Small in scale, rococo gardens were usually created by the middle classes who didn’t have enough land to create the vast parklands of ‘Capability’ Brown. It was an expression of freedom, of fun, of nature and of amorous encounters, away from the constraints of the earlier Franco-Dutch designs. The word ‘rococo’ is from the French word ‘rocaille’ (the decoration of grottoes with pebbles and seashells) and was introduced in the nineteenth century –before this period, this type of garden had not been recognised as a style.

Rococo gardens had a mix of Gothick, Chinese and Turkish follies with serpentine paths, pools and woodland. It was a garden for entertaining and of surprises.

Benjamin Hyett (1708-1762) developed the Rococo garden at Painswick c.1744. The eclectic collection of buildings range from the decorative Exedra, the functional plunge pool and Pigeon House to the Red House, a house of two facades. One has an ogee curve topped by a cross while the other has concave curves leading up to a point. Further surprises are provided by the paths – some straight, while others are ‘s’ shaped, William Hogarth’s ‘Line of Beauty’.

It is the only complete rococo garden in England open to the public.

An example of a Rococo Garden can be seen at:

Painswick

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