A walk around the park in the 21st century still offers considerable variety, revealing formal gardens, relaxed sloping lawns, a naturalistic lake, avenues of trees, ornamental woods and shrubberies, almost ‘wild’ woodland, the House and Conservatory, temples and statuary, a cafe and spaces for sport.
This variety, combined with the special historic atmosphere and the quality of the architecture and landscape design, ensured that the park enjoyed widespread affection amongst local people and visitors alike. Generations of Chiswick residents have grown up with the park as a backdrop to their lives, and will revisit a tree they climbed in their youth, remember a special event, or photograph their children riding on a sphinx.
This extract written by Adrian Cook is from a book called My Place – Historic European Parks and their Communities.
Since My Place was published, a new era has opened in the history of Chiswick House Gardens. The long spiral of decline has been halted.
The £12m project to return the historic parts of the Gardens to Lord Burlington’s vision is a mixture of regeneration, restoration and conservation, with full regard also being paid to the amenities of local residents and visitors and to the improvement of the environment for wildlife and plants.
The Chiswick House Friends are proud to have made a significant and continuing contribution to the success of this ambitious project. They have been active in many areas, but their main efforts were directed towards the restoration of the Rosary, the Doric Column and the statue of Venus. Together, these have again become one of the most eye-catching focal points of Lord Burlington’s vistas.