SOUTHEAST ENGLAND

The shell collection inside the main house belonged to Lady Fane (1686-1762) and Lady Iliffe (1916- 2007). Her daughter created the Shell Room in 1979. Located in Reading, Berkshire.

The Grotto Vault is sited in a 19th-century pavilion at the former home of Lord Beaverbrook. Today it is a Country House Hotel. The shell designs were the work of shell artist Belinda Eade who was inspired by the Greek myth Arethusa. Located in Leatherhead, Surrey.

Stowe is a pioneering landscape park designed by the most important 18th century garden designers- Charles Bridgeman, William Kent and  Lancelot Capability Brown. The Grotto was the favourite retreat of the owner, Lord Cobham who wanted it to be a central feature in his politically and intellectually challenging gardenThe Grotto was built in 1739 by William Kent. Inside, in a recess, is a statue of Venus and below a water feature that flows out into the river. The exterior is rusticated tufa rockwork. Located in Buckinghamshire.

Capability Brown landscape gardens. Tunnel grotto 1770's on lake edge and a key feature of pleasure walk. Located in Surrey.

This magnificent crystalline Grotto 1760 took 10 years to complete at the immense cost of £800,000 or £750,000 today. Built for Charles Hamilton by Master Grotto Builder, Joseph Lane. The grotto is part of a Rococo Landscape that includes a Turkish Tent, Gothic Pavilion and Sham Castle. Located in Surrey.

The Shell House is sited next to an artificial pond within a rococo- style pleasure garden near Bushey Park. Created by the 2nd Earl of Halifax as a Valentine’s Day gift for Anne- Marie Donaldson. The exterior and ceiling design is thought to have been by Thomas Wright. Shell patterns use 1000’s of  exotic varieties. Restored c1989 by Diana Reynell, Simon Verity and Belinda Eade. Visiting by appointment only.

A subterranean grotto created 1722- 44 as a writer’s retreat that went underneath the owner’s villa. Pope regarded it as a MusEAum- a place where he could communicate with the Muses. It was also a place where he could display his collection of curios that included a piece of basalt from the Giant’s Causeway, Co. Antrim. This grotto was hugely influential in future 18th-century grotto design in England. Located in Twickenham

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