Tag Archives: Georgian

Reconstructing the Walled Gardens 

With a renewed focus on the area, it’s worth looking again at the history of the View Garden, once referred to as “the gem of the whole garden”, and lilypond to understand their significance. There’s enough map evidence provided by two important estate surveys of 1720 and 1772 to appreciate the colossal scale of the works undertaken from 1763 to transform the area into the walled garden and stable complex that survives today as a series of Grade II-Star listed buildings split across Napier Mile Road. To help understanding and appreciation we’ve created a short series of sketch views of the area at key moments in their development. Each image has a numbered key with the individual points described below…   


Halett’s estate plan of 1720 is an important record of Kings Weston just as the mansion had been completed, and before new garden works were begun. Although broadly accurate it provides scant information on the appearance and use of the area east of the main house. A later engraving gives a bit of detail, but the reconstruction here can only be described as speculative despite being based on these sources. Our reconstruction depicts an agricultural landscape with fields, orchards, and gardens separated be dry stone walls and hedges, with a few scattered traditional vernacular styled buildings. One of these was perhaps the source of a carved window stone, later built into the glasshouse wall in the 1770s.

1. The road entrance to Kings Weston house approaches from the east as it does today. The present gatehouse and wall are Victorian and of 1903, and it’s not clear what the gates would have looked like at this time.

2. The present Napier Miles Road is a rural track leading from Kings Weston House to Henbury, and the parish church there.

3. Kings Weston Lane is another agricultural track, leading to a few scattered cottages and farms. The lane passes through an ancient hollow-way where centuries of water have washed off the hill and created a gully. Several gullies like this are distributed along the escarpment edge.

4. A number of houses occupy plots of land to the east of Kings Weston house. Most will have been for labourers tied to the estate. This house was on a roughly east-west alignment, and possibly reused the manor’s medieval chapel that would have fallen out of use at the Reformation. Another medieval chapel survived as a cottage in nearby Lawrence Weston until the mid 20th century.

5. A larger house stands above Kings Weston Lane, uncomfortably built into the steeply sloping land that descends towards the north. From its size it’s likely to be a higher status house than those around it. Could it have been an earlier site of the manor, before the current site was established in the Tudor period? A fragment of stone salvaged from the glasshouse wall was recorded by us in 2016.

6. A smaller building in a small plot in this location may have been a barn or other agricultural structure.

7. Shown on the 1720 plan is a large natural pond to the south of the lane to Henbury. This ill have provided a useful resource for the farms, and likely produced ice in the winter for the earlier ice house behind the mansion.


Isaac Taylor’s comprehensive estate survey was undertaken between 1771 and 1772 and includes a number of radical changes east of the house, a striking transformation from rural backwater to thriving estate hub. There are, in fact, two maps of the area drawn by Taylor, each showing slightly different features, perhaps finished at slightly different times. Both show how the old houses and boundaries were largely erased. From 1763 onwards the architect Robert Mylne enacted the third Edward Southwell’s ambition to clear away all the old stables and service buildings from beside Kings Weston house and extend the landscaped parkland to fill their space. Together, architect and client instead created a new set of buildings set in a series of rectangular walled compartments on a grid plan, providing an ambitious integrated design accommodating key estate functions, various gardens, glasshouses, and an impressive carriage house and stables complex. This was all to serve the main house with produce and flowers and service the estate’s transport needs.

8. The lane to Henbury has been realigned to become a broad straight road with grassy verges either side. The new road is designed to have a visual impact when viewed from the gates to Kings Weston house from the west.

9. The natural pond is formalised into a square pond which could be stocked with fish for the kitchen as well as providing water for the gardens and stables. Ice would be collected here in the winter for storage in the icehouse. Ramps and a platform below water level are designed to wet carriage wheels to prevent them from shrinking in hot weather and losing their metal rims.

10. The centrepiece of the new complex is the grand and formal carriage houses, with stables in the wings beyond the archway.

11. Matching the stable block in style are two lodges built framing the pond; One provides a gardener’s cottage and the other a seed house.

12. Paddocks for horses are probably intended for the north-eastern quarter of the complex.

13. Set in its own compartment and angled to maximise exposure to the sun, the glasshouse at Kings Weston and was one of the largest in the country was built in about 1771. A tall masonry wall at the back incorporated a hidden hot air heating system powered by a furnace at the back. The glasshouse quickly became a focus for Sophie Southwell’s interest in horticulture and where she nurtured her interest in growing exotic plants and flowers. It became a much-remarked feature of the estate during the 18th Century.

14. Produce gardens were kept to the southern compartments behind the pond and this walled area. This area with better access to Kings Weston house was a flower garden, laid out on a broadly regular plan but with eccentric windy paths adding interest. Flowers would have been grown to supply the house with attractive displays and perfumed blooms, but also offered a more intimate garden experience to the landscaped parkland then laid out around the mansion. An oval pond at the centre would have ben used to help watering and create an attractive centrepiece to the garden.

15. One plan of this date shows a cross here and describes a “site of an old church”. Later maps show “Bewy’s Cross” standing here. In 1720 the site was that of a building, so it’s unlikely that the cross was there at the time. It’s speculated that an ancient cross at the mouth of the Avon was relocated to Kings Weston as a garden ornament, though perhaps intended to mark the site of the old chapel. What evidence existed to suggest the church, more accurately chapel, stood here is unknown and lost when the standing buildings were demolished.

16. To create a regular new road to the stables and improve the way down the hill parts of the hill are quarried out and pushed back to leave rugged rocky cliffs against the road. New plantations are planted above them to naturalise their appearance and as a setting for the cross.


The rigid Georgian plan and ambitious scale of the walled garden complex provided well for Kings Weston for over a century, with little change. The ownership of the estate had passed from the Southwell to the wealthy Miles family. Changing fashions in garden design and use and a greater demand for service buildings saw some blurring of the rigid boundaries and expansion into the surrounding landscape. The biggest change was the creation of the View Garden, probably laid out in the 1860s. The name is first recorded in 1916 when it was described as “the gem of the whole garden” at Kings Weston.

17. By the 1840s the wall of the north-east compartment is thrown down and the glasshouse and cross brought into a single garden space. About 20 years later a long axial path is laid out on the same alignment as the glasshouse, with two sets of stone steps. Fragments of these survive today. The lawns either side of the path were probably set out with ornamental flower beds. The new garden is christened the “View Garden”.

18. The Georgian glass house is passed its prime and has been rebuilt on a less ambitious scale against its original. The parts no longer covered are turned into more planting beds. 

19. A covered garden seat or alcove is built at the head of the axial path, just to one side of the entrance gate, and from which to enjoy aligned views through the gardens. Yews and box trees are planted to lead the visitor along the paths and line the back of the main garden wall.

20. Another path is laid out on a more picturesque winding course, taking in a large new rockery on its way to a small clearing around the medieval cross. It may have been whilst creating the rockery or the axial path that foundations of a building were uncovered again in the 1860s and again thought to be the chapel ruins. In 1868 the cross was described and illustrated as covered in ivy, perhaps planted for picturesque affect? The view through the trees here certainly had eye-catching views to the Severn.

21. The axial path culminated in a circular viewing platform elevated above the slope of the hill. It enjoyed distant views across the Severn and Avon towards Portishead and Wales beyond, giving the View Garden its name.

22. The old icehouse behind Kings Weston house was done away with, probably in the mid-Victorian era, and relocated to behind the old glasshouse. It was covered in earth to provide added insulation and planted around with yew trees to protect it from the sun. One yew tree was planted at the very summit of the domed icehouse and remained there until it finally fell in the 1980s, pulling the earth covering with it.

23. The original Georgian rear wall was pushed north with the land built up to form a flat platform, falling away with a steep embankment beyond. The additional space accommodated the icehouse and more paddock and building space.

24. Fox hunting had become a popular recreation activity for the Miles family and more buildings were needed to stable horses and provide storage and dog kennels. These were added to the north of the stables. A woodyard and sawmill were also added in this area.

25. The flower garden had become more formal and less focussed on providing for the house. It’s dominated by four conifers planted around a now-rectangular ornamental pond. Like the View Garden, the lawns were likely planted with floral displays of seasonal bedding plants in the Victorian fashion. This garden would shortly be transformed again, with the conifers felled and a more informal pond and rockery.

The Letters of Katherine Southwell

Way back in 2013 KWAG made contact with the John Russell, 27th Baron de Clifford, ancestor of the Southwell family. Initially we were most keen to record a number of paintings the family possessed, those which once hung at Kings Weston before the last member of the direct lineage died in 1832, but the family were eager to show us a large collection of documents too. We were delighted to be able to arrange for these to be transferred to Bristol Archives on their behalf, and were privileged to be able to review them before they were added to the city’s collections. 

There was a much of interest to Kings Weston, perhaps nothing more so than a fascinating series of letters written from Katherine Southwell to her son, Edward Southwell, whom she affectionately called Ned, the third of the family to carry that name at Kings Weston. We know Katherine today through a glorious portrait of her that still hangs at Kings Weston house. Painted by Allan Ramsay in 1740, it faces her husband across the hall where they were installed there by her son shortly after her death in 1765; indeed the whole of the portrait gallery may have been designed as much to memorialise her as the rest of the family.

Katherine Southwell by Allan Ramsay, 1740. It hangs in the Saloon at Kings Weston opposite that of her husband, Ned’s father.

Katherine and Ned’s father, also Edward, appear to have had difficulty in conceiving, the young heir not being born until nine years into their marriage. Another child, a daughter also named Katherine, died but ten years old, and perhaps a second son may never have survived infancy. Edward Senior died in 1755 leaving his wife and son alone.  It is perhaps in this context that Katherine’s affections for her surviving son were so great.  

The letters between mother and son begin in 1749, but climax after 1758, the year that Ned left for the Grand Tour of Europe, an essential component in the life of any young man of means at the time. Ned, then aged 20, left behind his 48 year old mother with few friends and family members around her. The parting was keenly felt by her, and the ensuing stream of letters that followed his departure exudes that affection and care felt for her son, but also the eagerness for him to improve himself and kindle ambition. 

Throughout Ned’s three year tour of Europe his mother sent letters, each one was carefully preserved by Edward on his travels and returned with him to the country, testament that his affection matched that of his mother. The majority survive today, though sadly there are notable gaps, where batches of correspondence appear to have been lost to time. It’s also unfortunate that we don’t have a reciprocal collection of Edward’s writings to make full sense of Katherine’s letters, but this doesn’t dim their colourful and engaging insight into mid-18th Century life. In them she updates her son on the global political situation, intermixed with “tittle-tattle” and gossip, encouraging words, and descriptions of her own exploits. Her search for a suitable new home to act as a Dower house is also a regular feature of her letters. Moreover, the letters are an incredible insight into Kings Weston, the gardens and staff employed there, and the comings and goings of tenants, neighbours, and livestock long-known to them both. 

Ned Southwell in the only known portrait of him with his sister Katherine. The painting must date to before 1748, when his sister died. He would have been under 11 years old.

In Ned’s absence, Katherine spent time at Kings Weston, working with the head gardener, Gould, and the estate manager, Nicholls, carrying out her son’s instructions. Sometimes she is at the centre of the action, actively out in all weathers assisting in planting trees, and other times an observer, sending on vivid descriptions of the flourishing parkland. She wrote:

“I got hither to dinner yesterday, and was lucky in having good weather, and took the advantage of a very fine afternoon, to visit your plantations in the quarries, who thrive very well and are very clean, as is the garden; nay even the park is more free from nettles than usual; a prodigious quantity of grass and bullocks and sheep fatting on it; your colt frisking about very gay and for what I know very fine ones; ………I live on the hope of once more enjoying you all together and let the intermediate space run on as it can.”
Kingsweston, 27 Sept. 1758. 

The gardens around Kings Weston house in 1720, before their redesign. 

And soon after:
“Having no letter of’ yours, my dear Ned to answer, and having had no visitor but Mr, Berrow this can bring you no news but of the mute and vegetable part of the creation. To begin then your serpentine plantation at the bottom of Penpole looks much less like a snake than it used to do, the trees in general are flourishing and, the laurels almost cover the wall; it is extremely clean and has been twice sow’d this year, once with turnips and once with fetches.
The quarries have lost but few trees, but the hares and the lambs have crept under the rails and nibbled some, out. I find they took good care to keep them out as soon as they perceived it for ‘tis very little damage that is done.

The old kitchen garden is transformed into a nursery, but Gould cou’d not entirely part with the sparrowgrass (asparagus) beds, so has planted only between them, but the want’ of room this year will force him to quit his beloved.

There’s a fine parcel of young things of last year’s sowing in the flower garden, viz beach, swamp oak, Weymouth pines, cyprus, holly, laurel and some larch.
Now for my own particular friend the tulip trees that were removed are in health the arbutus are full of fruit and the two small magnolias are alive, but, alas, the great one is dead but what is still a greater misfortune to me, some Dutch sailors stole Jewel (a horse) but the day before I came.”
Kingsweston, 1 Oct. 1758.

Kings Weston in about 1763, with some of the plantations below Penpole Point that Katherine mentions, and shortly after the demolition of the walls of the Great Court in front of the house. (Sir John Soane’s Museum)  

Throughout his time away, Ned was replanning his estate. Katherine writes frequently about floor plans and elevations of the house being sent out to him in Europe with her letters; evidently there were plans being sent back to her and Nicholls too, and schemes which she intimates were significant in ambition. A plan for firing bricks and setting out new kitchen gardens was already in train in 1758. These plans would finally come to fruition after 1762, with the stables and walled garden complex on modern Napier Miles Road being begun; indeed, brick was made extensive use of in these walls.  

“Gould advises you to make bricks for the kitchen garden wall; he says there’s earth fit for it, and ‘twill save a great deal, for they are very dear here; send me word if I shall begin; the earth must be dug six months before ’tis worked”
(Kingsweston, 1 Nov. 1758)
And later:
“My dear Ned,
I have sent you by Mr. Gaussin, Gould’s plan for the house and garden; l don’t imagine ‘tis quite the design you will follow, but as the ground is regularly measured and marked, I hope ‘twill give you some amusement.”
“…I come now to yours of 30 Dec. I have sent you, Gould’s plan, it is not so extensive as your: scheme, tho’ it does take in some of the road.”

(Spring Gardens) 23 Jan. 1759.
“I am in a fright about the bricks; for as that was not Nicholls’s own proposal, I find he does not approve of it, and make great puzzling and difficulties and works, so unintelligibly about it, that I don’t know what he is doing.”
In this letter Katherine implies that the line of a road, probably part of Kingsweston Lane, is included. That may have been the southern end that now faces onto the side of Kings Weston inn cottages, but before then looks from maps to have been aligned further to the west. Katherine eventually settled on a house at Westhorpe, Little Marlow, which she figured would be convenient for her son to drop in on between the family’s town house at Spring gardens and Kings Weston. Most of the letters after 1760 are written from her retirement there.  

Westhorpe House, Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

From 1759 Katherine leased the place as her Dower house. She agreed to buy the furniture already there, and a boat that she fancied Ned would enjoy using in the park’s lake. After his return to England in 1761, Ned quickly took works on the estate in hand. Unlike his father, who had been created Secretary of State for the Kingdom of Ireland by entail, he had no position in court or government, and sought to rebrand Kings Weston as a political powerhouse. With an ambition for a seat in Parliament, he set about modernising house and grounds as a statement of intent, as many of his peers had also done. His first task was to move the collection of old stables and kitchen gardens from a cramped position next to the house. Employing the architect Robert Mylne, a gentleman whom he’s believed to have met in Rome during the Tour, Ned began work quickly. It is perhaps not a surprise that he turned to his mother to lay the literal and metaphorical foundation of this political ambition.  

“You are very ‘obliging in seeming to think what I have done at Kingsweston prospers; alas, ’twas so very little, that to me ‘tis not perceptible; I shou’d very gladly lay the first stone of any building projected by you for I have a great propensity to like your designs.”

3 May, 1762.
She appears to have had concerns over the height to which the garden walls were to be carried for she wrote later the same year:

“I honour your spirit and resolution, that has carried your walls up against all your ministry, but know that from this time forward you’ll be charged with every blight that falls on your trees and must never complain of unripe fruit, or backward pease, without being told you wou’d have the walls so high no sun can come into your garden.”
Westhorpe, 3 Sept. 1762

The stables and walled garden begun by Ned immediately on his return from his Grand Tour. the garden walls make extensive use of the brick he was intent on firing from his own resources. 

We had long believed that the landscape gardener Thomas Wright, the “Wizard of Durham” had worked at Kings Weston, but it is only through Katherine’s letters that this has been confirmed. Wright had been working nearby at Stoke Park on the other side of Bristol, but also for the Duke of Beaufort at Badminton. That he worked at Kings Weston too explains some of the landscaping introduced during the 1760s and the celebration of the quarries in Penpole Wood as rustic garden features.   

“… I am glad you are agreeably detained and that Mr. Wright and you have not quarrelled. He must be a very odd creature for he has refused very advantageous offers from Lord Halifax to go with him to Ireland and prefers liberty tho’ joined to poverty. I don’t blame him for I think I shou’d do the same.
Saturday, 11 April. 1761 (Westhorpe?)
“I wish I could see your new designs with Wright but you will tell them me and they will shew better when executed”
Tuesday 8 April 1761 (Westhorpe?)

 Wright probably advised on the deformalisation of the Kings Weston landscape, the thinning of avenues and grandiose architectural features in favour of a naturalistic pastoral landscape. It may have been his suggestion that resulted in the pulling down of the Great Court in front of the house. An important note from Katherine records the year this was planned:

“You are a lucky man, my dear Ned, to have nothing, to find fault with on your return home. I hope your perturbed spirit is at rest now, my dear Irishman and that you no longer overlook your works after ‘tis dark and before it is light. I shall find great fault when I come if the return wall to the parlour window is not down.”
Westhorpe, 22 Aug. 1762

Thomas Wright, 1711-1786 Wizard of Durham, architect, astronomer, mathematician, and landscape gardener. 

Katherine writes in an incredibly genuine and engaging manner, making her letters a joy to read. They are sometimes candid and amusing, whilst her campaign to resurrect the de Clifford Baronetcy in favour her son shows her as determined and intellectual. The total collection of around 200 letters is a vast trove of fascinating details on mid-Eighteenth Century life. We are only now transcribing the collection, possibly for future publication. The original letters are available free to view in Bristol Archives: Letters from Mrs Southwell to her son Edward (bristol.gov.uk)

Kings Weston and the Irish Influence

The staircase at Kings Weston showing the “S” curves taking the handrail up to the landings. 

There were strong connections between Kings Weston and Ireland, ever since the estate was bought by Robert Southwell in 1679. Southwell was from a wealth Irish family and was appointed Secretary of State for Ireland by the King. His descendants maintained and strengthened their Irish roots, adding extensive landholdings, marrying into illustrious Irish families, and maintaining the role of Secretary of State through several generations. The Southwell’s’ built extensively on their estates, introducing the latest styles, and during the Georgian era Kings Weston became a frequent staging post for many travellers between the two kingdoms. Perhaps it’s not surprising that Kings Weston might have influenced the direction of architecture in Ireland.

Edward Lovett Pearce is, perhaps, Ireland’s most important 18th Century architect. He was from an Irish family and cousin of Sir John Vanbrugh. Recent research suggests that he worked closely as apprentice to the great architect at Kings Weston. Robert Lynch has identified a striking and idiosyncratic detail of the great stair at Kings Weston repeated in many of Lovett Pearce’s later works: the unusual continuous swan-neck curve of the balustrade handrail, passing continuously up the stair to the landings.

Left: Edward Lovett Pearce’s staircase at the former Archbishop’s Palace, Cashel, County Tipperary, 1732. 
Right: Another of Pearce’s stair designs at Desart Court, County Kilkenny of 1733, since destroyed. 
The rear of Penpole lodge  in around 1900

Pearce had become a pupil of Vanbrugh in 1715, following the death of his father, and undoubtedly would have dealt with work at Kings Weston, then in construction. Work on the great staircase is known to have been continuing in 1719, three years after the Southwell’s’ moved into their new mansion, but designs are likely to have been fixed before 1717 when Pearce chose a short-lived career in the dragoons. He may have returned to architecture in around 1722 when Vanbrugh and Southwell had already turned their attention to the Kings Weston parkland, ornamenting it with new ornamental garden buildings.

The Temple at Emo Court, County Laois, Ireland,  in a ruined state. 

By chance the “temple” at Emo Court in County Laois caught our attention. It’s not really a temple, but a gateway and gloriette. There’s little evidence dating it. But there’s something familiar about its shape; it bears some resemblance to Penpole Lodge at Kings Weston. A rusticated podium, a central arch with arch and circle recesses either side, a single small room sat crowning the arch, and each accessed by a cramped staircase threaded up through one of the side piers are some of the features shared between the two buildings. Like Kings Weston the Emo Court building was strategically located for picturesque effect from the house it once belonged to. Exploiting a highpoint in its parkland, like Penpole, it would have been silhouetted as a landmark on the horizon, with the arch framing views of open sky from the mansion house, since rebuilt.

With the kind assistance of the Ministry of Works in Ireland we’ve got access to measured drawings of the now ruined Emo Court arch, and have drawn up a simple 3D model to compare with our one of the original Penpole Lodge. Marginally smaller, it’s still not too dissimilar in character from Penpole to be able to suggest some sort of kinship.

3D computer models of Emo Court temple and Penpole Lodge at the same scale.

The designs of Penpole Lodge are dated 1724. It was in this year that Edward Lovett Pearce is believed to have returned to Ireland to begin his own practice and meteoric rise in Irish society. The Irish Georgian Society has tentatively connected Pearce’s name with the Emo Court building, and architectural historian James Horley has made stylistic comparisons between it and other of his works. Regardless of its authorship there are stylistic, political, and logistical reasons to believe that Penpole Lodge might have been the inspiration for Emo Court. Circumstantial evidence for this is strengthened where Pearce’s involvement at Kings Weston is brought into consideration, and a possible direct route for the importation of architectural ideas into Ireland. 

Top: “Sketch at Emo Park” 1790, by J.Brown (National Gallery of Scotland) 
Bottom: Penpole Point and Lodge, detail of a painting circa 1760. (Sir John Soane’s museum)  


Kings Weston on the verge

The Loggia, designed in 1718 by Sir John Vanbrugh. Seen here in 1927 (Country Life)

The area recently worked on by KWAG volunteers, just below the coffee shop terrace, Is an odd corner of the Kings Weston estate. Hard up against Kings Weston Lane in its gulley to the east it has always been an abrupt edge to the Landscaped grounds.

Before the present house was built the slopes descending towards Lawrence Weston here were laid out as formal kitchen gardens, though would have been sorely exposed to the brisk winds off the Severn. The top of the slope offered spectacular panoramas across the estuary and, in 1705, a banqueting house was built on a terrace overlooking the kitchen gardens. When Sir John Vanbrugh came to rebuild the house for Edward Southwell his plans extended to major landscape interventions. The small banqueting house received a new façade in 1718, one that looked back into the park and along a vast new terraced promenade; this building forms the core of the current Loggia.   

As garden fashions changed the whole of the area below the banqueting house and Loggia were deformalised and the topography took on a form much the same as today’s. By 1772, when the area was surveyed by Isaac Taylor, only the Loggia remained, and the terraces and formal gardens swept away. In their place the open parkland swept unbroken to an area described as “verge plantations”. On his plan Taylor identified a railed fence separating the newly planted area from the recently created rolling meadowland below the house; the remains of this Georgian fence can still be found in the area recently cleared.

The view from the loggia across the meadow land. Hieronymus Grimm, 1788 (Bristol Museum and Art Gallery) 
 Taylor’s 1772 estate plan with later alterations annotated

Within the plantation new trees and shrubs were laid out as part of a pleasure walk that connected the house and Loggia with the Home Farm and Menagerie below. This planting would have been intentionally picturesque in style and some of the holly, yew, and Portuguese laurel from this era are still growing there, though the path has long become lost. Maps show there to have been many evergreens incorporated within a design intended to frame the open meadow and focus the eye on Kings Weston house commanding the ridge above it.  

As time went on the trees and shrubs grew up and the view of the Loggia from the park was sadly obscured. The pleasure walk and planting continued to be maintained until the 1930s, but since then there has been little attention spared on them. Since WWII and the cessation of regular livestock grazing, this has resulted in the gradual encroachment of self-seeded trees beyond the historic fence line and the loss of the tamed edge of the meadow. Today trees cover almost twice the area of the original verge plantation and have further obscured the house and Loggia from within certain areas of the park. It is hoped that KWAG’s work, and forthcoming work as part of the National grid contributions, will help enhance the setting of Both Grade I Listed buildings and the park as a whole.    

Unusual Georgian view discovered

A view of Kings Weston was recently sent to us which shows the house from an unusual angle. The view, painted in 1796, shows the prospect across the parkland from the South Walk, with the house framed in a naturalistic manner by groves of trees. This is the first illustration from this angle we’ve come across and is of particular note as it closely matches the views that KWAG restored during last year’s Lifting the Curtain project. The same angle is approximated in the masthead photo at the top of this month’s newsletter.

Watercolour of Kings Weston house from the South Walk, George Heriot, 1796.

The artist was George Heriot, a Scottish-born Civil servant who, at this time, had moved to the colonies of Canada. He returned briefly in 1796, when he painted this image, before returning to North America and developing a reputation as a major figure in Canadian Art.  This painting demonstrates not just the artist’s skill, but also that of the landscape designer. Edward Southwell III had de-formalised the grounds around the house in the 1760’s and we might assume that these copses of trees were planted at about that time to create picturesque framed views of his home.