Monday, 21 November 2011

Syon House garden all lit up uh huh huh


It isn't quite Lumiere 2011 in Durham - reviewed so positively in today's Observer - or even Vivid 2010 in Sydney (which I've blogged about) but Syon Park's Enchanted Wood is in a garden setting and it's just across the other side of the River Thames. (And five URL links in the one sentence! You have to be either annoyed or impressed with that.)

You can see Syon House across the Thames from Kew Gardens, at the end, appropriately, of Syon Vista - although technically a clump of Capability Brown trees are at the end of the view with the house off to one side.

Syon House is home to the Duke of Northumberland and has been so for over 400 years, although not to the same Duke. It sits on a 200 acre park, some of which was lit up (uh huh huh) last night. Before the Duke's time, a medieval abbey was sited there, named Syon after Mount Zion. The house itself if worth a visit, as is the garden in daylight hours (of which are increasingly less at the moment).

The text of the foggy window is from the inside of Syon's 'Great Observatory', and the next installation is inside. If you sing, or as I found, yell, loudly you get red bars of colour rising up the tubes. Lynda is of course too polite to speak loudly in a glasshouse so the tubes are still entirely white, or bluish.


The Great Observatory is was built by Charles Fowler between 1826 and 1830, commissioned by the 3rd Duke of Northumberland (the current Duke, the 12th, has just begun extensive restoration works on the house). The Great Observatory is said to be the first conservatory built of gunmetal, Bath stone and glass. It apparently inspired the Crystal Palace in London and perhaps parts of the Palm House at Kew Gardens.

Outside there are formal gardens around a pond, and this illuminated statue.


The Enchanted Wood walk ends in the Conservatory, or more correctly, in the shop after the Conservatory, but before that you wander through variously lit trees and landscapes.These made me think of very short Ku Klux Klanners, but besides that they were very beautiful.


Most of my pictures of lit-up trees were all shook up (uh huh huh) but this one was almost sharp and certainly attractive.


And of course there were fairies and other strange creatures, including, so the sign said, a dragon. I'll finish with this picture of a young lad watching tentatively to see what the dragon would do next. We moved on, just in case...



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