Gardens

It was not just the buildings, inside and out, that were affected by neo-classicism. The setting in which large 18th century mansions stood was also re-modelled, to include classical-style buildings – temples, follies, arches or monuments. These were usually strategically set into picturesque landscapes to create focal impact within a contrived scenery. Such landscape gardens were not re-creations from the ancient Greek and Roman world, but instead were made to showcase monuments and encourage contemplation.

James Stuart designed a number of structures based directly on Greek antiquities he had published in his Antiquities of Athens. Antique-style statues, urns and plant pots were essential accessories in the gardens surrounding a fashionable neo-classical house, and Wedgwood was keen to supply planters and garden pots to fill this market.

This new-found 18th-century interest in gardening spread rapidly indoors, stimulating a demand for a wide variety of decorative containers for flowers and bulbs, which again Wedgwood supplied. Each had its purpose. ‘Vases are furniture for a Chimneypiece – Bough pots for a hearth, under a Slab or Marble Table…’ said Josiah.




Images

Plant holder, called a myrtle pan, made of white terra cotta with a dark brown slip, c.1785

Plant holder, called a myrtle pan, made of white terra cotta with a dark brown slip, c.1785