Polly by Charles Holland

Polly by Charles Holland

Exotic objects, animals and food were highly coveted by the Georgians, as they represented wealth, travel and an opulent way of living. Charles Holland's design, Polly, brings this to life, celebrating the playful spirit of the water garden.

Introducing Polly

Internationally recognised architect Charles Holland has designed a theatrical 9m tower, reminiscent of an exotic bird, which will sit atop Tent Hill. Tent Hill was once the site of a period ‘campaign-style’ tent for lounging and entertaining, as well as the Temple of Venus, a mock classical folly.

The tower, affectionately nick-named Polly, evokes the playful structures of 18th century picturesque gardens as well as the exotic flora and fauna they often featured. It will be clad in timber shingles, painted in a mix of opulent colours to suggest a parrot’s plumage. 

Charles Holland stands by his folly! 2018 design, Polly!
Charles Holland stands by his folly! 2018 design, Polly!
Charles Holland stands by his folly! 2018 design, Polly!

Visitors can step inside the tower and see the water garden with a new perspective - the ‘head’ of Polly will house a camera obscura.

The fantastical installation will be visible from ‘Surprise View,’ the most famous vista in the World Heritage Site, appearing in the landscape alongside the majestic ruins of Fountains Abbey.

You can see Polly from Surprise View
Polly viewed from Tent Hill
You can see Polly from Surprise View

What is folly!

folly! is our contemporary art programme, celebrating the fun and delight inspired by the water garden and playful structures found within. Previous years have seen the current garden follies the Temple of Piety, Temple of Fame, Octagon Tower and the Banqueting house filled with exceptional thought-provoking works from Gary McCann in 2015 and Mat Collishaw in 2016.

What is a folly?

These are fashionable, whimsical buildings or structures that were often used by garden designers to catch the eye or draw attention to a carefully created vista. Here at Studley Royal visitors to the gardens would explore the gardens with refreshment stops at each of the follies: the Banqueting House, the Temple of Piety, the Temple of Fame and the Octagon Tower. 

Bring your family along to dance under the Cloud

Discover folly 2018! 

The National Trust’s contemporary art programme folly! is back for 2018, bigger and bolder than ever. Celebrating the playful, whimsical style of Studley Royal water garden, the four designs which will bring fresh colour and curiosity to the landscape in April have been revealed.

Join the folly! family trail and let your creativity run wild!

folly! art in the garden family trail

There's art in the garden but it's not paintings, and it's not in a gallery...The artworks are in the garden and they're just for fun - we call them follies. Use this map to explore!

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