A Regency Chinese garden

Leigh Park House, Hampshire, by Joseph Francis Gilbert, c. 1831. © Portsmouth Museums and Records Service, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

On the 25th of October Jodi Eastberg will be giving a talk about the Regency linguist, diplomat, merchant, politician and China scholar Sir George Thomas Staunton (1781-1859).

Lady Staunton with her son George Thomas Staunton and a Chinese servant, by John Hoppner, 1794, © School of Oriental and African Studies, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Jodi Eastberg is Associate Professor of History at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has done extensive research into British perceptions of China through the life of Sir George Thomas Staunton.

Sir George Thomas Staunton, by Martin Archer Shee, © Government Art Collection, supplied by the Public Catalogue Foundation

Jodi is working on a biography of Staunton and is currently in the UK researching his banking records with Coutts & Co. in London.

View of the the lake at Leigh Park with various chinoiserie structures, watercolour by Joseph Francis Gilbert, c. 1832

As I mentioned previously, Staunton learned Chinese at a young age and became an influential figure in the East India Company. His country house, Leigh Park, near Portsmouth in Hampshire, reflected his interests, with Chinese collections in the house and Chinese plants and pavilions in the garden.

The lake at Leigh Park from the east, showing the Chinese-style pergola, summer house, bridge and boathouse, and the Mughal-style pavilion, watercolour by Joseph Francis Gilbert, c. 1832

The garden, in particular, seems to have been an enchanting Regency-style chinoiserie fantasy, with Chinese or pseudo-Chinese structures including a bridge, a boathouse, a pergola and a summer house, as well as a pseudo-Mughal onion-domed pavilion. Although the house is gone some of the garden structures survive.

Recent photograph of the lake, now called Leigh Water

The talk will be at Staunton Country Park (as Leigh Park is now called) on 25 October, from 10.30-12.00. Places are limited and anyone interested is asked to contact Kerry Bailey on 023 9245 3405 or via kerry.bailey@hants.gov.uk.

9 Responses to “A Regency Chinese garden”

  1. beeskep Says:

    Wonderful. Only wish I could attend. Think of you often. Barbara

  2. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks Barbara — I can’t attend either, although I am quite a bit closer than you are! But from what I hear places are filling up quickly, so Jodi should have a good crowd.

  3. Andrew Says:

    There is a lecture at the LSE on Thursday 1 November 2012 on the topic of “Restless Empire: China and the world since 1750” – “Arne Westad argues that China’s role in international affairs over the past 250 years has been determined by the country’s restless irresolution and its immense capacity for change. In this lecture he will discuss the significance of China’s past for its behaviour in international affairs today.” http://www2.lse.ac.uk/publicEvents/events/2012/11/20121101t1830vOT.aspx

  4. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Andrew, many thanks, that sounds like a fascinating talk as well — interesting to analyse Chinese history from the point of view of ‘restlessness’.

  5. Andrew Says:

    There is a book, of course – http://www.amazon.com/Restless-Empire-China-World-Since/dp/0465019331

  6. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Thanks Andrew. And good to have some analysis of contemporary China from a historical perspective.

  7. KDM Says:

    Sure to be a stimulating presentation! KDM

  8. segmation Says:

    Interesting John Hoppner!

  9. Emile de Bruijn Says:

    Segmation, apologies for the delay in replying. Yes that is the joy of the Public Catalogue Foundation’s Work, featured through Your Paintings (http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/), that it brings such pictures to our attention.

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