We went over the hill by Alfred’s Tower to see the gardens at Stourhead, but at noon there were so many people that we retreated and returned in the early evening when the crowds had gone to enjoy the Virgilian walk round the lake. The first view across the lake was picture perfect:-
The Temple of Flora, first to be completed:-
The sleeping Ariadne in the grotto with a quotation from Pope:-
The cottage orné:-
The Pantheon prominently at the end of the lake:-
The temple of Apollo inspired by Baalbec:-
If one averts one’s eyes from the virulent rhododendra and tries to forget the monkey puzzles and later pines, then it is almost possible to reconstruct the mood of meditative neoclassical reflection which inspired Henry Hoare II (‘Henry the Magnificent’) to commission Henry Flitcroft to build these temples in his garden.