Historic Landscape Reborn
19th May, 2015
A dramatic addition to one of the most important designed landscapes in England is being unveiled this August at Boughton House in Northamptonshire. The Grand Etang, the long forgotten lake, which once dominated the principal approach to the house, has been re-dug and filled with clear spring water in which the magnificent north front of the house is magically reflected for the first time for two centuries.
Covering almost an acre, containing 1.5 million gallons of water and edged in reclaimed stone it is one of the largest formal bodies of water created in recent years. When it was first constructed in the 1690’s it formed a crucial part of a landscape which amazed contemporaries. At the time it was renowned especially for a fountain, or jet d’eau, which reached the then remarkable height of 58 feet. With the benefit of modern equipment an even more spectacular plume of water will now rise over 75 feet matching the stems of the avenues of ancient lime trees nearby.
Boughton has long been known as the English Versailles for the way in which it echoes the vision of Louis XIV’s great palace near Paris. Now with the restoration of this important lake the impression is even more strongly reinforced.
At a press launch on Friday 15th May 2015, the Duke of Buccleuch switched on the new fountain and explained the background to the conservation work that has been undertaken.
The Duke of Buccleuch said: “The reopening of the Grand Etang is a major milestone in the restoration of the immensely important designed landscape at Boughton.
“A decade of work has revealed long lost waterways and lakes dating back over 300 years but only now can we enjoy the full vision for a majestic setting for this great house. The arriving visitor is greeted with views and reflections that are simply stunning.
“A rather significant part of our national heritage has been revealed for generations to come.”
VisitEngland Chairman, Lady Cobham CBE said: “I first went to Boughton House more than 40 years ago and it is thrilling to witness the remarkable restoration work that has been carried out. Boughton House is a beautiful historic house that provides visitors every year with a wonderful day out exploring the treasures of the house and the beautiful gardens. The completion of the Grand Etang will make this wonderful property even more of a draw for visitors.
“With the Year of the Garden coming up in 2016, now is the perfect time to visit and explore the fantastic variety of stunning gardens and landscapes on offer across the country.”
Visitors can enjoy the Grand Etang in all its splendour when Boughton House and Gardens open to the public throughout August. The gardens will open between 12pm and 5pm daily, with last entry at 4pm. Tickets cost £6 for adults, £3 for children and £14 for a family of four (two adults and two children).