outside Calne Library in Wiltshire where I used to live.


Rick Kirby Vertical Face 1


Rick Kirby Vertical Face 1


Rick Kirby Vertical Face 1


 Rick Kirby Vertical Face 2




From the Garden of Surprises

16 comments:

Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

I am surprising myself, but I am starting to really love modern sculpture in the garden. I have seen so many great examples lately and you have some of the best.

Cyndy said...

Those Kirby faces are fantastic! They seem so powerful in an otherwise traditional landscape.

Esther Montgomery said...

Imagine being a child living there and being allowed to run the whole length of that path without anyone complaining you are scuffing up the gravel!

Fantastic heads. Surprisingly full of character - as if, despite the significant gaps, they might turn and smile and say something.

Esther

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Oh, RO, the sculptures are exquisite! The topiary, not so much. I am understanding now that topiary seems to be part of the UK gardener's consciousness but I just don't get it myself.Different strokes.

joey said...

A delightful house/garden tour that I would so enjoy seeing. Fascinated by Rick Kirby's sculptures! Thank you so much for sharing ... a pure joy!

Edith Hope said...

Dear RO, It is now well over forty years since I was last at Burghley so this posting has brought back so many memories and, at the same time, has given me an insight into so many of the developments which have taken place during that time. The sculpture garden looks wonderful - I could so well and very easily accommodate any one of the pieces, particularly the Kirby heads which are hauntingly beautiful. Your opening image of the house and topiary yew is, in my view, incredibly arresting.

Happy Easter!

blake said...

Everything you share here is amazing, but that kitchen is killing me! Woweeeeee :)

patientgardener said...

I do like the face and the wheel type sculpture but then I also like those gre at big urns.

Noelle said...

I can only imagine the fun that their 3 children have in the garden. What a great place to play! By the way, I love the new look of your blog :-)

Elephant's Eye said...

Am I the only one who finds those over-sized heads menacing? Beautiful and fascinating, when you cannot see how huge they are.

Stone Art said...

Looks lovely, I love old stone boat houses. I realy like Rick Kirby Vertical Faces too.

jeansgarden said...

I have always loved modern sculpture, both in the garden and out of it. The sculpture alone would be enough to make me put this garden on my wish list. Thanks for sharing it. -Jean

Jess said...

I am generally not a huge fan of 'modern' sculpture in gardens, however every so often something will hit me that is just so compelling. The vertical face is just like that. Wow. It almost looks like a ghost to me for some reason.

debsgarden said...

Imagine living there! I bet the children enjoy the sculptural garden, too. I don't know, that giant head might be a bit scary! I love the boathouse and the lake, and I would love to visit this beautiful place.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Love the sculptures, esp. Gnomen and the unnamed metal archway... but admit I find the huge rounded shrubs kind of scary and intimidating. Happy Easter!

HappyMouffetard said...

Really interesting - when I think of Burghley, I normally think of the horse trials. Now I will think of beautiful sculpture.