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William Aislabie

(1700—1781) landscape designer and landowner


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(1700–81), English landowner and landscaper, son of John Aislabie. He added to the Studley Royal landscape between 1730 and 1768, in particular by acquiring the Cistercian Fountains Abbey, whose beautiful ruins he wove into the landscape as its triumphant conclusion. He created his own sublime landscape, enlivened by buildings of Gothic character, streams, and cascades, not far from Studley Royal in the precipitous valley of the river Ure at Hackfall. Aislabie also had an estate at Kirkby Fleetham (North Yorkshire). Arthur Young described it in 1771 as ‘one of the seats of William Aislabie, Esq; of Studley, and the grounds greatly ornamented by him’ (A Six Month Tour of the North of England, 1770). The house was connected to the village by a 1.6-km/1-mile viewing terrace which Young described: ‘the edge of it planted, and temples, etc., built at those points which command the best views.’ This little-known garden, of which nothing survives, sounds remarkably similar to the other North Yorkshire viewing terraces at Duncombe Park and Rievaulx.

From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.


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