In the heat of the night

Ge­orge Plumptre ex­plores one of the most in­spired and ad­mired gar­den-restora­tion projects of mod­ern times, which is soon to reach its con­clu­sion. Later this month, sev­eral fundrais­ing evenings will en­able vis­i­tors to take at­mo­spheric strolls past its illu

Country Life Every Week - - My Favourite Painting Christopher Boyle - Pho­to­graphs by Clive Ni­chols

Pain­shill Park, Cob­ham, Sur­rey

In the year when ev­ery­one is fêt­ing Ca­pa­bil­ity Brown as we cel­e­brate the 300th an­niver­sary of his birth, it’s good to be re­minded that he was not the only great English gar­dener of the 18th cen­tury. And there was hardly a more dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter to Brown than Charles Hamil­ton, who cre­ated one of the Land­scape move­ment’s most in­no­va­tive and in­flu­en­tial gar­dens at Pain­shill in Sur­rey.

Brown, born into a hum­ble northum­brian fam­ily, worked his way up from head gar­dener to land­scaper-busi­ness­man par ex­cel­lence and made a for­tune in the process. Hamil­ton, the son of an earl, went on the Grand Tour to Italy and, through his friend­ship with Fred­er­ick, Prince of Wales, ac­quired, in 1738, a lease on Crown land at Pain­shill, Sur­rey, where he be­gan cre­at­ing his gar­den. How­ever, although he had noble con­nec­tions and taste, he didn’t have the wealth to match; as the youngest of nine sons, his fi­nances were al­ways pre­car­i­ous. In 1773, he was forced to sell Pain­shill to re­pay debts; he re­tired to Bath, where he died in 1786.

Some 200 years after his death, it was fit­ting that Hamil­ton’s land­scape at Pain­shill was brought back from ad­vanced dere­lic­tion by one of the most in­spired gar­den-restora­tion projects of mod­ern times. In the 1970s, the un­usu­ally en­light­ened lo­cal author­ity,

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