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Four views of the gardens at Stowe

The four prints of Stowe (RCIN 701141.i .g .f .a) were commissioned by the garden designer Charles Bridgeman (d. 1738), to celebrate the work he had undertaken for Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham (1675 – 1749) between 1715 and 1732. The designer unites topographical accuracy with a characteristically French focus on the elegant figures gracing the foreground, and presents the gardens as a setting for socialising and fellowship. Maximising the commercial appeal of the sequence, the printmaker has added the spice of celebrity to one of the prints. A famous Italian castrato, Francesco Bernardi, known as Senesino, can be seen in the music party in the foreground.