The importance of the iconic Pantheon at Stourhead
The Pantheon at Stourhead is in urgent need of repair this year. It will be a lengthy and expensive task, so why are we making it a priority? Because, as we explain here, the building is so important to the landscape and history of Stourhead.
Famous architect Henry Flitcroft was commissioned to design the Pantheon. In 1753 local mason William Privett started to build it using Chilmark limestone with a brick and timber-supported dome.
Modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, it was originally called the Temple of Hercules as it was home to a statue of Hercules created by Rysbrack. It was renamed the Pantheon when statues including Diana, Flora, Isis and St Susanna were added in the 1760s.
A status symbol
Stourhead was Henry the Magnificent's country house and he spent 20 years and £20,000 creating the garden which showed his social status and wealth.
Magnificent and iconic
The Pantheon can be viewed from across the lake and is iconic to this world-famous landscape garden. It was used by the Hoare family for relaxation and as a place to entertain guests. In 1762 Horace Walpole said that the Pantheon had few rivals ‘in magnificence, taste and beauty’.
The National Trust has looked after Stourhead since 1947. The last time work was carried out on the Pantheon was in the 1980s when we conserved the dome and interior, but the portico was left untouched.
Essential repairs and conservation
This winter we must start work on restoring the Pantheon to its former glory which will involve building a temporary roof above the portico to keep the weather out and allow removal, replacement or repair of timber and roofing materials. This will help keep the iconic Pantheon around for the next 200 years.