Aonia is delighted to be the co-producer of the new series – American Viscountess. Come with Aonia and Julie Montagu, Viscountess Hinchingbrooke, as we visit some of the UK’s most wonderful country houses, stately homes, castles and gardens.
In this first episode Julie visits Iford Manor in Wiltshire. Iford boasts one of the most spectacular gardens in England which was created by the celebrated garden designer Harold Peto in the early 20th century.
Julie is welcomed to Iford by the owner William Cartwright-Hignett who has recently taken over the family estate with his wife Marianne. In her first exploration of the gardens, Julie sets off for the Japanese Garden where she meets head gardener Troy - but quickly finds herself in deep water! William explains the history of the garden - including the beautiful Italian cloister which he recently rescued from collapse. Julie then prepares a sumptuous tea with the head chef Jaq – but what will the family think of her efforts?
ABOUT GARDEN DESIGNER HAROLD PETO
Harold Petro FRIBA (1854-1933) was a brilliant British landscape architect and garden designer. He worked in BritaIn and France and he is best known for the gardens of Iford Manor (Wiltshire, UK), Buscot Park (Oxfordshire, UK), West Dean House (Sussex, UK) and Ilnaculin, (Country Cork, Eire)
Peto was educated at Harrow school and began his career by training & qualifying as an architect. In 1871 he went into partnership with Ernest George and employed future well-known architects such as Edwin Lutyens, Guy Dauber and Herbert Baker.
In 1892 after 21 years, the partnership was dissolved, due to Harold’s increasing disenchantment with London, on the condition that he would not practice architecture in the UK for the next 15 years. From here his career in garden and interior design began. A long admirer of Italian Renaissance, this influence could be seen in his architectural work, and he travelled frequently to Italy.
In 1899 on a visit to Iford Manor, Harold found the ideal setting for his style and interests. With a collection of architectural treasures bought on travels to Italy, Spain and France, Harold set about creating a truly beautiful, peaceful haven.
A man of exquisite taste, with a talent for placing objects sympathetically to their surroundings, his work at Iford led to many more commissions. One of the best promoters of Italian renaissance, Harold was also influenced by the Arts and Crafts period although his work was structured rather than informal. Harold softened his structures with plants in the manner of Gertrude Jeykll and William Robinson, who thought well of his designs. Jekyll illustrated Harold’s work in her book on Garden Ornament.
Harold Peto created some of the finest gardens in England, inspired mainly by the Italianate style but always in sympathy with the surrounding English countryside.
Acknowledgments: Great British Gardens
Home to the Cartwright-Hignett family since 1965, Iford Manor has a rich history dating back to the Domesday Book. Famed for it’s beautiful Italianate Garden designed by Harold Peto, Iford Manor was the winner of the 2020 Historic Houses / Sotheby’s Restoration Award for the work to underpin and save Harold Peto’s Grade II* listed Italianate cloisters.
Country Life Magazine
Iford Manor: How Harold Peto created a Wiltshire masterpiece that ‘that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary’
Great British Gardens