Work continues in the area of the Western Garden known as the Labyrinth as we re-instate the paths and planting beds around our newly returned Wrestlers statue. The team have been busy planting over 3,500 shrubs and trees using varieties which would have been found in the eighteenth century. As the plants mature they will create the setting around our Wrestlers and frame the views out into the garden beyond.
Restoring Stowe 2015-2019
The Landscape Programme
2015 saw the start of a new phase of restoration for the gardens at Stowe. The Landscape Programme comprises of 54 tasks taking place over five years to reinstate many of the lost temples and monuments that once ‘dressed’ the gardens like pieces of a theatre set whilst undertaking maintenance on structures and lakes. Highlights will also see the opening of parts of the gardens not currently open to the public.
What restoration work will take place?
This project will transform the gardens of Stowe with almost another 1/3 of the existing size being added and made accessible to the public, including the reinstatement of land currently used as a 9-hole golf course.
The Western Garden
The Western Garden will see the restoration and recreation of the Queens Theatre, the installation of The Wrestlers statues, and the Wood and Spinney being revealed. In the Grecian Valley many iconic statues will be returned to their places including Hercules and Boar; Statue of the Fane of Pastoral Poetry; The Grecian Valley Urn; The Circle of the Dancing Faun.
The Elysian Fields
The Elysian Fields, in part designed by William Kent, will see the return of the Temple of Modern Virtue – deliberately built as a ruin to show the degradation of the Walpole government, the Marquess urn, the statue of Apollo and the nine Muses as well as restoration work on the Shell Bridge.
Forever for everyone, how you can help restore Stowe?
The gardens at Stowe are lovingly cared for by a team of staff and volunteers. If you care passionately about the future of Stowe and enjoy seeing it develop through restoration, it's the perfect chance for you to get involved.
As a charity we rely heavily on support from volunteers. We have roles for gardeners, ha-ha wall restorers, bakers, administrators all of which help care for Stowe, raising funds to go back into the restoration of the gardens.
Ways to donate
Another way to get involved would be to make a charitable donation for our current restoration work, we are currently looking to raise vital funds of £648,000. Every donation will help make a significant impact on Stowe over the next five years and one that you can come back year after year and enjoy seeing it develop.
By 2019 as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the gardens, the completion of this project will have brought us considerably closer to our goal of restoring Stowe to its eighteenth-century heyday when visitors came from far and wide to marvel at their scale and splendour. Their influence began what later became known as the English landscape garden movement, which changed the face of landscapes across Europe.
Follow our progress
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11 Jan 18
3,500 trees and shrubs planted in the Labyrinth
06 Nov 17
The Wrestlers return to the Labyrinth
Stowe has welcomed another statue back into the landscape, missing for nearly a century. The figures of the wrestlers, also known as the Roman Boxers, stood in the Labyrinth in the Western Garden, until the Temple-Grenville family came into crisis and had to sell off their possessions in the 19th and 20th centuries. Cliveden Conservation have faithfully copied the Wrestlers from original bronzes at Blenheim Palace, cast in reconstituted stone and put it back in place in the Labyrinth for the public to view once again.
25 Oct 17
The Gladiator returns to the Grecian Valley
Another of the heroic statues has returned to the Grecian Valley as a result of public support and generous donations. The statuary in the Grecian Valley, largely dispersed in the sales of 1921 and 1922, was mostly purchased by Lord Cobham in the 1730s. The Gladiator, and other statuary recently returned to the Grecian Valley, formed part of an iconographic strategy to demonstrate the Progress of Liberty from the Ancients to the foundation of the British Empire. A group of heroic statues, depicting some of the 12 labours of Hercules represented the notion of victory through physical combat, martial strength and patriotism.