In February we were fortunate to hear from garden historian and international speaker Caroline Holmes on Garden landscapes with a Gainsborough perspective. When Caroline began weaving her story, connecting garden landscape though the eyes of 18th century social commentary, we knew we were on a whirlwind voyage with a consummate expert and enthusiast for pastoral England.

Caroline’s pace was fast and her time was limited to cover such a vast journey through the elegance of Capability Brown’s landscapes, oftentimes seen through the grandeur of a Gainsborough painting.  It was a commentary on the fast changing ideals of the 18th century that saw huge gains in agriculture, the arts and social mobility. She called it ‘England Enlightened’.

The audience enjoyed an engagement with art’s mixture of history, literature, religion and social change in a privileged and intimate insider’s view into the richness of the visual world.  Caroline’s vignettes explored society at its height with grand homes and grander pastoral ambitions.

Feature image: Ride view to Temple of Apollo, Stourhead, Wiltshire, England