Painshill Park is one of the finest remaining examples of an 18th-century English landscape park. It was designed and created between 1738 and 1773 by the Hon. Charles Hamilton (MP). The original house built in the park by Hamilton has since been demolished.
Charles Hamilton was born in 1704 in Dublin, the 9th son and 14th child of the 6th Earl of Abercorn He was educated at Westminster School and Oxford, and went on two Grand Tours, one in 1725 and a further one in 1732.
In 1738 Hamilton began to acquire land at Painshill and, over the years, built up a holding of more than 200 acres (0.81 km2). His creation was among the earliest to reflect the changing fashion in garden design prompted by the Landscape Movement, which started in England in about 1730. It represented the move away from geometric formality in garden design to a new naturalistic formula. Many of the trees and shrubs planted by Hamilton were sent to him from Philadelphia by the Naturalist John Bartram. The garden was open to respectable visitors, who were shown round by the head gardener for a tip, and was visited by many well-known figures including two visits by William Gilpin, pioneer of the Picturesque, Thomas Jefferson with John Adams, and Prince Franz of Anhalt-Dessau separately, on special tours of gardens, and the important landscape garden author Thomas Whately. Then as now there was a particular route round the park recommended, designed to bring the visitor upon the successive views with best effect. Views from Painshill were painted on plates for a Wedgewood service of porcelain commissioned by Catherine the Great of Russia.
The Great Cedar is thought to be the largest in Europe.
Hamilton eventually ran out of money and sold the estate in 1773 to Benjamin Bond Hopkins, who held the estate until his death in 1794. In 1778 Hopkins commissioned architect Richard Jupp to rebuild Painshill House in a different location within the park. The house was later extended in the 19th century by architect Decimus Burton and is now a grade II* listed building.
Today Painshill comprises 158 acres (0.64 km2) of the original more than 200 acres (0.81 km2) owned by Charles Hamilton in the 18th century. The landscape garden stretches along the banks of the winding River Mole on land that has a number of natural hills and valleys.
The central feature is a serpentine lake of 14 acres (0.057 km2) with several islands and spanned by bridges and a causeway. The water for the lake and the plantings is pumped from the River Mole by a 19th-century beam engine powered by a water wheel. Hamilton enhanced the views of hills and lake by careful plantings of woods, avenues and specimen trees to create vistas and a number of discreet environments which include anamphitheatre, a water meadow and an alpine valley. As focal points in the vistas and as sympathetic elements to be discovered in the landscape, Hamilton placed a number of follies, small decorative buildings, which include agrotto, Gothic "temple", "ruins" of a Gothic abbey, a Roman mausoleum, and a Gothic tower with a view of the countryside.
We are so lucky to have such a lovely place to visit a short drive from our house and as we are HHA members we get free admission.
Please enjoy the photographs I took today, on what was a lovely sunny day but very chilly!!
I love to watch swans float by, so graceful!!
A display of Autumn fruit and vegetables in the walled garden .
Flowers on the table in the Cafe
Wall sculpture in the cafe
Five arch bridge
The swans passing the Vineyard
If in the area it is a great place to visit, we only walked around the lake today and then had a cup of tea in the cafe to warm us up, but there is plenty more to see and enjoy!!