Art Diary

Gardens at Waddesdon Manor

23 April 2021

Museums in many countries remain closed, but at least spring has sprung. This week’s Apollo Art Diary picks out four arty gardens to enjoy… 

In 1874 Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild took what was a bare hilltop, outside his manor at Waddesdon in Buckinghamshire, and with the help of landscape architect Elie Lainé created what remains one of the most sumptuous examples of Victorian horticulture in the country. Today it is renowned for the colourful, annually changing designs of the carpet beds on the parterre, its elaborate ribbon bedsits, and its aviary, home to rare birds including the Bali, or Rothschild’s mynah (the 2nd Baron, Walter, was a keen ornithologist). The art-filled house itself is shut for now, but the gardens are also dotted with artworks, ranging from 18th-century marble fountain sculptures, originally from the palaces of the Dukes of Parma, to contemporary pieces. And April is a good time to see tulips, daffodils, wallflowers and narcissus. Find out more from Waddesdon’s website.

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Daffodils in the Upper Deer Pen at Waddesdon, in spring 2021.

Daffodils in the Upper Deer Pen at Waddesdon, in spring 2021. Photo: Chris Lacey

Tulips in the Aviary garden, spring 2021. Photo: Mike Buffin; © Waddesdon

Archival image of the parterre.

Archival image of the parterre. Photo: © Waddesdon Image Library