Mysterious beauty

View towards Crichton Tower on Gad Island in Lough Erne, on the Crom estate. ©NTPL/John Millar

The National Trust has long published a technical bulletin called Views, which contains all sorts of research ranging from car park design to Repton red books. Now the most recent issues of Views have been made publicly accessible for the first time.

View of Crom Castle, built 1832-8. ©NTPL/John Millar

One of the articles in issue 47, by National Trust gardens curator Chris Gallagher, is about the rediscovery of the vistas in the Crom demesne in Co. Fermanagh.

The ruins of the old tower-house. ©NTPL/John Millar

As Chris explains, the park at Crom was designed by William Sawrey Gilpin (1761/2-1843) from the mid-1830s onwards. Gilpin was working in the Picturesque tradition and was adept at sensitively combining the man-made and natural elements of a landscape.

©NTPL/John Millar

The trees planted and arranged by Gilpin have obviously matured since then, and some of the Picturesque vistas he contrived have become overgrown. Chris’s research has identified many of these half-lost views.

View of Holy Trinity church on the Derryvore peninsula across Lough Erne. ©NTPL/John Millar

One of the purposes of vistas was to create a greater sense of connectedness between the different parts of a landscape.

View near Lough Erne. ©NTPL/John Millar

It is hoped that Chris Gallagher’s findings will lead to more of these crucial vistas being opened up again, while obviously also preserving Crom’s character as a place of great and mysterious natural beauty.

By the way, William Sawrey Gilpin was also responsible for the garden at Scotney Castle, which I have featured earlier. And these photographs of Crom remind me of a previous discussion about different types of beauty.

5 Responses to “Mysterious beauty”

  1. Barbara Says:

    Thank you! These Views journals are a wealth of information. Great reading for the long Thanksgiving holiday over here.

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    I am glad that we can provide some bedtime (or fireside) technical reading, Barbara 🙂

  3. Jenn Says:

    Fascinating and beautiful. Thank you again!

  4. Blue Says:

    I linked back to your post about different types of beauty and found it very interesting because it connects with an idea I’m – I won’t say wrestling with – thinking about.

    Water in a landscape is particularly attractive but what I find almost obsessively beautiful is snow. I find snow scenes so attractive I once spoke to a psychiatrist acquaintance about it and seemingly in the literature there isn’t one positive association with snow. Nonetheless, I continue to love them.

    Towneley Hall, in my home town, has a painting by Joseph Farquharson that as a teenager I particularly liked. I was lucky, I think, when young to have had access to Manchester’s galleries which in my memory are stuffed with Pre-Raphaelites and other Victorian beauties.

  5. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Blue, how excellent that you find this thought-provoking.

    I love snow as well, both its pristineness and its covering, mysterious quality. But perhaps its cold and muffling qualities have given snow these negative associations in psychiatry?

    This reminds me of TS Eliot’s lines (from Four Quartets?):

    Winter kept us warm
    Covering the earth in forgetful snow
    Feeding a little life with dried tubers

    Which is beautifully ambivalent as to whether the snow is something comforting or smothering.

    You should read Yasunari Kawabata’s novel Snow Country (if you haven’t already), which has extremely sensuous descriptions of a Japanese hot spring resort in winter. Come to think of it, the hot-cold dichotomy runs right through that novel, with a reserved, ‘cold’ protagonist meeeting a ‘warm’-hearted geisha at the resort, and with all the descriptions of hot baths and cold snow etc.

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