A new home for old urns

Urns in the Tea Garden

Cliveden Conservation is one of the country’s leading experts in conservation. They specialise in conserving, protecting and reinstating stone, plaster and decorative arts. Cliveden Conservation has returned to Rowallane Garden to reinstate four Georgian urns which have now been placed in our Tea Garden.

Cliveden Conservation at Rowallane Garden

Members of the public were outraged when the beloved stone lions that had guarded our Garden for over 100 years vanished without a trace. What happened to them remains a great mystery. The lions were never recovered. Greatly missed, we decided that the stone lions should be replaced. This would allow future generations to enjoy and connect with this important part of the garden’s history.

The lions at Rowallane Garden keep watch on the avenue
The guardians of Rowallane Garden
The lions at Rowallane Garden keep watch on the avenue

Skilled stone sculptors at Cliveden Conservation took great care to recreate the curled manes and characterful expressions of the old lions. The new lions have been greeted warmly by staff and visitors alike. 

Cliveden Conservation returned to restore Adamesque Georgian urns. The urns have been installed in our Tea Garden.

Urning for a new lease of life

In the paddock at Rowallane Garden you will find an old building that was once a chicken shed. Hidden amongst the undergrowth our gardeners made a fantastic discovery. Four Georgian urns that had succumbed to the elements were found after years lying forgotten.

A Georgian urn being restored at Rowallane Garden
Georgian urn restoration at the chicken shed in Rowallane Garden
A Georgian urn being restored at Rowallane Garden

The urns are made in the Adam style. This refers to Robert Adam (1728 – 92). Adam was one of the most important British architects working in the neoclassical style.  Neoclassicism was a movement in the decorative and visual arts that drew inspiration from the 'classical' art and culture of Ancient Greece and Rome.

Adam's own theory of design was based on the principle of 'movement' – the rise and fall, and advancement and recession of forms. The essence of the 'Adam Style' lay in his use of ornament.

The stylistic qualities of this period can be seen clearly. Now situated in our Tea Garden, the urns are very ornate. Upon closer inspection, it is evident the urns have been hand carved. They are not pure reflections of one another. Each urn has its own character. The finials differ in height and each is decorated slightly differently. The embellished edging although similar, sweeps and turns over each urn with unique personality. Had the urns been made on a lathe, they would have been indistinguishable.  

When the urns were rediscovered they were damaged. Finials had been broken off, one was missing and the lead dowels had corroded with age.

 Enter Cliveden Conservation.

The base of a Georgian urn during installation in our Tea Garden
Georgian Urn base placed in situ in the Tea Garden
The base of a Georgian urn during installation in our Tea Garden

Their team Spent four days drilling out the old lead and resetting the urns with new stainless steel dowels.  They also reinstated the ornate finials atop the urns. The urns were then cleaned, placed on their ‘socle’ (neck or stand) and installed in the Tea Garden.

Georgian urn carefully placed in situ
Georgian urn lifted into position
Georgian urn carefully placed in situ
Finishing touches being put on our Georgian urns
Final stages of installation in our Tea Garden
Finishing touches being put on our Georgian urns

The unfinished urn

Towards the back of the Tea Garden you will find an urn that is missing a large section. The missing section has been turned to face the garden. You could easily assume the urn was weathered with age as it remained hidden or maybe, that at some stage it has fallen of its base and smashed when it hit the ground.

In actual fact, there is more evidence to suggest that this urn was broken as the sculptor was carving it. On closer inspection, you can see that it was never finished. It is likely that a large section fell off the urn as the sculptor was adding decorative edging. On one side the decorative edging stops abruptly suggesting that the sculptor gave up once the large section fell off.

The unfinished urn in the Tea Garden
The unfinished urn in the Tea Garden
The unfinished urn in the Tea Garden

The unfinished urn has a lot of character but it also gives us a startling glimpse of the artist at work. It tells us about the history of the urn’s creation.

Old urns for a new tea garden

The restored urns have taken pride of place in our tea garden. They have been placed on plinths built into the hand crafted stone wall. There is a pair of urns decorating each entrance to the new space. Alongside the planted beds and the stone wall, the four Georgian urns really bring the tea garden to life. They complement the tea garden’s design and as a whole, the space looks as though it has always been part of Rowallane Garden.

Four Georgian urns placed in our Tea Garden
Georgian urns in their new home
Four Georgian urns placed in our Tea Garden

Once forgotten, buried in the undergrowth. The urns have been given a new lease of life but what else is hiding in the garden, waiting to be discovered?