Thomas Wright of Durham (1711-1786) at Halswell

Part Three:  The Rockwork Screen, or Grotto

Halswell: The Grotto (or Rockwork Screen) of c. 1754.

Halswell: The Grotto (or Rockwork Screen) of c. 1754.

The history, purpose, later uses and relative obscurity of this fascinating feature makes it one of the most interesting of the eighteenth-century architectural additions to Halswell by Sir Charles Kemeys-Tynte.

William Kent (1685-1748) was England’s first great landscape designer and his influence throughout the eighteenth-century was immense. In many ways he was a man before his time but his insights into the Arcadian Landscape were taken up by other great designers who came after him, such as Capability Brown (1716-1783). His work on such grottos as those at Burlington House and Rousham had a direct influence upon Halswell’s Grotto which served as a dam, grotto and, originally, a water cascade.

William Kent’s 1738 cascade for Lord Burlington at Chiswick House, London.

William Kent’s 1738 cascade for Lord Burlington at Chiswick House, London.

Continue reading