Of Druids, the Gothic, and the Origins of Architecture: The Garden Designs of William Stukeley (1687-1765)

By Reeve, Matthew M. | British Art Journal, Winter 2012 | Go to article overview

Of Druids, the Gothic, and the Origins of Architecture: The Garden Designs of William Stukeley (1687-1765)


Reeve, Matthew M., British Art Journal


William Stukeley's central place in the historiography of eighteenth-century England is hardly insecure. (1) His published interpretations of the megalithic monuments at Avebury (1743) and Stonehenge (1740) earned him a prominent position in the history of archaeology, and his Vetusta Monumenta ensured his reputation as a draughtsman and antiquarian. Recent research has shown that Stukeley was a polymath, whose related interests in astrology, Newtonian natural history and theology formed part of a broader Enlightenment world view. (2) Yet, in the lengthy scholarship on Stukeley, insufficient attention has been paid to his interest in another intellectual and aesthetic pursuit of eighteenth-century cognoscenti: garden design. (3)

Stukeley's voluminous manuscripts attest to his role as an avid designer of gardens, landscapes and garden buildings. His own homes were the subjects of his most interesting achievements, including his hermitages at Kentish Town (1760), Stamford (Barnhill, 1744 and Austin Street 1737), and Grantham (1727). (4) In this, Stukeley can be located among a number of 'gentleman gardeners' in the first half of the eighteenth century from the middling classes and the aristocracy. (5) He toured gardens regularly, and recorded many of them in his books, journals and correspondence. His 1724 Itinerarium Curiosum recounts his impressions of gardens, including the recent work at Blenheim Palace and the 'ha-ha' in particular, and his unpublished notebooks contain a number of sketches such as the gardens at Grimsthorpe, Lincs., where he was a regular visitor. (6) Stukeley also designed a handful of garden buildings, apparently as gifts for friends and acquaintances. He prepared two versions of a bridge for the Duke of Montagu's park at Boughton, one in the reigning Palladian style and the other Gothic, although neither design was ever realized. (7) Unsurprisingly, Stukeley's best-known portrait, attributed to Richard Collins c1726-29 and now at the Society of Antiquaries, features him in a garden setting which has been loosely connected with his gardens at Grantham (Pl. 1). (8)

It is the purpose of this paper to bring to light some previously unpublished material relating to Stukeley's gardens and garden buildings designed for his homes in Grantham and Stamford, Lincolnshire. Little survives of these gardens, but their original appearance, construction and meanings can be substantially reconstructed from Stukeley's unpublished drawings and notes. (9) In doing so, this paper argues that gardens and garden architecture had an important and hitherto misunderstood place in Stukeley's thought. Aside from their intrinsic value as largely unknown garden designs and garden buildings, examination of them contributes to an understanding of Stukeley's theological interests and of his perceptions of architecture and its theoretical contexts.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Temple of the Druids at Grantham

The early 1720s saw Stukeley living in London and actively touring England and Wales with his friend and correspondent, Samuel Gale. During these years he conducted his research on Avebury and Stonehenge and published his Itinerarium Curiosum. But in 1725, an 'irresistible impulse seiz'd' him to retire from London to his native Lincolnshire countryside, where he acquired a house and property. (10) The house has recently been described and some of Stukeley's drawings of its interiors have been published. (11) Gardening appears to have begun almost immediately. By 1727 he had built a 'Hermitage Vinyard', which he recorded in a drawing, and he planned an Orangerie with Palladian temples and seats, which was apparently never executed. (12) By October 1728 his plans for the garden had solidified. Stukeley states his intentions in a letter to Samuel Gale dated 14 October:

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

   If you enquire what I am now about: I am making a Temple of the
   Druids, as I call it, tis thus. … 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Of Druids, the Gothic, and the Origins of Architecture: The Garden Designs of William Stukeley (1687-1765)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.