Cost: Free

Garden History in Action: Raglan Castle, Troy House and Badminton

"Garden History in Action: Raglan Castle, Troy House and Badminton", by Dr Ann Benson FSA

A garden is a three-dimentional art form that not only reflects the desires of its owner, but a host of other factors such as the taste and spirit of the era during which it was created. Gardens are ephemeral and change as the different influences, including new plant introductions - and not least, a change of ownership - take effect. Just as there is currently a rise in interest in discovering family histories and the ownership history of houses, so there is an appetite for garden history. Great country houses have the advantage of often having amassed across time records of who designed the garden, estate accounts showing what was done and when, historic maps, paintings and drawings, and, if one is really lucky, diaries and stories of peoples' experiences of being in the garden. Discovering a garden's history can be challenging because it requires investigating different types of evidence from different disciplines, for example social history and archaeology. But it is also immensly enjoyable as a sleuthing activity when the bits of the jigsaw fall into place.

This talk is given by an experienced and published garden historian who is also a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and has used the Society's collections in her research. She reveals how one aristocratic family, the dukes of Beaufort and their ancestors, created gardens at their three main homes, Raglan Castle during Tudor times, Troy House during the Stuart period and Badminton on the cusp of the eighteenth century. Richly illustrated, including 3D and fly-through reconstructions of these gardens from her research, this talk provides an insight into how the history of a garden can be deduced.

Dr Benson will be available to answer questions following the lecture and to show some of the associated documents.

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