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Harold Peto

(1854—1933) architect and garden designer


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(1854–1933), English architect and garden designer in the Arts and Crafts tradition inspired by Italian Renaissance architecture and gardens. He formed a fashionable architectural partnership with Ernest George which ended in 1895. His garden philosophy may be summed up in this quotation from his own The Boke of Iford (published posthumously): ‘old buildings or fragments of masonry carry one's mind back to the past in the way that a garden of flowers only cannot do. Gardens that are too stony are equally unsatisfactory; it is the combination of the two in just proportion which is the most satisfying.’ He in any case disapproved of the English taste in planting ‘running riot in masses of colour irrespective of form’. He designed gardens or garden features at Bridge House (Surrey, 1906), Buscot Park, Easton Lodge (Essex, 1902), Hartham Park (Wiltshire, c.1903), Heale House, High Wall (Oxfordshire, c.1912), Iford Manor (his own house, 1899 onwards), Ilnacullin, Wayford Manor (Somerset, 1902), and West Dean House (West Sussex, 1910). He also practised in the south of France on the Côte d'Azur from 1893 to 1910 where he designed gardens at Villa Bella Vista, Villa Les Cèdres, Château Isola Bella, Villa Maryland, Villa Rosemary, and Villa Sylvia. Easton Lodge was one of his grandest gardens but little remains of it today. The best places in which to admire his work, all open to the public, are Buscot Park, Iford Manor, and Ilnacullin.

From The Oxford Companion to the Garden in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Lifestyle, Home, and Garden.


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