Five Centuries Of Hampton Court: The Ponds Of Henry VIII, English Holland, "London Garden"

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Five Centuries Of Hampton Court: The Ponds Of Henry VIII, English Holland, "London Garden"
Five Centuries Of Hampton Court: The Ponds Of Henry VIII, English Holland, "London Garden"
Video: Five Centuries Of Hampton Court: The Ponds Of Henry VIII, English Holland, "London Garden"
Video: The Hampton Court Palace Garden Maze, London 2023, February
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Hampton Court. Palace and yew avenues
Hampton Court. Palace and yew avenues

Hampton Court. Palace and Yew Alleys The fifth day of our English journey began and ended with adventures in the train. Arriving at Victoria Station, we were a little confused by its size, the complexity of the timetable and the rules for surcharging a city ticket. After spending an hour on the platform, the next hour we enjoyed looking at suburban and suburban London, familiar landscapes - after all, Hampton Court, like Kew, is located on the Thames in the Richmond area, above and east of the capital.

Hampton Court. First look from the bridge
Hampton Court. First look from the bridge

Hampton Court. First look from the bridge

Hampton Court. From the courtyard facade - a castle and a castle …
Hampton Court. From the courtyard facade - a castle and a castle …

Hampton Court. From the courtyard facade - a castle and a castle …

On the Thames, in the literal sense of the word - the side of the palace is visible from the large beautiful bridge that we passed from the station. In season, and with time, you can make the royal route - by boat from Westminster to Hampton Court. But this path is unhurried, it takes more than three hours, and the season has already ended, so the steamer stood at the pier, forgotten and sad, like the donkey Eeyore.

Hampton Court. Entrance to Hampton Court Castle
Hampton Court. Entrance to Hampton Court Castle

Hampton Court. Entrance to Hampton Court Castle

Hampton Court. Golden Gate of Klor Education Center
Hampton Court. Golden Gate of Klor Education Center

Hampton Court. Golden Gate of Klor Education Center

When approaching the palace, attention is drawn to the long red service building, especially the modern gates of the Klor Education Center, entwined with golden trees. Nearby there is an extensive ticket office - fortunately, no queues - and a bookstore, where we easily found two guidebooks in Russian and one English book about the park. And then we came to the gate - it’s hard to tell whether it was a palace or a castle.

Hampton Court
Hampton Court

Hampton Court

Hampton Court
Hampton Court

Hampton Court

Hampton Court
Hampton Court

Hampton Court

Hampton Court. Beasts guard the gate
Hampton Court. Beasts guard the gate

Hampton Court. Beasts guard the gate

Hampton Court. First courtyard
Hampton Court. First courtyard

Hampton Court. First courtyard

On this side is a red brick castle with towers and turrets, Renaissance chimneys and medieval toothed beasts. The palace in the full sense of the word Hampton Court could become … - but that's the whole story.

A beautiful estate on the banks of the Thames, in a place inhabited by the ancient Romans, once belonged to the Hospitaller Order, known to us as the Maltese. From them the estate was taken over by Cardinal Thomas Woolsey, a kind of "Cardinal Richelieu" under Henry VIII.

Portrait of Cardinal Thomas Woolsey
Portrait of Cardinal Thomas Woolsey

Portrait of Cardinal Thomas Woolsey

Hans Holbein. Portrait of Henry VIII
Hans Holbein. Portrait of Henry VIII

Hans Holbein. Portrait of Henry VIII

From 1514, for three decades, he built and decorated the castle in a mixed style of late English Gothic and mature Italian Renaissance. The rugged towers of the castle are decorated with delicate bas-reliefs by the Italian sculptor Giovanni di Maiano. But, unlike Richelieu and Mazarin, Woolsey was not omnipotent. Feeling that the political soil was slipping from under his feet, he presented the almost finished castle to the king. And a year later he died …

Hampton Court. Anne Boleyn Gate
Hampton Court. Anne Boleyn Gate

Hampton Court. Anne Boleyn Gate

Hampton Court. Gothic vault
Hampton Court. Gothic vault

Hampton Court. Gothic vault

Henry VIII expanded, first of all, the kitchens and the dining room - a grill for the feasts of his vast courtyard. We saw both while visiting the palace. Under him, the plan of the building was formed with three courtyards going one after another. They are separated by high two-tower gates, the hallmark of Hampton Court. At the second gate, above which the chambers of Queen Anne Boleyn were located, the most complicated clock still runs, indicating not only the time and sign of the zodiac, but also the height of the tide in London for those who traveled on barges.

Godfrey Kneller. Portrait of King William III
Godfrey Kneller. Portrait of King William III

Godfrey Kneller. Portrait of King William III

Arrival of Willem to England. Fresco in Greenwich Palace
Arrival of Willem to England. Fresco in Greenwich Palace

Arrival of Willem to England. Fresco in Greenwich Palace

William III and Mary II reign in England. Fresco in Greenwich Palace
William III and Mary II reign in England. Fresco in Greenwich Palace

William III and Mary II reign in England. Fresco in Greenwich Palace

The next and last construction period came to Hampton Court during the reign of Queen Mary II of England and Willem (in England, William) III called from Holland. It was this reign (1689-1702) that was the finest hour of the gardening art of old England.

William III is a man with a stormy and victorious biography. Brought up in his native Holland by his English relatives, after difficult military vicissitudes, he won Britain from his uncle, the Catholic King James II. His position as the husband of the Queen of England encouraged demonstrative actions and projects. By that time, the luxurious and unprecedented for Holland palace complex Het Loo in the city of Apeldoorn had already been completed. There, the French scheme of the parterre garden and the façade of the palace was applied to local conditions, the garden is surrounded by the "trademark" Dutch earthen rampart, statues and fountains coexisted with flowering plants of different shapes. I have been to Het Loo more than once and have the opportunity to show several comparative pairs of photographs - they speak better than long explanations.

Two Willem-William Gardens: Hat Loo and Hampton Court

Het Loo. Small garden
Het Loo. Small garden

Het Loo. Small garden

Hampton Court. Small garden
Hampton Court. Small garden

Hampton Court. Small garden

Hampton Court. MaliHet Loo. View of the parterre from the roof of the palace
Hampton Court. MaliHet Loo. View of the parterre from the roof of the palace

Hampton Court. MaliHet Loo. View of the parterre from the roof of the palace

Hampton Court. View of the parterre from the front floor of the palace
Hampton Court. View of the parterre from the front floor of the palace

Hampton Court. View of the parterre from the front floor of the palace

Het Loo. Main axis of the parterre
Het Loo. Main axis of the parterre

Het Loo. Main axis of the parterre

Hampton Court. Main axis of the parterre
Hampton Court. Main axis of the parterre

Hampton Court. Main axis of the parterre

Het Loo. Parterre and earthen wall
Het Loo. Parterre and earthen wall

Het Loo. Parterre and earthen wall

Het Loo. Parterre and earthen wall
Het Loo. Parterre and earthen wall

Het Loo. Parterre and earthen wall

Becoming the English king, William decided to gradually destroy the old Hampton Court and replace it with a new Versailles, more precisely, "Antiversal" - a palace and park no worse than that of Louis XIV, his formidable French enemy. The main architect of the palace was Christopher Wren, the author of St. Paul's Cathedral. He suggested creating a square with baroque-classicist facades and decorating the building with a dome.

Hampton Court. Facade of the palace from the side of William III's Own Garden
Hampton Court. Facade of the palace from the side of William III's Own Garden

Hampton Court. Facade of the palace from the side of William III's Own Garden

Hampton Court. Fountain Courtyard Hampton Court
Hampton Court. Fountain Courtyard Hampton Court

Hampton Court. Fountain Courtyard Hampton Court

The construction took so long that the king lost interest in it, so Hampton Court on both sides is a Renaissance castle, and on the other two there is a strict palace. The third courtyard was replaced by two small courtyards - the apartments of William and Mary were supposed to be equivalent, so access to the ground leads through winding corridors.

Hampton Court. View from the stairs of the palace to the Fountain Yard
Hampton Court. View from the stairs of the palace to the Fountain Yard

Hampton Court. View from the stairs of the palace to the Fountain Yard

Hampton Court. Staircase to the chambers of William III and Mary II
Hampton Court. Staircase to the chambers of William III and Mary II

Hampton Court. Staircase to the chambers of William III and Mary II

And the baroque turned out to be strange - on the one hand, large, strict forms "like Versailles", on the other - swirling baroque windows, platbands and ornaments. The windows of the Fountain Yard were compared to many suddenly and wide-open eyes.

Hampton Court. State Hall of William III
Hampton Court. State Hall of William III

Hampton Court. State Hall of William III

Hampton Court. State Hall of William III
Hampton Court. State Hall of William III

Hampton Court. State Hall of William III

The palace chambers, the stairs, the Tudor chapel are beautiful and full of impressions. The entrance fee includes the opportunity to use an audio guide that speaks Russian.

Hampton Court. Plafond in the front bedroom
Hampton Court. Plafond in the front bedroom

Hampton Court. Plafond in the front bedroom

Hampton Court. Amazingly beautiful gallery overlooking the Private Garden
Hampton Court. Amazingly beautiful gallery overlooking the Private Garden

Hampton Court. Amazingly beautiful gallery overlooking the Private Garden

I wanted to quickly introduce our landscape group to the course of garden affairs, so - also not without wandering in the maze of corridors - we went to the most interesting side gardens of Hampton Court.

Hampton Court. Exit to the garden … Photo by Elena Lapenko
Hampton Court. Exit to the garden … Photo by Elena Lapenko

Hampton Court. Exit to the garden … Photo by Elena Lapenko

Hampton Court. Exit to the garden … Photo by Elena Lapenko
Hampton Court. Exit to the garden … Photo by Elena Lapenko

Hampton Court. Exit to the garden … Photo by Elena Lapenko

There are three of them, and they are located one after the other to the right of the entrance to the palace, not far from the Thames.

Hampton Court. The layout of the ensemble. B. Sokolov's scheme
Hampton Court. The layout of the ensemble. B. Sokolov's scheme

Hampton Court. The layout of the ensemble. B. Sokolov's scheme

Hampton Court. The layout of the ensemble. B. Sokolov's scheme
Hampton Court. The layout of the ensemble. B. Sokolov's scheme

Hampton Court. The layout of the ensemble. B. Sokolov's scheme

Two small gardens - rectangular parterres below ground level with regular plantings of clipped trees and small statues. They look especially beautiful through the trellises and lianas covering them against the background of the jagged roof of the Dining House.

Hampton Court. Second Pond Garden
Hampton Court. Second Pond Garden

Hampton Court. Second Pond Garden

Hampton Court. Third Pond Garden
Hampton Court. Third Pond Garden

Hampton Court. Third Pond Garden

The history of this small but important site (located between the castle and the river) is rich and fascinating. Henry VIII built several gardens in this part of the residence. The largest was the Private Garden, into which we will enter a little later, and it was followed by three rectangular … not gardens, but ponds!

Here fish were bred and kept for the royal table, and the coastal slopes were decorated with beautiful ledges. Behind them, over the waters of the Thames, stands the Dining House, from the windows of which, in the Tudor era, also opened a view of the Royal Aviary.

Hampton Court. View of the Dining House and Second Pond Garden
Hampton Court. View of the Dining House and Second Pond Garden

Hampton Court. View of the Dining House and Second Pond Garden

Hampton Court. View from the Dining House across the Second Pond Garden. From left to right - greenhouse, castle, palace
Hampton Court. View from the Dining House across the Second Pond Garden. From left to right - greenhouse, castle, palace

Hampton Court. View from the Dining House across the Second Pond Garden. From left to right - greenhouse, castle, palace

Judging by the documents of the palace, the ponds were not very well arranged - water was leaving them, and in the 17th century they were abolished. In the "Anglo-Dutch" period, a small green kingdom of Mary II arose here. She ordered to turn the ponds into lowered, "recessed" gardens, which is why they are still called Pond Gardens. There were four gardens in total.

Hampton Court. William III's Own Garden and Mary II Pond Gardens. Satellite photography. North left
Hampton Court. William III's Own Garden and Mary II Pond Gardens. Satellite photography. North left

Hampton Court. William III's Own Garden and Mary II Pond Gardens. Satellite photography. North left is

Hampton Court. First Pond Garden and Retaining Wall of the Own Garden with Pergola
Hampton Court. First Pond Garden and Retaining Wall of the Own Garden with Pergola

Hampton Court. First Pond Garden and Retaining Wall of the Own Garden with Pergola

In the largest, adjacent to the King's own garden, cut flowers were grown.

The second had not only decorative, but also heraldic significance - a collection of citrus fruits was exhibited there in the summer, among which the orange trees, a symbol of the Orange dynasty, played the main role.

The third was called the Garden of Primroses, but among them grew a great variety of bulbs, especially tulips and anemones - here again you can see the Dutch taste. And finally, in the smallest Greenhouse Garden there were three "glass houses" - greenhouses with a magnificent collection of exotic plants. In both the Dutch and English periods of their reign, William and Mary spared no effort or expense in replenishing it.

Hampton Court. Second Pond Garden. In the foreground is a place for bulbous plants
Hampton Court. Second Pond Garden. In the foreground is a place for bulbous plants

Hampton Court. Second Pond Garden. In the foreground is a place for bulbous plants.

Hampton Court. A dining house with a walled garden, views of the Thames and the bridge, built by Edwin Lutchence, creator of Hestercombe
Hampton Court. A dining house with a walled garden, views of the Thames and the bridge, built by Edwin Lutchence, creator of Hestercombe

Hampton Court. A dining house with a walled garden, views of the Thames and the bridge, built by Edwin Lutchence, creator of Hestercombe

Today, the first garden has become a lawn with several fruit trees, the second and third are recreated in the spirit of their era, and greenhouses have grown and surrounded the site of the fourth garden.

This place got its modern look in the 1920s, when the gardener and historian Ernst Lowe was the keeper of Hampton Court Park. He prepared a project to recreate the ponds of Henry VIII, which was not carried out, and laid out at the castle walls a "nodal", that is, decorated with intersections of curb strips, a Tudor-style garden.

Ernst Lowe. A project to recreate the Tudor-era Pond Garden at Hampton Court. 1903
Ernst Lowe. A project to recreate the Tudor-era Pond Garden at Hampton Court. 1903

Ernst Lowe. A project to recreate the Tudor-era Pond Garden at Hampton Court. 1903

Hampton Court. Tudor-style junction gardens designed by Ernst Lowe (1920s)
Hampton Court. Tudor-style junction gardens designed by Ernst Lowe (1920s)

Hampton Court. Tudor-style junction gardens designed by Ernst Lowe (1920s)

In contrast to the nearby Private Garden, the sunken Pond Gardens are the fruit of an early and conditional reconstruction. I say this because in the books on garden history they are shown as typical medieval (!) English gardens …

Hampton Court. Greenhouse garden with exotic trees from the greenhouse
Hampton Court. Greenhouse garden with exotic trees from the greenhouse

Hampton Court. Greenhouse garden with exotic trees from the greenhouse

Hampton Court. A tiny fountain in the Orangery Garden
Hampton Court. A tiny fountain in the Orangery Garden

Hampton Court. A tiny fountain in the Orangery Garden

Another garden created for Queen Mary is located along the greenhouse, perpendicular to the Pond Gardens. The greenhouse garden is a strip of lawn and gravel, on which vases with southern trees adorn in season. The vases have been meticulously recreated - white and blue earthenware after samples from Deltf, and terracotta ones - from shards found during the excavation of the parterre at Het Loo. True, we saw only white wooden tubs - perhaps luxurious containers protect from bad weather in autumn. In the spring, the green treasury of greenhouses spilled out here: two thousand species, from pelargonium and aloe to jasmine and pineapple. And, of course, half of the collection were citrus fruits - oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes. This garden is completely new - it was brought back to life in the 2007 season. I really liked the small fountains and pools, reminiscent of the miniature water games of Het Loo.

Hampton Court. Lancelot Brown plaque
Hampton Court. Lancelot Brown plaque

Hampton Court. Lancelot Brown plaque

Hampton Court. Guinness Book of Records Certificate
Hampton Court. Guinness Book of Records Certificate

Hampton Court. Guinness Book of Records Certificate

Hampton Court. Big Vine Greenhouse
Hampton Court. Big Vine Greenhouse

Hampton Court. Big Vine Greenhouse

In the fourth garden, by the palace wall, there is a simple gable greenhouse. Inside, it is almost empty, because a single plant is perched right next to the glass slope. But the numbers are startling: this is the Big Vine, planted here by Lancelot Brown around 1770, which produces hundreds of clusters of Black Hamburg black grapes every fall.

Nearby hangs a Guinness Book certificate stating that it is not only the oldest, but also the largest vine in the world, which twists more than 75 meters. Until the 1920s, the bunches were served exclusively for the royal table, but now in season they can be bought at the palace store.

Hampton Court. Big vine
Hampton Court. Big vine

Hampton Court. Big vine

Hampton Court. Private garden, embankment slope and palace facade
Hampton Court. Private garden, embankment slope and palace facade

Hampton Court. Private garden, embankment slope and palace facade

The grapes have already been removed and eaten, and we entered the large "secret garden" (Privy garden) through successive clouds and sun. Here, as in Tsarskoe Selo, instead of “secret” one should read “own”, “private” garden.

Hampton Court. Pergola on the shaft of the Own garden. Photo by Elena Lapenko
Hampton Court. Pergola on the shaft of the Own garden. Photo by Elena Lapenko

Hampton Court. Pergola on the shaft of the Own garden. Photo by Elena Lapenko

Hampton Court. Pergola on the shaft of the Own garden. Photo by Elena Lapenko
Hampton Court. Pergola on the shaft of the Own garden. Photo by Elena Lapenko

Hampton Court. Pergola on the shaft of the Own garden. Photo by Elena Lapenko

Hampton Court. Pergola on the shaft of the Own garden. Photo by Elena Lapenko
Hampton Court. Pergola on the shaft of the Own garden. Photo by Elena Lapenko

Hampton Court. Pergola on the shaft of the Own garden. Photo by Elena Lapenko

Our own garden, as well as the small gardens we have seen, are called "recessed", but this is inaccurate - the garden is surrounded by Dutch-type ramparts, creating majestic green curtains on the sides.

Hampton Court. Statue in the Private Garden
Hampton Court. Statue in the Private Garden

Hampton Court. Statue in the Private Garden

Hampton Court. Dutch taste in Private Garden - trees, flowers and baroque arabesques
Hampton Court. Dutch taste in Private Garden - trees, flowers and baroque arabesques

Hampton Court. Dutch taste in Private Garden - trees, flowers and baroque arabesques

I can testify that all parts of the garden - the French parterre system, the arabesques, the fountain, and the combination of white austere statues with garden planting - are the same as in Het Loo. But there are no identical gardens, and there is a different, larger scale, more luxurious slopes, more sky, the fountain is higher, and the paths are wider.

Hampton Court. Own garden. These are the trees that have grown in the Fountain Garden …
Hampton Court. Own garden. These are the trees that have grown in the Fountain Garden …

Hampton Court. Own garden. These are the trees that have grown in the Fountain Garden …

Hampton Court. Own garden during the renovation of the parterres. Photo by Boris Sokolov. 1994 year
Hampton Court. Own garden during the renovation of the parterres. Photo by Boris Sokolov. 1994 year

Hampton Court. Own garden during the renovation of the parterres. Photo by Boris Sokolov. 1994 year

Own garden overgrown for three centuries. Until recently, in its place was a thicket of pyramidal yews, through which avenues and fountains were barely visible. In 1996, the open parterre was recreated based on historical and archaeological materials, and now its appearance is completely authentic. A beautiful Anglo-Dutch garden, and, in fact, the last one in existence.

Hampton Court. Own garden. The most magnificent view is from the middle of the slope. Pyramidal yews - this is how they were three hundred years ago
Hampton Court. Own garden. The most magnificent view is from the middle of the slope. Pyramidal yews - this is how they were three hundred years ago

Hampton Court. Own garden. The most magnificent view is from the middle of the slope. Pyramidal yews - this is how they were three hundred years ago

Hampton Court. Private garden in the shade of overgrown yew trees. Photo of the 1920s
Hampton Court. Private garden in the shade of overgrown yew trees. Photo of the 1920s

Hampton Court. Private garden in the shade of overgrown yew trees. Photo of the 1920s

And around the corner, opposite the long central façade, unfolds the "anti-Versailles" - the palace parterre, called the Great Fountain Garden. "Anti" in two respects - firstly, the power of the ensemble and the three-ray of its alleys are directed against the power and greatness of the residence of the Sun King, and secondly, as in many later "Versailles", the three-ray is directed not towards the city, but a park.

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Three alleys
Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Three alleys

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Three alleys

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Three alleys
Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Three alleys

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Three alleys

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Three alleys
Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Three alleys

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Three alleys

The Great Fountain Garden was founded under Charles II, who lived in exile for many years in continental Europe and was well aware of the greatness of the new park style, born under the pencil of André Le Nôtre. Karl's gardener, André Molle, created a long canal that runs from the castle into the distance.

The garden was completed already in the era of William and Mary, who brought the interesting and talented architect Daniel Maro with them from Holland. Coming from a French architectural family, he perfectly understood the style and forms of the era of Louis XIV. His family was Huguenot, so he was forced to leave his homeland and began to work at the court of the Dutch stadtholder Willem. It was he who created the relatively modest and closed parterre garden in Het Loo. At Hampton Court, he expands the scale of his projects: the Dutch intimacy is replaced by the French scale.

Daniel Maro. Fountain Garden Project at Hampton Court. 1689
Daniel Maro. Fountain Garden Project at Hampton Court. 1689

Daniel Maro. Fountain Garden Project at Hampton Court. 1689

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Modern view from space
Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Modern view from space

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Modern view from space

Maro ordered to fill up the beginning of the canal and created in this place a trident of alleys and a semicircle of parterre. The parterre was decorated with intricate arabesques of flower beds, vases, pyramids of sheared yew trees and two rows of fountains, from which its name originates. Queen Anne, sister of Mary II, who ascended the throne after William's death, wanted to replace the flower beds with lawns - the 18th century began, and with it the taste for naturalness. The poorly functioning fountains were removed and replaced with a very beautiful semicircular canal.

Since 1764, Lancelot Brown became the chief gardener of Hampton Court. The great master of landscape gardening was forced to somehow maintain the existence of regular gardens, which no longer enjoyed the attention of the English monarchs. He canceled the shearing of the pyramid trees of the Fountain Garden, and they gradually turned into gigantic yews and holly, covering the horizon.

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Semicircular and Long canals
Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Semicircular and Long canals

Hampton Court. Fountain Garden. Semicircular and Long canals

Hampton Court. Yews and flower beds of the Fountain Garden
Hampton Court. Yews and flower beds of the Fountain Garden

Hampton Court. Yews and flower beds of the Fountain Garden

The situation is a bit like the story of Tsarskoe Selo: Catherine II ordered not to cut the trees of the Lower Garden, and soon landscape thickets formed there. Some of them, adjacent to the palace, in the post-war period were replaced by regular plantings, and the distant park still shelters the Hermitage from the eyes of the curious. But the Hampton Court stalls have a completely different layout and fate.

In the 19th century, large flower borders were created along the wall separating the Own Garden, and tulips and asters were planted right on the former parterres of the Fountain Garden - there were held spring and summer flower exhibitions. Now the garden has been returned to its original form.

But two traces remain from the "walking" era. The first is a beautiful, spectacular curb along the Broad Alley, created by the already mentioned Ernst Lowe, a garden master of the 1920s. The second is the outlandish trees of the Fountain Garden.

Hampton Court. Wide alley and flower border designed by Ernst Lowe (1920s)
Hampton Court. Wide alley and flower border designed by Ernst Lowe (1920s)

Hampton Court. Wide alley and flower border designed by Ernst Lowe (1920s)

Hampton Court. Three-hundred-year-old yews along the Broad Alley
Hampton Court. Three-hundred-year-old yews along the Broad Alley

Hampton Court. Three-hundred-year-old yews along the Broad Alley

At the beginning of the twentieth century, they realized and again began to cut the former pyramids along the alleys. But these were already mighty trees with a one-meter coverage, and the rounded crowns managed to give only an external resemblance to the previous outlines. But these three-hundred-year-old overgrowths, a bit like green fly agarics, give Hampton Court a whimsical and unforgettable look.

Having got used to the vastness of Versailles, we decided to walk into the distance, along the canal. But it was not there! Around the lattice, and behind it, as in St. James and Chiswick - geese-swans and their sleepy kingdom.

Hampton Court. Only birds travel along the Long Canal
Hampton Court. Only birds travel along the Long Canal

Hampton Court. Only birds travel along the Long Canal

Hampton Court. Only birds travel along the Long Canal
Hampton Court. Only birds travel along the Long Canal

Hampton Court. Only birds travel along the Long Canal

Once again, the English love of quiet and wild nature pushed into the background greatness and the desire to show distant views. We enjoyed the panoramas later, at Windsor Landscape Park.

There are several gardens to the left of the palace. An old, but luxurious rose garden with "old English" varieties of roses, a landscape lawn and finally - the famous Labyrinth! Now there is an open space around it, but, apparently, this is the last piece of the Wild Garden, once huge, full of baroque green curtains and winding alleys.

Hampton Court. Rose garden
Hampton Court. Rose garden

Hampton Court. Rose garden

Hampton Court. Rose garden
Hampton Court. Rose garden

Hampton Court. Rose garden

A modest gate leads to a simple trellis alley. And … everything. The end. You understand that you will not find a way out of this small triangle. Like Jerome Jerome's "Three in a Boat", we ran here and there, found a flock of smart children and followed them to the safety gate.

Hampton Court. The harmless appearance of the insidious Labyrinth
Hampton Court. The harmless appearance of the insidious Labyrinth

Hampton Court. The harmless appearance of the insidious

Hampton Court. The maze is not so easy when viewed from space
Hampton Court. The maze is not so easy when viewed from space

Hampton Court Labyrinth. The maze is not so easy when viewed from space. Unlike Harris, I have a great respect for garden mazes. And in the French Villandry, and in the Venetian villa of Pisani, they tenaciously hold dozens of intelligent adults in their arms. In Villa Pisani, the caretaker climbed the tower at the heart of the labyrinth and shouted into the megaphone: "To the right! To the left!" In a scene created by an English writer, Hampton Court's watchman tried to do the same with a folding ladder.

Hampton Court. It's easy to enter the Labyrinth …
Hampton Court. It's easy to enter the Labyrinth …

Hampton Court. It's easy to enter the Labyrinth …

But get out! …
But get out! …

But get out! …

Harris asked if I had ever been to the Hampton Court Maze. He himself, according to him, went there once to show someone how best to get through. He studied the maze according to a plan that seemed foolishly simple, so it was a shame even to pay twopence to enter. Harris believed that this plan was published in mockery, since it did not in the least look like a real maze and only confused. Harris took one of his country relatives there. He said:

“We’ll only stop by for a little while so you can say that you’ve been in the maze, but it’s not difficult at all. It's even absurd to call it a labyrinth. You have to turn right all the time. We walk for about ten minutes, and then we'll go to breakfast.

Once inside the labyrinth, they soon met people who said that they were here for three quarters of an hour and that they seemed to have had enough. Harris invited them, if you like, to follow him. He just entered, now he will turn right and leave. Everyone was very grateful to him and followed him. On the way, they picked up many more who dreamed of getting out into freedom, and, finally, absorbed everyone who was in the labyrinth. The people, who had given up all hope of seeing their home and friends again, at the sight of Harris and his company, perked up and joined the procession, showering him with blessings. Harris said that, according to his assumption, “in general, about twenty people followed him; one woman with a child, who had been in the maze all morning, certainly wished to take Harris by the arm, so as not to lose him.

Harris kept turning to the right, but it was evidently a long way to go, and a relative of Harris said that it was probably a very large labyrinth.

“One of the largest in Europe,” said Harris.

“It seems so,” his relative replied. - We've already passed

a good two miles.

This began to seem strange to Harris himself. But he held on firmly until the company passed the half of the donut lying on the ground, which a relative of Harris's, according to him, had seen in this very place seven minutes ago.

“It’s impossible,” said Harris, but the woman with the child said:

“Nothing like that,” since she herself took this donut from her boy and threw it away before meeting Harris. She added that it would be better for her never to meet with him, and expressed the opinion that he was a deceiver. This infuriated Harris. He drew out a plan and laid out his theory.

- The plan may not be bad, - someone said, - but you just need

know where we are now.

Harris did not know this and said that the best thing would be to go back to the exit and start over. The proposal to start all over again did not arouse much enthusiasm, but there was complete unanimity about going back. They all turned back and followed Harris in the opposite direction.

Hampton Court. Dead ends and walls of the Labyrinth
Hampton Court. Dead ends and walls of the Labyrinth

Hampton Court. Dead ends and walls of the Labyrinth

The horrors of the Hampton Court Labyrinth. Promotional poster for the London Transport System. 1956
The horrors of the Hampton Court Labyrinth. Promotional poster for the London Transport System. 1956

The horrors of the Hampton Court Labyrinth. Promotional poster for the London Transport System. 1956

Another ten minutes passed, and the company found itself in the center of the labyrinth. At first, Harris wanted to pretend that this was exactly what he was striving for, but his entourage looked rather menacing, and he decided to regard it as an accident. Now they at least know where to start. They know where they are. The plan was once again brought out into the light of day, and it seemed as easy as shelling pears - everyone set off for the third time.

Three minutes later they were back in the center.

After that, they simply could not leave. Whichever way they turned, all paths brought them to the center. This began to repeat itself with such accuracy that some simply stayed in place and waited for the rest to walk and return to them. Harris again drew up his plan, but the sight of this paper infuriated the crowd. Harris was advised to start the plan for the papillotes. Harris, he said, could not help but realize that he had lost some of his popularity.

Finally everyone completely lost their heads and began to call the watchman at the top of their voice. The watchman came, climbed a ladder outside the labyrinth, and began giving them directions loudly. But by this time everyone was in such a confusion in their heads that no one could figure anything out. Then the watchman invited them to stand still and said that he would come to them. Everyone gathered in a bunch and waited, and the watchman descended the stairs and went inside. On the mountain, he was a young watchman, new to his craft. Entering the labyrinth, he did not find those who were lost, began to wander back and forth, and finally got lost himself. From time to time they saw through the foliage how he darted somewhere on the other side of the fence, and he also saw people and rushed to them, and they stood and waited for him for five minutes, and then he again appeared in the same place and asked where they disappeared.

Everyone had to wait until one of the old watchmen, who had gone to dinner, returned. Only then did they finally come out.

Harris said that, since he could judge, it was a wonderful maze, and we agreed that we would try to get George there on the way back.

Jerome K. Jerome. Three in the same boat, not counting the dog (1889). Translated by M. Salier

By tram to Hampton Court. 1927 poster of the overgrown Private Garden
By tram to Hampton Court. 1927 poster of the overgrown Private Garden

By tram to Hampton Court. 1927 poster of the overgrown Private Garden

At the beginning of the 18th century, Hampton Court became the scene of royal quarrels, and the rival courts of fathers and children soon reduced the prestige of the residence to nothing. Gradually, it turned into the abode of minor princes and princesses, and then the maid of honor, living out their days in the small rooms of the great palace. In 1986, one of them knocked down a fire in her room, setting off a huge fire in the state rooms of William III.

In 1838, Queen Victoria opened the park to the public, and ten years later a special branch of the railway was built here. The motley public flocked to Hampton Court, which newspapers began to call "London Garden". Several generations of Londoners have grown up on Sunday walks through the overgrown park, with its flower beds and ancient statues. And only in the twentieth century a balance was found between half-wild rest and immersion in history.

The Tudor era at Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko
The Tudor era at Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko

The Tudor era at Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko

The Tudor era at Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko
The Tudor era at Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko

The Tudor era at Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko

The Tudor era at Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko
The Tudor era at Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko

The Tudor era at Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko

Although the Crown owns the residence, it is run by the Historic Royal Palaces, a non-profit organization, along with the Tower and Kensington Palace. It has built a powerful cultural tourism industry - a large entrance fee and unlimited options for staying in the palace, including audio guides and photography.

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By the fountain in Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko
By the fountain in Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko

By the fountain in Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko It populated the palace with dozens of people in Tudor outfits, graceful ladies in velvet dresses lead children on excursions, and you can ride a cart pulled by heavy horses in the park. An iron harrow stretches behind the cart - you need to level the alleys, dotted with thousands of footprints!

Hampton Court cart: both transport and gardening tools. Photo by Elena Lapenko
Hampton Court cart: both transport and gardening tools. Photo by Elena Lapenko

Hampton Court cart: both transport and gardening tools. Photo by Elena Lapenko In the story "Three in a Boat" I found cute lines that are full of life today:

What a wonderful old wall stretches along the river in this place! Passing her, I always feel pleasure from the sight of her. Bright, sweet, cheerful old wall! How wonderfully decorate it with lichen creeping and wildly growing moss, a bashful young vine peeking out from above to see what is happening on the river, and dark old ivy curling a little lower. Any ten yards of this wall reveals fifty nuances and shades to the eye. If I could paint and paint, I would probably create a beautiful sketch of this old wall. I often think I would love to live in Hampton Court.

The most vivid impression of Hampton Court is bright, spectacular antiquity, quaint towers, wonderful tapestries, energetic, fresh Baroque gardens with hissing streams of water, swans on the sleepy Long Canal. And gray mosses on the red, rainy and windy walls, and behind them are the thin trunks and malachite crowns of orange trees.

The gray wall of Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko
The gray wall of Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko

The gray wall of Hampton Court. Photo by Elena Lapenko

Photo: Boris Sokolov, Elena Lapenko

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