By Steve Poole
Issue 15, Summer, 2006 pp. 19-21.
Outside of their contemporary depictions, few of the Baroque gardens that were typical of the seventeenth century survive today. The Georgians preferred a more naturalistic style, and so the anachronistic gardens of the Stuart era faded away into the past. Such is the case with William Blathwayt’s spectacular gardens at Dyrham Park; but these gardens were home to an impressive piece of engineering which has long been puzzling historians. The jewel of the gardens was an ostentatious water feature which, from an engineering perspective, was ahead of its time. The mechanics that powered the feature remain a mystery. Based on a report by Hyla Holden, Steve Poole addresses the question of how the cascade was powered, and whether changing fashion was the sole cause for such a spectacle to fall into disuse.
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