Reconstruction of the Lost Garden


When Tim Woodbridge wrote The Choice, his research revealed that Henry Hoare had almost certainly built a first garden before flooding it in 1755 to create the Great Lake we know today.

All the known facts point clearly to this, indeed, the facts are so specific that it has been possible to reconstruct a picture of what the first garden might have looked like.

The key piece of information is that, at first, Henry Hoare did not change the water levels - this was only done when he flooded the lake in 1755. Instead he excavated large sections of the valley to form two lakes, one to the south and the other to the north. The painting is ‘authentic’ in that it uses the known water level in front of the Temple of Flora before flooding and applies that same water level to another sketch of the garden done after flooding.

The left portion of this painting is taken from a Coplestone Warre Bampfylde sketch of 1775 with the water levels dropped to match the lower water level of the ‘Flora canal’ shown in an earlier Bampfylde painting created in 1753 before the valley was flooded.