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Shell House showcase: The Pleasure Garden, Painshill, Surrey

Charles Hamilton came to Painshill in 1738 and experienced two Grand Tours in his lifetime.


The landscaping included a range of ornamental 'stations' or 'eye-catchers' built for no other purpose than to delight the visitor: Chinese Bridge, Turkish Tent, Mausoleum, Ruined Castle, Temple to Bacchus, Hermitage and the Rusticated Grotto.





Work on the grotto was by Master Grotto Builders, Joseph and Josiah Lane and began in the early 1760's. It was to cost Hamilton some £8,000.


Our publication Half-Forgotten. the Grotto work of Joseph and Josiah Lane focuses on the Painshill grotto and the fifteen other landscape features built and decorated by them. Their signature design was the fake stalactite, which here is encrusted with crystals- calcite, gypsum, fluorite and quartz.


The water element inside the grotto is fed by an Archimedes screw pump- lovingly turned by the gardener!


A major restoration project since 1986 has proved a challenging enterprise.The entire estate is today a Grade 1 listed site, and nationally recognised.

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