May Meeting

Dominic Hamilton, Garden Director at Painswick Rococo Gardens, gave a fascinating talk on the history and restoration of the gardens.

Through Dominic’s enthusiasm we learnt that in 1730 Charles Hyett moved from Gloucester to Painswick due to asthma, building a house alongside an old farmhouse, calling it ‘Bueno Arie’ -good air.

Three years later, on his death, his son Benjamin inherited and after the ‘Grand Tour’, came home with Baroque ideas for the house and garden: asymmetry, C and S shapes, pastel colours and shell work.

Dominic informed us that at this time people began to use their gardens for pleasure. Buildings for shelter, nooks for privacy and ponds, fountains and cascades began to appear. Painswick was a garden designed as a backdrop for pleasure!

Dominic went on to say that by 1820 the garden was used for growing vegetables, ponds had been filled in and by 1921 Hyett’s descendants had let most of the Rococo elements deteriorate.

In 1950, in a dilapidated state, Lord Dickinson purchased it, sacking gardeners, planting trees and leaving it to nature.

Due to an exhibition of Thomas Robins’ work, one of which was Painswick painted in 1748 and following a visit in 1984, an article was sent to Lord Dickinson stating that Painswicks’ Rococo elements could be restored.

Luckily Lord Dickinson agreed and began to restore its buildings, prune trees, reinstate ponds, gardens, walks and vistas.

The garden opened to the public in the 1980’s and today visitors can see the fruits of his labours.

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