A Story of Many Springtimes

April 01, 2021

A Story of Many Springtimes

Timelessly elegant, gloriously weathered and patinated with natural lichens, the design of this generously scaled garden seat has been attributed to the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, (1869-1944). Although no design drawing has survived, it is also known as “The Thakenham Bench” after the West Sussex Estate Lutyens reputedly designed it for in 1902 and further examples are known from other English projects of his, including Sissinghurst, in Kent and Hestercombe in Somerset. Now simply referred to as “The Lutyens's Bench”, it has become a defining element in several historic gardens, where it is frequently incorporated as a focal point.
 
Lutyens was inspired by the legendary garden designer Gertrude Jekyll who taught him the “simplicity of intention and directness of purpose”, which she had learned from John Ruskin and in turn appealed to Lutyens's arts and crafts ideology. The design of this seat reflects his versatility, invention and reinterpretation of traditional styles. The central arch defines the rounded cresting of the backrest, which is flanked by stepped silhouette scrolled shoulders, which frame the horizontal bars and slender central upright. The generously scrolled and flared armrests enclose the slatted seat, which is raised on square section legs, joined by all-round stretchers with a broad single central upright. Yet the real magic is found on the surface. The timber, now ashen grey, has developed a spectacular, naturally weathered surface patinated with prolific lichen growth, which in combination with the harmonious design, somehow tell the story of the English Country House aesthetic. Generous scale, stylish, well proportioned, understated, functional, inviting, and untouched.





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