THE YEARS OF INITIATION AND CHARLES BRIDGEMANN
Willis, Charles Bridgemann, Plate 116
During the time of the agricultural revolution, Bridgemann began the initiation of Stowe Gardens (1711-1720). Enclosure and landscaping included exotic plants, parterres, topiary, formalised box trees, and gothic fences that the nobleman had seen while on their Grand Tours. However, the use of the garden began to change. Bridgemann was asked during the consolidation period (1721-1730) to redesign the garden so that it included the beauty of decoration, but did away with the formality in order to make way for hunting. Bridgemann therefore began redesigning Stowe while incorporating the classical, moral, and political beliefs of the time. With this idea came the Octagon Lake and the Rotunda.
English nationalism created a strong desire to step out of the shadows of French literature, art, government, religion, and gardening that they had controlled for the past few centuries. Having only become a new country in the eyes of the world in the last century, England wanted to establish itself in the world. Gardening was only one of the means that they used to show the talents that had been squelched within the country side. Stowe Garden was to be the NEW site of beauty that would replace the long awed Garden at Versailles.
However, the beliefs behind the purpose of the garden began to change which led to instatement of Bridgemann's fellow gardener KENT as the new gardener of Stowe.