A shrine to Shakespeare
18th century gardenIn the 18th century, it was fashionable to design gardens which blended with the landscape. Temples, grottos or ruins were often built to add interest and mystery. David Garrick the well known actor designed his riverside garden at Hampton very carefully. A serpentine path snaked through the lawns and blended with the riverside scenery.
In 1756 he built a striking octagonal Temple in his garden - a Temple to celebrate the genius of William Shakespeare.
He commissioned the sculptor Roubiliac to provide a life-size statue of his hero to be placed inside the temple.
Vandalism and restoration
Over the years the Temple and garden were vandalised. The original statue was removed to the British Museum. The garden was sold and a house built on it.
But, in 1932, the council bought the garden for public use. Since then the garden and temple have been fully restored. A replica of the statue was provided by the British Musem. The octagonal Temple and the 18th Century pleasure-garden setting have been restored.