The Collector Earl's Garden, Arundel Castle, West Sussex, UK
Two years in the planning and 13 months carpentry, Architectural Oak Ltd are proud as punch of their colossal green Oak structures now at home in the grand setting of Arundel Castle.
A memorial to the 14th Earl of Arundel, a keen art collector and person friend of the famous architect Inigo Jones, the garden contains monumental green oak structures created from Inigo’s drawings. It exhibits a bold and groundbreaking display of extraordinary craftsmanship and an inspired use of English oak.
The garden structures are as follows:
* The Arun Fountain consists of 2 colossal, 3.3 meter high muscular carved oak figures stand either side of an archway holding up a platform of oak boulders and roof topped with a perfect scallop shell. The piece is backed with individually shaped oak shingles giving the impression that they are draped in ice.
Alongside the water are 7 pairs of turned, 2m high Oak urns on plinths and marking the pieces perimeter are a series of square rusticated solid oak columns 3m high each topped with a turned and carved oak acorn.
* Leaving the fountain behind, your eyes are drawn to a magnificent green oak Temple in a Romanesque style standing 5m high, 5m wide 4m deep decorated with deer antlers. A series of scrolled, rusticated solid oak benches are placed both inside and alongside.
* To the right, creating a grand partition are two pairs of arched domed oak pergolas measure 3m wide by 4.5m high to base of dome and 15m long. The central domes, add another 2m in height each topped with a turned oak ball 500mm in diameter.
All timbers for these impressive structures were sourced from managed woodlands in the UK and the geometry is something to be marvelled at.
All joints of the arched timbers are scarfed to create the tight curve and pegged using the traditional framing pegs.
* Walking through the pergola, down the stone steps to the lower section of the garden stands the ornate 5m tall “Italian Door”. Framed between 2 segmented tapered columns which support an overhanging porch, a close interpretation of one of Inigo’s sketches, and a symbolic doorway to the chapel behind where the Earl is buried.
* Opposite stands a monolithic green oak 5m high archway leading to the vegetable gardens beyond.
* The centrepiece is the magical “Oberon’s Palace”. Framed with two 5.5m high oak obelisks and is an exact translation of Inigo Jones’s drawings. The English oak structure measures 7m wide, 5m deep and 9m high.
The decorative arch over the doorway is one solid piece of oak hand selected and a one in a million find. The curved piece of timber has a radius of 1.8m diameter and is 500mm deep. The corner timbers of the Palace were 5.5m long and 0.75m square – weighing around 4 tonnes each. Sourcing, handling and working these timbers was a massive undertaking.
The Palace has 4 hanging turrets and a higher dome clad in hand scalloped cedar shingles, which have a golden apperance as though guilded.
All structures display a true testament to the beauty of wood, and the skill of the craftsmen and women at Architectural Oak Ltd. From the planning stage and initial hand sourcing of these large sectioned timbers from Wobern Abbey, these Herculean structures couldn’t have been executed in a better material, the green oak sits perfectly in the impressive landscape and will age as gracefully as its majestic stone neighbour.
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