Famous Cedars of Lebanon
Visitors including Queen Victoria, the Tsar of Russia, the King of the Hellenes and the Shah of Persia have admired the avenue of stately Atlantic blue cedars of Lebanon that frame the House.
The Beatles filmed Paperback Writer and Rain sitting on the trees’ massive, low lying branches.
Our trees special significance continues today. The oldest trees date from the late 1720s when William Kent first worked on the Garden.
Several of came directly from Lebanon, making them some of the oldest migrants from Lebanon’s original cedar forests, which are sadly now much depleted.
Please note, cedars of Lebanon are prone to drop branches without warning. Please take care when walking close to or beneath these trees , particularly if you are with small children, the disabled and the elderly.
English Heritage supported a project to graft 31 plants from five different clones of the Chiswick Cedars of Lebanon during the Garden Restoration. These plants have been shared with other historic public gardens, ensuring the future of our rare and historic trees.
The Exedra is a semi-circular hedge of dark yew trees, which form a dramatic backdrop to Lord Burlington’s sculpture collection.
We know that this feature was in place by 1745, when the western half of the Grove was felled and a large lawn created, lined by alternating cypresses and stone urns, enclosed by the Exedra at the Northern end.
The three figures present today are copies of classical statues which Lord Burlington brought back from his Grand Tour to Rome. The originals are now in Chiswick House. The statues of the lion and lioness, completed about 1733, were probably sculpted by Pieter Scheemakers.
The Patte d’oie, ‘goose-foot’ in French, was a new horticultural feature introduced by Lord Burlington in 1716. It was, one of his earliest innovations. It has three radiating avenues, like the webbed foot of a goose, each terminating in a small building or viewpoint.
The design was thought to reproduce the kind of layout found in an ancient Roman gardens.
- The left hand avenue led to the ‘Bagnio’ (bath-house) designed by Lord Burlington in 1717. This was ‘the first design of his lordship’s happy invention’ and Burlington used it as his drawing room. It was demolished in 1778.
- The central avenue led to the Domed Building, akin to a temple. Designed by James Gibbs, it was demolished in 1784. This avenue now contains a Venetian window from one of the demolished wings of Chiswick House, put up as an eye-catcher in 1970.
- The right hand avenue, the only one to survive from Burlington’s original design, leads to the Rustic House.
Inigo Jones Gateway
Designed by architect Inigo Jones for Beaufort House in Chelsea in 1621, this gateway was acquired by Lord Burlington in 1738 from his friend Hans Sloane.
A poem, attributed to William Kent, describes how it came to Chiswick.
The Inigo Jones Gate replaced an ornately-framed door, which now stands at the entrance to the Sports Field.
- Thought to have been designed by Lord Burlington in about 1720, the Doric Column used to be mounted with a copy of the famous Venus de Medici statue in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
- In 1736, it formed the focus of a small triangular area of dense planting, with six straight paths or ‘allées’ radiating out from it.
- This was replaced by a rose garden, laid out by the fifth Duke of Devonshire, and first recorded in 1811.
Lord Burlington maintained a small deer enclosure, separated from the garden by a ha ha. The Deer House was probably used for sheltering deer overnight. It was designed by Lord Burlington in about 1720. After 1727, the deer park was removed to the other side of the lake and an Orangery was erected on its site.
The rose garden was replanted in 2010 and a copy of the Venus de Medici now graces the column.
Orange Tree Garden & Ionic Temple
This semi-circular garden surrounds a pool with an obelisk in its centre. The Ionic Temple stands behind it. Created in 1726, orange trees in tubs were placed on the terraces.
To the right hand side of the garden is a tomb with a Latin inscription, which begins: ‘Under this stone lies Lilly, my dear hound…’. It is thought that the dog may have belonged to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.