A classical journey around the South West

The culture of Greece and Rome has long served as inspiration for the arts - from classically inspired architecture and interior design, to sculpture, paintings and textiles. A sign of intellect, sophistication and taste, the 18th century in particular saw a boom in classical education, travel and design. Find out where you can see this influence at some of our properties in the South West.

Garniture of Wedgwood and Bentley basalt vases of classical form, c.1770-1775 /Saltram

Saltram's vases 

Inspired by the ceramic arts of the ancients, Josiah Wedgwood created a series of vases emulating the black pots of Greek and Roman antiquity which many 18th century tourists were bringing back from their 'Grand Tours’ as souvenirs.

A view of the Pantheon at Stourhead

Stourhead's garden  

Many of Stourhead's most iconic buildings and follies were inspired by classical structures and deities, inlcuding the Temple of Flora dedicated to the goddess of flowers and spring, the Pantheon inspired by the great Pantheon in Rome, and the Temple of Apollo dedicated to the Greek sun god.

Settee at Montacute

Tales from Ovid at Montacute 

The stories and myths from Greece and Rome were also popular inspiration for art, textiles and design. Montacute's collection of 18th century furniture depicts mythical scenes from one of the most popular and frequently refrenced Classical works - The Metamorphoses by the Roman Poet Ovid.

Statue of Mercury on roof at Dyrham Park

Dyrham's Mercury  

Many classical statues and sculptures adorn, decorate and feature in National Trust buildings, such as the monumental lead and bronze statue of Mercury on the roof of Dryham Park. A copy of the famous Mercury by the Rennaissance sculptor Giambologna (who was himself inspired by the bronzes of Greece and Rome), this is a clear homage to both Rennaissance and Antique culture.

View of Saltram's Robert Adam Saloon with chandeliers

Neoclassical architecture and design 

Neoclassical designs for rooms, buildings and grand architectural features were also based on Greek and Roman architecture, championed by pioneering architects such as Robert Adam. Look out for columns, urns and alcoves, Roman deities and mythological figures, and classical motifs such as swags, ribbons and garlands.