Like other great country houses in England Wilton House has been expanded and rebuilt over the centuries, with contributions from some of the most renowned architects working in the Palladian style. The gardens have evolved as well: in 1645 designer Isaac de Caus published etchings of his newly styled French formal Wilton Garden, set within the 21 acres of parkland that comprised the estate gardens. Features included elegant parterres bordered with clipped hedges, balustrades, galleries, statues, fountains, colored gravel walks and other walks under trellised vaults and pavilions. One natural feature left untouched was the River Nadder, and this became identified as in the English style as opposed to the highly ordered great gardens of the Continent. In the next century a footbridge based on Palladio's design for the Rialto in Venice was built over the river. The bridge complements the Palladian style house designed by architects Inigo Jones and his son-in-law John Webb. In the early 19th century architect James Wyatt re-used the provincial baroque carved limestone façade of the grotto at the end of the Great Walk, installing it on a building on the grounds known as the Old Schoolhouse. Wyatt also relocated on the grounds a 16th century porch from the earlier version of the main house, attributed to artist Hans Holbein.
The parterre was demolished and replaced by lawns, and contemporary gardens include a water garden, an Oriental garden area with linked ponds crossed by Chinese style red bridges, and a rose garden. Other public facilities include an adventure playground and a garden center. The current Earl of Pembroke and his family still own Wilton House and reside there. Wilton House was visited by Thomas W. Sears in 1908 and by the Garden Club of America's June 1929 tour to England. A complete copy of the GCA tour itinerary was printed in the Bulletin of the Garden Club of America (Fourth Series, No. 5), September 1929, pp. 6-25.
Persons associated with the garden include First through 17th Earls of Pembroke, Herbert family (owners since circa 1550); Isaac de Caus (1590-1648) (garden designer, 1632-1633); Inigo Jones (1573-1652) and John Webb (1611-1672) (architects, circa 1633-1647) and James Wyatt (1746-1813) (architect, circa 1805).
The folder includes worksheets and photocopies of articles.
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: firstname.lastname@example.org