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Buscot Park - Enchanting Havens

Buscot Park by Felix Kelly, 1944

At the end of September, with my usual companion in tow, I made a visit to Buscot Park, a late 18th-century house set in enchanting landscaped grounds in Oxfordshire. Now while I would usually give a room to room tour, I hardly feel that I could do it justice. Buscot Park is one of the single most beautifully decorated houses I have ever been to. The interiors are what drew me and I was not disappointed, if anything I was in awe. So I will simply do a light overview of the house and the wonderful gardens. If I was to recommend any house for someone looking for beauty, this would be it.


The Walled Gardens

I visited in late September, at a time when gardens are usually losing their glow and, if the gardeners are particularly ruthless, the beds are empty and already put away for winter. But not at Buscot, summer seemed to linger here. The beds were as full as they would be in June, everything was lush and I soon discovered what the vision of this garden was. Vistas.


The House

The room that drew me in particular was the Saloon, for it holds four paintings, the Legend of the Briar Rose.

"As early as 1871 Burne-Jones began a series illustrating the story of the Sleeping Beauty. The four large pictures that composed the final version, the fruit of twenty years’ work, were eventually exhibited in 1890, at Agnew’s Bond Street gallery, and all London flocked to see them. It is said that ‘enthusiasm amounting to ecstasy’ took the place of the carping deprecation against which Burne-Jones had fought for so long. The pictures had always been intended for use as decorations, and the 1st Lord Faringdon (then Mr Alexander Henderson) acquired them for the Drawing Room at Buscot. When Burne-Jones visited the house soon afterwards (he was staying at the time with William Morris at Kelmscott, across the fields from Buscot) their setting did not satisfy him. He therefore designed a framework of carved and gilt wood which would give unity to the four pictures – The Briar Wood, The Council Room, The Garden Court, and The Rose Bower. For the intervening spaces he painted narrow panels that continue the rose motif."

Each room was more beautiful than the last, no detail had been missed. I have never been to a house with such exquisite taste. Taking photos was not permitted so I have done my best to find some from the internet but these images hardly do it justice.


The Park

Much like the Walled Gardens, sweeping vistas and symmetry are the key elements in the the parkland. There are dozens of little gardens dotted throughout the trees, with Egyptian statues, urns and the water gardens, all leading to the lake where a folly and a stone bridge sit on the opposite bank, reflecting in the water. It was a truly lovely place to be.


Reading Recommendations & Content Considerations

For more information on Buscot Park, it's history and the Faringdon Collection click the image of Buscot Park by Felix Kelly below. If you are near by I do encourage you to visit the house and see the collection for yourself.


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