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An oil painting of a garden party at Buckingham Palace. Queen Victoria and Alexandra, Princess of Wales are returning to the Palace in an open carriage pulled by two grey horses; in the garden, on the left, the Prince of Wales is conversing to a couple in

Their history, form and function

Charles Long, 1st Baron Farnborough (1760-1838)

Sketch plan for the East Terrace garden, Windsor Castle dated 1823

RCIN 930090

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In 1823, Sir Charles Long, artistic advisor to George IV, created this drawn plan along with notes on how the garden might be carried out. The garden was to be divided into four rectangles, crossed with diagonal paths. The central axis was in line with the centre of the east front of the castle, shown as ‘A’ on his plan, with a fountain at the centre. In 1824, the architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville was given the task of recreating the castle into a Gothic palace for George IV, and it was he who was responsible for constructing the physical layout of the garden.  The shape of the ground meant that the garden was bowed at the east end rather than rectangular as in Long’s plan, taking the form of an irregular hexagon. The north side was designed with an orangery built into the wall, the perimeter walk running over the top. The new garden would have provided an immediate focal point when viewed from the new suite of rooms created for George IV along the east front. Many of the features of Long’s proposal such as the central fountain and path, formal layout of the flower beds, and use of statuary, is recognisable today.

It is likely that it was the Director of the Royal Gardens, William Townsend Aiton, who was responsible for the final design and planting of the garden. Aiton was a botanist, born in Kew. His father was director at Kew Gardens, a post he was also to hold. He was also commissioned by George IV to lay out the gardens at Brighton Pavilion and at Buckingham Palace. The original planting included rhododendrons, azaleas, lilacs and roses, but unfortunately a very hard winter in I837 killed the majority of the plants, which had to be replaced.