The Garden Guide

Kensington Italian Water Gardens

Prince Albert had the idea of making an Italian Garden, in 1861, at the north end of the Long Waterwhich becomes the Serpentine.The pavilion, originally a pump house, was designed by Sir Charles Barry (also the architect of the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square). The gardens were designed by James Pennethorne (who also designed Victoria Park) and the sculpture was by John Thomas (who also designed the Atlas Fountain at Castle Howard). Their work was good but it was the masterpiece one might have expected from an illustrious team. William Robinson was rude about the whole project. He wrote that 'The plan was carried out with the greatest care;the planting &c, was done by experienced men, yet the result, as everybody knows, was unsatisfactory in the highest degree'. (1883, The English Flower Garden). The weak link in the team was probably James Pennethorne: me was a middle-of-the-road architect and a bad landscape architect. The view of John Thomas' sculpture and fountain, with the wildness of the Long Water beyond, is a Picturesque landscape transition.

Kensington's Italian Water Garden  is on the London Gardens Walk and included in the eBook guide to the London Gardens Walk

Italian Water Garden, Kensington Gardens, London, Greater London, England

Visit the Kensington Italian Water Gardens website

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