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Landscape historian, Sophie Piebenga, explores the fashion for creating landscapes with man-made rockwork in the late 19th century in this online talk.

The successful Victorian landscaping firm of James Pulham & Son carried out much work at Waddesdon during the 1880s and 1890s. The creation of extensive artificial rockwork along the North front and in the water garden adjoining the dairy can be attributed to them. While their work might appear to look natural, in places it served a practical purpose too with caverns serving as storage for tools and as night quarters for animals. Pulham’s work can also be found at the neighbouring Rothschild property of Eythrope.

Besides landscaping, Pulham also manufactured a huge range of terracotta garden ornaments, the two magnificent vases were recently acquired by Lord Rothschild being good examples of this work.

Landscape historian and Waddesdon Gardens’ archivist, Sophie Piebenga, will explore the fashion for creating landscapes taken to new heights by Pulham with man-made rockwork in the late 19th century.

TalkMuseums online


Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 0JH

01296 820414


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Waddesdon is open Wed-Sun, 10am-5pm (last admission 3pm). Advance booking essential.

Safety is our priority, please respect other visitors by maintaining social distance and regulations about household mixing.

All visitors, including Art Fund members who have free admission, need to book an arrival time slot.

Please visit the Waddesdon website for full opening details.

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