SP6737 : Stowe Park, Hawkwell Field

taken 8 years ago, near to Chackmore, Buckinghamshire, Great Britain

Stowe Park, Hawkwell Field
Stowe Park, Hawkwell Field
From near the Temple of Friendship, there are five of the distinctive Stowe Park landmarks visible in this classic scene.

In the foreground is the end of the Octagon Lake, expanded in the 1740s. It is crossed, on the right, by the Palladian Bridge, designed by Gibbs in 1736 or 1744 (dates vary). So the bridge may or may not predate the expansion of the lake.

On the hill to the right stands the Cobham Monument, commemorating Lord Cobham and built 1747-9 by Capability Brown to Gibbs' design. To its left is the Gothic Temple, built unusually as a triangle and of Northamptonshire ironstone, designed by Gibbs in 1741 but not completed until 1748.

To the left is the Queen's Temple, designed by Gibbs in 1742 and complementing the male Temple of Friendship behind where we are standing. Thus the men could watch the ladies and the ladies could watch the men, from a distance across the intervening Hawkwell Field.
Stowe house and grounds
Stowe house and gardens were all about prestige and making a statement. As the Stowe guide book describes it, ‘power gardening’. They were enlarged and developed in three phases by Richard, Viscount Cobham and his nephew Richard, Earl Temple from about 1700 to 1760.

Significant practitioners in the development included the architects Sir John Vanbrugh and James Gibbs, and the gardeners Charles Bridgeman and William Kent. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was head gardener here from 1741 to 1751, which made his reputation. In the 18th and 19th centuries the house and gardens were internationally known and renowned and were some of the first gardens that people visited as tourists for their own pleasure.

By the 20th century the family had become bankrupt and in 1921 sold the estate to become Stowe School, England’s newest public school. Today the gardens are maintained by the National Trust and are open to the public. The house is owned by a Preservation Trust, under the auspices of the English Historic Houses Association, used by Stowe School and open to the public at restricted times throughout the year.

Written by Graham Horn
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Graham Horn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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SP6737, 260 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 28 August, 2011   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 6 September, 2011
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Country estates 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 6799 3718 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:1.7324N 1:0.6248W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 6797 3699
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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Other Tags
Lake  Bridge  Monument  Temple 

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